Today’s “What It’s Like” post resonates deeply with me, as I have walked through and continue to walk through, seasons of life with girlfriends who are waiting for “The One”. My dear friend Katie Hilbert beautifully shares her heart in today’s post, What It’s Like To: Live Fully in Singleness While Still Hoping for Marriage, and helps me better empathize and pray for those girlfriends in my life in similar shoes. Katie, thank you for being open and vulnerable. I can’t wait to see how God’s story continues. If you are in ANY waiting season, you are going to find her words incredibly inspiring.
And now, enjoy What It’s Like To: Live Fully in Singleness While Still Hoping for Marriage.
A few weeks ago, I sat across from a friend at my little dining room table, coffees in hand (of course), talking about life, faith, callings, and building God’s Kingdom from wherever we are. At one point in our conversation, my friend looked at me and said she thought I was living a wonderful and full life for the Lord. She saw God’s work in all I was doing. And she celebrated where I was and the opportunities He had given me.
Her words meant so much to me, because sometimes, as a single woman, one of the greatest challenges I face is devaluing where I’m at in life and what God is doing in and through me. I haven’t hit the major milestones our culture puts so much emphasis on – milestones I long for — like getting married and having kids — and so it’s easy to compare what God is doing in my life to others’ lives and feel both left behind and lacking purpose.
But I am realizing that no one season or calling has more value than another when our hearts are focused on making much of this life for Him. We all have the same call to know Him and build His Kingdom, and realizing that has been bringing me so much freedom.
I’ve also realized that I can both make the most of my singleness and also still hope and pray for marriage. The two are not mutually exclusive. I don’t have to suppress my hopes and dreams for marriage, or be embarrassed by them. And I also don’t have to hinge my life around them.
God’s goodness and character are not dependent upon whether or not He brings me a husband or blesses me with the opportunity to build a family of my own. He is good in my singleness, and if I get married, He will be good then, too.
I love this quote Joy Beth Smith shared in her book Party of One:
“It is a cosmic impossibility for God to shortchange any of His children…I am not single because I am too unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is His best for me (Paige Benton Brown).”
As I’ve begun to embrace my purpose here and now in my singleness, recognizing that it is God’s best for me today, I’ve started to feel more freedom and purpose in doing the things He’s called me to do right where I am. Things like creating greeting cards, serving and discipling at an amazing church, growing in my spiritual gifts of teaching and encouragement, and building meaningful relationships with a community of truly wonderful people.
He’s also been teaching me not to wait for “someday,” helping me to see and celebrate the goodness of today. I’ve painted one of my walls blush pink (and created an incredibly girly living room), collected an array of colorful Fiesta dishes (my version of “fine china”), and even started little traditions that make me smile like “frozen-pizza Fridays.”
But this embracing of the present with expectant hope for the future has been and will continue to be an on-going process of surrender.
There are certainly days I feel sick of being single and wonder if it’s even possible that there could be someone out there for me. I’ve trusted in myself more times than I can count and felt the weight of striving, discouragement, and disappointment as I’ve navigated the crazy world of dating (both online and off).
It’s hard to surrender our greatest hopes and desires, trusting that the God who both sees and provides will indeed see us and provide for us in the ways and timing He knows is best.
I love the way Joy Beth Smith captures this complex mix of emotions in Party of One:
“If you’re single, you’re called to be single today, and I will grieve and celebrate that calling with you. We must embrace it. But that doesn’t mean our hearts won’t want more. Own that pain and heartache. Don’t deny it. Don’t push it aside. Sit in it. And then, when you’re able, look up. Find God in the longing.”
In all my wrestling and weariness, in all of my longing, I have found Him again and again, and I’ve watched Him make me both stronger and more dependent on Him. Even when my singleness is hard and heartbreaking, I know God is growing me, being kind to me, and revealing Himself to me in new ways.
In her book Daring to Hope, Katie Davis Majors writes: “Maybe the hardest things make us the best kind of brave and the best kind of ready for all that God has next.”
I’m finding this to be true, little by little. I’m learning that where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going are all opportunities graciously given to know Him more and bring Him glory.
Yes, my life has unfolded in ways I never expected, and yes, my life may not fit culture’s typical “timeline,” but He has shown Himself to be faithful, time and time again.
And I have hope that He’s not done yet. That there’s more to the story than what I can see from where I stand right now.
So, with eyes fixed on Him, I won’t give up hope for marriage, but I won’t miss today either.
Because like Katie Davis Majors also wrote in Daring to Hope, “there is beauty to be found in a life poured out in faithfulness and obedience, no matter the circumstance.”
Single or married, I will continue to pour out my life before Him, being faithful right where I am, while daring to be hopeful for where He might take me from here.
Katie is a Kingdom-building writer, editor, and blogger. She’s almost always reading at least one book (and more often than not two or three). She’s also pretty sure lattes are her love language. You can connect with Katie on her blog www.aplacetodwell.com and on Instagram at @aplacetodwell.
PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called ‘In the Wait’!
PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cycles, raise a child with special needs, use an egg donor, be a DIY-er and home style blogger and be a NICU nurse! And stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!