Ok, so remember when I said I wasn't going to sugarcoat anything in these posts? I hope you haven't forgotten that because this post is anything but sugarcoated. It's real, raw and truthful. I'm going to be revealing sides of myself that I'd rather keep tucked away somewhere never to be seen or heard. But I can't do that. I have to write this. Not just to be honest about a topic that still is widely unaddressed in a lot of churches today but also to share my heart with you all. If you haven't read the previous post on this three part series though, I encourage you to check it out by clicking here.
Now without further ado let's move on to the not so good aspects of singleness.
The Not So Good
It started out like any other Sunday. I got up, had breakfast, checked my emails, got ready and drove to church. As I was driving my mind immediately began to think of my friend who was graduating that very same day and a myriad of emotions began to flood me. Joy for my sweet friend on her graduation day and sadness that she and I would not be attending church together anymore as she was moving back home. I then began to think of my own graduation a year beforehand and marveled at how quickly time flew by. My 25th birthday would be coming within a week and yet it still felt like something was missing. Something wasn't there that I felt should be.
It was more of an internal question lingering in the back of my thoughts rather than a conscious question. I felt it though.
I knew I shouldn't feel this way. I am a blessed young woman with great health, a wonderful family, amazing friends and many other blessings, too numerous to count. God has richly blessed me in both this life and my eternal one. He has already given me the ultimate Gift so why was I have feelings like this? It didn't seem right. I began to praise Him thinking that this would help chase away some of the feelings I was having. It didn't, not really. My heart was heavy and I began to lose hope.
So many of my friends have met someone, are engaged, married or having children. I rejoice at these wonderful life changing and beautiful events in the lives of those I hold near and dear, yet there is that lingering envy. The questions continue in my own mind.
Why not me, God?
I arrived at church still with a rather heavy heart. Most everyone there is married with children. I looked around and saw couples everywhere. It's hard not to notice it when something as painful as this is at the forefront of your mind. I took my seat, alone in a middle pew and tried hard to focus on the praise portion of service. I then noticed a sweet young man I grew up with sitting with his fiancee in the front of the church. My heart once again felt heavy.
Help me Lord.
I needed His sustaining power to get through. Putting a front on and trying to smile I try to pretended that everything was ok. Much to my dismay though, as my pastor got up to make his announcements I felt tears form behind my eyes. My nose got a little drippy and a few teardrops made their way into the forefront of my eyes. Internally I was horrified that I even began to cry in church! Grabbing my church pamphlet I browsed through some of the announcements hoping that no one saw me. I almost did try to make a quiet exit but instead tried to reign in my emotions. It's then that I realized I needed to stop pretending to be content in my singleness, because frankly it's not entirely true. It's actually become painful to be single. I've not told anyone this, not even myself or God but I certainly do feel it; nevertheless I've kept it hidden. By plastering a fake smile on my face, trying my best to be content when I'm not and acting like I'm willing to wait for God's timing (however long that may take) I actually made the pain worse rather than better. That whole, fake it till you make it line of thought just doesn't seem to work anymore.
Slowly, I focused my mind on Jesus once more and felt Him standing next to me. Through His strength and grace I got through the service without any more tears. Nobody knows about the pain I experienced that Sunday; that is nobody except Jesus. He knows.
Have you ever felt this way but are afraid to say anything? Do you have such a deep, desperate longing to meet someone that it hurts? Do you try to fake contentment sometimes or feel envious when another one of your friends finds love? I do. Now I'm not saying that envy is right as it's clearly not; I am saying that God sees our pain and isn't afraid of our emotions. But pain, envy and sorrow are some of the not so good aspects most singles will feel at one point or another. It's times like these that God desires us to draw close to Him. This is when we need to just rest in His presence to draw our strength and hope from Him alone. Our strength will fail and our hope may wax cold but His never fails or weakens.
The stark contrast of all the married couples sitting together and the empty seat beside me was no help to my already see-saw like emotions. But in reality I wasn't actually sitting alone and neither are you. The image that Jesus planted in my heart of Him sitting next to me in church gave me courage, support and hope.
I'm not trying to give meaningless support or a pat and dry line of encouragement. The pain that the season of singleness can bring is real. The pain, sorrow and confusion is something that the majority of single Christians will experience. Those desperate heartfelt cries of frustration and deep, intense longing unfulfilled can't be eased with a simple word of "wait for God and trust in Him." While we definitely should wait for God and trust in Him, in times like these we need someone to just be there sitting beside us. Someone to come alongside and support us in our own weakness. Jesus is the Perfect Someone because He sees and He knows.
While sitting in church this past Sunday that truth began to resonate with me more loudly than before. Jesus knows our desires, our pain and our longing. He is more than willing to sit beside us and fill any and all emptiness we may be feeling. After all He is the Ultimate One Who can fill TRULY fill us. An earthly husband will not live up to our expectations and he will not fill Jesus' place. It's not always easy to remember this in the midst of the pain, and our gracious Shepard knows this. He will not condemn us for our longings, our desires or our pain. He WILL sit beside us in our sorrow, hold our hands in fear and sustain us with His strength as we wait for His perfect timing.
Take heart dear friend. It's in these moments of the, not so good, that the Lord is ready and willing to make His presence known in a way that goes even deeper than an earthly husband ever could. And that is actually a really good thing!
Join me next Tuesday for the third and final part of this series, Singleness: The Good, Not So Good and In Between.
share this on »