Sunday, June 14, 2015

When I Am Alone // A Vulnerable Post About Singleness

I'm not even sure how to articulate my thoughts, but I just had to write them out.

The other day, I found myself listening to the Christian radio station, and a Pastor from Calvary Church was preaching about marriage and one of the reasons for it being, raising children for the Lord. He spoke from 1 Samuel when Hannah was broken before God, crying out for a child. In 1 Samuel 1 it says, "She [Hannah] was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. …As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her… Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. …Hannah answered, "…I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord."

And then it got my mind rolling. I feel like the church as a whole generally looks on infertility and someone's longing to have children with compassion and understanding. Over all, most would understand the unfulfilled dream and longing of a couple's heart to have children.

And yet, I see single women around me - like myself - who would love to be married & to start their own families, and for whatever reason, they are shamed for such a desire. "Be content with Jesus! Jesus is enough. You shouldn't want marriage, if that's not what is set before you right now."

So alright… It's okay for Hannah to weep and cry out in distress for a God-given desire… but single women should somehow be shamed for desiring marriage? I don't get it.  Do we tell couples struggling with infertility, "Be content with Jesus! Your spouse is enough!" Oh, of course, Jesus should be utmost, central and above all in our lives, but is it wrong to weep over unanswered prayers and unfulfilled dreams? Is that a shameful thing?

I'm not saying every single lady with a desire to get married should go around trumpeting her desire to everyone she meets (as I've known of those), and it gets rather draining listening to. Like, seriously, could you stop obsessing over marriage? ;)

But what about those who have a deep, unfulfilled desire from God to be a helpmeet and mother? Should they just clam up about it in shame and guilt?

I confess, a couple weeks ago I was driving down the road, and I broke down in tears. (Which doesn't often happen… but it did this particular day.) It's hard to understand the ways of God. His ways are so much higher than my own.

To be truthfully and vulnerably honest, I can remember walking down the hallway in our California home as a 6 year old girl with my parent's wedding afghan draped over my head. I'd play the wedding processional from The Sound of Music over the loud speakers. YEAH. I guess I was a weird six year old already dreaming of the day when she would be a bride. My favorite pastime as a young girl was "mothering" my grey kittens, Precious and Fluffball. I would spend hours and hours with my dolls, treating them as if they were my children. But years past and time went. As an older teenager, I would occasionally bring up the topic of relationships, but it was immediately met with, "Don't even think about 'that stuff.' You're too young. You shouldn't even go there." (I still thought about it, but never talked about it.)

And more years passed.

Today I am an single young women closer to 30 than I am 20. Infact, I am just about THE only older single person in my church. And suddenly, it is very, very lonely. I no longer have single comrades to share unfulfilled desires. Instead, I am going over to friends homes to watch their children for an evening while they go out on dates. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does hurt and tug on a heart. "You're single because God is probably sparing you from having a BAD marriage," they've said. Okay.. but what about a GOOD one??

Does God see me down here? Did I miss the boat? Did I miss something somewhere? Because there certainly isn't anyone in my church or in my group of acquaintances. Someone suggested, "Sign up for E-Harmony!" UM, how about NO. (And I'll keep my mouth closed for any further discussions on the matter.)

So YES. Here I am. Single as ever.

I asked an unfamiliar pastoral mentor about my situation the other day. "Seek first the kingdom," was their reply, as if it was their fix-all "bandage" to my question. They meant well, and while I know they spoke the truth, how can they understand my lot, when they were married at 20?

I have unanswered questions, and I wonder why. Perhaps I'll never know. Maybe I will be the old lady with her cats, and God will give me the grace to be alone.

And so there you have it. You may be judging me tonight, but there it is - out in the open. And it's real.


Melissa M. said...

Leah, I know this pain, myself. I'm over the 30-year-mark, and not yet married. Perhaps I'm not feeling as ready as you are, but I have wept over it at times. I don't think it's wrong to desire for and pray for it and even weep for it, occasionally. But I have come to realize that my life is very good where I am, even though I still want to be married. God does know what's best, what's the right time for everything. He IS more than enough, though I know He often desires to bless His children with their godly longings for a spouse. I will pray for you, Leah, to rest in God's goodness, yet to also one day (if He wills) have a godly husband! I'd appreciate prayers on this, too. God can bring one from seemingly nowhere, as I've had happen to a friend of mine recently.

(And I understand, to some extent, not wanting to use an online dating site! They can be dangerous.)

Anonymous said...

Well, I too have reached the "closer to 30 than 20" mark and single. :) Marriage is a daily desire I have to lay before the throne of God and ask Him to use it as He pleases and in a way that will bring Him glory! Even if it means answering with a "no". I take great joy as a single woman in the promise to withhold "no good thing" from me and move forward know He will sustain me... Single or married! :) These years of singleness have been the most sanctifying and I praise God for them!

Ps 84:11 "For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."

"I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done."