I used to think it would be a tragedy of sorts to be nearly 40 and single. That if not married or at least in a serious relationship then somehow I’ve failed as an adult. After all the narrative I was told was that happiness only came from finding the one to live life with.
But what is not spoken of as much is JOY. Happiness is fleeting and runs away from the shadows of life. Joy, however sticks around. Joy is there for the long haul and still there in the midst of hardships.
For a long time, I believed that marriage was some kind of reward. As if getting married was some statement of who I am deep down in my soul. That If I was good enough to warrant a partner in this life, that this was some stamp of approval.
I lived in this tension long after I became a Christian. It has taken me most of these past ten years to begin to understand how wrong I have been. Years of longing for something that wasn’t or isn’t meant for me just yet. Years of jealousy over others getting to have what I wanted. Believing that somehow I was lacking because I didn’t have a mate.
This was the way I lived. At least, until I started to believe that love is greater than the small box I had placed it in. Instead, Believing in the enormous, unending love of God.
I understood that I am loved by God intellectually. The disconnect was with my heart and spirit. I kept turning away from what was right in front of me and towards my idol of marriage.
One of the breakthroughs began when I started to develop deeper friendships. Friendships that not only provided companionship but also pointed me to Jesus. One time, after having my heart hurt over some unrequited feelings I reached out to a friend. Instead of the comforting words I craved, she only said that she couldn’t help me. Only Jesus could.
Those words stung. I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted to be told how awesome I am, that it was his loss blah blah blah. In that moment I was hearing what I needed. I needed Jesus, full stop.
Through my tears in that moment, I cried out to Him. To be fair I have cried out many times since.
I’m grateful for my church and the real community they offer to all who want it. It comes with a price, being part of a community. It means being lovingly confronted at times. To pull back the mask and embrace the God who loves us.
I will be 40 next year, odds are I will also be single when I do. I no longer believe it’s a tragedy. The tragedy would be if I were still missing God’s love not only for myself but for all.
Single is a box I check on forms, not the entirety of who I am as a human being.
I am defined by who I am in Christ. I am the beloved daughter of Christ. I was thought of before the creation of the world. God created me to exemplify His love and holiness with my life.
If I never marry, I have the peace and love of Christ. If I do marry, I still have the peace and love of Christ. Either way I am blessed and that is what matters.