You may never have known it, but I was very lonely. As an “aging single woman” in her early 30’s, I felt helpless as to how to make my dreams of marriage and motherhood come true. I was surrounded by so many people at church or parties and felt so discouraged because I knew I was going home alone at the end of it. I can’t even count the tears shed while driving home or falling asleep at night over someone else’s “happy news” of engagement, while my finger remained bare. It felt like singlehood lasted forever. But I hadn’t really a full idea of how to receive grace for that season of my life.
In an attempt to make use of the time and become as interesting as I could be to a potential husband, I did all the things I thought would get me noticed – got an education, bought a house and a sports car, travelled the world, and established a career. Don’t get me wrong, all those things I loved! But I thought FOR SURE a godly man would notice all of these things about me and just have to get to know me. Well, maybe God allowed me to wait a little bit longer for a reason.
During those years, I tried to advance to the “next season”, as though my single years were a problem to be solved. Must. Get. Ahead. But, I tried to embrace it and make the most of it too. Now, I am so happy that I got to take adventures and develop as a person before I became a wife and mother.
At age 32 I met my husband Troy, and he was more wowed by me as a person, my faith, and how I got along with his family. Go figure. All my attempts at “being interesting” weren’t actually what Mr. Right was REALLY looking for anyway. I remember cleaning up the table at our first Thanksgiving together after all the extended family had left. His Mom said, “Well, you were a hit!” My immediate thought was, “But I didn’t DO anything!” I was dumbfounded.
I was enough.
Now as a wife and a mamma, I see that every stage is work, in some way. No one’s stage or life is perfect. And there’s certainly no ticket to comfort that we somehow earn. As I drove my daughter and I out and about after a 40 minute nap yesterday, I thought how very refining motherhood has been, and the hardest part has been handling the unexpected. Not knowing how long naps will be, or how to solve every little problem makes me constantly rely on the Holy Spirit to lead me as a mom and bring my heart to its knees in surrender. Because there’s no way I can do this without Him!
Singlehood, marriage, nor motherhood are problems to be solved, but journeys to be lived out.
Over the last few years, I’ve come to taste and understand just a little bit more about God’s grace; that His daily redemptive mercy in my life is in actual fact, not about me, but His glory. His story. His goodness being poured out on me in the way He so lovingly chooses. His grace really is sufficient in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
And even as we wait for our house to sell and our second daughter to arrive, with not all my “ideals” being met in the process, I’m trying to embrace the fact that the grass is greenest where grace is most received.
And His grace will be there waiting in the next season of life too.
So if you have some single friends, love on them. It can be a very lonely season of life. And if you have married friends, or friends who are married with kids, love on them. Because it has its hard days too.
But honestly? Now, looking back, all I see is God’s faithfulness, beauty formed from hard times, and hopefully, just hopefully, I am holding my Father’s hand just a little tighter than I used to.