Taste & See...

Meditations of His Love: a devotional blog for young ladies

This month, the ladies at Meditations of His Love are speaking on Psalm 34.
how a faithless world needs to see us satisfied in Jesus,
and about that one time Peter Pan started a food fight.


It's Been a Journey - my singleness story

Part Seven of the Letters from Singleness series
Anyone who knows Melinda knows how easy it was to just love her.  She has a gracious and generous spirit, peppered with adorable quirk and humor.  I was a distant witness of this journey she's been traipsing.  A very blessed witness, because I've been a recipient of the joy of the Lord that she has radiated in all her difficulties.  You can't get this girl down; she loves Jesus too much.  You can find her scribblings at her personal blog and as administrator of Meditations of His Love; or as her hilarious self on Twitter.
August 4, 2013: I hadn’t slept for several nights. I was horribly sick. I was at my lowest point; discouraged, faint-hearted, and depressed. A month before tonight, I had lost my grandpa after several years of deterioration because of Parkinson’s disease. The last few nights, I had been dealing with the shock of an abrupt ending to an 8 month relationship.
That night, I was struggling for hope and whispering prayers for grace and faith. It wasn’t until I did something that I had been resisting that the peace came to my heart. I thanked the Lord for the heartbreak and the breakup. I saw no reason or purpose for this whole situation, but I accepted it from the Lord’s hand that night and chose to trust Him.
And I’ve done that again and again over the months since my breakup. Choosing trust and thankfulness in the midst of pain and loneliness is something that is not natural. Some days, I have to force myself to thank the Lord and surrender to His plan in my singleness. However, I’m surprised to find that I’ve been my happiest and contented about my single state since my breakup than I’ve ever been.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s fast forward to my younger years of blissful childhood dreams of marriage. I honestly thought I’d be married by age 19. I laugh now at the thought. I was widely discontent in those years of 17-20. I thought about getting married all.the.time. I’m pretty embarrassed about how I revolved my life around my romantic notions marriage and family. Thankfully, I’ve grown a bit since then in maturity and brain cells. ;-)
Those early years of adult singleness were blessed years of learning and growing, being stretched and growing up. I know I didn’t deal with my tendency toward bitterness well and I’m thankful for God’s grace during those years. The biggest lesson I learned in my pre-dating adult years was diligence. God used that time to instill some habits and skills.
The year I turned 22, I entered into my first relationship. I thought I had arrived. Come to find out, I hadn’t. :-) That relationship was a huge wakeup call for me. It was a gentle push from God to take my relationship with Him to another level.
Even still, after that relationship ended, I still struggled with my single state in a less than godly way at times. I was bitter, sad, angry, and frustrated with the lack of manly, godly, single guys. I had good days, and really bad days. I felt guilty at my wrong attitude, but I didn’t seek to right it. I resisted the peace and joy the Lord offered and chose to display a frightful lack of trust in the Lord.
This last relationship shattered the last of my fairytale dreams about romance, love, and relationships. After I prayed that prayer of thankfulness in my desperately discouraged state, a tiny spark was lit in my heart. I’m slowly realizing that Christ is sufficient, even in the most difficult and lonely days, if I allow Him to be all in all in me.
This journey of singleness isn’t easy and it doesn’t get easier as I get older. However, with the Lord’s grace the pain is being used for much good in my life, and for that, I’m grateful. Recently, the Lord revealed my tendency to act like hurtful things (like breakups and loneliness) don’t bother me and to stuff my grief. It’s been a huge step for me to start admitting my pain and allowing myself to grieve. I find it odd that it’s difficult for me to embrace the grace of God and instead resist His love and peace, comfort and hope when I’m hurting.
My journey of singleness has taught me that this time, though difficult, is needful, beneficial, and only a tiny glimpse of all that the Lord has in store for me. It’s not for me to know what my future holds right now, but instead it’s a time for learning to embrace the grace of the Lord today, to abide in His joy at this moment, and to rest in His peace in the present. Marriage isn’t a fairytale romance dream, it’s a calling to embrace with joy, just like my present single state.
My daily prayer is for grace to admit the hurt, embrace the grace, rejoice in God’s hope, trust His plan, and allow the Lord to lead me in paths of righteousness. I pray the same for each of you, dear single friends!


Romantic Interest

So I have this problem with movies. Look at a movie poster for your typical “romantic movie”. You’ll see your lead actor or actress smiling impishly, usually in the middle of the poster, with the “romantic interest” smiling at the lead character. And this isn’t limited to just chick flicks. Anymore, any superhero or action movie poster has “the hero”, looking bold and heroic, and “the girl” either looking intently at the lead character or staring off to their left. Now here’s the thing, when you go in to watch one of these movies, it’s a practical certainty that these two people will end up together. There’s no surprise in it at all. In fact you would be a pretty disappointed if it didn’t happen the way you expected.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge movie fan. I think they’re great. My problem isn’t really with the movies themselves, but how we let the fiction inform how we want to live our own lives. For a single person, there’s hardly anything certain about finding a spouse. We can’t just look at the poster and say “Oh there’s the love of my life”.
I’ve spent countless hours worrying and agonizing over singleness and when I will meet my wife. I see my friends dating and getting married, seeing the amazing story that their life is unfolding into, then I sit back and stew over how boring my life feels in comparison. It’s far too easy to get impatient and wonder when my love story is going to begin. I’ll be at a coffee shop or strolling through Barnes & Noble, looking around the room and think “maybe she’s in here”.
What’s worse is when I start looking around among my female friends and wondering if I’ll end up marrying one of them. Now I do believe that it’s smart for people to hang out as friends before they date (and eventually get married) and I believe that God appoints certain people to play great parts in our lives. But of all the people you know and all the (much as I hate to use the word) “prospects” you might have, the truth is you will only marry one person. The rest are just your friends.
It was a little bit like this with the last girl I dated. We had coffee at Starbucks a few times and got along great. As it turned out we were both big movie buffs. Our first real date was watching Star Wars at her house. The best part was when I got her a toy light saber and she completely flipped out (in a good, excited nerdy way). Now most guys like me would say “She likes Star Wars? Marry…her…now!”
Obviously things didn’t go that direction. It became clear after a few months that things weren’t going to work out, so, painful as it was, we broke it off. But, oddly enough it we were still able to be friends. It took several months of keeping our distance and healing up, but we figured out that we could be really good friends…just not anything more than that.
Sometimes, a lot of times, God puts amazing people in our lives who are just supposed to be our friends. Great Friends. Amazing friends. Friends who treat you like they’re your brother or sister. Friends who help you out of a jam and give us a shoulder to cry on. Friends who you can talk to about anything, even about that one thing that nobody else gets, but you both love. They’ll be that friend that shows up on your wedding day, super excited to see you get married to the person God has designed you to be with for the rest of your life.
If you want to take a lesson away from the movies, it should be this: don’t confuse your “best friend” for your “romantic interest”. Just because they’re not your knight in shining armor doesn’t mean they won’t save your life once or twice. God will put men or women in your life who will have a huge part to play and if you try to make that friendship more than it’s supposed to be, then you’ll miss out on something great.
After all think of what would have happened if Mary Jane Watson had settled for her high school flame Flash Thompson and never fell in love with Peter Parker. What if Aragorn had given up hope of marrying Arwen and decided that the Lady Eowyn would be the next best thing. And of course let’s not forget the awkward debacle that would have ensued if Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker had gotten together.
Just remember that you’re not the one writing the story. I genuinely believe that God puts the desire to be married in our heart, and He wouldn’t do that if He didn’t have a plan for how to satisfy that desire. So hang in there. Our Father in Heaven is quite the storyteller and He is turning your life into an amazing story. Just buckle your seatbelt, because like any good storyteller He likes to throw in a few plot twists. Just roll with punches and…please do what you can to stick to the storyline, because you’d hate to end up accidently kissing your brother.
Andrew Swearingen is an aspiring writer and a graduate of Southern Illinois University. He currently lives in Carbondale, Illinois. For a "real job" he works in landscaping and occasionally works as a substitute teacher. He attends Vine Church in Carbondale where he serves in the kid's program as well as various other service areas.


Dear Single Girl...

I met Meghan by discovering her blog for writers, Every Good Word through a mutual friend.  I quickly fell in love with the community she had created there & became a happy follower of her personal blog as well.  Soon, I would learn that I would have the honor of joining her as a co-contributor for Meditations of His Love.  As an aspiring novelist, Meghan has an immense love for written words and writing words.  It's been a pleasure knowing such a beautiful person, and witnessing her love for Christ in her work.
To you,
     The one who stands as a bridesmaid more than thrice. The one who slips a smile in place for yet another engaged friend or a new baby, while your hand is bereft of a ring and your arms empty of a child. In spite of doing singleness right, as unto the Lord—you're left wondering while you wait.

To you,
      The one who's looking for love in all the wrong places. The one who's settling for just a good enough guy. The one who's had her heart broken enough times to know better—but falls back into the same whirlwind thrill of romance while her heart aches for a breath of hope, surety and a love that places God first—while at the same time hoping this guy could be The One.

To you,
      The one who's gotten her heart shattered—perhaps more than once. In spite of patience, following all the do's and don't's in your relationship. In spite of all the right signs, coincidences too big to be chance—it fell through and you were left to sweep up the pieces of a shattered dreams.

To all of us with no relationship status to speak of,
       I hear your hearts. While it goes against it's own definition—the season of singleness was never meant to be walked alone. Don't think you're the only one going through this season—reach out beyond yourself and you will be sure to find others who not only will be blessed by you—but your heart will be touched by them.

      Too often we can slowly but surely retreat inward lest we get hurt or dare hope only to have those hopes deferred or worse yet—our hearts broken. For some of us, myself included—it's easier to dive head first into being the best bridesmaid/friend/wedding planner combo package your engaged friend could ever ask for. And, though genuinely thrilled, live vicariously through them thinking, It'll never happen for me. I'm too—fill in the blank. Think Katherine Heigl in the movie, 27 Dresses.

      Living in fear is what it boils down to, sisters. Regardless of what or who passed through your life to cause your heart to shrink back from living life to the fullest hope in this single season—living in fear is a direct affront to the Lord Who is the author and finisher ... of our love stories?     Yes, but more importantly—our faith.

      I'm a firm believer in the fact that these dreams of The One, marriage and children are God-given. They are not wrong—but beautiful! But God will make them beautiful in His time—not ours. Therein lies the struggle; how to we find the balance between contentment in living life to the fullest joy, yet with not mere confident, but expectant hope for the future God has planned for us? I'm coming to you here as one who's never had a guy express interest in me. My heart has never been broken, nor my hopes deferred ... nor have I been waiting on Mr. Right for years on end. I have however upheld friends in prayer who have gotten their hearts truly shattered. Some who have been in relationships a time or two—but for some reason or another despite all the very good signs, it hasn't worked out.

     Being single is lonely—no matter how big a family you have or how busy of a social life you lead. That's just the fact of the matter—our hearts do not have a loneliness switch we can flip on and off. It's what we do with this relationship status and heart-state that matters, sisters. We can close off our hearts or chase after the first pair of pants we notice that just may happen to meet our criteria. We can pridefully lock up our heart and pretend to toss away the key to the Lord when in reality we want to be in control because we don't believe God will pull through. After all—if He is such a good God, why does He allow heartache/bad things happen to good people? Why does He not give us the desires of our hearts when we're ready?

      To show how much He cherishes our reluctant, wondering, oh-so human hearts. To show us that His plans are better. In essence—to teach us that He is God and we are not. Whose love alone reaches the heavens in height, down to the bottom of the sea in depth. His is the only perfect love we will ever experience in our existence here on earth, all our days, whether we are single or married.

      All He's ever wanted was our hearts. All the jagged pieces. All the deferred dreams still beating strong deep down. All the mess of our past. He longs for us to surrender every bit of our work in progress hearts to Him and Him alone. This does not mean giving up our dreams of marriage and children, sisters—but committing those hopes and dreams to the One who placed them in our hearts in the first place.

      This Valentines Day—let us thank God for His abundant love and grace that colors every moment of our stories—past, present and future.


Ruined, a lament

Part Four of the Letters from Singleness series

Anna is a lovely 20-something who I've been blessed to claim as my sister-friend since I was 14 years old.  She's been called to serve families as a certified Birth Doula, and as a nanny to two sweet littles.  Anna is beautifully passionate about Jesus, birth, making delicious food, and adventuring in the United Kingdom.  She writes for her private blog, in which all her posts are in lament-form; laments that always find their conclusion in the hope of Jesus.  She wrote this piece when she was wrestling with her desire for marriage against her expectations in a sinful world.  Anna is a treasure, and was gracious to allow me to share this.



am I ruined?

ruined for marriage?
for relationship?
with all these expectations goodbaduglybeautiful
that I see mirrored in all of my friends relationships
in their marriages
broken and heart wrenchingly lovely

I see
I want some things
I don't want others

I feel the safety in observing
in watching from afar

to put my own toes in?
um no.
to jump myself?
not ready
no no no no
too scared

what if he's like that?
or this?

what if it's not worth it?

what if it's too hard?
what if it requires too much of me?
more then I have?
more them I am?

is love marriage sex babies worth all the heartache?

to be the cross
to bear the cross
to wear the cross
to LOVE the cross
of marriage

to walk across those coals
embrace those flames
drown in that pain
rise in those ecstasies

do I really want it?


Am I ruined?
unfortunately yes.

I am ruined.
ruined for life here.

because I know there is more.
see the breath of more
feel the sunlight of more
touch the softness of more
hear the echo of the more
into the distance

the more of heaven
the more of perfection
of glory seen, touched, shown and adored.

there is no cure for this constant searching
this screaming voice inside saying
do not be okay with this.
this imperfect. this hell. this bliss. this place.

how can I reconcile the voice of heaven
the voice from ahead
to this life here?

to embrace the broken now.
the ruined places
full of ashes
but therein rise tendrils of hope.
pinpricks of light we call stars
those things shouting screaming whispering
of my Jesus
that his life abides here amongst the bones and blood
his love heals here in utter dying pain
his voice sooths the most angry and hurting of souls
his presence exists here
in the rubble of sin and humanity
his feet walk
his hands touch
his love fills

through us.
through you.
through me.
through marriage
through loneliness
through suffering
through joy unimaginable
screaming of the day to come
the moment when this is gone
and all is new.

when He comes in blazing glory
to take the ruined ones
the ones he calls

this is what my heart aches for. and will ache for.
till this ruined world, this ruined heart is made whole.

He's coming for the ruined ones. The ones he calls beloved.


A letter from Natalie

I have been a fan-follower of Natalie's blog for a couple years, because her love for Christ fills her writings with passion, missions, sincerity, & beauty.  Each time I visit her posts I find a kindred spirit in her appreciation for Scripture or her great taste in music, food, books, candles, everything.  You shouldn't miss her other writings on singleness, nor her excellent series of encouragement/resources for deeply studying the Word.
I have to be honest, but when Jen first reached out to me to write on being single, I was a little boggled. Why? Because currently, I don't feel like I do the whole Christian singleness thing well. At. All.
Time flies by, and it's as if I turned around and now all my friends are sporting sparkly rocks on their left hands or cuing me in on the pending proposal that could happen at any time now. My best friend  came home a couple months ago to share with me her news, and the first words out of my mouth were not "Congratulations!" No, I'm pretty sure my face looked rather dumbfounded. Not a horrible dumbfoundedness, just a I-wasn't- expecting-this-for-whatever-reason-even-though-it's-totally-logical-dumbfoundedness. And I said, verbatim, "Can you pass that bottle of wine?" (I'm pretty sure she forgave me.)
Please don't misunderstand, I'm happy and excited for all of them, for this new journey and blessing, but it's also a strong twisting of my heart with each new, subsequent announcement. Here's what I mean when I say I'm not doing this well; here's what's really behind that statement:
It wrenches my heart because it stirs up my perceived and felt lack: It's funny how when what you desire most, is seemingly what everyone else around you is experiencing in full-fledge abundance. It's almost as if you're walking around with a magnified glass glued to your eyeballs and all you see is what everyone else has… and what you don't. I've heard women who've struggled with infertility talk like this before; all they see is a sea of robust bellies harboring life, then they look down only to see their flat abdomens and the sinking feeling of want and longing enter: barrenness. Sometimes barrenness doesn't look like Hannah in scripture sobbing over her desire for a child. Sometimes barrenness looks like the young woman who works all day and goes home to empty rooms where she sits in front of Hulu eating Chinese takeout, then falls asleep alone.
To be honest, I'm discouraged. I wrestle with God if marriage would even be a good thing for me for a laundry list of reasons… majority of which are only grounded in fear. I struggle to remain hopeful about any of it. It's hard to muster excitement over color swatches of bridesmaids dresses, or another dream wedding pinboard. And yes, there are some friends I'd like to stop following on all the social media sites because it's all best boyfriend/husband EVER in my face. So now… now I'm supposed to offer up to you, the single lady sitting across from me if we were in a coffee shop, something hopeful. Some sound advice or wisdom. A part of me feels I have none of that for you, because I'm in the same place that some of you are in as well.
But maybe that's what you need. Maybe you're like me, and there are times when you just don't want more advice. You don't want anymore cliches, especially those whispered under the breath of the girl who's got a godly man at her side (as much as it's well intended). You just want to know that you're not alone, because it does get extremely lonely at times. And your cat (bless your heart) can't talk back to you. But I can, and so does God. So here's what I want to say…
Let's acknowledge that this is hard. Let's acknowledge that this involves wrestling with God, which is actually a pretty good thing. Let's not bite the bait, the lies that Satan throws at us singles. And even though we're going to have bad days-the days we see one too many floral arrangements, which then leads to an evening of sobbing, praying, and questioning-let's try not to grow bitter. Let's give ourselves grace.
Finally, let's trust God. He is good and He knows each one of us so intimately and fully. There's not a single desire lingering in our heart He is unaware of. If we believe as Christians the God is good, and is for us, not against us, then when He gives us a longer season of singleness, then that is a gift. He sees you and I and says, "I am all knowing dear one. And beloved daughter, this is the BEST for you right now."  On those harder days we need to remember these words, penned by Charles Spurgeon: "If you can't see His way past the tears, trust His heart."


Three Perspectives on Singleness (what keeps me sane)

I met John Gunter via his blog, when I come across his own extensive series on singleness.  I was thrilled to see this subject tackled so honestly & candidly by a single man, which is a rare thing!  He was gracious to allow me to repost the first writing in his series here, & I encourage you to travel over & read the rest of it.  His posts A Theology of Singleness & Softening a Single Dude were two of my favorites.  He is a sincere brother in Christ, & his blog & Twitter are worth the follow!

I cherrish my roles as Uncle to my 8 nieces and nephews and  an "uncle" to the kids over here in Asia. . .
I cherish my role as Uncle to my 8 nieces and nephews and an "uncle" to the kids here in Asia...

Let me clear the air about where I am in life.  I am a single male.  I recently passed the dreaded precipice of 40.  I live in Asia and have lived here for most of the past 12 years.  My work does take me back to America a few times a year, but my adult life has largely been invested in a country far from my own, in cities and neighborhoods far different from my native Atlanta.
In spite of this, I am a normal, red-blooded American man.  I’ve come fairly close to marriage a few times, but nothing has reached fruition.  In college, I NEVER would have imagined that I would be single at age 40.  The very mention of the possibility would have made me laugh in a loud, animated fashion.
However, here I am.  I’m single and in an environment with very few relational options.  Very few.
And do you know what?  I am okay with this.  I really am.
In this article, I am going to talk about three perspectives regarding singleness which I have embraced over the years.  They have made my life rich and free from always longing to be where I am not: married.
Yes, I do get extremely lonely.  Yes, I do still hope to be in a happy, Christ-centered marriage one day.  However, these three principles have been very helpful for me in keeping perspective amidst singleness.
First, singleness is NOT a disease to be cured, but rather a stewardship to be lived. . . just like marriage.  Many single adults treat their relational status as something to change at all costs.  This has been the cause of many ill-advised relationships.  It absolutely breaks my heart when I see friends “settle” for bad fits rather than being called into a union of equally yoked partners.
I have been there.  I have moved forward in relationships with women who, though they were great people, were just not heading in the same direction which I was confident the Lord has called me toward.  Had we pushed forward, I would have been married to a beautiful and Godly woman, yet

our hearts would have been in very different places.  In these cases, I am certain the Lord protected both the women and me from settling for the good over His best.
Second, singleness is an OPPORTUNITY; it’s not simply something to be avoided, nor a condition from which one must escape.  I talked about this in a previous post. . . it is GOOD both to be married AND to be single.  Neither status is prefered or superior in God’s eyes, just different.
I know, I know, we just roll our eyes when we hear this referenced.  However, having been freed from the responsibilities of marriage and children (wonderful responsibilities though they may be), we single men and women are wide open to serve and enjoy the world around us with reckless abandon.  This is a wonderful thing!
I dream of a day when single American men and women will see their singleness as a way to give sacrificially to those in need of the Gospel.  Imagine what a city like Atlanta or Nashville  would look like if the thousands of single Christians truly viewed their singleness as an opportunity to  care for the widows, orphans, and fatherless of the city.  Imagine.  It would be astounding.
Instead of lives filled with social gatherings, awkward blind dates, and self-centered time wasters (college football, video games, etc.), we could look for ways to serve the world around us.
If we singles would systematically organize to advance the love and message of Christ Jesus to our spheres of influence, places like Atlanta would be clearly changed for the good.  Mission fields in places like Asia and the Middle East would be much better resourced.  AND along the way of sacrificially serving, singles would meet like-minded people who would make sensational life partners in marriage!
Third, for those of us followers of Christ, the very term “singleness” is a myth.  We are NOT alone.  We are not destined to walk this world as hopeless vagabonds who will die miserable and alone.  As believers in Christ, we are already His bride.  While it has taken me a while as a man to embrace this imagery, it is true for all of us.
We are also part of a world-wide family of brothers and sisters.  I can serve and love the children of those around me as my own, because Biblically, they are directly members of my family.
I am blessed to have eight wonderful nieces and nephews (see pic above).  I have invested much in their upbringing, knowing that they are also my joy and privilege in helping to disciple and build into.  Same goes with the children of my friends here in Asia.  I can serve my married friends in need of breaks from the rigors of their home-life, give them “date nights” with each other, AND build into their children (two of my favorite are with me above. . . Noah and Maddox) in the love of Christ and be a part of their development.  What a joy!
Do I hope to be married one day?  Absolutely I do.  I pray for this regularly and encourage my friends and family to do the same for me.
Even more so, though, I want to be a faithful steward of this life with which God has blessed me.  I want to view wherever I am in life as an opportunity granted to me by my Heavenly Father, not as a burden to be disparaged, disdained, and fought against.  Finally, I want to embrace the reality that I AM NOT ALONE as a child of God.
I am both infinitely valued as an heir of the Kingdom of God and as the redeemed bride of Christ.  I have been adopted into and given leadership within this wonderful family of our Heavenly Father.


A letter from Rebekah

I'm fortunate to not only claim Rebekah as my cousin, but also one of my dearest friends since childhood.  Together, we've seen battle as Indian braves, characters in Oregon Trail soap operas, fame as co-editresses of magazines Let Your Light Shine & Cameratismo, & most importantly, fellowship as sisters in Christ.  She's a world traveler, lovely writer, & will soon graduate with her Masters degree in Speech Pathology.  You can continue following her real-life honesty & impeccable sense of humor on Twitter.
Around the year 2001, the height of my Internet fame was in full swing. This zenith of my cyber-life was bound up in the lofty pursuit of bringing sage wisdom, witty humor, and questionable recipes to girls around the world. The vehicle by which this information was transmitted, you ask? Why, none other than the much-esteemed e-mail newsletter. My co-editresses (yeah…for real) and I dropped truth bombs about modesty, purity, and contentment on our readers, presented in edgy fonts like Comic Sans, sprinkled liberally with Wingdings.
In the scheme of things, my e-mail newsletter heyday only lasted a year or so, but going back to read some of the pieces that we wrote and the lofty moral code that we held the world accountable to has provided many an hour of entertainment for those of us who were involved (I won’t name names). The main source of our nostalgic enjoyment is this: what could we have possibly known about battling loneliness and practicing long-suffering contentment, we who were barely teenagers? We spouted platitudes about trusting God, when in reality I think we all fully expected to be married between the ages of 18 and 20, to men who cherished us and played an assortment of musical instruments. After all, this was our calling as women, and God wants His children to be happy, right? However, as years passed it became obvious that some of these long-held ideals were somewhat flawed. Foremost among them, that God doesn’t always fork over a husband just because you’re of marriageable age. I know, gasp.
When it comes down to it, I’m still young. Of course, if you had asked newsletter-editress-me, I definitely wouldn’t have considered 25 years old to be technically “young” anymore. But here I am, and Mr. Whatever-On-His-White-Whatever have still yet to materialize, and my romantic teenage sensibilities did not prepare me for how this stage of life would feel. I’m pretty sure my biological clock is supposed to be ringing nonstop as I browse through lists of mail-order grooms from the Ukraine. But for some reason, being single at 25 with no suitable prospect in sight is not quite the Threat-Level-Red crisis situation that I always imagined it would be.
If you’re still sticking with me, thank you. Don’t immediately write me off as being in denial, or as having been blessed with the gift of singleness. That’s not me. Some days are hard—really hard—and unfortunately I am not above spending those days laying on my couch in sweatpants, ugly crying over my 3,000th re-watch of Pride & Prejudice. I am in no way the poster child for contented singleness, and if you could read my journal (it’s NOT A DIARY), that fact would be painfully obvious.
This being said, I have in a roundabout way arrived at the point I’d like to make—that being “alone” at 25 has allowed me to experience and appreciate so much more of life than I ever thought possible. And it also leads me to this question: when did we all subscribe to the belief that experiencing something alone means that we experience it less?
In the summer of 2012, I drove from Southern Illinois to Maine by myself. It wasn’t a self-discovery-I-have-to-do-this-alone trip, or because I was aching for a solid 60 driving hours of “me time.” I just wanted to see several friends who lived up and down the East Coast before grad school began, and found myself with a free two weeks to do so. So to Maine I set out, much to the horror of several females in my acquaintance who assured me that they had never taken a solo trip out of the tri-county area. Let’s be honest here, women are largely pack animals. Going to the bathroom turns into a social event, we know this and are we are okay with it.  Moving on.
Here’s the kicker: we are told that having people always around us—especially having a boyfriend or husband—is the end-all and be-all for truly living life. God even recognized the need for companionship when He created Adam, and I fully appreciate my own need for social contact. But the reality is, I have been able to feel God’s presence more clearly and intimately in the moments when I am very, very alone than at any other times in life.

     While eating subway, sitting on the hood of my car on top of a mountain in West Virginia.

     While inhabiting the uppermost floor of the deserted library, desperately trying to finish a research paper.

     While writing a piece on contented singleness, but staring down the barrel of yet another engagement announcement on Facebook.

It’s in these moments that I have continuously felt God telling me to look at my life: where I am, what I have come from, and the glorious myriad of possibilities for what is yet to come.  As a result, when I lay out all of the pieces of the puzzle so far, there is no way to deny that He has begun and continued a good work in me—just me. And God is so good; He is faithful to walk with me through all of my angst, even when I am disgracefully faithless. So from where I stand (or sit/slouch, currently), the prospect of spending any significant portion of the passing days pining for someone who may or may not appear in the next decade is nothing short of a shameful waste of my God-given time. I can’t let the fear of doing things alone keep me from doing them. Life is so rich, with so many opportunities to feel joy and fulfillment and love. So go. Love, and be loved by those around you. Find God’s purpose for your life, even if it is just His purpose for your life right now. And to really confound the whole idea of how things “should be,” I challenge you to thoroughly enjoy yourself.


Blog Series

For the weeks surrounding Valentine's Day, I will be hosting a series of letters and thoughts from a few of my favorite single individuals.  I'm so privileged to have these brethren in my family, my close fellowship, my blog roll, or acquaintance.  They are faithful seekers of the Kingdom of God who don't settle for mediocre Christianity.  Not only do they spur me on with their love for Christ, but without bitterness or snark, they never deny that the single life is hard.  I know you will love and appreciate their willingness and honesty as I have.
Ruined - a lament by Anna
Romantic Interest - Andrew Swearingen