THAT Single Girl
It’s 2017. December 2017. I can remember when I was writing 1997 on my school papers. It seems like yesterday: jumping off the shed roof with my brothers, painting my face with dandelions and mulberries, and trying to do wheelies with my bike. Then just like that… twenty years is gone and with it some of my more daring tendencies! Trust me, I have to talk myself into a water slide nowadays.
A few months ago I turned 29 years old. Y’all…I’m around the corner from 30. (Remember when 30 seemed old?) What happened? Where did the time go?
There was a time when I had my whole life planned out. I would be married by 20 (or at least by 22!) and have a bunch of kids. We’d live in a house with shutters and a white picket fence. By 29 my life was supposed to look a lot different…according to my own blueprint.
Then life actually happened. Somehow all my plans went out the window and it turned out way more beautiful than I had planned…not that marriage and children aren’t beautiful…I’d love to be married and be a mommy! But God’s plan for ME at this stage of life was FAR MORE beautiful than my plan.
They say hind-sight is 20/20. We can see where we’ve been easier than where we are going. My life has certainly proved that theory.
Singleness is sometimes that way. Some people aren’t single very long. Some marry right out of high school, unlike me. Eleven years ago I graduated and began my single life. I had plans. I had dreams. I had ambitions.
Then there is Jesus. He had other plans. We had very different ideas about how my life would go down. Surprise!
I’ve totally become THAT Single Girl. You know what I’m talking about…the single gals that are just downright strange. They have car seats in their cars for children they don’t even have…or better yet, a minivan. They insert themselves into nearly any or all of the Sunday school classes…because hey, there’s really no special spot for them anyway! Or they hang out with fourth-graders because it’s just simply fun…or the teens because, why not? I have embarrassed my siblings more than once on my singleness weirdo-ness. I have threatened to wear pig-tails and chomp gum at Walmart…but they’re sure I’ll never do it. Or so they hope.
Looking back, I can see some of the WHYS of my singleness up to this point…and it’s not the chomping gum or pigtails either. I could never see it ahead of time, but there have been obvious moments when I have understood God’s plan to be beautiful.
The last few years have been full of those “AHA, that’s why I’m single!” moments. I’ll tell you about five of my biggest ones…
- Four years ago, one of my best friends (and cousin!) got married. Now trust me, single or not, I would have been there! But there was something different about me standing on the single side of life and watching my friend and playmate of yesteryear walk down the aisle. I had prayed for that moment! I had prayed for that guy to show up and be the man she needed…and there he was and she was walking down to meet him. I was there for all the wedding plans and saw her in her beautiful dress BEFORE the wedding (lucky me!!!)…and then it all unfolded before my eyes. When she came walking down the aisle, I can’t even describe what I was feeling. Intense love and pride and excitement that all her years of waiting (and my years of praying) were here! The bride coming to her bridegroom. I’ve never felt the Presence of God like I did in that holy moment. I saw her…but I also saw myself and Jesus. My Bridegroom was coming for me…and the intense love He had for me overwhelmed my soul. I felt Him there, standing next to me and whispering to my heart… “My Beloved”. In that moment, I was grateful I was single.
- Three years ago I became an aunt for the first time. I’m the oldest in my family, so there’s something special and sweet about watching your “baby brother” become a daddy for the first time. I remember getting the call “She’s here!” and rushing to the hospital. I watched that sweet little two-hour-old bundle be passed around and it made me smile. Nothing prepared me for that moment. The moment when they put her in MY ARMS. Now people, I’ve held babies since I was one myself. I’m the oldest of nine, with tons of cousins and millions of baby hours under my belt…but this. This was different. This was my younger brother’s baby. This was my niece. And I just couldn’t help it, folks. I cried. Correction: I bawled. It was a holy ground moment. I remember looking up at my brother’s tired face all beaming with pride and even now I can recall what that felt like. Holding Olivia like that…I breathed thanks. Thanks for my singleness. Gratefulness that I could be there to witness that amazing moment.
- Nearly two years ago I began taking care of a friend with cancer. She was a beautiful woman who loved Jesus and was an amazing friend to my mom and I. Cancer is a painful thing…especially when you see it’s work three feet in front of you, for months on end. Walking that year out with her and her family was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Cancer…it eats away at the souls of the people watching it too. And it hurts. In the end, my friend went to Jesus and I stayed here. That hurt too, because I missed her. I still do. And in one of those moments of stillness, driving in my car one day…I cried. It didn’t seem fair. Then I opened my mouth and the first thing that came out surprised me: “Thank you God that I’m single.” Singleness gave me the opportunity to be available to my friend and her family.
- Five months ago I sat in front of a group of dedicated young women who were preparing to minister as staff and speakers at a womens/girls event. They sat there and told their stories…they were limping to this event (as I was!) and asking God for strength to make it happen. I remember kneeling and crying from my own pain and weakness. We prayed for each other. When the weekend was over there was one thing on all our lips: Jesus did it. He showed up. He showed His glory to us, to the attendees, to the set up crew and kitchen staff. He revealed Himself. Again, I breathed thanks. Singleness allowed me to be involved in something so amazing that I had to lean only on Jesus to get through.
- In prison two months ago, I stood in front of over a hundred female inmates and shared about Jesus and redemption. I told them how He is drawn to us in our weakness and how He had mended my broken heart. And when I crawled into bed that night I said, “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world today.” Singleness allowed me to drop everything and spend two weeks behind bars to share truth with hungry women who needed Jesus.
Life isn’t always as we plan. Sometimes God takes an unmarked course (at least from our perspective) that is far different than we’d like. Things don’t always work out like we think they should. But in the end…in the end, they are much better than we could have imagined.
In the end, cancer doesn’t win. In the end, there isn’t suffering or sickness or pain. In the end, there isn’t brokenness. There is only Jesus.
Can I just say this? Where there is Jesus, that’s home to me. White picket fences are pretty, but they’re overrated. I’ll take singleness and Jesus any day if that’s where He wants me. I’ll be THAT Single Girl. The one whose eyes sparkle with the love of her heavenly Bridegroom.