Tonight I feel, oh I don’t know. A bunch of things. Since I’ve been in Nicaragua my life has slowed down, while for everyone else it seems to have sped up. My sister is weeks away from having her first child, college friends are in the process of adopting a baby, another friend is moving across the country to begin a new life with her future husband, one friend is newly engaged and another is emailing me about picking out an engagement ring with her boyfriend.
Here I am, on the brink of 25 and having sleepovers with a bunch of girls every night. I sleep on a thin mattress that has teddy bears and clouds for a design.
My girls predict that I will be the first or second one of us to get married – I know they think that because I am the oldest one in the group. But I also know they are wrong.
My freshman year of college I fully believed I would graduate with a degree and a husband. I was so cute back then. After college I left my degree and my fantasy in Ohio; I packed two suitcases and ventured across the country to California. Unfortunately, while I was there I found the perfect man. He was handsome, hilarious and a hit among adolescent boys. I stared at him for a week and tried not too drool. My friends urged me to talk to him, to give him my email address and tell him I fancied him. Um, fat chance.
He left after that week and I’ve never seen him since. During the week I was infatuated with him I asked God why He would tease me when it wasn’t yet my timing. God showed me that if I had married any of the guys I liked in high school or college (…or summer camp) I wouldn’t be living the life he had for me. “Not yet,” he said.
So here I am, sleeping on a bunk bed and sharing one shower with eight other girls.
The other day I was walking on a dirt road – the sun beat down on my skin and the smell of trash filled my nostrils. I thought about my life, about how I know what I’m doing for the rest of the year but it’s all pretty vague after that. Shouldn’t I have it all figured out by now? For a minute I nearly panicked. I don’t have my entire life planned out! I don’t even really know what a 401k is! Everyone else is getting married and having kids and working real jobs while I’m walking on this smelly dirt road, wearing the same cut-off jeans for the second week in a row and dreaming of a 25 cent popsicle. OMG where did I go wrong and what do people think of me!?
And then God sweetly reminded me that I was thinking in North American terms, not Biblical terms. Nowhere in the Bible (at least to my knowledge) does it tell me that I should have my life planned out. On the contrary, James says, Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Okay, phew. If it is the Lord’s will for me to lead a group of girls in Nicaragua, I will do that. And I am.
Lately God’s been reminding me how I got here. He reminded me about all the jobs I applied to and got rejected from, of all the times I prayed on my hands and knees on my bedroom floor. He reminded me of the stranger who prayed for me and told me that even though I was confused at the time, God knew exactly where he was taking me. He took me back to the exact moment I realized I would be leading a Real Life trip – this was before I had even applied or been accepted – the idea caught me so off guard that I literally lost my breath.
I’m happy for my friends and family – I’m happy for their romantic relationships and babies, for their new homes and good jobs. And I’m happy to be here in Nicaragua with my girls, sweating and walking down dirt roads with them. If I was married I wouldn’t be here, and what a shame that would be!
I don’t know the big picture that God has in store for me, but I do know I’ll be single for a while yet. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay because this teddy bear/cloud covered mattress is actually pretty comfortable, and while I may not have a man by my side, I do have eight other girls nearby to get me through the night. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have many more thoughts, but the hour is late and this post is long. Goodnight.