The other day I caught up with an old friend, Allie, over the phone. We met in college and I was in her wedding a few years ago.
We chatted for a while about our different jobs and what it takes to be a go-getter in the workplace (especially as a woman), and then she asked me how it was being 29 and single. “Are you stressed, frustrated, pissed, content?”
“I want to be married and I’m not,” I told her. “But I still have hope. Possibly more than ever.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately. Every January I write a blog on what it’s like to be whatever age I am and single. 26 and single, 27 and single, 28 and single… and now, 29 and single.
I have many thoughts.
Firstly, no one will ever know what it’s like to be 29 and single unless they too have been 29 and single. I think it’s easy for people to believe if they have EVER been single they understand.
I politely disagree.
Similar to marriage, singleness takes on different shapes and forms the longer you are in it. There are new discoveries along the way.
One discovery has been in my relationship with God.
My family lives in Ohio and my community in Georgia is flux; people come, people go. There’s always another “save the date” or baby being born. My job is often evolving and a few months ago I moved from one house to another. The world around me is spinning. God is my only constant.
Married people have each other to fall asleep next to; I have God. This morning I woke up, rolled over, and asked him how he was. (He was saddened over some things happening in the world, but also hopeful, in case you were wondering.)
When I was talking to my friend Allie, I briefly hesitated when it came to sharing this idea. “I don’t want this to come off the wrong way,” I said. “But because I don’t have a husband, I have greater dependency on God, and therefore greater intimacy with Him. Like, I get what Paul means when he says a single person is devoted to the Lord in body and spirit, but a married person’s devotion is divided.”
I wasn’t sure how Allie was going to respond. I don’t typically share this with married people because I don’t want them to get offended.
“Hope,” she said. “You’re totally right.”
We went on to talk about the pros and cons of marriage and singleness.
Con: I had one of the hardest years of my life last year, and I faced it alone.
Pro: I am closer to God than ever before, because no one else was there to save me.
I don’t take this for granted. I am grateful for it.
Another discovery I’ve made is I trust God more than ever when it comes to marriage.
You would think the opposite to be true, especially since I have been utterly convinced I would get married every year since 2013 (and I’m still going strong! 2016 is going to be IT!)
Despite all my disappointments, I don’t doubt I will get married, and I believe I will know in my spirit when God brings us together.
Do I believe in soulmates?
I simultaneously believe in soulmates and the idea there is more than one person for me. I am okay with contradictions.
I don’t believe in soulmates because of fairy tales, I believe in them because of reality.
I was in a wedding less than two months ago – the bride and groom met in line at the airport after their flight was canceled. I was there when two of my coworkers saw each other for the first time – she couldn’t stop staring, he couldn’t stop sweating. Last fall I stayed with a couple in Texas – they met when he accidentally called the wrong number and she picked up (back in the day before cell phones.) I have friends who were in the same kindergarten class in Florida, didn’t see each other for 20+ years, traveled the world separately, and both ended up in Gainesville, Georgia. They are now married.
This is real life. And I know it can happen for me too.
There is risk in waiting. There is heartache. There is confusion and feeling crazy. But at the end of each day, I know that if God cares enough about the stupid things I pray about (and he does) then he cares about this serious thing I long for. He won’t leave me in the dark or out to dry. I know I am empowered to make my own decisions, but I also know God honors sacrifice. And I have made some sacrifices.
I rambled about these things and more to my friend Allie. When our conversation ended and I hung up the phone, the lady on the treadmill next to me looked at me and said, “I wasn’t eavesdropping.”
We both laughed, because clearly she had overheard my conversation.
“I got married 3 days before my 30th birthday,” she told me. “And what you say is right: you will know.”
She affirmed my idea that as a single person I have fewer distractions between me and God, and she went on to applaud pretty much everything else I said. He will come. The wait is worth it. You can’t mess it up. You will know.
I’m convinced she was an angel.
We chatted for a few minutes, and when I left the gym I had an extra spring in my step.
Lately I’ve been telling people I would love to get married when I’m 30. I like the idea of starting a new decade with a hubby by my side. My 20s were for single adventures, my 30s are for married ones…
Until then (or whatever age I may be when I get married), I will continue to adventure with me, myself, and God. I will not let my singleness define me, just as I won’t let my marriage define me.
I am so much more than that.