A Bachelorette Reflects on Growth

I endeavor not to post frequently about my singleness, because it’s only a slice on the pie chart of who I am. Still, it IS the month of romance, and I’ve recently had some thoughts brewing related to my current “relationship status”.

There are many who use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to be thankful for all forms of love: not just eros, but also phileo, agape, and storge. This is a beautiful treatment of the holiday, but I confess I’m not one of those types. Nor am I the type who mopes by a vase of wilted roses on Feb. 14th, mourning like my love life needs a vigil. I typically celebrate friends and family at random (I’m even bad at birthdays…); and if I get lonely, it can’t be pegged to a predictable day.

To me, Valentine’s is just a holiday I can’t observe. I don’t mean that pitiably, but only in the sense that it doesn’t mean a great deal to me. It’s off the table, in a sense. I haven’t ever been in a mutually romantic relationship; I don’t think I could tell you what it looks like. I could tell you how I’ve seen married friends behave, but me personally? A solid blank.

can tell you that in the years I’ve been single, I certainly haven’t missed out on God’s intention to shape me closer to His image. I’ve had to surrender expectations to Him out of white-knuckled hands; I’ve ground my teeth in anxious trials of patience; I’ve been bowed out of my stubbornness to accept a new attitude of humility.

So, basically, a lot of the same character growth married people have probably had to experience. Just without, you know, the bedroom benefits.

*remembers that her parents are reading this*

ANYWAY, MY POINT BEING – It’s God’s design to mold us through our circumstances, be that in a relationship with a spouse, or adapting to a life lived solo. We are humans living in imperfect flesh; it’s our choice to be made holy by our Creator or not, wherever we happen to find ourselves.

In the past years, I’ve already seen MUCH change in my own perspective. Where I used to rail at God for circumstances, thinking He should snap his fingers and change them, I now approach Him as my Comforter. If I go through a time feeling lonely, I’ve learned to say, “God, I’m grieving right now. I miss someone I don’t even know. You are steady, though. Please lead me through this.”

I’ve come to concede that this time living single has raised my level of trust in Jehovah and made me seek Him as a very real presence in my life. Would I have experienced that if marriage had been thrown my way? I’m not one to assume the outcome of alternate realities. I only know that ten years ago, I knew God on a mostly head level, and now He completely fills my heart.

I still learn. Everyday, whatever I miss or don’t miss in relationships. Even this Valentine’s, I’m sure Christ will use the time to pull on my soul. His love is the point no matter how you celebrate, right?

For When It Gets Lonely

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My grandma wrote in marker on my bathroom mirror: “Shalom – nothing missing, nothing broken”. We are single-lady comrades, my grandma and I, even though we’re in different age-related circumstances. So I feel like I know what she meant to me by that phrase.

Even alone, there can be Shalom.

That’s hard, as I look in the mirror in the morning, those words trailing down one side of my reflection. I woke up in a bed that sometimes feels too big, to an apartment quiet and dark with the influence of but one person. And I look at what Gramma wrote: “nothing missing”. My first task of this new day is to believe that.

I’m privileged, I realize, to be able to pray to God for desires, since all my needs are met. (A reminder for when I think Sovereignty has abandoned me.) “Nothing missing”, I pray as I prepare for my job, dress in good clothes, paint my face from a gamut of make-up, eat a breakfast that I’ve never had to skip. Shalom.

But what about broken?

Me, as a person – I’m broken. Daily, by loneliness and questions and the thought that my place in Christ’s church is insignificant and unnoticeable. Waiting years without feeling like my life has moved forward, wondering how much of faith is “ask” and how much is “action” – I struggle with this limbo and pray, frustrated, over my morning of plenty:

“But God, I can’t say ‘nothing broken’. Even my days are a broken record, the same one after the other after the other after the other. I feel like I’m always either picking up the chipped-off parts of me I can’t fix, or trying desperately to ignore the cracks running through my heart.”

Some years ago God gave me this image: “I hold you together like a cracked figure of porcelain: gently but firmly.” And maybe that’s what it means to be able to say “nothing broken”. On our own, we are fissured, lacking, chipped. But God takes us in hand, puzzles out our mixed-up jigsaw pieces, and sees our wholeness. When I can’t see the complete product, He. Always. Does.

So I head out the door, leaving behind another lonely morning out of 365 a year, and my prayer is to see the wholeness that God sees. And maybe it’s time I start thanking Him for giving me a grandma who heeds the Holy Spirit when her granddaughter needs a daily reminder of God’s omnipresence.

That, after all, is Shalom.