A Table for One!
It’s the soft part of the day where the sun blurs colors in halo; all feels warm and inviting. There is a corner seat with a small round table cloaked in a crisp white table cloth. Trimmed daises sit laughing in a vase on the windowsill. An older woman with green eyes sips hazelnut coffee. A weathered journal and Bible lay open under scraps of discarded paper. She people watches, turning the claddagh ring that resides on her left ring finger.
There is an older couple sitting atop a park bench. She watches the gentleman take the woman’s hand and kiss the top of her head before he leans back enjoying the daily paper. Young children fly kites in the park - barefoot. Their laughter is a cadence for life. Women and men run along the trail cutting jagged edges along the park’s circumference.
It is a beautiful spring day in the halo of the sun. A secluded moment of life fully lived. There is a peace that washes over the woman sitting in a corner seat of the coffee shop, as if all this bustle, life, and joy were orchestrated for her. She knows her Maker, and bows her head silently praying for each person she has seen today. Suffering can hide itself amongst many masks. It touches everyone, just as joy does. In the end, the beauty is found in embracing the joy amidst suffering. It is what age, and sorrow, and the weight of shattered dreams has taught her.
She turns her attention back to the Bible on her table. She reads words on thin parchment:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” –Romans 8:28 NLT…
I wanted to hug her tight. I wanted to wrap my loving arms around her and rock her as the sobs rattle her. Her beautiful face streaked with rivers of black. Her heart was broken, crumbling, and burning to ash. The pieces fluttered about her, some golden embers, illuminating her humorless smile. She felt unloved. She felt God did not love her because she did not have a husband.
She was 34. All her friends were married with children. They kept telling her that God had someone out there for her, but it just wasn’t the right time. They encouraged her with how beautiful and smart she was. The right man was bound to come along, sweep her off her feet, and change the trajectory of her life.
She just couldn’t, for the life of her, understand what was wrong with her?
As we talked, I began to share pieces of my heart with her; the broken fragments of shattered dreams. I referenced the scene in “Joshua” where Tony Goldwyn’s character takes the shattered glass heart and creates a beautiful angel. I fear my words rang hollow that day. While comforted, I could not touch the deep hurt. I still pray God does that. I pray she finds a space of solace.
The intro to this blog is what I wish, simply, for every human being – to live fully in the ordinary brilliance of life.
This is my heartbeat as a single woman. I pray you will hold it lightly in your hands; tender it with care.
After a certain age people begin to interpret your singleness as a deficiency. It is a conundrum and a situation that can be fixed with blind dates and sketchy well intentions. There is disbelief that you can truly be happy as a single woman in her thirties.
I struggled with writing this post. I waffled back and forth on whether I should even broach the subject. There are so many things that can be misinterpreted as bitterness. My heart is in no way bitter. I have one of the richest, most full, abundant lives I could ever imagine. However, my heart aches for those who believe God’s goodness is wrapped up in a husband to be.
I think we, as a church body, have not done a great job caring for the single woman’s heart.
I love the sanctity of marriage. I love marriage. I love my married friends. I love their families and I hit my knees for them. I bow low and steady my heartbeat with the Lord’s for what He desires for them. I fight for their marriages on my knees. I encourage them and support their endeavors. I believe in what marriage stands for. I believe it is a good thing, a rich thing, a beautiful representation of Christ to the church.
However, I also believe, that if I never get married that I am enough. I not only believe that I am enough, but I believe that God’s grace and purpose has intended that to be so. I believe that He is enough.
If a husband never comes to you beloved…YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. Christ is an amazing husband. He pulls us from the briars and thistles, woos us from the cleft of the rock, and sets a crown of laurel about our heads. He sees our beauty in our utter mess and cherishes us. He works in the hard stubborn places of our hearts. He gives us purpose and showers us with His abiding love.
I am 33 years old. If I had my way the trajectory of my life would have gone differently. I would have been a wife and mother by my mid-twenties. Yet, I cannot imagine that now. I cannot imagine my life being any more abundant or rich.
So, what do we do, as single women who still long for a husband?
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! – Psalm 37:7
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. – Lamentations 3:25
You need to know that is okay to feel lonely. It is okay to hope and cherish the thought of God providing a loving husband for you. It is okay to be confident, rich, and live a full life while you do that waiting. Cleave to God. He knows. He knows the hurt you feel and he cares. He cares that you have that hurt. He can meet the need in a way no one else can.
Let you worth be found in Him! PLEASE!!! Let your worth be found in Him!
He is what our hearts cleave after.
Mourn. Take the time you need to mourn your loss. Grieve over the fact that you may not get married. I had to look at my life through that lens. I had to let go of the fact that if I didn’t get married and have children of my own that my life was what it was meant to be. I began to understand the grace in each moment. I began to reach out and extend my hand to those who are hurting and broken and found salve to heal the ache.
I don’t think that being a wife and mom will ever be something I will not desire. It will always be a fresh ache. However, if God does not fulfill that desire, it in no way means that He does not cherish me or have His best for me. It does not mean that my journey isn’t what it is meant to be.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. – Isaiah 30:18 ESV
If I had one piece of advice for those who are caring for the hearts of singles it is to provide grace and understanding; not judgment. Just as God has called you to be a wife or husband, so He has called me to be single. It is not a holding pattern, nor a place where I cannot fully understand the weight or struggle of real life issues. I am fully aware of suffering and sacrifice. I am lonely as you are lonely at times. We can walk along side one another, learning from each other as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
There is need for compassion for the human soul. We are so careless with our hearts. We bruise, shatter, and rip apart the most precious things – things that should be cherished and cared for as priceless. Let’s show other’s their worth in the infinite grace of our Lord. Please, beloved, care for the human heart, care for the sorrow and hurting of others; including your enemies.
Oh Lord… “Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You.” – Psalm 73:25
I simply want to wrap my arms around you and bleed truth over you until you know you are completely enough and God’s grace is abounding in you. Blessed single sisters know that God knows your ache. He knows your desire. And, He has come to fulfill it. He is the water that will quench the everlasting thirst.
I leave you with the verses found in Philippians 4 from the Amplified Bible:
Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me (I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency). – 11-13