The last few weeks the ladies at Velvet Ashes, an online community of women who have experience serving overseas, have been talking about life’s different seasons: marriage, singleness, raising kids in a country other than their passport issuer. I have loved learning from the wisdom shared and pondering some of the deep questions these topics bring up.
This week they are focusing on singleness. At first, I was eager for the discussion this week, but also a bit unsure if I wanted to face the hard things that might be brought to the surface. Honestly, though, for the first time this week I realized that it was okay. Okay that I don’t have a ring on my finger, okay that most of my friends my age are already married. I haven’t reached some magic stage of contentment in my singleness. I feel like instead I am in a stage of acceptance, taking the gift from The Lord that is today, this time, this season.
It definitely hasn’t always been that way. I remember reading in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book back in my childhood about a lady who was 26, and looked down upon because she was an old maid. It is funny the things that stick, huh? Passing that age milestone was a bit uncomfortable, on the downhill slide to 30. We have such expectations don’t we? That we will have a husband by this point, then children, that our lives will look a certain way, that certainly by 28 these things would have been achieved. It might be based on what the culture around us says is “normal”, what our friends are doing, what our family says, what we have always daydreamed of and hoped for.
I have been blessed with a teammate that is in the same stage of life that I am. We laugh sometimes over the desperate lack of options here (as in single guys who love Jesus and are somewhere close to our age), but it means I have to trust God even more, as in all things. It has caused me to ask hard questions, “Do I believe that God cares enough about the intimate details of my life to know that I want to be married? Is He big enough to plop an eligible single guy down in a remote village in Cambodia? Is my lack of a mate somehow a sign that God is withholding something from me?” If I believe that God does care, He does give good gifts, He does want me to obey Him fully no matter what stage of life I am in, then I can accept that. I can find joy in today, in the seasons that come and go, whether I am overseas or in my passport country. I am very thankful for women who have modeled this trusting joy in all of the stages of life, married and single, with kids and without, young and old.
I want to respond every day with the humble, obedient spirit that Mary had when she said, “My soul glorifies The Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”. (Luke 1:46-47)