Meet Lauren. Lauren is a very special person in my life, and arguably one of my favorite people on the planet. I met her in Lima, Peru in 2006; we were both serving on a drama ministry team through Brio Magazine (Focus on the Family). There were 2,400 teens from all across the US split into teams of 30. Lauren was on my team and we kept in touch as we journeys through our teens and into our 20s. Because of her faithful friendship, I was introduced to her older brother which led to marriage in 2012. So we are not only friends, but sisters too!
Through the years our sweet friendship has deepened. We have shared many laughs and many tears together. I asked Lauren to share her story and testimony of singleness on the blog, not just because I adore her, but because she walks a hard journey with purity, faithfulness, and grace. If you are someone who is struggling with singleness, I hope that her story provides you inspiration that God can give you a life full of joy and deep soul-satisfaction, even when your longing for marriage isn't met on earth. She is proof that this is possible.
These adjectives could describe me, and I love being all of those things. There is one descriptor that I didn’t add to that list, though: Single Woman.
Sometimes I enjoy the freedom my singleness allows. But sometimes I don’t like being unmarried. I want to get that out in the open. There are days that I struggle to trust in God’s plan for my life. I fail to see the work He is doing in and through me. I so easily compare my life to the women around me.
But when have we all not struggled with comparison and not trusting God's sovereignty in some way? No matter the relational status in which you find yourself, we can attest to the temptation to not trust in the goodness of God, to fail in seeing the purpose and beauty of every moment He has given us on earth. I believe humble honesty and open hearts can be the best channel for authentic conversations between people of all statuses. And so with all that in mind, I hope that my story will encourage you, no matter your walk or season of life.
Let’s travel back to 2005: I’m fourteen and just started high school. I finally have my braces off and wear a more stylish pair of corrective lenses. My hair kind of does this weird flippy thing at the end but not to worry; mousse can fix anything. Life stays busy with choir, band, and dance classes. My friends are smart, goofy, and more importantly, they stay out of trouble. The idea of boys enters the picture. I find some of the guys in marching band attractive… would I like to date them? Probably not. They are still figuring out how to treat a lady like a lady. I realize as high school progressed that I probably would not be marrying a high school sweetheart. But college is coming and there is definitely hope within me for a godly guy to pursue me in this next stage of life.
2013: My senior year of college. My best friend and I lived with each other and it seemed like our greatest dreams and aspirations came alive through conversation late at night. This girl has been my best friend since grade school, so we know every little detail about each other. She was engaged to her high school sweetheart, and I had just gone through a difficult break-up only months before. We knew God was doing great things in both of our lives—my best friend, through the joy of marriage, and me, through the sorrow of heartbreak. I knew then that I would not be marrying a college sweetheart. But life after college was coming and there may still be hope there.
2019: Present day. I am just a year and half shy of turning 30. The big 3-0. It seems unreal. I look back at photos that my mom took of me 10 years ago when I was moving into my dorm room at college, and I see a fresh-faced, naïve girl. A girl who would experience extraordinary joys and deep losses over the next 10 years. She had no idea what God had in store for her life in the area of relationships with men and singleness.
Over the last ten years or so, I’ve had my fair share of “putting myself out there”:
If you ask a Midwesterner, I’m halfway through my prime season of life for childbearing. And some days, I agree with them: my womanly biological clock is fed up with the snooze button. If you ask people from other parts of the country, they might look at my relationship status and say that I’m a strong, independent woman and don’t need a man. But like I said at the beginning, let’s be honest: it only matters what God thinks of marriage, childrearing, and yes, even singleness.
The most famous passage of Scripture where singleness is directly approached is when Paul is addressing the Corinthian church: “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world — how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:34-35
If we read the Bible in its context, as we should, surrounding passages tell us the Corinthian church was in a crisis. At that time in history, Paul thought it was better to be single than to be married. If Paul was writing to the church present day, what would he say? I can tell you what secular culture says. It says singleness is the best thing. Doing life as an independent person shows others that you are powerful and only you control your fate. Church culture tends to sway the other way. Marriage and family are inadvertently raised to a higher level of godliness. They tend to say you have the opportunity to be more refined because you have the task of raising children and living with a man who sees your sin day-in and day-out.
Where does this leave a woman who strives to be “devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.”? It leaves me finding truth in God’s Word about His character and promises:
These, and so many more passages, give me the aroma of the beauty, goodness, and steadfastness of the Lord. When trouble comes my way through sickness or loss and I don’t have a spouse to physically hold me up—I cling to the Lord and find comfort in His everlasting arms. As I watch women get engaged, married, and have children, and no man pursues me—I treasure the presence of the Most High King in my life. When the future seems scary and I wonder if I’ll be single the rest of my life—I cry out to the Holy Spirit to remind me of His faithfulness to provide and care for me, just as He does for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air (Matthew 6:25-34).
So here I am. 28 years old with no husband and no children. My wise mentor reminds me often that it’s better to be single and lonely than to be married and lonely. I wholeheartedly agree. Some days, I see the purpose of that statement and the beauty of being unattached. But other days, I find myself weeping as I drive home from yet another wedding or another baby shower. I weep out of the innate desire to be intimate with my husband. I weep for the child I may never carry in my womb. I weep for the times I don’t come home to a husband; the times when we cannot share our thoughts, feelings, and dreams with each other. I weep for the moments where I cannot show the deep love of Christ with my children. I weep for the losses of things I’ve never had.
I cry out to the God who listens and weeps with me. He knows my heart and its desires; He put those good desires in my heart. The psalmist tells me that God collects my tears in a bottle and He records each one in His book (Psalm 56:8). I am not alone during my yearning and lamenting. God sees me and He knows me. “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1).
Singleness is not what I envisioned for my life. God currently does want it for my life, though. I know this because He tells His people in Psalm 84:11b, “the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” and Psalm 119:68, “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.”
If the Lord deems marriage as good for me someday, I will praise Him. If not, I will continue to praise Him and trust in His promises that He is faithful, sovereign, and true. I will rest in His all-consuming comfort and love because His Son paid the ultimate price on the cross so that mankind could be reunited with God.
I have hope; hope in what is to come. So I didn’t marry a high school sweetheart. I didn’t even manage to swing marrying a college sweetheart. Even though marriage on this side of Heaven isn't promised, I know I have been promised eternal marriage to the King of Kings. That truth alone fills me with awe and wonder! On my lonely days, Christ’s promise to wed His Bride reminds me that I must fix my eyes on what is ahead. He is the Groom for whom I long; for whom we all long. And until that glorious day, may our gaze be directly before us, looking towards our Beautiful Savior.
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