For as long as I can remember, I wanted to fall in love.
Cinderella, Belle, Snow White - they had it all.
In my imagination, after the picture-perfect wedding to the most handsome Prince Charming, they went on to have a family and live happily ever after. It is the dream of most every little girl, and I knew, specifically, how I wanted it to play out for me. I wanted to have been friends for a while before we dated, get married at 21, and then have kids at 24.
As I grew older, this dream was persistent. It changed, just slightly, as the years went on; ages changed, give or take a few years, and as new crushes moved in, the face of my groom certainly changed, but my dream of happily ever after never wavered. In fact, am currently almost 22 years old and this dream is still just as present in my heart. But right now, there is just one little issue:
There is no Prince Charming in the picture.
(There is, however a Pinterest board that has over 1,000 pins for a wedding of my own, but that’s an entirely different subject!)
And while all of my closest friends are in committed relationships and contemplating marriage, I have been reliably unattached.
In the beginning, it was really difficult. I was upset, jealous, and frustrated (especially when I would see a 14 year old girl post pictures of her and her ‘boyfriend’). I cried, I yelled at God, and I did not speak to Him for a while.
My journal has tear stains on the pages where I poured my heart and soul. It was agonizing.
I used the Psalm 37:4 - delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart - as a defense for wanting a boyfriend, for wanting what all my friends had, and for being upset with Him. I read every “single girl” devotional I could get my hands on and they would help, but only for a while, and then I would be right back at square one.
Until I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I remember the day because it is crystal clear in my mind to this day: I was in the shower, and I had just about had it with the jealousy and hurt, and I fell to my knees water pouring over me as I cried… and after the tears came to a stop, I prayed:
"Lord, I cannot do this anymore. You know what I long for, and You know everything that I feel on the situation. I am tired. I am tired of feeling alone and of not being content. Please, Jesus, please just hold me."
I wish I could say that it was all better after that, and even though it was not instantly fixed, it was definitely the turning point.
I picked up a book I had bought months before but had not yet bothered reading. The title intrigued me, and I figured it would be worth reading since it mentioned falling in love on the back cover.
The big selling point? It was about falling in love with Jesus.
Growing up in a Christian home, I knew Jesus. I prayed for salvation at Vacation Bible School when I was seven years old. I knew that He loved me, and I said I loved Him, but it hit me hard when I realized that I was not in love with Him.
So I started reading, praying that I would be able to fall in love with Jesus.
And my prayers were answered.
I wake up and I reach for my Bible because He is the One I want to hear from.
I find myself talking in the middle of the day to absolutely no one physical, but I know He is listening.
And after crawling into bed at night, I talk to Him as though He is right there next to me.
It is not always easy. The tangibility of a boyfriend is what I long for most days – the holding of hands, the kiss on the forehead, the hug that feels as though he never wants to let you go – and those are the days that are still difficult to get through.
I still shed a few tears when I watch romantic Hallmark movies and my heart clenches when I see the pictures of my friends with their boyfriends on Instagram. I still pin the wedding inspirations on Pinterest and hold on to the dream of falling in love, getting married, and living happily ever.
But I have adopted a quote by Max Lucado to help me to stay strong:
“A girl’s heart must be so hidden in Christ that a man must first seek Him to find her.”
I know it sounds cliché. I am the first person to say how much I dislike all of the cheesy singles quotes and words of encouragement, because the truth is that everyone handles it differently. But being in love with Jesus is something that I CHOOSE to be, and the truth is: I am happy.
I love being in love with Jesus.
Each and every day is a brand new adventure. Being in love with Him is the best first experience of being in love I could imagine.
Being single is not all fun, but being single and in love with the One who loves you with everything He had to give is a happily ever after kind of feeling. And in teaching me how to love Him, He has given me the desires of my heart.