A dear friend of mine is turning 30 years old this weekend. She’s tall, beautiful, fashionable. godly, mature, wise, humble, kind, faithful, servant-hearted, ministry-minded, encouraging, loving and compassionate and tons of fun and awfully funny.
And she’s single.
Six months into the happiness of marriage, my heart still churns in anguish for my single friends. Tears form quickly even at the mere mention of a girl who is in her thirties and waiting on God for marriage. The tenderness remains. The suffering left its mark. No, it isn't pity that I feel (wasn't a fan of that myself); rather, it’s an unspeakable compassion and respect for those who have been given the high and hard privilege of suffering in singleness.
But every great story—every story worth telling—is one of suffering and endurance and overcoming. Stories of those who faced insurmountable odds, but persevered to the end.
As I write this, I feel the stirrings of my baby within my womb. Kicking and reminding me that I am a mommy—after all these years, I’m finally expecting a child. After years of rejoicing with countless friends who announced their second pregnancies while I still didn't even have a boyfriend, I’m now the one thinking of baby names and nursery decor.
Just as quickly, I think of the many women in their thirties who still go to bed alone and wonder how long the waiting will continue…
I don’t have easy answers anymore (like I did when I was 20), but I can testify to a good God who—yes, let me suffer deeply, beyond what I ever thought I could, but—sustained me with Himself, blessed my waiting years with rich ministry, and then, when I was 34 years old, graced me with a husband who leaves me absolutely speechless with his love and care.
I am lovingly held and hugged every day. (Do you know how hard it is to go days and weeks on end with no physical touch?) I no longer have to earn my own living, make all my own decisions, and go to bed lost in my own thoughts. I don’t wonder if I’ll be the only single person at a dinner table of all couples. I have someone who takes care of car repairs, makes those dratted phone calls to the insurance company, and advocates for my crazy dietary needs at restaurants.
I wake up to my best friend every morning and fall asleep to the sound of his breathing every night.
God lavishly blessed my single years, but they were unspeakably difficult. It never felt natural or “right” to be single that long. I knew I didn't have the gift of singleness, and while I continually fought for contentment and joy, I was never at home in singleness as I now am in marriage.
I don’t know how to adequately express my heart to my dearest friends who continue to fight the good fight of faith—to wholly trust their sovereign God, to rest in knowing that He is doing what is best, even in the midst of great heartache and weariness in waiting. But I respect them with all my heart, and I see incomparable glimpses of Christ in them and in their suffering. They are choosing joy, they are fighting for tender hearts, they are nurturing hopeful spirits, they are “fixing their eyes on Jesus,” they are laying up for themselves treasures in heaven.
They are the beautiful heroines in the great stories that will be told of our day. If you know one of these amazing women, pray for her today and think of a way to express your deep love and respect for her.