Today's Moments guest post is from one of my very dearest friends. We literally go all the way back to before we can remember, as our parents were buds before the two of us were born. Jen is funny, kind, and incredibly intentional. I love our long walks and talks, endless memories, and the simple joy of being friends with someone so wonderful. I'm so honored to have her sharing her heart and her words so beautifully on a topic that is so relevant to so many of us: singleness.
Sometimes I feel like Katherine Heigel in the movie 27 Dresses. Not in the sense that my friends are terrible at picking out bridesmaid's dresses (although it would make this post much more hilarious- endless photo shoot potential), but rather that I sometimes feel as if I will always be a bridesmaid, or better yet the professional wedding guest. Now hear me out, I LOVE celebrating my wonderful friends and you can't beat an epic dance party, am I right? But there are times when I'm lonely and feel as if I'm always going to be the single girl. Always going to be the girl who is given the plus one on the invitations; the girls who is attending all the engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, you name it party; the girl who had to get her own dates to dances in high school; the girl who never gets asked on a date; the girl who is the third, fifth, or seventh wheel.
|Jen and Kelsie in June 2013|
Lesson #1: I am not in control. Trust God's Plan.Dear friends, I've heard so many times in sermons that God is in control. But why is it that we small humans think we are in control!?! We watch the perfect stories play out on movie screens and pages of novels. We trick ourselves into thinking that we have control and the ability to write this same perfect story.
In 2010, I was blessed to journey over to Kenya for a short-term mission trip with my campus ministry. Raising support for this once in a lifetime opportunity taught me about letting go and letting God. My biggest take-away from that trip: God is BIG, He brings hope to the hopefuls, and He is orchestrating beautiful stories in very differing circumstances. I have so much- the American dream, if you will- and these children that we met had next to nothing, but yet were the most loving and joyful individuals I had ever met. They talked of Jesus with such purity and hope. I will always treasure the memories created during this short two week trip. The children at the school gave each one of us a Maasai name. Perfectly, mine was "Noduata", which means "one who has hope". I'm not gonna lie, I've cried a time or two when I think about the deep meaning behind such a simple nickname.
I have to give up my stronghold on control almost daily and submit to God. Patience goes hand in hand with control. This word, "control", floods the pages of my journals. I get it. It's a lot easier said than done. I wholeheartedly believe God has a perfect plan for my life. Trusting in His timing and his goodness is all this hot mess of a girl can do.
"The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." - Psalm 32:8
Lesson #2: Rely on the love of God first.
When I see the beautiful love stories of friends around me, it is easy to grow discontent and take my attention off of the Lord. I have to depend on His love and faithfulness daily. To be content where I am. I am a child of God. I am adored by the King. He has me for today.
The silver lining of singleness is that I have been protected from heartbreak. It hurts me when I see my friends heading down the path to heartbreak and then hurt even more when it is alive and well. Singleness has allowed me to be present in their lives, mend broken hearts, and just be the friend they need in their corner. I am oh so thankful to have been protected from this so far in life. Do I desire to be pursued by a man? Absolutely! But, when that day comes (if it's in God's plan), I can confidently rest in the fact that Jesus loves me more than any man on this Earth ever can.
"We love because He first loved us." - 1 John 4:19
"I love you, oh Lord, my strength." - Psalm 18:1
Lesson #3: Choose to glorify God in this season of singleness.
If you know me even a little bit, you probably know that for the last 10+ years I have pursued the discipleship of young people. I started leading middle schoolers as a high school student, which then flowed into being a small group leader in the awesome ministry of Kirksville K-Life, and now I get to love, mentor, and be ridiculous with the high school students of Vineyard Church (who we are endearingly calling our "boo boos"). The leaders and mentors that encouraged and invested in my life are a constant reminder of why I desire to do the same.
This seasons of singleness allows my heart, not to mention my home and my time, to be more or less fully open to the lives of these remarkable teenagers. I get to walk beside them in their muck and their brokenness, but also in the really happy, exciting times. I get to laugh a lot and act like a younger version of myself. I get to embarrass myself by dancing like a fool (sometimes you got to step up to the streets). I get to listen to their hopes, dreams, wishes, tragedies, boy troubles, and hurts. I get to offer discernment and wisdom. But most importantly, I get to reflect this guy named Jesus to them.
"Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity". - 1 Timothy 4:12
Do you feel like the perpetually single friend in the group? You're not alone. There is nothing wrong with you. Cherish this special season of life and the freedom that comes with it. Don't waste it. So sweet friend, how can you be glorifying God in this season on singleness? Just something to pray and ponder... maybe even journal about it (I highly recommend it!).
In the words of Queen Bey, "All the single ladies...Now put your hands up!
I love the way that Jen chooses to look at this season of singleness and see it as a time to love others and love God first with all she has. She has most definitely been a blessing to me and to many others, and I'm so grateful to have her sharing her story with such honesty today. You can find Jen on Instagram and Facebook. You are all loved, sweet friends, single or not. Let's not forget where our true worth and meaning lies: with the Lord.