Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When God Showed up to My Wedding Part I: Singleness and Idolatry

I'm 31 years old. I was married 3 months ago. 
My first kiss (and first boyfriend) was at the age of 21. 

 I want to encourage single woman who are considered "older" in the Christian culture. When they are reading blogs and books about singleness written by women who agonized over being single through their high school and college years, and were married before they hit their mid 20's ,and who are kindly offering their advice through that time, I don't want to belittle or make light of their attempts of encouragement, but when you get to be in your late 20's, into your 30's it actually begins to have the opposite affect than what your intention is....

It starts to become DIScouraging. 

It's not that I want them to stop writing, I just want them to stop writing about the length of time they've been waiting, and I want to read a book about female singleness that doesn't feel like it was written geared towards high school and college aged young women.

I was 21 when I received my first kiss. 21 before I had my first boyfriend. The late age of my dating experience was not out of choice, but out of my desperate heart and idolatrous longing for  marriage, it started a cycle of dating that lead to my deepest sins, broken before God. 

Strange how your "badness" leads you to God and his goodness.....

I did dating the wrong way. I would date men that showed interest in me, and tried to do everything within my power, short of giving up my virginity to keep them, and inevitably they would leave. 

It was the strangest type of leaving.

Not an, "This isn't working out..." kind of leave. The majority of them just disappeared. 

Selfishness on their part...maybe? 

Idolatry on mine? Yes. 

Mercy from God. Most definitely. 

One of my friends made the connection one day between her miscarriage/infertility and unwanted singleness.

Can I just dispel a rumor for a second? If you are unwillingly single, there is nothing wrong with you.

Not a thing.

You did not choose to be single. Just like women who want to conceive, and can't, you did not make a choice.

Your longing is real, and it is not foolish. The longing was put there by God.

However, be careful that marriage does not become an idol.

"There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus."
Blaise Pascal
You can read my Faith Story *here.* I want to tell you why I was curled up on my floor that long night when I cried out to God. 

I was lying on my floor because once again, after less than five months, a boyfriend had disappeared. It was the strangest thing that always seemed to happen. We were getting along great, I tended to break the "I'm a Virgin" news relatively early to give them a way out....
and then five months or less later....most of them left without a word. No phone calls, no notes, nothing. I don't think I ever thought I would MARRY these guys, at least that conversation only came up once...I wasn't even sure I actually WANTED to get married.

 I felt SO entitled to what wanted, because God wasn't giving it to me fast enough, I decided to play god of my own life.

I gave to dogs what is holy, I cast my pearls before swine. I did not bring my husband good ALL the days of my life.

 I'm not saying that my past boyfriends were bad guys, they just were not ready for what God was making holy.

Then one day I thought I had found "The One," He was a sweet guy who never made an advance that would put me in the way of temptation. We would go on mini day trips to historic places around the area and discover new spots. We would cook together...he was the only guy I had ever dated that I had prayed that God would make him break up with me....but he left anyway.

And God made me holy through every one of those relationships. If I had not been through every disastrous, beautiful mess, I would have not been curled up on the floor in the fetal position that night.

I was left broken. That night I promised God that I would spend a year, in singleness, so that I could spend the time with Him that I had been spending haphazardly dating.

I don't believe that God's ideal for us is to be constantly heart broken. Our fragile heart should only be held by three men; God, your daddy, and your husband. I don't believe that we need "experience" in dating to be a good mate for others. I actually think that the "practice" in dating makes becoming a committed, long term mate harder, because with so many hardened wounds, we become more guarded, less prepared to be vulnerable. 

The nights I would have gone out on a date, I reserved for time with God. I would make a nice meal, turn on worship music, light a candle...and get to know Him better.

Once the year was up, I asked God to lead me in dating. 1 year became 2 years and 2 years became 3 years, I had moved to two different states, and while I had gone on a few "dates" I had not kissed, or engaged in a  committed relationship with anyone. 

It was a very different feeling than the first half of my dating life. I wasn't looking to be fulfilled by anyone else's love for me. My roots began to run deep in the Lord. I would not go out on a date with a non-Christian, and I was growing into a comfortableness with my singleness. 

While the longing in my heart to have a family was still there, the "God Hole" in my heart was being filled with God, instead of with men, and I was content. 

In the meantime I read. I read everything I could get my hands on, not about singleness anymore, but about being a Proverbs 31 woman, and about building a sacred, godly marriage.

My view of marriage began to change. I became convinced that even if I wasn't married to a man, in my commitment that I made to Christ in my baptism, I was a part of the bride of Christ, and as such I needed to figure out what marriage, according to God, was supposed to look like. 

Not having a significant other, allowed God to open up opportunities for me to know Him better, that I would have not have learned as well, or in the way I needed to, had I been yolked with another.

If  "all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28) And what is good for you, is the glory of God, then wherever you are; whether in singleness or "coupleness" or "mamaness," you have been placed there for a reason. You have an area to grow in to become more like Jesus, your situation will ultimately bring glory to the Lord, you will grow closer to the heart of God, and know Him better. 

I know how hard it is to wait on the Lord. "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" He has a plan for you "plans for welfare[a]and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

If you are single, or infertile, or just feel like you are in a period of waiting and longing. If you are crying in the night for God to hear you....let me reassure you He is listening, and He is hearing. 

Use this time to draw near to him. Cry your heart out. Be vulnerable and open to Him. Tell Him how much it hurts, and how you are angry. Confess your entitlement, and lay your heart, bare before Him.

Tell Him what plagues your heart. He will not give you a stone when you ask for bread, or a snake if you ask for fish. He will give you good things if you ask Him! (Mathew 7:9-11) 

Trust in him at all times, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge! (Psalm 62:8) Run to your heavenly father with your broken heart. Bury yourself in his arms. Take refuge and heal! 

(Stay tuned for Part II of Inviting God to Your Wedding)

There are a couple GREAT books about singlness out there:

Check out a few of other posts about singleness on my old blog "The (re)Education of the Feminine Soul"
Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Pin This


  1. Dear Sarah,
    Thank you for writing these precious truths here. I am so grateful to have found your blog and connected with the thoughts you are sharing. I have a daughter who needs to read these words, she needs to hear your story and be encouraged for so many reasons. I wasn't married before I was 20 but by 21 I was a new wife and a new believer all in the same bundle and we had so much to learn.
    I really enjoyed your testimony.
    Bless you,

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Dawn! I hope that your daughter finds it encouraging as well!