Thursday, October 13, 2011

Set Hope Aside

This post is for my sweet, beautiful, and lively single friends.  I know some of you will roll your eyes and dismiss my words but I hope for a moment you would let me, even as a married woman, speak to your heart.

I laid in bed last night and remembered the many, many times my heart just groaned out of my chest for a husband.  I remember driving home from times with friends and crying from the loneliness and the often hopeless desire to have someone show interest in me.  Some days it wasn't even about marriage as much as it was a fierce longing for an esteemed man to just notice anything about me.  All that to say, I haven't forgotten those emotions and they were just as real and valid in my early twenties as some of you in your early thirties.  I know your heart often aches with unspeakable pain, and I know you often struggle with disappointment, insecurity, and fear.

Here is what I want to whisper to your soul, with a breath of fresh reality and challenge: setting hope for the future aside, are you truly thankful for your present?  There is often confusion in the single woman's heart between the very different hope and thankfulness in singleness.  We often have to pair our joy or gratitude today with hope, because it makes our heart leap at a promise of change.  But thankfulness is a deep acceptance of the current circumstance, no matter how frustrating or disappointing.  Thankfulness places a great and solid footing in the place where your boundary lines fall.  And the greatest beat of your heart is for the reality of Jesus' presence and pursuit in your life.  His absolutely unbelievable resolve at being your greatest treasure, love, and obsession.
"I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.' ... Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places...Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices."  Psalm 16:2, 5, 9
When these words take healthy root in our hearts and minds and when we nourish this text, we see the fruit in our thoughts and emotions.  We joyfully look at our circumstances as from the Lord, ordained by His sovereign nature, and believe that today is the best God has for us.
Part of me wants to tell you that this mindset will be of the utmost attraction to the opposite sex.  Or that as soon as you let this take root, just when you least expect it, Mr. Right will come bursting through your front door with a diamond ring.  But depth in thankfulness is so much more for the sake of your character and well-being.  It will shape your thoughts and movements with a genuine peace that will rock your world, with or without a man.  And it will wipe that silly "are you my husband?" look off your face. ;-)

In my final years of being single, I discovered this little verse in Proverbs 31 that revolutionized my life.  Verse 12 says the wife of noble character "brings [her husband] good, not harm, all the days of her life." All the days of her life. It doesn't say the days of her married life or the days starting when she meets her future husband. In the years, months and weeks of singleness and loneliness (or not-so-loneliness), she is doing good to her husband by honoring his life and character by walking in the beautiful and rare thankfulness that springs from a mind saturated with truth.

My prayer for you, as a single woman, is that you would choose thankfulness and gratefulness today, in this moment, and the moments that follow.  May you have victory with your emotions and thoughts, may you step out from the shadows of bitterness, and may you flourish in singleness.