Sunday, November 29, 2015

It Is Well

Through tears, I spilled my heart to this kindred-friend of mine, "I thought seasons were supposed to end... but this season of being single and childless seems to be endless."

I know the single ladies in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are rolling their eyes right now, because a 26-year-old said that. Perhaps it is a bit dramatic. And in light of Eternity, my entire life on Earth will be but a breath when I one day look back upon it.

However... now... in the midst of this loneliness and not being able to see what I know God sees, it's hard. 

I know I've written about it before... but when God asked me to surrender and relinquish the relationship with Lily's father and then found Lily's purpose on Earth to be completed before drawing her first breath, well... you see, I assumed God would surely one day bless me with a godly husband and children to call my own that I actually get to hear them call me "mommy" and give them warm hugs and more "I-love-yous" than the ocean could hold. 

Surely, I presumed, after the suffering I had experienced and at such a young age, God wouldn't require singleness of me for life. Surely, He wouldn't take my child from me to then go on and never give me another.

Right?!?!

Honestly, that's what makes this singleness thing so stinking hard. Because I thought God would one day restore to me what was lost. Because I am a mother who has had to watch others I know who have also lost a baby go on and have a child (or 2 or 3). Because I see what seems like everyone around me being given every gift I long for. Because 18-year-olds I know are getting married and I wonder what I'm lacking? I wonder what do I still need to do or what level of spiritual maturity or healing do I need to reach before God will think I'm ready for a husband? Am I single because I would be an awful wife and mother? Do I not make a desirable wife? Will Lily be the only child I ever birth... real, yet intangible, untouchable. Will I live my life alone, knowing I'm a mother, but nobody even able to see that is true. And many people not even considering her real or me a real mother since I'm not a parent in a "traditional sense."

My life feels like an old record that's gotten stuck, not able to move ahead in the song. I look around and see everyone else dancing to beautiful songs. I have felt left behind. I have felt forgotten and abandoned by God. Does He love those other people more than me?! Does He see my ache of loneliness?! 

A couple weeks ago, Nancy Leigh DeMoss from the ministry Revive Our Hearts, got married for the first time at the age of 57. She did a series to be an encouragement to single women. She shared letters and comments from single women who are decades older than me, women who have always longed to get married and have a family of their own, but God hasn't answered that prayer, and He also hasn't taken the desire away.

For some reason, I can't stop thinking about these women. That might be me one day. There is no guarantee that I will one day get married, though it seems everyone likes to assume it'll eventually happen. Who are we to assume God's will? And the truth? I am terrified of being single for the rest of my life. These older women are proof that just because I want it doesn't mean it's going to happen. And He might never take the desire away, even if I never am meant to get married. 

Last Sunday at church, we sang the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul..." And as the words spilled off my lips, I felt Him ask me... "Is it? Is it really well?" And I felt convicted that I was singing those words, yet realized that what I have found to make my soul well is conditional. Is my soul well... if I get married? If I have more babies? Or is it well because it is HIM ALONE who makes it well, despite my circumstances? Even if I am locked in a dark and cold prison cell for my faith, or spend my life alone, I am never truly alone because I have Him. And He is truly all I need. With all the craziness going on the world lately, I realize more and more how much I need Him. And with Him, it is truly WELL.

When I was a teenager, and even a preteen, I believe some of the choices I made were because I was "looking for love in all the wrong places" as "they" say. As I was talking to the Lord about being single this week, He reminded me of that. And then He showed me how I'm currently doing the same thing, just in a way that is harder to detect. I'm still looking for love and fulfillment in a relationship with a guy - only now a marriage relationship with a godly man. That is a good thing to desire. However, when I'm looking for my peace, joy, and hope for feeling complete or fulfilled in a man, I am looking for love in the wrong place.

Perhaps part of the reason God has allowed me to be single for as long as I have is to teach me this very important lesson. That He is the only, one, true, RIGHT place to look for love. He is incapable of being unfaithful or letting me down. Though a godly husband will love me and there is nothing wrong with desiring that, he will inevitably at times let me down because he is a human. But my Jesus never will. He's my steady. My constant. The One I can depend on and trust with my everything. He wants to prove Himself to be all I need.

I don't have to change to be loved by Him, but it is His love that changes me!

I know the story of my life is not yet over. And I am still quite young. I am sure the next pages that God will script will be completely different than I anticipate or could imagine. And 26 is not old. I guess it just feels like a long time that I've been waiting because of the experiences I've had and the young age I was when I had them. 

I have been reading "Quest for Love" by Elisabeth Elliot (cheesy title, I know, but seriously a MUST READ for single Christians). There is much I want to share about what God is teaching me through this book. This is one of the parts that stands out to me:
"If we imagine that happiness is to be found by furious pursuit, we will end up in a rage at the unsatisfying results. If, on the other hand, we set ourselves to pursue the wise and loving and holy will of our Heavenly Father, we will find that happiness comes - quietly, in unexpected ways, and, surprisingly often, as the by-product of sacrifice
Desire for marriage deeply tests our understanding of the cross. The cross of Christ means sacrifice. He gave Himself. He asks us who want to be disciples first to relinquish our rights to ourselves, then to take up the cross, and follow (Luke 9:23). The cross in Roman times was an instrument of torture. Jesus took it up gladly - in obedience to His Father and for love of you and me. If He asks us to take up our cross daily, He is asking us to be willing to suffer. What else can the cross mean?
Except for those far ahead of most of us in sanctity, waiting is a form of suffering - the difficulty of self-restraint, the anguish of unfulfilled longing, the bewilderment of unanswered prayer, my flesh and my heart failing, my soul breaking. These are indeed tribulations, and tribulation is the curriculum if we are to learn patience. We want answers now, right now, but we are required at times to walk in darkness.
Nevertheless, God is in the darkness." 

Single or married, children on Earth or only in Heaven... My God knows what He's doing. He sees the end from the beginning and He holds my heart. He is sanctifying me through the longing, the waiting, the suffering, the unanswered questions in a way He couldn't without those things. My struggle and wrestling is not a sin, but a tool in His hands, to draw me to Himself and make me more like Jesus. I thank Him that I have anything to sacrifice and that the unseen realm is watching. I want to suffer well, for His glory. I pray my life brings Him glory, and that I can truly say and mean it when I say it that it is well with my soul, knowing full well He is with me.

The man who wrote "It Is Well With My Soul" personally knew suffering after tragically losing several of his children. Yet, he knew that God could be trusted. To read more of the story behind the hymn, click HERE. After knowing what this man was going through when he wrote it, I think of that each time I hear and sing it now. And I realize that if God gave him the grace to write and mean it, then He will give me the grace to sing and mean it.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll.
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.


Listen to "It Is Well With My Soul" below (email subscribers click HERE).


Photobucket
This post left me:

2 comments:

  1. Such a brave post! So very well written! The fact that you are young does not take away how hard and how uncomfortable waiting and being single can be. Still praying for you Hannah.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hannah, I totally can relate! I was single until I was 31, and i hated it. I have married, but i sometimes think I married too soon after meeting my husband, as our life has been super hard. We can't kids, and so wish we could. Hugs. hun!!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...