I know a thing or two about waiting.
That long, arduous inevitability of life in which the thing I most desire seems to evade my grasp longer than I ever expected. When that “thing” seems incredibly CORE to who I am or who I expected to be—a wife, a mother—it is excruciating. And when everyone around me seems to have what I want…sure, go ahead and rub some salt in my wound.
I’ve tried to dull the pain of waiting with activities, work, busy-ness, success, volunteering, events—anything to keep from thinking about what it means to be alone or barren. But all my efforts to pretend there was no pain in all those years of unfulfilled longings don’t actually heal me at all.
Instead, trying to hide the pain from myself and others just reminds me that I am isolated and alone. As the world closes in around me, it occurs to me that maybe I’m the only one who suffers in this way. And there’s no lonelier place on this earth.
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In one of her popular TED talks, Brené Brown says it’s the “me too” response, when we share our story, that makes our deepest pain seem a bit more bearable. The realization that we are no longer alone.
When I began to share the deepest longings of my heart with safe friends, the pain lessened. It normalized. Became okay. The “me too” came from other women who were also in pain. They didn’t even have to be in the same kind of pain I was in. In fact many of them had completely different life circumstances, but to hear someone say, “Yes, I’m hurting, too,” was a healing balm on a wound that once seemed like it might never go away.
Sure, there were times I wished I could wave a magic wand and make it all go away. But when I really think now about what I was wishing for in those brief moments, I catch my breath.
As painful as it was, no, I don’t wish it all away. While my singleness lasted ages longer than I ever imagined, making it go away means I would have missed out on a deeply intimate experience with my Savior. In those end-of-my-rope moments—when I felt I could not go on—He was there.
After long nights of gripping my tear-stained pillow and crying out, “Why God?” the morning finally came, and I felt His comfort. His mercies ARE new every morning. In those moments, I was aware of His presence surrounding me in ways that I now long to feel once again.
It’s not that He’s not here now or that I need Jesus any less as a wife. I might actually need Him MORE. But that deep soul-ache I once felt as a single woman no longer calls out to Him the way it did then. I do believe it is God’s boundless grace that would make Him feel so present in the midst of my pain.
So, even if it was possible, I wouldn’t wave that magic wand to immediately end your singleness. He’s doing something here. You might not see it. I sure as heck didn’t see it in my own life. But He is present. He is near. He is with you. And He knows your pain.
On top of that, I wouldn’t want you to miss out on learning to be vulnerable with other women and stepping deeper into that “me too” space.
In my singleness, I learned how to share deeply. I struggled—sometimes in really ugly ways—with my emotions in the presence of a friend. I confessed idolatry. I confessed envy. And jealousy. I looked the enemy in the eye and told him he couldn’t rob my joy because I belong to Jesus.
Those moments made me who I am now.
They made me into the wife I am today.
And I wouldn’t trade them for anything.