So, this video was out of my comfort zone. Way out! But...I felt like I had an opportunity to share what God has taught me. They had to cut quite a bit of the video, so I typed up some of what was cut so you can read the other things I mentioned.
Click here to watch the video
I had everything planned out. I was going to meet my husband in college, get married the weekend after graduation, and promptly begin serving in ministry alongside my husband. We would eventually buy a house and fill it with treasures I found at thrift stores and paint the inside with vibrant colors, carefully picked out after staring at paint swatches at Home Depot. I never wanted a career or ever dreamed about supporting myself financially. I was going to get a job of course, but I would be able to do anything I wanted because my husband was going to have a full time job with benefits.
I am now 32 and have never been kissed. I remember turning “sweet 16 and never been kissed.” It was cute then. “32 and never been kissed” sounds….pathetic?
I began to panic. I had no idea how I was going to support myself for the rest of my life with a degree that I randomly picked in the first place and never intended to have to use. But, with each year ticking by, my dreams slipped away and the plan imploded. I felt left behind. No one seemed to want to pick me, and I was devastated. I believed so many lies about married; I thought a wedding ring it would create the contentment and happiness that I longed for.
Year after year I crocheted countless afghans as wedding gifts. I kept thinking, when was it going to be my turn? At 32, I still live in an apartment with hand-me-down miss-matched silverware, and I have to watch 22-year-olds registering for Bed Bath and Beyond in preparation for their dream kitchen full of brand new free gadgets.
Eventually I got to the point where I was just plain jealous all the time. I was tired of being so miserable, but I didn't really know what to do about it. I asked God for years to help me learn contentment, but all the asking didn't seem to make much difference. I knew theoretically that my contentment had to be found in Christ, rather than my circumstances. But, that kind of maturity seemed impossible. After all, how do you stop wanting something that you want
Growing up, one of my favorite books was The Hiding Place, which told the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her family when they were sent to Nazi Concentration camps. Corrie's bunk was infested with fleas, and when her sister suggested they thank God for the fleas, she thought it a crazy notion. How could you be thankful for something you hate? But, Corrie's sister insisted, and they thanked God for the fleas. They came to realize that the officers wouldn't enter their bunk houses because of the fleas, and as a result, Corrie and her sister had a safe place to share the Gospel with their fellow inmates. I was determined to use Corrie as an example, and committed one day to be thankful for being single at every chance I could, even if I didn't really mean it, or see the rationale behind saying it.
For a few years I developed a habit of thankfulness; I was intentional about thanking God for being single, even though my heart wasn't in it. It was a long time before I really felt any difference. Then, out of nowhere, I had a breakthrough. I was renting a room in a women's house, and I couldn't stand the way she organized her kitchen. First of all, she put the silverware in the "wrong" drawer. She insisted on cramming the cupboards full of dishes, and every time I opened a cupboard, I was afraid that glass cups would come crashing down on my head. As was my habit, one day I stopped to thank God for being single and needing to rent from this woman. Then, I had this thought. What if I got married someday, and my husband wanted to put the silverware in the "wrong" drawer? What a nightmare! I would have to live with him for the rest of my life! I was able to utter, with all my heart, "Thank you Lord that I'm single and after I move out of this women's house can set up my kitchen correctly." And for just a moment, I became truly grateful for being single. My heart had finally caught up with my head.
When I was a teenage in the mid-90's, there was a popular trend in churches called "true love waits." I, like most of my friends, pledged to wait for marriage. My parents bought me this ring as a symbol of that commitment, and I wore it for years. Eventually, however, the concept of "true love WAITS" began to irk me. While I fully support the concept of abstinence, the word "wait" drove me nuts. To me, it implied that my goal in life was to sit around and wait for my husband to show up. I realized that I could waste a lot of years with that attitude, and that I had a responsibly to serve God with my singleness. I eventually replaced the ring with the a wedding band I inherited when my grandma passed away. No matter if I ever got a diamond for this finger, I know that I am already married. Even if I get married on earth, I won't be married in Heaven. However, I will always be the bride of Christ, and I have been a bride since I asked Him into my heart at age 5. He is my permanent redeemer and the love of my life. Contentment in Christ means is assurance that I'm not pathetic. In truth, I'm a cherished bride.