Looking at February 14th in your calendar and seeing “Valentine’s Day” in tiny print at the bottom of the box either gets you giddy excited and has your heart fluttering, or it has you sifting through your contacts to text your dwindling number of single friends to ask them to join you on your endeavor of eating a whole pizza and downing a bottle of red wine while watching “This Is Us” on the dreaded day of love.
Oh, I’m the only one that does that? Oops.
This past Christmas I was digging into my stocking as I have every other year. Now, us Englehart kids know that the best gifts are in the stockings. That’s where the gas gift cards and socks come out of. This year, I opened sock after sock, a couple gift cards but got to the bottom and pulled out…a book. I thought, “Hm. This is strange. But ya know, I like books. I can dig this.” So I pulled off the wrapping paper, flipped it over and read the title:
Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating.
I said my courteous “Thanks mom and dad!”, but I was sure that it was going to be the last present that I packed in my suitcase to take back to Los Angeles. I was driving to dinner with my mom a few days later and I decided to share my open thoughts about the book with her.
“Hey mom, you do know that I don’t want to be married right now, right?”
“Oh yea, honey! I know. I just want you to be joyful in your singleness.”
“But mom, I am joyful. And I’m actually very comfortable and happy by myself without a boyfriend.”
She seemed a little confused by that response, I’m still not sure if she really believed me. We continued to have a great conversation about the book and my lack of a significant other in my life. My sweet, best friend of a mother kept pushing me to read this “amazing” book, but I’ll be honest when I say that I haven’t even so much as picked it up yet. Because I have slight trust issues when it comes to reading books or articles about singleness and “how great the wait for true love is”. Or “the longer you wait the better the man/woman will be”. Or “how joyful you should really be in the wait for the one that God has hand-picked for you”.
Wait for this. Wait for Ryan Gosling. Wait for roses. Wait. That’s all I’m hearing. Let me tell you why I’m not all about those messages.
I’ve lived my fair share of heartbreak. Anyone who talks to me for more than an hour knows that
heartbreak is something that I have experienced deeply and I’m not a stranger to, but that I have found absolute joy in the ministry of breakups. One of my biggest passions is scooping up girls who have had their hearts broken, and placing Truth into their lives from what I have learned from my heart being bruised. My two closest and best friends came into my life after their hearts were shattered, and only knew about me that I had been in that place before, and came to me as pretty much complete strangers. Vulnerable talks and late night texts then blossomed into the most beautifully transparent and life-giving friendships that I’ve had in my entire life.
So, you would think that on the day of amor as a single-as- a-pringle woman who has loved and lost and apparently an expert on getting her heart shattered that I would be sitting on my bed in my tiny over-priced LA apartment with a tub of gluten-free vegan soy ice cream crying my eyes out. But nope. Not this year. And I’ll tell you why.
I have not been in a serious relationship for a year and a half. No no. I don’t need a box of tissues or a consolation hug. I say that proudly, and with complete peace. Do I sometimes wish I had someone to take care of and cook spontaneous meals for when they’re sick or having a bad day? Yes. Did I wish I had someone to share my excitement about getting a promotion, and starting a new job with a celebrity? Yes. Do I sometimes wish I had someone to talk to and hold me on the hard days when I’m missing my family and feeling far from home? Absolutely. I’m not going to lie and say that the desire for a life companion isn’t there. Because it absolutely is.
But, I also have a complete peace knowing that right now, in these next months, or even years of singleness, that God is preparing my heart to be a better wife, friend, supporter and companion to my husband one day. I’m not stuck in singleness, I’m soaking in it. I have grown this raw dependency on Jesus to be my go-to person that I tell about my days, accomplishments, hurts and exciting moments. He’s become my true life companion, and the best news is that I never have to worry about him dumping me! He’s stuck with me for life and eternity. LOL.
I may have days where I don’t know why I’m single. I may have days where I’m confused why in a city of millions of people that I haven’t met my guy yet. I may have days where I wonder why I’m the one posting pictures of my cat on my Instagram story instead of wedding pictures with a beautiful tall dark handsome man that resembles Channing Tatum. But you know what? God isn’t wondering any of those things that I am, and I’m thankful that the reasons behind each of those isn’t even a question in His mind. No season of my life, dating or single, has ever gone to waste. Single and joyful, single and sad, dating and confused or dating and thrilled. None of them have escaped God’s hand or caught Him by surprise. He’s not sitting there thinking “Oh wow, Maggie just got dumped? Geez, didn’t see that one coming.” Or “Wait, Maggie is dating who now? Huh. Well you go girl!” He knows everything that is going to happen, who is going to be there and when it’s going to take place. And wow, does that give me peace knowing that the creator of the whole universe has got me covered and has the best plan specifically for me in His mind.
It’s become far too easy for us to believe that being single means we’re “stuck” in this black hole of waiting. When are we going to come out of it? Who is going to bring us out of it? Why is God withholding this amazing gift of marriage from us? The problem with that mentality is that we place ourselves in a bubble of pity, and miss out on the abundant life full of opportunities and amazing moments that God has for us right in this moment.
Singleness isn’t a season of waiting. It’s a season of watching. Watching what God can do and is doing in your life right now. And trust me, He’s doing beautiful things. That’s kinda His trademark that He’s been doing for thousands of years.
So, while I’m very excited to be married one day, and have someone to invest in, care for, support and glorify God through, I am loving taking advantage of this time of singleness that God has allowed me to experience with Him. And I’m so thankful that a God who has no limitations, knows exactly what and who is coming my way and isn’t going anywhere loves me so much that He has given me this time to invest in myself and many others and grow immensely as a human to be a person that may better glorify Him when the day comes to say “I do”.