Well, nothing really. I feel like any answer I’d give would let my inquirer down. They expect to hear about a boyfriend, or maybe I’m moving into an apartment sometime soon, or maybe I have plans to travel. No, all’s the same here… want to talk about my sisters though?
I see my older sister gently touch her tummy. We all wonder who the baby is inside of her and we look forward to meeting this little one in a few short days. After waiting months we all greatly long to hold this tiny, precious bundle, and to see if it’s a boy or girl, with blonde hair? Maybe brown. What color of eyes will we see? I’m excited my sister is at this stage in her life. She’s married to a wonderful husband, is working on making an old farmhouse into a beautiful home, and will so soon welcome this little child into the world. She’ll be a mom.
My younger sister is finished with school, full of dreams and aspirations (as well as talent!) and is dating a charming young man who she loves to spend time with. The two of them get along well, have much to talk about, and can hardly wait to see each other each weekend. You never know, but it looks like the beginning of a relationship that will last forever. I’m happy for her, and I’m trying to get used to the idea of her thinking of marriage. She’s my little sister, it’s hard to grasp she’s old enough to consider marriage.
Me, well, all I know is the moment, and even that sometimes seems meaningless. I get up early, go to work, may stay late, drive back home to my parent’s house, spend my evening doing routine things (laundry, cleaning, reading, or movie watching), then I go to bed with all to repeat the next day. Contentment is a never-ending lesson to learn.
Having bruised my heart twice in the last two years from knowing two different young men, I’m currently single and can’t decide whether I’m looking forward to the next relationship with a man, or not. Maybe I just need time to heal . . . but it isn’t time that does the healing I’ve learned. It’s Jesus. Even while I’m hurting, part of me longs to date again, to have a boyfriend, to have someone to talk with every day and dote on, but another part is truly enjoying having a quieter, slower life right now. Have you ever wished the step of dating could be skipped and you could be dropped into marriage to a wonderful spouse? Haha, it sounds darn scary when I actually say it, but it’s oftentimes what my heart wishes for. Not an arranged marriage by any means, it’s just a wish to be further ahead in my life, to a time when I’m married to my husband (if I’m to have one). Wondering who he is, where he is, and when he’ll come is hard . . . and in some ways it just gets harder the older I get as I watch those around me get married and begin little families of their own.
It’s true the world looks down on twenty-somethings still living at home, unmarried, and childless… especially if you’ve also decided to forgo college, and have no career plans, but does it matter what the world says or thinks if those thoughts are misaligned with God’s thoughts? A sweet friend of mine wrote about how the world has perceived her and how she took those wounding arrows of shame and put them in the hands of Jesus. You can read her beautiful words here. I think she can attest to the freedom that comes in knowing and believing that we don’t need to measure up to the world’s standards. The One who hung the world in space calls us his own, and loves us as his own dear children.
“This is the world from which Jesus came to redeem us, to give us faith in his Father’s love so that we do not need to assert ourselves and our innocence and our righteousness, so that we can relax and confess the truth about ourselves, so that we can stop judging ourselves and others, because we know that it doesn’t matter: God loves us anyway, so that we are liberated enough to risk … loving and being loved by others, liberated enough to know that we belong to each other because we belong to God.” — Herbert McCabe
I think it’s just great to be married young, if you’re ready and want to, but it’s also great to remain single! There’s a lot of life to be lived, whether you’re married or single. There are hard lessons to learn in either stage of life, and wonderful possibilities to explore in each as well.
Below is a bit from a letter I wrote to a girlfriend last night. Although it’s vulnerable to do, I’d like to share it with you:
God’s taught me a lot in the area of marriage, and challenged me on how much I’ve longed for it. He’s teaching me to be content with him, and not count marriage and family as an ultimate goal in life. Maybe I will be single forever, probably not, but it could happen. If I do marry, it might be ten years from now so it’s sobering to consider what I might do with purpose as a single.
I struggle with living with purpose where I am. All the purposefulness I really have is to treat the people I spend time with kindly, strive to work with integrity and excellence, when I have time to write on my blog I aim for the posts to be encouraging, I pray for people I know, and I speak to God by praying throughout the day. I want to be a good friend. I want to know people and care about them. Relationships are the most precious thing in life, I think, and I want to bless others by being a friend to them. Knowing how, in my present circumstances though, is difficult.
I’ve shared my struggles, but let me also say I am thankful for where I am, and I’m blessed to have friends who encourage me. They’re scattered from Tanzania, to Ohio and Michigan, to the West Coast and the nearest (outside my family) are 80 miles away, but they’re there, and I love them each. And the gift of my family is overwhelming, I’m lucky to live so near them and to have a good relationship with all of them! Thank you Jesus. I look forward beyond words to being an aunt, and to someday having a second brother-in-law who will add further joy to our family. If marriage isn’t in the near future for me, that’s okay. I’m excited to see what other plans God has for me. I know they’re good. He promised me they are.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” — Jeremiah 29:11-14
“What if my aim was to love people well, and to fully embrace the gifts I’ve been given? Would that be enough? What if my life goal was to simply run the race, to be called a good and faithful servant at the end of it all? Maybe that would mean marriage and children and a thriving career, but maybe it wouldn’t. Is it ok if it doesn’t?”
— Read more from 26, Unmarried and Childless