Monday, April 25, 2011

Waiting Gracefully: Unplugged

This post was not planned as part of my series, but just as I was finishing this up I got an e-mail from a mom whose daughter is struggling with her desire to be married and all the what if and when and how and who questions that can be so troubling.

Oh, my heart goes out. I have so been there. I wish I could grab this gal by the hands and look deep into her eyes and heart and give her a hug and take her out for a cup of tea and listen to her pour out her heart and pray with her.

Something lit in me when I read her e-mail, I wanted to do something, to offer something. Maybe God is showing me a ministry opportunity for someday.

How will I meet him? Where will I meet him? Will I meet him? Am I pretty? Will he think so? What if God doesn't want me to get married?

All I ever wanted was to be a wife and a mom. And, there were a number of years where that reality looked far off and dim. There were some who made fun of this desire. And, the first question I always got when people found this out about me was, "Oh, are you dating someone?" Painfully, I had to admit I was not and I hadn't been and there weren't really any prospects at the moment.

People don't know what to say sometimes and they ask things that hurt and say things that hurt and offer shallow suggestions.

It probably seems trite coming from someone who is on the other side now, who has had her dream become a reality - to even want to hold out hope to these who are coming behind me. How can I really encourage them when I don't have the answers for their lives?

I don't know what God holds for each one. I don't know how, when, where, who. I can't offer that kind of information or insight.

Sort of thinking "out loud" here - but I can offer friendship. I can offer understanding. I can offer to pray and be there and be available and I can promise to treat their dreams with tenderness and respect and hope. I can share my heart and we can look together at God's heart and pray through together.

If you can remember being in this season or are currently in this season - how can we come alongside you? How can we encourage you? When presented with the opportunity to invest our time - how should we to be of the most help and blessing to our sisters and those around us?


Anonymous said...

I SOOOO remember this time! All I wanted to be was a wife and mom too, but didnt end up getting married till I was 26 and due to infertility issues just had my first 2 babies at 33 and now #3 is coming at age 34. I remember well-meaning people encouraging me to concentrate on my career (I'm a nurse), but I didnt really see the point. To me nursing is a job for a season and though I'm glad I'm able to do it, it's not where I find my main joy and fulfillment-I get that from my job as a wife and mom.

angela said...

I was 29 before I got married and 36 before I had my son. I agree waiting is hard. I am now faced with close friends my age who are still single. When I was single I felt I was "open" to dating. If someone wanted to set me up on a blind date, I went, feeling like I had nothing to lose. I met my husband on a blind date. But I have friends who do not seem open. Who think that her future husband will come in and sweep them off their feet in some glamorous way. I know that doesn't happen. I know your heart and mind have to be willing to go where God is leading you. I feel bad for these ladies. I love them and I love being married and a mama. I wish I could something, but I know I can't.

Anonymous said...

My heart sighed and smiled as I read your post. I remember it so well. My husband and I married in September of 2009. I was 36 he was 44. Neither of us dated much and were near the point of acceptance of our singleness. I have cried oceans of tears and cried out to God asking Him why He wanted me to be without a husband and children. I begged God to take the desire away from me.
On the other side of marriage, I know He had a plan for me and for my husband Vincent. Due to my age, children may not be in our future but I know God has a plan. I will trust Him.
Both Vincent and I were raised in Church. We met in our Church Singles Ministry Department. Church's have such a need for this area yet it is not always a priority or in the Budget. On behalf of a former single who struggled with the "why's of life - if God is calling you to lead in ths area He will bless you by ministering to these men and women who feel unloved. Being in church as an older single can be heartbreaking - being in the midst of families.

Jenny Goldsby

Anonymous said...

I was so there! I was 33 when i married and 37 when I had my first child. I found that having a good Christian social circle helped a lot, and that's how I eventually met my DH, through a good girl-friend who asked us both to the same event.
I suggest doing what you love and spending lots of time around others and being open. Don't be afraid to let people know you are interested and what the desires of your heart are.

Angel said...

What a wonderful ministry!
I have a loved one who also wanted nothing more than to be married and be a mommy. But she was willing to do it her own way when the Lord didn't do it "fast enough" and she walked away from Him to get it :( She does have a husband and children now, but has not returned to Him. Breaks my heart.

Angela P said...

I thought this was kind of funny, "And, the first question I always got when people found this out about me was, "Oh, are you dating someone?" Painfully, I had to admit I was not and I hadn't been and there weren't really any prospects at the moment."

I'm 23 and I've heard this same thing before. It's not painful though, just kind of awkward.

I couldn't be more content though. There are blessings in being single if only you will be open to them. So many opportunities to give generously.

It is so good for single ladies to be around kids. It is a training time, and since we want to be mothers some day being around kids is wonderful training. It is so fun to be able to just love the kiddos at my church and it is great when their mothers appreciate that.

And yes, church is so important. When you don't have the responsibilities of a husband and kids you have fewer hindrances to getting involved in ministry through your church.

Jennifer said...

I don't mean to be shallow, but honestly for me one of the things that was the biggest struggle was thinking no one wanted to date me because I wasn't pretty enough. I lead a Jr. High youth group, and I always tell the girls how beautiful they are. It was a long time before I really realized that beauty is just a tiny part of what attracts men, and no matter how many times someone told me that I didn't believe it, because it was something I had to learn for myself.

Because of this, I think it would be great to have some kind of retreat for single women, where they could spend the weekend learning about how beautiful God thinks they are, and to encourage them not to get caught up to looks, but to work on the things that really matter. It could include things like teatime, pedicures, prayer partners, etc.

Anonymous said...

I haven't had this problem, but I think that when you accept yourself for who you are, and not "need" someone else to make you fill whole, you will be more likely to find a mate.
I have a relative who is turning 25 this year, and is desperate to find a man. She comes across as needy and desperate, and I think it scares men away. A person who is secure and happy with him/herself if much more appealing.

Stephani said...

People can be so thoughtless during these times. I have been there, and my best friend, a wonderful, God-filled woman is not dating anyone. People ask her when she's getting married, or if she's dating anyone, then say things like "I'm sure God's got someone for you."
She is studying to be a missionary, so if God wants her to get married, He has a husband for her that is heading that way as well. She is open to meeting people, but I know at times it is very hard studying to be a single missionary when most around you are couples and families.

Singleness is a gift from God as much as being a wife and mother are. However, many times the church at large marginalizes singles or treats them as if they are lacking something. It's no wonder that some singles feel that they are not spiritual enough, pretty enough, etc to find a husband. Also it's no wonder they feel they are lacking without a husband. It is challenging to be single missionary, often times there is no singles ministry or even a singles Sunday School class at church.

I pray we can be more understanding and a blessing to our brothers and sisters who are still in this waiting time.

Unknown said...

As I near 30 and there are still no prospects in sight, the comments grow more frequent. "When are you getting married?" "It'll happen." "Just wait on God." "He has someone so special out there for you." I know those people mean well. Some of them are my best friends. But it still is hard to hear. It's hard to keep the smile on my face and answer, "I know.' Because in all reality, I DON'T know. I don't know that it will happen. I don't know that God has someone special out there for me. I don't know what His plan is. I do know He has placed the desire in my heart and that I'm doing my best to wait well. To rest in His goodness and His sovereignty in my life.

If there is anything that I would want someone to pray for me is that I would remember that singleness is a gift. And that all gifts from our Father are good. When someone gives you a give, you have 2 options--to accept it or reject it. In most cases, rejecting a gift is unthought of. But this is one gift that many people often reject and want nothing to do with. So pray that we would accept the gift with grace and dignity and that we would honor our Father in the acceptance of it. Pray that we would use our singleness well. To bless others and to prepare for what God may have in store for us. And pray that we would find the satisfaction to our desires in a loving, merciful and caring God who loves us more deeply than any man could.

These are all things that most of us know already. We know them well and struggle with them. So you don't necessarily have to tell us that you are praying these things for us. Do it in secret. What a wonderful blessing it would be to receive a card from someone on my wedding day telling me that someone has been praying specifically for me all these years.

Just thoughts from a single woman... :)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie said...

I was 35 when I met my husband, 36 when we married. Then, thanks to an infertility problem, 40 when I had my only child. I remember well the waiting.
I understand the whole thing about singleness being a gift, but when every fiber of your being desires to be a wife and mother and when the world suggests something is wrong with you because you're on your way to being a spinster, sometimes it's hard to see a gift.
One of the hardest parts I remember is going to events alone. Most church fellowship events (at least in my area) are really designed as family events no matter how they're advertised. Often having someone meet me there or even drive there with me would have have been a comfort.
(And a confession -- although a so desired to be a mother, I was not comfortable around small children. I'm still not comfortable around lots of kids, but I love being a mother.)

Holly said...

I'm here because Pamela from A Sheltering Tree highlighted you as part of the "Pay It Forward" blog Meme, and I am so glad she did!

I want to run out and procure a billboard that says what you wrote:

I can offer friendship. I can offer understanding. I can offer to pray and be there and be available and I can promise to treat their dreams with tenderness and respect and hope. I can share my heart and we can look together at God's heart and pray through together.

Absolutely beautiful!