I can honestly say that when this all started, I really thought the conclusion would bring me Prince Charming ready to sweep me away and ride off into the sunset (or at least a tall/semi-tall/taller than me with heels on, dark-haired, Jesus and football lovin hottie), but it didn’t. I am ending this journey the same way I started it, single. And while that is hard, the process has brought me something different and more than my Prince Charming.
I really can’t adequately put into words what the Lord has taught me about myself and about him, but I am going to try.
I have learned more of the true meaning of Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” That’s a verse often used to inspire athletes to go and win the gold medal or the super bowl or whatever else, but its really the qualifier before that is the meat and potatoes, so to speak, of the thought I think Paul is trying to convey. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
I have been brought low and I have abounded. And in the lows and in the highs I have learned that pursuing Christ in the lows and pursuing him in the abounds brings peace. Quiet peace that brings about steady strength. That is not to say that I have been happy this whole time. Because I haven’t. I have been sad. I have wrestled with the Lord. I have sinned. I have pushed the limits of this commitment. I have gotten too close to a man that I couldn’t date. I have been so far from perfect and happy rainbows and butterflies throughout this process, but I have felt the depth, height, and breadth of Christ’s love during it all.
I have journaled pretty much every day throughout this process and I went back the other day to read some of my first entries. They were from a place of great pain, desperation, loneliness and fear. I think these are the natural emotions we experience whenever we elevate anything…people, things, wealth, jobs, relationships to a status higher than God ordained them to (aka higher than Him). What I noticed the most about these beginning journal entries to now is the change God has created in my heart and life. They didn’t appear in the way I thought they would, through a relationship, but they happened in a small…day by day way. I am not the woman I was a year ago, and Praise the Lord for that!
In the past year, I have never felt more loved and valued by God and the people in my life. I have been given the amazing opportunity to serve my church and community in different ways. I have gained new, wonderful friends that have supported me with love and hugs and laughter.
And like I said at the beginning, my relationship status hasn’t changed BUT God has changed my heart. While I don’t know all the reasons why I am where I am in life, I feel confident that God is using my waiting as a tool of sanctification. Changing me more into his image. John Piper famously said, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.” I may not be aware of the 9,997 other things He is doing in my life, but I am so graciously aware of these three things: 1) This year he transformed me more into his image, 2) He taught me that fulfillment is not something man-made and created by myself, another person or a relationship, but found only through Him, and 3) what it looks like to have confidence in a uncertain future because of who He is not what I can control.
I recently listened to a great sermon called “A History of Waiting” and the pastor concluded his sermon by using the illustration of his children on a road trip. “When a child repeatedly asks ‘are we there yet?’ this doesn’t just reveal his impatience with the journey but there is a confidence there…’are we there YET?’ They might struggle in the waiting, but there is never a doubt in the child’s mind that daddy can’t get them there. Are we there yet is both a cry of longing and a cry of confidence.” http://tcpca.org/sermon/a-history-of-waiting/
And I can definitively adopt the mantra of those children. “Are we there yet?” is my confident appeal to the Lord in this season, however long it may be, of waiting.
In the past year, God has given me a quiet peace and steady confidence in Him during my waiting. On December 13, 2014, I wrote this quote used to describe a polish noblewoman in her biography, “she made magnificent bouquets out of the refusals of God.”
I think if I were able to rewrite this quote in my own biography it would read something like this, “God made her magnificent bouquets out of His refusals.” I am so thankful for the beauty God has brought into my life through His closed doors and refusals.
PS my very sweet and kind friends left their husbands, babies, significant others, normal lives, to celebrate with me last weekend. Its really only appropriate to celebrate a year off dating with your girlfriends and a photo booth.