With 14 days to go until the wedding day, I thought it would be an appropriate time to post about some of the lessons I learned throughout my single years. I spent a long time trying to figure out the path God had placed me on, and here are some of the key points I’ve been able to take away from it…
1) Don’t Wish Away Your Single Years
I spent many years wishing I wasn’t single. First it was in high school when not many of my peers were dating, but I was concerned with the fact that I didn’t have a boyfriend and worried that something might be wrong with me. You can take a moment and laugh – I do. I’ll chalk those years up to teen paranoia.
But more seriously, I found myself wishing away my single years during my late teens and early twenties, when friends around me began to get engaged and married. I thought I was ready – and because there wasn’t a man in my life I began to worry again about whether there ever would be.
Are you beginning to see a trend?
I spent so much time worrying that I almost missed a lot of what God was trying to show me during those years.
First and most importantly I learned patience and to grow in my personal relationship with the Lord. While my faith had always been strong, I learned what it meant to lean on God – to trust in him to direct my future. That might sound like a simple thing, but for me, when to be a wife and mother was something that I wanted so badly, it was a journey to learn!
I learned to be joyful for others. There were many moments when I struggled with some intense jealousy as I watched friends become engaged, married, and start families of their own. It was a truly humbling experience to learn to be joyful for those friends (and not just slap on a happy face). Some friends were more understanding than others while I was on this journey, and to be fair, I pushed away some friends because at the time it hurt to much to try and be happy for them.
I was also able to use my single years to engage in some wonderful opportunities. I had the chance to travel – both with my family and friends, and later school trips to the east coast and Kenya. I was able to volunteer at church with music, women’s ministries, and with high schoolers. I went to law school, which was rigorous journey of immense academic and spiritual growth, and had the chance to work for local and state government offices. Most importantly, I’ve had the chance to spend some extra time with my family, including brushing up on some important skills – cooking, sewing, budgeting, etc.
Don’t make the mistake I did and spend time wishing away your single years. Realize that they are a precious time that can be vitally important to preparing you for what God has planned for your future. And also remember that it’s not the most attractive thing for a guy to come across an overly clingy girl whose been sitting around just waiting for any old man to come make her a wife! The skills and experiences I’ve had make up many of the things Brandon loves about me J
2) God’s Timing is the Best Timing
I’ve always felt like I was at the end of the list.
Youngest person in my family.
One of the youngest people in my high school/college class. (making me one of the last ones to get my license and turn 21).
Last of my friends to get engaged.
Last of my friends to get married.
Likely last of my friends to have kids.
For a long time this really bugged me! Couldn’t I ever be FIRST at something? Or even hit the middle of the curve?
During the craze of wedding seasons (i.e. 3 summers ago I was a part of 4 weddings and invited to 11) I was mostly okay with being behind the curve. I was dating someone at the time and figured my day would come (which it has!). The benefit of getting married this January is that a lot of my friends haven’t had a wedding in awhile (since they are all old married folks now) and there is a renewed excitement about the event!
Recently the craze has been babies! When Brandon and I wrote out our guest list we could immediately count 26 people off the list because they couldn’t travel due to pregnancy/new baby! In the last few weeks I have watched friends and family welcome Sophia, Ellis, Everett, William, Jackson, Brandon, Elliott, Henry, Caroline, Landon, and Mary Evelyn into their families. And that is not counting the numerous babies on their way, including a new niece/nephew! :) I might have been struggling with a little bit of baby fever….
But the truth is that I have learned over and over again that while God’s timing is often different than mine, and it is always better.
Don’t listen to pressure from family or friends who tell you that you’re destined for failure if you don’t have a career chosen by the time you’re 17, or that you’re an old maid if you don’t have a mate in sight by 21, or that you’re behind schedule if you haven’t had a child by 25. On the same hand, don’t listen to family or friends who tell you you’re crazy for getting married at 20, or having a child by 21, etc.
The world’s timing is not God’s timing.
I waited longer than I thought I would to meet the man God had in store for me, and let me tell you – it was WORTH THE WAIT! In the same sense, Brandon and I would welcome any blessing God sends our way after marriage. We know when we think would be our ideal time to start our family, but let’s face it. I think I’ve finally learned to let go of the planning and let God lead. It’s better that way!