I had an opportunity to visit some of my old college roommate and friends this past weekend and it was absolutely wonderful! We reminisced and caught up on life since I hadn’t seen them in four years. We were together in college during very formative and growing years for all of us and it seems like we have each done a tremendous amount of growing as people since then.
One of the primary reasons that drew us together for this particular weekend was the baby shower we were having for one of my beloved friends. As I sat in the room with these four other women and the conversation went on I found myself shrinking in the corner in silence. The dynamic in the room was as follows: either married but no kids, married and pregnant, married with having a baby in the last year and then me…single and childless. Between marriage and children, I didn’t really have anything to contribute to the conversation so I sat quietly taking in their conversation and seeing how my heart felt about my situation.
While I definitely felt slightly out of place, I didn’t feel as lonely as I would have expected. I was listening to these young moms and moms to be talk about their dreams for their expanding families. I listened to them talk about how their husbands interacted with their infant children. I watched how one of the women who had brought her 8 month old daughter with her move the cups on the coffee table away from the tiny hands without looking or skipping a beat in her conversation.
Today’s culture has women getting married older so the fact that I was the only single women in a room of all 20-something year olds doesn’t put me in the minority category necessarily as a whole. Regarding my singleness, people like to frequently remind me that I still have plenty of time. However, in this room I was a minority. What I did find interesting though and what was a reinforcement of realities already made known to me is that it seems women never stop being in want, regardless of where they are in life.
As a single woman clinging to peace for the season of singleness God has kept me in but still greatly longing to be married and be a wife, to have my husband, I was taking in the fact that the longing doesn’t seem to stop after getting married. My friend who is married without kids, she and her husband are longing to relocate from the town they’ve lived in for almost 10 years now. Both their families are states apart and as they wait on the Lord’s timing and leading on where to move, they long desperately to get out of the rut they seem to have found themselves in.
My friend for whom the baby shower was for, she and her husband have moved 6 times in the last 4 years or so as they have sought to follow God’s leading in their lives. Her husband is a worship pastor and so they have been longing to find a church they can serve in and call home and finally settle down. They also experienced longing vs having peace about hoping for a son but then being told they were expecting a girl.
One of the other women who had a baby girl this past year with her husband of only a couple years began sharing of the kind of family environment they hope to cultivate in the years to come. Both she and my expectant friend compared the experiences their respective husbands had with their families growing up and how that not only shaped the who they were but also how that drives them to want to create a specific type of family life for their own children.
Sure it would have been easy to throw myself a little pity party and say, “Oh woe is me! I’m the pathetic single girl over here that you insensitive married women with your budding families are ignoring. I’m just another one of ‘those’ women at a baby shower. Let the fears come rolling in of how I’m going to be single forever or I’m not going to get married until I’m too old to even have children.” But to my – almost amazement- I didn’t. I had a bizarre kind of peace, joy almost. My flesh wanted me to pout but my spirit said no…and acknowledged that while we all may have been in different stages and each may have had something the other longed to have…we were each seeking what GOD has for our lives.
We were each still left in want of something we either didn’t have, or longing for a specific circumstance and/or environment surrounding what it was we did have. I.e. Not having kids but wanting them vs having kids but wanting a fun home environment. No matter the stage…each woman in that room was still longing for something: the next “stage of life”, control over the stage they were in, consistency, change, etc. And each woman in that room was in longing for what GOD wanted for them regardless of what their ultimate desire was (and still is).
It’s easy for single women to feel isolated and alone because of the topics of conversation that we don’t seem to have any personal experience to participate in (or for my divorced or widowed friends, have a jaded and/or pain-filled heart). It is easy to give in to the flesh and sit there moping and feeling sorry for yourself. OR, or you can CHOSE to reject those thoughts. You can chose to embrace the peace you have been praying for and see yourself in a room of people who may be in different stages of life…but still have things in common. You can chose to not wish away the life God has you living and instead embrace joy he has to offer you. You can pray for one another in your desires. You can celebrate how and when and why God is moving in each other’s lives.
You could be half of an adorable, country-chic/hipster couple whose child is your adorable white puff of a dog and who may be stuck in a rut…but gets to still come and go as you please and have kayaking adventures and spend amazing time with two incredibly loving families.
You could be half of a humble and fun-loving, adventurous couple about to embark on an incredible new adventures of bringing life into this world–even after a rotten pregnancy– and have gotten to see so much of this wonderful country through God’s grace and have a partner in crime to quite your job with in order to follow God in faith and watch him provide.
Or you could be the single girl whom God has blessed immensely even when it doesn’t feel like it. The single girl who was given a story to write, a life to live, and King to glorify. If we are willing to look beyond the subject of the conversations, we will see we have more in common with people than we think…and we can encourage each other and mourn with each other and celebrate with each other without feeling isolated or envious.
This verse was in the passage taught at church this past Sunday and I think it’s appropriate:
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near…
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6,8-9