I guess it makes sense that someone has to be the last one to get married. I just never thought that that person would be me. After all, I always love to lead the charge. Yet, here I am, the last of my friends to find their “better half”. Sure, I have single friends. They are just younger than me or don’t live here. As great fun as it is to be the bridesmaid, plan the parties, and compile a list of “Things Never To Do At My Own Wedding”, there is a hole that occasionally stretches wide open in me.
It’s a dull sense of loneliness that sets in when all of your friends have paired up and decide to have “couple’s night” and you’re not invited, because well, you’re not in a couple. Then there are the feelings of “my feelings can’t quite matter enough” in the face of wedding planning and having babies and buying houses. And as silly as it is, there are the feelings of being replaced.
Truth be told, I’m a strong, independent, confident woman. I have a degree. I had a great start to my career. I have a fantastic family and beautiful friends. I have traveled the world, followed my heart, and have no regrets. I have loved hard, forged amazing friendships and live a life that I would not trade for anyone else’s. And in a mere eight weeks, I’m moving to the opposite side of the world, literally 12 time zones away, to follow God’s call. I am more than excited and at complete peace.
But I’m ashamed to admit that I also feel a small sense of relief in moving away. No longer will I have to be the odd one out. No longer will I be painfully aware of my friends hanging out together, but I’m not invited because I’m only half.
I think that that is really the hardest part – to feel de-valued because of your lack of something that is beyond your control. After so many years of being such an integral part of my group of amazing friends, after so much life lived together, I feel like it has come to this – unless I have a man to bring with me, I don’t bring enough to the table.
The good news is that I realize that all of these are Lies. The Enemy knows my immeasurable worth as a woman, he knows my potential, he knows my capabilities, he is aware of my authority in Christ, and he will do everything he can to convince me that until or unless I have a husband, I cannot be effective or worthy in life, in ministry, in friendships, etc.
I know it’s a Lie, you know it’s a Lie, but the truth is, being in this place is often lonely. Don’t get me wrong, there is a deep peace that comes from being in exactly the right place and time. There is also joy, contentment, and many other great things. But there is also loneliness at times. As single women, let’s not do ourselves a disservice by pretending that we have it all together or that that big ol’ hole doesn’t just widen up again and threaten to consume us sometimes.
I feel anxiety just typing that out. I’m being very vulnerable here and I feel like women are simply not supposed to feel this out loud. We are supposed to remember that we have many years ahead of us in which to find our spouses. We are supposed to focus on Christ and how He is all we need. We are supposed to remember that we’re content and “it doesn’t matter.”
The Truth is, I do
know that Jesus is all I need. But I also miss what I’ve never had and I am madly in love with a man I’ve never met.
And. This. Does. Matter.
“I know what it feels like.” This whisper came to me as I was sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane – the place of Jesus’ extreme sorrow and bitter loneliness the night before He was betrayed by one of His closest friends, denied by another friend, and brutally murdered by the people that He came to save. He came to the Garden with His closest friends for comfort and support. What do they do, the great friends that they are? They fall asleep. (Maybe the babies were just up too much the night before or something)
He knows. When I wake in the blackest night with an excruciating sense of loneliness. When I have no Plus 1 for a wedding. When I show up to a restaurant and have a brief moment of silent panic because I don’t know where to sit because there is no one to sit opposite me and I don’t want to screw up the seating for everyone else. When I can’t contribute to the conversation about housewifey things and married life. He has felt what I felt.
Jesus lived His entire life as a single person. He knew what it was like to have His siblings marry ahead of Him, His friends too occupied with their own relationships and families to bother about Him. He knew what it was like to be the one without the babies or the wife to walk beside Him.
I think one of the greatest things about Jesus’ singleness is that His life was still purpose-filled. He was completely fulfilled in His role, and that physical loneliness or sense of separation from people and cultural norms did not hurt His ministry or His sense of worth. In fact, His ministry was enhanced by it. I know this and I cling to that truth in the midst of loneliness.
But sometimes, it just sucks to be the one on the outside. Plain and simple.
So, He turns around and invites me to His table. He knows what I feel; He has felt it Himself – in the extreme loneliness of Gethsemane and the Cross, where His own Father turned His face away. He feels this along with me and His heart breaks along with mine.
Please, let’s not pretend that independent, strong, driven women are never hit with loneliness. The truth is, we do and that matters. Sometimes, however briefly and even though we hate to admit it, that hole just opens up wide and threatens to suck you right in.
Tomorrow I’ll be back on the horse, raring to take on the world. I’ll be my independent, joyful, contented self again, excited to be living out this amazing season of my life to the fullest. I’ll remember how great it is that I can sleep diagonally in my queen-sized bed with five pillows and not have to share my duvet. I’ll remember how awesome it is that I can watch The Bachelorette and nobody will tease me about it. I’ll remember how fantastic it is that I don’t have to consult with someone else before making decisions for my life. Oh, there are certainly great things about being single.
But for tonight, I just need to remember that He knows. He simply knows.