when the world squashes singleness.

Sometimes my old lady soul emerges. I could ride around in a beat up Lincoln town car looking at old houses for hours. Those adorned with Christmas lights push my giddy buttons. The porches capture my interests and green shudders are top notch. But then I begin imaging the lives lived there. Does their house tell a story? Is it like my McCarley home whose dented in screen door bellows a moment my teenage temper took over? Is the furniture etched into with children’s names who were learning to write? Does a big house mean big family? Do they like ice cream? The questions flow out of my internal for days.

I know where my love for house gazing comes from. It is not a southern living inspired decor or a notion that the home makes or breaks you. If we were all being honest, there would be an array of messy that would emerge from under our rugs or from the graves of our buried hopes that sit within our foundations.  My love for house gazing comes from the hopes of seeing life.

Four years ago when I walked past that beaten screen door of the home I grew up in, I created these expectations as to why I was nesting in the woods of Carroll County. My long term hope for life was that maybe, just maybe, the rooms that were once filled with a growing Serio clan would be filled with a husband and a growing clan of my own.  A year passed and remodeling came to somewhat of an end. “Ok Lord, there are rooms people can live in… is now the start of a new season?” Another year passed and I became more financially stable than I had ever been.  “Ok Lord, I could actually feed babies if need be… Now?” And another year trickled through and I began asking, “ok Lord… Are you even there? Goodness? How long do I wait? Ummmmmmm. Yeah I’m kinda over it. You playing this waiting game!”

Doors to other rooms began to literally close and the life I began to live within those walls reflected an idolatrous, disappointed me that questioned Gods goodness because I misunderstood His gifts. I wanted the joy that was stripped from that home’s history to be restored. And I wanted it to be restored by making a doll house of my dreams.

My life took a long pause and I sat on a porch called confusion.  What did I do that was so bad that kept the gift of marriage from me? Or this conversation would happen… (Insert small talk on aisle 3 of SuperValu) “oh hey girl? How are you?” I’m doing well thank you. Moved back home, teaching in Grenada… Just the same ol’ same ol’ thing. “Oh that’s great… Are you dating anyone?” No, not at the moment.  “Well ok, good to see you,” Ok, bye?! (Insert sitting on porch of confusion) All you wanted to know is if I was dating?!

Singleness became a burden. It became a definition for who I was or who I was meant to be. It became a thorn that stabbed so deep that I began questioning purpose and provision and if grace was plentiful. Singleness didn’t seem to be the grand gift Jesus + Paul declared it to be.

And I, with all that was in me, wanted it to be a gift.  That when I opened my front door, I saw it packaged there all holy and I would pick it up like a treasure from a lost ark somewhere!

I no longer wanted to just try to survive in a world and culture and society, that more times than none, makes weddings all about not being single anymore. Instead of making marriage a display of God’s covenant with His people.  I no longer wanted to survive in this Pinterest-cycling storm like a rock trying to float on a paper towel. I wanted to see singleness as a gift. Absent of confusion. Full of the grace of Christ wherein my story gazes toward the One True Light who has promised, since day one, to get me home safe.

On my drive home today from test taking and spending some serious quality time with a kindred spirit of a friend, I began the hard conversation with the Lord again. This time, however, the conversation was a lot less verbal and a whole lot more of “And I will give them a singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them.  I will take away their hard heart and give them a {tenderly and softly} responsive heart {because I am calling}, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. They then will truly be my people, and I will be their God {in singleness. in barren lands. in fruitful marriages. in coffee shop conversations. in other people’s kids birthday parties. in stormy seas. in beacons of revelation light. even in death… Thy forever King will be exalted!}” Ezekiel 11:19-20

The world apart from Christ, that so easily tries to entangle us, has squashed singleness as a gift. It makes marriage a partnership with whomever to be released from the chains of empty houses and cat-lady labels. Because this is not our home, its view of singleness can be a disease or sickness, and its lies make us ask the question if God really is good? It makes us see the mirrored image as if something is wrong with a ringless finger. It breathes into our hearts the belief, that while single, we will never be richly satisfied. It even gives a vibe that being single in the Church is hard. Maybe harder than it would be to be single and not in Church.

As I sat across from her today at an onside table for two, I was with great holy hugging, reminded that singleness is a gift. That my uninterrupted, unscheduled time was a gift straight from the overflow of His rich well. And it began cooling and softening this houses foundation to hear the prelude of eternity.

Marital status is not the ultimate end. For none of us lives for ourselves alone. And none of us dies for ourselves alone.  If we live, we live for the Lord.  And if we die, we die for the Lord.  So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

These are holy days to help understand the nature of eternal life and today’s present gifts.

 

 

Father, Your faithfulness to bind us to Yourself leaves me weak with wonder. That even the roughest of labor pains were meant to bring forth life. In our seasons, whether in singleness or in marriage, forever bind our hearts to yours. Set our eyes to see the banner of love that flies over our forever home. And as we wait, not for the next best thing, but for You to return to us, daily remind our hearts that You, too, sit waiting to gather us to Yourself. Give us a faith to surrender to time… To Your time, and Your ways, and consume our thoughts with Your thoughts.  Give us an empty hand cupped ever so eagerly to receive only what You have to offer.  Squash, altogether the lies that squander Your gifts, and open the doors to our homes {to our hearts} to receive the rest that comes with the new life You’ve given. May we forever be beautifully poured out by the hands of God and not buried by the hands of a clock.  You set it all up for joy.  

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “when the world squashes singleness.

  1. I have been single all of my adult life and though there have been opportunities to marry if I had not sabotaged it (or because I want a marriage that will last or none). Another friend of mine who has also been single all of her adult life and yes again she had a chances too, to marry, she said to me one day in one of our 6 hour talks. “You know I think that I would have more accepted as a single woman, had I married and divorced. She of course was not contemplating doing that, she had had chances at a thing that some have called the “starter marriage”.
    It is just the state of our churches even in our time, that we feel more fully accepted in a bar than within a mostly married and couples oriented congregation.
    I have felt all that you describe as a younger woman. And I don’t doubt at all that you will eventually find a godly man and fall in love and marry, not just because you are an absolutely gorgeous young woman but because your heart is towards God. If that is your truest desire. In fact you may have already had chances at letting that kind of love into your life. It seems that with most if the truth be known that is the case.
    All I know, as a lifelong single christian woman who wants to please the Lord by doing things His way, I look back and see all of the many joys I have had as a single, not because I am a single but because He is a Husband to the husband-less, and He has shown Himself faithful. I have joy and contentment. I own no cats (allergic) and have many interests and love many people, as God said to love, because it is His love in and out through me, and all of us as believers. We are already in Union with the best Person who exists. He will be ours throughout eternity. I look forward to it.
    But at your age, you will meet so many people, and the Lord knows your heart’s desire and hope. Just having an open heart to love and not holding back because you fear being hurt, is the hardest thing to some, but there are always men around who have a desire for a Godly woman too and beautiful as well.

    God knows where they are, but in the meantime you have a full life, lots of people who love you and who you love, and I doubt the people who have such a short conversation at SuperValu just aren’t free enough and maybe still look at marriage as the cure all. I read something somewhere or heard it somewhere and it made a lot of sense. Just look to being in Christ the kind of woman that the man you are looking for, is looking for. Sounds complicated but really isn’t. God bless you on your journey, and don’t give up on your dreams just yet. It seems in your middle to late 20’s or even 30’s that you feel old but when you are my age looking back you see how YOUNG, that really was. 🙂

    Like

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