Over the years I have learned that my relationship with the struggle of singleness is something of a roller coaster. I have seasons where I really deeply struggle and seasons where I am genuinely content with where I am. The seasons can last anywhere from a week to months. I don't think I've stayed in either of the seasons for more than a year. And while it can be exhausting at times, the back and forth, I am actually quite grateful that the Lord has given me this ride.
I've been in the content season now for more than six months. In fact, except for a short period of a week or two, it's almost been a year. I was commenting to Ale, my friend who has faithfully loved and discipled me for two years, that while I have enjoyed this season, and it would be easy to pray that God leaves me here, I know that I am still on the roller coaster. I will struggle again. And I am glad for it.
Strange. Glad to be struggling? Yes.
You see, while the struggle itself is painful, it has taught me to cling to God's goodness in a way that I would not have learned otherwise. The fact that there is a desire in me to be married that may never be realized. The fact that I can't control the whens and hows in this incredibly important part of my life. All of this has forced me to rely on God, put all my trust in Him, and cry out that He be my good and perfect heavenly Father.
That's not a lesson I would easily give up.
I have met women who are older and single and seem not to struggle with it. And good for them. But I have tasted the bittersweet cocktail of good desires left unmet. I have seen what ugliness comes out of my heart. And I have met a God who loves me enough to make all good and perfect gifts from heaven mean that I am still single. I don't buy into the lies that I'm single because I'm not ready yet to be married. Bull. I don't buy into the lies that as soon as I give up the desire, God will give me a husband. Even deeper bull.
God doesn't work like that. But I will tell you how He does work. He purchased my life on the cross and is in the process of making me into His image. He is fully committed to dealing with my sinful heart as a good and perfect Father. And for whatever reason, that means keeping me single for right now. And someday, if I get married, it will be because God is using marriage to deal with my sinful heart. And that is a promise I can count on (unlike the "promise" that He will give me a husband. Show me that verse!)
Why am I writing all this? Well, tonight I felt my heart begin to slip. I use the analogy of a roller coaster to describe my swings in the struggle and I think I am getting to the top of a big hill. It's been quite a while since I plunged into the depths of struggle. I've been enjoying the ride up the hill, watching the scenery, remembering all those past plunges. And suddenly I realize that I am at the precipice looking down, waiting for gravity to pull me down into what can only be described as despair.
As I prepare my heart for the plunge, I want to remember everything I know is true about God and this roller coaster. God is my good and perfect Father. And His purpose for the roller coaster is a good one: to teach me to depend on Him. And just as I knew that this season of being content wouldn't last forever, I know that the season of struggle will come to an end.
Maybe I'm wrong and my heart will remain firm in it's place of being content. But if I'm not, and the roller coaster is coming to a steep decline, all I can say is, hold on tight and enjoy the ride!