The snow beat down as I gazed out the window at the glistening world of white, a beautiful sight even as the light from a dim sky slowly began to fade. My buzzing thoughts once again had slowed long enough to stray to that forbidden dream, that forgotten longing; the telling dull ache that resonated from deep within my soul. I had been in this place before… in fact, I knew it well. But simply understanding the pain would not soothe it; ignoring it as it tugged on my heart would not make it go away. I was lonely.
My life was full. I was a happy, cheerful, ambitious go-getter with a bright future and a hundred wild dreams besides. I was, in all reality, living my perfect dream, traveling from one city to the next, singing and sharing my testimony. Surrounded by a fun and loving family, I was encouraged to reach for the stars and let nothing hold me back from the plans God had in store for me. Anyone I met would have said I was confident, optimistic and hopeful of the future, regardless of whether it held marriage in it or not. I knew I had always dreamed of living my happily-ever-after story with the love of my life, but at the time I was unconcerned with how it would come to be and content to live my life to the fullest until Prince Charming found me.
But from somewhere deep within me the doubt began to grow. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be spending my days like a mad woman on Black Friday searching for my one and only. But what if he never found me?
My resolve began to waver.. but before I plunged into the depths of despair, I turned to God. In that place of uncertainty I reached out and found my Savior in a way I never had seen him before, and he answered me with truth that continues to guide me today, a happily married mama of two adorable kids. What was this revelation? I’ll be honest, it’s a bit underwhelming at first… but it changed that way I looked at my life. His words?
Dear Precious, Beautiful, Lonely Heart,
I know during this season it may seem as if your time will never come. If life were an airport you would continually be waiting for a plane to land that may bring your Prince Charming, yet as one empties out after another, no one comes for you.
Perhaps you know what it is to love and be loved, and have either been left broken-hearted or been the one to leave. You may have painful regrets and memories that refuse to fade, or maybe your most painful regret is the lack of memories you have, due to a timid heart.
Whatever the case, wherever you find yourself this Valentine’s Day, I have a new challenge for you:
For anyone who has ever bore a child, they will tell you without doubt the hardest part of the journey is the home stretch. Those final weeks, days, hours when you’re walking around like a ticking time bomb, knowing that any minute could be “it”. It was the thing I dreaded most in my second pregnancy, knowing how agonizing every hour past your due date can be. You’re prepared. Everything’s pristine; all items are checked off your list. You have the nursery set up, the hospital bag packed, and the coming home clothes picked out. You’ve rehearsed the sceneries over and over again a million times: if it happens at church, I’ll do this… If it happens at Walmart I’ll do this…. If I’m home alone in a snow storm I’ll do this… You think you’re preparing, doing the responsible thing, getting yourself ready. But you’re really psyching yourself out. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re due in the dead of winter, you need to have a driver lined up with a snow plow waiting on call. But most often, as the time lingers on, we fall into obsessive planning, anxious looking, and hopeless waiting. This, my sweet sister, is not helpful in those last days before your child is born, and neither is it what God asks of the lonely, waiting heart.
I’ve asked myself that question, along with countless other aching hearts. I can’t explain why some never seem to want for love and why others can spend their entire lives on this earth without finding a soulmate. But I can tell you this: the God of this universe – your Creator and Sustainer – fashioned you in your own uniquely beautiful way to bring a light to this world that no one else could give. Your purpose in life is not to find someone to love you, but to live your days loving your Maker to the very best of your abilities.
I have yet to meet a military wife who has endured a deployment that will tell you that wallowing in the pain the entire time is the best cure for making it pass quickly.
I used to turn on the news every morning to see if the headlines would announce my husband’s base had been attacked. All too soon I realized how utterly crippling it was to my courage.
If you spend these lonely years keeping your eyes peeled for the next possibility, I’m afraid all you will see is disappointment. For every glance a stranger gives you that may brighten your day, you’ll receive a bridesmaid’s invitation from one of your soon-to-be-married friends. The problem isn’t you, it’s timing. The Master of all plans has destined for you this time in your life, whether short or long, of sweet isolation; precious abandon to the Savior – a holy time of waiting. And no matter what you try to do to stop end it, until He brings this season of your life to a close, your efforts will be painfully in vane.
Some find along their journey a match – a partner – with whom to share life’s joys and sorrows. Others do not, but find instead immeasurable joy, peace and security in the One who made them and continues to find the greatest joy in their presence.
I believe with all my heart that my husband and I were made for each other – it is as if one soul was separated in two bodies and now has joined for the remainder of our lives on earth, in beautiful, precious unity. There was a piece of my heart that was created to be filled by his love, but for many years it was not. Perhaps one day, if our Savior tarries, it will once again be void. But even in that barrenness of the soul, my life – my complete being – was and perhaps one day will be again fully sustained and completed in Christ. Our love for each other is not the lifeblood coursing through my body, rather it is the vein that lends itself to be the instrument by which the lifeblood of Christ is delivered to my heart. Through my marriage I have been drawn closer, grown deeper, and loved all the stronger my Savior who gave us this beautiful gift, and one day, may take it back again.
So stop waiting. Don’t stop dreaming or hoping or praying but don’t let your dreams or hopes or prayers be consumed by anything but God himself. He loves you completely and knows you infinitely better then any one of his creation every could. Trust him. And wait. But stop waiting. Live! Explore! Grow! Be at peace. For if God has set apart another soul to join yours you will not have to find him, God will give him to you in his perfect timing.
When Isaac was waiting for Rebecca he went out to the fields to pray. When he looked up he saw her riding towards him, and he knew it was her, and the Bible says that he loved her deeply, and she comforted him. He could have gone to get his own bride, trusting in his own plans instead of those of his father’s, but he didn’t.
Our story is a simple one. My husband and I have known each other nearly our entire lives. At five years old I told him I loved him and not to tell. He did.
At ten years old he didn’t think girls were cool and told me to go, so I did.
At fifteen he confessed undying love if I would only pledge to be his forever. I told him I couldn’t, I was scared and uncertain. I told him I didn’t love him. But I did.
At twenty, after five long years of loneliness, heartache and painful growth, he asked me to marry him. And I did.
Not all stories end in a fairy tale, but all fairy tales have stories. Let God write yours as you trust in his infinite wisdom. Don’t be like the bird that refuses to fly out of an open cage, but rather let His peace reign in your heart and give you freedom. The freedom to dance, the freedom to grieve, the freedom to grow. Stop waiting… and live.