Category: relationships


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Today we celebrate the Marriage of my best mate Rob Lloyd and his wife Nicky.

We continue to mourn the loss of a dear friend, a husband, a brother, a son, a mentor, a pastor, a worship leader, an ultimate frisbee player, a model of generosity, a voice of reason and hope and faith and so much more. Continue reading

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mc

I have often said that ‘Being Married to the Right Person’ is one of the best things in the World’ and I hold by that.

Not the easiest though. Or the most comfortable necessarily.

A large percentage of the people I know who have gotten married typically go through some kind of marriage counselling or preparation before the wedding day happens. Dealing with conflict and putting a budget together and decision-making and things like that.

Then the wedding day happens and it is like a fairly young child being thrown in to a swimming pool with the genuine belief that it will be okay and pick up swimming. Except maybe with even less supervision or the sense that if something goes wrong there is already someone in the pool or someone more than ready to dive in to rescue.

Kind of like how we put so much focus on the wedding day as if that was the big event as opposed to a huge celebration signifying the beginning of a big event. The wedding is not the thing. The marriage is the thing. And it sometimes feels like we don’t put enough emphasis on that.

The idea of ‘Marriage Counselling’ once someone is married is typically reserved for a moment of huge crisis or last resort.

Marriage, like money or sex, tends to be something we typically don’t speak a lot about, especially when things are a bit of a struggle or really going wrong, even with our closest friends. Because there is a shame factor. If my marriage is struggling then something must be wrong with me. So we tend to walk that road alone and do our best to figure things out with our partner and hope for the best.

What I want to suggest though is that this is a Taboo Topic that could really use a lot more conversation. It needs to be healthy conversation and it needs to be safe for both us and our partner and so we have to be clever about how we go about it.

I also want to suggest that Marriage Counselling within a marriage can be the most helpful thing . It doesn’t have to be only when things are falling apart, but can be a helpful way of helping you as a couple steer yourselves in a healthier direction, by picking up on blind spots that may be causing conflict or by giving you tools to help you to live together in a way that helps you serve each other better. In a way that helps you both to shine.

Let’s be honest – the commitment to spend the rest of your life living with someone else, sharing their space and your money and your bodies and more is an enormous thing. We should definitely be giving it a lot  more attention than most of us do. Learning from those who have successfully journeyed for a number of years and inviting a professional to sit with us and help guide, direct and counsel feel like two very powerful ingredients for a successful marriage.

tbV and I have benefitted from spending some time with an excellent counsellor – having someone who was on both of our sides who helped create a safe space for us to be able to work through some difficult things. Someone who helped suggest structures, rhythms and equip us with some tools to be able to do this marriage thing better. We have seen the results in our relationship.

I can highly recommend it. And am hoping to share some stories here from others who have experienced a similar thing. Don’t wait until you’re standing right on the edge of a cliff before calling out for help.

WendyandXylon

[Disclaimer: while in Americaland, the term “coloured” is a strongly negative term, in South Africa there is a unique group of people who have come from a heritage of different cultures but now have developed their own distinct culture. They are neither black nor white, nor are they mixed race, and they would call themselves ‘coloured’.]

Marriage and Melanin

“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.

We will make it through this.”

The words were written in irregular handwriting outside the lines that sought to contain them. They were written in red, scrawled like the love in his heart, across a page torn haphazardly from a notebook. They were courting words, wooing words – words meant for me, words meant for a heart that cracked a bit more every time it beat, and pounded anytime he was near. They were words written for a heart coming face-to-face with the way people often view inter-racial relationships.

We met in December 2007, when the South African sun was being chased away by a thunderstorm. We met at my work. I was a TV producer and he was a guest on the show. Xylon was early. He was also funny, entertaining and easy to talk to.

A few months later Xylon took me for lunch but neither of us ate. We talked about friends and the cold drinks and the way our bosses spoke. Then he took a deep breath, and said I shouldn’t laugh, because he’d never done this before. Then he told me that he liked me, and asked if I liked him, and I said I did.

I’d love to say that we then went on to live happily ever after but we didn’t. I took Xylon home to meet my parents and they told me they didn’t approve. They didn’t like him because he is coloured and I am white.

It’s been 8 years since I found the note saying we would make it. We’ve been married for four of those. It wasn’t an easy path to marriage for us. Both of us had to step back and give my parents the time and space to accept our relationship (you can read that part of the story on my blog here). In that time, we learnt to talk about real issues rather than just surface issues, we learnt how keeping our hearts from each other can destroy a relationship, regardless of the tones of melanin involved.

When I first started dating I cared about the race thing a lot. I worried about how people would look at me differently if they saw me dating someone of different colour. I’ve found that the more time passes the less I think about it. The more Xylon is just a person to me, the less the colour of his skin suit matters to me.

From time-to-time we talk about adopting across colour lines and I am always surprised, considering my parents were the ones that opposed us, how resistant his family are to us bringing home a black baby. I’m reminded of my parents and of the grace they needed to see that love is not a colour and character isn’t a shade of skin.

I’m not colour blind. I notice the skin colour of others. I love the way when I hold my husband’s hand pale ivory skin sits harsh against his dark caramel skin. I pity any photographer who tries to light balance a photo with us in it.

I don’t love the way other people sometimes stare, point or comment. But I try to remember that I sometimes stare at inter-racial couples out of curiosity, and unless I’m with Xylon they would probably think I’m judging them. As my husband would say, “everyone has a story”, and until we hear it we won’t know his or her heart.

[For some other stories of Mixed Race and Culture Connections, click here]

[Wendy van Eyck writes at ilovedevotionals.com for anyone who has ever held a loved one’s hand through illness, or believed in God despite hard circumstances or ever left on a spontaneous 2-week holiday through a foreign land with just a passport and a backpack.]

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Seriously Single

I never imagined still being single at 26 years old. The plan I had for my life was so much different than how my story unfolded, from going to the movies with my friends to attending their weddings, all the while silently waiting for the day my turn arrives…  (on the real, sometimes I have my SERIOUSLY THOUGH moments)

While society tends to view being single as a problem you somehow need to fix as soon as possible – I vowed to live different, but I eventually gave in to a system that tries so hard to define you before you before you can discover who you are for yourself. (Spoiler alert)

So, here is my story:

Growing up I never dated. And by never I mean NEVER.  I made a decision to save myself (both emotionally and physically for my husband) – it seemed like an amazing plan, but unfortunately after I turned 18 I gave into the peer pressure of having a boyfriend… I learnt to “play the game” as they call it….

Ever heard the saying “don’t hate the player, hate the game?” – well, I got really good at playing the game. I would make guys fall for me and then dump them when it wasn’t fun anymore. I wanted the rewards of being in a relationship without paying a price.

I wish I could tell you that this part of my story included no casualties – but it doesnt. My greatest regret would be that I did not Honour “someone else’s answered prayer” -the truth is,  I really didn’t want to “BE IN LOVE” – because I didn’t feel anyone would be able to see my truth and still accept me, I didn’t want the sacrifice that love demands or the growth it requires… I just wanted the emotions that relationships produce… When it wasn’t fun anymore, I dumped them and moved on. (Yes, I was that girl…)

I thought I was invincible, I thought that I could play the game and never get hurt, but that all changed the day I took it too far. What started off as just “playing the game” – cost me more than I had bargained to pay. Anyone who told me the relationship wasn’t good – immediately became my enemy because I didn’t believe people understood that “we were meant to be together” – Looking back I realize I was just throwing around words I heard in movies, I had no idea what it meant to “be together” but in my ignorance I was ready to give up everything, my job, my church, my friends for a guy who nursed my insecurities instead of confronting them.

When it was over, I realized that he never cared for me at all…we both played each other and it nearly cost me everything in the end.

It’s been over 6 years since I’ve been that involved with a guy, I realized that if I continued to repeat the same cycle – it would keep producing the same fruit in my life – nothing would change until I changed something. (It’s such a powerful truth, until a guy looks your way) – come on, you know how it is…

The truth is, so many single people zone in on changing their status that they forget that being single is not a status, it’s a process, and while you may spend a few date nights watching series at home alone, very few focus on who they will become on the way to the altar.

In a society that tries so hard to rush me to the altar, I refuse to do something just because everyone else is doing it. I’ve seen some people marry a good person that wasn’t any good for them, evidently they live way below their purpose (no matter how fancy a car they drive or house they live in)

Remember:- a soulmate is designed for your PURPOSE. If he/she can’t bring out the best in you, they’re not the best for you.

So, here I am, nearly 27 years old, more single than I’ve ever been. Sometimes it feels like I’ve come full circle, I’ve made some mistakes, but those things don’t disqualify me from having God’s Best for me. Sure it gets lonely. Sometimes I set the table for two because there are only so many “meals for one” you can eat.  I have some people telling me “get out there, play the game” – I say, if a boy wants to play games, buy him an XBox. I’m looking for a husband not a recreational activity.

My friends always try to set me up with guys… Some of them have good jobs, amazing families, etc, but while there are many guys I could date, there are very few I would follow. Possibly the most attractive thing to me in a guy would be leadership and vision. I don’t just want a guy who turn my stomach or my head, I want a guy who turns me towards Jesus. And if I gotta wait another 20 years for that kinda man, Lord knows I will.

So darling, wherever you are… I can’t wait to meet you one day. Although I wish you were here right now, I’m thankful for this time that I can become the best for you. To know that someday God will entrust me with caring for you is a responsibility I carry daily and I’m committed to becoming “worth my weight in gold” – Loving me will cost you something, but don’t worry, I’ll be worth it in the end. Ps:- I’m saving all my date nights for you

signed,

Your Future Wife

Angie

[For a variety of other amazing stories from men and women on Singleness, click here]

phil

I’m single and I love it! Sometimes… Sometimes not so much. Valentine’s day has just been and gone and, while it’s not an occasion that I’ve ever taken very seriously, it does bring one’s singleness to the forefront of one’s mind. I was walking through the shops last Friday (the day before Valentine’s) and saw all the people selling roses and stuff like that. There was a part of me that just wanted to buy one and give it to the next person I saw. There are times like this when I feel like I’m bursting with love and have no appropriate outlet.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about singleness since I started writing this thing and it surprised me just how much I wanted to say. Most of the time I’m hardly even aware of my lack of relationship (I’m a slightly outgoing introvert and a bit of a loner, I spend a lot of time in my own little world). I’ve tried to remove a lot of the rambling, and I’m sorry for the bits that are still left but a lot of this is me sifting through my feelings and trying to find coherent thoughts.

A bit of background, I was in a very serious, long term relationship for a bit over 5 years, from around the age of 20 to 25. I was in love, certain I would marry this girl and then it became clear I wouldn’t. Breaking up with her was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There was just so much history and comfort with her that it was tempting to stay with her and ignore the problems. Without going into details, I can look at my life now, sometimes lonely, sometimes scared for the future but also knowing that the choice was right. Remarkably, our friendship survived, something that still amazes me (a testament to her kindness).

Which brings us to now: I’m 30 and still single, what a terrifying concept! Sometimes I feel like I’m staring down the path of time and looking at a 50 year old bachelor, coming home to an empty house and I feel more than a little despair! Watching my friends’ kids growing up doesn’t help… Then I look at what I’ve given up in the past for what I have now, future me can worry about the rest. I have a relationship with God that was all but forgotten while I gave my attention to a girl. I know Him in a way I couldn’t before and, for that alone, I’d give up much more than a relationship. I may not get to build my own family but I’m part of a family far bigger than any I could build myself.

I’d be lying if I said I was content but I am mostly at peace. It’s taken me quite a while to get the difference between these two things; I still hope for more but it doesn’t keep me from getting on with life. To be honest, it’s not actually something I think about all that often but, when I do, it’s not always with anguish or anxiety, it’s often with a feeling of hope and bit of excitement at what could be in future. I think the next step is to take that picture of the 50 year-old bachelor and see the hope and excitement that could be drawn into that image. I’m not quite there yet, but I am at peace; I’ll be alright. (I’m not always at peace either, there are times when little wars break out but that doesn’t mean I forget the peace, just that it needs to be renegotiated again.)

There are some great things about being single! Not some click here for 27 reasons why being single is the best, number 9 will make your day type of garbage but real reasons to embrace this life while I have it. I’ve had to learn who I am without reference to another person. I was anchored to a huge chunk of shared history. Once that was cut away, I was adrift in some real existential crisis type zone.

I love people (just in small doses). If you want to know me, there can’t be many people around. One on one is best. After that I’ll need to recharge alone. I don’t need to reserve a large chunk of that time for one person, I’m free to share it out as I see fit. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know so many people. I’ve had views that I never questioned challenged and I’ve had to mature my thinking a whole bunch. And then there’s the more selfish reasons, I’m a gamer and a dancer and I get to devote a rather large amount of attention to these hobbies.

Furthermore, I was not aware of how much I based my self-worth on my relationship status! Being single meant either redefining my worth or feeling pretty miserable for a long time. I am fearfully and wonderfully made! I started out life this way, nothing I do,say, own or make can increase my value in His eyes any more than it was when I started out with nothing, not even the ability to move on my own accord. Easy to say, hard to feel but if your worth is coming from anything else, that source probably needs to be looked at with a critical eye.

Why am I single? I don’t know. I really wish I did but I don’t. There have been some close calls, some lovely dates, the occasional mutual crush even, but even then, God made it rather clear that it was not his plan and so nothing happened. Does He want me celibate? Perhaps so, and I’m okay with that, but I wish He’d just say so and let me stop wondering… Relationships have been a stumbling block for me in the past. I’ve needed time alone to mature and build a real foundation in my life. Now I know I have to be careful in relationships. I know that any relationship I may find needs to start and end with God as a focal point. And so on… I’ve learned these things during my time alone, maybe my list just isn’t complete yet.

I was also asked for advice directed at friends who are married/heading that way. Are there many married folks reading a blog entry on singleness? Anyway, I’d like to preface this with saying it may be terrible advice, people are different and this would probably go awry in a lot of cases. For me, keep being a solid example of loving, caring people. Don’t feel the need to hide any of the joy your relationship/partner brings you, let me celebrate with you. If you have other, suitable, single friends and want to play matchmaker, go ahead but please do it openly. Yes, it’s awkward and weird but if you try be subtle, I’ll miss it. And your sharing the awkwardness makes things many times easier for me.

Cliched lines (“God has someone for you, be patient”, “I’m sure you’ll find someone soon”, etc.) are really not that helpful. I know you mean well but that’s not the way to show it. If you’re the encouraging words type, try things like “What about Susan? She’s lovely…” It’ll either open up a conversation or you’ll get shut down but at least you’ve implied that I am good enough for your friend Susan, that makes me feel good even if I’m not interested in her. (Mum, if you read this, that is not permission to start listing every single girl you know again, I know you already think I’m pretty cool :P)

Lastly, singleness in the context of the Church isn’t something that needs to be addressed in and of itself so much as relationships in general. The Christian concept of marriage is beautiful, I love it! But so often, a sermon on relationships will stick to a rather tired formula: dating and boundaries therein, wait for marriage and so on. I’m oversimplifying, there have been some amazing sermons on the topic but the problem is with the assumed progression of attraction leading to dating leading to marriage. Combine this with the ideal of marriage and there is suddenly huge pressure on dating, getting it right. There’s something of a stigma towards breakups, equating them with divorce. And so there’s this fear of dating and relationships in the church that’s not entirely warranted.

Added to that, there’s the more casual idea of a dinner date that’s completely lacking in modern social situations… I need to form an emotional connection before I can even assess whether I’m attracted to you; I can’t do this in a group. If I ask you on a date, I just want to have dinner with a person and form this emotional connection. It does not mean I am planning our marriage, and you shouldn’t be doing so either. The secular world gets so much wrong in relationships but this they get right (massive generalisation, I know but you get the point) the date is a feeling ground, not always for a relationship but also for a friendship. It’s how we plumb the depths of a bond, be it friendship or romance. You’re not making any commitment by having dinner with me, even after the hundredth time, a commitment to anything more than friendship needs to be agreed upon by both parties, I’m not trying to subtly trick you into marrying me.

I guess I’d like to sum most of this up by saying to all the single people (and those concerned) that we should take things a little less seriously. There are times when it’s hard but the same is true for being in a relationship. Just don’t let it become a central theme to your life. Love easily and keep your heart open.

One of my all time favourite quotes says it best, from C.S. Lewis’ book The Four Loves:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

[For other stories on Singleness, from both men and women, click here]

Lynley

I am a 37 years old single guy.

I would point out that I have tried not to be single a few times….

I have had my fair share of relationships in life.  I was engaged once too. So technically speaking I am disengaged now (see what I did there) ha ha ha.

Before I get into the meaning of things in life for me, I would like to share a bit about me. I am a free lance sound engineer. I blog a bit too. And I do have a few online ventures going at the moment too (all above board). Living life, almost on my own terms. One could say this adds to the reasons for my singleness…

I think we all take time in life to find ourselves. And some longer than others. I fall in that category. For most of my early years were spent on frivolous pursuits and running after women lol. Clearly I never caught them or was it I that I could not maintain my grip on them (they were rather slippery). Well…. I will not think on that for too long now.

It is a humbling notion, that we actually take years to get to know ourselves. This has always confounded me, since humans tend to pride themselves on their achievements. Not that I am declaring myself an alien, but that humanity as a whole tends to think that we have arrived. For all our advances in technology, we are not born knowing ourself.

But getting to know yourself is a time thing whether we like it or not. Its the way life works. And for this reason I find myself single, I am still finding out stuff about myself.

37 years, yes most of my friends are married. No, worse than that, they have children. And to add fuel to fire, they have teenage children. And to think I knew some of my friends since they were single (gasp). Needless to say I don’t spend much time with them anymore. Just kidding.

I find that with people getting married, my friendship changes. I guess I understand because the dynamics of two people and add children and all things change. My brother (7 years younger than me) is married and has 3 children already. I get it, life changes. But I think there is still space in life for just the guys to meet. I mean without the demands of the wife and children. Obviously not every week, but I do think it is necessary.

I do think the church (by this I mean body of believers) can help here. Being single is not a disease. And the assumption that being single (church people read ‘alone’) is a curse. Imagine getting married when not ready, I cannot think of a more punishing thing to both people involved. Yes the clock is ticking, but we christians are going to live forever, right?

I have some good friends married and single, and no one ever pressures me (anymore). Maybe they afraid of the lecture I give them. Yes, I have some pre thought out arguments…… I will hit them with a few zingers like “Christian men can only get married after 33 years, because that is when Jesus was crucified he he he”.

That is a patented one, but since I am now older than 33 I guess you could use it if you want to.

Jesus we consider to be wise right? And when He was on earth……He was single….. Let that marinate a bit.

When it comes to ministry, being single is equivalent to having an infectious disease. Pastors avoid you like the plague. But in today’s age, there are a lot of singles over 30. I think there should be more single people in ministry. I mean happy single people, not perfect people, but happy ones. I mean those that are okay with themselves. There are some things only single people can convey. And I always seem to believe the “marrieds” in church sort of talk down to the singles. They get that distant look in their eye and mist rolls in and they reminisce on “their single days”.

Whether it is pity or nostalgia I never know.

To conclude.

Please treat single people like normal people. We are capable of being committed to things outside of ourselves. We want to help, we want to be part of things.

And the only infectious thing I have is my dry sense of humour…

Lynley

[To connect more with Lynley take a look at his blog over at thehonestone.co.za]

[For some other great story shares on the topic of Singleness, click here]

amanda1

HIS BANNER OVER ME IS SINGLE

Last month I was supposed to get married.

There was no ring on my finger, no invitations in the mail. But there was a date on a calendar and the seed of a dream that had been planted in my heart many, many months ago. I’d had a plan—we’d had a plan—in a world where I was part of a “we,” in lifetime that doesn’t feel all that long ago. The day came and went and I wondered if it would ever come again. If there would be a day when diamond commercials wouldn’t make my heart sink.

I have been single for all but three years of my life. During those three years I struggled something fierce to figure out what it meant to be me and to be in relationship; to be independent and private, while also being inclusive and self-disclosing; to be strong-willed and passionate, but at the same time open-minded and gentle. I am still learning those things. I have made remarkable progress, but right now there is no relationship in which to test such things and sometimes it feels like wasted effort.

The word banner derives from the French “banniére” and the Latin “bandum,” a cloth out of which a flag is made. The German language developed the word to mean an official edict or proclamation, a rule under which one lives. It is where we get the word “abandon,” which means to change flags, to switch loyalties.

We live under a great many banners in our lives; banners that represent our fidelities and loyalties. There are banners of family, religion, country and corporation. The banner of Apple. The banner of Nike. The banner England. The banner of Christian. There are banners that we stand under by our own choosing, and there are banners that are spread over us, whether we want them or not. We develop certain ideas about people who are associated with particular banners. Sometimes they are true. And sometimes they are not.

I struggle to keep camp under the banner of “single.” It is not a place I really want to be right now, though I don’t really want my single friends to know that. I don’t want them to feel it is a bad place, a lacking place, a grass-is-browner woe-is-me sort of place. But often that is how I feel. I skirt to the outside of the camp. I watch the other members under the banner of single and I see all sorts of responses. I see them weeping and laughing, celebrating and suffering. I see them angry and bitter. I see them resourceful and redemptive. I see them living and loving without reservation. Sometimes I want to be one of them. I want to accept my position and see my singleness as an opportunity rather than a limitation. But most days I want to escape. I sit at the edge of the camp, just so that God knows I am ready to leave at a moment’s notice. But after two years of leaning on that fence, I’m looking for another, better, more trusting position than my post beside the exit.

Part of the reason I’m so reluctant to stay is that I did not choose to be here. I did not leave my last relationship believing that we were poorly matched or destined for destruction. I did not run under the banner of single ready to embrace new freedoms. I did not really realize what was happening when things were falling apart, and by the time it was over, I was left to trudge under the banner of single with heavy feet.

Singleness is not something I feel “called to” or excited about. It is a place I feel I was left when someone ran out from under the banner of relationship with me. When someone who had chosen to love me chose to stop, to leave, to change flags and abandon me, leaving me single.

amanda3

Sometimes the banners we live under are banners that we do not choose. And sometimes they come with messages that they should not retain. I was told a great many things following my last break up, and even more after the change of heart I had the six months later. Among them, that:
“I deserved someone better”
“I had become a better person”
“God must have something else for me”
“If it were meant to be it would happen”
“He [my last boyfriend] was an idiot, a coward, blind, stubborn, etc.”

And though sometimes these things made me feel better (at least momentarily), mostly they made me confused. They encouraged me to view life under the banner of single as a temporary holding pen. Though many have suggested that God has someone else in mind, no one has ever suggested that God might intend for me to be single. No one has suggested that I am under the banner of single on purpose, which leads me to view it as an undesirable place to be.

Here’s another, perhaps bigger problem. Regardless of what other people believe about singleness, there are a lot of judgments and assumptions that I bring into it myself. There are messages and false truths that I associate with living under the banner of single that give voice to my deepest fears about my own worthiness and belonging. These messages do not come from God or love or goodness or grace, but from all that is the opposite of these things. And some of them have been reinforced in very painful ways.

It is one thing to be single and to feel that you are unseen, unheard, and unnoticed. It is one thing to suppose that the reason you are single is because no one has really experienced all that you have to offer. (I want to pause and recognize that this is a really valid place to feel pain, frustration, and even anger. As creatures that crave in our deepest depths to be truly known, to feel unseen is to feel invisible, inconsequential.) It is quite another thing, however, to believe that you were seen, heard, noticed and appreciated, that someone began to know the deepest depths of you, loved the deepest depths of you, and then chose to stop. Of their own will and volition, another person chose to stop seeing you. Decided they’d seen enough and judged you as no longer worth the effort.

I am not sure how to recover from that. As a consequence, I have begun to believe it must be true. That this must be the reason I am single: because despite all of the things that I have been told by my friends and family, despite all of the reassurance that God has done work in my life—has broken and molded and fashioned me into something tender and compassionate and playful and kind—I see my singleness as evidence that I am too difficult to partner. That I am too quirky or damaged or intense or odd.

Just when I am ready to embrace my giftedness, my worthiness, the hard-won wisdom that has come from full nights of wrestling with God’s goodness, I hear the voice of the last man who loved me as he choses, with great effort, to stop. As he tells me there isn’t enough time. There are no more second chances. I am not as special or worthy or deserving as he thought. This, I have begun to believe, is why I am alone.

And because I have associated these judgments with being single, it has become difficult for me to see singleness as good, to see the gift in my unclaimed time and attention, the privilege of having space to freely explore. I sometimes wonder how it is that others thrive under the banner of single, a banner that still brings me such heartache, reminding me that no matter how much I learn or grow or change, it may not be enough.

amanda2

But there are other judgments to be made, truer truths to be spoken over and into my life, and they are not made by people (who are prone to err when it comes to such things), but by the being who made me in the first place, who knows my deepest depths better than I know them myself. Who does not choose to quit on me. Does not run out of time or patience. Does not believe that I am not worth the effort. His banner over me is Chosen. His banner over me is Worthy. His banner over me is Redemption. His banner over me is Love (Song of Songs 2:4).

For some the banner of single is a temporary fidelity, but for others it is not. God has not promised me that I will marry. I wish that He had. I wish I knew that in the end there would be a mate with whom I could share all of my everything, a partner with whom I could envision and build and act a life of restorative grace. But for many that is never the case. God has not promised that I will be married, but God has promised that I will never be alone. God has promised that I will never be abandoned. God has promised that I will never be unworthy. And right now those are the promises that must become the banners I claim. And in time they may even make me bold in living under the banner of single, knowing I am foremost under the banner of Love.

[You can follow more of Amanda’s writing on a variety of topics over at her blog by clicking here]

[For some other epic stories on Singleness, click here]

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