Last year John and I made a cross-country move. John was excited about starting his job. I was excited for him, but I was also sad about leaving old friends. God brought me a new friend and neighbor, Michelle. In the months I’ve known her, Michelle has gone on a research trip with me, has become my accountability partner and workout buddy. Even more that that, she listens and cares.
Michelle is in her mid-thirties and is beautiful and single. I’m not sure why some guy didn’t snatch her up long ago. Although Michelle’s desire is to be married and have a family, she doesn’t sit around in lament the fact she’s not. Michelle mentors a group of teen girls and works with teen moms. She works in radio and helps get Christian broadcasts around the world. She plays pranks on friends, goes on 25-mile bike rides, travels the country.
Michelle’s not on the Internet looking at single’s websites every night. She’s willing to try a blind date, but doesn’t prowl our town for men. When I asked her about this, Michelle shared her heart:
I’m a thirty-something single and have always jokingly blamed my singleness on my mother, because she didn’t pray for my future husband. Then a while back I was convicted when a friend told me that I should be praying for him. I started praying that my future husband would be full of love for God and that God would be his delight. I asked God to equip him with strength and wisdom to be a man that leads, and on and on I prayed thinking that, bam, soon God would deliver me my heart’s desire.
See, I didn’t want to be alone any longer, I wanted someone to hold me, someone to laugh with, someone to dream with, someone to tell me I looked beautiful even with the awful new haircut, someone to do life with, someone to balance the checkbook. But really what happened is God smoothed over the deep, deep desire and helped me deal with my longings and not be so consumed with what I didn’t have.
About 12 years ago I was listening to Elizabeth Elliot’s radio broadcast. And she mentioned that single women needed to spend their time living a full life, not just waiting around for a husband to make their life full. So I want to challenge you that as you pray for your future spouse, live a full life—delight in Him, fiercely love your friends and family and serve sacrificially in His service. Pray for your future husband, but don’t be consumed with him or who he might be, be consumed with God. It took a while for me to understand this for myself.
Last year, I was going through a longer than normal valley of these intense feelings and I finally asked God to romance my soul. As I prayed I was reminded of something my friend, Rachel Barkey said a few months before dying of cancer, “Cancer does not define me. Neither does being a wife or a mother. All these things are part of who I am but they do not define me. What defines me is my relationship with Jesus.” Through her example, I can now say “Singleness does not define me, neither does being a sister, daughter, mentor or friend. All these things are part of who I am but they do not define me. What defines me is my relationship with Jesus.”