A couple years ago, I hurriedly stopped by my neighborhood Starbucks. Visions of being at work on time were slipping away; however, facing the morning without an extra-hot latte was more than I could bear.
Drink in hand, I headed for the door when someone caught my eye. Lounging in a velvet armchair was a slim, chestnut-haired woman in her early thirties. She was clad in typical Colorado-casual: long-sleeve tee, black leggings, sport sandals. A classic band of hammered gold graced her left hand, which held the Denver Post she was reading. The woman's 18-month-old son was asleep in her lap with sunlight streaming through the window, glinting on his blond hair.
For days I pondered my reaction to this scene. Looking at them, I felt a well of emotion rising from my stomach, flooding my chest and throat, until it reached my eyes and became tears. Why?
Someone inside me that morning—the someone screaming to be heard—wanted to be that woman. To wake up and put on yoga pants and a T-shirt on a weekday. To be free of the need to work outside the home full-time. To be able to sit in a Starbucks at 8:00 a.m. on a sunny April morning, drink a latte, snuggle my child, and read the paper. I don't know her story, but what I saw was a young wife and mother enjoying the hand life dealt her.
I'm a single woman, and it's true that I'm living a life gifted to me by my Lord. I have a loving extended family, incredible friends, and opportunities for ministry in which I feel God's pleasure. But singleness is hard. Really hard. Most days the kind of companionship I ache for in this world, I don't have. This feeling constantly drives me to seek answers from God, and the answer I consistently receive is: "Keep hoping."
What kind of response is that?
Some questions only have answers in heaven. "Why am I still single—when you know I long to love and be loved by a good man? When this is in my very design as a woman?" Questions such as this come anyway. Not knowing the answers invites the practice of faith in one of the most raw areas of my life. Though it's pointless to use our limited understanding to critique God's plans, in my experience, it's helpful to catch glimpses of purpose in my single state. What's God creating in me through this experience?
Lesson One: Courage
Each passing year, I worry that my dream of being a wife and mother is slipping a little further from my grasp. At 32, my friends tell me this is silly. They're right, but my fear remains.
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For Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper
- Carolyn Custis James: What It Means to Be a Woman in MinistryeBook Format Available! Author and speaker Carolyn Custis James offers leadership insights for women.