When, God?

Singleness and the search for contentment
When, God?

When, God?

It is a question that has settled into the deepest levels of my consciousness over the last few years. I have grown accustomed to its constant hum, learned to live with the slight but noticeable discomfort of uncertainty that shades how I think about the things I most desire.

At first it was an exciting question—I couldn’t wait to see how my life would unfold. What stories would I someday tell my children? But in the last few years I have started thinking about marriage and family as an “if” rather than a “when,” and I have been trying with all I have to accept the possibility that God’s answer to my question might very well be “never.”

Tied to the Timeline

It wasn’t always this way. For a long time singleness was pretty easy for me. Not that I never lost myself in crushes or cried when they failed to materialize into actual dates, boyfriends, or relationships—I have spent more time than I care to admit doing both—but even as the disappointments rolled in over the years, I still believed that God had a plan for my life and that all the pain would be worth it when I finally had what I really wanted.

The real question I have learned to ask is “What does it mean to wait well?”

Even though God’s plan wasn’t unfolding exactly as I’d envisioned, there was still time for it to line up with the plan I had in mind. In this perfect version of my life, I would get married at 25, start having kids between 28 and 30, and write on the side while I stayed home to raise my kids. I knew it was no guarantee, but at 21 and 22 it seemed reasonable to assume this was at least roughly how my “real life” would unfold. I could give or take a few years. My deepest and most consistent desires have always been to get married and have a family, and surely, I knew, God must want those things for me too. He wouldn’t have given me those desires if he didn’t mean to fulfill them, right? But, as I have learned over and over again, these aren’t things you can make happen through sheer force of will.

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