I was 26 when Josh and I got married. I'd say that was slightly above average age for 2004, though it's becoming more normal as the century progresses.
But I never wanted to be single for that long. I remember telling God at age 11 that I would be ready for marriage no later than age 17, so hopefully He could work that out for me. Oh, and can you make him sexy? (I really did pray that.)
Now I'll tell you, I read way, way, way too many Grace Livingston Hill and Janette Oke books. I'm pretty sure all that impractical fiction built up a lot of silly expectations in my head. But seriously, God. 26?! Sheesh! All my other peers were married. My sister, six years younger, was married. So it stung a bit.
Let me tell you why.
Well, honestly, for starters, I wanted to find a soulmate. I feel like that should be a given, but I know there are exceptions.
But the real deal?
I thought that being single was a curse. A curse that said "not worthy" or "not godly enough." I thought I had to convince God that I was ready. And I thought that I was frozen in time and could not move forward with my real life until I took the marriage step. I was in a holding zone; a waiting limbo before the paradise happened. (See? Unrealistic expectations. Believe me now?)
I thought I was missing out. But really? I actually missed out because I WAS living life and it was a beautiful life but I
refused to be fulfilled because I was so certain the only way I could
serve God was by becoming a wife (of noble character, naturally,) and a mother (with a
gentle and quiet spirit... *natch-err-ully.)
It's funny. Once I got off my duff and realized things weren't going to happen on their own, that God wasn't going to march a prince charming up to my doorway, I stopped dwelling quite so much about hopes deferred. (Oh, I still cared. Always on the lookout for Sir Soulmate. And my first married sister's wedding really kicked me in the gut; I'm not gonna lie.) I worked different jobs. Went on mission trips. I made a CD with a tremendous lot of support from my parents, especially my dad. I attended college for a year while working two part-time jobs. (Which doesn't cover squat. I still had to get loans.)
And you're going to facepalm here. It's sooo cliche. But I met my husband at college after I had stopped looking. I didn't even think he'd be interested in me because I was so old. (I'm not proposing an act-like-you-don't-want-it-to-get-it formula.) But we hit it off on choir tour through mutual friends. And the friendship took off. Fast!
Because it was time? Because attraction? Because finally? I don't know. We keep saying there had to be a divine orchestration that made this match, because we were still foolish and clueless in so many ways. But we showed up and we did the work on the relationship. Passivity and waiting for God to strike? I was over it. If your experience is a fairy tale, then bless you. Our quests for love were gut-wrenching.
But here we are, more than 10 years since we started dating and 8.5 years since our wedding, still desperately in love.
Where am I going with this story? I have no clue. This is not a Berenstein Bear book. (Ugh. The never-ending lessons!)
I think I just want to reassure you if you are single that you are every bit as much a person as married folk are. And your callings are every bit as important and meaningful. Life has many seasons; don't try to live them all at once. Follow your dreams. Find your passions.
Oh, and don't stay at home too long. You need people. Not just the family kind. Get to know "my Father's world." It's big, beautiful, frightening. Good lord, yes, it is terrifying! But amazing. :)
So about that wife and mom serving God bit? I'm saving that for another post. Stick around?