December 15, 2010

Navigating the holidays....single

Before you jump on me about being "content in my singleness", please bear with me. It's not easy to be vulnerable and transparent, especially in this daily battle against lies while seeking hard after truth. This is a confession, not a lecture.

Here I am again. It's December 15th - just nine days until Christmas and fifteen until New Year's Eve. I'm working my tail off at work. Buying a few small gifts for the extra special people in my life. Avoiding the milky chocolate goodness that is homemade fudge (with a 98% success rate). Anticipating the new year just around the corner. Here I am again. Single during the holidays.

I have tons of memories of this month. Warm Christmas mornings with my family, watching the Christmas Day parade. Christmas Eve at my grandma's house every single year, cramped into that little living room just to be near to my great family. Deep breaths of crisp, winter air all the while hoping for just a few snowflakes. Hot cocoa and Mom's cookies, crocheted blankets and fuzzy socks. Wood fires in my parents' house. The hustle and bustle of shopping malls (Lord help us). Pink cheeks from the cold air outside and twinkling lights on homes around the neighborhood.

All of these are great things. I never want to diminish the happiness that is associated with these things every year.

Today, I can't help but feel something is missing from this picture. You know what I'm talking about if you've ever been single longer than you wanted to be. It's an ache, deep down, right? Am I alone in this? I hope not.

I had just turned 19 years old when I began writing to my future spouse. It sounded very weird to me the first time I heard of the idea. "How do you write to someone you don't know yet?", I'd think. It didn't take long for me to get the hang of it. I've filled four or five notebooks in the last six'ish years. It's therapeutic. It's gutwrenching. It's exciting.

But I wonder each time I turn to a fresh page lately, are these letters - love letters - written in vain? "Will this really happen for me, Lord?" is a very common question from my praying lips.

You don't know this about me but I got my heart broken around this time of year. I was 17 years old. I thought I was in love with this guy that made me feel like a million bucks. I was ready to turn my life upside down for him. If I'm honest, I knew something was off. My conscience would not rest and on that typical December afternoon, as I checked my email at my part-time job downtown, all of my plans changed. I cried until I fell asleep most nights; I didn't eat for three or four days at a time; I swore that he'd come back when he realized his mistake (that's an entirely different story for another day). I had a hole in my heart, one that I swore was so real I could feel it drawing my chest in with each sob.

I'll save you many more details, but in the end, I realized I needed that broken heart. I would not have seen my need for my heart Healer if I didn't go through that awful December afternoon. I would have idolized that man for who knows how long. My Father did what I could not do for myself.

The same is true today, this December 15th of 2010. My Father does for me what I cannot do for myself. Brace yourself fellow singles: He gives me singleness to break me apart for my ultimate good in His plan. The truth is - I don't always feel "ready" for marriage or even a relationship. I see selfishness, pride, idolatry in myself on a good day. I am surrounded by beautiful family members and friends that give and give and give and yet, I still let them down with a bad attitude or just plain ole apathy. I am not confident that I would be a good wife; in fact, given the many stories I've heard from some wise women, I will most definitely fail in my own strength.

Though I look forward to the day when I get to celebrate with my own special guy, I know it will come soon enough. I will keep writing letters in my notebooks. That ache deep down inside will continue to make me turn towards my Jesus. I will intentionally practice selflessness and humility with the great people around me. I will enjoy my memories of Decembers past and make many more wonderful memories this December. I will not idolize the gift of marriage; instead, I will worship the ultimate Giver of gifts.

So, here I am again. Single this holiday season. Sounds like a blessing in disguise.


stephanieb said...

Beautifully written, Angela. I confess that I am struggling terribly with the holidays this year like never before. I admire your wisdom and maturity in the matter--praying that I'll be in that place of acceptance and faith again soon.

More Than Lilies said...

Thank you for your comment Stephanie! As joyous and celebratory as this time of year can be, it is an emotionally heavy time of year for many. I realized yesterday while writing this post that I have to take each day as a chance to be intentional with my actions, thoughts and put my emotions in check. Am I successful everyday? No way. Writing is one way to help me focus, though. It's the best way for me to remind myself that I'm not alone!

I will join you in prayer for the both of us and any others in the same place right now. We have a Father that loves us; that is what I'm clinging to today.

Rebecca said...

I was just browsing through blogs and I stumbled upon yours, and I can totally relate to how you feel in this post. I know its past the holidays now, but maybe I should bookmark this and read it again around November :)

More Than Lilies said...

I'm glad someone else can relate, even if it is such a tough thing to go through. Thank you for your comment! It means a lot :)