Monday, September 10, 2012

The Blog I Never Thought I'd Write: The Gift of Singleness

Here we go (am I really typing this out?). I've had a thought lately, even a of thankfulness and joy.  And dear reader, you will not believe the words I am about to utter.

I am thanking God for my singleness. 

Not thanking in faith. Not prostrate weeping with longing and choosing to say "thank you" in spite of my disappointment. Not clamoring to figure out why at thirty-seven I'm still single. Rather a quiet, content, abiding gratefulness. 


I have been all of the above and quite frankly see nothing wrong with any of these heart postures (well, okay the clamoring insinuates fear and trying to be in control so we may have to drop that one). The point is singleness at twenty-five required trust, singleness at thirty trust, singleness at thirty-five trust, and now here I am trusting yet still, but in an unfamiliar place. 

Experiencing the gift of being  s i n g l e.

It's not that I don't long for a husband to share life with or that I've given up hoping for it. It's that I'm enjoying a very full life. I have really good friends, a tight knit family, a rich spiritual life, and a deep sense of purpose. I'm more content and not trying to figure out how it's all gonna go down and how I'm ever gonna meet Mr. Right. Sure I have my down days but deeply woven in the fabric of my life is the strong thread of Jesus, working all things together for good. 

I am coming to trust that a good, very good story is being written for my life that may or may not include a husband. And either way the story goes it will be good.

Last weekend, my small group and I went camping. As the little kiddos crowded in my tent to play, as I cuddled and cooed with my friends baby, as I lay quietly with the book light reading about other saints before me, as we celebrated my friend's toddler's "Gotcha Day" (the day she brought her boy home from Korea), my singleness was being experienced as a gift, both for me and for my friends. I was sharing in their family life and my singleness was experienced as an equal gift and contribution. It's so fun to think that I am blessing my friends by playing with their kids and it's blessing me just as much to share in their family life.

The more I walk this kingdom life out, the more aware I am of the wise truth of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

God's prescription for handling life is that it is meant to be s h a r e d.
He invites us into an interdependent union with Himself and with His people.  
And it's not only for marriage. 

What I'm realizing at this leg of the journey is the gift my singleness has been precisely because it's freed me to spend time with a diversity of people. It has also given me lots of time and space to contemplate life with God and share that with others. I'm better for it.  

While there are still days I wonder "Why?" OR days I really wish "the two lying down together to keep warm" were literally true, my singleness and the interior space it creates have lead to a deep gratitude for my life. I have something to richly give and pour out to others. Whether it be a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, a family member, a spouse, or a child.

My life, right here, right now is g o o d.  It is enough. 


Lindsay said...

Amen! Love the words and the joy and contentment at this point in your life Suz! You are a gift to me and the world and so is your singleness! xo

christinamachine said...

Susie, you honestly inspire me so much. I was waiting for a time to tell you this, and now I can!

When I first met you - when you came and hung out with us at our Navigators meeting - I was so awed and changed by your story and attitude toward singleness. I could clearly see how you were fully honest with how this God-given desire to have a partner is a struggle and is something you hope for. AND you were clearly also fully trusting God with it and actively thankful for where He has you.

I have already told a few people about how that duality you have found is largely how I have been able to see how I could maybe be honest and thankful about my struggle with cancer.. still working on it. Sometimes I feel a pressure to just be thankful and put on a happy face, but I have been learning that it is okay to want life and ask God for it. Other times I am just angry and depressed, and need to learn to rejoice at the same time.

Anyways, thank you, and love you. <3

blue_collar_scholar said...

God's definitely been speaking to you! I'm stoked for you in this sounds incredibly rich indeed!

Susie Shaw said...

@ Lindsay thank you. You know it means so much as you've traveled the better part of this journey with me.

@ christina...h u m b l e d & thankful for your words. to somehow be a vessel in drawing you nearer our Savior in the midst of your battle i am forever grateful. He loves you more than you can probably bear or imagine.

@blue_collar/ ED thanks friend. always an encouragement to me and reflector of truth

Kate said...

Rejoicing with you, my dear friend!

Kate said...

Rejoicing with you, dear friend!