I’m not an awesome gift-giver. I’m great at words of affirmation, I’ll give you a really good hug, I’ll sing you a song, maybe make up a dance just for you – but I just am not awesome with gifts.
I am NOT, however, as bad as that crazy aunt we all have that gives us the weirdest gifts – every time. Those aunts love giving me jewelry – the jewelry always looking like it was picked up in one of those Wild West themed gift shops. And every time I have to look at them, feigning delight, genuinely appreciative of the heart behind the gift, but secretly wondering when I can re-gift (or better yet – return) it.
What if you opened a box this Christmas and inside was the “gift of singleness?”
We call it that, in our Christian circles, don’t we? A gift?
But what would you do if “singleness” was waiting underneath your tree this year?
Try to re-gift it?
That would be my reaction …
Granted, with some exceptions, I think that most of us spend a lot of time wondering about our future spouses.
We look around thinking “is it you?” “Is it YOU?” – And I think that a large part of that time is spent worrying that some Christmas we’re going to open a box and receive that gift.
“Singleness. Cannot Be Returned.”
This is not a new conversation for God and I – in fact, it’s something that we talk about often.
I start off my prayers with my real request – telling God that I really would love to be married someday, maybe throwing in a specific request here or there (“God, can he be funny, and can he really like good beer?”)
But then, feeling guilty for my specific request (and I’m afraid, lack of trust) I throw in a well-intentioned, but definitely half-hearted “Your will be done …”
And then I sit there, my mind wandering, chewing on the phrase I just threw out without considering the potential consequences.
What if His will is for me to be single forever?! What if I’m going to receive the “gift” of singleness?
And then, with my insides panicking, I try to take a deep breath and tell God that I understand that I don’t have a right to get married, that He doesn’t have to give me a husband and that my love for Him will not change.
But on the inside I’m begging – please don’t let that be my story.
Now – let’s stop for a second and talk about what’s true.
1. Getting married is absolutely not a right of ours. It’s not something that’s guaranteed. There are many absolutely fantastically lovable, incredible people who never get married, and I don’t know why that is.
2. We each live different stories, and I think that there are some stories that God has written without another person in them. And He’s so good that that has to be a good thing – even when we can’t see it.
But, that being said, I would honestly be incredibly, incredibly disappointed if I never got married. Receiving the “gift of singleness” is a legitimate fear of mine, and I would guess that I’m not alone.
So without knowing how your story – or even my story – is going to end up, here’s another truth that I just realized, that I want to share with you – something that’s comforted me immensely.
God loves marriage. He actually invented it.
Genesis 2 is super clear about that.
God created the heavens and the earth and all of the animals and living creatures, and then He created man. He said that all of it was good, and then He looked over at Adam and saw a flaw.
The only thing in all of creation that wasn’t good – was for man to be alone.
So God created woman and said that “for this reason, a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife.”
God created us to live life in partnerships with each other – and that was His solution to man’s solitude.
The thing that baffles me about this is that all of this happened before the fall.
I have always chalked up my desire for marriage, my longing for a buddy to go through life with – to the fall. Maybe not directly, but I always sort of felt like that that desire would go away if I was really letting God love me and loving Him the way I was supposed to.
But that’s just not the case.
God and Adam were walking around in the garden together – walking and talking and living together – and it must have been a pretty sweet garden considering God, Himself lived in it.
But STILL God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. God didn’t design us to need only Him as a companion. He designed us to need each other.
And this is a truth that I am holding onto, a victorious grin on my face.
When we pray for a husband or a wife or when we feel lonely and are longing for someone – that’s not a sinful desire. That’s not a sign that we’re not loving God right or that we’re allowing other people to take his place in our lives.
Does that happen? Absolutely.
Is it easy for relationships, even just the idea of marriage to take the place of God in our lives? Yes. Easily. And placing anything on the same level of importance with God is going to disappoint us every time.
But the desire itself for a partnership, for a person to walk through life with, is absolutely from the Lord.
He designed us that way and so our desire for that lines up perfectly with His.
And here’s why this is so important to me.
It’s important because when I pray for my husband, when I pray and tell God how much I want to be married and how much I want that to be a part of my story – I can rest in the fact that I’m praying for something good – something that God, Himself, designed.
I’m not praying for something that is inherently going to take me away from the Lord, I’m not praying for something that is against God’s will and I’m not breaking His heart in desiring something to go along with His presence in my life.
I’m praying for something that’s good and right and holy and that He designed for me long before I got here.
Singleness happens – it absolutely does and it’s beautiful and good and right whether for a season or for longer.
It’s not easy and it’s lonely, but I’ve heard that marriage is the same way – not easy and sometimes really lonely.
There are struggles and deep pain attached to both scenarios and both have the potential (and even the probability) of breaking our hearts more than once.
But here’s what’s true …
Regardless of how the story ends up – it’s ok to want to be married – and it’s ok to ask for it.
Marriage was a part of God’s original design. So when we’re praying for marriage, we’re praying for something that existed in heaven from the beginning.
It’s good and it’s beautiful and it’s something that’s ok for us to want.