Today is my last day of being 35. Tomorrow another year will be tacked onto my age counter and my credibility as a content single grows… yay!
That “yay” could come across as sarcastic or genuine. I have actually spent a lot of the day thinking about the degree of sarcasm I feel is attached to this “yay” and have actually settled on… Not much. I actually am genuinely excited about increasing my credibility as a “happy single.” I am transparent to the point of “it is what it is” and it doesn’t bother me the way it once did. I am happy building my life, learning my lessons, decreasing my baggage and increasing my “value” to my future spouse. I am thankful for the peace that I have and the things I am able to do to encourage other singles, but as I stated in my intro a few weeks ago, I certainly would not have expected it. So, I thought that it would be appropriate to write specifically about patience on this day.
Now, if you can’t relate to me yet, then you’re reading the right blog. I want to help you get here because several years ago, I didn’t have the peace and patience that I do now. I was yearning for some “movement” in this area. I didn’t want to be single. I wanted what my friends had. Some man seemed better than no man. I compromised in areas that I’m sure I’ll get into later and tried different ways to win a guy over. Eventually, my envy of couples got to the point where whenever I would see a cute couple, I wanted to puke. “Get away from me! I should be the cute couple! I’m older than you! And I’m probably better than you!”(Hey, I’m just being honest of what I was thinking.) I’d have friends that would get married to a seemingly great guy, get divorced, and get remarried to another guy and I’d think: “How has she gotten TWO husbands and I haven’t even gotten one yet?!” So yeah if these thoughts have gone through your head mine, too. So, how have I sustained myself and kept plugging along without just throwing in the towel and sticking with the next guy that asked me out…
Years ago, when I was praying about my future husband, God spoke to me and told me that my patience would be blessed. He told me this long before I knew how long it would really be, how long He intended my call to patience to sustain me. But the image I had, immediately, that I’ve held on to and recalled when I’ve needed to is this:
Me standing with my amazing, handsome, kind husband by my side and a group of awesomely vulnerable, hormonal, and hopeful teenage girls looking up at us in admiration asking, “How did you get him?” And my reply: “I waited.”
I believe that my marriage will be an outward reflection of God’s grace, of His presence, of His love, and of His mission.
Patience is only possible with the expectation of reward. It shows a capacity for endurance. Just to be patient is an act of faith. Actually, the late Elisabeth Elliot in Quest for Love said: “I will experience the difficulty of self restraint, the anguish of unfulfilled longing, the bewilderment of unanswered prayer, my flesh and my heart falling, my soul breaking… tribulation is the curriculum of patience.” This quote has always stayed with me. I love the curriculum of patience. To me, that has always been so empowering to think about every hardship and heartbreak as a foundation to learning something as amazing as patience. What? Patience being described as amazing? Yes. Having patience is amazing. Not having it is not.
Alas, patience seems to be the theme in my life. It’s a lesson that I have been taught over and over. I have seen many times that what I was waiting for was better than what I could have gotten right away; and every time I learn it, it is accompanied with trust and faith. It always ends with me resting in what I know to be true in the future which is that God will give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4) but also that they are not necessarily in my timing but His (Isaiah 40:31; Ecclesiastes 3:1). He asks that we seek Him first. In Acts 1:7, he said to his disciples that “it is not for [them] to know the times or dates the Father has set” because sometimes knowing dates and times will prevent us from seeking God in the meantime and ultimately, what I have learned, is that seeking God in the meantime is what ultimately has brought me the ability to rest.
While patience is hard, it’s easier than yearning for something you cannot have. I think it is much easier to rest in a future promise and prepare in the now, then to have all of your focus on the absence of something you want now. It’s a mental shift but it is a curriculum and please, dear friends, trust that your patience will be blessed. There is reward.