My parents divorced my sophomore year of high school. I will never forget coming home and seeing the tears streaming down my dad’s face. The look of defeat scattered across his face. However, what I remember most are the words that my dad spoke to my sister and I that day, “It is not that I don’t love your mom. It is that I cannot handle this illness anymore.” In not so many words, dad’s words actually echoed the type of sacrificial love that Christ gave us through his own death and resurrection.
Mom and Dad’s relationship is not the only relationship that has been an example for me. My maternal grandparents were married over 50 years. My paternal grandparents have been married over 65 years. Examples of profound love that have been a part of my life. Yet there are many around my life whose marriages have fallen apart too. It is part of the reality of life and love. Love takes work and sometimes that love is simply not enough OR the love is no longer able to be found.
I am a woman who is on the verge of her 40th birthday (September 2018). Despite my parent’s divorce and watching my friend’s suffer around me from their own divorces, I still yearn deeply to be a wife and a mom. It is a deep cry and desire of my heart that continually echoes in my heart. In fact, the desire is so deep that it is hard to shake it. My heart knows what it wants.
The truth is that I have been blessed with incredible friendships in my life. In fact, there are times I wonder why God brought certain individuals into my life. There are also times when I wonder if I am missing something. Why have these deep desires not been met for me yet? Why am I yearning so deeply to be loved in this broken world?
Eight days from today, we will gather for Ash Wednesday where the words “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” will be spoken over me. Valentine’s Day also happens to fall on Ash Wednesday this year. This juxtaposition is not lost on me; a day to celebrate our own mortality but also a day to celebrate love and our own humanity. God calls us to love one another. In fact, God so loved the world that God sent God’s one and only son into the world for each and every one of us.
“For God loved the world so much that God sent God’s one and only son into the world; not to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him.”-John 3:16-17
Throughout my life, there is no denying that I am surrounded by love; that I am an incredibly loved child of God. However, on days like Valentine’s Day (or rather Single Awareness Day), my heart aches; aches that flowers won’t be delivered to my place of work; aches that the deep desires of my heart are still unanswered; aches that I am still extremely single at the age of almost 40.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy with my life. I have wonderful friends and family. I have a great job. I have a beautiful home of my own. Yet despite this all, it is difficult not to dwell in my singleness. It is difficult to yearn for God to answer this deep desire of my heart that has been there since I was a child; a desire that clings and tightly grips my heart and won’t let go.
On Valentine’s Day and especially Ash Wednesday, I need to continually be reminded of my value as a beautiful beloved child of God. I am reminded of these words from an article I read several years ago: “I’m single. Not sick, not a problem and not past my prime. So please don’t pity me on Valentine’s Day, because today of all days, I need your help to remember that my value doesn’t rest in a relationship status, in a box of chocolates or in a red rose. It rests in the fact that no matter what lies ahead of me, I am God’s beloved and His plans for me far exceed the feelings of a day.” (Read the rest HERE!)
Because the reality is that as the engagement rings are placed on fingers, as friends start having children of their own, and relationships form around me, it can be really easy to fall into that pit of pity. I need to know that my identity is not wrapped up in my singleness, but in my identity as a beautiful blessed broken beloved child of God.
I am linking up with these lovely ladies: Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart, and Kristin and Porch Stories.
You poured your heart out here today. I can feel the ache as if it is my own. I hear your desire to be known not only by God but in a deep relationship like marriage. I’m glad you are able to see who you are as a child of God but that still does not make up for all of the other emotions you may be feeling. I know it should but I also understand the heart of a single person. Praying for you that you always feel loved deeply and cared for by our beautiful God.
Thanks friend! I felt like I was pouring my soul onto the page so I am glad that came through my words. You are spot on. The complexity is feeling all the feelings I feel–sadness, joy, etc. Thanks for the prayers too. They are so greatly appreciated!
It’s something I keep questioning God about. Why all these wonderful Christian people have not found a soul mate, including my sons.
How is it that they are not connecting? It bothers me a lot.
I’m praying that next week you will find joy and contentment in spite of all the “awareness”.
I love you so… and I want to thank you for your boldness, for your honesty and vulnerability, and for reminding everyone to be intentional –especially on Valentine’s Day, but on every day, to buck against the cultural pressure/lie and to remind everyone where their true worth lies… it’s in Him! It’s always in Him!
I love you so too. And thank you! I try to do my best to be bold, honest and vulnerable as well as reminding others to be intentional. You are so right. It is always in Him; ALWAYS!
Dear Tara, I know this must be really hard. It’s easy to think our worth is based on other things, but those are the lies the enemy wants us to believe. You are a beloved daughter of God and such a woman of faith and compassion. May God bless you richly and show you how much you are loved. Blessings to you! xo
Gayl, it truly is hard for me! Thank you for your kind friends. Blessings to you too friend! xoxo
Tara, every comment I repeat. The ache is real and yet we trust Him. Whew.
I prayed for you this evening. I like what you had to say about Ash Wednesday & Valentine’s Day. I did not realize they would be on the same day this year. My church does not observe the liturgical calendar, but I am trying to educate myself about it and bring some of it into my own life.
Thank You for the prayers. They are so greatly appreciated!
Gosh, I needed that reminder. I’ll be turning 41 at the end of the week and I love my life and I also feel like I’m missing something. So thank you for the encouraging words and marking me feel like I’m not the only one out there.
Me too! Me too! I am glad to know we are not alone. You are beloved daughter of the one true king!
Thank you for sharing your heart so openly! I pray for so many who carry around the same deep ache and longing, and it’s so hard. But yet Jesus is so close in that very longing. You are a beautiful daughter of the King, and a precious picture of what true love looks like: Blessed and Love by Him.
You’re welcome! Thank You for your sweet words!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart today. I know a few single ladies who struggle, especially this time of year. I’m hoping your words will be a blessing to them as I share. Thank you.
Thanks Barbie! I hope my words also blessed your single friends as well. It has helped me to know that I am not alone with my families in regards to singleness etc. You are so welcome. And thanks again for stopping by!
Tara, I appreciate your honesty. Longings are part of our design. They direct our prayers and point us to God’s character (ie: Provider). “I need to continually be reminded of my value as a beautiful beloved child of God.” Yes. However, God still desires to hear the longings of our hearts. Laurie Short (also a pastor) writes about her experience as a single person and her struggle to understand why God wasn’t granting her heart’s desire. She is married now but her story is encouraging to anyone feeling like they are in a long season of waiting for God to answer her prayers. “Finding Faith in the Dark.” If you go on her website, you can hear her share more of her experience. I knew her from my youth ministry days.
Thanks Stephanie! I am thankful to be reminded that longings are part of our design. You are right. God does still desire to hear the very longings of my heart. Sometimes I forget that especially when those desires/prayers havent been met for me yet. I will have to check out Laurie Short’s story! I recall you or maybe it was someone else telling me about her before!
I meant to leave a comment when I read this earlier but didn’t get around to it. Thanks so much for sharing this post because as another 40 year old single Christian gal I can relate! (and shared the post with a few other of my single friends). Appreciate your honesty as always!
I am so glad you can relate. It helps me to know I am not alone. I hope it does the same for you!
Happy Valentines day my friend! It can be a tricky holiday to navigate, single or not.
Thank You! Back at ya! It truly can be a tricky holiday for anyone to navigate. Thanks for that reminder!