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The following is a guest post by my dear, sweet, friend Alison. She’s one of the most beautiful women I know (as you can see in the photo!)- inside and out. I had the privilege of witnessing part of her journey, and seeing God at work in her life. I asked her to write about this really important subject, and share her heart-felt experiences about being single in her 30s. Her heart and story blessed me, and I know it will bless you. Feel free to leave her some encouragement!
When I was young I always envisioned being married in my early 20’s, and of course, babies would come soon after. I dreamed that I would be a stay at home mom and take care of my husband, children and home.
In short, that is not the way my life turned out.
Along the journey of my life there has been unhealthy relationships, anger towards God and a lot of tears shed in the name of my expectations. I went through cycles of hope — to hopes being crushed. I experienced really difficult times in my life, thinking that God might be punishing me because of my past. If I could have somehow killed my desire for a husband and a family, I would have. The pain ran deep and it hurt. I had to start over with God to find out what it is that He wanted from me and why He wasn’t giving me my heart’s desire: a family.
I had a lot to learn.
God needed to do some major work in my heart to prove to me that He always had my best interest in mind. And, I had to do this part alone. At one point, I really felt the Lord drawing me closer to Him than ever before. During some intense prayer I felt as though the Lord asked me if I would be willing to fast from men for one year.
No dating, no friendships– not even hanging out with men. It wasn’t easy- but I of course said yes.
Through the course of that year I learned so much. God had given me wisdom that I would have not learned any other way. Above all, I knew in my heart and soul that He was actually not mad at me or “holding out” but he was protecting me! His grace and love had changed me, from the inside out.
I then had to let go of the fact that I was not in control and God’s timing was not mine. I had to surrender to this many, many times. I wish I could say that God blessed me with a husband right after but it wasn’t until 5 long years later that I met my husband. I admit there were still seasons of tears, still seasons of feeling embarrassed to now be single in my 30’s. The “advice” of some was also disheartening. I was told that I was too picky, or that maybe I needed to move. It seemed like everyone was always trying to set me up. I hated that too. It was always so awkward for me.
In my heart I prayed that God would bring my husband to me and that it would not come through another set up. I had moved back to my home town again feeling prompted by the Lord. I had started attending a local church and then called about any current Bible studies. I chose to go to the Romans bible study and the night that I attended they told me that there were only 2 sessions left. One of the guys definitely stood out to me but my heart was so guarded that I honestly didn’t even go down that road in my mind. I actually got sick and couldn’t attend the next session, so that was it.
About a year later on my way to church I had the random thought, “I wonder what ever happened to that guy from the Bible study last year?” That same Sunday when I sat in my seat, I looked over and there he was sitting right in the isle that I chose to sit.
We were married about a year later. I had just turned 33.
I had my first baby at 35 and I’m believing God for one more.
Throughout this entire journey, one thing I know to be true is that trusting God is not always easy. And believe it or not, getting married and having children doesn’t automatically give you the ability to trust God. There are still times of struggle. If I could be completely honest here, there are still times in my life that I have to let go of the fact that I am going to be an “older” mom, or that my children’s friends parents are going to be younger than me. I know all this might sound silly and selfish to some, but it is something that I think about. I guess I still feel old and sometimes out of the social norm.
However, I have to actively choose to think about the blessings that God has given to me from His never ending heart of grace. It wasn’t until I got married that I understood why people say being called to singleness is a gift, in that you can place all your attention and affection on the Lover of your Soul. I struggled again with my relationship with God after I was married and had my first child because I felt that I had no time to do anything because the very thing that I begged for was now my reality: a family.
I speak to all those who can relate to my experience. Please know that God is for you, he is not withdrawing a blessing because He is mean or uninterested. Take Him at his word, that no matter what, He is working ALL things for good. I am grateful to God that He had protected me and allowed me to learn so much before I was married and became a mother. I love my husband and son with a fierce, deep love that I had never experienced on a human level. He saved me for them.
His ways are higher and so much better than ours, because He knows the end of the story. We must commit to trusting Him with ALL things and taking Him at His Word. The essence of who we are can never be defined by the blessings of God but rather in knowing the God of the blessings. Hold to that truth in ALL things and you will be blessed beyond measure.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:17-1
Like Alison shared in this post, God was on a journey of preparing her heart. The first step in finding true love, is preparing yourself for it. To learn how, take a minute to check out the book True Love Dates.