Owlish Contemplations · Pandora's Box · Whispers of Faith

I’m {Not} Getting Married. And God is Still Good.

At age 27, it probably seems unfathomable to many that an active, well-adjusted, college-educated woman would still be single – that no, she’s not hooking up with as many dates as she can – and that no, she doesn’t have a stereotypical boyfriend who turns into a fiancé who turns into a husband. And actually, no she’s not “waiting around” for Mr. Right to show up and complete her life.

It seems to be the “Saga of the Twenties” as I watch everyone else I know in my age category follow this route. [At least in this part of the country … other parts of the country, it’s more normal to wait till your 30’s]. But without fail, almost every day, a post will cross my Facebook feed regarding one of the following: “I said yes!” … “Eating breakfast with the wife!” … “Flowers from the hubby!” … “Baby number 3 is on its way!” – and so often these joyous posts are followed by the tagline, “God is so good.”

And I didn’t realize it until recently, but a little part of me cringes on the inside when I read that tagline.

Now I’m not implying that we shouldn’t be thankful for these good gifts – or that we shouldn’t acknowledge the source of our joy. Absolutely we should. I’m sure I’ve posted my own share of “God is good” comments while rejoicing about new jobs, college graduations, and other dreams come true. And I will still believe that God is good in more future blessings.

But just recently as I read another, “Loving my husband – God is so good!” post, the thought crossed my mind – “So if I don’t have a husband, are you saying that God is not good? Or that He’s slightly less good to me because He didn’t give me that gift?”

People would quickly respond with a “No, of course not!” reply if I were to confront them with such an idea. However I’m sure they would still have internal relief that they do have that gift – and pity for me because I don’t.

Do I pity myself because I don’t have the same gifts they do? Sometimes. There is the ache to not be alone in life that creeps in at times. But more importantly, over the years God has taught me two lessons about this topic, and I hope they can be humbly conveyed.

The first is probably the most difficult for Christians to hear – that marriage is not the most fulfilling thing I could ever do. Nor does it help me understand my salvation more completely (as I’ve heard some pastors say). Nor am I “missing out” on God’s best gift if I don’t get married. Sadly, in many churches, the picture that is marriage becomes more revered than what it represents – Christ’s relationship with the church. And the Christians in those churches would never admit that – but it’s conveyed through their comments about marriage and what a great gift it is. And I’m left to feel like I’m “less blessed” somehow because I don’t have what all the “strong leaders” of the church have.

[Side note: however, one of the most encouraging things I’ve heard about singleness came from my college pastor, Jerod, when he said, “Jesus was single all His life – and He was the most fulfilled person who ever lived.” Those are the kinds of reminders single people need to hear more of in the church.]

It’s hard for some people to imagine living a fulfilled life without a husband and kids. It was hard for me to imagine it in my teens and early 20’s. In fact, I didn’t imagine it. I just assumed I’d be married by now so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

But marriage is not a promise or a given from God. And as such, it’s therefore not the most fulfilling thing in life. What is promised from God? Himself. As the richest treasure we could ever want. And additionally, I believe God uniquely gifts each one of us with passions and abilities that we can use to live our lives in service to Him. And when we do, the pulse of His love coursing through our veins makes us alive and brings us closer to our Father, the one who designed us to bring glory to Him.

Each stage in life is different in its blessings. A single person could look at a married person and envy the companionship of a husband and the joy of raising little ones. A married person could look at a single person and envy their freedom and ability to make solo decisions and do a variety of things with their lives. One stage in life isn’t better than another – they’re just different. And we need to stop attaching too much significance to one or the other. God has certain things He wants single people to accomplish that married people cannot. Additionally, He has certain things that He wants married people to accomplish that single people cannot. And each reflects varied aspects of God’s character in their unique stage of life.

And currently? I’m stunned and excited by the opportunities God has for me and the plans He has in store for my life. My life is filled to the brim with blessings, and I’m grateful that God has brought contentment to my life. Like Ann Voskamp says, “Joy isn’t about how much our lives have – but how much we enjoy our lives. Joy is never made by Having More. Joy is always made by EnJoying More. More Christ, more now, more grace.”

The second lesson God has taught me is that yes, He is good when delightful blessings rain down on my life. But He is also good when I don’t get everything I want in life. Life is not a contest to see who can have the most and the coolest blessings – although many treat it as such [and who are we to judge which things are blessings and which are not? God’s idea of blessings sometimes looks different than our own].

Christians are too in the habit of throwing on a “#blessed” to their cushy lives without stopping to realize that not everyone has a “#blessed” life all the time. And if someone is going through cancer or the death of someone close to them or the loss of a job, would you be so casual to toss them a hashtag or pithy saying? Probably not. It suddenly becomes trivial in the face of life’s actual gravity.

Yet even in all of life’s messiness – even in all the things I never asked for – even in my tears and broken heart and exhausted struggling – God is still good. Not in a Hallmark greeting card kind of way. In a rock-solid, truth-of-the-Bible way that never changes. I can choose to put my hope in the fact that God mends, God heals, and God has a purpose for every situation we face in life, whether it seems like it or not.

My goal is not to understand God – my goal is to trust God and to love Him more every day. He’s the only One who can safely get me through the storms of life. And because of that, God is still good. And He will always be good.

Love and marriage? Yes, a beautiful gift. One which I rejoice over genuinely when it comes to friends and family. Is it necessary for me to live a full and happy life? No, not at all. Would I be delighted to receive it? Of course. God would be so good to give it to me.

But as I live my life right now without it, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt – God is still good. Because His goodness doesn’t depend on the gifts He gives. It’s revealed through the gifts He gives. And He has given me innumerable gifts which I am thankful for each day.

But at the end of the day, God Himself is the most good we will ever get. And that’s ultimately what we need most in life.

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