topics:
Singleness

Heart Break

Last month, a few of us wrote about our plans for 2012, especially as it pertains to being single. I read every single comment and this one…. well. You’ll see.

Hi, while I appreciate your desire for single women to be encouraged to live differently and sharing principles we all should live by….why doesn’t anyone ever validate that being single in your 30s can seriously break your heart everyday. … I don’ t know if there are others out there like me who dreamed of and planned for nothing more than serving beside a husband serving in ministry, raising a godly family and serving those around us, who are just left heartbroken and disappointed and stuck in a life they never wanted, but if there are I wish that someone would write about how to trust God and hope again in the midst of your heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and lifeplans that doesn’t start with being grateful for things we don’t have.

I will write about it.

You want to know why I haven’t written about being single for the last ten years that I’ve been writing? Because it can be awful and confusing and the kind of pain that is hard to describe with words.

It’s a deep hurt. And it raises a lot of questions.

  • Why won’t anyone pick me?
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • Am I doing something wrong?
  • Am I too ugly? Fat? Skinny? Tall? Smart? Dumb? Short?
  • Why does God give her a husband and not me?
  • Why does God answer my other prayers but not this one?
  • Will I die alone?

And to tell the truth, there are probably fifty more questions. Those are just the ones that I can spout off the top of my head.

So JJ the commenter, your emotions are valid. Way valid. They are real and I get it.

I bet a lot of women do.

The day before I turned 28, I couldn’t get out of bed. I have never been that sad before. But on that day, July 6, 2008, I was absolutely unequivocally heartbroken. I rolled over, grabbed my computer from the floor and wept as I emailed my two best friends.

I don’t remember the whole email and to be honest, I’m not going to search through my archives. I don’t want to read it again. But I remember one very dramatic line- “I can’t do this another day.”

You want me to get ugly honest about what it can be like to be a single Christian woman?

Sometimes, you don’t think you can do another day.

[But I did do it another day. I’ve done it for approximately 1300 more days.]

I know. There are worse things in the world. I get it- being single is nothing compared to other heartbreaks in life, but it is a heartbreak nonetheless.

Because it goes deeper than being alone at the dinner table or in the bed. If you’re a Christian and being a wife is something you have longed and prayed for, having that desire unmet can get super personal between you and God.

It changes from an unmet desire to an unanswered prayer. And no matter what Garth Brooks says, sometimes it does not feel possible to thank God for unanswered prayers.

So how do we trust God, and I mean REALLY trust God, even when these emotions are real and true and living just right below the surface?

I don’t totally know.

I know that single women deal with this. But I bet married women do too. We all have things we’ve dreamed for and longed for and not received when we wanted them.

So as unconventional as this is, and as much as we all wish I’d finish this with a list of behaviors that lead to trusting and contentment, I’m not going to do that.

We are a community here at (in)courage. We care for each other. So I’m going to let y’all care for JJ and for me and for each other.

So let’s answer that question…

How can I trust God and hope again in the midst of my heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and life plans?

Help, y’all. Help.

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  1. 1

    I just want you to know that I thank God for every single one of your 1300 days–because I need women like you in my life to show me that it’s possible. I’m not in my 30′s yet. I’m in my mid-twenties and I’ve never had a boyfriend. And it started being hard when I was 12. I praise God for your example to me, and your honesty, and your camaraderie. Just the fact that you didn’t sit here and tell me to get over it…because God should be enough… makes me feel a little bit more human.

    I beg God for heaven every day. If not that, maybe to come out of His invisibility and give me a tangible hug. If not that, maybe a husband to show me a little glimpse of that love between Christ and his bride.

    Maybe I ask for a husband because it’s the only one of those things that seems realistic right now.

    And maybe it’s hard because the older I get, the less realistic it seems.

    WOW I want God. I want God so bad.

    So how do you get God in the everyday, when He’s invisible, when you want to be touched and spoken to. How do you let the distance…necessary because of this fallen world…not hinder you, not keep you from being utterly fulfilled….

    I’m open for encouragement and wisdom.

    • 2

      Oh, and to add to that…how do you go from knowing in your head that God love is better than romantic love, to feeling it with your heart?

      • 3

        Yes we know that God’s love is infinite, but I wouldn’t say that we have to connect that God’s love is better than romantic love. I believe he created us for all the types of love – Agape (God-love), Eros (Romantic love), Philos (Friendship love), Storge (Parent-child love) – and for me that’s the hardest part – knowing I was created to experience these types of love and not being fulfilled in that way.

      • 4

        I could not have stated it better, Anne, Married women do go through all the emotions and struggles of trusting God too. As far as Sarah’s last question together with Adrienne’s reply, God’s love IS better than romantic love–it is eternal and unwavering, not based on emotions. How can I put this as simple as possible after being married for 27 years and experiencing plenty of trust lessons…God’s love NEVER disappoints. Romantic or any love at a natural level does because it comes from our flawed humanity. If we have the order right in our heart (and it is impossible for a human being to get that order right on their own) then we stop struggling. But beware, the only way to fall in love with Christ and get that order right is to be very disappointed with any idol, including the object of our affection, wrong foundations shattered and right ones laid out. All of it equals pain, and then we arrive at the conclusion that there is only ONE love that we cannot live without. When we arrive there, we are truly ready for romance, marriage, singleness, friendship, and all other relationships, no longer needing fulfillment from another human being, which is impossible and draining. I pray for every woman visiting this post, married or single, may Christ reveal Himself to you as your first Husband and fill you so much spiritually that all natural desires will simply be additional gifts received if and when they come, but no longer a void or struggle. (Isaiah 54:4-8)

        • 5

          No, God’s love is not “better” than romantic love as you put it. God’s love is unconditional unlike most loves, but God’s love is also a culmination of the loves I experience in my waking life.

          God supplies all my needs, BUT through physical means mainly – food, shelter, water, money, sex, whatever it is – He created my life to be fulfilled by these “fleshly” means.

          God is not my husband. Jesus is the husband of the Church as a body – but He is not my husband. I was not created for celibacy, I was created for marriage (most people are).

          To explain further, here is a great quote from “Getting Serious about Getting Married” by Debbie Maken:

          ‎”I asked the Lord to search my heart and reveal why I was balking against my singleness, against a state I had thought he wanted for me. What God showed me was that I had used most of my twenties to master avoidance, not true spiritual peace. Even more interesting was that he showed me that I was never going to get true spiritual peace about singleness because I wasn’t called to singleness, and the Spirit does not give peace about something that is outside of God’s calling. God taught me that it was never his intention for people to be single for such protracted amounts of time and that if I continued on the same path, I could only expect further disappointment and hurt in the years ahead.”

          • 6

            Further, wanting marriage is not an idol – it’s a part of who I am designed to be as a woman – a wife. It’s a part of fulfilling God’s calling on my life as a whole.

          • 7

            AND, I believe, like “N.A. Winter” commented below – that I WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the Living. Hallelujah!

        • 8
          racheal says:

          Marcia, thank you for your wise words. They certainly match with my own experiences.

          Once God is clearly the only source of love you can always count on, all other things do seem to fall into place as you realize that nothing and no one can take that away. Nothing and no one will steal Gods love, no matter how well or badly you age, how much weight you gain, or how much prettier, smarter and more successful other women around you may be.

          It is the solid, secure assurance of a fathers love- the kind of love we all wanted and many never had in our earthly fathers. He will never disappoint us. And that knowledge is the bedrock you can build a life of peace upon.

      • 9

        Sarah,
        your heart open to His truth–*beautiful*.

        may i quietly offer…in answer to your questions…take it from a married woman, God’s love is better. you are on the right path. my husband and i have said many times, without God’s love, our love would be very shallow, and we could never have stayed together. for a young, single woman, you are very wise.

        i remember the pain of these confused questions when i was single…yes, as it has already been said–God’s love is not based on emotions, it never disappoints, and it is the one love that we really can’t do without and i’ve learned this is true, through failed relationships and singleness, and through 11 years of marriage.

        “Like an apple tree of the forest is my lover among the young men.
        I delight to sit in his shade,
        and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
        He has taken me to the banquet hall,
        and his banner over me is love.” –Song of Songs 2:3,4

        {his banner over me is love refers to the banner being the standard, or flag, that troops carry as they march so they can identify themselves to others. Here, the woman is saying, “My lover lets the whole world know of his love for me.” as women, we delight in this kind of romantic love! If this book pictures the love of Jesus Christ for his church, we realize that means that Jesus identifies himself to all creation as the One who loves us. we can delight in this as women!}

        “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”–2 Corinthians 11:2,3

        may i take your hand and pray for a moment?
        Dear Father,
        You see Sarah’s *beautiful desire* for you and her desires for human love also, desires that you put there when you formed her. YOU know the intricate, complicated emotions and the deepest parts of her. i pray that you would reveal your love for her more and more powerfully every day as she continues to follow and to surrender to you. i pray that you would let the knowledge of your love for her sink down from her head into her heart–and let her feel your love for her in her heart that she may be satisfied. but until that happens, Father, sustain her as only You can. i pray this for all the women on here today. in Your name i pray, Amen.

        dear one, as so many have said, this cannot be wrapped up nicely with a bow, but stay in your word, and fall into quiet moments with Him every morning if you can as your sustaining life–this is the surest way to joy. you are lavishly loved by the Father!

        a scripture for us all to meditate on, whether married or single: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”–1 Peter 1:6-9

        my prayer is that this is beneficial to all who read.
        ~Nacole

        • 10
          Tracy in NJ says:

          Nacole, thank you for this beautiful comment,prayer and the 1 Peter reference. You. Have blessed my heart!

      • 12
        Annette says:

        Hey Sarah –
        I’m with you chicky – I’m 25 and never had a boyfriend – not even a prospect really… I get the huge desire for God – some days you just want to say ‘you know what? Bring on the Rapture – I’m good to go!’ because there just doesn’t seem to be much point to your day… but there is. He has ordained our days and He has an awesome purpose for us. Something I’ve been learning recently is about focus…and perspective. Mainly about WHOSE focus and perspective I’m using.

        It’s not about me. It’s about Christ. This world was created to glorify God. Jesus wasn’t Plan B.

        These, and many more, things roll around in my mind and bring me out of my self. I don’t always “feel” it in the way that I desire to – but I know it’s true. And that truth is so incredibly solid and dependable – more than any earthly relationship.

        I guess for me (and it’s an ongoing thing because there is no way I’m perfect at doing any of this) it’s important to read about who holds my heart. This is the way that I ‘get God in the everyday’… Also – ask Him to keep your eyes open to the ways He loves you – from the family and friends you’re surrounded with, to the job you have, to the things you own, opportunities that arise… It’s all Him.

        There are days (and I’ve had a few weeks full of them recently!) where He is an echo of a thought in the back of my mind – I know He is there and He hears, and knows, and cares – but I just want a friend to “get it” too… Or for my Mum to call me. Or for my Dad to pray with me without me asking him to… and these times are okay. Keep crying out to Him. He hears and He answers. Not always with the answer we long for – but with the right one. And remember that anything He requires, He provides. He will ‘never leave us – nor forsake us. Behold – He is with you until the very end of the age..’ (my dear friend quotes this to me OFTEN!)

        Be encouraged Sarah. Sorry if I rambled. And check out Psalm 37:3-7a.. It’s gold. :-)

    • 13
      Wendy DeRaud says:

      My heart goes out to you as I read your story. I was 38 when I got married, after 10+ years following God and waiting, waiting for God to answer my deepest prayer. I understand what it’s like to try hard to be content in God because everyone tells you that you should, but deep inside, you feel cheated out of the best.

      I am new to this blog and am considering telling my story so you and others can be encouraged. God is faithful and there is always hope. I had to learn that on my journey and you will too.

      When I saw the video about ‘in-courage’ I didn’t see any older women involved, at least in the photos. I am 58 and have stories to share that could be encouraging to younger women, and am wondering if this is the place for me?

      • 14

        Wendy – we learn from each woman who joins us – regardless of age!! Younger women need older women as mentors, friends and encouragers. I’m 41, and I feel at home here, so please pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable!

      • 15

        I’m with you, friend. There are no older women in this community, nor are there many in any online community of Christians that I’ve found yet. I have made a few friends (net friends) near my age (I’m 67 and have had a long, interesting life with God) but after one year + of reading and tentatively dipping my toe in here and there, I’m pretty well convinced that there isn’t much space out here, except in a very cursory way, for older voices and experiences. Most of us who are over 55 truly enjoy being with people of all ages and stages. I’m not sure that’s as true for folks in their 20′s and 30′s. One place where I have found a few small circles of varied age folks is at websites that are centered on writing and sharing personal stories – but these bigger groups? Nope. Nada. There are all kinds of ways to feel on the outside of things. Singleness is definitely a huge one. But age is another. And we may not all be single in this life, but believe me when I tell you – if God grants it, we will all be old. So it’s a missed demographic, and I believe a missed opportunity, too. Thanks for your honesty here, and I, for one, would love to hear your story.

        • 16
          Wendy DeRaud says:

          Thanks, Diana. Maybe it’s because the blogging world is a newer world and one that us older ladies aren’t as familiar with. But it makes for a great way to communicate and hear stories should we dare to venture out there. I am glad you are venturing even if it is hard to find a place.

          This whole aging thing is weird, because we usually don’t feel our age, at least I don’t! But my experience has been different than yours in that I’ve discovered, much to my happy surprise, that younger folks around here are different than I was when I was their age, when the ‘generation gap’ was prevalent; I have found that what Kara said is true, that younger women are wanting and needed older spiritual moms.

          Your story is important and there are younger women out there who would benefit from hearing it! Hoping and praying we can find a place for that kind of interaction. Wondering if it can happen on this blog? Or maybe another? Keep me posted.

          • 17

            I’m so encouraged by the heartfelt words of all of you. I’m struggling with this age issue and the temptation to feel like no one really wants to hear what an older woman has to share. Thank you for your honesty, Wendy and Diana! Let’s hang in here together so we can be an encouragement to other women our age needing community. Bless you, Kara, for being so welcoming. Thank you, Annie, for helping all of us take a look at trust. By the way, I think we stand to learn some great lessons from our younger sisters as well. We are all together in this thing called life!

          • 18

            I just wanted to leave a note and say that I am 26 and I LOVE to hear from older women! I just wanted to encourage you to please stay around and please share your store because some of us 20s and 30s do want to hear! I have been married for almost 3 years now and would love to hear advice from someone who has been married for 27 years as my parents are divorced, so I don’t ask them.
            Also, to the single ladies, I did get married young and it has been wonderful, but as a note of encouragement – I remember sitting in my best friend’s apartment our senior year of college talking about how there was absolutely no guy in our lives that we would even consider dating…all of our friends were getting engaged. We both met the man we would each marry within the next 6 months. My point is that you never know when God will send that guy your way, so keep trusting, it could be tomorrow that you meet him.

          • 19

            Stay! Stay! We love and cherish our older mentors, our wise “elders”, if you will.

        • 20

          I’m a twenty- four year old that loves being with women of ALL stages and ages. Honestly, older women are some of my favorite people to spend time with because of the wisdom and love for life most older women seem to have. Glad you’re here at (in)courage!!

          • 21

            I agree, Jennifer!! Love me some mature, wise women! I want to soak in everything they have to say!

            I sometimes feel insecure for the opposite reason–because I’m so young! Being in my mid-20s, and unmarried…I wonder what I have to offer. It took me MONTHS to muster up the courage to blog. And even though I finally just decided to go for it, it’s still kind of weird. But God’s bringing me freedom, slowely but surely :) .

            I think all of this proves just how unmerited our fears and insecurities are–we are ALL 100% welcome, needed, and valuable.

        • 22

          Diana, I’m always happy to see your name pop up, as we travel in similar circles. I agree that this is a missed demographic. But I also want to assure you that this 32 year old loves being with people of all ages and stages. Always have, always will. We have so much that we can learn from one another!

        • 23
          Suzie (from Sydney) says:

          Diana, thanks for writing. I am sorry to hear that there isn’t much space for women over 55 anywhere. I’m 38 and desperately wishing there were older, godly women who I could wathc and learn from, someone who’s already faced some of the battles I face and might be able to share their wisdom. I long for a few mentors that could guide me through life as only an older woman can. My mum is great but we aren’t on the same page spiritually so its always going to change my/her responses. I would beg anyone over 50, 60, 70 and beyond to stay and share with the rest of us. Please.

        • 24

          NONO! I’m sure you’re wrong. I like reading about people going through what I go through, but especially sitting at the feet of the older ladies and learning what they KNOW from experience! The bible instructs the older women to teach the younger women the things they will need to live a godly life (including how to love our husbands.)
          I am 23, single (as in not yet married) but recently dating an awesome guy, and I rarely go to anyone my age for advice or to talk about my problems. My closest friend and confidant is in her forties. If no other young person needs the older ladies, I still do.

        • 25
          Tracy in NJ says:

          Funny you should say that about being on the outside because of age. I have noticed the huge 30-45 demographic in the blog world as far as contributing writers goes but have always felt welcome despite being older (55). I for one marvel at my younger sisters and often find myself wondering how they do all they do yet still walk with the Lord. When my children were little, I barely found time to join a weekly Bible study, let alone, ponder and teach online daily as so many in that age group are doing. I must confess to being a bit jealous that I didn’t catch on sooner. But really, just so happy to be able to connect with like minded women of all ages.

      • 26

        Yes!! we need to hear and learn from women a little further down the path than us (and I’m 41 :) It is so encouraging to hear your stories of faith.

      • 27

        Hi Wendy, good to hear from you! I’m 60 and did not give my heart and life to Jesus until I was 37 almost 38 and I was also 5 months pregnant with my son. I feel like you. I am older and have been trusting Jesus since that time in my life. I love love love this website because it’s so encouraging about how much Christ loves us. I’ve been alone for over 14yrs. praying that God would send me the love of my life that He would pick for me. I often could share a great story about my trials, I’ve got peace that on the days I don’t think I can go on it’s really ok with Jesus for me to just cry. For me, He always finds a way to help me be renewed in how much He loves me. I’m so so thankful for that. But please know you have an old sis-star reading this blog to! God Bless, Patti

      • 28

        Please be encouraged to share your experiences and stories. I am 48 and would love to hear how God has been working in your life for a few more years than I have walked with him, so please stick around and know you are valued!!

      • 29
        Anonymous says:

        I want to reply to Wendy and I hope this phone is doing that lol! I am 29 yrs old and I would disagree that younger women don’t want to socialize with older age groups. I would rather talk to someone older because they are wiser and have experiences I don’t have. Most younger people just hurt me. I also do t identify with people my own age, never have. So please, tell us what is on your mind.

      • 30

        Wendy and Diana,

        your wisdom and experience, your grace refined by time, is much needed in the mix of the conversation. please dont let Satan whisper to you that you are invalid, invaluable, not needed, or your time of giving has dried up. you are much, much needed and sought after. there are women like myself who never really had a mentor in their mother, and i have met so many wonderful older women online that have added such richness to my life. {in}courage is such a homey, comfy place for you to feel apart. so pull up a chair and feel right at home, and join in the conversation! so glad to have you.

        and pssst….if you are looking for other places to fellowship with women of all ages…try out Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience…on Mon and Wed she hosts a link-up, and you can find plenty of blogs there in which to meet other ladies…
        http://www.aholyexperience.com/

        and this one, Deep Into Love, a blog with lots of “older” readers, and young alike…just amazing, amazing people, and one amazing, very interesting blog. the author is a friend of mine. you will be blessed!
        http://www.deepintolove.com/

      • 31

        hi Wendy and Diana, {and all “older” women},

        (i thought i had submitted this comment, but i must not have pressed enter–so i hope you women come back to read!)

        there is certainly a need for you here…i know that i very much need your wisdom and desire to learn from you. there would be a hole here without you. please dont let Satan whisper into your ear that you arent valuable, needed, valid or that your time of giving has dried up because you are all of those things, and your time of being used is not up! {in}courage is a great place to feel comfy and at home, so pull up a chair, get cozy and join in the conversation…

        and psst…if you are looking for other blogs to belong and be apart…try out A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp’s blog…she hosts a link-up on Mon and Wed, and i would encourage you to check around there in the blogs in the link-ups to meet great people of all ages! here is the link:

        http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/02/why-its-time-to-get-out-of-your-comfort-zone/

    • 32

      Hi Sarah! I’m in my mid-30s now, and I am married, but I never had a boyfriend, never had anyone pursue me or want me. I used to think that there was a problem with me, and that’s why I had never had a boyfriend. In hindsight, I truly think it was the Lord protecting my heart!

      BUT…I remember the hurt, I remember wondering if I would always be alone, and wanting to experience that human love. Shortly before my husband came into my life, I made a very difficult decision. I told God that, if He never wanted me married, I would trust Him, trust that He had wonderful plans for my life, trust that I could live a full life as a single woman. In tears, and with a pounding heart, I choked out every one of those words to God, and I meant it. What brought me to that place was John 14:23: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” I wanted the Lord to dwell with me so badly; He brought me to a place of surrender – surrendering that dream in exchange for Him. Oh, it was hard!

      And even now, as a married woman, yes, I struggle with trusting the Lord. But I’m learning to continually sow the word into my heart, learning that the word is truly my lifeline; I am learning to pray, always pray throughout my day – I even set alarms reminding me! I’m learning to be in constant communion with the Lord, and when I am, I watch my fears flee!

      Thank you for sharing your heart!

  2. 33

    Two things that I do:

    1) Remind myself that God promises His children will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13) I’m super grateful for the promises of eternity, but when my heart aches I’m also very grateful to know that God promises His goodness to us here too. If we aren’t experiencing it now, He’s bringing us to it.

    2) Tell God my heartbreak. It can be tempting to think that we have to go to God and “have it all together.” Relying on Him as our Abba – reminds us that He wants us to share our hurts and pain with Him. Pouring out to Him may not change our circumstance but it will certainly change our response and awareness of how He is working in them.

  3. 35

    I can certainly relate… being single, 48 and realizing you will never hold your own biological child in your arms. Sitting at many women ministry services where 70% of the discussions are geared to the family, mother and wives. Something inside sinks because you can’t figure out where you fit. But something else bigger than everything around me tells me to love God and draw closer whether I received my dream or not. His word says that grieving will end in Zion, where he will bestow on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair – then I must believe even if my desires didn’t come to fruition. His word stands and based on his word, I am an Oak of righteousness planted by the Lord for his purpose to display his full splendor. Hope this encourages someone today. (Based on Isaiah 61:3)

  4. 40
    Mary Kay says:

    Oh Annie and JJ,

    My heart–AND prayers–go out to you and God. I, too, have had similar seasons, as a single over 30, later married and broken-hearted, and …

    I begged God for a husband, and father to my fatherless boy, and listened as married friends said, “Being single can be a gift. You have a freedom we do not.” Such freedom does not always feel like a gift. I’d sat in what felt like a spotlight in church–a single amidst couples.

    I brought a friend to the church’s special service on Valentine’s weekend–everyone welcome–celebrating God’s love; and we cringed as all married couple were asked to stand up, face each other, and re-recite their marriage vows. There may have been another few singlets somewhere, but we couldn’t see them.

    Then from an impossible place, God brought me my hero/husband; but at that time he was not my husband and not yet a hero. Only after many, many painful years did we reach this blessed place. But before that, many nights I cried myself to sleep.

    One night I ran from our room into the winter night, sitting alone on the snow-covered picnic table, tears turning to crystal on my robe. There, like many times before, I poured out my heart to God, begging Him to teach my husband about wives and kids and love and sharing. Begging Him to give me reprieve from my loneliness, for something to change. Like you–I did not want to endure another day.

    And though I didn’t hear an answer to that plea, when I finally stopped for a breath, God whispered–you know, in that way He has that lets you know he loves and cares for you, no condemnation, just a small reminder: “That desire for his companionship is similar to what I feel when you choose to not talk with me and enjoy my company for days or hours or minutes. Do you know I love you?” Later I went inside, no longer broken-hearted, but hugged; no longer snow-chilled but wrapped in warm love.

    I don’t know if my experience will profit you, if my ear will lighten your burden, my prayer increase your peace…but I hope so. And I do know that your daily focus on the goodness of God will help keep you on the path where your special guy MAY be waiting just around the next corner. And I have learned thru many dark, dark seasons that God’s Word will carry me. I’ve experienced joy that filled the sad valley in my heart; and had the valley been shallower, so too would be the joy.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. You can count on this one “y’all” to be praying for you both! (( Hugs))

    • 41
      Tracy in NJ says:

      What a poignant analogy! Another is our children who cannot seem to understand that what we are trying to teach them is for their good. They do everything but what we try to show them will prosper them and turn to everyone except their parents who love them so dearly. In the same way we refuse to listen to God or turn to him in our times of need, feeling that human relationships are somehow more important, or more likely to fill our empty places even though we know better.

  5. 42
    Barbara says:

    I just had my 50th birthday a week ago — and the single men I know my age, or even in their 40s seem to be searching for younger women, either so they can have children or just because there are a lot of single 20 and 30-somethings that will date older men. (Which is understandable.) I’ve had Christian men even tell me: you’re wonderful, I would date you, but I think you are too old (even though we are close in age.) I have yearned for 18 years to re-marry (my husband left me for another woman 18 years ago when our daughter was 3.) My heart breaks often. I’ve always had the dream that I would minister alongside a Godly husband (I am a worship leader-although have been told I’m getting too old for that as well). I have dreamed and prayed that God would bring me a husband of His choosing and maybe we would even have more children, and I’ve been certain God would answer this prayer all these years. The loneliness now is even worse, with my daughter turning 21 and my nest being empty. So yes, I understand the shattering heartbreak that can come with being single. And how it can interfere with our relationship with God. I’ve asked all the questions you put forth and more. It isn’t something I think about every day — and if I do marry I absolutely want it to be God’s dream for my life. But there have been many times that I have had true faith that marriage is his plan for me, and then I think of my age and I worry. I don’t have an answer to all of this. At my age I even get told by other Christians ” YOU want to be married?” Sigh!! Yes, I do!
    I want passion and kisses and someone to share responsibilities and dreams and plans with and I even want the challenges and difficulties of 2 people sharing a life together. I want to hold hands and be desired. I want a companion to go places with and share life with. I want to redeem the marriage I had before — which was unGodly and altogether dysfunctional. But I want God even more than all of that– his desires for me, his plans, his good and perfect will. So I keep praying. Keep telling myself 50 isn’t old. Keep hoping. And I keep pressing into God with my broken heart and sometime deep depression, knowing He isn’t wanting me to live life in such a tension between wanting His will and wanting my prayers answered. I have no answers here, just understanding and prayers for all of us. And to let others know that it is perfectly ok to acknowledge that you are brokenhearted or lonely. It doesn’t mean you don’t love or trust God. It means you are human.

    • 43

      I wish I could introduce you to my single male friend (also a worship leader) who desperately wants to share his life with a woman of faith serving our Lord together! They are out there, ladies, don’t give up! We’ve been praying for a mate for years and I don’t understand it either, he’s an amazing guy, just as I’m sure you are amazing women. Trust in His plan.

    • 44

      Oh Barbara, don’t lose heart or listen to the negative voices that try to define you! As a would-be wife or a worship leader or whatever else, you and God are the only authorities on that! My mom remarried last September at the age of 53, to the most wonderful, perfect man for her and our family. Although I’m nearly 30, I immediately began calling him “Dad,” as that’s who he is to me, simple as that. Love is a miracle that can happen anytime, to anyone. I truly believe that.

  6. 45

    Oh I can so relate to this… and I’m older than 30′s…. and yes it hurts and I take it personal and find every defect in me that I can muster…. but then I remind myself….. I have to trust that GOD is both sovereign and in control… I gave my life to him and I no longer live but he lives in me… perhaps I will marry in heaven… if marriage will not come to me on earth…. but single or married I have to be content…. and yes it’s hard…. some days I can somedays I still wish it were different…

  7. 46

    Hi, what a beautiful message and point well-received, as .. believe it or not, I do relate on some level, even being married for 5 yrs.
    At the risk of sounding insensitive, can I offer up the observation that people who are married have been ‘on both sides of the fence’ in terms of being married or not. And people who haven’t been married, have not yet experienced both sides. I say that to point out that, as young girls and young women, that is what our goal in life usually is. To get married, have romance and have babies. That’s what we focus on, that’s kind of what we think of the climax of our life to be. (or I did, at least) Why? I think it has something to do w/ ‘having desire for our husbands’ (?), possibly. Also, we are built to want to give love.
    That being said, I hear you and I really didn’t know how excruciating being single can be for some people.
    I just want to share, however, that I, myself, just today as we went driving reflected on my own inner pain, my ‘dead heart’, as it were. The heart that hasn’t had a long, open and honest chat with God in about 4 or 5 years. Heartbreak is not exclusive to singleness. And I know that goes w/out saying. And no, I would not give back my autistic son for one second. Never, ever. However, do you know it kills me a little bit more every day inside, to not hear one clear word from him? And to not be sure of whether he will ‘be okay’ and live an independent life? This only lists one. One hurt. One gaping wound in my …. married life. Did anyone ever tell you that men really aren’t knights in shining armor? Did anyone ever tell you men are jerks? There’s a reason the latter is the more uttered. At the risk of sounding extremely cynical, I’m here to let you know, it is also excruciating to live with someone every day who simply does not know how to love and who is crushed, as well, by life. It’s translated into… non-love. Non-love of the ‘one’ for me. Non-love of the person I am married to for the rest of my life. Or ‘strapped to’ for the rest of my life. Sound dramatic? Not dramatic. True.

    If half of marriages end in divorce, what are the other half like? Are they terrific? I’m sorry, but speaking as someone who’s ‘been’ on both sides of the fence, I just have to kind of ‘shoot down’ some of the assumptions that may fly around that once you’re married you don’t have that kind of excruciating, heart- and faith-killing pain.
    Even with all of the many difficulties in life I faced before marriage (and even marrying a man who loves me and loves the Lord and is commited to us both), I have endured more hardship and heartache in the last 5 years than in most the periods of my life.

    I don’t know the reason my son is disabled. And I cannot make sense of it. And how God’s sovreign plan will still play out. And similarly, I don’t see the sovreignty right away in the very deep pain of loneliness, especially extended lonliness. But in my life, I’ve been trying to focus on the fact that God allows me to go through suffering because it changes people. (Ps. 119: 67,71,75)
    Everyone’s obvi. got their own road to travel. Just don’t assume those on the other end where you’d like to be are ‘better off’ than the pain you are in. Because many are not.
    I appreciate your (and everyone else’s) openness and vulnerability when it comes to your experiences with being single. It is something, as I said, I really was not cognizant of.

    Okay, don’t no one be too mad, as I’m just tryin’ to be helpful, but…
    As a side note: just a question to throw out.. What’s the verdict on people going out and meeting new people? Iow, are you doing that in order to meet people? Going online, meeting new people in public, in restaurants, neighbors, parties, work, more parties.. 5 new people per wk., min. They must know 1) you Name, 2) One interesting thing about you, and 3) a Way to get in touch with you.
    Or does it get old? I’m so sorry if this is coming off very insensitive, but .. re: loneliness. .. If you’re going out and meeting people every week, how lonely would you be? You get me? Gotta get out and keep meeting people if you want to find someone to marry. I know, I know, I sound terrible. But isn’t that how it works? And even if you don’t ‘find’ anyone.. You’re still getting together w/ people or dating, etc.. Iow, keep it movin’ and don’t give up, if that’s what God has put in your heart.
    :)

    • 47

      Morgan,

      Thanks for sharing this! You’re right – heartbreak isn’t the exclusive domain of singles. Heartbreak exists in every stage of life. Unanswered questions exist in every stage, too, as well as periods of extending waiting. The grass is definitely not always (often? ever?) greener on the other side of the fence – you’re right!

      As to your last point about going out and meeting people – would it were so easy, right? :) I live in a big city, have a full social calendar, have tried the online thing – but none of that guarantees I will meet a suitable “one.” Sometimes we can put in the effort, do everything ‘right’ and still not see results in this area. That’s partly what’s so frustrating about it – it’s this deep heart dream that seems entirely out of our control to actualize. And while I’m not lonely for friends or community, I’m still lonely for that one elusive relationship (although to your earlier point – loneliness is not exclusive to singles, either – we feel loneliness in every stage of life).

      • 48

        I completely agree with your response, Kristy. An active social life does not always translate to meeting The One. It just goes to show that there is no formula when it comes to finding love.

    • 49
      Barbara says:

      At age 50, going out and meeting guys isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have lots of friends and things to do and I know a lot of people. I’m friendly and outgoing and certainly get out. But this isn’t youth or college ministry — the dating scene isn’t really out there. Plus you need to have someone interested in actually dating you, right? I’ve tried the dating sites, etc, but I’ve not had a guy interested in dating me in years. Not to feel sorry for myself. I have many other great things in my life and an awesome God who provides for me and loves me like no man can. And I’ve been on both sides of the fence too — married 9 years, then single for 18 years. I know marriage is hard and has its own loneliness. I don’t have unrealistic expectations. My marriage was awfully hard and ended in betrayal and heartache! But I think we need to validate each others heartaches and loneliness — they are real and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s hard going to bed night after night in an empty bed, and I don’t feel bad saying that. I pour out my heart to God, and He listens and loves me even through my tears (as he loves all of you!) And dating just to date — some of us are sensitive spirits, or shy, and the rejection only brings on more depression than we need. And there is a different kind of loneliness in desiring a spouse that can happen even in the midst of our girlfriends or social groups.

    • 50

      Morgan I was single for a lot longer than I wished to be (that’s what started my passion for single women), but now that I am married (for only 3 short years) I often say “When marriage is good, it’s really, really good. But when marriage is bad, is worse than your worse day being single could ever be”. I never knew it would be so hard.

      Now, that’s not to dismiss any of the feelings here because I know this deep hurt just like all of these women, and my heart hurts for them too. You cannot take hurt and compare it. It’s all relative, and there’s always someone else with a greater wound. But it is worth thinking about.

  8. 51

    Oh, this is gooooood. I would love an answer to that question – how do we learn to trust and hope again in the midst of heartbreak? How do we learn to know God as a Provider when we feel un-provided for (at least in this one big area)?

    Yeah, I’d love answers to those questions, but right now I’m just REALLY glad & thankful to have my daily heartbreak validated. Ya know? So often we’re told to be content and joyful in our singleness – and that’s not wrong. Contentment and joy are good. But that’s not the easy end to the story. Contentment and joy have to be sought and won through (often-times intense) heartache. And it’s just nice to see that heartache acknowledged. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one sending “not one day more!” emails to my friends :) It’s nice to have a voice given to this sadness, and it’s nice to know I don’t carry it all alone.

    So thanks for that :)

    • 52
      Barbara says:

      You are definitely not alone. There are a lot of women (and men too) with heartaches for a variety of reasons and none of us need to be ashamed or feel alone in that. This isn’t an easy world we live in. You are precious and intensely loved by God… but sometimes it’s nice to be loved by someone “who has skin on” Prayers for you and me and everyone else here for comfort and knowledge of God’s constant presence and care – and also for knowledge that there is nothing wrong with us — we are God’s beloved children, his princesses, and valuable even without someone to tell us so! But I also pray for the desires of our hearts – in agreement with God’s desires – to be fulfilled for His glory!

  9. 53

    Heartrending. I walked that life as a single Christian woman and it was hard. It was hard to hold my younger sisters’ babies and wonder if I would ever have one of my own. It was hard to be looked over and have my best friend always chosen over me. It was hard not to wonder what was wrong with me or if somehow I had done something wrong and missed my chance.

    It hurts something awful.

    I’m 15 years beyond my singleness and all I can say is that heartache still comes just in different ways. That’s not to discount AT ALL the real pain you feel, but just to say that I think life gives us many opportunities to learn how to turn our hearts over to Him, to trust Him, to let Him fill what is empty, to heal what is broken, to take care of what is out of our control.

    It helps me to realize that…to realize that we all walk our own pathways of pain and those paths require us to give our all to God. And it’s not easy for any of us. We are not bad people if this is hard, because I think this is ultimately why we are here. And it’s a process. We figure it out, or one aspect of heartache may be taken away (e.g., I got married) but then other trials come.

    Just know you are not alone, sisters. Whether the trials are exactly the same, I think most people around you, if you were to get to know the deepest parts of their hearts, have this kind of heartrending heartache that leaves them feeling like they can’t do it anymore.

    And the miracle is that we learn that with God, we can.

    Bless you.

    • 54

      Michelle, I agree. This earth is not our home.

      That’s not to dismiss any of the feelings here, but for me it gives me freedom b/c it makes me know that my feelings of discontentment are to be expected. But we can still live in His peace in the midst of the discontentment.

  10. 55
    Stephanie says:

    I’m the woman on the other side of the fence who suddenly finds herself on yours. After 10 years of marriage, I am once again single. And alone. With 4 beautiful children to raise, aged 8, 6, 3 and 2. And somedays…I just don’t know how to go on.

    But I do. Because HE has promised never to leave me or forsake me. And He hasn’t. No matter how dark it gets, no matter how much I can’t SEE Him…I trust Him. I stand on His promises. I believe in His purposes. I don’t have to know the outcome of my life. I just have to know Him.

    I’ve learned more about faith as a newly single woman than I ever learned as a married one. What’s the point of faith if it doesn’t shine in the dark? Faith was created for this moment, for your darkness. It’s through eyes of faith that we truly see God. Every tear, every bit of my broken heart, has been worth it because I can truly say… I KNOW God.

    • 56
      Barbara says:

      Stephanie, you have such a beautiful heart and faith. I know your Father God must be so proud of you and is absolutely delighting in you. As a divorced single mom, I won’t lie, it is really hard sometimes. But you will see God pierce that darkness and come through for you and your children in amazing ways!!

    • 57

      Stephanie ~

      I became single again after 13 years of marriage with three children to raise. It’s been almost two years now and we’re making it! Though sometimes I truly cannot see how.

      I just wanted to encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take the steps needed for today. He is with us.

      • 58

        Now here is a list of three heroines – and I know your number is legion out in the real world. Thank you for reminding us that heartbreak comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. And thanks for testifying that God is faithful through all the hard, scary stuff.

    • 59

      Yes, yes, YES, Stephanie! I was married for 12 years, experienced betrayal and divorce and left with two children to raise. My trust in God grew exponentially during that time. God revealed himself to me in beautiful ways that I might not have experienced otherwise. And, God did eventually bring another man into my life with which I could share intimacy with.

      However, to assume that being married is where its at and will bring blissful happiness is such a lie! I unfortunately ignored red flags when I married my first husband and in the process experienced tremendous hurt and abuse, not to mention dragging kids into all of that. That’s a whole other mess when kids are involved…they are the true victims. If God puts the relationship together, marriage can be beautiful and a blessing inspite of the hard times ALL couples go through.

      As much as singleness can be lonely, so can many marriages. Some of my friends are terribly lonely, married to husbands who are inattentive and distant. The grass is not greener on the other side. We all have to trust God in the circumstances in which we find ourselves: married, single, old, young, healthy, sick, fertile or infertile. We live in a broken world in which our dreams don’t always come true and our hearts long for a better place. Let’s offer grace to each other no matter what situation or status of life in which we find ourselves!

    • 60

      Stephanie, that is beautiful. You are such a strong woman. God bless you.

  11. 61
    Gena Dayon says:

    It may be true that it is a common plight that single women are teased for still being single after 30, statistics in Southeast Asia that many well-educated women opt to delay marriage. Not that they are unattractive, abnormal, or anything degrading – it is simply a choice. I became a Christian at 18, through IVCF. One of the required readings is how not to be “missmated with unbelievers”, which is completely agreeable. It is God’s basic protection from abuse and heartaches. I am 52 now, and I know how wonderful it would be to have a mature Christian mate, but it is not for every woman, I guess. And it is not really a blissful circumstance, but it is perfectly right.

  12. 62

    Annie, I’m so glad you wrote this! I think the first step in this is telling one another that it is absolutely OK to hurt. It’s true that we all have different hurts. For some singleness, for some a tough marriage, for some illness, and the list goes on. While it is an absolute truth that the Lord loves us, and an absolute truth that He is on our side, that doesn’t mean we don’t hurt. The hurt is only compounded when others tell us it’s somehow ungodly to feel pain. Being single in your 20s, 30s, 40s… is hard. The thing is, with any struggle, the only way to make it into the next day is to lean fully on the love of Christ, acknowledging that we’re hurt and broken, but knowing that he is ultimately the only one who can heal that hurt.

    • 63

      Thank you Tricia. I think the guilt over our loneliness and feeling of being misunderstood are two of the hardest parts of singleness. It’s comforting to know that He knows our brokeness (no matter what our brokeness is). He heals. :)

      • 64

        Tricia and Jennifer, please do not let the enemy feed you the lie of guilt! God made you a woman. These are real desires, and there is a time to mourn them.

        Praying for you!!

  13. 65

    This may be my favorite blog post this year – and a big chunk of it is going to be put right into my journal. You said everything SO WELL and I say YES, YES, YES!! I feel that way too! I think my most recent argument with God had to do with a blog I read of someone still in her 20′s who has prayed for a husband and is now getting one – and I think my ugly line was “Seriously? TWENTIES? I don’t even want to hear it.” (Ugly!!) There are days when I run out of hot water just sitting in the shower crying or recently a weekend when I seriously thought I had the flu but it turns out I just worked myself into THAT big a tizzy aching over it. And I so appreciate the fact that all you have validated those feelings when others just (rapidly) deliver trite “comfort.” As for now…God has me on a journey of beginning each day with “How can I love You the most today? What do you want frome me TODAY? How can I rest in you today? How can I live to the fullest TODAY?” He’s trying to teach me to look no further than this day so I don’t have an utter panic attack about what is NOT coming in the future. There are days when that flows easily and days when I say the words through tightly gritted teeth. But I’m about 17 days into the journey and my heart IS beginning to relax – nothing short of a miracle. So for now, this is how I handle it. And I know in my head He’s faithful. Hoping my heart catches up soon. Thank you for this post! WELL SAID.

    • 66

      Beautiful response. Just beautiful.

    • 67

      Bekah, I love the questions you’re asking God everyday. What a humbled and surrendered spirit you have! I remember having a physical pain in my chest some days when I was single. I could actually feel it. Being very healthy I knew it was just my heart breaking.

      God is going to show you so much of Himself and His glory through your surrendered heart. It will be amazing! Praying for you!

      • 68

        Thank you!! I don’t think my natural inclination is humility and surrender but God is definitely pulling me that way…and I’m grateful. I can’t wait to see what He has. I know He’s writing a story and I’m grateful for that too! Now to keep living in surrender even on the days when, like you say, my chest hurts. Thanks for your encouragement!!

  14. 69

    Hi Annie,
    I am reading a wonderful book by Timothy Keller entitled The Meaning of Marriage. I would recommend you take a look. It is a good read and I think my husband and I will be buying a copy for my single 21 year old daughter to read and keep on her bookshelf.

  15. 70

    Annie and JJ,
    I could write so much about this topic. JJ I understand your pain, I’m living it. I also had that same loneliness and heartache even while married. I’m now divorced and shared parenting our 2 children with my ex husband. I’ve been on 2 dates in 2+ years as it is so very hard to meet someone. I keep praying, I keep crying, I keep talking to a dear friend who has counseled me a lot over the past 4 years and I pray some more.

    Last night while at choir practice we practiced our song for this weekend. It is called Unreedemed. It talks about how all the ‘things/places’ in our lives that have brought us to this point in life may be unfulfilled or unrestored but my favorite line in the entire song is this ” but when anything that is shattered is laid before the LORD, just watch and see, it will not be unreedemed”! I am living walking proof of this statement and it just warms my heart to hear it sung out loud by our choir. I know where I was at before and see how far I’ve come but something is still missing in my heart. I struggle with being ungrateful about all this because I really really just want to be held by the man I love, I want to be married, I want to share the ups and downs of marriage with my husband, I want to worship and pray with my husband. It hurts to be the only single in the group and to hear the words that sting without meaning too ie. singleness is great, you have the freedom, etc. etc. but I keep pushing forward each day and frequently remind myself, its God’s plan, not mine. And no, that doesn’t always make it easier but its reality. Some days I’m okay with it and some days I’m not. But like the song says–anything shattered that is laid before God will not be unredeemed.

  16. 71

    JJ if you’re reading this, I care too. In 2006, I remember being really honest with God and praying: “Who’s going to look after me when I get old? There’s my sponsored children in the Philippines, but they’re so far away”.

    I was just sitting on my bed and felt God say that even to my old age and gray hairs, He would sustain me. He didn’t show me how – whether it would be through providing a husband, or through friends/church. I know about it being difficult. Sometimes all I can do is cry into my pillow and pray for God to strengthen me ‘cos I don’t feel I can do it anymore, and you know, He always does (I’m in my 30s now). I also know what you mean about how we can think singleness is our fault – that there’s something wrong with us, but there isn’t. Even before you were born, God loved you. It can be easy to fall into the trap of doing things to gain people’s respect, but God already values you and already thinks you’re beautiful – whether you’re tall, short, fat or thin. Knowing that God is interested in my happiness and wants the best for me makes it so much easier.

  17. 72

    Heartbroken is the right word. I am married now, but when I think back on my singleness I still feel the pain of that time. The hardest thing for me to understand was why this God of mine who loved me, would put the desire for marriage in my heart, would then withhold it. It was a painful struggle, and I felt like it was God himself who broke my heart. How do you trust Him, how do you go to the one who you feel betrayed by? Its crushing…I know! But His Word says he is faithful and His Word is true. I clung to Him although I wanted to run from him in anger and brokenness. There is no magic age, no certain point we have to achieve before we can ‘get’ a husband. We don’t have to understand, but we do have to trust and remember how faithful he is. We may never be married, we may never have children, but we are His, and He loves us, and desires relationship with us. My very dark time of singleness equipped me for the news of not being able to have our own children. Another heartbreak, but this time I just ran to his feet, and again he has been faithful. Not by giving us children, we have none, but by loving my wounded broken self and bringing beauty out of my ashes.

    • 73

      I relate to the feeling of being betrayed by God because I feel He created me with such a desire for partnership, such capacity to give and receive love and even seems to dangle to hope before me only to dash the dreams before they are fulfilled … it is a very real loss and lately I’ve been praying that He will help me trust Him, help me believe He has my best.

      For me, it comes down to submission – tough. Will I submit to His plan, or manipulate and orchestrate my own? Will I trust Him when I want something different? It’s a daily, sometimes hourly test and I fail often.

    • 74

      wow, Jen. “and I felt like it was God himself who broke my heart. How do you trust Him, how do you go to the one who you feel betrayed by? Its crushing” describes exactly how I have felt and communicated to even my pastor last week. “Crushing” describes the feeling all to well. I really appreciate the comments I’ve been reading. I just prayed for you in your current heartache. Thanks for sharing.

  18. 75

    Oh my! This touches me!

    This: “If you’re a Christian and being a wife is something you have longed and prayed for, having that desire unmet can get super personal between you and God”

    I think this is partly it – being real with God and just saying it as it it is (He knows anyways) and then finding people you trust to share your feelings with and that will pray with you.

    And I know married ladies who long for a child of their own have the same feelings.

    Hugs and prayers

  19. 76

    I love how open and honest everyone is on this blog. A few things popped into my mind while reading:

    1) Hurt is hurt. We tend to shut other women out because they don’t know MY hurt or we think “they don’t really know what hurt is.” WRONG! Yes, there are things that hurt worse than others, but on any given day, what an outsider sees as a minor pain could be incredible heartache to the one going through it. Let’s just remember girls to encourage one another or just grieve with one another through ALL hurts.

    2) If you haven’t already, go read Annie’s book! The chapter on the Mind goes right along with this topic – we have to MUTE the lies that Satan and sin pour through our minds every day about our worth and we have to INVITE the Truth to replace those lies

    3) Take it day one day at a time (if I can just focus on TODAY, I know God can help me get through it, but when I think about tomorrow, sometimes I freak!)

    4) Have a good cry now and then! Sometimes, a 3 hour sob session with someone you trust is wonderful therapy. God is our comforter but sometimes we need that human touch to pat our backs or wipe our tears or just listen.

    5) I love these words from the book of Daniel: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Sometimes that fire is a life of singleness or infertility or some other form of heartache. I just put these verses into my own situation and cling to the idea of “EVEN IF HE DOES NOT deliver me from this heartache, I will still praise Him!”

    6) Favorite Psalm of encouragement when my enemy(heartache) threatens to overwhelm me: Psalm 143. Every day when I feel I can’t go on, I read this Psalm (sometimes through tears) and God uses it to calm my soul and give me the strength to go on.

    Blessings sisters!!!

    • 77

      Lisa, these are beautiful words of wisdom. Thank you so much!

    • 78

      very encouraging Lisa. needful reminders. Thank you. “EVEN IF HE DOES NOT deliver me from this heartache, I will still praise Him!” Easier said than done, of course, but hopefully will begin walking in this again

  20. 79

    “How can I trust God and hope again in the midst of my heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and life plans?”

    My heartbreak is different, and I won’t go into it because I don’t want to be comparing heartaches. But I trusted God when I was afraid, and He let the thing I feared happen anyway. And for months, as I grieved and hurt, I wondered too if I’d misplaced my trust.

    And one night as I sobbed in my bed for the hundredth time, and worried what else He would take, He asked so quietly: if I asked you to do this so that you would know Me, become like Me, would you accept it?

    And I realized that if I believed a fraction of the things I sing on Sunday, I had to say yes.

    For me, that’s been all the difference. I don’t like the road He’s given me and I don’t have the optimistic confidence I once had, that everything will be OK if I just trust God. Sometimes it’s not ok, not the way we think of it. But I DO have confidence that this road is being used to change me into someone who really can know God; And that when I meet Him face-to-face, I’ll feel in my heart what I say now: that the pain was worth the reward.

  21. 83

    I do several things to get by.

    1) I pray this prayer: “Lord, I know You’re supposed to be enough. Please change me and show me and help me know it. Give me Peace.” Then suddenly I start yearning for the Lover of my Soul, who happens to be quite the romantic.

    2) I thank Him. Even when I feel my life is over and this stinks and what’s wrong with me, I thank Him because I believe His ways are perfect, even when past finding out. And as we know, gratitude transforms us. It’s the quickest depression lifter ever.

    3) I focus on the perks of being single. I’m not a partier, and I don’t relish the idea of not having a companion, but having been married twice before, I do realize that marriage is hard, too. I try not to forget that. I love that I can turn the lamp on when I wake up and not worry that someone else is sleeping beside me. I can keep my closet as disgustingly messy as I want, and no one cares. I can remain guiltless as I fix cereal or sandwiches for supper.

    4) I maintain an eternity perspective. I focus on the big picture. My ultimate goal is to live for Jesus and to give my life away in service to Him. That may or may not involve another husband for me, but regardless, I try to remember that life is a vapor and romance and accumulation and everything else of this world will burn. Being married only matters for a very short time in the scheme of eternity.

    5) I ask the Lord to do whatever He needs to do in me during this season of my life. I have a strong feeling that some things need to happen in me first before He moves me on to the next big thing. My longing for a husband comes from the deepest yearning of my heart. But I want my yearning for Jesus to be deeper. Until it is, and I know it is, and I trust that it will always be, I don’t think I’m quite ready for a husband.

    Praying for you all. I know it stinks, but be blessed. This life is full of pain, but it’s full of beautiful things, too.

  22. 86

    Oh Annie, that is a tough guestion. And my heart aches for you and JJ. All I can say is that I am living it, I am right in the middle of trusting God while I am in a place that is extremely raw and lonely and hard. What I do? I think I do what you are doing and that is trusting God. Because in the end dear Annie, I believe you are trusting Him. You go on. That’s what we do Annie, we go on. I have seen hell this year, I have actually fallen into a deep depression because I am a single 38 year old yearning and yearning. So I call for help when I need to, I eat, I get up, I work, I cry, I hang on to God and express all (yes all) of my emotions to Him. And that my friend, that is having faith and trusting God. To be in the moment with everything we feel, with what we have and don’t have. So in the end Annie, I think you are doing great. No, it doesn’t take away the pain and emptiness but this is all we can do.
    Much love to you!! And JJ!!
    XO

    • 87

      Amen. Beautifully said.

      • 88
        Anonymous says:

        I agree Amen! I am 37 and have only been married 18 months so yes I was 30 and single! I guess my family, friends and faith in God didn’t allow for much down time. I knew in my heart and believed what God has promised and I refused to let others and society dictate where or how I should be and THANK GOD for that and not allowing me to make bad choices because I was alone or because anyone kept asking me, when you gonna settle down and have kids, because I would have rushed into something that wasn’t for me and missed the blessing my husband has been! Most of my friends are over 30 and not all married but we keep a close knit and support group so no one goes down a wrong path. Sometimes all you can do is believe, be still, pray and trust…. God will always come thru! And Annie keep doing what you do, I rarely respond but you have been a blessing to me in more ways than you’d know and I felt I had to say something today… JJ God will come thru, you are sufficient, beautiful, strong and more then well able, the right one will come…

        • 89
          Ada Victoria says:

          Sorry ladies I was so much in a hurry to reply i didnt fill out the name/email lol didn’t mean to show anonymous… Thankful for this site! God Bless

  23. 90

    Great thought provoking post with honest open relies that will lead to more understanding that we are so not alone in this girls.

  24. 91

    I don’t know how to share this with our youngest daughter — she is single and I know her heart’s desire is to be a wife and mother. I weep sometimes for her because she is such a strong Christian. I pray for her and for all young women, and young men, who want to be wives and husbands, mothers and fathers.

    • 92

      Becky, I can tell you what I wished I had more from my mom –

      I wish she would have mentored me more and been more involved – especially in my dating relationships. I know this is hard and gets harder the older a girl gets and the further she lives away, but I wish I had some guidance. I wish she had asked about the men and dates and asked the hard questions.

      I wish I had the confidence that she didn’t think differently of me. I wish she didn’t harp on the “when are you getting married” and “when am I getting grandchildren”. I felt sometimes like it was more about what she was missing out on.

      And she needs your prayers – desperately! I hope this helps! :-)

  25. 93

    How can I trust God and hope again in the midst of my heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and life plans?
    I am just coming out of a season that I refer to as h*ll. I had the dream, life plan, etc. and they turned to ashes in my mouth. The last 6 years have been a wilderness experience and I’ve begged God, pleaded w/God, sought/beseeched/wrestled, pick a verb = relied on God. Yet not much has changed in regards to the life plan gone astray. I have seen glimmers of turn-arounds, just to have it fade away, again. The agents of hope I saw in the natural, all walked away last year, collectively, unbeknownst to the other. There was a seeming spiritual chasm – a void – an empty place of no hope on the horizon. I learned a lot. One thing being to surrender my understanding. Another to accept the status quo and be thankful because it could be much worse (eat the manna). Dry spells seem like dead spells within the walls of marriage or not. The stench of death is the same. BUT GOD, when I muster the courage to let go AGAIN, to surrender AGAIN, to lay it down and pray His Will AGAIN, glimmers of hope break forth over the horizon AGAIN. Will it come to fruition this time, I don’t know. Hopelessness is not an option because His Grace has been lavished on me in this desert always when I needed it. What I do KNOW is that His eye is on this sparrow, He knows the numbers of hair on my head, He knows my heart cries. He is drawing me & mine constantly, He loves me too much to leave me here crying like this without attending to His child because He really does draw near to the brokenhearted. His tender mercies are there even if I can’t see them in my dehydrated state (dehydrated from being in the desert and dehydrated from teariness). So, I keep Believing God is Who He says He is, that I am Who God says I am, and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Hope —- what a dare. Faith — what a ride. Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her Beloved? Yes LORD, I believe……..

  26. 94
    Jennifer says:

    I too am 40+ and have learned a few things in all my 40 + years of singleness (especially after seeing the heartbreak of many of my married friends). First, it’s much better to be single and IN God’s will than married and OUT of it. Second, it’s much easier & better to be single and lonely than married and lonely. And finally, not everyone is meant to be married. The Apostle Paul wasn’t married (I often wonder if THAT was the thorn in his side). Anyway, what I hold onto, is the fact that my time on this earth is short compared to the eternity that I will spend with my Lord. And having all MY dreams in this life may make me HAPPY, but JOY only comes from the Lord and HIS dreams for my life. Will there be sad and lonely days? Of course. But like Ecc. 3:1-8 says….there is a time for everything. So, the bad times won’t always be there, there will always be good times to offset them. In closing, I heard a quote once, “If you change the way you look at things…the things you look at change.” So, I would suggest that we stop asking God to take our loneliness away by giving us a mate and start asking God to fill us up with HIM so we can be used for HIS purpose right where we are…in our singleness. I hope this helps. :)

  27. 97

    “How can I trust God and hope again in the midst of my heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and life plans?”

    JJ, I relate. I haven’t figured that out either.

    Annie, the words you have written and the words of all you other precious women have helped the load of loneliness seem a little lighter today. I want so much to grow in this area of my life.

  28. 98

    I think one key for single young ladies is establishing a close relationship with their father and brothers. (Not that this takes the place of marriage!). But we need a guy figure in our lives. We need someone to listen and understand us, to protect us, to care for us. God designed our fathers to be the protector of our hearts! I wear a purity ring he gave me, to remind me of that every day. To be honest, a lot of young women I know are heartbroken and empty and lacking purpose, because they are not where God wants them to be. They have left their family team, their authority and protection structure, and have gone out to pursue their own things in the world where they are being devoured by worldly influence.
    Another things… realize that this passing life is about so much more! While marriage is a beautiful gift and wonderful and a treasured gift from the Lord, being single can be so much more fulfilling, productive, and wonderful if that is where God wants me. Then I do not have all the responsibilities of a married wife and mother of children. I can be completely, 100% focused on the Lord!
    I have struggled a lot with fear that I might be called to be single. The exciting thing, is that I don’t know what tomorrow holds. If I can receive God’s grace for today (and today alone!)…and if I can focus on making today the best day ever and working to advance God’s Kingdom…and if I can commit to being the empty broken vessel that God wants to fill… then what does it matter what tomorrow holds.
    Thank God we do not have to foresee the future and endure it all the way through perfectly. We are called only to take one day at a time. And His grace is sufficient, His strength is perfect – for TODAY.
    What is it that God wants me to do today? Where are the Christian brothers and sisters and a world of lost people who are watching every move I make, and how can I point them to Christ?
    Marriage will not make me happy or complete or fulfilled, or joyful, or content, or satisfied, or purposed-filled, or ANYTHING unless that is where God wants me. Singleness can be all of those things when I am surrendered and open and broken.
    Yes Lord, I am willing today.
    When tomorrow comes, Yes Lord I am willing today.
    When next year comes, Yes Lord I am willing today.
    One day at a time. His grace is sufficient!
    What is He calling me to do today for Him? There will never be another today. Why waste it whining?
    Lust can NEVER wait to get. Love can ALWAYS wait to give.

  29. 99

    I love this site. Thank you so much for your precious heart. Caring for all of God’s beautiful daughters in all walks of life!

  30. 100

    Let God write your story. We can get trapped in believing a lie–that our plans and desires will fulfill us. We believe marriage or having children will be a Savior. Jesus is our Savior. I believe that we as women can so easily make idols of marriage, or children. We long and long for them, and when they are given, they disappoint. They do not come through for us as we hoped. They do not satisfy. Cultivating that relationship with your Maker, Redeemer, is the most important thing at any season of life. I have learned this the hard way, but I am so thankful that God helped me see this, although the way was through a painful and dark depression. Believe his promise–He is not withholding any good thing from you. And when you struggle with the emotions of it all–tell Him everything. He can handle it. This world is full of much trouble, but He has overcome the world.

  31. 101

    wow, just wow. Oh, girls….you know THIS is what encouraging each other means!! I love the way Kristy said it …that it’s so important just to have our heartbreak validated. That we’re not alone. whew…I needed this today. I am 38, never married, and it is a struggle daily. I love that we don’t have to have the answers, but just to share our struggles sometimes is enough to say, ok, I’m not alone in this…God sees my heartbreak…he wants us to share in each others’ tears and remind each other of HIS sovereignty. I HAVE to believe HE is in charge, that HE is good, ALL the time, and that HIS plan for me is best…no matter what I think should have happened by now.
    Hugs to you all. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. That’s what building and edifying each other is all about. :)

  32. 102

    JJ your comment broke my heart too.

    Annie your post broke my heart and encouraged it as well.

    Unfulfilled dreams and life plans…wow…that is a HUGE question, and bless you if you are a comment reader and get down to the end ones. Truly.

    I remember being single and aching for a partner like I had been told, promised and assured that I could have if I dressed right, prayed right at the right church, turned off my mind and settled in for the ‘good life’. God didn’t let that happen so I went for a wild ride in the spin cycle of life and came out a single, again, and worse than I was before. It was by God’s grace that I met my husband (online) and we have been together for almost 10 years. If something happened to him I know I’d be single again but with a totally different perspective on life. I’d be happier because no one could take his place in my heart. He is my only and last.

    Maybe when I was single, if I could have put God in that place where no one could take His place I’d have seen and done things differently. But I was feeling the pressure of a society of expectations, within the church, within my family, and it was intense. The dreams I thought I had were exchanged for what others thought I should have.

    When you don’t think you’ll be something – wife, mother – you have choices. When I was told I couldn’t have children I decided to be the best auntie and friend I could be to the children in my life. I do have my miracle boy now, and I still keep that promise to watch out for and be a friend to the children around us.

    Hopes and dreams I still have, more clearly than I used to, and yet I feel like I have less chance to make them real in a significant way. I do little things and little steps but the choices made to support my husband, homeschool and ranch have taken some of their passion down a notch or two. I ache to get that back, cry for it at times…I hear your hurt and pray for us all.

  33. 103

    Can anyone use a BIG ol’ {in}HUG right about now? Because all I wanna do is love on everyone and mend these shards of hearts.

    My daughter is a 19-year-old college freshman who has never dated; a choice she made when she was young, but really, there was never anyone of interest in her life. We had a heart-breaking conversation over Christmas break, where she (for the first time) admitted it hurt that no one had ever ASKED her, pursued her, sought her out. Yes, it was a choice, but would that have made a difference?

    I’ve found myself wondering in quiet moments, “What if?” What IF she never falls in love or the one she loves doesn’t love her back….and then I read this, and I FEEL the depth of emotion attached to a VERY legitimate question.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could answer this neatly and with a lovely bow on top?

    So….this is all I got. This is all I EVER got:

    God IS accomplishing a work in you; you may not feel it and it might tick you off (if you’re honest), but He IS at work to accomplish His plan. Not yours (this stinks). Whatever circumstance He has you in, or you find yourself in, can be used for your good, His glory…and the advance of the Gospel.

    This thread will be a community of void; a community of encouragement. Annie is casting light into lives by sharing HER broken heart…and that is good. I don’t wish it for her (or anyone!), but by being brave and vulnerable and accessible, others will extend soul balm to soothe broken pieces.

    Annie, I love you; I’m thankful for your honesty and for not trying to tidy this up.

    xo

    • 104

      Thank you for these good words, Robin.

    • 105

      Robin, my 20- and 18-year-old daughters sound exactly like yours. Never pursued dating in high school, which was great, but now I think would kind of like to be pursued a little bit. I don’t know. But sometimes this mother’s heart wonders what you do . . . “What if?” I know it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world because, as Jennifer above wrote, it’s much better to be single and be IN God’s will than to be married and OUT of God’s will.

      You put so well what I have been thinking over these past couple of months. I guess we moms just need to trust the Lord’s will for our daughters as well.

  34. 106

    This post touched me. Though I’m now married, I remember the pain of being single — I met my husband when I was 36 — as though it were yesterday.
    I got so sick of the whole “singleness is a gift” mentality. It’s hard to accept that sometimes when you not only want to be a wife and mother but truly believe that is what God intended for you. Yes, a single woman is unencumbered by the same kind of commitments that keep married women from serving at certain times or in some ways, but a single woman carries different burdens that many couples either don’t realize or simply overlook.
    I still remember one fellowship dinner at church when a husband who was getting up to get a drink for his wife asked what I wanted so he could bring one for me, too. I cried for a long time at that gesture. I had no one to bring me a drink. Now I am much more aware of single women in my circles and am deliberate in my conversations to avoid topics that used to be painful for me to hear — unless my single friends initiate them.
    Sorry I don’t have any advice for you. I honestly don’t know how I managed to “go on” day after day. But please know I understand.

  35. 107

    I LOVE all this honesty!!!!!!!!!!! I also LOVE the desire to be positive and and God-focused in the midst of heart ache!

    I am praying as you each journey……. Phil 4:8

  36. 108

    There are so many aspects to being single. There are days that I love that I don’t have to worry about someone else’s personality or schedule and there are days when I am so lonely I can’t pick my spirits up off the floor. I am single-again as people like to call it, I simply call it single/divorced and for many years, I called it left. Now, I look at it more as a loss of my dreams to be a wife, companion, etc. than I do being left behind. I raise my son and I hear him say that he wants a man to be in our lives not just because I want/need someone to be a companion to me, but so that he can have a godly male influence. It breaks my heart to hear a 10 year old boy ask God for that when it’s something he should have had all along. Don’t get me wrong, I know God’s in control and I trust that He will bring things about in his time. It’s just that some days are easier than others. I completely feel you all.

  37. 109

    I can only speak on the side of marriage .. But believe me when I say you can go to bed with someone.. Wake with someone and STILL FEEL alone.. My moments of God I can’t live ‘this alone” anymore aren’t reconciled by anything other than He gently putting His hand over my heart.. Reminding me HE DOES KNOW THIS PAIN.. He had no wife to lay beside he had no child of his own to behold in those quiet moments. He lived 30+ years and was HUMAN.. Had human needs.. Human desires.. He just didn’t have human actions.. He cried when others where broken hearted and He cries for us still.. I cry for you as well.. and I pray that God would reveal to you what it is He needs from you.. I pray that Joy surrounds you today.. That Joy overcomes your deepest pain today.. Search for Him..

  38. 110

    We all have things in our lives that have “shattered us” and that’s what I try to remember when I feel like my pain is too great. Whether it’s being single or standing by and watching while a beloved granddaughter lives in a very unfortunate situation or…(fill in the blank). Our pain can keep us close to our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus if we choose to let it.

  39. 111

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your heart. It is a rare thing to be so vulnerable. You have opened my eyes to the hearts of many women around me.

    This post makes me think of this terrible habit we have of comparing our hurts with the hurts of others. It doesn’t matter if things could be worse, or someone else’s pain seems harder to bear. Our pain, no matter the cause, is valid. And our pain, no matter the cause, can be laid at the feet of God.

    That doesn’t mean it is simple. That doesn’t mean He will heal us, or answer our prayers the way we want. It doesn’t mean we will understand His plan.

    But it does mean He cares. He is good and trustworthy, even when it seems otherwise. The Psalms are full of words of people in pain, laying that pain before God, and trusting in Him. I get the impression that the psalms did not come easily. That they came from habit- a daily giving up of burdens. A daily affirmation of God’s character.

    Romans 8:28 is an often quoted verse when people are in pain. I do not think it is helpful. I think it feels trite when pain is raw. But, just a few verses before, I think there is encouragement. Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

    We don’t have to know how to pray. We don’t have to understand. The Spirit is with us. The Spirit meets us. When we can hold onto nothing else, we can hold onto the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, who is in the pain with us, interceding on our behalf.

    • 112

      Amen. Thank you.

    • 113
      Wendy DeRaud says:

      Stephanie, your comment inspired me because with the Holy Spirit as our comforter and intercessor, we can withstand wherever we are on our journey. I will never forget the years of singleness, and I told myself I would always understand those struggling with the deep desires of wanting to marry because that was me for many years. The only encouragement I can give is echoing Stephanie – listen to the Holy Spirit within.

      A dear friend had given me a promise from the Lord, “If you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.” He knew my deep desire, but of utmost importance was delighting myself in the true lover of my soul, Jesus. It took me 10 years of walking with Him, many tears and struggles, loneliness and crying out in prayer. But as one of the Jennifers above alluded to, I always knew it is better to be single than married to the wrong person. I was willing to wait for God’s best and He was faithful.

      By the time I met my husband on a blind date in San Francisco over 20 years ago when I was 37 (married at 38), I was far from having it all together, but the Lord and I were established, and He had done the beginning of the healing I needed to be ready to love and be loved. We are older parents to 3 amazing teenagers who are getting ready to launch into adulthood. We are continuing our journey of transformation still, leaning into the Lord together, the only way to live, married or single.

      What I’ve observed over the years, as I’ve seen friends wait to marry is that it is never too late, and if you know that God is promising you marriage, if it is a strong desire in your heart, it will happen. In the meantime, as you wait, press into Him, into hearing His voice for you, and let the Holy Spirit being your constant source of encouragement. I learned that the foundation I established with the Lord while single was there for me when I married and raised children and no longer had the luxury of solitude and alone-time I had when single. Wherever your journey takes you, that time with God is the most valuable of all. My heart goes out to all those single ladies – never give up hope! A friend who had been waiting a long time, just got engaged at 43. There’s always hope.XX00

      • 114

        Thank you so much for sharing your story and encouragement! This is just what I hoped to hear, wow, yes it’s never too late. Bless you, thank you :) x

      • 115

        Thank you for your comment, it is inspiring to a 35 year old dealing with infertility and wondering if I’m just too old. Thanks for blessing me today and giving me hope.

        • 116
          Wendy DeRaud says:

          I love this blogging world, where I can send out my words of hope and encouragement, not knowing who you are, where you live, or what is going on in your heart, and God is able to align us together for this moment, and we each are able to hear what we need to hear. It is the Holy Spirit at work, speaking through us and to us, Jesus with skin on, and we all are blessed, both the giving and receiving . Well you just blessed me today too, and I’m excited to hear the stories that continue to be written, those epistles in our hearts. XX00

  40. 118
    LouAnne says:

    My heart goes out to each and every one of my sisters experiencing any kind of emotional pain today. There is a wonderful book that addresses these issues called “Fine China is for single women too” by Lydia Brownbeck. She knows firsthand about the pain of unfullfilled dreams. Lifting each and every one of you in prayer today.

  41. 119

    I love that your being so honest. I turned 28 in September and this is the first time in my life that I am some what worried that I won’t find someone. I think I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I feel like I won’t just pick whoever picks me. Which is what I see happening all around me. But I started to get worried cause I realized I’m the only one left. I don’t know any single guys at my church anymore. Well, unless they are in college and thats a little young for me. Where did they all go? Well, they got married, of course. I am so grateful that I haven’t put a timeline for marriage over my life – BUT – where do you meet Christians men if it’s not at church. I mean REAL Christian men, men who hold up the same values as I do? I live in the south, so everyone is a Christian here. I want to find a man who is aleader and stand out from our sex-crazed generation. But if you don’t find them in church – then where?

    I am scared cause I’m starting to lose hope that this person is out there! I mean, I’m not in a rush to get married – but if I see no single men around me like this , it’s hard to imagine that one day there will be.

  42. 120

    There are so many lovely thoughts, both from single and married women, that I feel that I have nothing more to contribute. Except I keep thinking about the verse that instructs us to be content in whatever state we find ourselves in. I didn’t marry until I was 31; somehow I felt that life would begin for me then. In fact, one “perfect” day, an older friend told me I had found the fairy tale — a handsome king and all these little princesses and princes, a wonderful home. Ha! There is no such thing as a fairy tale, except in books and movies. Life is hard, whether we are married or single. Life can be excruciatingly lonely, whether we are married or single. There are days that I long to be single, to be free of all the problems and conflicts of a husband and children. However, I’m not. This is the path God wants for me, and I need to learn how to be content here. Now. How to draw close to Him and trust Him to meet my needs. Christ alone can fill the black void in our hearts.

  43. 121

    How can I trust God and hope again in the midst of my heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and life plans? – By surrendering them completely to Him.

    I’ve learned this lesson the really long, 6+ year way. I was married right out of college and pregnant before our first wedding anniversary. I thought my dreams for my life as a wife and mother were being fulfilled. And then I miscarried. And I miscarried again. And again.

    I’ve learned that *any* dream that takes a higher place than the Lord in our heart is an idol. And anything I cannot lay down and say “Your will. No matter what. Even if it means I never get what I want.” is an idol that keeps me from living the incredible story He has to write with my life.

    For over six years I struggled to lay it down. In reality, I didn’t want Him more than I wanted the life of my dreams. And one day, utterly broken, in tears, it finally happened. I was able to say it. To mean it. And I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for a God who did not abandon me yet even *pursued me* as I warred against Him for so long.

    Nothing has changed in the last two years. I’m still not a mom. I’m still waiting for an adoption to come through. And in that process we’ve lost yet another baby (we were sitting in the hospital waiting room as the birth mom changed her mind). But inside everything has changed. I was able to sit in the hospital and say, “It’s all grace. My God only gives good gifts even when I do not understand them.”

    Which is why I can unequivocally say, God is good – ALL the time.

  44. 123
    Dee Dee says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I really needed to hear that I’m NOT the only one. I know that probably sounds selfish or something. Last week I celebrated my 27th birthday. It was fun, but there was a part of me that was depressed. The depressing part is because I’m almost 30, I have no children or husband. It’s just me. I have my I-want-to-stay-in -bed forever days, but I also remind my self that God loves me and he does have a plan. I just don’t know it yet. What I struggle with is that it seems everyone around me is having a baby. I’m happy and excited for them but deep down it feels like that will never happen to me. When these feelings happen spread open my arms and ask Jesus to hold me.
    And he does!
    Love, Dee Dee

  45. 124
    Grace (Hope) says:

    Thank you writing this, especially in a response to someone else’s comment. I respect that.

    I will be 30 next year, and I’m single, I love Jesus with all my heart, I am a missionary but I still go to bed longing for someone to hold. I think this is normal and it’s ok. I am waiting but not missing out with Jesus in the process. I believe it will happen. I believe and I hope. I want children more than anything, I see their faces already. But I trust, I wait and just wait.

    It might sound like it’s simple or easy, but those aching moments seeing couples around me are the worst because they bring longing again and I know it’s not easy in the slightest. I understand and know how it feels.

    Thank you for writing this around Valentine’s Day. This year wasn’t so bad for me… God gave me a moment.

    I was sick for 10 days with tonsillitis, coughing all night I finally gave up sleep at 6am and looked out of my window and realised it was Valentines morning. A peace descended on me like a cool breeze on a summers day the kind that makes you close your eyes to drink it in…

    Jesus was watching the sunrise with me. As I peered out of my curtains, feeling awful, tired, anything but beautiful, Jesus was there.. He knew the importance of this little day for my heart and gave me this gift.

    I just wanted to share it with anyone here… just so you could look out for those moments that you don’t have to wait to be in a relationship for, the good romantic stuff. I still want a husband but these things Jesus is showing me are allowing my heart not to break but be full for when I meet my love.

    x

  46. 126
    Lisa C. says:

    I’ve never commented here before. I read often, and read the blogs of you ladies who write here too. I am not single. I have been married for thirteen years and have two sweet children. I am not a writer, and I hope I can say this in a way that will help you single ladies understand what I would like to get across to you. I did not do singleness or marriage the right way. I had trust issues with God back then. I wanted to do things God’s way because my rational side knew that would turn out better, but because of deep issues from earlier in life, I thought I could not “make it’ alone in life. Some of you may have had parents who loved you and took care of you and this will make it easier for you to trust God at an earlier age than I did, but even if you didn’t, even if you are wondering if trusting God’s way and plan is going to get you what you want, let me encourage you, just trust him. Date people who love God, marry someone who loves God and wants to please God more than anything. No matter how good the love of a human being feels, it’s not worth the heart ache. I can’t say what would happen in other cases, but for me, not trusting God lead to a cascade of heartache. I have tried and tried to make this marriage work, and after thirteen years and my husband being unfaithful many times, I have finally resolved that there is nothing more I can do, and we are separating. Right now I am in a part of the country away from my friends, family and support trying to trust God and be patient until I can move back home with my kids. I am fully aware that the bad decisions I made have directly lead to the position I am in now, and I am finally at a point in my life where I know that God loves me and is going to take care of me no matter what. I just wish I could have trusted him enough to never had to have this heart ache. I hope that telling this story to complete strangers can help someone avoid the same pain.

    • 127

      ((((((((Lisa))))))))
      So glad that you are trusting God now.
      He does make good come out of bad, even the bad that we contribute to ourselves.
      I know that to be true for me too.
      I pray for peace and the courage to go forward, trusting Him.
      Heavenly Father loves you so much.

  47. 128

    Heartbroken is so the right word. I remember that season of being single and seeing all the others in my undergrad class find their chosen ones and pair off, wondering if I would ever get to know that. It was painful, but it was also a valuable lesson. After all, that season may end, but there are other kinds of heartbreak and loneliness that may come. Sometimes marriages end far sooner than we planned, or we are happily married but get to be that childless woman who’s stuck in women’s circles where no one seems to talk about anything but their children. And the lesson I learned was this: God has a plan, even if I don’t understand it.

    Don’t get me wrong. I still get angry, or sad, or confused. But I learned over time to pour it all out to God and not to hide it and let it fester. And I also learned that relying on the knowledge that God has a plan will get me through the day – even if some of those days will be harder than others. Blessings to you, and thank you, Annie, for sharing your heart!

  48. 129

    I am so glad to see honest feelings expressed around this issue. It’s always better to have a place to express heart brokenness. Like many other wounds, we are not alone in the suffering. It seems to take away the sting (for me) to know others have similar feelings. Like Tina says before me…in marriage there are times I have felt alone also…so marriage does not ‘fix’ those feelings completely. But…the issue of singleness often brings other issues to the fore that are not discussed openly. I know so many single women who are blessing community. Some are my good friends. I love them like sisters and am awed by the gifts they give to me and others. I hope for a community that sees all people as valued and whole regardless of the kind of family they belong to. Thanks so much for bringing this topic to us! :D

  49. 130
    Grace (Hope) says:

    (P.s Thank you also for this, I stopped writing on Incourage community last year because there was so many posts about husbands, marriage and couples… I thought everyone was pretty much married, so I didn’t feel a part of it anymore. I can see now I was wrong and that even if that was the case God can speak through anything and anyone. Thank you Annie)

  50. 131
    Aline Walker says:

    JJ and all single women, trust in God. I was married at an early age had a child and was divorced in 4 years. I was single for the next 20 years. I prayed that God would send someone to me, a man of God. In those 20 years of loneliness I would pray for peace. Not just once but every day til I got it and then I had to keep praying for it. If I stopped praying for it the loneliness would come back. I was over weight, that was my problem and why men didn’t want me. But you know that really wasn’t what was wrong with me. My only problem was God was still working on me. There was a man that I was was observing (to see if he was a Godly man) for about a year, and I new that he was with someone that was not right for him. I prayed to God that if she was not right for him that they would break up (I know sounds terrible huh) and if it be God’s will for us to be together we would. Well he started dating a friend of mine from church. Shortly after that I told God I was tired of wanting a man that it was all about him, I give up. A few weeks later that man started paying attention to me and we have now been married for 4 years. He is a wonderful Godly man. But if God had put us together we before he wanted us together I would have tore him up….lol and he would not have been as receptive to my needs. God has wonderful gifts to give you. Be patient and pray for peace very day!!! I will pray for you and all single women for I know how you feel.

  51. 132
    Sheila Kmoch says:

    Thank you, Annie! If we are not honest before Him, He cannot meet our need. I know He gives us Himself as the answer, but until we experience Him in our brokenness, we have no answer for ourselves or for all the other broken hurting ones. So we press in to that place where He heals our hearts and we trust Him…and the pain may remain, but we know and trust Him..and He brings peace and becomes to us something we could not have known another way.

  52. 133

    I’m 25 so I am by no means the expert on brokenhearted singleness, but I’ve wanted to be married for years and have patiently watched girlfriends and family members start their own “happily ever afters.”

    Turning 25 was very difficult for me. The closer I got to my birthday the more anxious I became. I didn’t mind the number, I just didn’t want to turn another year older without a husband. I e-mailed my concerns to my mom and she along with a good sorority sister threw me a surprise birthday party at the bowling alley. It was a wonderful time.

    I had to wake up the next week though and come to terms with being single and 25. It is something I never imagined. I went through a phase where I thought God was punishing me, and withholding a husband, love and children was that sentence. I learned quickly through a good friend that God doesn’t work that way.

    So I got on my knees and did a whole lot of praying. It wasn’t easy, and it’s still hard on some days, but I feel better. While the Lord hasn’t blessed me with a husband yet, I know that he knows me better than I do. Maybe there’s a reason, maybe there isn’t. If I focus too much on that I know satan is winning the battle by stealing the joy I am entitled to because I am a faithful daughter of God. Through Christ’s sacrifice I’ve come to terms with my pain and allowed his atonement to heal me. I may not have the thing I want so desperately now, today, but I have so much more. When I was open to being healed I started to see God’s blessings with more clarity.

    There is still no husband; but there’s a wonderful job that people envy, financial security in a time of recession, talent, the ability to serve others, a healthy and strong body and loving friends and family. I have to remember, I am living the dream!

    I may not have it all, but I have far more than enough.

    • 134
      Stephanie Hoffpauir says:

      Katie – I am so with you! I turned 25 last birthday as well and it just hurt for some reason. Not that I mind 25 so much but I wonder if life is passing me by.

      I really appreciate your words of wisdom. God is showing me, too, that He wants to be everything to me. He wants me to be still and quit worrying. He is good and even things are still hard, He IS helping me.

      He is good.

  53. 135

    I have been single now for 9 years after my marriage of 25 years! I loved my husband very much, however when married life takes it’s toll with all the things that we expect doesn’t play out like we all had dreamed of what married life was going to be like when we were little girls, we just have to let God take control and give it all to him. It’s hard, so what I have to do is trust God, live each day joyful, hopeful, and have faith that God will send that perfect person into my life. It took me 7 years to finally let go of my past marriage to the man of my dreams but God got me through it. Now the single life has it’s ups and downs, however I have learned to enjoy my home, friends, family, traveling and doing things that I have always wanted to do. Sometimes I do them alone and have learned that it’s ok and I have fun anyway!! You never know when God is going to put that special person to cross your path so until then I’m going to enjoy my single life, sleep when I want to, eat when I want to, watch what I want to watch on TV, shop when I want to, visit friends and go to the places I want to and just enjoy my single life! Sometimes whether it is right or wrong, I feel maybe being married is over rated a bit, and until we have total peace about being single and depend on God to put someone in our lives and just be happy about our situation we could possibly be sad all the time and fret over it, and I choose not too!!

  54. 136

    I’m married now but I remember the unique pain of being single. It hurt so much and for so long. Even as a Christian, I don’t have a “pat” answer to the pain of singleness. I remember those nights of wanting someone to love me and hold me. I remember turning down wedding invitations. But as I grew older, I began to understand that the Lord set me apart for HIS purpose and that purpose was to be His beloved. I learned to settle into my singleness. I learned one day at a time and I chose to trust God with my heart.

    To keep my sanity I chose to believe that God had good things in store for my life even if it didn’t include the dream I had for myself of a husband, house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids and a dog. Trusting God in my singleness was a process. There were good days and bad days but what kept me going was the TRUTH that even if I didn’t have an earthly husband I wasn’t alone because of Jesus and that’s the truth that I cling to even now in my marriage. Just Jesus, just Jesus.

  55. 137

    From the time I was little I have longed to be a wife and mom. My friends all thought I would be the first to marry and the first to have a gaggle of kiddos running around. In the past year God has tenderly removed the scales from my eyes. It has been a huge stubble and not always the most fun but God keeps whispering in my heart “you were made for more.”. If I was married right now I might be more hesitant in pursuing a graduate degree, I might not pick up and head to Haiti to love on the perilous little ones there, I wouldn’t be able to serve my family and care for my precious sister who has multiple disabilities, I might miss out on leading a conference for young women on inner beauty and purity, if I was married right now My life would look different. The desire to be a wife and mother is still deeply rooted in my heart, probably stinger then ever, but I know that ultimately this life isn’t about me..it’s about serving our precious Lord and Savior, it’s about loving on the least, it’s about finding joy and contentment wherever God has placed you. My prayer for each and everyone of us is that God would shift our gazes from our little lives to Him. That we would stop looking at what we are missing out on by being single, or being married, by having kids or not having kids and see what God has placed in our life’s that only WE can do. Remembering in this time that God might have you exactly where he wants you and to relax in this.

  56. 138

    I’m married, 28 years now, but have known that loneliness in and out of marriage. A husband can not fulfill us- only God can!

    I love my single girlfriends, and the freedom they have to serve: foster/adopting kids, committed to mission fields, leading and serving in community.

    My married life is not wrong, just different. There are heartbreaks in both, but Paul’s words to remain single haunt me. If not for the servant hearts of my kids, I’d wonder why I ever married at all…

    And I’ll never marry again!! Mark is wonderful, I’m thankful and lucky to have been yoked to him..,but if something happens to him, I’m staying single, and blooming in that singleness!!

    I pray that God gives you His dreams in your heart, and that we can each become the best that He desires us to be – married or single! May we get to live outside the box that society puts up as “right or normal” and walk in the fullness of Him, in contentment with His plan for our lives! Don’t let the parade pass you by! Live today!!

    (ps, if depression is playing a part of this, perhaps it will take some Christian counseling or mentoring to assist a change..)

  57. 139
    Melissa says:

    My heart breaks for your commenter and all the others that have shared their hurts here.

    As a woman married almost 20 years with two children, I can tell you that the alone-ness of a bad marriage is worse than the loneliness I felt as a single. Being bound to a man who ridicules, undermines, mocks, and cuts me down any chance he gets is debilitating. It’s wearing. It’s tiring. It’s life sucking. When the man says he is a Christian and daily reads his Bible, it’s worse. Just because he’s never hit me with his fists doesn’t mean he hasn’t hit me with his words….for the fun of it.

    I would not wish the last 20 years of my life on anyone. With the exception of my children-who are a blessing from God in every way-I would label this half of my life a failure.

    I have no idea how to go back to the single life. I have no desire to date or find someone new. I just want to raise my kids in peace.

    Sorry. Maybe this isn’t appropriate here. It’s all so new to me. I finally took a stand last night and it looks like we may divorce after all. I don’t know what to do.

    I guess I am just trying to tell the singles to choose carefully….pray considerably…and don’t settle.

    • 140

      Melissa, wow.
      I can not begin to imagine what this is like.
      I think of the verses in the Bible about the tongue and our words… This one came to my heart straight away when reading what you wrote about your Hubby and his choice of words to you…
      Proverbs 18:21
      Death and life are in the power of the tongue
      Melissa have you heard of Ellel Ministries? I am actually about to go there for a course this weekend for the first time. It is a non-denominational organisation that I think could be a real blessing to you and even to your husband.
      The sad thing is that when we have deep hurts – even from years and years before (childhood etc) we can take it out on those we love the most. I am not excusing your husbands behaviour and words, but honestly when I read your message I thought this man of yours is a broken hearted man. And is crying out for help in all the wrong ways.
      God is close to the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18)
      May God bless you for the long suffering and patience you have had. What a wife!
      What love and fruit of God your character has. Stand strong now.
      Please as a last chance have a look at:
      http://www.ellelministries.org/usa/courses

      Come to think of it… all broken in spirit…. everyone look at http://www.ellelministries.org/usa/courses
      they are situated all over the world.

      Melissa I will keep you and your husband and your marriage in my prayers.
      Put the armor of God on. (Ephesians 6:11 onwards) Take care. xx

    • 141

      Oh, so many prayers and hugs, Melissa, as you walk this difficult road! May the God of peace fill you with hope, even in the midst of such devastatingly difficult choices. Heartbreak comes in all shapes and sizes – it’s part of the human condition and it’s one of the primary ways we discover the goodness and grace of God. May you know God’s presence in ever-increasing ways!!

    • 142

      Melissa….know I am praying for you right now! Lamentations 3:22-24

    • 143

      I am so glad you shared, Melissa, because you have a band of automatic sisters and prayer warriors here to surround you with love and bring you boldly and fervently before the Throne of Grace. May you know the infinite, lasting, healing, and redeeming love that He has for you.

    • 144

      Oh Melissa, God be with you. I’m praying for you right now.

  58. 145

    Our lives can suddenly change when we least expect it. I never thought that at the time I was looking into my future and career…. I did not think marriage or children would come into the picture, not for a far off anyway… from standing and thinking at that point WITHIN 12 months I was engaged, married and pregnant with our first child.
    LIFE can change direction when we least expect it…. Let HIM direct it though!
    He knows the true desires of our heart. He does not want to hold any good thing from us…. Rest in His love and in His arms and in His timing.
    God bless. xx

    Isaiah 55:8-9

    8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the LORD.
    9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  59. 146

    Personally I don’t know. But I do know that God has timing for everything, including marriage. I have a cousin who is now 60 years old. She has never been married. As a teacher, she devoted her life to serving and investing in her students. Then last year she received a call out of the blue. A few teacher, who had retired, had lost his wife a couple years ago. His kids didn’t want him to go through the rest of life alone. So they encouraged him to find someone. My cousin is now getting married for the first time at age 60. They won’t be able to have children of their own, but she is so thankful for this opportunity to be married. Despite being older, they are throwing a big reception. It’s going to be wonderful to hear tell of God’s faithfulness through the years and how everything works in HIS timing!

  60. 147

    someone finally said it. thank you, Jesus.

    we can smile and put on a pretty face and tell others we are waiting patiently for God to send the right man, but other times, it just hurts. we want to know why it’s taking so long, or what is wrong with us. we know God’s plan is perfect, but we are only human.

    i don’t have a good answer, but i know God is faithful. He is bigger than any problem or pain i experience. i have good days and bad. when the bad days come, i turn to the Word. i pour out my heart to the Lord and am brutally honest.

    life is messy. when it’s hard to see God’s way as beneficial, i remind myself that i tried it my way before and going back down that road would be worse than unfulfilled dreams.

    • 148

      and since we’re being open with the messiness of singleness — you know what else hurts? when a married friend says they know what you’re going through. you know, because they got married at 19, they know EXACTLY how it feels to be single in your mid-20′s. not.

  61. 149

    I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I’m now almost 60 years old and am married and have a wonderful husband, but I’ve been SO lonely as a single woman that I contemplated suicide, both before I got married and another time after a divorce, before I became a Christian. I simply could NOT see how I could possibly live the single life and be happy. But let me say this, I have now been happily married for 25 years and this I know to be true, I had it wrong. It wasn’t, “how can I be single and happy”, because let me ASSURE you, that during 25 years of marriage, I have cried more tears than is imaginable, crying out, “How can I possibly be married and be happy?” A mere human man cannot make you happy.
    Here is the key for me, being single is hard and impossible. Being married is hard and impossible and VERY lonely at times believe it or not. Being a mother is hard as I watch my children and grandchildren suffer with their life choices, but my hope cannot be in my husband or my children or my grandchildren, my hope and my joy and my fulfillment can ONLY come from a deep, personal, intimate relationship with Jesus.
    That is the answer. Jesus is the answer for our heart needs, no matter what those needs are. If we are left to only find true joy and satisfaction from those around us, whether we are married are single, we are most to be pitied. There IS a Redeemer and He alone can satisfy our empty human hearts. And He IS enough, FAR more than enough, for any woman, at any age, and at any stage!

  62. 150

    I used to be a girl that got my dreams, all of them. Then things changed in my life and I labled myself as unlucky. I bought a lottery ticket expecting to not win. And so it has been with everything in my life. I have been reading alot of books trying to recover from a major hurt. I will share with you what I have learned in hopes that it will encourage someone. I have learned to not be like Lot’s wife and don’t look back. I have learned not to plan ahead too much because God is the one in conrol and making plans for my life. I have learned to wake up everyday and thank God for this day and expect God’s favor. That is the secret of faith. Expect God’s favor.
    Now believe me I know that is easier said than done when we have so much hurt and negative expectations engraved in us. I catch myself a million times a day deep in negative thoughts. But everytime I have to just tell myself stop; stop it now and thank God for the favor he will show me today. I realize that is how I used to achieve all my dreams. I expected nothing less. I pray for all of us to expect and thank God for his favor and watch our dreams become realities. God wants us to be happy.

  63. 151

    How can I trust God and hope again in the midst of my heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and life plans?

    The simple answer? Cling to God like a lifeline. The hard answer? Cling to God like a lifeline. :) I’m not making light of this question at all…I’m in the throes of it myself…

    You see, I’ll be 30 in May. I’ve been married 6 years. No children. But in discussing the possibility of having children with my husband, he decided to tell me that he no longer feels anything for me. That our marriage is too much work and he wants out. I am on the road to divorce, and I can’t stop or change the outcome. Believe me! I’ve done all I could to try…

    So, how does this relate to singleness? Well, if I’m reading the question right, the issue really isn’t single versus married. It’s dealing with the dreams we laid out for ourselves. The dreams we’ve had since we were little girls. The dreams that are spiraling down a drain, leaving us drowing in what’s left…in the nothingness…

    What I’ve come to grips with in this trial is the reality that I’m really not here for myself. My sole purpose is to bring glory to God…whether I fulfill my dreams or not. Are my feelings validated? Yes. Are they real? Yes. Do they matter? Yes! Definitely.

    But at the end of the day, the only thing that brings me any peace and comfort and stability is knowing that while I may lead a life of singleness from this time forward, I’m never truly alone. I can NEVER be separated from the love of Christ. Once your identity is found in Him…once you have been romanced by Him (and He is a minute-by-minute, day-by-day Romancer!!), your dreams take on a new shape. If you haven’t read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, it’s a must! Honestly, the only thing that has kept my focus sharp in this trial is focusing on what God HAS done for me rather than what I think He HASN’T. Even the yuck stuff…being alone, starting over, the hard stuff…is cause for thanks b/c He has called us His daughters. Who am I to take only the good gifts, and rejecting what I see as bad? Is what I see as bad really bad? Maybe it’s just my perspective??

    Does this make it easy to accept singleness? Divorce? Cancer? Death? Absolutely not! But knowing that all of this life…all of this mess…all of this stuff that I never would have picked or chosen or planned on my own…somehow, in His infinite and gloriously perfect plan works out for His glory and our ultimate benefit…somehow, it makes the sufferring, the questions, and the heartache…bearable.

    If I live this life not having fulfilled any of my dreams, but I have fulfilled all of His will for me…my heart will be whole. He is truly all I will ever need. When you have reached this place (as said in so many of the comments above…usually through much sufferring…), you will have found the answer to this question…

    Choose Him. Every day. Don’t stop b/c of how you feel. Choose Him despite how you feel. He will show you how to trust and hope again. After all, isn’t He the author of Hope?

  64. 153
    Cathy Ellingen says:

    I am 51 and still hoping to meet a man I can love and who can love me back just as much. But in the meantime, I live my life the best way I can and try to make my life count. If it never happens, I guess I’ll live with that, too, because God has seen fit to give me the most amazing friends and extended family anyone could ask for. When I crave affection, I ask for hugs more often. And I had the most wonderful role models in my mom and dad that anyone could ask for – two loving people who always put their relationship first and stayed together 50 years, 48 years married. What they taught me is that even if you’re lucky enough to find a spouse – someone who means the world to you – someone always has to go (die) first. So in the end, we all (generally) die alone. Make the most of your life and while living it and doing what satisfies you, God may send along a special someone for you to share it with. If he doesn’t, you’ve still lived an amazing life being loved by God.

  65. 154

    I am among the happily married. But I haven’t always been. I have a soon-to-be 17 yr old daughter who has concerns already because she has never had a boyfriend and she has voiced that she doubts she’ll ever get married. (I think she’s just now old enough to have one.) I also have a friend who has been married twice before but both husbands were unfaithful and left her. She’s been single now going on 5 years and doesn’t believe there are many “godly” men out there to choose from.

    I pray for godly men everywhere to arise and take their rightful position. Without a godly man (and woman), marriages everywhere are unsecured! Don’t settle for anything less that THE PERFECT one that God has chosen….in HIS time!

  66. 155

    Annie — I love this post – not because of what you and others have gone through, but because I know how you feel. And even after meeting my amazing husband – you are right there are still things that we long for as humans and have prayers that go unanswered – like beginning a family. Sometimes like with girls that just seem to get married so quickly out of college – it feels the same way when some get pregnant just like that when others try and try and it isn’t as easy. So I agree with you – we are a community of believes and we can all encourage each other and remind each other that God is sovereign even when we are not happy with the way things are going. Thank you Annie!

  67. 156
    Bernice Shupe says:

    I have been there – single for 30 years – and then it happened! Since I was four years old, I wanted to be a mother – never thought about a husband – just babies! I did not cry though. I knew God would send just the right husband to me in His time. And I know His time is always right!!!!!! It did not happen until I gave it 100% over to the Lord. I had given it 99% to Him. But He said, “No. 100%!” And then it happened! I had traveled half way around the world looking for that perfect husband and found him through a go-between living only 14 miles from me! We recently celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary…. have been blessed with seven sons, five daughter-in-laws, and eleven grandchildren! God does hear and answer our prayers! He is so faithful! We had devotions on all our dates! What a man of God He sent me! I wanted to marry a farmer or a preacher and Tom is a farmer who loves the Lord even more than most pastors! I am truly blessed! God knows who is best for you! :)

  68. 157

    I can’t thank you enough for this REAL and HONEST post. I am a 41-year old, never married woman who could have been voted “Most Likely to be Married & Have Kids” in high school. My life-long dream has been to be a godly wife and mother. I have been to more weddings of friends and family members, all the while rejoicing with them,but longing for MY dreams to be answered.

    Yes, it has become a super-personal issue between God and me. Why doesn’t He answer MY dreams and MY prayers? I know that He does answer in protecting me from harm and keeping me from relationships that would be destructive, and I AM grateful for that. But how many times have I said in some form of righteous disbelief, “You spoke the world into existence, so I KNOW You could just snap your fingers, and my husband would be here…my dreams would come true, my unanswered prayers would be finally answered, and I PROMISE, I PROMISE…YOU would get the glory.”

    I honestly don’t think there are ANY easy answers. My family and friends are sick of hearing my heart’s cries. I don’t even share the loneliness with them anymore. I wish there was an easy answer, but there’s not. I have to believe that there’s some greater good being created through this, but when you walk into a dark home at the end of a hard day, and there’s no one there who cares that you’re home, it is so difficult.

    • 158
      Stephanie says:

      Kara,
      When you walk into your home at night, God cares. I know you know that but maybe it needs to be said again. He loves you. He cares that you’re tired and hungry and just want someone to listen to every little detail of your life. And care about each one. I don’t have any great answers for you but I pray you’ll feel His arms wrapped tight around you tonight.

  69. 159
    Val Hodges says:

    Annie, I so understand you and your friends hurt. Those feelings are consuming and the are overwhelming, daily and sometimes minute by minute. I was once where you sit, then I thought I fell in love, I lived in that world of what I thought I was being in love for 20 years. 2 Children later, he left me. I felt everything I felt before again. The only thing I know I completely believe at this point in my life is that there is only one who can make me believe HE won’t leave me or break my heart and that is my Savior.

    I wish I could sit with each of you hurting and hold your hands and tell you from my point of view why I believe you are where you are in life. I would tell you Annie that without your stories of encouragement and without your stories of travel, and your adventures living in Nville, and the Ministry that you have with the youth God’s Kingdom would be without. While I type this I think of that song that I use to sing when I was younger that said “Thank You for giving to the Lord, I am so glad you gave.” Annie, I’m so glad you have decided to not let the “not having” control your life and instead continue to give and give. Chin up chicky! You are awesome! And there are so many others who need not measure themselves by a ring on their finger, Girls be the Godly Woman that HE needs us to be. Perfect, no, but on behalf of those saying “I’m so glad you gave” please don’t quit!

    Much Love!

  70. 160
    Laura Morlock says:

    My friend just texted this to me this morning, and I thought how timely! I wanted to share it with you as well.

    “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8

    I think that each of us has shared in a season in our lives when a year felt like a thousand and when we wondered why me?, or why not me? The truth, I believe, is that we are each given a life with many circumstances that build up our faith, and yes, our godly character. The effect of the circumstances is truly up to us individually. We, like the Israelite, can turn an eleven day journey into a forty year wilderness adventure. We can look at the situation and let our fleshly desires dictate our perspective or we can choose to try and view it through the lens of God’s perspective. Our ways are not HIS ways, and our timing is NOT HIS timing. And as challenging or heartbreaking as that can be sometimes, we need to remember that HE has not let one single detail of our circumstance escape HIS knowledge or provision. HE may very well be waiting for us to completely surrender it, or what we may also fail to consider is that it may not even be about us at all! HE may also be preparing and building up our future mate. Funny thing is, we usually feel like we have surrendered it. I know for me personally, I find it difficult to fully surrender and trust that HE will offer “complete” provision. HE is good all the time, and HE wants good for HIS children.

    Last year I chose “TEST” for my ONE word (myoneword.org), and allowed the Lord to speak deeply into my spirit about the trials we face in this life. The trials can be joyful when we begin to understand that it is through the trials of this life that God is most evident and is most glorified. When we view the situation or circumstances through the lens of our own perspective, emotions or understanding, it is similar to standing on your front porch and trying to view Saturn. Things of this world block our view, and even though we may catch a glimpse of it, it isn’t even a true picture based on a variety of things. The truth is that our human perspective is skewed somewhat, that is one of the consequences of living in a fallen world.

    For one reason or another, we look around and compare our situation with other people in our lives. The problem with doing that is that it is not a fair comparison. We are comparing the exterior of their situation with the interior of our own. Loneliness is a devastating emotion. It can consume the entirety of our being. I believe the enemy plants seeds of conviction that something is wrong with us, when in fact, God is preparing us in a mighty way for something so big that it makes the enemy cringe and that is the only tool he can think of to make us doubt! Doubt that our Creator has created us for something beyond our imagination or human comprehension.

    I am prayerful that the LORD will lift you up and fill you with HIS peace and presence in the waiting. It is only when we are completely filled with HIM that true contentment comes.

    I say this to you as someone that was pulled out of the deepest, darkest pit I have ever known by a GOD that loves us beyond our ability to understand. I begged HIM to take me from this world because I had no desire to live in it. But HIS grace and HIS plan for my life was very different from my own. I have been blessed with many gifts, one being the knowledge that HE has created me with a purpose and it is entirely up to me whether I accept the gift, or whether I crawl back under the bed, rehearsing hurts and things beyond my understanding. HE is good all the time, and if we truly focus on HIM…then all we begin to see is good. Not that the bad has escaped, but the darkness hides from HIS presence. It is ALL grace, and it is yours for the taking. Regardless of our circumstances, there is pure joy knowing the end of the story. Now, all we need to decide is what our part in HIS story is.

    I am reminded of the story with Peter in the boat and the Lord comes to him in a storm. The Lord told Peter to “come” to HIM. As long as Peter’s eyes were focused on Jesus, he had the courage to step out of the boat and he walked on the water…when he took his eyes off Jesus and began to focus on the raging waters, thunder, lightening and “the storm”, he began to sink. Life in this world is a storm my friends. Through HIS grace, mercy and love…we can rise above the waters and find great peace in the waiting.

    May the God of this universe make HIS face to shine upon you, and may HE bless you exceedingly, abundantly, beyond your imagination…whether it be alone in the waiting or when all things come together for the good of those whom love HIM. Focus on the eternal and try not to be overcome by the temporal…that is where the joy is.

  71. 161
    Jennifer says:

    I don’t know what it feels like to be single but I work at a mission and see (daily) women brokenhearted, abused both verbally & physically, and downtrodden. I see women who throw themselves into a relationship because of their fears of being alone. I see you as a courageous woman! You are standing firm on your beliefs, not shacking up with someone or being codependent. God is your refuge and strength! He may not be seen sitting at your dinner table but He is there with you and you know it or you would be making bad decisions. There are days I would love to be alone with God like that…but I am married (happily) and my husband needs food on that dinner table.

  72. 162
    Christen says:

    I married for the first time at age 40, about 2 years ago. I had prayed for a spouse for 20 years. When I met my husband, I didn’t recognize him for about 9 months because he wasn’t what I had been praying for. He wasn’t even a Christian at the time. Having prayed for 20 years for a spouse, I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to wait long to have children. But month after month, we try and still don’t get pregnant. I am content with my husband, but it seems like there is always something to long for. It is hard to wait and pray and stay content with God. I’m not an expert. But every time I pray, God is always there and He tells me He loves me and knows how I am feeling. I don’t know why God gives gifts to some at one time, others at another time, and still others not at all. I don’t know why there are so many (like me) who wanted nothing more than to be wives and mothers and God put us on a different path. But I understand and so does God. Keep up the good work, ladies.

    • 163

      I’m right there with you longing for a child every month, and iI too wonder why God gifts some with children/spouses and others without. It’s a hard road. I will keep you in my prayers.

  73. 164

    My Aunt married for the first time, when she was 64. She and my Uncle fell head over heels in love and got married on Valentine’s Day. So, there’s Hope.

    When I visit that grief-filled place, tho it’s less and less now that I “see” with different eyes…..I too have anguished: When I was a little girl all I wanted was to be married, have children, my own home and a private practice.

    If you look at the OUTSIDE of my life, I have none of those. Adding insult to injury, after doing “all the right things” re work/savings and etc…..health ate it up in a heartbeat and I live in that all consuming dreaded: Public housing while on disabiity. First glance, not only have I been forsaken by our Wonderous God, I’ve been thrown away as well.

    Ahhh for His grace and the ability to trust Him and look outside the box.
    IF I am willing for things to look “far different than I imagined” then I actually have it all.
    I have an on-line ministry and children and entire families who truly do love me throughouly. I’m Blessed with all these folks to love and shower Blessings upon.
    Herein, I also use all the talents and schooling and everything I trained in, and can reach folks to a depth many cannot, because I DO share in the disability and terminal diagnosis.
    And Christmas 2010, I had to laugh at the humor of God. I had a new Puppy to train as a Service dog, and so hand to encircle my tree with “protection”. The next moring when I got up and went into my livingroom, I smiled a deep, warm, hugging sort of smile: For there, I did indeed even have my “white picket fence” encircling it all.
    Yup, God had heard my every prayer, and filled it His way.

    Am I ever lonesome, do I ever long to share intimatly, to hold and be held, to reveal the depths of my heart? Of course I do. Yet in the midst of all that…..I KNOW His hand….and now, over the years, I wouldn’t trade my journey for anyone elses. I am content, love, hopfilled…..and looking forward to whatever will unfold next….thrilled and humbled to be His hands and feet, and minister in His name, walking in His love, and never, ever facing ANY of it alone.

    Shela-Peace Be Still.

  74. 166

    In my experience, I have learned that God lets heartbreak take us where we will it to. When you are on the floor, crying, screaming at the top of your lungs that God isn’t being fair, to wait, to give you more time, to not do what you know he is doing, that we have a choice to make. We can pour it all out, and continue pouring, until we are empty and at a place where we allow God to minister to our heart and soul and fill us up with His love and presence, or we can give up, stop talking to him, and hold it all in. The anger, the pain, the heartbreak, and let it break us. Bring us to bitterness. Losing faith in God. No room inside for anything but our own sadness and harmful emotions.

    And even when we make the right choice, when we keep pouring out so that God can fill us back up, it isn’t always finished. We may have to go through the whole process over and over and over again. Or, maybe not the whole process, but there will always be days, times, when we can’t see around the if only’s the what if’s. There are still days that tears stay just below the surface as I wish for things that can’t happen.

    I really wish there was some way that we could move on, to move into acceptance and forget, but I think that God has too much for us in the struggle, in the yearning and learning to trust him anyway.

  75. 167

    Wow, I’m amazed at how many comments are here already!

    I wanted to comment as well because this is an issue that God and I have been fighting over for years. I have liked different guys and built up imaginary lives that we would live together and they always ended up getting tired of me or finding other people. Then I went through a season where three different men asked my dad to court me in the span of 6 months, but I knew that none of them were what I was looking for.

    I met a man the next year that I ended up dating for the past three years and just broke up with last month.. I knew the entire time that we had gone into the relationship wrong and that if I were really to listen to God I needed to get out of it, not that he was a bad man or even the wrong man but that we had not trusted God and instead jumped into the relationship against wise advice from my parents.

    Over three years we fought to stay together and finally it just crumbled and I was left crying in the rubble of my life and telling God, “I’m still here. I know that I should have grown and gotten past this by now, but I haven’t. God, this is still where I am. Will you come get me?”

    I fight every day to be involved in the people around me and not despair, and I’m not really that old but this is everything that I have ever wanted. I just heard a sermon this morning where the speaker asked over and over, “Do you trust him even if it means that your dreams are crushed? Even if it means that you never get your heart’s desires?” and I had to answer, yes.

    Yes, I trust him that he has something good for me in exchange for my heart, that he will give me good gifts, that he has a plan for my life that is more beautiful than the one I am imagining and mourning over the loss of.

    What I am in the midst of learning is that God wants to GIVE me gifts, I cannot TAKE them. At this point in my life I just have to stand in the pain without trying to get out from under it and chant over and over in my mind, “I trust you. I trust you. I trust you.”

    • 168

      Lately I’ve had to pray over and over, “Help me to trust, help me to trust…” because I just keep wanting to insist on my own plan.

      Hugs to you.

  76. 169

    I just want to recommend two books by people much godlier than I am, that really helped me. “The Journey of Desire” by John Eldredge and “The Path of Loneliness” by Elisabeth Elliot. They are real and honest.

    • 170

      I’m reading Elizabeth Elliot’s “Loneliness”. I love it. It has challenged me so much. I’ll have to get my hands on “The Journey of Desire”!

  77. 171
    Kristy Davis says:

    Being a single Christian women is so hard because there seems to be a large shortage of descent, Christian godly men. I have asked myself so many times “Where are all the men?” I kept telling myself to wait. I have a great Dad and a godly brother, and surely there is one guy left that still loves God out there just like them. After years of struggle, a friend of mine gave me this book (Sacred Singleness: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Purpose and Fulfillment by Leslie Ludy). I didn’t want to read this book because I hated the title. I didn’t want to stay single! Because it was such a close friend who gave it to me I made myself start reading, and I have never felt so free! Leslie talks about how we can turn our single years into years of rejoicing and cultivate the best love relationship humanly possible … our love and relationship for Jesus. It is a surprising book that will quiet your heart, and sooth all the scars from lonely years.

    After reading this book I was thinking about taking a year off from even thinking about men and focusing on the new business I had started and ministry. I had given up on ever finding anyone and gave that all to God. I wanted Him to fill my loneliness with his presence, and He was really doing it.

    Paul says in the Bible that Marriage is a gift from God (1 Corinthians 7), AND SINGLENESS IS A GIFT FROM GOD. We may not always like the gifts he gives us, but His gifts are better than anything we could plan for ourselves.

    Before I could make this decision to “take a year off” God brought someone wonderful into my life. Two years later I am married and struggling through a whole new set of problems. Marriage is NOT like the fairy tales. It is a lot of work! I’ll just tell all you single girls out there … you can be just an unhappy being married as you can be single if you let yourself. All you problems are not going to go away when you get married. You will have the same problems AND have to deal with another person’s problems as well. If you learn how to be happy and content with where you are right now, then you will be so much happier and content when God finally does send you someone. I am now learning how to be happy and content with being married, and going through those struggles. They have brought me back to God. I realize that He is my first love, and the only one who can quiet my heart.

    To me, the thing that helped me the most was to give up. Give up my dream and my expectation of being married and having a family. It was only when I finally gave that up and told God that I was going to be happy with the life He chose to give me that I found the peace I was looking for. God did eventually send me someone and we were married a few days before my 29th birthday, but I would have never realized the wonderful relationship God wants to have with me if I hadn’t been single. A deep, soul relationship with God is so much more fulfilling than any human relationship.

    I highly recommend Leslie Ludy’s book! Please take a look.

    • 172

      Good for you Kristy…I too think we put WAY too much on our future spouses fulfilling for us…when that is better placed on God and Jesus. CLiche, but so true. Marriage is NOT “happily ever after”….it is work and their are many benefits to it, but it is first and foremost work. Whatever problems we have before being married (loneliness, insecurity, shame & guilt) those will not magically disappear after the vows. Usually they will only become magnified and become more obvious and can be real strains on the marriage.

  78. 173

    a wise and godly counselor once asked this question…”if you weren’t obsessing about not being married, what would you be enjoying (seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, doing) this moment?”

  79. 176

    Wow, this certainly struck a cord in me. Not because I’m mid 30s and single…but because I’m mid 30s, going to be single again soon and now have 2 children I have to do it with. My heart breaks because I had dreams that I tried to fulfill on my own, thinking God was fulfilling them…and now they are forever ripped at the seams – affecting not just me but my kids.

    I won’t pretend either to have any answers for you – as I am still in the process of trying to figure out myself…but I kind of think that is the point. God made us so uniquely individual…and we are each on our own individual journey while at the same time being in this together. I guess I just want to share, with as much sympathy and care as I can – that just because you do or do not get married…that perhaps putting all our hope into that one relationship being what will ultimately fulfill our every longing…well, I just think that ultimately that will lead to some really major disappointments whether we do or do not ever get married (again).

    Our culture and our Christian culture tries to make marriage and motherhood all there is to fulfilling a woman….we’ve come a long way baby, but we are still told subliminally that this is what defines us as being worthy. I can tell you from experience -my own and many other moms I know – being married with kids is not AT all glamorous. It is isolating and depressing and unfulfilling most days. But I know until you experience for yourself, the “grass is always greener”. I guess here I would just say that a marital relationship – while highly important if you are in it – is still only PART of your total self. Trying to make it ALL of yourself will only lead to heartache and misery for both you and your spouse.

    As I’ve gone about my journey (which you can read at http://www.realmamareallife.com)…I’ve discovered that I’m really a romance addict (google it if you can, I bet many of us ladies are this…or I talk about it on my site.) As a recovering romance addict I keep developing crushes that lead me to hope for the future. I’ve come to realize, though, that always focusing on the future isn’t allowing me to focus that time and energy on the past, figuring out what my part of the failure of my marriage was, what wrong expectations were…not allowing me to grieve what I have lost and not allowing me to live in the present, enjoying the things God is doing in my life. By dreaming about Mr. Right-for-me…I’m totally missing my life here-and-now. But the here-and-now can be lonely, especially after having someone for 11.5 half years…I get that…these are just some of my thoughts as I look at my life and not knowing if God will ever bring another man into my life.

    The young adult group I was part of at church for a bit did an awesome series on all this actually…here is the link to it. The one my Lindsay Sturgeon I think would specifically interest you on this topic. http://www.sanc.info/messages/series/Sex_Ed/

    Lastly, I highly encourage you to listen to the message about dating from the above series as well. I have NO idea what you have or haven’t done or committed to in the dating world…and I know this isn’t really what you were writing or inquiring about. But I know from experience how turned off to “dating” we Christians can be…when in all actuality God could be waiting for us to “get in the game” so to speak in this area in our life. Here is my story. I came out of college when Mr. Josh’s book “I kissed dating good-bye” was all the rage. I was a semi-new Christian, from a more conservative part of the country…and I took to that book like a fish in the water. I bought into it hook, line and sinker. I told God I didn’t want to date, but just find the man I was to marry – marry him and start my life together. I was willing to give up all my other dreams if that is what He wanted for me.

    Well, that is basically what happened. I met and married the first guy I ever really dated. Sometimes this works…sometimes this doesn’t. For me, it didn’t. Yet, as I ventured back out into the single world…and this series came along and I was talking to friends about how they approached dating life, I was challenged to take another look at dating. I have to admit I was still really skeptical. I didn’t think it was good Christian form to date, that someone who dates like they are in the world isn’t really trusting God in this area of their life.

    But, I tried my best to listen to this message with open ears. And even though I am quite a ways off from being able or even ready to date myself, I wanted to read some of the books the pastor suggested. I wanted to see if there was something I was missing…and so I ordered “Boundaries in Dating” and “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping” and have been shocked that they make really good, biblical points as to how and why a Christian should date.

    Just a few of my thoughts on all this for what it is worth. Just know that us married and previously married folks also suffer from loss of dreams, of expectations…

    Blessings to you,
    the Joy Gal

  80. 177

    I was a married woman with all of those same “dreams and aspirations of JJ”, and
    yet my heart was also shattered when my husband who I loved with every ounce of
    my being, chose to sleep with another woman in our dream home and our marriage
    bed, clearly breaking my heart and shattering the dreams that “we” shared until
    that time of betrayal…but the answer is “feel the hurt feelings, do the necessary
    crying/grieving to release some of the hurt, and then TRUST that God is with you, that He
    does know what is ahead of you, and that He will bless your life if you will allow Him
    to, as I found a deeper, richer faith after my life dreams were shattered, and that faith
    is what has seen me through the worst of times…the loss of both of my parents,
    a brain tumor and 2 years of chemo therapy for a 5 year old girl I took care of,
    the difficult deaths of both close friends and relatives at “youthful” ages, the
    financial downfall of my portfolio while doing everything I believed was “right”, ETC.
    so just don’t “give up” on God and His Promises….He IS FAITHFUL to be there
    “WITH US” when we TRUST HIM to GUIDE US through our darkest hours back
    into the light of His LOVING JOY!!!
    Hang in there “believing” and “trusting” in God, and He will prove himself
    faithful and true to YOUR DESTINY…which may differ from Y(our) DREAMS!!!
    GOD BLESS YOU in TRUSTING GOD on your JOURNEY to FULFILLMENT!!!
    ALOHA Ke Akua,
    Terri

  81. 178

    Annie, I don’t presume to have answers for or J J or anyone else struggling with such heartache. I can only share what the Father has taught me. I am married, have children and grandchildren – definitely a dream come true. But a few years ago something shattered it all with such devastation I thought I would just walk away from the God I felt had not heard and definitely not answered my deep, fervent prayers.
    I turned my back on Him for a time, but in the end I knew there was nowhere else for me to go. There is no one else to turn to but Him. So, without answers or miracles, I have had to release it all into His hands and trust. Trust – the thing this control freak has always had such trouble with. Nothing in our circumstances changed, but I did. I received from His hand such a sense of peace, it was quite literally beyond my comprehension.
    I haven’t given up on the miracle, but I have grown so much closer to Him in this time of simple trust that He is good and that He loves us more than our minds can contain.

  82. 180

    I am in my early 60s, was married for 20 years to an abusive man, and have been single for almost 20 years. I am FAT, and most men don’t get to know the person trapped inside the fat suit. My dream since childhood is to marry a passionate, godly man and to minister together to hurting people. That dream has not yet come true.

    Yes, it hurts deeply and often leads to a short period of deep sorrow and intense grief. But what I’ve learned over the years is that my heart is made to love, my arms are made to hold others, my hands are made to help, and my words are meant to comfort and bless. So I choose to express my love every day, to practice being loving, and to keep learning how to love others well.

    When I wake up in the morning, the first words that come out of my mouth are “I love you!” I say them to God just the same way I would say them to a husband if I had one. I stretch my arms up toward heaven in the same way I would wrap them around someone I love. You see, the more I fall in love with Jesus the more loving I am with other people and the more I am learning how to receive love.

    The first thing my eyes see each morning is a picture by Comfort Prints of Jesus holding a woman who is screaming in grief. That woman represents me. I see his arms around her shoulders and cradling her head as she weeps. It helps me visualize his presence with me throughout the day.

    And for those times when I just need to feel someone’s arms around me, the “Boyfriend Pillow” (check it out on Google) serves as a great snuggler.

    The message here is that we have a choice–to grow into bitter, harsh, lonely women whose hearts are brittle and dried up, or to risk everything by leaning into LOVE (God himself) and allowing him to saturate us with his love so that it flows through us into the lives of others. Whether my dream for a human love relationship comes true or not, I am learning what it means to love and be loved. If my dream does come true, that very special man will be the recipient of all I’m learning from the author of LOVE.

    In the meantime, I cry a few tears every now and then, hug my pillow for a while, and run with my deep sorrow into my Father’s arms. He never fails to comfort me and fill me up with His love so I can be free to love others with great joy and celebration.

  83. 182

    As a writer I’ve have interviewed many people who have experienced huge disappointments in life. I myself have buried an infant daughter. When I see the relationships my friends have with their daughters, I am envious and long for what I’ve missed out on. Yet I’ve focused on Proverbs 3:5-6, which reminds me to trust God. I try to focus on what I have rather than mourn for what I’ve lost. Psalms such as #42 offer sample prayers–the heart cries of disappointed people. Yet time and again they focused on God and found hope and contentment in him. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians that he LEARNED to be content. It’s not easy, but that’s something we can work toward when we feel overwhelmed by life’s disappointments.

  84. 183

    This is crazy, my friend just emailed me this blog and this morning I was browsing through a book online, (i just ordered it) called Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected, by Priscilla Shirer and I was crying my heart out because it spoke so much to the brokenness of my heart, dreams that I had for myself that I didn’t even realize, her challenge in the book to have to let go of those dreams at times to follow God’s plan. I relate so much to the struggle in that book and in this blog entry!! I am in the middle of life at 32 and nothing is going as I planned the past 5 or 6 years, a couple years ago I graduated with my Masters, I just quit my last job (was helping me get by financially) at the opportunity for a counseling job and I have yet to receive one client. Now I feel like he’s saying I need to leave this job and start my own counseling center. I am broke and single and confused. I feel like God keeps saying no to what I want and I have silently (and not so silently) cut myself off from him for so many years. How do I trust my broken and shattered heart to a man, the Man in fact, who keeps putting me back in these predicaments?? Yet in these situations, he makes it that I have no choice but to keep trusting him, though I don’t want to cuz I’m mad at him! It is so GUT WRENCHING to look my own self and sins in the mirror, which i feel he has forced me to do this past week…. I appreciate the openness and honesty with this type of blog and the comments of the other women sharing their hearts.

  85. 184

    Sweet ladies! I am so encouraged by your words and grateful to each of you for sharing. Sometimes it’s just good to know you are not the only one. I have been dealing with this lately and just wrote a post about it the other day (http://abbylikessunshine.blogspot.com/2012/02/truth-for-today.html). Being 27 and single was not part of my plan – but here I am. “The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” – CS Lewis

    We all have days where we struggle and feel alone and wonder if there are ANY DECENT MEN LEFT IN THE WORLD! :) But God’s love for us never changes. He is faithful…and He is more than enough. MORE. THAN. ENOUGH. God doesn’t owe me a husband…and if I lose everything: my family, my job, my home…if all I have is Christ I have everything I need.

    I cling to this truth – when I receive another wedding invitation and RSVP for one; when I hear that my friends are pregnant AGAIN; when I spend another Valentine’s Day watching movies and eating ice cream by myself; when I try to mow my lawn and the mower breaks and it makes me so frustrated that I cry. I know you understand! Cling to the truth! Say it to yourself; write it on your mirror. God is enough for me. He’s enough for me. He is more than enough. Shout it when you’re angry. Say it through your tears. He has not left us alone.

  86. 185

    Wow!! These stories were amazing to read…Thank you ladies… I wish we could all meet each other. I am single at 48 and waiting on the Lord to grant me a husband. I do want to be married again, but this time God has to pick him out for me. I am trusting him…. he hears all of our prayers ladies. Thank you all so much!
    God Bless you all…Lisa

  87. 186

    I remember feeling the same way you do J.J. and I finally did get married and learned alot that changed the way I saw things and wished I had known sooner, but I would not have felt any differently, NO MATTER WHAT, until God was finished with me in this area (and He’s never really finished with us, is He?) No matter what anyone would have said to me, I was still going to struggle, and the only way I can encourage you while you are in this place, and I do so feel for you, is to say that you must trust our Almighty, wonderful God, even when you don’t understand. This will not be easy, but there is nothing else to do! You just need to DECIDE to do it! You will in time see that you can trust Him and YOU WILL BE BLEST, I promise!!

  88. 187
    Stephanie Hoffpauir says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments yet, but once again, Annie. Thank you for your voice in our pain. You are a blessing.

    It (singleness) really feels like something I am trudging through. Like something that day by day is doable, but when looked in the long run feels like it might kill me. Some days hurt so bad (Valentine’s Day for example – never shoulda gone on Facebook that day), and some days are a bit better.

    I know, though, that God is asking me to trust, to hang on to Him and to not completely give up hope. I KNOW that He knows best, even if I don’t understand what His best is. I KNOW that unfulfilled longings (whether it is for a husband, children, just fulfillment in general) never go away – the things you want so badly that you think you can’t go on.

    And so I CHOOSE to keep trusting. To be still. To hope. For what is a life without trust and hope? That, my friends, is a life I do not want to face. So I keep trudging (and, honestly, there are days that I am actually able to run), doing my best to walk in ways that please the Lord and have a fulfilled life while I’m at it. :)

  89. 188
    Daniele says:

    You have spoken the words that have been screaming in my heart. For me, it’s an unfufilled dream. A dream and desire I believe God has given me, programmed into my DNA but at the same time kept just out of reach and I struggle with putting into words. I know ït’s not a fatal illness and in the scheme of things it’s probably trivial but at the same time – I didn’t pick this dream – God did! And it’s a God sized dream that without Him I cannot accomplish. I wish I understood the feelings of comfort some do whem they run to Christ. I run to Him, I have fallen on my face and wept before Him more times than I can count and yet, I still get up, hurting and hollow and just go on through my day. I have joy but it’s hollow somehow – unfufilled. Some days I wonder if I’m even on the right path and just being delusional. Some days I have been hanging by a thread of just quitting everything and everyone and try to just blend in but it’s like there’s a fire inside I cannot make go away. Sigh. I pick my heart apart and try to determine if I missed something, am I doing the right things, with the right motives? Is there an unconfessed sin, a sign to change direction or even if there is a success. I would do this if I didn’t get paid and have actually, it gets me out of bed every day and I see the needs of this group for a godly falllable person to just be honest and caring and guiding. I struggle with the fear that on my tombstone they’re going to write – she was a great should have been. And, what’s scarier, is that the writer would be Him. After all, how many prophets spoke of Christ and died without seeing his birth? It’s not easy to find a daily inspirition in unfulfilled expectations as your cross to bear. It generally just feels like failure somehow.

  90. 189

    Annie and JJ, I just want to add my “thank you” for your honesty and your willing to face down the scary feelings and questions. I honor you and appreciate your hearts, broken and authentic. It is extremely hard to feel encouraged (myself as reader) by someone who doesn’t get real with them…and I honor your vulnerability! you are both gifts and COURAGEOUS! Thanks!

  91. 190

    It is a lonely road to keep hoping, even more when the well-meaning Christian hearts ask your age and when you tell them, you see the shift in their eyes. List any heartbreak there is–any one of them–and the reaction can be the same. The wayward husband, child, or family member. The broken heart, marriage, or womb. The struggling finances, health, or emotions. We fear it could happen to us, and we unintentionally layer our human-sized explanations on the situation.

    Being single can be more than a personal heartbreak. It can challenge others’ notions about the fairness of God. And the secret fear arises–if God could deny my dream when I have faithfully served Him for my whole life, God could deny their dream too. That idea is difficult to fathom for all of us.

    We, each of us, believe our dreams are oh-so-big and forget the vastness of God. Singleness is merely one heart-breaking lightening rod that serves to reveal the deeper seeded issue.

    And yet, God continues to dream big for our lives. Rather than extend lines of separation, couldn’t we all just really use a hug of understanding. You may not understand what it is like for me to be single at this age, but I bet you understand heartache. I may not understand the specific situation you face every day, but I understand heartache. And on that level, we can let go of our human explanations, throw our hands in the air and say, “I don’t know what God is doing in this, but I do know God is.” And that may be all the healing we need to extend to each other.

  92. 191

    Annie,

    Wow. Thank you for sharing this with us. I was single pretty much my whole life minus one serious boyfriend like 8 years ago. I got to the point where my singleness literally broke my heart and I decided to write a book about it. After I sent it to my publisher, God brought someone into my life. It’s the weirdest thing to be married after Not Another Dating Book released because I can clearly see that it was God’s doing and not mine. He’s softened my heart in only a way that God could do–and yet all those days of being single…those 29 years served to birth a ministry through me.

    I’ll never forget the day like 5 years ago when one of my coworkers told me “God wants to birth a ministry through you–if you’ll let him, not to say that your future husband isn’t important.” I always fought God because I did take it super personally. And now that I’m married I get it. There’s no way I would have accomplished all the tasks God gave me if I got married any sooner. So it’s bittersweet because I just got going in ministry and now I have to pull way back. God’s timing doesn’t make sense but I’m seeing just how much God loves me even when I can’t see it or …gasp… BELIEVE it.

    Thanks!

    Renee Johnson FISHER!!! <3

  93. 192

    A mother shared this thought that I read this morning when her child was born with Down’s Syndrome, “It is ok to let yourself grieve the loss of what you thought you had.” And although this is a different situation, I still think it applies over so many hopes and dreams and plans we have for our life including for marriage and children. It is ok to grieve the time we had hoped for. That is just one thing. Just one small thing. But allowing ourself to have and go through the grief, instead of being ashamed of it, is a big step. Sending love . . .

  94. 193

    We all at one time or another suffer from broken dreams. I’m not single but have had other areas of suffering to bear and would like to share what HELPED me most, especially in answer to your question. JOB. Job asked a very similar question to our Creator God and after God listened He had Job observe ALL His creation. THEN, here it is…Job 40:1-2
    And the Lord said to Job. “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God let him answer.” THIS, my dear sisters, shut my mouth and stilled my heart. It also did the same for Job. See Job 40:4. Then God goes on to ask Job in verse 8 “Will you even put me in the wrong?” Our Heavenly Farther is perfectly good; there is no darkness in Him, AT ALL. We can rest, joyfully, trusting that He knows what is BEST for us and how we can MOST GLORIFY HIM blessing and serving others in this life we are just passing through. Hope this helps someone like it continues to help me. As John Piper reminds us, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in HIm.” ~God Bless. :)

  95. 194

    Thanks for this. I have asked all those questions, still am.
    To answer the question posed at the end, I can only trust one day at a time. When I go beyond that, to thinking about being childless or alone in old age, its hard for me to trust God that it will all be OK. So I just trust for today and some “todays” are harder than others…

  96. 195

    Ugh. Ugh describes how I feel right now. I mean I know pain comes in all seasons and in many different ways. But what really hurts is when your heart is broken in so many ways all at the same time.

    Singleness just seems like a symptom. Just one of the outward signs of unanswered prayer. Obviously God hasn’t answered that one, but the world remains unaware of all the other prayers that have gone up and seem to have fallen right back down bringing nothing with them in return. You can’t so easily see all of the other broken dreams and torn up hopes, but you can see I’m still single. You can’t see my total disappointment in God (ask Him to reveal His love first? Well guess what, that’s yet another unanswered prayer). You can’t see my lack of purpose, passion, will to live; But you can see I’m still single. It’s not even about the man.

    I figure ahh well it’ll get better or it won’t.

    It’s great to read other’s experiences and I’m grateful for this blog.

  97. 196

    I love this community, this vulnerability and honesty. I pray our churches will reflect the same. I can’t say I’ve felt the heartbreak in the same way, but I’ve felt my own heartbreak. Sometimes the nightmare is within the dream … Gosh this life is hard sometimes. And in the midst of it, I’m learning – to put one step in front of the other, to cherish the peaceful moments, to see the beauty in the mess, to trust Him, to love. It’s okay to ugly cry, to be needy, to reach out, to word vomit, to admit how hard it is. Just don’t give up hope. In the end, I choose to believe the hard will be worth it, that God will redeem it all and that Heaven will be most beautiful because there has been hell. Praying for you, sisters. Thank you.

  98. 197

    So many of these comments are so true and fitting! I wish there was something more I could say to be of any help, but I’m afraid it will be same concept with different words.
    Just in case it can help someone, even just a little, I’m going to say it anyway.

    I won’t give all details – but I was a scared to be single the rest of my life…I married after “dating” for 4 years, it was an abusive relationship…we lived in the same house (married) for just under 5 years, he worked out of town most of the last year… Those were the loneliest years of my life, in a totally different way. I was willing to live in an abusive marriage because I did not want to be alone, I wanted to be married and be a mom. When he left , I had a 3 year old boy and 10 week old daughter. I have been a single mom for 11.5 years now (they’re 14.5 & 11.5).

    I still wrestle with the questions of older, not married singles – except to do something with a group, I need childcare. I understand the hurt. I’ve been on both sides – single not wanting to be alone so I made a poor choice; choosing to make the best of a horrible situation; back to being single, but with the addition of two lives to love & care for. Now, as a single again…I ache for a husband, to be a wife, for my children to have a father. My added questions to the previous listed are – isn’t it better for children to have two parents? Am I not able to be a good mom and be a good wife?

    Loneliness is there whether we are single or married. When I was married I was lonely in a horrible, painful, desperate, pleading with God kind of way. As a single mom I get lonely often in an aching, longing way. I often pray that God would let me feel arms around me because I ache for that connection with another. I have come to the conclusion (for me) that loneliness is inevitable – it is more a reflection of my separation from God. It is how I stay close to Him. {sorry, this didn’t stay short…just goes to show how deep this pain is for all of us. Go read Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge and Do You Think I’m Beautiful? by Angela Thomas. Both are AMAZING books about these longings and how we can draw closer to God through them}

  99. 198

    There are no easy answers… I have a girlfriend who has prayed but has remained single for many years. In spite of her dissapointment her example to me of a woman staying strong in her faith has been a help when my husband and I went through years of infertility and a miscarriage. We were into our 30′s when we had our ‘miracle’ baby. There were no easy answers, we let go and accepted our ‘lot’ and I simply chose to enjoy ‘my’ kids at daycare when the inexplicable happend! I had already made a choice to be happy and felt very close to God even in those years of a miscarriage and acceptance to happiness and finally joy. I understand waiting and loss.
    Since that time I have since made the ‘choice’ to be unhappy or stay unhappy in difficult situations rather than feeling, learning, accepting and moving on…. that only leads to anxiety and sadness.
    I find it easier to let go and consider what gifts I do have:
    “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” Isaiah 26:3
    As I read the stories of dissapointment above I realize we want things to be easier but because we are human they never are, only our focus through our grief can make it easier to bring us back to hope and joy. These posts all show so much maturity and love and courage to look to new things, new projects, new opportunities and new faith that has helped us all to grow stronger. Amazing!

  100. 199

    I guess in a letting go moment you might come to realize that your plans may not be God’s plans. Or realize that God has his own timing. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to live alone, but try to find happiness in the every day simple things and SERVE. Serving others helps to take the focus off of us for a while.

    I really like a quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne…I’m probably going to brutalize it, but it goes something like, “Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it the more it eludes you. But, if you turn your attention to other things for just a moment, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

  101. 201

    hey ladies! I don’t know if there’s any other college girls here, but I just wanted to say thank you. This community has meant SO much to me as God’s shown me what it means to really hold onto what He’s promised and navigate through this crazy culture of casual hook-ups, freely given passion, and way too little respect. True love waits isn’t a just a ring or a a piece of paper anymore, and as He’s showing me what it means to love Him and wait and let Him show me how to really do life with people, I’m seeing more and more of His heart all around me. I don’t know what the next month, or year, or ten years are going to look like, and to my little the-next-five-years-are perfectly-planned-out heart, I know it’s going to be a daily thing. But I love the way that He loves, and knows what’s best, and the world certainly can’t deliver what it promises, so I’ve got to trust that He’s got me. It’s all we have. Thanks again for showing up and being present here, it means a lot to me to hear what He’s done in your lives :) I’m praying!

  102. 202

    Last week I turned 32 years old. I never would have expected or planned to be single at this age but I can truly truly say I am deeply content at where the Lord has me. How did I get there, falling in love with Jesus…which took disciplined work. Two years ago, I decided to really commit to the basics- focused, daily time with the Lord in His word and through prayer. Just like any relationship, you fall in love by being with the object of your affection. You CAN’T not fall in love with the Creator when you see the consistency of His pursuit in His word. Truly feeling like I am in love with my First Love has changed how I view everything else- even after 28 years of Christianity.

    Does that mean that I’ve lost my desire to be a wife and mom? Absolutely not…but I have lost the manic panic to be so. They’ve been replaced as idols in my life because they definitely were idols for me. Whenever I feel sad or lonely, Jesus gently reminds me that He alone is enough and that as awesome as those things would be, He is good and His plans for me are good whatever those plans do or do not include. Christ is so much better than we can even begin to comprehend.

    This sounds like one of those superspiritual answers but it really isn’t. I am deeply human and deeply flawed. I have longings just like everyone else…but pressing in to the only one who can satisfy by literally crying out to Him at times has been the richest, most fulfilling thing that has ever happened to me. It has brought me joy like nothing else could.

    He is enough…He is so much more than enough. Praying that you lovelies would know that in the deep places of your soul!!!

  103. 204

    A shout out to all you singles! I feel your pain, I understand your questions, I was in your shoes. I thought I would be married by 21 and have tons of babies by 30. It was quite a struggle to watch my 28th birthday approach and wiz by. The Lord rocked my world just a few weeks after my 28th birthday and I never saw if coming. I have a burden and calling to reach out to single women. I have a book in the works and on my blog, overcomingloneliness, I have a number of post about my journey and trials as an older single woman. Below are a few links. I hope they can offer some hope and encouragement to you all.

    http://overcomingloneliness.com/2011/08/11/140/
    http://overcomingloneliness.com/2011/07/14/5-myths-about-loneliness/

  104. 205

    Thanks for a beautifully written post, Annie.
    I just turned 36 last week, I’ve never been married and have never had a child of my own. I don’t fully understand God’s plan for my being single right now, but I trust Him completely. It took a while for me to be able to say that. A while ago, my pastor talked about letting go of offense with each other, and (gasp) with God. I bowed my head and asked God to show me what I was taking offense with. It was Him. I was offended that God hadn’t given me a husband. I was offended that I wasn’t a mother. No one ever tells you growing up that you may not have what you dreamed of. That you may have to wait a very long time (if even then) to have a man to call your own, to partner with, to share the ups and downs of life with, to wake up next to, to help carry the load, to hug you when you feel like you just can’t take anymore…you may not get to have a baby of your own. These are painful, hurtful, and life-altering realizations.

    That day that I stood with my pastor, praying for forgiveness about being offended towards God, laying that pain on the altar and asking God to do whatever He wanted with my life – that day changed my life. Yes, I still get achey. I’m a full time grad student and I work full time. Some days I think, “Why Lord? Why do I have to do this all by myself?” And then I’m reminded about our biblical heroes. Have faith. Wait. Hold on. Hold fast. NOTHING is impossible with Him. When I gave Him my life, I told Him to do whatever He needed to with it for HIS kingdom, for HIS purpose. I trust that He’s holding up His end of the deal. His plan is always better than mine, and whatever man is going to pull me out of singlehood is going to have to be pretty darn amazing, because I am.

    I’ve learned to enjoy my company. I’ve learned to sherk off ridiculous comments that weren’t intended to hurt me. People don’t realize that their words hurt so badly. Women in church can often be the worst. I can’t say how many times I’ve met a woman at church and the first thing out of her mouth is, “are you married?” or “how many children do you have?” She doesn’t mean anything by it, but it stings a little. I’ve been asked, “do you think you’re not married b/c you wasted so much time dating the wrong man?” No. No I don’t. My God is bigger than my mistakes. The worst question was this: “Do you think maybe you’re going to die young so God saved a man and potential children from being heartbroken and THAT is why you’re still single?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    If you’re single and you’re heartbroken, I want to encourage you that God loves you. He knows you. He sees you. He watches out for you. He’s protecting you from the wrong men and from further heartbreak. He has a plan for your life that is going to BLOW YOUR MIND. He will never fail you. He has a calling for your life and He wants to bless your socks off. Trust in Him. If it hurts, tell Him. If you need comfort, tell Him. Don’t go to the phone, go to the throne. He wants His children to cry out to Him. Remind Him of His promises in scripture. “Lord, you said it’s not good for man to be alone – and that includes me. So, I thank you for your promise and your word. I thank you that you have an amazing man that you’re preparing just for me. While we wait, Father prepare my heart, too.” NOTHING is impossible for Him. Use this time to be the best YOU that you can be so that when this charming, loving, hunk of a man shows up, you’re ready for all that God has for you.

    God Bless you :)

  105. 207

    Take heart, ladies! We are all in this together. We all experience heartache–single, married, childless, “quiver” full, healthy, or chronically ill. The beauty is Our Savior knows our heartaches, each and every one! He suffered more heartache than we will ever experience (believe it or not). He knows!! He is faithful. He is there/here to wipe away our tears, to redeem each and every situation. Jennifer said it beautifully in the previous comment, “… start asking God to fill us up with Him so we can be used for HIS purpose right where we are …”–in whatever painful circumstance we find ourselves in. The other reason to take heart (if there needs to be another reason besides Jesus) is that we are sisters in Christ, sharing in community, to weep, laugh, pray for, and encourage one another. Praying for all of you–all of us–that through our heartaches we will find ourselves drawn ever closer to the One that truly matters, the ever-faithful, ever-loving Savior!

  106. 208

    Annie, I appreciate that you saw her pain through comments and chose to acknowledge it rather than sweep it away.
    To JJ, I am on a very different path in life then I ever imagined. With many broken dreams and many dreams that came true.
    But what I have to continue to tell myself is that Jer 29:11 tells me that my plans are not his plans. He loves me and wants the best for me, but that doesn’t mean I always get my way. I sit listening to my daughter who was paralyzed from a spinal cord infection in about 12 hours, nearly 2 years ago. I wake up days thinking “I can’t do this another day.”
    But I do.
    And while marriage can be wonderful, it brings a whole other world of problems. Marriage can be beautiful…but it is more messy than beauty. I pray that God comforts you through this season of your life.

  107. 209
    Isaiah Core says:

    I’m aware of a number of things that strike against me simply because I am a man and I’m married. However, not 2 years ago I was starting to believe that God desired me to be single for the foreseeable future and I was not aware that my wonderful wife was right around the corner. We need not to get into those reasons, unless you are looking to discredit what could be the answer to what you are asking.

    God has a plan for each of our lives. It is my belief that everyday God calls us to be his servants and calls us to reach out to the hurting people in this world. As a single Christian I found it very easy to do the work that God had laid before me. I made my own rules and had no one else to worry about. I believe that between married and single life that single people have the advantage. The advantage is when God calls you to do his work in Africa or in the poor side of your hometown, you have no one else to worry about other than yourself. Yes in a marriage you have someone to support you and to help you complete whatever task you may have before you, but you still worry about the other person. Is this God’s call on their life? or Are they simply here because of me? Would they be more happy if they were in a different place than here and now? There are questions that plague my mind these days. As a married person, I worry more about my wife (and she me) than I ever thought I could worry about someone. As a married person, God still comes first in my life, but a very close second is my wife. And when God employes me to go down a certain road, and to assist those who I call the untouchables. I worry about my wife’s well being. When we have kids, that worry will extend to them.

    Being single is not a curse. Being single is hard, and I am aware of the pain and anguish that you speak of in your post. There is no denying that. But, what should renew your strength is that the power of Christ rests more upon single people than married people. In the Walk to Emmaus Movement, there are talks about the Single Life. Explicitly Single Life is shown in light as the same as Married Life. There is no better way of life. Does the Bible and sacred texts talk about life with Christ as a marriage between the son and his Church? Yes, but you cannot discredit all the women (and men) who were single and major players in the Old and New Testament. To shun Rahab the prostitute who assisted the spies of Israel in their escape, or even to say that Mary Magdalene who was a whore and yet according to the gospel of Luke is the first person to preach the Gospel that Jesus had indeed risen to his disciples is the same as telling God that he screwed up with you. Sarai laughed at the men who brought her news in her old age that she would become pregnant. Don’t look at your singleness as a curse. See the blessing it is. God does not make mistakes, and there is a reason that you have been created and placed on the earth at this precise time and place.

    That reason may not be visible to you yet, but I say stand firm. Stand firm with your sisters and brothers in Christ and “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. ” Hebrews 12: 1-3

    I hope that the words above reach you as a positive and rejuvenating message.

  108. 210
    Meghann says:

    I hope this comes across as sensitive and kind as I mean it. My heart grieves for those experiencing loneliness right now, whether unmarried or married. We all have the desire for something tangible in our lives to love us and hold us. God’s love can’t be matched here on this earth – it is powerful and carries us through all of our circumstances, and our worth isn’t caught up in our circumstances, but in our identity in Christ. But, many many days, we want the real, tangible touch of a man, someone who is on our team and loves and supports us. And sometimes, God brings us that man, a loving Christian husband who becomes the loving Christian father to your babies, and then that man decides to reject Christ and find fulfillment elsewhere for awhile. Heartache and loneliness can be ever present IN marriage also, especially if the marriage continues but his faith doesn’t. Though our worth isn’t defined by the rejection of this tangible man, we feel like it is. And, God, gentle in His dealings with us, uses the hard to refine us and redeem the horrible situation. It doesn’t end up the way we think it should necessarily, but God redeems. He grows our tiny little hearts and fills us up. So, while it’s awful now, one day it won’t be, or at least that’s what I have to tell myself every.single.day. I have learned that God cares for us in ways that we could never imagine, wherever we are in life, no matter the heartache, no matter the situation.

  109. 211
    Marie Anne says:

    My prayer is that God HIMSELF is my dream, my ambition, my desire in life: I humbly submit that’s the only way to be fulfilled. God blessed me with Mr Right many years ago – BUT I have still been on the journey that teaches you that if we make God our all, we are complete in Him. And that means I have everything to bring into a marriage. My man here on earth is my kinsman redeemer: Jesus is my Husband, forever. Please all you lovely singles don’t be thinking what I’ve written is trite rubbish – I wish I could give every heartbroken sister a very meaningful hug and pass you a tissue: I can’t tell you why I found Gary when I did ….. but I know with all my heart that it’s not HIM that makes me alive, fulfilled, or whole: it’s Jesus, and that’s Who makes our earthly relationship secure. Just keep on desiring God. Keep on desiring God. Keep on desiring God. And leave the rest with Him. love you all lots xxxx

  110. 212
    Beth Williams says:

    Know that God’s timing is completely different than ours! What worked for me is completely turning it over to God and not taking it back.

    I remember just throwing my pencil on my desk and shouting “OK God if you want me to get married then you’re gonna have to make it happen”. It worked shortly afterwards he sent me the most wonderful man in my life–that wasn’t until I was 38 turning 39–yes 39. No I hadn’t dated much till then.

    Patience is a key and submitting your life and will to Him is another key. Prayer is always helpful.

    Praying for God’s will in your lives!

  111. 213

    Wow what a lot of stuff on here… I am sorry for anyone who has pain and sadness. It is not pleasant to struggle but it does turn our thoughts to God. I struggle with wanting to be single. I do not like being married. I have been married to a Christian man for 25 years. I am very lonely in my marriage. I must work constantly to have the right attitude, to take it to God , to be joyful, to be thankful etc. I see no end and have no hope of meeting someone new. At least single people have the hope that they might have romance. I know lots of Christian couples…probably 100! But I know of only one happily married couple. Trust me, the grass is not greener on this side of the fence.

  112. 214

    Wow. It’s fun to read all of the comments bathed in honesty on this issue. I am 33 and am a single woman of God. I have definitely gone through seasons of singleness. Seasons where it was more difficult and seasons where I was truly joyful and content in the Lord. I believe the secret has been learning how to be content. I have learned God cares more for my heart than my comfort. What we long to find for provision in our husbands, we do already have as singles in our God. It doesn’t always feel like it… like when I’m washing my car, or it breaks down, or I need handyman work done, or feel the allure of a man… but how blessed we are to know God in such a unique way as singles. For the last three years God has been preparing my heart for marriage in a very real way. Several months ago, in a time of worship, I felt Him releasing me, as a father does to his daughter, for marriage. Very sweetly, I felt Him impart though it will be hard for Him to let me go- He’s had me all to Himself for all these years- there is joy in what is coming up ahead in the man He has picked for me. I knew then that God is love; there is a purpose in singleness for a greater glory perhaps we cannot see yet, if we are truly pressing into and seeking Him in the season of singleness. I read once that there is a great onslaught on the church and on righteous seed in this generation from the enemy. This began with divorce, now is happening with abortion, and also through the enemy wanting to keep righteous women of God single- because this stops up righteous seed. May sound a little out there, but if we take a step back and look through some different lenses, we can see families of God are under attack. I believe the enemy’s agenda has been to stop up righteous seed, but what he has meant for harm, our Lord will use for good. God’s sovereign purposes will prevail, and the way I believe He will redeem this, is that when God’s single men and women do begin to come together in greater numbers- as older people- if we have been walking with Him faithfullly as singles- we will have learned many things and be all the more better parents and partners for one another, as we have stayed faithful to Him in times of famine. Some of the greatest heroes of our faith were those who waited long for God’s promises… Joseph, Abraham, Hannah- this isn’t something new. We are a part of a glorious heritage where God does not waste pain nor time. He redeems everything! We are not “too old” or past our “best years.” God withholds no good thing, and when He finally releases marriage to us, it will be His best thing, and He will have made us gifts to one another in marriage. The seasons we are in as single people are His “good thing” or we would be married if that was to be better for us. So, though it hurts and though we long for what we do not have, we keep pressing on and in and ask for the grace to see as He sees for where He has us now. It is an exquisite ache to carry to know you are made for something so core and so intrinsic to a woman that is yet unfulfilled – loving, wiving, and mothering- but what a new breed He is fashioning in us as such unique woman to have risen up for such a time as this- Esthers as we continue to remain faithful and fulfill His call on our lives. Thank you for being real and bold, Annie. I love your candidness :)

  113. 215

    Oh JJ and the countless others out there…. Girls, I hear you.

    My own Mama, now sixty, has been on her own for almost thirty years now. How she longs for a partner, and how my heart breaks for her daily. She, too, is walking the struggle, wrestling with trusting God and his plans for her.

    She has given her whole to serving others, as a doctor, a devoted single mother and in her community. She is joyful, radiant and has wonderful friends, but I know too well the way her nights are lonely and her worries for the future. If there is something more painful than hoping you’ll meet someone in your thirties, it’s hoping – against all the odds – that you’ll meet someone in your sixties.

    It has been a long and painful struggle for my beautiful mama.

    Girls, this whole thing is a mystery. I don’t know the whys or the hows or the whens. I’m praying for you all regardless. God Bless

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      Well, Heidi, I am not your Mama, but I am somebody’s Mama and I just want to thank you, for caring.
      I am 63 years old and have been divorced for two years from my one and only husband of 40 years. As we live, we gather so many different experiences, not only our own, but we can trust that God uses them for His Glory, so we keep going on, revealing His Power and Deliverance. My husband betrayed me three times in the last 16 years of our marriage and I forgave him each time, even without his repentance, because I believed that God could redeem our marriage. When the last affair happened God took me to my knees and when I got up He delivered me out of the mire (Psalm 69:14). The death of my marriage and life as I thought it would be added one more dimension to His Glory Story for me to share. So, I am the “redeemed one” out of our marriage, and have so much to live for even though life is different and, yes, a complete mystery. James 1:5 says all we have to do is ask for wisdom, for the moment and for the life, so I do. I believe the Word and prayer work, and the benefits are eternal so we get to sing joy for our Jesus no matter what our situations or emotions are, even through tears.
      Hugs to all and I don’t mean virtual hugs:) Reach out and hug somebody today-they may need it more than we do, and we know we need it:)

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    Fantastic post Annie! I want to write a blog post regarding your question, especially being in the 30 camp. Looking forward to hearing more responses. Love you girl! (hugs from Chicago!)

  115. 218

    I wrote about the gifts IN singleness a few weeks ago (the silver lining is there if we look for it) but I will never see singleness as a gift itself. At 32, it’s taken me a long time to get to a place of mostly contentment with my singleness. When I talk about contentment, I mean most days I’m not in tears over it. But those hard days still come and the only thing I can do is pray and sometimes even rail at God. I like to think of it as helpfully reminding him of my hopes and dreams for a marriage and family. Truthfully, there is no reason that I’m not married now. I can say it would not have been good for me to have married straight out of college- I would have viewed my husband as the source of all fulfillment and worth. But the last several years of singleness make no sense to me. I’m a catch. I say that without conceit, just affirming who I am.

    There is no formula for finding love. I have an active social life. I simply haven’t met the right guy yet for reasons only God knows. Sometimes it seems a mystery that anyone gets married and I look forward to seeing if/how my love story unfolds. My OneWord is hope this year because I have had a hard time hoping that marriage is still in my future. I don’t know what hope looks like in this area of my life and so my prayer has simply been for God to show me. In the meantime, it’s so helpful to here from others in the same situation. We can encourage one another on, as only singles can. We all need to have people in the trenches with us.

  116. 219

    I’m 43 (married at 38) and single again (not by my choice) and no children both TOTALLY shattered dreams for me. I’d like to say that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence, it’s all still grass! Being married, and please, please hear my heart – I LOVED being married – comes with it’s own set of disappointments and heartbreak, it’s hard, it takes sacrifice and it hurts but know it’s not a “be all end all”. Be careful that you’re not “in love” with the thought of “being in love”. I’ve been mad at God over being in both places (married & single). All I can tell you is to hold on tight to your faith, the ENEMY wants you to feel hopeless, unloved, unwanted, etc., etc. Don’t let him win! You are LOVED, WANTED and DESIRED by God, I KNOW it’s not the same. Instead of asking God why or feeling sorry for yourself (wallowing in it, feeling down about it or whatever you’d like to call it), ask Him “What do you want me to learn?, What is your will for me?”, He will ANSWER those questions. By all means ask Him to give you what you want, but also ask Him to change your heart if He doesn’t give you what you want! He CAN DO ANYTHING!

    BTW – Just to set the record straight, I don’t want to be single either. However, I am, and right now I am content and peaceful about it (which has not always been the case).

    A couple of great books: “Shattered Dreams: God’s Unexpected Path to Joy” by Larry Crabb and “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by Stasi & John Eldredge. Ladies, there isn’t a list of “to do’s” that will fix the pain, it’s a journey with Jesus!

  117. 220

    Thank you so much for telling the truth.  I love this, Annie – that it gets personal between you and God when He ‘withholds’ the only thing you’ve ever wanted.  I could write a book on this, but will try and summarize part of my story.. I’m 40 this year.  4 years ago, my dream man entered my life after 4 or so years of singleness, and praying and struggling.  I really and truly thought God said this was my husband.  I got many confirmations, and I’d had years of hearing God accurately before, so I really thought I KNEW.  We were just friends, but with a lot of extra sparkle between us, if that makes sense.  I just knew it was only a matter of time.  Except.. it wasn’t.  Nothing happened.  He left the country almost 4 years ago, and although we kept in touch, it took me about 3 years to work through this with God.  It hit me so hard that I THOUGHT I heard God, and got my heart broken!!  Did I do something wrong?  What happened?  Did I really hear God?  There was a deep freeze in my heart towards God, anger, lashing out at him, loss of faith for a time, you name it.  But we walked through it together, and it’s taken a long time to work back to that place of trust, which I now realize was not really full trust as I know it now.  Today, I realized that I really never wanted to be ‘MARRIED’.  Sure I want the perks, like social acceptability, comfort, financial back-up, sex, affection, companionship, family, children etc.  But to really tie myself to someone?  To really compromise that much?  To sacrifice all my independence?  To be THAT vulnerable?  I have to be honest and say, NO, I was never really willing to do the hard stuff and take that kind of risk in my life.  But I was just too embarrassed to admit that, even to myself.  It isn’t socially acceptable to choose singleness, is it?  Well I did, except I hadn’t realized it.  I am willing to change that now, if God wants me to, if my life is worth more to Him married, I’ll be married.  The other thing I’ve learned about myself is that the ONLY other thing that makes me different to those who get married is my ability / desire to CONNECT.  To really connect to someone.  Do I make eye contact with guys and let them see ME?  Do I give and take, or try and control the interaction?  Am I willing to take relational risks and be vulnerable, even in tiny ways?  Noooooot really.  I am working on that now in therapy, but as a result of years of family abuse, I did not trust people at.all.  That creates barriers!  It’s got nothing to do with looks, age, NOTHING but how connective I am.  I like what someone else said about going day by day, because that’s what I’m doing too.. it’s the only way, just give yourself to him daily and see what he does that.day. Girls, God LOVES you!!!  Thanks for this series, it is SO needed.

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    I am only 21 but I too have struggled with this. I am just letting go of someone I loved for over two years and who, incidentally, loved me as well. It’s a long story but this:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/single-in-christ-a-name-better-than-sons-and-daughters
    has been a thought-provoking encouragement to me. I still pray for a husband but more than that I pray that I would find satisfaction in God. I absolutely, 100% DEFINITELY would say that God’s love is way better than romantic love. Why would I say this when I don’t feel God’s love physically? Well, maybe it’s because I’ve never been married. But I think that I have begun to grasp some understanding of it – God is the Creator. He created marriage as the most intimate, sacred, beautiful earthly relationship – but still an earthly and temporary relationship. Why? It is a picture, a glimpse, a slice of a little part of Himself. He gave us marriage to show who He is. Refusing to rejoice in singleness (as hard as it is!!!!!!!!!) is a little like a child who goes to a glossy 4×6 of her mother for comfort when the flesh-and-blood mother is standing right in front of her. The illustration falls far short but that’s the kind of silliness I commit all the time.

    • 222

      Lizzi,

      i love what you have to say–very wise for 21. also, love that you gave the DesiringGod link–John Piper is a very wise man that speaks plainly and powerfully from the gospel, and we need this truth. i am a married woman, and have had much pain in relationships and experienced much disappointment and hurt in my marriage, and have also experienced much beauty and love. BUT i can tell you for sure, you are on the right path–because being married for 11 years, i am beginning to really see and know that marriage, this earthly love, is only a slice of a little part of Himself, as you say!

  119. 223
    Lauren M says:

    I’m so with you. Here is what I did. I got the revelation that God is not a consolation prize. He’s not. He’s not second best in the way of Lover. For real. I’m not spouting Christianese to you. I have wrestled with singleness at a painful level. But here is the deal. It’s totally fine to wrestle with something, but let it leave a mark of intimacy on you. Like when Jacob wrestled with God, he walked away with a limp–a mark that he had wrestled and come away closer to God than before. So get mad, cry, etc…but let it push you closer into His presence, not away.

    Start studying His passion and love for you. It is all over the Word. Isaiah 54 is a good place to start and I have clung to it more times than I can count. I have experienced the nights of such pain, loneliness, fear of being alone forever, etc. The nights/days where the pain is so deep that you can’t even cry. But He was also there. And I mean it with every ounce of my being when I say that He is not a consolation prize. He is sweet and tender and I one million percent believe that single women get to know Him and experience Him in ways that no one else does. He obviously LOVES single women! I mean, look at His sweet friendships with Mary and Martha. You know the infamous verse “Jesus wept”? (John 11:35) Jesus wept in response to Mary weeping! I mean, He knew that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, yet it says that He saw Mary weep, which made Him weep. I think that is precious and tender and evidence of the sweet friendship that they shared.

    That’s what I want. To know Him as Lover and Friend. To not waste my days as a single, wishing for something different.

    Don’t get me wrong…I have bad days too, where the disappointment and hope deferred leave me heartsick. I don’t have it all mastered. But once my view of Him shifted to a more accurate picture, everything changed for me.

    So that is my two sense. Take it for what it’s worth. :)

  120. 224
    Lauren M says:

    PS. This hurts to hear, but it’s really true that He never promised marriage for all of us. Ouch….I know! It hurts to hear it, but it’s true! Marriage is not a right. So He doesn’t owe it to us, and He isn’t breaking a promise to us when marriage doesn’t happen if/when we think it should. I know! Ouch!

  121. 225
    Jen Guadagno says:

    You Just have to grieve it. Just grieve it . God has it planned for it later in your life or he has a totally different plan for your life. But let me tell you;you can e as lonely and unforfilled married as you can single.

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    Single friends, this is my story:

    I started listening to the lies. Then I started believing them. Then I thought if I didn’t take matters into my own hands I would never have what I so desperately wanted (and I was a Christian I will add). So I became what I needed to become.

    And I was left with a lot of heartache and regrets that I carried into marriage with me. And still think about daily.

    It is imperative that you saturate your heart and mind in prayer and in God’s Word DAILY. You cannot make it without Him. And then, after a time, you will begin to see things differently. No, your desires will most likely not go away, but you will love God more. And this is where the peace will lie.

    Praying for you tonight because I know the road is hard. My heart breaks too for you.

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    I love what you said, that we all have things we’ve dreamed and longed for and have not gotten. For me, it’s not being fat. For some, it’s having a child. For you, it’s getting married.

    The key to trusting God is to do it. Trust Him. He loves you, and He has great plans for you, but you have to trust Him and believe He has a great plan. That’s all there is to it.

  124. 228
    Judy Rossbacher says:

    I am happily married; but, my heart aches for my wonderful adult children to be happily married. I so yearn to have a son-law and a daughter-law and lots of grandchildren. As I see my friends’ children getting married and having children, I think when will it be my turn to be mother of the bride, mother of the groom, and grandmother? As I wait on God in regards to my desires, I have written and published “Broken Dreams, Beautiful Quilts” with my disabled son, Nathan. I am establishing a career as a writer, speaker, and home and garden stylist. There are still days I feel broken hearted; but, I am thankful to God for the career opportunities He has given me!

  125. 229

    Oh, wow, can I relate to this one! I’m not young anymore, but in the middle of life, at 55. Didn’t get married until I was 32 and had about given up, just as this girl asking the question is feeling. Most all my friends were married. I looked in church, settled for someone already divorced and proceeded on the hardest journey of my life, in marriages that completely were wrong and fell apart and disappointed me to the core of my being. I was a Christian, totally desiring God’s best for me and it just did not turn out like I had hoped & dreamed either. I know that so many of us can relate to that. I didn’t find my dream Christian man in church, in fact most were so flawed (none of us are perfect), but had some real emotional issues to deal with that I had never dealt with before coming from my stable family. I faced verbal and emotional abuse, adultery, and finally believing I had found a wonderful person, but instead after 6 years of marriage, discovered was the biggest liar and deceptive person I had ever come across, and who just about ruined my life, I got out once again. It’s heartbreaking to go through that many years living in disappointment, heartache, broken dreams, and a shattered future. But, after all of the hurt and pain, it drove me to God like I had never been driven before. He is now who I rely on completely. I used to hear all of that too when I was younger, how God would be the only man I needed and I heard it but never believed it. After all of this, I know that is finally true. Do I miss having a man? Oh yes, I do. I really, really like men. Right now, I am not even thinking about dating again. I’m sure that will change one day, but for now, men are off limits. My heart has to heal again and Jesus is healing my heart, day by day, moment by moment. He has given me a peace and contentment that I have not had before and I know that my future is in HIS hands. Whether or not I ever meet another man again. I’m young at heart, love life and can’t wait to see what he has in store for me now. The old saying, there are worse things than being single is true. The worse thing than being single is being married to someone who emotionally and financially destroys you. That’s far worse, trust me on that!

    My blog has become a place where I can encourage other women who have been through hard times in life and I’ve shared much of my heartache with my readers. This community is a place to share our hearts and what we are dealing with and just know that you are not alone. I would love to tell you that you will find someone. Nothing would please me more than to believe that, but once you’ve been through the junk of life and divorces, those ideas change. I no longer believe I have to have a man in my life. I’m not convinced that it will ever happen for me again. But, if it does, I know it will totally be a God thing. I have chosen so badly that I never want to rely on my own judgement again. One thing I do know, life is sweet whether married or single and family is the most important thing to me now. I’ve been around long enough to know that marriage is not everything. My married friends tell me they will NEVER get married again. Marriage is not easy and it’s definitely been the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do (and failed miserably). But, I’m not giving up on life, it’s too precious. I refuse to be angry, bitter, or depressed. There is still a lot to live for and that’s what I’m going to do! I hope you find your peaceful place too.

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    I have never ever wanted to be married………..and I pray to God that he keeps me single because then I can devote all my time to ADORING AND WORSHIPPING HIM AND HIM ALONE! I wear a wedding band on my left hand to symbolize that I am married to Jesus. How sad that women think that they are not a whole being without marriage. I love the freedom that I have and the total control of my life through JESUS LIVING IN ME! It is wonderful to have nothing in my mind but my LORD AND SAVIOR! ALL PRAISE AND HONOR TO HIM AND HIM ALONE!

  127. 231
    LaDonna says:

    It IS hard to wait but it IS do-able, i promise! I finally (finally!) realized that there is purpose to this single season of my life. I have to love myself first and no earthly man can teach me how to do that. Only God can … and im learning how and in doing so i am able to find joy in this season. This makes it easier to accept where i am and who i am. It is becoming easier to trust in the plans He has for me. I admit i am a slow learner but im getting there!

  128. 232

    Im not sure if one more voice chiming in will help, but thank you for your honesty. Being single IS hard and it IS painful. It makes me think of the verse in proverbs about each heart knowing its own pain. So I can only share what God has done with my pain and desires. Singleness is probably the number one biggest thing the Lord has used in my life to teach and mold me. It was and still is somedays that thorn in my flesh. But I thank Him for it, because it makes me rely on Him. I still desire marriage and a Husband but I desire Him more. My desire for marriage controlled me, I was a slave to whatever master me and kept my attention and focus. When those desires were painfully unfulfilled and taken away, I asked Him to replace those dreams with His. And He did! I still desire marriage but I desire to gloriy him more now, than I desire marriage. He gave me dreams and a purpose that fills my days. That is my story, but what I do know in your story’s is that God loves us and wants to use our pain for His glory.

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    I have to say the honesty here is refreshing. It’s hard to swallow that a God who loves us and cares for us does not provide a spouse or a child on our time line. I have struggled with this for over a year as I have dealt with infertility. It’s a rollercoaster ride, but like it has been said, it’s a choice, bitter or better. My prayer is that we continue to cling to Jesus each day. There just aren’t any easy answers to our hearts cry, but He hears each one.

  130. 234

    Wow Annie, that was raw. Sometimes on topics weighty and mysterious it’s good to let the question linger in the air, most of us are afraid to do it but I think it’s good. I wrote today about mourning and grief on my blog. I think it goes well with this topic. http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/2012/02/grief-invitation.html

  131. 235

    Well, they say there’s a first time for everything, and this is the first time I’ve blogged!

    Beautiful women of God (both young and old) – thank you so much for sharing your raw emotions. I, too, am single and have a deep desire to be married. I will turn 50 on the 27th (10 more days – yikes!) and I have wanted to be married since I was about 28 years old. For many years, I also ached to have a child but I wanted to do it all in the correct order (marriage and then children). Has the window closed for both? Perhaps. But our God is a God of miracles and if it is in His plan for me to be married and have children after the age of 50, then so be it! My desire for children comes and goes, but my desire for marriage has burned deep within me for years and has yet to leave me (even though I pray for God to take it away if it will never be fulfilled).

    I am a well educated woman with a college degree and I worked for an aviation company for 26 years. I lost my job in Nov 2010 and was so very angry at God. Not for losing my job, but for not providing me a husband to share it with…someone to lean on and help me thru one of the most difficult times of my life (I’m not sure which was worse – losing my job or having my “almost married” relationship end). Anyway, what I have learned is this – God is Great and God is Good. All the time. And if He is withholding something from me, it is for my good. Perhaps I’m not ready (even though I think I’ve been ready for 22 years!) or perhaps my husband-to-be is not ready. Whatever the reason, I’m finally beginning to trust God to make it happen in His perfect timing. I dreamed of being young and walking down the aisle in a beautiful wedding gown and having a wedding with all the trimmings. But there’s no reason I can’t still have that someday.

    God loves each and every one of us more than we can imagine. He keeps our tears in a bottle, He knows the number of hairs on our head, He has us written on the palm of His hand. And He LOVES us. I know, it’s not the same as having someone to physically hug or sleep next to, but He is faithful. And He never gives us more than we can bear. We need to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and then all those things will be added unto us.

    I wish I had the answers. I have many single women friends. Some who are divorced, some never married like me. All wanting love and acceptance of a man. It will come for some of us, and not for others. Why? That’s always the question, isn’t it? And the only one who has the answer is not telling us. What He does tell us is “I will love you. I will accept you.” Why isn’t that enough for us? Why can’t we just trust Him that He knows what is best for us and will bring it to us when the time is right?

    I pray for each of you that you will feel God’s loving arms around you and you will trust Him to bring your husband in His time. In the meantime, we have our families, friends, and each other.

    Bless you dear ones.

  132. 236

    Thank you Annie. Hearing I am not the only one is encouraging and scary all at the same time. Having a place to air out the real fears is so nice.

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    Thank you for this space. I can’t say it better than all those above me who write what I am feeling, but so much prettier, so just thanks!

  134. 238

    Annie,
    I am so thankful for this post. Your post echoed most of what goes on in my mind in various seasons of my life. Ever since I can remember my dream has always been to be married, be a wife and a mother. I did not expect to be single at 40. I do not forget the many blessings the Lord has bestowed me but my deepest longing remains unfulfilled.
    Most of my friends are married with kids, I go to church and most of the teachings on struggles are directed on the married ones, I asked in silent, “What about the single people?” I go to Ladies studies and most of the women share their busyness and challenges as mom and wife. When I share my side I feel like I am just complaining, it’s like “I’m single, there’s nothing to complain.” I am thankful for this post. I am encouraged as it echoes what is in my heart too.
    Despite the heartaches of unfulfilled desires life goes on. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness! He who begun a good work in us will complete it ’til the day of Christ Jesus. The Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withold from those who walk uprightly.
    Finally, a good friend of mine tells me He is too wise to be mistaken. All in His time.
    This is how I encouraged myself. It’s ok to ask God, it’s ok to be transparent to Him. He knows it anyway. I am so glad I don’t have to pretend with Him. I can cry to Him and question Him. He meets me where I am. Praise God!

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    Thank you all for your honest sharing. The grass is certainly never greener somewhere else, you are so correct…. Everyone has a hurting story and history.
    My daughter has turned twenty eight and is a bright,capable,good looking,empathetic woman…..praying that she and her future husband (and all you ladies here) are just having their hearts prepared for their future,and are sustained my our loving God that delights in us during this time.
    Also praying for my son ( and many other young men out there) who is turning thirty this year,another one yearning to meet the one to have a future with. Life seems unexplainably difficult for many these days.
    Claiming the promise that the years the locusts have eaten will be returned to us many fold.
    My favorite thought about God ….. Is here on earth we only see the back of a tapestry,all knots and tangles…our perspective is limited.Gods side of the tapestry is beautifully perfect. Than God. Be well ladies

  136. 240

    Thank you so much for writing this post. It was real and honest and everything I needed to hear.

    I am not quite twenty-two, and while I am given repeated assurances that I still have time, I always imagined by this point in my life that I would have at least dated some. The biggest question I struggle with – as I watch friends of mine settle into committed relationships and get engaged and married – is ‘Why?’ Specifically, as you wrote, ‘Why won’t anyone pick me?’ It’s like I’m back in middle school gym class and no one will pick me for their basketball team. I swing between feeling utterly discouraged and inadequate or feeling ashamed for judging the life God has given me as lacking.

    I don’t have a magic formula for dealing with this heartbreak. All I know is that the Lord is a loving Father and will always have my best interests at heart, even when there are days I doubt that and rail against Him for not giving me what I think I need. When the act of hoping becomes a burden and I am defeated, I remind myself that he has commanded that I have faith; and so I cling to the belief that one day all will be revealed and I will understand why certain dreams had to be deferred.

  137. 241

    I remember it from when I was single- that feeling like I could shatter so easily.
    Now, I am married and cannot have children.
    And my heart still breaks every single day.

    And God has been showing me- how to live with a broken heart.
    It isn’t fun and it hurts.
    But I want to know Him so desperately. And perhaps pain is the only way to truly understand His heart.

  138. 242
    HarrIet says:

    I want to acknowledge the pain first. I think that we all go through times of sensing that we’ve missed an opportunity being married or not, walking out what God has for us. At that moment is when holiness reaches down and says I’m here. I personally asked for Him to do this. I can’t on my own. I call it supernatural faith. I just don’t have the faith on my own. And guess what …He did!!!!!!!!!

  139. 243
    Jennifer says:

    Wow ! I just read most of the responses from this blog and all I can say is wow… I turned 50 last year and longed to be married , it just didn’t happen so I delved into my season of singleness and doing the very best for God as a single person, it wasn’t easy . God in his infinite wisdom allowed me to meet some one about 4 months ago and while it has been a roller coaster ride because of distance it has been and will be a long answered prayer.

    I was one of those women who always said why not me God ? through it all God has taught me so much and made me a much wiser person, in dealing with other issues from my past. Don’t give up ladies! 50 is never to late ! and God knows and hears and it is all in his timing . Be encouraged ! Live each day to your fullest and when you fall it is ok to pick yourself up and start all over again.

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    I love this site! Thank you for sharing your hearts and being so authentic. We all have our secret sorrows. Having a safe place to share and support one another is a gift.

    My prayers and hugs to you.

  141. 245

    I read this post yesterday-Thursday-and wanted to comment because I KNOW God is sovereign and for those of us who struggle with NOT having the human spousal relationship we desire we sometimes forget and would rather wallow in our unmet expectations than remember our loving Father has planned our lives out intentionally to bring Him glory, even if what WE want doesnt’ come to pass. Just saw this encouragement from Valentin’s Day on a Friend’s FB wall and knew it was “just right” for commenting here:

    Single friend.

    Tonight of all nights, don’t you dare forget how loved you are.

    Don’t you dare scroll through the mini-feed, looking at patched-together pictures from couples struggling to keep on giving in a world that rolls downhill to taking, and feel like you are the only lonely one.

    Don’t you forget that people rarely post their emptiness. They rarely post their fears and their doubts. They rarely post their fatigue. Sometimes they post trying to prove love to themselves as much as to the world.

    So when you see that stuff, don’t let it fool you.

    Don’t you dare forget that you are beautiful.

    Don’t you dare forget that you are funny, and tender, and smart, and how you bring life into the dark places of the world.

    Don’t you dare forget how you make me laugh, and how my life would be less without you in it.

    I need you. I love you. I’m not the only one who does.

    Tonight a lie will slither and bite, whispering that being single makes you somehow less desirable. When that happens, step on its head and crush it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    You are blindingly appealing. You are a vessel of light and love. How I love you for it.

    Don’t you forget that you are seen, and known, and wanted. And don’t you forget that all of those hurts that you keep pushing down inside, that resound today like some sort of cruel clock striking, are held tenderly in the heart of the One who made you.

    He will never stop chasing you. He has been writing a singular romance with your name on the envelope since time began. May you fall asleep tonight hearing that love whispered softly over your pillow.

    As Paul tells us…think on these things! Phil 4:8

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    If you’re a Christian girl, you have been taught your whole life that your worth lies in your role of being a wife and mother. What if you are only a woman? You’ve also probably heard a speech or two about purity and ‘saving yourself for your husband.’ What happens if he never shows up? Can purity also be motivated by a want for personal freedom? Us single Christian girls are keeping ourselves for a husband. We don’t want to be girlfriends, we want to be wives. We’re told constantly, “Prepare for your husband, what can you offer him?” Life (and marriage) is a constant refining process…marriage is supposed to make you a better person, drive you further into the arms of Jesus, not the man you are married to.
    I have been single for all of my life (23 years) and there were years of struggle and pain and crying into my pillow asking all of those questions that Annie posted above. When I turned 16, and was finally allowed to date, I cried myself to sleep because I hadn’t gotten asked on a date that very night (or any other night). I grew up reading Christian romance novels which my mother always said skewed my vision of love and made marriage something that could heal all my wounds and make me worthy. Marriage does not make you worthy. You already are. It might make your life more full, more interresting, but it will not change your worth to God. Being married or single is not a mark of his favor. When discussing the trials of marriage, we often recall the curse God gave Eve “desire for your husband,” and pains in childbirth and we think that as singles, we have no part in this curse. I think that we do: God gives us a desperate longing for a husband, a longing for children…to drive us into His arms.
    A husband cannot save me. He cannot make me whole. Don’t get me wrong, I still want a husband, I am simply not desperate for one. And I have had those moments in the grocery store where I place food-for-one inside of the cart and nearly cry at the thought of being lonely my whole life. And it might sound trite, but Jesus will fulfill your life if you let Him. He wants to have your whole heart. How often do we give pieces of it away to dreams and imaginary men who we are longing for….?
    In your singleness, God wants to love you better than any husband ever can.

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    What a beautiful place for women of all walks of life to “spill it.” I so appreciate all the wonderful words of honesty and wisdom that have been shared here. And Annie, kudos to you for opening up this important dialogue.

    Lauren M. above said it so well when she said, “God is not a consolation prize.” Yes! He is THE prize. Whether we’re married or not, He is what we should pursue. If you’re married, you should pursue Him as a team. If you’re single, then pursue Him with all your heart. But I will remember those words forever: “God is not a consolation prize.”

    May I also encourage those of you who are struggling to really take a look at the God you serve? Learn His attributes. Name them. Because His qualities are so much better than any human who will, trust me, fail you.

    A few of you mentioned “unanswered prayers,” and I want to gently remind you that God DOES answer prayer. He is a God who listens. He is a God who hears. And He IS a God who answers. We may not like the answers He gives us, but He does answer. Rest in that. Know that He hears you. And know that He loves you better than a husband ever would.

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    Adriana Manjarres says:

    hi Girls, i’m from Colombia, i’m 20 years old, and i don’t have a boyfriend, even if your are thinking “but u are so young to comment in this conversation or you have a lot of time to find a couple” OK that is true!!! I just want to say some real things that i’m sure they come from God’s heart: it is not God’s desire that women be alone, but more exactly, stay alone. we have the wrong thinking that we have to wait until God bring to our lifes the right guy, and that is so false, because God will not bring the right person to our lies, neither is going to reserve a unique person for each woman, God just bless our relationship; but we have the labor to meet people, to look for matches people, people that have things in common with you, to show open to meet people, and to cultivate or keep in, friendships that talk to you about God’s Love, be attentive, to all people that is around you, and tell God all the specifications you want to enjoy in your couple, but Don’t think that someday a man is going to arrive to your door, saying “hi i come from God’s allocations”. just be attentive, and Don’t make a bad decision just because u want to have a couple!!

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    I believe we were created to seek marriage and children. God created us to long for the fulfillment of these aspects of our life. I am 60 years old and I bring some understanding of being a single woman ( I married late) and a childless woman ( my only child died at 2 and 1/2 months old.) Believe me when I write; I was not interested in people telling me throughout my suffering that “this is God’s will and you should rejoice in it.” Being alone and being without a child are broken places in my life. I certainly can say that about me. The hardest thing was being told that I should be happy about a situation which made me miserable. You know ..”get over it”, “move on”, be “grateful for what you have”, … none of these expression is bad advice but when it comes from a married friend or a friend with children the advice seems to say your problems are bothering me SO be happy for me and I WILL FEEL BETTER. I love reading Ann Voskamp’s blog and her book has changed my life BUT death of children is mentioned ( the death of her baby sister) and the section of the book which deals with the death of two infants in her family. Would I love to find a discussion on the death of a child or a divorce … well yes but I suspect this is not what she is called to do. I find, as many of you have shared, a lack of seeing life through the other journeys we may have been called into. Perhaps this means those of us who are single and those of us who are childless should start our own blogs. Oh, and those of us over 50 …:-) I do not know? I do know what it means to get up every morning and deal with the lack of unfulfilled dreams. How do I do that each day? First, I have come to terms with accepting that these are real loses. God allowed them to happen. I do not believe he asks me to rejoice in them. I also do not feel I should define my life by lack. I am not ungrateful and each day of life presents me with a multitude of things and people to be grateful to God for putting in my journey. I have come to understand that suffering is a part of life and I can make a choice to accept that and thank God for the suffering in my own life OR I can become bitter because of the suffering I daily deal with in my life. When my son was dying, I used to take the subway home after visiting him. It was in a bleak winter in February and the snow was dirty and the sky was overcast. I remember thinking “I am so sorry son you will miss living this life because even on a morning like this it is SOOO wonderful to be alive.” In the midst of that life pain I clearly saw all ALL as gift and although on an early February morning we received the call that our son had died. We wept for the life he would not have in this fallen world which still holds some of the beauty of Eden. So to the young woman who wrote and started this chain of answers. My answer is found in acceptance of my suffering which includes a love of God. My answer is to say to you what I say to all those in my Christian community who are suffering .. “I am sorry you are having to walk through this and you are in my prayers.” Dear friend, I am sorry you are having to walk through this singleness and for the suffering you are daily enduring. Please know that you are in my prayers.

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    Well, it’s amazing how many answers there are on here, because I always tend to feel that this site really has mostly married women… so many posts about children and husbands. I am in my 50′s, never married, hardly dated, always wanted to be married and a mom. I don’t really have answers… all those questions, yes. And now, that I’ve been going through serious health and financial issues, being alone is all the harder. When I was in my 30′s and still not married, I still had hope of being married. Nowadays, not so much. Although a friend and neighbor married at 57 when her boyfriend from her 30′s (also never married, committed to the Lord) suddenly came back into her life ready to commit… and that seemed just as impossible.

    I just have to take it day by day… seek the Lord and His presence. I know that isn’t the answer we all want. Sometimes the ache hits me between the eyes – especially at this Feb time of year. I ache for children I will never know or hold, or hear tell me they love me. I feel alone among most women, because to be a woman seems to mean husband and children. Everywhere you look. Even here on this site. I constantly have to push down my feelings, surrender my dreams. I don’t know what else to do…except constantly giving it to Him. Trusting that He has something good in my life.

    In this moment, so much in my life is unraveling… yet, God is there. He just led me again to Neh. 4 – my God will fight for me and He is the rebuilder of my “walls” – He loves me. Me. It’s so easy for me to believe in his love for others… to tell them. Not always so easy to believe it in true heart knowing for myself. I am an encourager…so my blog does not reflect any of these things. I just want to lift others up to knowing His heart more as we live this life. But sometimes my life seems so empty of things to write about… being alone so much. So I just have to encourage others to know that life goes on day by day and God does bring beauty out of ashes. I know a lot of marrieds who have their own set of “missing” dreams in their lives… I’m just trying to lean into “trust in the Lord and lean not onto your own thoughts…”

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    “the list” by Marian Jordan is a great book that talks about this.
    Thanks for writing about this Annie :) I’m one of those girls who asks myself “what’s wrong with me? Why are guys never interested?” and so on all the time

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    Wow, you precious women are contributing such wonderful wisdom from your experiences and what you’ve learnt thru them, and sharing really deep hurts as well, and I havent finished reading them all yet. What a wonderful support blog. I havent written in much before, but I thought I’d just share some of my story briefly. I’m in my late 50′s, and have had 2 major periods of singleness. I married at 20 to a wonderful man, who was the best part of my life, but he died when he was 42, and i was 39. The loneliness part of being single then was sooo painful, the word ‘loneliness’ doesn’t describe the depth of it (I’m sure you know what I mean). Along the way, after most of the grief, I begged God to give me another husband, but I got desperate and thought I had found him. Alas, after we married, I realised it was a bad marriage, and i had ignored some warning signs during dating. He was verbally aand emotionally abusive, and I was stripped of value in his eyes, and mine. I was determined to make the best of it…I hadn’t realised at the time this was abuse. For many years I pleaded with God to change him, and to change me, and I learned much in that process. But early last year the marriage ended, and so did the pain of living with him. Now I’m single again and happy to be that way. But it’s been a long process and I’ve learned so much from leaning hard into my precious Lord thru those many years of pain. Sometimes He comforted me, sometimes I had to just get up and keep going…repeating over and again to myself the verses I had that encouraged me, and determining to trust the truth in them and God’s faithfulness even in the dark of unknowns. That is FAITH, and without faith it is impossible to please God.
    Girls, don’t get impatient and go for the wrong man. (Who knows if God did have someone better for me that i missed out on?) I could have learned to be content, or to wait. Whatever life circumstances we are in, God wants to teach us, how to live, how to understand others, and make us more like Jesus! Roms 8:28,29 “We know that ALL things work together for good for those who are called to His purpose, in order that we be made in the likeness of Christ”. Nothing is left out of the ‘all’. I think it doesnt mean everything will work how we want it, but it does work for God’s good plan in our lives.
    I have found it very helpful to pray ‘Lord, please give me the attitude and mindset and heart YOU want me to have”, and to surrender my own mind and heart to Him.

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    I forgot to add, that our TRUE value lies in who we are in God, in our relationship with Him, and not in who we are married to, or our relationship with any others. When we get to heaven for eternity it won’t cut with who we are in earthly relationships, it will be our delight as singles, or marrieds, to hear Him say, “I know you well. Come and spend eternity with me…well done, good and faithful servant (and friend)” ETERNITY!!!

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    Amen to what Lois said. Like some of you I have felt a bit out of this blog because of being single and also because of being’older’!. I am 64 in one month’s time and have never been married and am still a virgin. I felt like most of you when I was in my 20′s wondering why God hadn’t brought a guy into my life and when I turned 30 I gave up on the thought of ever being married. The funny thing is that now I am thinking about marriage again because it would be nice to have a friend as I get older. I miss having someone to come home to – not that I have ever had one!
    Yet even now my trust is completely in God as someone who loves me and has the best in mind for me(Jer 29:11). I love to be held and hugged – we all need affection! I am usually the one giving all the hugs to children and friends. Often as I read these blogs I feel hugged. Thank you to all of you who express your love and care in words.
    We all need to care for each other but truly God does it best! I have followed Him now for 53 years and He is trustworthy. I had a dream last night that I was at a conference and felt lonely in the midst of many people . I stopped and stood and bowed my head and then I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder. I experienced such love as they prayed. When I awoke I still felt that love. I really did! That was a gift from a God who really loves and understands us. My prayer is that you all will know and feel His love for you whatever you are going through. And if you are ever in Australia come and lok me up and we’ll have a hug together.

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    Don’t ‘lok’ me up1 I meant ‘look’.

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    Belinda says:

    I am 57 and have been married 27yrs. Now we are getting a divorce. I have basically been alone for 8 of those years maybe longer. My husband is an alcoholic. He leaves work sober and they get to see him at his best. When comes home, he goes to his shop and spends the rest of the evening with Miller Lite and his drinking buddies. I have tried going out there, but he just makes those “hurtful” comments that drag me down. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, sometimes we have to step out in Faith, and depend on HIM for our every need. I have family in OK and have been visiting them and attending church in their community. I have learned so much. When this divorce is final, I am moving up there with them along with my best dog, Rusty. One suggestion: I listen to KLOVE all the time. The songs they play really minister to me. To find a station near you vist KLOVE.com.

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    I can relate to the sadness and longing you feel. Although I am married and have two kids. My firstborn son was diagnosed with severe autism at age two! I he is 7 now and still very very much effected by autism. And it’s a daily battle to walk between trusting God ( not for a specific outcome) but just trusting him with no strings attached. So trust that says God whether or not my baby boy ( well he’s 7 now but I still call him my baby) ever makes any improvement, ever learns to talk, ever potty trains. Even If he does none of those things let it be said of me that I still trust you. In YOU. That my God has the ability to heal my son, the ability to give you a husband and family etc BUT if He does not chose to do so in this life Let my confession be that my God is good. That his ways are higher then mine. That my God has blessed me. And He is The Good Shepard that leads me besides still waters. So what looks like a dry place will eventually turn into green pastures for us.

    A quick story about that….
    My son has like a photographic memory for streets and directions on how to go somewhere. He knows exactly how to get somewhere and if I turn down an unfamiar street that he was not prepared for me to go down he freaks out. I mean FREAKS out. So I told my son ( last summer) that i would take him to the pool to swim. So we hopped on the freeway to go to the pool and go stuck in a traffic jam because of an accident up ahead. And my son Joel was able to wait oh for about 5 mins. Then the freak out melt down screaming and kicking starts. So I got off the freeway and took another route to get him to the pool. And he’s just crying so hard because he didn’t recognize the way I was taking him. And I kept saying ” we’re going to the pool. I promise. It’s not the way you expected but we are going!” And it broke my heart because he just couldn’t understand and couldnt trust me that I knew the best route. That there was an accident up ahead so we needed to detour to get to the pool while there was still daylight. So he cried the whole way there. And I just wished he could have trusted me. And God really just spoke to me that day through this.

    I say that to say that God is saying to you and me ” Darling we are going to the pool! It doesn’t look like it. It doesnt feel like it. I know its not the way you planned. Or the way you thought I’d take you but we’re on our way. And I see something up ahead that I need to keep you from. You can trust me. I love you. I have your beat interest at heart. …Or you can cry the whole way…. And not enjoy the ride. Either way were still going to the pool!”. I hope that speaks to someone out there. Please don’t hear critism from me. I’m learning this too. And reminding myself of the lessons God has taught me about blind trust through my special needs son.

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    Years ago I experienced a day of my life where I felt distinctly connected to my future husband. I sat down and wrote him a four page letter, sealed it and signed the date across the enclosure. I tucked this letter away. Last night I felt compelled to dig it out and check the date on it. It was written 2/20/1994. Yes, 18 years ago. I still have the letter and it is still sealed.

    Not a day has passed of the last 18 years where I haven’t felt like a married woman. I am married, body and soul, I just haven’t been given to him yet. Yes the heart breaks every single day. It is a poignant grief which shouldn’t be mistaken for anything less than grief. We are the women who promised ourselves to God’s chosen one and have held our faith to the test of waiting.

    I have spent ample portions of those 18 years (half my life) pondering the pain and the value of this journey. I try to document the progress I make through my blogs at http://www.thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com/ It isn’t always obvious that the faith emergency which my singleness provokes is the cornerstone of my writing, but God and I know it is.

    Here are some of the conclusions I have learned which profit me:

    1) Our frustration is intentional. The sign that you are perpetually frustrated is a sign that you are doing something right; that you are not smitten with this world.
    Romans 8:19-21 says, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

    We despise frustration. We do not choose it. But God chooses it for us. He chose it for Jesus. He subjects us to it – - that He might in that subjection partner our longing for relief with a ravenous hope of redemption. This plague of inherent yearning will not go unfulfilled. Its end guarantee is liberation! Liberation from bondage to death and decay replaced with immense freedom and glory! Frustration bends our minds toward Heaven. God always wants us fixated on Heaven and uses all means to incline us. http://thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com/2011/08/are-you-broken-too.html

    2) Loving God FIRST is His primary goal from each of our lives. He pleads to be granted that sole position of ultimate adoration which we have reserved for a spouse for so long.

    Start loving Him. Yes, I said start. We wear our longsuffering like a nametag when the truth is, our attitude in our suffering is a bitter taste in God’s mouth. If we cannot display to Him, the Lover of our Souls, the uncontested passion He deserves, why should He sanction some poor man to a lifetime of the bitterness that we harbor in our hearts towards Him? He knows it well. God says, “I am your great reward.” (Genesis 15:1) and yet we respond with a polite, “No thank you. I’d prefer a real man.” Let’s get honest. We aren’t loving God first and foremost. We must accept, embrace, appreciate and prize the sole fact that He condescends to intimately relate to us above all other desires before blessing will ever advantage us. http://thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-present.html

    3) Redefine “Good”.

    The reason we fret is because we entertain the lie that God is not good. It is time to define goodness according to who God is and what He does, and stop defining God by what our emotional/circumstantial definition of good is for the day. We define sin by what God identifies as sin (Romans 7:7). We define Truth by the person of Jesus Christ, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Why don’t we define good likewise? The Bible stays that our God is faithful, true and works ALL things for our good (Revelation 19:11, Romans 8:28). Either you believe the Bible is 100% true or you do not.

    Silence the lies that God is not good because of your present suffering. Resolve the dilemma with this question – “Would a good God crucify His only Son?” If your answer is “Yes”, then you should never again question God’s goodness, no matter what your circumstances. The good being yielded every day that your heart breaks is a guarantee. Step into the gratitude that comes with that acceptance. http://thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com/2011/10/fixation-for-naught_12.html

    4) Gratitude is imperative.

    Independent of one’s marital status, an ungrateful spirit is a pang in God’s heart. You cannot be an active participant of God’s will without gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

    We have already addressed that trusting God’s sovereignty is a non-negotiable baseline of our faith. With this being true, all circumstances merit thanksgiving. Corrie ten Boom was persuaded by her sister Betsie to thank God for the fleas that infested their barracks in a Nazi concentration camp. Later the fleas were discovered to be vital deterrents to keep the guards away, so that these sisters could freely evangelism among the ranks of prisoners. So which came first, I ask you, the fleas’ power to intimidate or the thanksgiving which infused the fleas with that power? I wonder. I encourage you to give thanks, manufacture it if you have to. He will prove that gratitude was appropriate all along. http://thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com/2011/09/dont-ask-questions-just-give-thanks.html

    5) Praise is vital.

    There is power in praise. A heart mends when the power of love grips it and there is no greater love than Jesus. Feast on God’s Word, our closest source of restorative power. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

    What do the heartbroken sincerely need? We need rejuvenation. We need restoration. We need life. We cannot find it anywhere but the source of life, which is God’s Word. Meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8). It will dethrone discouragement, lies and doubt. It will empower and inspire. Do not neglect your greatest help by turning a deaf ear to God’s love letters to you. http://thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com/2011/04/power-of-praise-disaster-of.html

    6) Crucify your sense of entitlement for we are merely created things.

    God is our preeminent authority. Take some time reading Job chapters 38-42. God’s reply is always, “I am God and I write reality.” We do ourselves no favors by “kicking against the pricks [bucking against the harness]” (Acts 9:5; KJV). If we must endure, at least let us endure peacefully and comfortably. That peace and comfort is available only to a surrendered spirit. http://thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com/2011/10/deepest-christian-principles.html

    7) Surrender. I am not saying that you stop longing and dreaming, I am saying you put to death your demands. We have no leverage to demand . . . anything. God doesn’t respond to demands. He is authority and until we start behaving like His voluntary slaves, His faith FULL servants, we will just continue to keep warring with the Master of the Universe, and He will continue chastening us. When God sees fit, if He sees fit, He will provide. His righteousness nature requires that He orchestrate good for His beloved. There is nothing you can do can force His hand. If we were wise, we would not prefer our limited sight to His infinite foresight. http://www.thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com/2012/02/to-my-eternal-valentine.html

    Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly and He is no liar. Our life experience is only stifled by our despair-wielding, human expectations. Mine has been for a very long time! Most of these revelations are very fresh to me. Infinite possibilities abide from the hand of our good God. We have every reason to be optimistic. Do not corner in your blessings. God is bigger than that.

    https://twitter.com/#!/DanaMHarrington

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    Deb, thank you, that story REALLY speaks to me. I’ve commented already but coming back to say THANK YOU to all the amazing prayer warrior ladies who I KNOW have been praying for us who read / have commented here. Since commenting, I feel different. His love is closer to me than before. I know prayers have gone up because I can see the difference. So thank you.

    I also want to say that to those who say ‘God is NOT my husband.. His love is NOT better.. sorry but He is NOT enough..’ I have been there!! And finally, finally I’ve come to see that He IS enough, if you let Him be. Keep pressing in! Keep going to Him, keep asking Him to show you who He really is. His love IS enough, but it’s not enough to hear someone say it. You have to experience it to truly ‘get’ it. For me, I heard others say it and I wanted to get to that place where I really believed it, and it took a long time of pressing in. Go for it.. it’s worth it. Blessings on us all, you beautiful women of God! :)

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    Thank you for your post. I recently read another article about singleness… it was such an encouragement to me, so I’m posting it here:

    http://www.acontentedmisfit.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html

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    I can relate to alot of what has been written here. Awesome to see so many responses. I learned many years ago that marriage and children did not have to fit into the traditional box. I have helped raise 6 children, spent 10 years with a large group of girls who are all now in their 40′s and have many wee ones that call me Grama. In the prayer of Jabez he asks to have his territory enlarged…….and when God heard my heart cry for children I could never have He enlarged my territory and brought these children into my life. Right now I walk along side a young single mother who has 3 children. It’s exhausting but very rewarding. Since this walk with Jesus isn’t about us but doing Father’s will here on earth we need to take these deep heart desires and turn our arms and feet……….our whole lives into loving those within our own communities with His love. When the sweet 1 year old wraps her chubby arms around my neck and says ‘lub you Gama’ it really doesn’t matter that she isn’t mine. Truth be told every child, every single mother, every hurting person that breathes truly is ours. The needs are so great and from what I’ve seen here there are alot of His children who could be used in mighty ways if you are willing. If you have love to give then go and give it to those who need it most. Walk the talk. Praise Him for the time you have to give. Time is more precious than gold but if you sow it into those that need it Father will bless you in ways you could never have imagined.
    In His Joy

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    At the moment, there are 248 comments before me…I have not begun to read them. I want to reply first. I can totally relate to your post but also have some thoughts I would like to share…just like I did on my personal blog on November 29, 2011:
    I get asked this question frequently…”Why aren’t you married?”

    How do you answer that???
    I have tried, but every time it seems to fail.

    I get told, “I never would have thought you were not married.” or “You just seem like someone who would be married.” or “Don’t you want to be married?”

    I wonder why it matters? I wonder why we put such importance on being married, like if you are you have truly accomplished something and if you are not, well then something is wrong with you. Why???

    I know I was raised that getting married was THE Goal. I mean this huge thing that you lived your entire childhood for. I realize that God created men and women and the idea is for both to have their half, I get that. I have no argument with the fact that is the design. When that card is not in your hand, how are you expected to play something you haven’t drawn from the deck of cards?

    I just wonder why people rate you on this factor. We all know that being married is not going to make you happy. If you are content in your life I believe finding your prince will only make your life that much happier, but if you are not and you are focused on marriage as the answer to your life problems, you will only be more miserable. I have been told many times that if you are not happy being single you will never be happy being married. So when we all know this, why do we “rate” people on whether they are married or not? You might seem to think it is a crazy question, but I don’t. I think we focus on too many things that are not where are focus needs to be and consequently we make battles for other people more difficult then if we had the vision where it should be.

    God wants me to serve Him with my whole heart, married or not.

    God wants me to be loving to everyone, not just the man in my life.

    God wants me to share his light with everyone, not just show off the shinning light on my ring finger.

    God wants me to be content, whether I have a special someone in my life or not.

    God wants me to be grateful for all I have, even if that means no prince came to sweep me off my feet.

    How can we help people realize that they are rating us on the wrong terms? How can we let people know we are content being single because we are! How can we let people know that the love you show to us means more in a day then the man we don’t have to snuggle with at night? How do you tell someone that though you have been proposed to (not by a guy you were actually trying to get to know on that level) and that is not what you want? How do you explain these things?

    I try.
    I fail.
    I try again.

    Maybe there is no way to explain because the foundation of the focus and rating is all on the wrong terms and until they realize you can be happy single, they will not understand you.

    Maybe.

    I can still have you over to my casa to entertain you with lovely food and conversation…even if the man of the house is not home. So, please, don’t rate me on the marriage card. It is missing in action and hasn’t been found.

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    Kristen Mason says:

    Sweet, sweet sisters, Do you really know and understand just HOW much God loves you and wants the best for you??? He knows your desires (as we’ve been taught, He put them there.) He longs to be good to you and to bless you. We DO need to trust Him and trust He does know best. Because honestly, sometimes, we as His daughters, we think we know best, but really He does.

    Here is the question asked that I’m responding to. “How can I trust God and Hope again in the midst of my heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and life plans?”

    I am now 31, divorced, and no kiddos. My first serious relationship was at the age of 15 and lasted until I was 22. It abruptly ended due to a personal illness that caused my life to come to a screeching hault! Which makes perfect sense, because apparently a person can ONLY handle so much stress before reaching a breaking point. During those 7 years of dating my High School sweetheart, I envisoned, eventually, us marrying and having kids together. When everything began to fall apart and I knew it was over between the two of us, it was onto the next phase in my life.

    A few lonely years passed and I met my first husband. He, like my HS boyfriend, was not a Christian (did not have a relationship with the Lord and did not go to church). So I admit, I did not use my best judgement in either case. And I learned there are many reasons why the bible says “Do not be unequally yoked”. And I am determined more than ever to be married to a man who Loves God and lives to be the man he’s called to be. Because when we honor the Lord above all else, we will also honor, respect and love those who are close to us and most important in our lives.

    In 2009, my divorce was final only after 1 year of marriage. And my dreams of having a family vanished. Since that happenned, the Lord has revealed so much to me. I have dated off and on since my divorce. There have been some heartaches, yet I’m also learning more about myself and who I would like to be married to one day. It starts with me though. I recently read an article encouraging its readers to Envision who they would like to marry. Putting this description on paper was very helpful for me. And I will not settle for just any man. But cling to the man God longs for me to hold out for. And I do know it will be so worth the wait. And I will appreciate this man all the more.

    I have the hope that the Lord will bring my husband into my path, when He believes I’m ready for it. Until he does that though, I will continue to grow in my relationship with the Lord and realize the most wonderful Love Story I will ever be apart of is the Love of my Savior.

    He wants us to TRUST He knows best for us. I don’t know about you but the Lord has been so faithful to answer prayers in the lives of those around me. And it is a blessing to see Him move in the lives of others. He really hears our hearts. When I was going through with my divorce, a scripture came across my path…”And he will restore the years the locusts have eaten”…..The Lord will make up for what was lost. He is already doing that in my life. I have had the privelege to be apart of my niece’s life and that is such a blessing. I also have time for my friends who really need a friend. If I had my own family, I probably would not be as available to my friends. I find much joy being apart of others lives.

    So my sisters, believe with me that the Lord is faithful. And He will provide. And when He does, you will become even more aware of His unfailing love on you as a woman and daughter of the Most High. Don’t give up. Your dreams are about to unfold…..

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    Wow I am overwhelmed by the stories and felt that I was to share one with you. I am 42 and like many of you very single with no single men in the church except for the ones that are very very different from me or age is way to low or way to high. I am a very active youth leader in our church and spend a lot of my time with youth leaders younger than me. I know I look 30 but ….. and when you sign up to be a youth pastor or youth leader do you always have to be married. :)

    People always tell me isn’t there guys at the youth leader retreats you have or surely there must be someone at church. If I had a $1 for everytime some well meaning person said that to me I would’ve been able to fund many of my missions trips in the past 4 years.. LOL The other good one is have you tried the internet — lots of people have success with that… I am not one who enjoys lots of time of the internet and I don’t have a lot of time to sit in front of a computer. I also don’t like that on the sites they ask for your body type and being heavy I have to put above average and on top of the small itsby bitsy picture you put on your profile that shows just my big cheeks. This is not an acurate picture of who I am. For me this creates a feeling of rejection that I have battled in person everyday of my life. So I appreciate people wanting to help me out but for me those are not options.

    My hearts desire is to be marrried and I would love to be a mother but I can pretty much say I will not carry my own biological children now. I may never have the opportunity to be a wife and mother but I only want God’s best for me and don’t want to settle. I struggle with it and some days are worse than others but I just look around me at the teenagers I am working with and pour my mother’s heart in to them. If I was married I wouldnt have the time to pour into these young woman and walk them through their break ups and family issues. One thing I have learned is God has not put me here to waste away. He has a purpose and a plan for my life. While I still have the love and energy and the teenagers still want to hang out with me why wouldn’t I give my life because ultimately when I am gone its these teenagers that will lead the next generation. Everytime another teenager is baptized or stands up and gives there testimony or goes on a missions trip with me I am humbled that God would choose me to walk this journey with them. I am heading on my 3rd missions trip with our youth group in June. These are opportunities I would have never had if I had chosen to walk in my rejection and stay caught up in my sadness over the loves I have never had. Some days are really hard and I am not always this positive but just remember God has a plan for each one of us and He is trustworthy and faithful to see it to completion.

    Recently on one of my melt down days my single girlfriend sat as I poured out my heart to her. She herself is struggling as well but she put on her Spiritual Director hat and said Cheryl God has called you to go beyond and called you to something above average why are you constantly trying to go back to the average when God has called you to so much more.. Not everyone can work with teenagers , not everyone can go on missions trip or put the 2 together but that is where God has called you to be.. why are you trying to go back to the average. She was not saying that marriage and being a mom is an average life. For some woman that is their calling and they do it well. She was reminding me that the plan for my life is different and may include that but just to keep striving to be passionate about the things God has put in front of me. It was a real reminder that I once prayed Lord I just want to make a difference.

    I also know how sensitive my heart is and that I think God is protecting me from more rejection and baggage that dating would bring me. I have enough baggage I don’t need to go looking for more when I can just trust that He knows best.

    This past summer a lady from my church turned 87and was married for the first time. She married her college sweetheart. Here is the part of her story that encouraged me on my journey. In college she felt God speaking to her about fulltime missions. She was in this very serious relationship with a christian man. He felt that God was calling him to something different. Missions was not in the plan and they broke up and went their separate ways. She left for the mission field and served as a missionary for 35 years. When she retired she still served in missions here in our area and has written some books. This boyfriend of hers went on to be a doctor was married and had children and his wife passed away. Hearing of the death of this mans 2nd wife she sent him condolences. They struck up a conversation started dating and within a few months were married.
    I stand back and say Wow God you are Big!!! You met the desires of her heart as she is married and has children and grandchildren but not only that think of how many lives she changed while she was on the mission field. When all this happened people joke “oh man can you imagine getting married for the first time at 87″ I looked at it and said Oh God you fulfilled the desires of her heart. If I follow what God has planned for me and continue to be faithful in the places He has put me He can still give me this desire and longing in my heart to be married.

    For all of you that are single like me and struggling – you will have bad days but there are good days to0. Is there a young girl or young children that need someone in their life to show them Jesus and to love on them like no one else has? Or maybe you have people in their life that are struggling with health or seniors that just need a friend. What about a single mom struggling to get her kids to lessons and work. Maybe you could become an aunt to these kids and love them with all the love the God has given you. Just because you are single doesn’t mean you have been counted out! God has a plan for you. Do all that you can to fulfill the purpose God has for your life right now because there may come a time when you are not single and you long for those days when could pour yourself into people and not worry about your husbands needs or kids needs.

    I hope this doesn’t come off as preachy it is not meant to be we just have so little time to impact those around us and there are mothers and fathers out there that don’t know christ and their children are also missing out. Maybe we have co workers that need to know Jesus and are hurting. I don’t want to look back on my life and see all the opportunities to share the gospel that I have missed because I was so sad and believed the lie of the world that I was not good enough because I was single. So glad to be in this community. Don’t give up.. I know God will be faithful to bring you His best plan for your life.. sometimes it takes time to really see what that will look like.. but don’t waste away waiting.. get out there and begin to make a difference now.

    • 265

      Kudos to you, my dear! You GET it!
      And believe me, those internet sites are places to stay far away from…;)

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    I wish I had some great words of wisdom. But honestly, I was a really bad single person. Before I met my husband, I had completely given up on love (and I mean 100% completely!) and was turning my back on God, as well. That’s the part that saddens me the most, that I was taking it out on Him. I felt completely abandoned but I had to learn to realize that it wasn’t God who was abandoning me. So I guess, that’s my advice. God will always be with you, no matter what. He has been my strength through so many things that I don’t think anyone else could have. He loves you truly and unconditionally. Try saying that for any human being. I hope this gives some encouragement. I’ll be praying for you JJ.

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    I so admire your honesty. The fact that you are able to confess the deepest desires of your heart and express uncertainty in your spiritual walk is so bold and beautiful. I don’t have any words of wisdom and I won’t try to tell you, “have faith” or “don’t give up” or something as equally cliche. But know how inspired I was by your genuineness.

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    Hi girls!

    I was reading through the comments and tried very hard not to tear up. There is a lot of sadness and hurt in the words I see, but there is also inspiration and hope! I see many women reaching out to their sisters and hugging them close. How comforting! God is truly amazing and blesses me daily with seeing such a delightful scene.

    These comments made me want to write in my blog about the emotions I feel, while I was reading, I thought about how God hasn’t yet brought a man into my life that would suit me, and I think God has the perfect man out there for you. The truth is, not every woman gets married, but there are reasons for that, it doesn’t mean she never wanted a husband, and I’ve met a lady who swore off men and wanted to serve God whole-heartedly, that ended up happily married to a Christian man.

    It’s hard sometimes to see the light through the dark, we just have to keep our faith and remember that, the years of pain and heart-ache won’t last forever. What I say next, does not apply to anyone but to myself, if you feel it applies to you, I’m glad to know I’m not alone: as for myself, I feel that I am not yet ready for a relationship; as much as I want it! Every time I sit down and think about it, I think: “My relationship with God is hurting because of my continous want for more in my life. A better house, a family that cares about me, loves me for who I am and isn’t constantly trying to beat me into the ground. A job that will help me to Serve God in all the things HE wants me to do. Not by my power, but by HIS.” I think about all the things I’ve been selfish about and confess to God, I break down crying at how selfish I can be. I want to be joyful and full of LOVE for the people around me! No matter who they are. I want to love them, show them I care. That right now, is more important than even a romantic relationship. How can I love my husband properly, when I have troubled loving others? I also, want to Love God more. I find I don’t pray enough or think enough about Him. I’ve taken on the nasty habit of swearing now and then, which bothers me a lot. I shouldn’t be comfortable with cussing. To me, it’s as bad as an alcohol addiction, drug addiction or any addiction, (All of which, btw, unless they are an Addiction for God, are life-threatening.)

    I pray from the deepest part of my heart, that God will continue to change me until I am who I need to be. Plus, when I think about marriage, I’m sort’ve freaked out. I’m thinking; “I have all my own crap to get in order! Why do I want to make my life more difficult?” And my husband’s life, how can I be so selfish to think I can be happily married when I haven’t settled my own issues yet? I think, a lot of time, the reason we are made to wait – I saw a lot of comments that related to this- is because we have something in our lives we need to be changing or doing, before we are prepared for His other gifts.

    Example: I’m a novelist. I just finished my first novel and I have never felt so awake! Being a novelist is what I’ve always wanted, and I’ve prayed to God a lot for it. He has given me the courage and strength to write (it only took me a year!) the novel! Now the hard part, re-writes, editing and finding a publisher! I feel like my life is just beginning. So look around you ladies, there may be something that God is pointing to, that you haven’t seen. Ask yourselves, what is it that God wants from me next?

    I believe Jesus put it best, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” – Mark 14: 36 – New King James Version.

    Love and hugs to all you beautiful, wondeful women!

  164. 269
    Christena says:

    My heart goes out to everyone who is hurting. My sister is 29 and single and has lost hope that she will ever meet some one. She is angry and bitter and it hurts me to see her like this. She does not have a lifestyle that is conducive to meeting a Christian young man – and I don’t think she is really interested in Christian values at all. She has adopted some very destructive beliefs and attitudes towards marriage that make me wonder if she would even be a suitable wife for anyone – Christian or non-Christian. She lives in a way that attempts to spite marriage, if that makes any sense at all. It hurts me for her that she doesn’t have the comfort in Christ that so many of you speak of.

    And the hurt you all describe seems similar to what those of us who want children but can’t have them (for whatever reason) feel. It is agonizing to watch my friends and coworkers get pregnant and have children. Many of my friends from high school have full-blown families with multiple children, some of them school-age now. I always thought I would be a mother, but my husband has seemingly changed his mind about children and that hurts me – it seems it would be mentally easier for me if I physically couldn’t have children….because now I struggle to guard against resentment towards my husband.

    Oh my! I didn’t mean to write so much. I’m praying for all of you ladies – for comfort, strength and wisdom.

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    I know that lots of people have commented on this and I did not read all of them…but I thought I’d add my two cents. I am only 24…will be 25 this year…and I have been on a self made road to marriage for 6 almost 7 years. I have never had a boyfriend never been on a “real” date. I have looked forward to getting married because that was when I was going to really have everything I wanted. I couldn’t care less about “the” job or “the” car. I wanted to be married. To have a constant companion who chose me.
    A few weeks ago I was reading in Matthew 19…and Jesus said “for there are eunuchs who have been so from birth…Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” I have been on a bible reading plan where you read 10 chapters a day one chapter from 10 different books…so when this part (out of all the many parts I read that day) stuck out to me I kinda started to freak out a bit. But over the weekend I had put it down to God just seeing if I was willing to give it up but not necessarily asking me to.
    Three days later…1 Corinthians 7:25-40…….the entire section is about how if you are unmarried don’t seek it…if you are engaged…well you’re in it now but it would have been better if you hadn’t. I started crying. I felt like God was taking away the one thing I cared most about. Telling me that I couldn’t have that ever.
    I sat down, with tears rolling down my face and emailed my mentor about how bitterly sad I was about this and how I was angry with God for bringing me this far in a direction for marriage only to tell me it wasn’t going to happen. (btw don’t let anyone tell you that God wouldn’t do that to you, because he’s God and his ways are not our ways. He can do whatever he feels is best for you even if it doesn’t appear to be your best.)
    My mentor called me back and talked to me about it. What it came down to was I realized how much of an idol marriage had become in my life. The other thing was I realized that I was a bit stunted as a Christian because my life revolved around this future distant hope instead of living in today. My life became about the day that I would meet my husband and all my events revolved around that. I would willingly go serve where there were single men my age…I served where there weren’t single men my age but I did it grudgingly. I knew that when I got married I would serve the Lord with my husband. But the truth is I have no guarantee that that day will ever come. God has not promised me a husband. Nor can I say with finality that, that is his best for me. All I know is thinking about never being married sucks and thinking about only the day I will be isn’t good either.
    So my mentor in all her wisdom told me that I have to live in the reality of today…because that is what God carries us through. He doesn’t carry us through our imaginations because he doesn’t need to. They aren’t real.
    So every day God gives us grace to live and to accomplish what is right before us. So today you are single. Today there is grace. And that grace is sufficient. We don’t know what the future will hold, but today let God be your all. Live victoriously in that today God has chosen to leave you completely unhindered in your focus on him, no distractions, to do and accomplish his will for you, and perhaps others. God still has a purpose for you as a single person that married people can’t do. You are useful and available to do those tasks.
    Thrive in today and let God show you how to let him be everything to you. Don’t miss those opportunities he has for you right now, by spending your time imagining how you will serve him later with a spouse.

    I hope this helps. I used to have a void that I created in myself that I told people could only be filled with marriage. But God has shown me that I clung to that void because I wanted my plan more than I wanted to serve in Kingdom work and allowing God to fill my void. I don’t have that anymore. And it makes each day of singleness not a burden and depressing but a gift of one more day to serve God with all that I am. If God chooses to throw a spouse in the mix later that will be an “added” blessing. Not the requirement for my happiness.

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    Wow – I ready every single one of these posts and after the weekend I had I really, really needed to read them all. Amanda, your post especially spoke to me.

    I have a story that I have yet to share with anyone outside my best friend. I spent the past weekend at a youth conference with my amazing students and leaders in our church’s ministry and had a couple really great conversations with the pastor I work with along with the other student staff member. I tried to stay as involved as I could because this conference would be the first time I would see someone who I’ve adored for the past 3 years, after we both made bad decisions back in the fall.
    He’s been a friend for 5 years, a confidant, a shoulder, and an incredibly wise God-fearing man. Suffice to say I passed the “love you as a friend” stage quite quickly. We talked about everything. I knew what he struggled with, and in a vain attempt to gain his affections past the point of friendship, I preyed on and took advantage of his weaknesses. And it turn I got what I wanted, because he had become my weakness.

    I am not proud of it. I ignored the things God was telling me. Up until this past fall. He finally reacted to what I’d been saying and doing over the past year or more. We got together during a break in my church’s youth conference in October. Both of us serving in ministry talking about doing something clearly wrong but both so lonely it didn’t really matter. It was in that moment that God pulled my head out of the sand. It took getting so far into it for me to realize what we’d been doing wrong.

    I called him out on it, and vice versa. We have spoken 1 time since October and I’ve made it a goal to not contact him. God as taught me SO MUCH since then….my ministry has grown and I have seen things in a new light. However, seeing him this weekend was like a knife to my little heart because I see how MUCH he has changed since our “encounter”. For the good. And I’ve realized I do still care so deeply for him. And miss him. Back then, I wanted whatever “it” was to turn into marriage – I was desperate for it. He and it had become an idol.

    I have been feeling rather down the past few months about being single because like most everyone who’s commented here, all of my best friends are married, having kids and getting that life that they wanted and prayed for. The life I want and pray for.

    I’ll be 28 in April, and quite often I have a moment of spiritual attack where I will slowly sink down into the dark places I used to live in and wonder what on earth is wrong with me. Has God forgotten about me? Will I die alone? When is it my turn?
    And along with those questions come the hard motions (like my above story)…..before I became a Christian 5 years ago I used to do whatever it took to get attention. Sometimes I think “It was so much easier that way”. But deep down I know that my life is lived for so much more that that.

    I adore my Savior and I know He adores me. And most days His grace IS sufficient for me. But when I’m holding my best friend’s newborn or watching my other best friend marry God’s perfect match for her…..sometimes I wish it wasn’t so hard to be content

    Sorry for the ramble – it’s just so easy to get carried away when you know someone will listen. One reason why I adore this place.

    • 272

      I know what you mean. It is hard when everyone else around you has the things you wanted (and sadly enough to think how little some of them deserve it compared to yourself ). I encourage you to pray that God will show you how he can fill you completely. It probably won’t happen immediately…God likes to take us on the journey so that we really get it…but it is one prayer I can guarantee you he will answer…haha kind of like praying for patience and humility ;)
      Focus on today. It has absolutely revolutionized the times when I’m by myself and sink into way too much thought. Just to remember that today the reality is I’m single and that frees me up to ask God what he would have of me today.
      :)

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    I am nearly 50 and starting over..yes, there is loneliness in that . I was married and I lost my husband. I lost him to the ways of the world. They worshipping of “stuff”. Funny how stuff can make some feel more important. The path to worldly things is not the path to God. We differed so much on that issue. We were not able to find a path together in that, it was a relationship not built on solid foundation, I suppose. We were young and silly and didn’t want to be pinned down with religion or anything that sounded like it would take our “fun times” away.
    After his bout with cancer and mine not long later with heart problems and our children not quite to early teens, I began to focus more on the Lord Jesus whose great gifts we see everyday. I grew more in my faith, but the husband ran as far away as he could. It seemed that he didn’t understand that there is much learning and growth in hard times, especially if you can experience them together, he thought it was punishment.
    He grew far from Christ and His ways and I grew closer…not a great place to be in a relationship. I prayed and prayed for God to fix him, to fix us. After years of prayers, some fasting and talking with counselors, I was ready to let him do what he needed to. To find happiness as he needed. I miss my dear husband greatly and have been told he will never be the man I knew (alcohol, drugs and cheap women entered the picture by this time), but I cannot live that life anymore.
    Finally I was ready to just give it up to God, to give it over to Him. Funny, I always forget this until it gets bad. Doors opened and I was able to leave. My heart grieved. My soul grieved. We were not built on a solid foundation and were bound to fail.
    I ask Christ to fill me with love each day for something or someone pleasing to Him.
    Life is lonely, life is tough, I do have wonderful children and now am blessed to be a Grammie. If indeed I am blessed with a holy man, I will be greatful but I know that God’s plans for me will be fulfilled (Jeremiah 29:11), with or without a man beside me.

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    Penelope says:

    I know how soul-crushing it can be. I didn’t marry until I was 34. I remember how “projecty” I’d get, painting and just generally keeping myself busy. I wasn’t waiting for my life to start, b/c it had, but I had always wanted to be married and have children…the wait was not easy…and I wasn’t particularly easy on God while it was going on.
    I don’t know what plans God has for you, but I know he has them. I also know that when the plan doesn’t seem clear….just do the next thing…whatever that is.
    Stay the course my friends, you aren’t alone.

  169. 275
    Sara Kate Greene says:

    Build your home and your world on the foundation of the Lord of your being. Only then will you know the peace and the security that you seek as go through the changes of life.

  170. 276
    Stella Yuill says:

    Build your home and your world on the foundation of the Lord of your being. Only then will you know the peace and the security that you seek as go through the changes of life.

  171. 277

    So poignant for what far too many godly women are experiencing. I feel incredibly blessed every single day to have found a godly Christian man to walk through life with. Most of my blog readers are single and I try to keep a constant pulse on what single Christian women are dealing with (and read a lot of posts). THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST POST ON SINGLENESS I HAVE READ. Because giving single women lists of reasons to be thankful or talking about contentment is wonderful–but sometimes healing starts with acknowledgement of a broken heart.

    Thanks, Annie! I want to meet you sometime.

  172. 278

    The authenticity of your post and the outpouring of responses in combination with the post What You’re Trying to Tell Him When Your Angry prompted me to respond with Heartache Knows No Marital Status.

    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2012/02/heartache-knows-no-marital-status.html

    I hope it will offer hope that in the end, whether married or single, we are all longing for the same thing …

  173. 279
    Cristin Hope says:

    I am 27 years old and a single Christian woman. I greatly enjoyed the post, as this is something that every woman, single or married, has experienced at some point during her life. My personal views are this: God wants to be your EVERYTHING. Meaning, at the end of the day, as long as you have Him, you are content. It’s a hard road coming to accept the fact that perhaps a husband isn’t what God has planned for you. But you have to trust and believe that His will for you is perfect, that His plan is better than any plan we could have for ourselves. If we say that we trust God, we must do so wholeheartedly. Meaning that we give every area to Him, even our relationship status. Find your hope and your confidence in Him, let Him remind you that you are enough just as you are because you are His. I know the loneliness that can come from being single, I know the heartache that can occurr when everyone around you seems to have the life they want, except you. My hope and my trust are in the Lord, though. His timing, His plan, His will. I have to trust in ALL of it. If I need further proof that He loves me and wants what is best for me, all I have to do is open His Word to Jeremiah 29:11. I don’t know if this helps, in all honesty I am probably writing this as much for myself as I am for anyone else. But what I DO know is that He knows my heart, my desires, and my needs. And He knows what is best for me. And that’s enough for me. HE is enough.

  174. 280

    Thank you for posting this. When I was single it hurt so badly to hear married women tell me that it would come in God’s time. It seemed like none of them had waited as long as I had. It was so easy to say, but so hard to live out. As Christian women, I think we are often expected to happy about waiting for the man God has for us. I am so glad that you have offered so many women a place to not only be open about their feelings, but to be validated and valued.

  175. 281

    Hi,
    being single is not the worst thing in the life of a christian woman. Infact being married for a christian woman is harder than being single. Who wants to be landed with the wrong guy because he tricked you into marring him for his own selfish reasons??? who wants to be lied to just so that you will be controlled in a most selfish exhistence??? and there is more to what can happen negatively in being married. A christian woman has to be able to rise above all the odds and carry on without complaining…trust me it is harder being married than being single. Being single helps one to focus more on God and a true christian way of living. Living a Christ Life is so very hadr to do…and that is the test for being single… Living a Christ Life…Love in a big way. God Bless you and God wants you to be happy…start by loving yourself and having fun no matter what…Think loving, positive, good thoughts especially about yourself. God loves you may sound trite, but it is true… :->

  176. 282
    Jennifer says:

    Are there books/resources for for Christian single women that do not talk about waiting for the right man to be a husband? It seems like that is a focus, and quite honestly, I’m not sure that approach is always very helpful.

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    thanks Annie and everyone, truly. I’m sorry I broke your heart but very grateful that you would address it in such a straightforward way. I definitely think it is healing to talk about our struggles openly and encourage one another. I appreciate the encouragement provided and I am sorry for those also experiencing heartache in whatever kind.

  178. 284

    Hear hear! I have been here, and the only word for it is that it sucks. There is no balm for the hurt of extended singleness – even the book of Proverbs alludes to this, warning, “A hope deferred makes the heart sick.” For 33 years, my hope of marriage was deferred, and to say that my heart was sick is like saying, “Valentine’s Day was created by Hallmark to sell cards.”

    Though I am now married, I want so much to join this conversation. For all of my years of singleness, I prayed that God would use me to minister to other women like me – great women, smart women, BEAUTIFUL WOMEN WHO DESERVED TO BE LOVED AND TO HAVE THE COMPANIONSHIP THAT GOD ORDAINS IN GENESIS. After all, as I used to remind Him in prayers all the time, isn’t HE the One Who said, “It is not good for man to be alone”?! So then why are so many of us left alone long after when our hearts would have us be?

    That to say, I’ve felt the hurt – and if there’s any way I can help to heal it, please lean on me, as a sister who knows where you’re coming from and whose heart is broken for women I’ve never even met.

    Much love,
    Kristin Pressley
    Canton, NC

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    Kristinia says:

    Annie,

    You are amazing!! You have a way with words that is truely God given. Thank you to JJ for open this topic to others to respond. I just turned 29 and it to was a really hard birthday being single but what smoothed that over was my commitment to God at the beginning of 2012. Which was to surrender myself completely to His will and guidence. Its been 2 1/2 months and the road has not been easy but when I feel shattered because my dreams haven’t come true or I start to panic for what will be I remember to surrender to a God that has nothing but my best interest at heart. I have planned a mission trip, local community outreach with other single girls that are in the same season I am in and we are talking about the daily, weekly and monthly struggles of dating, who will take care of me when I am old etc (thank God thats far off) but in all that answer is always God.

    Kristinia Palmer
    Metairie, Louisiana

  180. 286

    The trick is to be grateful for your husband as if he is already in your life, and you are already enjoying married life with him. Arielle Ford calls it “living as if” in “The Soulmate Secret.” She tells a story of Della Reese, the actress who starred in “Touched by an Angel”, that when she was ready to find a mate, she would actually set an extra place at her table for dinner every night – for him, even ‘though he wasn’t there yet. He showed up within about 6 months after she started doing that. It is very important to spend at least 5 minutes a day imagining you are already with your husband, but don’t dwell on it constantly or you start to doubt he will show up. It’s important to have a very specific idea of what he will be like and what your relationship will be like, but to hold the idea loosely in your mind, and not obsess over it. Also, stop buying single-sized dinners and furniture etc. Live, shop and decorate for two! There is nothing wrong with you if you’re single. You just haven’t met the right person yet. You aren’t ugly. Look at Wallis Simpson! What a homely woman, yet a king abdicated his throne just to be with her. I’m not saying let yourself fall apart, but treat yourself lovingly, as God would.

  181. 287

    @Kristen – the Bible also says He “places the solitary in families” in Psalm 68:6.

    I think a lot of single women tend to hang out alone or with their married friends, but according to John T Molloy’s study in “Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others.” He interviewed couples coming out of marriage license bureaus to find out how they met, and discovered a lot of information that will help you fix what is broken in your routine. For example, you have a better chance of getting married if you go out 2 to 3 times per week with your single friends, than if you cower at home, go out rarely or only socialize with married couples.

    Most local churches are very couples-oriented, and the ones that have singles groups are a little too old or too young for me (I’m 43). Overall, they are so overwhelmingly made up of other married people, that the odds of meeting a single guy there aren’t that good. You’re better off joining a model train society, or learning to play an instrument, take Contra dancing lessons, or join Google+ (it’s a social network that is I think over 80 or 90% male – good odds!).

  182. 288

    @ Cristin Hope 274 – You wrote “God wants to be your EVERYTHING. Meaning, at the end of the day, as long as you have Him, you are content. It’s a hard road coming to accept the fact that perhaps a husband isn’t what God has planned for you. ”

    Your logic doesn’t work. Maybe the fact someone is jobless means having a job is not what God planned for them. Or, maybe they should just keep searching for a job!

    I think writing off a (very scriptural) desire of your heart is very silly. God wouldn’t put the desire in your heart if He had no intention of fulfilling it. What kind of cruel and horrible god would do that? I prefer to believe the promise of Psalm 68:6, and the other many verses in the Bible that support the desire for a partner in life. Anyone who tells you that your single status is because God’s plan is for you to be single is committing a very serious heresy and misinterpretation of scripture.

  183. 289

    Vicki,

    While I think that God has every intention on fulfilling the deisres of our hearts, he has granted all of humanity with free will, therefore it requires the willing cooperation of two wills in order for people to get married. I really do think a lot of women have to go through life, unwillingly, without a spouse. To trivialize things and live in this “Pollyanna” type world where everyone gets everything they want in life is to miss the point completely. Being a bible believing Christian isn’t a guarantee against the sometimes tragic nature of life. This is a tragic world we live in and not everyone gets their happy ending. Some single women must grieve for the family that they will never have. To tell them that it is because they are “not getting out” enough or that they “just aren’t trying” enough is a little mean-hearted. I went out every weekend to every male-oriented event and dressed up, flirted etc. While my two reclusive friends got boyfriends through work. It doesn’t make sense how relationships get started or work but at this point I do know that there is no step-by-step process. There is a part of it that is out of your control. Love is a vision inspired by God, and if you don’t feel that love for someone or if you do and the other person fails to respond, well then there is no amount of social networking or hockey game attendence that can fix that.

  184. 290

    Not sure if anyone will see this way down here…but Annie I have to thank you again for this post as it sparked off a list of other posts as I searched my own heart and thoughts about what your words brought out in me. I know that I am in a different spot in the fact that I have been married and now have kids…but as I wrote about on my blog I see that in essence we are all in the same spot – waiting and hoping for our dreams to be fulfilled…until we have that revelation that we are the only ones that can fulfill our dreams and our hopes. How? By digging in deep and discovering who God created us to be…and giving ourselves permission to be this person. So thank you again for broaching this subject. Here are the links to my posts in case you have time!

    What to do with singleness?
    http://www.realmamareallife.com/2012/02/what-to-do-with-singleness.html
    Is singleness the plague?
    http://www.realmamareallife.com/2012/02/is-singleness-plague.html
    Becoming the Right Person #1
    http://www.realmamareallife.com/2012/03/becoming-right-person-ugh-part-uno.html
    Becoming the right Person #2
    http://www.realmamareallife.com/2012/03/becoming-right-person-2.html
    Time to put Childish things to rest
    http://www.realmamareallife.com/2012/03/time-to-put-childish-ways.html

  185. 291
    Elizabeth says:

    As I sat reading JJ’s comments, I was weeping. It is as though her words are mine. I am in my early 30′s and am bearing the same pain. I have sought the Lord earnestly, and yet my heart desire is still to be a mom and wife. I literally ache over my singleness. I know the Christian answers. I know I am to be totally content with my God and where he has me. And thus, this leads to guilt and shame over my heartache. I am so broken from my singleness, I often wonder how much longer I can stand up in it. I am trying to trust Him who created me, but I am weary….

  186. 292

    This is the most honest piece of articles I have read pertaining singleness. I will turn 36 this june, I’m a christian, has lived alone for the last 8 years and will tell you that being single is now a personal matter between me and God, and i leave it up to God alone to judge me if i woke up one morning and decided to fix my single problem the best way I know, so i can begin to live a ‘normal’ life. I just hope God would understand. I always dreamt of a halleluyah church wedding, as we called them at church, being there for my husband and being the best mom i could possibly be, but that dream is slowly fading away. I’m emotional as I write this.
    I always wanted to get married and the desire is now stronger than ever. I worry when I’m not feeling well and when Im alone. The other night, I was really sick, and could not even get out of bed to get some water from the kitchen to swallow some Tylenol, and i worried i might die alone. Thats when I knew how alone I am. I cried, so I get it. If i married today, it would be for companionship and to serve and love another person beside ME.
    I believe in prayer and has seen God answer my prayers in amazing ways. Some, it seems are answered immediately. This one is going to two decades. All my friends are now married, all my siblings, even those younger than me are now married with kids. Im no longer enjoying being around them, especially because their kids ask me if i have a Daddy ( husband), and also if I have children, and I get so depressed having to answer these questions to children while their parent listen.
    Right now Im not even overly concerned about getting married, I wonder if i will have children. As a nurse, people remind me that time to have children is running out, almost everyday, I want to scream and tell them I took Anatomy&Physiology at college. But instead, I cry inwardly. So much going on right now, i dont even know how to begin to pray about it.
    I’m also dealing with guilt, as i turned suitors down, because they were not specifically what i was praying for, which was the case, and I did not want to settle for less than God’s best, as they told us in church. I ask myself, What if they were the ones?
    I used to be a very strong christian woman, cannot say that anymore. I break down easily now. I’m more compassionate and less jugdmental too. I have prayed (and fasted) for a husband for the last 18 years. Does it really take this long to get me ready for a husband? I’m I really that bad? Now I’m beginning to question alot of what I believed and know to be truth. God help me.
    My prayer has changed from what i was praying and looking for in a husband, and now I pray something like this, ” God, being single is killing me and I can’t take it anymore. Nobody was created to live like this, and if this is how I’m going to live the rest of my life, I cant do it anymore. The grace to be single is completely finished, and I cannot pretend to be enjoying being single and living alone anymore.” I never, in my freaking mind could have imagined myself thinking like that, let alone praying.
    ( My two roommate got married 10 years ago, now, and i said my next “roommate” will be my husband.)
    I’m glad to know I’m not alone. May God help all of us that are WAITING. At this age, I do not know how not to think about my future. I would like to know what kind of a future God has for me, but honestly, I do not like how the present look like. (Please don’t preach to me Jeremiah 29:11). Instead pray to God ,to teach me how to trust him completely with my future!

  187. 293

    I’m not sure that I have any extra encouragement in this long conversation, but I am with you ladies. I’m 29 and single and often feel like I can’t make it one more day. But I do. One day at a time.

    One thing to remember is that God can handle our bitterness and anger. We just have to give it over to him and talk to him about it before our hearts are so hardened that we’re not open to His movement. I don’t understand why I’m still single or why any of you are, and I may not get a direct answer from God, nor do I know if I’ll ever get a husband. And some days I’m ok with that and other days I lash out on people by making snide comments when they complain about the stress of their wedding planning or lack of sleep from their 3 children, when in reality those are the dreams I want. But I do know this – we all have wants and desires, and God wants to hear them. He loves us and is good, even when we don’t see it.

    I’ve been in a phase lately where I haven’t felt it or seen it, but I’m thankful to at least know it in the back of my mind and just trust that. I’m praying that He’ll soften my heart more and more so I won’t miss it when He wants to reveal himself to me.

    Also, another great resource/blog on this and many other things is http://www.fabsharford.com. Her words have given some amazing encouragement to me. Hope they will to you too.

Trackbacks

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