Finally.

topics:
Singleness
20130913_AnnieDowns_desert.jpg

I’ve been struggling with the word FINALLY lately.

A friend of mine, still single in her 40s, got engaged recently, and as you can imagine, Facebook exploded into a million pieces of pure happy. It was very sweet to watch everyone rejoice with her as she has found a really good dude who loves her well.

But one comment rubbed me the wrong way.

“So glad this FINALLY happened for you!” a well-meaning friend wrote.

And for weeks, I’ve tried to figure out why I bristled at that. What was it that bothered me about that exclamatory sentence? It was kind, full of excitement, genuine, and…

FINALLY.

When something FINALLY happens, it is like everything up to that point was just waiting, surviving, and watching for any sign that change is here to rescue the situation.

You know who deserved to feel a FINALLY? The Israelites in the desert. But you know why they FINALLY-ed? Because they were wandering. They were lost.

Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I’m wandering, waiting to find the Promised Land of milk and honey(moon).

When you say FINALLY, I picture crawling into the Promised Land, parched and sunburnt, with tears rolling down my face at the final relief of it all.

Sorry, but that’s not my reality.

My life is very full and fun and even on the bad days (and there are bad days), I’m not in a desert. I’m living. I’m working. I’m playing. I’m laughing. I’m cooking. I’m crying. I’m alive.

I am not lost because I am single. I do not need to be rescued from this life. Yes, I totally want a husband to walk this life with me and partner in the things that God is doing, but I don’t need to be saved from the desert.

This life? It actually may be the Promised Land.

So when the right dude comes into my life and he can put up with my crazy and decides to stick around, I hope we all celebrate, just like we celebrated my friend and we will celebrate for you, singlet. We can cheer and throw a party and thank God for answering prayers.

But don’t say FINALLY. I may be single, but I am not wandering. I am not lost. I am complete and on the right path and I have not been abandoned.

And the same is true for you.

By Annie Downs

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  1. 1

    Much needed this morning (in UK), thank you.

  2. 2

    Thank you Annie! The desperate search for a man really bothers me. As does the expectation I should be feeling like its a desperate search! There is something of bitterness that comes from the heart of many friends that seems to puff all the excitement of life away. Yes it can be a tough journey but I pray it doesn’t overwhelm the childlike excitement of a life being loved by and serving our extravagent creator.

    I have heard the saying, “Run after God and if you look over and see someone cute keeping pace, then you will know it’s right.”

    Lets serve God wholeheartedly and enjoy all the wonderful adventures that brings. And trust that God will form us to be the women he wants so that should there be someone keeping pace we’re ready to continue the exciting adventure together.

  3. 3

    thank you – the word FINALLY is one of my pet peeves…for other reasons…mostly because in trying to conceive/infertility circles, someone would say they “finally” conceived- and everyone else was left with their hands up – as if that person “finally” got this or that – and the rest of us were waiting much longer…if ever. hard to explain, but the word finally just always has struck me as insensitive- but it’s probably my issue!

  4. 4

    You’ve written a beautiful, clear post. This gives me the right picture of my friend, who is single too.

    Our destiny is our God. Just like our identity. We are all precious people :-)

  5. 5

    Annie,
    I am 52 and, according to some, finally found happiness. (I’m getting married in 4 months). Yes, I have found someone who loves me, cherishes me and treats me well. Yes, I’ve been through some very dark and difficult times, but I have two beautiful children and a lifetime of blessings that I can point to. We can choose to focus on God and the blessings He has lavished upon us or we can look at what we don’t or didn’t have. If we choose the first path, it makes the word “finally” obsolete.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • 6
      Beth Williams says:

      Bev,

      Congratulations on finding someone to share your life–ups and downs with! I am so elated for you! I am tickled pink that this man cherishes you good and bad. You are a wise woman with good words and deserve a great Godly man!

  6. 7

    You go, girl!!!
    AMEN!

  7. 8

    well stated and i appreciate you sharing (passionately and directly!) your heart. it is so true that no matter our position in or stage of life, there is absolutely no lack when we are trusting god. he has given us EVERYTHING we need. at every part of our journey. xo –kris

  8. 9

    I love your analogy here! I have to tell you though that the finally type of comments don’t end when you get engaged or married…Then people will be asking when will you ‘finally’ have kids and then another kid and so on. I have been married for a few years but we don’t have children yet and even though I do really want kids it just hasn’t been the right time. It seems like everyone one I know is pregnant or has kids. But I am trying to learn to be content where God has me right now and even though you were specifically talking about singleness I was encouraged by your writing today. Thank you! :)

  9. 10

    Girl…I just LOVE this. Thanks for your gift of words.

  10. 11

    Thank you for this. Thank you.
    I get a lot of wait till you meet the right guy…etc.
    And I just look at them and am like I don’t NEED to meet a guy.
    I’m busy, happy and full filled as I am currently.
    Even though I’m 33 and single.
    Even though I want that someone I’m not waiting or wandering.
    I’m happy with life as it is. And when God brings the right guy great, but till then it’s great still.

  11. 12

    Awesome post. I think the same goes for women who are trying to get pregnant. I know women who took years to get pregnant and then when someone said “finally” to them, it made them bristle as well…as if their life hadn’t mattered much until then. Thanks for this post.

  12. 13

    You are right where He wants you to be, and that tastes sweet. Amen from Kentucky. :)

    http://katietevis.com/christian-divorced-finding-joy-in-a-season-of-grief/

  13. 14

    I think this is my favorite phrase, “So when the right dude comes into my life and he can put up with my crazy” For years I’ve prayed, “Lord, if it’s your will, bring someone my way who can handle me and put me in my place.” Haha.

    Preach!

    So well written and yea for your friend!

  14. 15

    Nicely written! God has a beautiful way of speaking and using others to understand so much more than what we see and speak from our lips. Thank you!

  15. 16

    Yes and amen! That is all.

  16. 17

    Your singleness posts always come when I need them the most, whether I knew it or not. Thank you.

  17. 18

    What an awesome way to wake up! I was FINALLY married when I was 25 and it was 20 years of very little milk and no honey :-) When he divorced me I said that was it. I am just fine on my own, after 12 years. But people think I am an alien because I do not even date.
    This really touched my heart :-)
    Thank you so very much!
    Love, Patty and Peanut

  18. 19

    Oh thank you so much for this post. I don’t think this was a coincidence at all this got posted today because of all days, I needed to read this today. I needed exactly everything in this post. This bit here I will keep trying to remember this for all days…when the bad days come, when I have good days.

    “But don’t say FINALLY. I may be single, but I am not wandering. I am not lost. I am complete and on the right path and I have not been abandoned”

  19. 20
    Stephanie says:

    Yes, yes yes!!!

  20. 21

    I so appreciate your candid view and truth of singleness. As a single all her life, 40 something, beautifully created God’s girl I am okay and don’t need a man to make my life okay. I have struggled in the past with the why questions. Why not married, why no kids, why, why, why.
    After going through a horrible year April 2012 to 2013, my dad died of lung cancer and the man who I thought I would marry broke up with me one month after dads passing. I broke, or I should say God broke me. When would HE be enough for me???
    After really pressing in close to HIM, I have found in HIS WORD, that HE did not create us to marry. Nor did He create us to have kids or better yet He did not create us to live happily ever after. We created by our Loving GOD to glorify HIM! So slowly but surely, I work to glorify Him in my daily life. Being intention or unintentional. It is all for HIM!
    You go girl, continue glorifying Him:):):)

  21. 22

    Finally implies finality – as if something is over and ended when the whole of life is a fluid stream of continuity. The joys of singlehood give way to joys of married life which merge into joys of the next stage and so on. Each of our stages may happen in various order and season but each stage is connected to the ones before and after.

    The word “finally” does put me off a bit, but I try to view it as the other person’s ignorance into my personal situation. Recently, my own father commented that I “finally got married” – I’ve only been single for several years post divorce, and I thought it rather odd. Perhaps we should take “only” and “finally” out of our sentences because they are so subjective. Keep writing! You’re living a beautiful life today!

  22. 23

    Annie – You totally ROCK girl! You post was right on the mark! YOU are incredible and a gift to all who encounter you and your words! Thanks for sharing your heart!

  23. 24

    Very Well Said!!! This can be applied to so many things in life, not just being single.
    If we live our lives focused on what we consider to be the “Destination”, we miss the pleasure of the “Journey” along the way. And it is very likely that what we think of as the Destination may never happen.

  24. 25
    valerie says:

    Wow! This is such an encouragement to me at the right time. I get things said to like “how is it you are not married?” said with care or concern yet I feel the “Finally” coming through.

    To all of us who may, or may not, be waiting on God’s best for a mate. Yes we are living in the victory of being a child of the most high by the shed blood of Jesus! Can I get an Amen!!

  25. 26

    well said…. I once had a very loving gentleman/colleague say to me in an elevator once — what, you’re not married, what’s wrong with you… Obviously didn’t mean to hurt me, but I remembered it.. so thanks for the article.

  26. 27
    Allison Johnson says:

    Yes. This.

    I was married once. It was great. I was heartbroken when it ended a little over three years ago… but we have to be careful not to make it into an ultimate thing. I can say this because I did this. And guess what… It didn’t fulfill me like I expected it to… Those good things made into ultimate things never do… Who knew?!

  27. 28
    Heather says:

    “Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I’m wandering…” – Annie, I love this! And I hope all the married people really hear it. The life God has chosen for those he currently calls to be single may be a bit different from those he currently calls to be married but that’s OKAY. He gives us different gifts and chooses to place us in different situations. When marrieds and singles alike recognize this, maybe we can all work towards being content with what God has granted us.

    This from an always single, 35 year old, who has been living and loving life and isn’t waiting for “Mr. Right” but is excited to see what the future holds.

  28. 29

    Interesting. I never thought of “finally” this way. There are a few things I’m waiting on from God, and I’m not afraid to say that’s exactly what I’m doing – waiting, very expectantly. I am so thankful God’s word has provided me so many examples (Rebekah, Ruth, Sarah to name a few) of how to productively wait on God’s promises. And, in the end, if I’m honest, I’ll probably rejoice with a “finally!”

  29. 30

    AMEN! You put it SO much better than I ever have. Perfection!

  30. 31

    So with you in this, Miss Downs. (And other commentators.) We’re single because God wants us to be; we’ll get married (if we do) because He wants us to be. Cheers to our sovereign God!

  31. 32

    Annie – Thank you!!
    From a never-married, always-been-single, 52 yr old…..the “finally”s do get to you sometimes. As well as the “you look you’re a nice girl, but something must be wrong since you aren’t married” (yes that was said to me by a relative). I needed to read and soak in your words today, an encouragement from God through you to me.

    I try to remember my cousin that we just loved. She was in her eighties, never married, and had a rich, exciting life; seemed like she knew everyone no matter where she went. A great model :)

    Thank you, again

  32. 33

    What a fresh perspective Annie! I love it! The same could be said for any “FINALLY” that comes along in life. Finally healed. Finally saved. Finally got that job. It’s the journey that matters. That “in-between” time that brings us to “Finally”. Blessings!

  33. 34

    So nicely written. I believe in slow to speak and slow to post. I hadn’t thought much about the word FINALLY until your posting. Thank you something new learned today.

  34. 35

    Thanks for your words. I so agree. I also married “late” and remember sometimes people saying things that were insensitive. And I remember my single days with fondness, some days I wish again for the same freedoms. No doubt about the fact that God’s plans for each person are different. But he is good to each of us!

  35. 36

    BOOM!

    and AMEN sister. Thank you for these words. :)

  36. 37

    Beautifully written!

  37. 38

    Thank you Annie…..Beautiful.

  38. 39

    Thank you. I’m an unmarried 50 year old who is falling in love with the One who has persued her since before she was born. My finally will come when I see Him face to face and the covering of sin and sorrow and shame will finally be gone. That is the finally I wait for, that is the finally I hope for. Until that day I rest in the best and safest place possible, the centre of His will and for me right now that involves willing, joyful singleness

  39. 40

    Thanks you! Well said. Words can sometimes really grate on us. Finally is one of them. For me, another phrase is “this is your stage in life.”

    My life isn’t a stage. What if God chooses to never move me from this “stage?” Does that mean I have been lost and wondering and never made it to the next place I am supposed to be? No. My life is very full. I am complete. I’m content where God has me and finding mr. Right is not at the top of my list of things to do. I would like for there to be a mr. Right at some point, but having been single all the way into my late 40′s, I’m not in a stage.

    I am living life, working, serving and trying to bring glory to God. If and when I meet Mr. Right, I’m pretty sure it will because God thinks our being together will serve to bring him even more glory – not because he thinks I am deficient and need to be fixed. So, there will be no ‘finally’ and no passing on into the next ‘stage.’ It will just be a continuing on of life and service!

  40. 41

    I will say that having come through my own (yes, I’ll say it) desert of longing for children, the “finally” comment…. when it comes from the people who truly know my journey… simply tells me that they were aware of the pain that I was in.

    Thanks,
    Heidi
    thewordspoken.org

  41. 42
    Karoletha Stone says:

    Thank you!! Preach on, sister!!

  42. 43
    Megan Samuels says:

    Maybe the friend simply meant that she knew how long your other friend had been waiting, longing, wishing, hoping, praying… There is nothing wrong with anyone being single or deciding not to have kids etc. And I get that sometimes people ASSUME that something IS wrong if you aren’t walking the path that they chose. But maybe this gal was just recognizing that at long last her friend’s prayers were answered and she was rejoicing with her. Knowing that the path that she had walked was a long one. Always look at the heart. Especially when someone says something that hurts or cuts a little. If you know that person meant to encourage and uplift and unfortuantely fell sadly short, cut them a little slack. As the girl with lipstick perpetually on her ankles, I can attest to the fact that sometimes the best intentions sometimes go completely awry… I have personally had people say things that hurt or rubbed me wrong, and they had NO idea and they certainly NEVER intended anything but love and encouragement.

  43. 44

    Hey Annie, thank you for Speak Love!!
    You forgot, on your list of what you are still doing, you are loving. Everyone!
    Yes, full of life.
    My dear friend wanted a husband for many years, and she (finally) met him after surviving breast cancer and they had a lovely 3 years together and she died last October. It was so good of God to answer her prayers (and mine) in this God-glorifying and beautiful way as they partnered in ministry and knew that somehow their time would be short. She didn’t quite make 50.
    Sorry for insensitive comments, and good for you, to push back. But I don’t think you were ungracious, just assertive!
    Just saying, speaking love.

  44. 45

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m almost 40 and recently broke up with a guy I’d been seeing for several months (the only more than one date “guy” in years). The peace and rightness I felt about our decision vanished in a moment when the doubt set in. The hope of my youth–a future with a husband and children–had been relit and then snuffed out. I felt alone, wandering, lost, confused, and doubting…asking God why my story had to look so different from that of my friends and family. Why I had to have my dreams come alive again only to have to let them go…again.

    I so appreciate your last paragraph. “I may be single, but I am not wandering. I am not lost. I am complete and on the right path and I have not been abandoned.” God’s plan for my life is good and while it may not look different than what I had planned for myself, I can rest confidant in the fact that I have not been abandoned. He makes all things beautiful. He wrote and is writing the story of my life. Amid the struggles and joys of my singleness, I will rejoice in The Lord, my savior.

  45. 46

    I so love your message! On a similar note, my almost 21 year old daughter recently told me she hates the “save yourself for your future husband” message that we in the Christian community preach. She wishes that instead we would preach to save ourselves as an act of obedience and honor to our Heavenly Father. I think she may have just taught her mom a thing or two ;) Blessings to you, Annie, as you live fully today, not waiting for ‘finally’ to make your life complete, but being fully complete in Christ.
    Carole

  46. 48

    All I can say is, “Amen.” A-freakin-men.

  47. 49

    Amazing post! Thank you so much to you for an encouraging word! And thank you to all of the ladies who are commenting. You are blessing me, too!

  48. 50

    ‘..finally.’ Along with its precursors ‘…never mind…that’s ok…’ (Yes – it is ok to be single, and hey, I don’t mind!)
    In my experience they are phrases spoken by those who felt incomplete when alone; its almost a reassurance to themselves that they are now ‘ok’, an acceptable member of society.
    In truth, whenever anyone needs another in order to feel ‘accepted’ its not a good sign. …

    Yes, we are to be the Body of Christ, but also to honour God’s work in us by being totally & amazingly unique and complete in ourselves…..and when we are in Jesus we are complete, whether single or married.
    God bless you x

  49. 51

    Amen and Amen! And I think any believer that has had to wait on something that society says should happen by a certain age struggles with this. We can easily get stuck in the waiting – I know I did for a period in my life. Matter of fact, I even had God convict me of that as I was reading a Dr. Seuss book to prepare for a new year of students:

    “You can get so confused
    that you’ll start in to race
    down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
    and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
    headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
    The Waiting Place…” (from Oh, the Places You’ll Go)

    Amazing how God can speak even through children’s literature! I realized I was simply waiting, not living. Not looking for God to use me each and every day. Since he opened my eyes and changed my focus, I can see him so clearly working in my life! My life is so full now, even though I have not gotten what I desire. And even if I never get my wants, I know my life on this earth has had value because I was loved by HIM and used to further His kingdom!

  50. 52

    Thank you Annie for being real and sharing from a place of knowing and understanding.

    Thank you to all who shared. I appreciate your words of life and wisdom.

    I was married and have been divorced and single for 25 years. And while it would be nice to have a husband I am not holding my breath or refusing to live in the meantime. God has supplied wise Godly men to support me as brothers. It’s not the same but it helps. I am trusting, hoping and relying on God. The Lord is my husband and God is sufficient for me. He loves me with a perfect love. I love Him.

    Blessings

  51. 53

    Preach on, sister!! :)

  52. 54
    Beth Williams says:

    Annie,

    Great post! It took God and myself 39 years to find Mr. Right. In my singleness I was involved in some local missions/ministries on 6 weekends a year. I also did music for church, took care of aging parents, did singles ministries to have fun and enjoyed life. I wasn’t in a desert wandering around.

    As I got older I sensed more of a feeling to want to get married–especially since most of my younger nieces and nephews were married. I knew then and know now that God has a perfect time for everything!

    You go girls and enjoy your lives!

  53. 55
    Alison (uk) says:

    I really enjoyed your post and the encouragement you bring to us single ladies. I have been single ever since I became a Christian 15 years ago. The first thing I felt God wanted me to do was to get out of the unsuitable relationship I was in, which was on the rebound from a man who I loved but who deserted me when I got pregnant. Since then I have enjoyed getting to know God, my family, my friends in and out of the church, and God has simply not given me a husband! As I am not committed to a man I have plenty of time and love to give others – there are many people who have given so much for Christ through the ages and have been able to do just that because they were not married! In any case Jesus is a great husband!

  54. 56

    Interesting post. Did you think of the irony of the phrase in your first sentence “still single in her 40s”?

  55. 57

    Well said! I feel exactly the same. Single and living perfectly well Thank You very much. I’m waiting for the one God had chosen for me, no matter how long it takes.

  56. 58

    Wow – does that help! People at church treat you like singleness is a catching disease (esp the married women) and it is easy to start believing you are somehow less than you should be. Otherwise, why can’t I attract someone Satan whispers in your ear. I am 53 and honestly feel the search for me is over as age is taking over and I am not “hot” by any stretch of the imagination. (I could land a plane with my “flaps”!) There will be no children for me. Still, you never know. I’ve heard of 80 and 90 year olds getting married. In the meantime I am living life and enjoying myself every chance I get – and that includes serving at church. However, thank you for your most welcome and sensitive post. Yea!

  57. 59
    Elle Wylx says:

    I have been married longer than I have been single.. but; when a young woman who is very near
    to me confided in me that she would never find the right man after seeing many mr. wrongs.. I
    used to tell her that it is far better to be happily single.. than to be unhappily married..
    I know that it can be either way.. but; when you are single.. you have your own life.. and it is up
    to you to make it happy or not happy.. when you are married.. it can happen that the mate you
    have gotten can make life a lot less than perfect.. a lot harder to make your days shiny and bright.. although in both cases.. we do have that choice. and when we realize that our heavenly fther loves us and is there to help us to make wonderful choices.. and even when mr. right does not appear.. we can have JOY unlimited in the daily things that makes our lives…

    most importantly wait for the perfect mate that the Lord has just for you.. I recently heard the
    saying of being ”emotionally single ~ unequally yoked. ”
    it really threw me as I have always heard the biblically stated .. unequally yoked.. but; never really
    put it to being emotionally single.. [very sad]

    blessings..