The Gift I Never Asked For
As I reflect on this year of 2013, I can’t fathom how much has happened.
My dream became a reality in February when we raised enough money to open and operate Hope for Life home in Swaziland. My heart was overflowing when my family–Mom, Garret, and Laura– experienced my second home for themselves over the summer, and they fell in love with my Swazi children as well. It is so refreshing to finally have people close to me know why my heart remains in Swazi. When I returned from the summer, my sister became my roommate as we moved into a house together on a little farm. She has blessed me so much with her cooking and kindness, but mostly just her presence. I am blown away by the incredible class of new freshmen that entered my life in September. They have truly captivated my heart. In addition, my basketball girls continue to be a love of mine, as I strive to make them not just better athletes but better women, too. And the list goes on…
While there is much to be thankful for and many lessons to identify, there is one in particular that stands out: the never ending battle of what our society calls “singleness.”
I wished for nothing more than to be “saved” from my singleness. However, (though most of the time it’s hard to see it this way), I’ve realized that singleness is by far the greatest gift I’ve been given. Because I am not devoted to or consumed with one individual, I have been able to share my heart with more people than I could have ever dreamed. While my greatest desire still is to be married one day and have kids of my own, I’ve grown this past year to accept that marriage is not the end goal, as society had once told me. Marriage is not the key to contentment or happiness or satisfaction. Marriage is not the cure to loneliness. Singleness is not a punishment or bitter trial. Singleness does not mean you’re not good enough.
Singleness is a gift–a beautiful gift that this world has twisted and turned into something ugly. Singleness does not mean something’s wrong with you, and it doesn’t mean “freedom,” as culture also states. Singleness is an opportunity of a lifetime, literally. It is a chance to live in humility and servanthood, to take on the characteristics of a spouse in all different areas of life, serving different people, not just one. (Now, I’m not saying that once you’re married, you only serve one person; but the nature of the situation is exactly as Paul states in Scripture–a married person has a divided heart because she is called to serve her spouse/family.) I wish more people would see singleness as an opportunity to change the world, to be saved THROUGH singleness rather than trying to be saved from it.
My desire for my husband and children will always be a part of me and will never go away; however, a my deeper purpose outweighs it. I hope to change the world. Because this has been my goal and the way I try to serve the Lord, He has blessed me by seeing the fruit of my labor through my singleness. I would not have accomplished even half of these dreams had I been in a relationship or even married like I thought I’d be. There is no way I could devote as much attention, compassion, and time to my students if I were in a relationship. The mission overseas would be crippled or even non-existent had I tied myself down too early. My heart would not be this big if I dove into relationships of the past that would stunt my growth.
My singleness has multiplied my mission and most of all my heart, and that is why it is the greatest gift I never asked for.