“Forgetting what the word has told me
Father of love, you can have me.”
I was so excited for college—for a new start, new friends, and new experiences; but let’s be real, the height of my excitement revolved around moving from a pool of high school boys to an ocean of new men. My childhood dream of finding “the one” in high school was shattered when I went boyfriendless all of high school. The worst part was when my three best friends were all dating “serious” boyfriends at the time…and still I had no one. After graduating from small town Marshall, I was eager for a fresh chapter at UW-L, where I knew I was going to find my future husband. After all, there was no way I’d go through college single the way I had gone through high school. But, of course, that’s exactly what happened; when I walked across the graduation stage, I didn’t have a ring on my finger or anything even close. It seemed that history was going to repeat itself as I left college boyfriendless and my college besties departed in the arms of their men.
One wedding after the next after the next after the next. Soon, my best friends were consumed with their new lives as married women, and the couple close friends that were still single found men of their own to settle in with. Now, don’t get me wrong, I adore my friends’ relationships… But, it gets hard. I wonder when or if I will have that life. I wonder why it hasn’t happened for me yet. One by one, it’s like all the dominoes have fallen down around me, but somehow I’m left standing, the last domino crashing just shy of feet. Great. Again. Alone again.
But when I take a closer look, it’s not that I’m alone…it’s just that I’m still standing. Is standing all that bad in a sit-down world? The world tells me I am not enough. The world tells me I’m worthless without him by my side. The world tells me that to be desired I have to flaunt my body, dress the part, shake my booty, numb my heart. The world tells me I need to be more–skinnier, prettier, sexier, prouder; but it tells me to be less–less clothing, less values, less morals, less faith. The world tells me I need a man, but it tells me I don’t need God. The world tells me many things and sometimes it gets hard to drown out the lies.
My singleness could be attributed to many things, but ultimately it’s in the hands of the Lord. As much as I fight with him about it and lose confidence in my worth, appearance, character, I know deep down that it’s for a reason. Too many people want to be a part of the dominoes when it’s not their time. I want to be a part of the dominoes, but it’s not my time. I have set you apart, He says. I have built you to stand, He commands. This is not for your tears but for my glory, He smiles.
So even though the world tells me that I am not enough, which might be true, I know that He is enough. God, El Shaddai (the All-Sufficient One), is enough for me. And even though I complain and hurt because all I want is a man to love who is captivated by my heart, I realize God has blessed me in accountable ways because I have remained single. I realize I would never be the woman I am had God let a man hinder my growth. I would never be living my dream had God not set me apart for his heart in Swaziland. When I get lonely, I tell God it’s not fair, but He tells me, Sweetheart, you don’t understand, I’m doing this for you. This is for you.
Though my deep desire may be for my husband, for a man godly man to cherish my “children” as I do, I will never compromise my devotion to the One who is enough. The world will never be enough, a husband will never be enough, I will never be enough. But I rest in the arms of the One who is.
Though I may feel like the last one standing, I know I’m not really alone. Though sometimes I want to give in to what the world tells me and give up on waiting, I have to fight for purity, for values, for faith. So, rather than yearning constantly for something that I don’t have, I need to stay focused on what I do have: a whole heart–unattached, unbroken, unjaded by relationships–so that I can give my whole heart, not just pieces, to my mission, to those who need it. He has given me a dream, a mission, a vision. And if I’m ever tempted to compromise my mission for the temporary treasures of the world, I remember the good words of Fr. Joe: “Mary-Kate, you will never have to take your eyes off the mission for your man.”
So, “forgetting what the world has told me,
Father of Love,
you can have me.”
For, when I’m not enough, You Are.