I don’t wait anymore.

When I was 16, I got a purity ring.

And when I was 25, I took it off.

I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it — it wasn’t a statement or an emotional thing. I just slipped it off my finger that day and, before tucking it away in a box, ran my finger around the words on the familiar gold band.

“True Love Waits.” Waits.

What’s it “waiting” for, anyway?

*****

I had my reasons for deciding not to wear it anymore. Other people might have other reasons. It’s a graveyard of hearts, this place where single church girls crash into their late 20s and early 30s. Churches see the symptoms. They scramble to reach out to the ever-growing young adult singles crowd who feels alienated by family-oriented services.

But there’s something bigger behind it than that.

Much bigger.

There are a lot of girls out there who don’t know who God is anymore – the God of their youth group years just isn’t working out. Back then, that God said to wait for sex until they are married, until He brings the right man along for a husband. They signed a card and put it on the altar and pledged to wait.

And wait they did.

*****

And waited and waited and waited.

Some of them have prayed their whole lives for a husband, and he hasn’t shown up. They’ve heard the advice to “be the woman God made you to be, focus on that, and then the husband will come.” They’ve read “Lady in Waiting,” gotten super involved in church and honed their domestic skills.

And still they wait.

More than a decade ago, a youth leader handed them a photocopied poem in Sunday School written to them from “God” that said, “The reason you don’t have anyone yet is because you’re not fully satisfied in Me. You have to be satisfied with Me and then when you least expect it, I’ll bring you the person I meant for you.”

And the girls see it posted on their bulletin boards from time to time.

“You’re right, God,” they say. “We’re not satisfied in you yet. We will put you first and then you can bring us a husband in your timing.”

But many of them – if they’re honest – will tell you that time has passed, and it’s wrecking their view of God.

If this is who God’s supposed to be, then He’s tragically late.

So some decide to chuck “Lady in Waiting” out the window … and possibly their virginity with it. Church goes next. God might go next, too. If He doesn’t answer these prayers after they’ve held up their end of the bargain, why would He answer any others?

Whether it was the fault of the leaders, the fault of us girls, or both, a tragedy happened back then.

A lot of girls were sold on a deal and not on a Savior.

*****

I had that poem on my bulletin board all through high school – the one where “God” was telling me to fall in love with Him first and then I would be able to fall in love with a husband later.

Who wrote that poem anyway?

Pretty sure it wasn’t God.

When Jesus was here on the earth, the crowds would follow Him because they saw He gave good things. But that’s not what He wanted. He wanted their hearts for Himself. So He would turn to them and say things like, “If you don’t love Me so much that every other relationship in your life looks like hate by comparison, you can’t follow Me.” (Matthew 10:34-39, paraphrase)

That sounds a lot different from the poem.

Christ is the source of everything we need and the giver of all good gifts … but in telling people about Him, it’s possible we’ve sold them on a solution for life’s problems and not life itself.

What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have.

If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.

If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.

If I’d learned who He is, what He wants, how to give Him everything, not “wait” so that one day I could give my everything to someone else.

If I’d learned that it’s not bad to pray for a husband, but that my greater prayer should be for Him to spend my life as He chooses for His glory.

If we as believers make that our message, things could be drastically different for a lot of girls wondering why the God they think they learned to follow doesn’t compute. It doesn’t necessarily stop the desire for a husband or end all feelings of loneliness, but it does show a God who provides, loves and gives infinite purpose even to our singleness rather than a God who categorically denies some who pray for husbands while seemingly giving freely to others.

It shows that while marriage is good, He is the greater goal.

*****

Don’t think I’ve done this perfectly.

I’d be deceiving you if you thought that. I’ve had relationships where I made major mistakes. I’ve gone through angst-ridden phases where I met with friends to plead together with God to bring us husbands. I’ve planned major life decisions around possibilities.

I lived like I was waiting for something.

And that’s why I slipped off my ring that day. It wasn’t that I wanted to sleep with people – I haven’t. It wasn’t a slap to True Love Waits, or to anyone who wears a purity ring – saving sex for marriage is good and is His design.

I just didn’t want to wait anymore – didn’t want to live like I was waiting on anyone to get here.

I already have Him … and He is everything.

“Follow Christ for His own sake, if you follow Him at all.” – J.C. Ryle

i dont wait anymore

(I Don’t Wait Anymore (the book), now available.)

1,769 Comments on “I don’t wait anymore.

  1. Hey there, I just wanted you to know that your vulnerability and honesty are going viral. This is a message that has been given to you from The Lord. Many Christian women and girls out there are believing in a deal and not our Savior to give them what they feel they need. I would love to use this message in my counseling career. Thank you for showing us your heart. I have been told many times that God does not waste pain, and you girl are making a difference.

  2. Grace, I wanted you to know that “I don’t wait anymore” was so poignant and well written, that I borrowed major portions of it as bookends to a sermon called “Shattered expectations”. An audio of the August 11 sermon can be found at the following link. Thank you for piercing insight.
    http://www.coolchurch.org/media.php?pageID=9

  3. Anna the Prophetess was married seven years, and then her husband died. She spent the rest of her life, until she was 84, worshipping God, praying, fasting, and anticipating the arrival of Jesus.

    We have too much of a concept of a vending-machine God: put good deeds in, and what we want pops out. But Jesus promised is naught but persecution, scorn, and death in this life. We serve and obey him because he is God, and because we want to spend eternity being alive and worshipping him.

    By the way, as a single man in my 30s who spent 7 years married to a Christian woman, I assure you that if God has not paired you with your mate yet, he is doing you a massive favour. The unmarried have wistful views of sex, romance, and married life. Sin, sickness, and pain don’t go away at the altar.

  4. Thank you for your article. Apparently I’ve had some similar thoughts (http://legolasgreenleaves.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-ultimate-romance.html).
    I believe what you’re trying to get at is the fact that being human, or even a Christian does not entitle you to a spouse. Somehow we’ve gotten this idea that it is *only* a matter of timing. It is only *when* God will provide someone, not *whether* God will provide a spouse. Just because God gives out spouses quite freely and quite often does not mean we are all entitled to have one. For some reason our desire for marriage uniquely entitles us to receive a human spouse in this life. Where did we get this idea? I’ve found that most people cannot rejoice in the romantic successes of others until they have their own special someone.
    Marriage and romance are about more than having your own prince charming. Human marriages and romances are temporary relationships to show us our relationship with God. God created romance so what we could better grasp a part of the way he loves us. The relationships that work out for us show us a picture of the delight God has in wooing his people, and the heartbreaks we experience help us identify with the grieved God who loves so abundantly, but still gets scorned and sinned against.
    We often talk about being content with our singleness, but immediately go on to describe how hard it is to be at weddings because we’re longing for our own special someone. While I sympathize with the difficulty, we should understand that that is not contentment with our place. Being content means understanding that your own physical sexuality is not entitled to be fulfilled in this life, because marriage exists for something much greater than our own personal satisfaction. As Christians we are to be living for something beyond ourselves, that includes our marriages. We live for God and so we should only marry if we can better advance the kingdom of heaven together than alone.
    All marriages point us to God and we can delight in the pictures we see of his love towards his people without “comforting” ourselves with the false idea that because we desire a spouse we are entitled to receive one…eventually (if you wait long enough).

  5. Is there a way to ask permission to re-post this blog on another website (www.familyhonor.org)? We’d love to share this with others! Thank you.

  6. Awesome article! I just wanted to take a couple of moments, and share with the single group, along with myself. I’ve never attended a “True Love Waits” program, but I’ve held on to the importance of waiting. Yes! Waiting can be challenging at times. Waiting can drive us crazy, and knowing there is someone out there for us is an awesome thought. I just know God wants us to get in touch with our trueselves through His intimacy in us. The beauty of it all God doesn’t give up on us, He loves us. By Him not giving up on us, He gives us a longing to not give up on that person He has for us, but to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit you want to share that experience with that person.

  7. GREAT post. I once said, if the ‘fall in love with Jesus first’ thing got popular during the Middle Ages, the human race would have died out. Thanks for this terrific post!

  8. Thanks for sharing.

    As a guy, I too was misled by the ‘purity craze’ that his when I was younger. I had the idea that ‘sex was to be with one person’ that I made mistakes. You see I had a girl I dated that caused me to stumble in my faith. That eventually led to us having sex. I should have seen that someone who would lead me away from God and my morality wouldn’t be a good mate. Unfortunately all I could think was that I had to marry her since we slept together. One mistake to cover up another. That lead me down a path of anger and bitterness that I am just now coming out of a decade later… I wish I had focused on our Lord rather than the ‘only have sex with one person’ thing. I imagine I might have still made the one mistake but likely not followed it with so many more that I did.

  9. This was BEAUTIFULLY stated. And exactly the vision I hope to impart to my children. The reminder, their life is about glorifying God in all things. Not about the do’s and don’ts that make us religious!
    Thank you for your words.

  10. I think part of the problem is that too much planning goes into waiting sometimes. Girls, admittedly, plan their lives around the husband that has failed to appear. Their waiting, turns into obsession. They are waiting for perfection. They are waiting for him to find her. Like there is a fraternity of virgin manly men with perfect hair and teeth on white horses riding diligently through the countryside announcing their date-ability on scrolls attached to trees with arrows. No. There is a good chance that the men are at home, waiting. Possibly playing video games in their pj’s and eating pizza with their buddies, wondering where all the girls are that they were supposed to wait for.

    I also think, that not only is there a lack of Godly men, but there is a lack of Godly women as well. Society as a whole, has a lackluster showing when it comes to morals. Patience is not required as much as it used to be. Technology give us an “I want it now” mentality, and that carries through to all aspects of life.

    Even for those that didn’t wait… a spouse does not pop up from the earth one Tuesday when they woke up. When I quit trying to FIND a man, and started finding myself… my husband landed in my lap.

  11. At first I was skeptical at reading this bc of the title. ( I saw it one a friends FB wall ) but… I’m super glad I read it :)

    You made some great points and I do agree with what you said. But just to let you know, I am still wearing my abstinence ring :)

    Favorite part and complete truth:

    If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.

    Good blog!

  12. I have been waiting for a letter like this.. to give hope, more than to receive it. Thank u

  13. Paul Morris (yes, that's my real name and I'm not afraid to say this stuff publicly)

    Part of the problem (reason) why the young women wait and wait and wait and wait and… is because we have a shortage of Godly men (men – not just boys who got bigger). Unfortunate, unacceptable. So many boys (and large boys who are nominally called men) don’t even have a clue what it means to be a real man. They are wussified, are in pursuit of highly self-centered aims, or have a stupid Hollywood macho stereotype in their heads, or worse. I say again, they just don’t know what it is to be a real man because they haven’t been shown. Who would show them? Men. Real men.

    A few years ago, a young lady I knew complained to me about her boyfriend and she asked me why are boys like that? I thought to myself, “By your own admission you are dating boys – start dating a real man and you won’t have these problems.” Again, there are not enough of them around these days, and those who are seem all too often demonized for actually being what they are supposed to be.

    Real men have values, integrity, and do what is right. They’re not womenizing, abusive, irresponsible, lazy, macho posers, wussified puffballs, drunkards, etc. I compiled a list of 20 character traits of real men and then shared it with my son, admitting I fall short sometimes, but offering it up as a model to work towards. For instance, “When he walks into a room, women and children feel safer just because he is there.”

    • I totally agree with that. What can we expect after marinating in the self-focus of our culture? Sure you list is great.

    • I disagree that you have to be a “godly” person to be an upstanding member of society. It’s a big misconception about atheists in general. People have it in their head somehow that people who don’t happen to believe that their deity exists automatically means they are horrible, horrible people, when they aren’t at all. Meet one of us. Seriously, just talk with an atheist. You will be very surprised.

      In any case, I know loads of people who have incredible integrity and drive, and are examples to everyone on how to be great people. One of them is my best friend, who went through Boy Scouts with me and got Eagle. He’s gay. I got Eagle after him. I’m an atheist. Both of us try to be the best people we can be, and while I have thrown off my religion and he is still deciding on it, it doesn’t matter. You can be a great person, a great man, woman or other, without having to fit in this ‘real man’ or ‘real woman’ slots that people love to make to divide the world into people that they are familiar with and who they aren’t. That’s not to say that some of those traits are appealing. I just don’t think all of those traits are.

      TL;DR: I disagree that you need to be a ‘real man’ to be a decent male human, and definitely disagree that you need to be godly to be one either.

      • Hi Ben, the context of the article is about a Christian woman “waiting” for a husband–or in this case–getting on with life after waiting. Most Christian women want to share their life, especially their faith, with their husband. I know some wonderful atheists, by the way.

    • I do agree with your statement but if this is the only reason why women are waiting, then we’ve all missed it. If women use this as their blame (boys are not real men), then these girls miss their opportunity to do relationship with God. It gives them something to blame instead of going to the Lord in their hurt and vulnerability. God uses everything in our lives to draw us closer to Him, to bring us into greater intimacy with Him. If women put the blame on men, then they miss everything that the Lord is wanting to do in them through their waiting.

  14. “A lot of girls were sold on a deal and not on a Savior.”

    I think the Church (esp. in America) has done this many times over in many different ways. It sells a lot of books.

  15. Gladys Aylward was a stellar example of one who desired and prayed for marriage, but did not spend her life waiting, rather she spent it building for eternity. Good read. Thanks.

    • My word, I have not heard that beautiful name in decades! Gladys spoke at my church when I was about twelve – I will never forget that voice that boomed (despite her diminutive stature and the deceptively high timber of her voice), “Bring ye ALL the tithes into the warehouse…”! I have her lovely signature in my autograph book from 1959, with the Chinese symbols that mean “ah-wee-dah” – The Small Woman. The movie was awful – she was a saint!

    • wow this is a great write! Thankyou.
      I was thinking just the other day… “Mary wasn’t waiting for Joseph to act… she was waiting & trusting in God Our Father”

  16. one thing is do not expect God to just deliver you a husband. God gave us free agency and because of that we must act in order to find the person we want to spend our life with. waiting is not easy but studies even show that if you dont “shack up” before marriage you are something like 70% more likely to have a happy marriage that is not affected by divorce. put God first but make sure you are doing all you can to make those opportunities for yourselves.

  17. Reblogged this on Theology In Brief and commented:
    So, I will not regularly do this. BUT this post was written with lots of heart, and was well explained. If you read it too fast, you’ll miss some VERY important points about chastity, and dedication to God. Enjoy. May it make you ponder about your own relationship with God.

  18. This is something that I have been struggling with for a while. I have been single now for years and lately I’ve been getting really upset about it. What I really wanted, and still want, so badly is to fall in love, find a husband, and have a family, but it has just seemed hopeless for me. It just made me think, “What’s wrong with me? Why has not one guy at all found me the least bit attractive? Am I too fat? Too ugly? How can anyone possibly find me pretty or beautiful?” which is of course never a good thing to think about yourself. Like, it had gotten to the point where if a couple walked by me on the street holding hands, I wouldn’t even be able to bear looking at them because it would be too painful (not that they are doing anything wrong though of course). I see all my cousins, friends, acquaintances, etc. getting boyfriends/engaged/married/pregnant so why can’t I have that when I want it more than (almost) anything? I’ve BEEN asking and waiting and praying and I feel like I just can’t take it anymore. With all the other recent hardships I’ve been going through (in addition to this one) and I’ve felt like God hasn’t been there for me or done anything for me or listened to my prayers I don’t know how I can get closer to him again to be able to achieve the kind of peace you describe in the article.

    • Dear S.
      I feel a deep compassion for you so I felt I had to write a reply. God is very unlikely to just present you with a husband, what he will instead do is help you when you are actively looking. So make an effort to meet new people. What are you passionate about, books, rock climbing or barn dancing? Whatever it is, find a way to meet people who share that passion. It will make you happier and boost your self-confidence (which if you attribute you actually doing the activity to the God’s help will improve your relationship with him). If your happy and confident you’ll seem more attractive to others anyway and you’ll have the courage to use the opportunities God gives you. Basically pray that God helps you find someone, while you give him the opportunities. It’s an adventure your doing to find your own happiness as much as to find a husband, and just make sure that your keeping a tight grip on Jesus’ hand every step of the way.

      God Bless you S. don’t give up.

    • I wanted to let you know that I prayed for you this morning. I pray that you can find that closeness with Jesus again. I felt similar pains around infertility. Though it isn’t the same as this I felt that same pange in my gut when I read your post. I’m sorry for your struggle, but I know that Jesus love you greatly.

    • S. … you’re not alone. I think many single people have been there at one point in time or another. The truth is … this situation, even if you got married today, isn’t going to bring you any peace. Peace isn’t going to come from God answering this prayer … it’s going to come from seeking Him above everything else. Rather than focusing all your time and energy on wondering why this hasn’t worked out, or trying to do things to make it work out, put that time and effort into a relationship with Christ. I promise you … He’s not a sideline Father silently denying your wishes until the moment He decides to intervene and lift His finger. He’s crying out for you to love HIM, to live life with Him. And not “Him first, then …” Just Him. He really, really, really can fill your heart with peace and joy, even when things are hard. Talk to Him. Read His Word, memorize it, meditate on it. Ask Him how to know Him better and to help you seek Him even when singleness is a struggle. He loves you … just as you are.

      • I have to agree so much. I had a time when I questioned Everything and God took me to a place where it was just Him and me working in my heart while I sought answers from Him. During that time I not only discovered my foundation in Him for almost the first real time but also became so content. I was nolonger lonely because He was always there, to talk to, to listen to to answer my questions, to love me. In short I did find a husband and have a family but have fallen back to that foundation so many times I truly don’t think I would be where I am today without having Him and just Him come first.

    • Hi S. I really hope that you feel better. Please read psalm 103, it has helped me through this difficult time I am in. In fact many psalms reveal the condition of a broken heart; but King David says “He restores my soul.” I know its difficult but try to get some strength from the scriptures, the Holy Spirit always shows up waiting to comfort us and give us that peace that is readily available to us from the Kingdom of God. Invite the Holy Spirit when you read and go on a three day fast to plead with God, remember; The violent shall take it by force! The Kingdom is yours and all its promises. There are many men, do not focus on their looks or status so much. Approach a guy and start talking about normal stuff, you’ll be surprised as to what treasures lie there. For example, I was at a wedding this passed weekend and I saw a guy standing by the parking lot and I approached him. I introduced myself and began asking him if he works or studies and from there the conversation told both of us two things: It told him that I was friendly which is attractive to guys and it told me that he was a sweet nice guy; the rest of course is up to him. I’m not saying I like him in that way or anything but you see being friendly and open does HELP! All the best! and to all the guys out there please approach us we do not bite and we are just waiting for you to respond!

  19. I think that this a great insight you have written about. You know some Christians have found that being married would have interfered with giving all their attention to God, so you are on to something here. Paul the Apostle wrote of this. God is already acting in our lives, we need only seize the day, be present to Him as much as we can, one day at a time. If we can do that without a spouse, then great! If we can do it with a spouse then great! Either way He tells us: “I am with you whithersoever thou goest.”

  20. Too many think God is going to bring the person or thing I’ve been praying for—miraculously bring him, as in just have him appear someplace that I happen to be. Instead, God often works by giving us the time, knowledge, and resources to further develop our talents, improve our health, follow interests, learn new skills, get another degree, seek an advancement at work, start a business from a hobby, learn a new profession, become an expert at something, teach, travel, write a book, build a table, make a quilt, take a class. And yes, to serve others either here or on mission trips. In the doing of these things, we will find the life that brings us joy and glorifies the God who made us. And we can look around, find other lonely people, and take them along with us.

  21. This was such a blessing to me! Thank you for being used of God to write this.

  22. While I am not single your article still really touched me. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility and I constantly feel like I am waiting to have a baby. Finally after years of waiting I was pregnant. One year ago we lost our baby late in my second trimester. I was devastated. I feel like my image of God had been shattered. What I am realizing is that it is good that the image of God I had is gone. I had that whole image of God that you talked about in your post. I felt totally betrayed by Him and was upset that I had held up my end of the bargain. Why hasn’t He gifted me with children? I just really need to focus so much on falling in love with Him that I trust and accept whatever the life is that he wants for me.

  23. To Jenny W. Lift High the Cross! See your suffering as a gift — the gift of the cross! See yourself in His wounds. Your heart aches. So does His for sinners and it burned with such compassion for them that He offered His life to save us. Conform your heart to His most merciful heart by offering your pain in reparation for sins and each day you will use your pain as a prayer for love for souls. A joyful, willing death to self, modeled on the Master’s life will be a beautiful Christian life well worth the living. It will be an adventure! Praying for you.

  24. This isn’t just a struggle for singles – this is a struggle for every Christian everywhere in a broader sense… we forget how urgent our purpose on earth is. We forget that our lives here are but a mist – here today and gone tomorrow. We get so wrapped up in ourselves and what we want that we forget that we aren’t here for that. We were created for God’s glory, and we will be most satisfied in life here when we can fulfill that purpose and bring Him glory in heaven. And we don’t have much time to do it – we could very well die tomorrow and lose the opportunity we had! The catch is, the only way to bring God glory is when we completely spiritually die to ourselves and live for Him, and Him alone. It might not be popular or easy, but once we die to the things we want, we find on the other side, that it is good. So good, in fact that we forget about all the things we wanted. They become dust in light of the radiant beauty of who God is and in light of the fact that this beautiful, perfect, holy God actually loves us enough to have died a brutal death for us – in order for us to have life with Him!

    I know from experience… I also lived a long time waiting for what I wanted, but ended up in a dark bitter place hating God, hating everyone around me, and hating myself. It was only after I completely died to myself – making a virtual altar and burning up my idols of everything that I wanted – essentially letting go of what I wanted my life to be, only then could I finally actually see the beauty of Christ, rest in His love and promise and start really living the life that He had wanted for me all along – as a free person! I only hope that I am faithful to use what time is left to bring Him as much glory as possible in His plan for my life. If that includes a wedding and family – great. But if it doesn’t, that’s perfectly okay too. I’m much more excited about life in heaven with Him than in building up barns here in this broken down old earth that is quickly passing away. I just want to do my job here and get home!

    • Dying to the self is something I see that we have to do sometimes more than once. Once upon a time I already died to myself, giving up my friends, family and college scholarships, etc to choose a new direction following our Lord. I married, had children, and went through some very hard times. Now I am in a bitter place. I find that I am going to have to die to myself over again. I replaced my old dreams with new godly dreams. But none of them are really working out the way I wanted. I am so hurt, that I wonder what did I go through all that for if it wasn’t going to bear fruit? In truth, I know there is fruit, but not what I wanted. Not what I hoped for. And not without a lot of pain mixed in. I feel betrayed, let down. And there is a whole lot of “I” in there. What “I” wanted. Selfishness always brings me (you) down. All of us go down with selfishness. Even godly dreams can be selfish. I have to let go. But maybe I want to mourn first. Though really I shouldn’t. What’s there to mourn? The losing of the very things that are dragging me down? But of course it is a death. I feel so empty and like I have lost so much. I need the Lord to fill in.

      Even married people in the world today often find trouble and loneliness. You can marry someone following the Lord, and find later that they have fallen away. Now you are lonely. And if you are a woman especially, you also find that you don’t hold the reigns and can’t take control of your household and redirect things. You can try, but you are only half-effective at best. It can be torture.

      So now I have to die again as I have become selfish and resentful. I need to begin again and let go of all the things I wanted. Start looking to the Lord for what He wants. Doing what He wants right now and every day with what is right in front of me. I can’t let my own wants grow and flourish and overtake my mind and cloud my vision…. Bitterness. I have to pull it out like a weed.

      It is hard. Aren’t I struggling with the same thing you are, my single friends? I have been married seventeen years and I have seven living children. These struggles come to us all. It seems to me that it often all comes down to just us and the Lord. Even if you are married, most marriages are imperfect. It is really just us and the Lord. He is the only one you can always rely on. He is the only one who will ever truly know you, understand you, see you, and despite all that (lol) still love you. No human can fill that need you have. Only the Lord can.

      If all we have is the Lord, we have it all. There is nothing and no one better. Having the Lord is having the best – the best of everything, the key to everything, and even eternal life. We can’t even imagine it.

      If all we have is the Lord, we have it all.

      • If you and your prospective spouse haven’t yet learnt to die to yourselves, marriage will truly be the closest thing you can find in our day and age to torture.

  25. Thank you for writing this beautiful piece! I now plan to raise my girls to “fall in love with Jesus.”

  26. I’m not waiting either. I am 33 and single…and not for want of trying to find the right relationship. Basically at this point it seems there are no single Christian guys remotely interested in me or vice versa. A couple years ago I realized that if I want to be married I would probably need to look outside the church. I had felt like my life had been on hold for most of my life–waiting on God to provide a place that fit for me. Someone to love me…a family to love. I decided to stop being on hold…I decided to live my life. I bought a house (something I had been waiting on so as not to intimidate men) and I started to pursue interests I had. What I’ve found is a mixed bag. I feel amazing. I am close to some amazing people (most of which are not Christians). I have had a million experiences that I’m glad I didn’t miss. But it is true that I still wish I had a partner to challenge me…one who isn’t adverse to faith (my expectations have gotten lower).
    Life is fraught with heartbreak and beauty…its all mixed up. I love my life. I even still love God–love theology–love faith. BUT as far as living my life in the church and by the church’s rules and coined responses to how we should approach loneliness…I’m kinda done with that. Life is messy but its my life. I want to live! I want to stop being on hold waiting for blessings that may never come my way!
    LIFE is now how I expected it to be when I was younger. And I know my family stresses about my potential seemingly godlessness. But things are good for me–though imperfect–though frustrating–My life is dynamic and I’m wading through it…amidst the heartbreak and the beauty.

    • Hi Ruth, sounds like you’ve found, and are enjoying freedom! So great! I just wanted to encourage you with my own story as well – I have no idea where you’re at, but it sounds like you are in a similar place to me!? I also found that the church’s somewhat repetitive answers to things don’t always cut it or add to life, unfortunately sometimes religiosity gets in the way & church’s responses can sadly take away freedom & enjoyment of life. When I was in the midst of discovering this, and feeling compelled to find a deeper faith, where things actually make sense & impact my life so I can live in freedom (didn’t Christ die so we could live in freedom??), I was so fortunate to stumble across various faith communities & individuals who let me see God in a different light, making me fall so much more in love with him, with people & with life! I want to encourage you to actively try & find, & pray for those people to come across your path – for Christians who aren’t afraid of discussing ‘heretical’ things, for people who are obsessed with following Jesus because it makes life on Earth better, not just because we get into heaven afterwards. I hope this is encouraging for you, finding these people helped massive amounts in my life, & I pray they do in yours too!! Great to hear you’re enjoying the freedom of not worrying about life :) all the best! X

  27. hebron1212 said that love is an action, not a feeling. And that he wishes people would stop romanticizing this. I say in reply:

    You are absolutely correct in saying that love for Jesus is not a feeling, but an action. However, God is the ultimate romantic. Look through the stories in the Bible of wedding feasts, Christ pursuing our hearts, the Song of Songs, etc. There are always going to be tough times where we don’t feel the love of Christ, and in those times, when we CHOOSE to love him and follow him, it shows Him even more how much we care. In those times where we feel lost or alone, and our heart hurts, emotionally and sometimes physically, think of it as God expanding our hearts’ capacities to love Him evermore. Through that suffering that we are enduring, we are learning to love even more. And through the expansion of our hearts, when we are given the gift of receiving joy, it will fill our hearts more fully than we have ever experienced. That is the hope that powers us to push on. The hope of ultimate union with our loving, romantic God.

  28. Here’s the other side of the coin: you are married with the person God has given you, yet you aren’t happy or find contentment because you never learned true contentment in Him. I never realized how difficult it would be to have prayed for my soulmate
    Just to find he doesn’t make me happy, satisfied or fulfill that “I need a companion to satisfy my longing For a husband.” What I learned is NOTHING can satisfy that God-sized hole for love, except God. Yes, I longed for a husband to love me, to hold me, to care for me, to do things with, to be my physical partner and I placed him in a pedestal once we were “locked in” as future Mr. and Mrs. Guess what? I never learned how to be in love with God first. I was totally blind-sided when my earthly “all” wasn’t perfect and our marriage was rocked by sin. How could God send a soul mate that would hurt me? And we are both Christians!
    Knowing this isnt going to stop your longing for a spouse. But I pray it will help you see that 1) if you are a follower of Christ, your desires were placed tree by Him and they are His desires for you. (Psalms 37:4). 2) He wants you to be completely satisfied-but in Him. He knew that sin would take hold of us before Adam and Eve sinned and that is the biggest struggle we humans go through. 3) regardless of having a mate or being single, you must give your life fully to Him. The author of this article is right- that doesn’t mean following Him means you will get what you want because you held up your end of purity. It does mean though that once you do, you will not “need” a mate to fulfill that longingness. 4) He will supply your need. Be sure you are aware of your needs rather than wants. 5) Like the verse in Psalm days, He will give you the desires of your heart-but you do have to believe He will.
    I struggled with praying for a husband and then would get mad when I didn’t get one when I thought I needed one. My priorities were all mixed up. Getting this worked out before having a mate will help keep the focus where it belongs and that is on Christ.

  29. I don’t know how to respond to this or the comments read underneath this article.I know the words I read are true but all I can do is cry because the ache in my heart never goes away. I want to love Him with all of me but the ache still doesn’t go away. I spend time with Him daily and yet I still feel empty and alone every minute of every day and it seems that no one understands why I have no joy and don’t know how to get it back. I pray,I plead,I cry and I talk to God and listen for His voice and even the words that He does say to me I know they are truth they provide very little comfort for me and the ache remains. Thank you for your words of truth I just wish someone cared enough to help me figure out how to survive the constant pain in my heart

    • Jenny I understand that ache, the longing to feel string arms holding you tight, the desire to share your life with that one special person. I too feel the bitter sting of loneliness as I seek Jesus. I often wonder if God hears me or even cares. I know He does but the doubts still come. I will pray for you that you will feel His presence and find relief from the loneliness.

    • I have been mad at God many times for feeling exactly what you are describing, the relief I found is that when i stopped trying to control Him, stopped trying to see what I wanted to see, and threw myself before Him at what ever the cost or whatever vision He may uncover thus now putting a want for a relationship with Him above all other desires or cares in my life, then i knew His Peace and His Joy and His Love. The road He has brought me to this point on is one I would have never even been able to plan for myself, for at the end of the day He does not want us to look at ourselves and say “I’m pleased with the way I’ve obeyed you Lord, please be pleased with me too!” no He wants us to know that He loved us at our worst and that there is nothing we can ever do to gain His approval; His Grace and Love for us is just that awesome that I could never do anything to earn it, and myself nor any other being can take His Gift of Grace away; never.That is what drives my life, by no means am I perfect, but by Grace I have Faith and He just wont let go!

    • I started back to church in my late 30s, never being married. after being out in the world for 20 years, all I heard was if you want a good man go to church. let me say in the 9 years I have been back I have not found a Christian single man in thirties or older. As we would stand to sing, I would notice the couples who had been married for years would automatically find each others hands or they would place their arms around each others backs. I would literally start crying. Luckily people just assumed that I was emotional about the song. within a few weeks I had had enough. I starting praying to God to show me if I would eventually marry by not taking away the yearn to be married or to make me content in being single. I prayed this for a couple of weeks with no results. for a week I prayed strictly about the marriage end of it and still no results. the next week I prayed about being content in being single. He answered that prayer. 9 years later I am still single. Are there awkward moments, yes. Do I get sad, yes. But I realize that God will use me the way I am. I can’t spend my time waiting on a husband to come along. If I can’t be happy in how God has planned my life, how can I be happy with a husband, who if not intended by God to be mine, who is not right for me. some of my friends tell me to be sweet to find a husband, I am a loud, annoying, sarcastic people. I tell them I am not going to lie to get a husband. I want my husband to love my zany wit and quick thinking and not hate it every tine I throw out a remark. I may end up being the “old maid” in my church and if I do, then that is fine, because that is God’s plan. Maybe God will use me to help other singles to be content in Christ. I have tried life on my terms and I was more miserable than I am in church with no husband. I have given God everything how could I not give Him my dreams and feelings. But you have to give it to Him and then trust that He will do HIS will not yours. You can’t dwell on being single all the time. All you have is the now, and must live every moment to its fullest. I still hope that God will bring me a husband, but I have left it in His hands. I have a friend who told me once that God is still working on the man man to be my husband, don’t worry he will be along soon. I said, I didn’t think he would need over 40 years of work done to him, when he gets here, he might be too old for me!!! I would rather be happy in my contentment than to be divorcing someone I should not have been with in the first place. I could spend my time thinking I “missed” meeting my husband being out of church for 20 years. Or I could realize that God knew every decision I would make before He created the world and He is in control of my life today and my future. That is what I have chosen to do. Trust that He will bring glory to my life in whatever way He chooses, single or married!!!

    • As a single female catholic, I share your pain. But I thought I’d tell you that receiving the body of Christ at mass really helps fill the God-sized hole in my heart. Once it is filled, I receive a truly miraculous respite from the pain of loneliness (I go to mass daily). I’m not sure if you’re catholic or Christian, but there it is.

      • MichelleMarie, I am not catholic, but I can relate to what you are saying anyway. We practice communion once a week at home, and I thank God for his “body and blood”… I look at it as my very subsistence. He sustains me. I love holy communion, even if I probably don’t fully understand it. It is precious and truly does sustain and relieve me somehow.

    • Jenny, There is a spiritual experience that some of the great saints before us have written about, but it isn’t talked about in church much. They call it different names, but the description of it is very similar to the symptoms you have described. There is a book called “The Inward Journey” by Gene Edwards that you may find helpful (one chapter in particular).

    • I totally understand. I feel the same way. We are never alone, but lonely and seeking more….. : )

    • Jenny…can you “hear” this with your heart? Jesus said, “If you love Me, feed My sheep.” Dry your tears and find someone who needs to know Him. Serve that person. Wash their feet. Feed them. Visit them. You will soon forget that your heart aches. You will cease to feel your own pain. You may feel His pain instead, along with the joy of His salvation! I am praying for you.

  30. I feel like you took those words straight from my heart! This is something so many girls need to hear and understand right now! I’m sharing this with everyone I know- thank you!

  31. This actually made me cry. I’m still crying. It’s so true. The one line, “There are a lot of girls out there who don’t know who God is anymore – the God of their youth group years just isn’t working out.”, Really touched home for me. I’m in post-high and the God that you know it your youth group years is a lot different then the God of your post-high/young adult/woman years. He’s not different, but the way that you get to know Him is. It’s much more intimate, but only if you let it be. We as women (whether younger or older) are seeking male companionship. Whether it be from our dads (when we are younger) or from our boyfriends/fiance/husbands. It’s hard when there is no male to fill that role. I know, because this is the very thing that I am stuggling with right now. Though you know what? No matter how much we search, now matter how much we wait, we will not be satisfied. I pray to find a great guy who God has created just for me, but unless I fall in love with God first, I will never be able to fall in love with my man. I will be incapable of properly showing the love that I am supposed to, to the man I eventually love, without falling in Love with God first. Though, just as the writer said, this is not a deal. Fall in love with God, meet a guy and get married. When you fall in love with God, the man will (for the most part) be the last thing on your mind, because you love God, even so much more than that man, because God fills and satisfies that role that human men cannot. I admit, getting to know this God at a much more intimate level scares me. I want it and don’t because all I have ever experienced is disappointment. I feel like there is no way that God can provide and satisfy me that way. Really God? A romantic relationship? Intimacy? Sex? Only a human can provide that surely! But who created those things? Who was it that gave those things to us? God. He cares about you, your needs, your feelings, your spirit, all of you. It seems unimaginable to our simple human minds that He can provide for us on the most intimate level. I know, for I am guilty of this! I strive to fill that aching hole in my heart with dirt and filth, anything but God. It is so hard for me to believe that He can provide! Though He does. When we put on the rose colored glasses in a new relationship, we see that this person is amazing, they will fill my every need, and we don’t see their faults. This blog post says to fall in love with God. Take off that purity ring, put on the rose colored glasses and never take them off. He has no faults, He will fill your every need (whether you know it or not), and He is more than amazing. He’s the one waiting. He’s been waiting for a long time. He wants more than your heart, He wants your love

  32. As a guy who got married late in life, let me state the celibacy can be very difficult. It is like the loss of a loved one, the loss of health, getting put into jail, losing all your possessions in a fire. I am way beyond these pious platitudes we use to comfort people with when they’re just plain suffering. Yes, we need to know that Jesus is everything. And yes, we need to know that when someone has cancer, or has lost a loved one, or is a single adult, or has nothing but the clothes on his or her back, there are real issues to be dealt with. This is my opinion, and Paul had his opinion on this issue, too.

  33. The man-made idea of “put Jesus first and God will provide you a husband”. Has partially been ignited from the verse “Seek ye first the kingdom and all things will be given to you”, the verse does NOT say “Seek ye first the kingdom and I will give you the ideal ‘husband to be’ boyfriend”. What you have written Alex is spot on. Making Jesus our only love is all we can do and reading this made me relive again how much Jesus enters our loneliness and chooses fulfil us in Him. However God never promised to give us this feeling consistently and “the content waiting game” is a myth. We all have the desire for relationships and that’s a reflection of how God desires a relationship with us.
    I have this relationship and he is everything to me more so when all is stripped away.
    However in him we don’t get everything but in Luke 18 the Parable of the Persistent widow – the unjust judge finally gave her justice, an attitude to us to pray for opportunities to meet like-minded believers if we truly desire it.

  34. There was a time when I looked at my sister who has been in Christ her whole life; His light radiating through all that she does–His glory seen in how she has lived, in how she has/is waiting. I had asked God why he couldn’t have rescued me sooner. Why I had to make the decisions that only kept me down a path leading further from him.

    While I do not look on my sister with envy any longer, nor do I regret the decisions I made prior to Christ, I do pray that my children can be raised with the foreknowledge of having God be their everything, so as to not have to search for gratification or self-worth anywhere else.

    Thank you for the post. God Bless!

  35. I love your post. As a married Christian woman I got the message but God used it to speak to me in a different way. Whether its marriage, wanting a baby, finances, a job etc. We have to put the Lord first, loving Him more than anyone or anything else. He never promises that when we accept His gift of eternal life & pledge our lives to Him that it means we will be given everything we want when we want it, if at all. However, He does promise to be with us, He does promise to be enough & we have the Holy Spirit in us to guide us, to have a very real & personal relationship with! I have struggled with this lately with our finances and wanting a house…. But God has repeatedly told me that He is enough no matter where I live, no matter what our financial situation is and I can abide in Him and find joy! Happiness is a feeling and Joy is a choice, a hard one sometimes but worth it!! Thanks for the post!!! You are right on!!

    • My advise… Serve. Find a place you can pour out, and then there will be room for God to pour back in. I know for me when I serve those that are less fortunate than I am at least one person has a way of just showing me what it looks like to have joy in Christ. I spent a week in Haiti, and decided after that to get a much smaller room in the appt my roommates and I were renting so I could go back to those that needed, whether that is here or there.

  36. I love this!!! For years, I’ve been offering this same counsel to girls & women who were angry with God because he didn’t “deliver” on his end of the “deal” or that were married and it didn’t turn out like they hoped or were afraid that someone how God didn’t love them or was too disappointed in them to grant them wife status. It’s garbage – lies the enemy feeds believing young women and well-meaning married people who seem to just swallow it all whole without the Holy Spirit’s discernment. God calls us to be “holy because He is holy” – not “be holy so we can be or find a good spouse.” Jesus said to “abide in Him” – there’s nothing else attached to that. Thank you!

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