Living in a Castle or Life as a Single?
- Gena Suarez
- 2003 5 May
Frankly, I did not care to serve my Lord as a single...My nose was poking over the fence into the "young married people's camp," wistfully gazing and dreaming. I was rendered useless for the Lord, and didn't even realize it.
When I was single, I had some very strange ideas. By the age of 16, all I ever thought about was marriage. A man, the perfect man, would rescue me from my lonesome existence, whisk me off my feet to a faraway castle, and we would live out our dreams together watching sunsets and eating strawberries dipped in white chocolate. No longer would I be bored. After all, being alone meant that I was stuck...with just me.
Do you know that as a teen I actually made a list-slash-prayer card and then in some weird, ritualistic, sing-song way, burnt it in the trash as a little offering to the Lord? It was from me to God and was no less than my "order for a man" -- right off the menu, I suppose. Praise God that He doesn't abandon us in our absolute immaturity and absurdity. I cringe when I look back.
When I was 18 years old, I shamelessly begged God for a man I could call my own. I prayed relentlessly. God, please bring me a man. Here is a list for you, Lord. He needs to be strong, and a Christian of course. Be sure that he is handsome and oh, tall would be nice. Can he have a good job? Oh, and as you know Lord, I don't care much for housework. Can he be one of those men who works hard both in and outside the home? Just a good smelling, hard working, tall, handsome Christian. Indeed, this will be all that I need to be happy. I just want to be happy.
At 19, I still longed for my prince. Life was a drag, thought I, without someone to call mine. Besides, it would be neat to have children, something to cure me from my incessant boredom...of me.
Still 19, I met Paul at one of those college youth groups, the kind that you attend in search of a mate...a Christian mate, of course. Now, I'll say here up front that my view of that group and Paul's were completely different. He was much older than me, almost the same age as the leaders. He was there to study God's word, counsel the younger men if needed, and support our leaders in their evangelistic efforts. Paul was not there looking for a mate. In fact, he was 30 years old and felt that the Lord had probably called him to remain single. He knew that God might use him more effectively for the Kingdom as a single man, and was content in his position of service. There were times, naturally, that he was lonely, and occasionally he prayed that if it were his Father's will, perhaps it would be very good to have a wife. He did not pray, however, for a somewhat spastic, 19 year old, desperate young woman.
I was tired of being single my whole life. Why didn't God take my little "prayer card burning thing" seriously? I was a real woman now, deserving respect and should be married. What was wrong with me? Why sit around and wait another decade? A 19-year-old "woman" on a mad mission to marry...Yikes.
My eyes sank into Paul like a dart on a target board one night at a college youth holiday event. Bull's eye. There he was. Handsome, strong looking, a godly man nose deep in God's word. What more could I need? My single days were OVER. I set out to make him mine.
God is very humorous at times. Once in a while we get just what we beg for, yet upon receiving the gift, it turns out to be completely different than what we had envisioned. Other times, He simply says, "No way," and we do not get the thing we're crying for. In my case, shockingly to me, I got exactly what I asked for. Paul and I had a big wedding (the story of our courtship is beyond ridiculous - that poor man!) and by about the third week of marriage, we were pregnant. Before I knew it, I was knee deep in four children, a husband and a whole lot of responsibility.
Praise God that my Heavenly Father knows me so well. I am thankful for what I have today because it is priceless. However, shame on me for tossing the immense blessing of being single away from me like a dirty rag.
I finally received that over which I had obsessed. And up until the very day I walked down that aisle, all I could think about was HOW on earth I could get out of being single. Sadly, I never once took occasion to even think about what I should be doing as a single woman, a valuable tool of God. Frankly, I did not care to serve my Lord as a single, and subsequently, God didn't use me because even though physically I was in the "singles camp," I was never there in spirit. My nose was poking over the fence into the "young married people's camp," wistfully gazing and dreaming. I was rendered useless for the Lord, and didn't even realize it.
Could I have been of use? Oh, my, yes! To be single is a great opportunity for service to our King. Rather than pining away thinking I was missing out on the best in life, I could have been leading countless people to Christ, or at the very least assisting in this Great Commission. But I failed.
1 Corinthians 7:28 (NIV)
But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
God has let us know under no uncertain terms that this life is stressful enough as it is without tossing marriage into the mix. Marriage is a beautiful blessing and I will never look back, particularly because I am one of the happy ones. Paul is my prince of fifteen years and our castle is the home we make together everyday. But I can't help but think back to my wasted days in waiting. What if God's plan would have been for me to remain single, just serving Him, always? As a 34 year old single woman today, what would I be like? Would I be bitter and lonely, old before my time, still completely steeped in my pursuit of self-fulfillment?
To be discontent with my status, whether married or unmarried, is the same as shaking my angry fist at God. By neglecting my call as a single, I did just that. Praise God that He is merciful, patient and loving.
It's not we who decide what fulfills us. It's our Father. He has a plan. My unmarried sisters in Christ are doing great things. While I (sometimes joyously, sometimes not!) am home with my four children, doing dishes with one hand and changing a diaper with the other, they are off in the fields, reaping a glorious harvest. Before me, at age 19, were opportunities which I carelessly threw away; I was too busy gawking over the fence at the married girls. And those opportunities I once had are gone as are the eternal blessings which would have accompanied them.
Being married is wonderful. Being single is just as wonderful. Praise the Lord who cares deeply about our every desire, our every need, and who will continue to work out His plan for our life despite our shameless pleas for what we think is best for us. Praise the Lord for our single sisters in Christ. They are accomplishing great things in His name, advancing the Kingdom of God for His glory.
Gena Suarez is the co-publisher/editor in chief of The Old Schoolhouse(tm) Magazine. She and husband Paul Suarez, the other "co" reside in the town of Cool, California with their four homeschooled children, Paul, Luke, Levi and Julia. For comments on this piece please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright, 2003. The Old Schoolhouse(tm) Magazine. Article used with permission.