In Russia I had the privilege of developing deep, close relationships with quite a few Russian women. Some of them were my roommates. I got to see firsthand what it was like to trust God when there were none of the safety nets that come with living in a Christian culture. I got to see how some of those safety nets were evidence of God's grace in our lives in the USA and how, on the other hand, they can become idols that we give our hearts to instead of giving our hearts to Him.

So how are their lives so different? Let me describe just a few of the realities my single friends faced. What do you do with a desire to be married to a godly man of character when the only men you know fitting that description are, well, already married? What choice will you make when your grandmother tells you that she never wants to see your face again until you can call yourself a wife to some man—any man? And what do you tell your doctor when he tries to convince you that all of your medical ailments will be resolved if you will just go get laid? I didn't make any of these situations up. They are real examples that my dear friends faced. If it's hard to trust God's goodness in the midst of your singleness in America, it makes me realize that my Russian sisters who walk closely with Jesus and trust him with their whole lives truly are heroes.  

So now we fast-forward to the present. It is 2011. As of April of this year, I once again live among the throngs of beautiful Christians in Dallas, Texas. I am 39 and, yes, still single. Am I a bitter, disillusioned, recovering idealist?  Do I feel like God tricked me? Have I lost all hope that I will live out my years with some Prince Charming?  

Like anyone who lives with a deferred hope, I can find myself in a battle with self-pity. Most days, I am grateful for the life I have lived and am living and I wouldn't exchange it for a guy with a glass slipper in his hand. The rich abundance of this life that I never would have imagined for myself is a lavish gift. I have in no way felt cheated by the Lord. I would still love to find a like-hearted companion who longs to strategically live a life of passionate abandon in following Jesus and calling others to join us. It's not a desire I am entitled to having fulfilled, but it is an ever-present motivation to lean into Jesus and trust in his goodness.

The choices I have made to serve God with my life are by his grace and in response to his love. I haven't made them to earn his love, for I never could do enough to earn it. Unmet desires give extra cause to press into him and maybe that's why his best for me is not to give me everything I want. If that is so, I love him even more for it because he has given me himself and that really is more than enough.  

 

Cheryl Boyd is on staff with Cru where she currently serves in launching a new ministry among young professionals in cities across the country. For 12 years she called Russia home as she helped give national leadership to the campus ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Follow Cheryl on Twitter: @cheryloboyd.