Not Now

wedding ringsI’m not one of those women who has planned her wedding since before starting kindergarten.  I have no idea what flowers I would depopulate from their greenhouses to fill my bouquet.  Once, in 7th grade, I was sure my bridesmaid’s would wear the colors of green that graced a Sprite can.  That’s about as far as any planning went.  The one thing I was sure of?  I would get married.

It was a given.  I was going to be just like my Mom.  I would go to college.  I would learn a lot.  I would fall in love.  We would get married.

I didn’t need to really plan much of a career because I wouldn’t want to be tied down to a place or a job.  I needed to be free to move where my husband’s career would take us.  Once kids started to arrive, work outside the home would be put on hold.  I thought I had it all figured out.

When I hadn’t had a real date in eons and my senior year started to loom on the not-as-distant-as-it-once-was horizon, I knew the plan needed some revising.   I never actually came up with a new plan, except this . . . I would go where God led and do what he put in front of me.

It sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it?  And really it is.  The thing is, it hasn’t been quite that simple.  Well, on the one hand it has.  On the other hand, I never abandoned my search for my own Prince Charming.

I don’t think the desire to share my life is wrong.  I’m not saying that at all.  I  think the preoccupation with the desire has been unhealthy at times.  It consumed a lot of emotion and mental energy as I questioned who I am, what is unlovable or unworthy about me, and sometimes what was wrong with whichever male I thought should being paying closer attention to me.

In the search for the man who would be my husband I’ve done due diligence in checking out lots of ring fingers.  I’ve valiantly attempted  flirting. I’ve crushed.   I’ve matched.  I’ve harmonized.  I’ve tried a few other things to no avail.

I can’t remember a time when God and I didn’t have regular conversations about dating, marriage and their notable absence from my life.  Neither can I remember a time in recent (or distant) history when I thought, “I’m done.  I want to be single for the rest of my life.”   That moment hasn’t happened, but something has changed.

Years of sensing God saying to me, “Do you trust me with this?” finally permeated my soul.  A few weeks ago I realized I truly trust God with my love life.  I realized I’m not wound up about still being single.  I’m not lamenting the absence of a significant other.  I’m not preoccupied with something that may or may not happen at some point in the future.

Do I still want to fall in love and spend my life with a godly man who adores me? YES!  I haven’t given up.  For the moment (and hopefully for many more moments), I’m free from feeling deprived.  I’m content with what is right now.  I look forward to what might be, but today this is where I’m supposed to be.

photo courtesy of Lajla Borg Jensen

I’m participating in Faith Barista’s Faith Jam.  Every week she’s asking other bloggers to “jam like musicians” on a faith related topic.  Today’s post is my riff on “How God is Setting Me Free.” If you’re interested in the notes others added to this Faith Jam, go check out her site and follow the links.)

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25 Responses to “Not Now”

  1. LanaNovember 11, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    I love u. You are worthy of much love and are loved by so many over this globe. I’m glad to be among those so lucky… and prayerfully agree with you for a partner for you (and me) in His future and plans. He does know best. He is enough. Thanks for sharing!

  2. SherylNovember 11, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Thanks, Lana. I appreciate and love you. He is enough—for now and always . . . even if He brings another he. 🙂

  3. Melissa BrothertonNovember 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    “For the moment (and hopefully for many more moments), I’m free from feeling deprived. I’m content with what is right now. I look forward to what might be, but today this is where I’m supposed to be.”

    This is applicable in so many areas in life! Our situations might me different, but this is a “me too” for me.

    Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. They are precious.

  4. JoyNovember 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Being content with where God has us, and for how long He has us there, is such a challenge. Thank you for sharing your lessons along the way — I can relate to them, though they apply to different circumstances.

  5. SherylNovember 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    It’s true—it’s quite a transferable lesson, isn’t it? Contentment needs to be the umbrella for the daily rains. It definitely is one size fits all; we just have to decide to walk with it and not next to it.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Melissa and Joy . . . it makes me happy in my contentment.

  6. Faith Barista BonnieNovember 11, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    “For the moment (and hopefully for many more moments), I’m free from feeling deprived. I’m content with what is right now. I look forward to what might be, but today this is where I’m supposed to be.”

    I agree with Melissa. It applies to me right now! And I’m married! 🙂

    I got married in my 30’s after getting to the same place you’re at — trusting God isn’t depriving me.. even if at moments it feels that way. I even actually got to the point I BELIEVED I had the gift of singleness because I did grow very content!

    What a beautiful place you’ve come to… it’s earned an intimacy with God that no one can even compare to.
    Powerful post. I love how you write your story, God’s and encouragement throughout each line. It’s from your heart and your faith — and I love it’s in our jam this week!

    Go, Sheryl!

  7. SherylNovember 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Thanks, Bonnie! I’m not sure I’ll ever think singleness is a gift, but you never know! Thanks for the encouragement to keep writing. Transparency isn’t easy, but it is important.

  8. TirzahNovember 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. You have an amazing perspective! You are an incredible person. I long for you more than any other person I know to be married. Mike and I pray for you daily (me sometimes more). Nothing else I can say would be anything you haven’t heard (and hopefully you’ve heard all of the messages above before many, many times!). Just know that there are three more people who would do anything to see this dream reality for you (Well, Sarah doesn’t really know she’s in on the plan!). Love you!

  9. RuthNovember 11, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    I love your ability to share your heart and hold God’s gifts with an open hand. His love for you and your love for Him comes through in your writing and in your life. Keeping on going!

  10. CherylNovember 12, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    Soul, I’m so glad. You sound as though you’re in such a good place. And there are lots of things I envy about your life, you know. You’re the best. And I’m with you in my heart. Miss you.
    Love,
    Soul

  11. BrendaNovember 12, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    Sheryl-

    You are dear to so many…you have blessed and been blessed by so many kids and families. I too am grateful for the life God has prepared for me to this point. Would I love a surprise Prince Charming? Yes, but I think in my human reasoning that I would like to wait until my retirement years. I’ll just embrace the years as they come cherishing those I have intimate relationships with and enjoying those whose life touches mine for a season.

    Life is full of God’s goodness!

  12. MalloryNovember 12, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    This is me being totally selfish, but I know that one reason I just fell in love with you is your singleness. For me, I saw hope in someone else (who still wants to be married) but God had called them to something else first. When it looks like everyone else has found their prince charming I was always encouraged by you Sheryl. I still am! I know God let our lives cross for a reason. 🙂

    Love you friend and am looking forward to seeing you soon.

  13. SherylNovember 12, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Tirzah, thanks for the ongoing encouragement. Thanks for praying—and for getting Mike and Sarah in on those petitions! 🙂

    Mom, what can I say? I learned from you!

    Soul, I’m glad it comes through. You know, every day has it’s moments, but for the most part there are very few of THOSE moments. Wish I could spend more time with you. Come to Hungary!!!!!

    Brenda, life is full of God’s goodness. There’s a time to lament the losses and then it’s time to open our eyes and see what God is doing. I remember hanging out in Daoukro one weekend and you said you were pretty sure you’d be someone’s second wife. Those words have stuck with me. I’m glad you’ve been part of my life in so many ways for more than a few years.

    Mallory—I know you’re right where you’re supposed to be and you couldn’t be there like this had Prince Charming really swooped in and swept you off your feet. Thanks for the encouragement. I know it’s going to be hard to leave (for a time), but I’m looking forward to seeing your face without the benefit of skype!

    Everyone—thanks for the kind words and the encouragement. You’re priceless.

  14. loreenNovember 13, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    Oh, Sheryl!
    You are in such a good place.
    Our silly culture with all these rom-coms and Disney happily-ever-afters really start conditioning our girls to think that is what is in store for us. Your story is so much more beautiful than any Cinderella/Price Charming tale, because it is real and it is a life surrendered to our FOREVER Prince!
    You have blessed me (and I am sure a lot of other people)!
    Thank you!

  15. judyNovember 17, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    What happened to you? How did you rupture you achilles? Praying for your surgery……will you get recovery time at home after? Time to write and update us all on your life? Sure miss you!

  16. SherylNovember 17, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    Thanks, Loreen! It is a good place. As annoyingly one note as our culture can be, I think it can be turned around. If we can point girls, as you say, to our Forever Prince, the stories ring true. It’s just going to take a lot of intentionality.

  17. SherylNovember 17, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Oh, Judy! It has been a saga . . . it started by missing a step while I was in NY. My ankle was declared sprained. I saw my orthopedic guy who took more xrays and found bone chips, but then sent me to his partner who does ankles. Then he sent me for an MRI. Then the MRI people called and wanted more images further up my leg. Then yesterday the doctor said it’s surgery as soon as possible—which was either today or next Tuesday. Since I wasn’t ready to be immobile for the next 6 weeks starting today, we settled on next week. Sigh. Hopefully I will have much more time to write to you. 🙂 Hopefully I won’t be too drugged up!

  18. JakeNovember 18, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    I recently broke it off with the girl I thought I was going to marry. She’s a wonderful woman- absolutely incredible, but we wanted different lives. We did everything we could to honor God in our relationship, even in parting ways. Did I mention she was the first serious girl in six years?

    Days later someone literally said to me, “Oh Jake, it must be hard being ‘old and single’.” (I’m only 26)
    I know it’s coming too, but my “complaint” comes from the social pressure I experience in my community to “hurry up and get married” as if I’m an incomplete person without a wife.

    That was probably too much 🙂 Either way, great post. You’ll get there!

  19. SherylNovember 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story, Jake. And if you’ll allow me—you are NOT old! Truly, truly, truly—you are not. Take this chance to serve God in radical ways that may be more difficult with a wife. I totally know the pressure. I know the pressure from others and from myself. You’re complete. You’re young. Write lots and have fun! And thanks for the encouragement. I know I’m right where I should be; some days are still challenging, but not devastating. Persevere, my new friend, persevere!

  20. JennyNovember 23, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    i love your vulnerability in this post and how you have shared your journey with us. So cool. So much of this resonates with me so strongly because I have traveled a similar path… from longing to hoping to giving up to surrendering and resting 🙂 love that 🙂 thanks for sharing friend!

  21. SherylNovember 24, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    Ahhhhh, Jenny. I knew you could relate. 🙂 You’re so welcome. It has been inspiring to witness your journey.

  22. TanyaFebruary 3, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    “I’m not lamenting the absence of a significant other. I’m not preoccupied with something that may or may not happen at some point in the future. . .I’m free from feeling deprived. I’m content with what is right now. I look forward to what might be, but today this is where I’m supposed to be.”

    Yes, yes, YES! Thank you! I spend most of my time in this place, and struggle mostly with how others talk to/about me, with this sort of assumption that i’m upset about being single or that it’s something I want to “fix” and require sympathy over. That is just so not the case! God is good. Always. I don’t want to mess with that by demanding something that may not be what’s best for me. I love the freedom and time I have for ministry as a single woman. I still presume I will get married some day but I really love the life I’m leading, and have no desire to change it unless God leads me in a different direction.

  23. SherylFebruary 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Ahhhh—Tanya. I think we’re going to be good friends! Of course I have my moments when I’m ready to disown all of these words, but they’re rarely more than moments. I know I couldn’t do ministry like I do and like I’ve done if I were married. I don’t think it would exclude me, it would just look different. I’m convinced this is how my life needs to be right now. I know it could change (for many reasons) pretty quickly, but I choose to see what’s right and good about today as it is. Thanks for stopping by, reading a lot, and commenting! I love, love, love to know what thoughts are provoked or resonate with what I’ve written.

  24. KatyFebruary 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    mmm, trusting God isn’t depriving me…that’s where I so want to get my heart to…thanks for putting it to words!

  25. SherylFebruary 3, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    You’re welcome, Katy. I’ve said it, but I have to remind myself more than I’d like to.

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