Left Behind?

My friend had a baby yesterday, and while I’m excited for her, I’m also kind of wondering when I got old enough to have friends with children.

Weddings used to be simple. At first I attended the weddings of relatives, then I watched some of my friends’ older siblings get married. The fact that they were all much older than me made those weddings seem normal. But when I started watching my friends walk down the aisle, I got a little weirded out. I guess I missed the moment I “grew up” because sometimes it floors me to think that Amber is going to be a mom and Megan’s a wife. What does that make me? Well, right now it makes me the only one of the three cousins my age who isn’t pregnant. I always feel weird when I think of that.

It’s not like all my friends are married. In fact, most of them are still single. Still, somehow I feel a little left behind. And while I’m really not anxious to get married right now, I can’t help but wonder when it’s going to happen and who it’s going to be. Some days I think it would be nice to have a husband and kids, but most days I’m perfectly content with the freedom that comes in being single.

Our problem doesn’t lie in our relationship status; it lies in our perspective. If you’re looking at the situation as if you’re being left behind, then that’s what you’ll be. You might be tempted to give up your other dreams and settle for the next guy who comes along… Or you can focus on the blessings of singleness.

As for me, I’m taking my time, living the journey, and waiting for the day God taps me on the shoulder and points out the man He intended for me to marry. Let all my friends tag “Mrs.” on their names; I kind of like being Miss Rebekah for now.

Sacrifices and Dreams

Wouldn't you like to marry this guy?

I used to think that I’d like to marry a man who sings and dances. Now I know it’s a requirement. What happened, you wonder? I moved away from home and realized that not everyone in the world believes that life is a musical. Most families don’t break into spontaneous song and dance routines in the kitchen. (I know, you’re shocked, right?)

The day I walked into my parents’ house over Thanksgiving, I was already singing. It’s a musical house. Something about the atmosphere makes me burst into song, and something about those laminate floors sets a girl’s feet to dancing. I can’t imagine the home I one day make for myself as being any different. There’s just something magical about the way five voices can join into a chorus of “Whiskey in the Jar” as my parents laugh along.

My future husband must sing and dance. This is a non-negotiable. You may be laughing and thinking I’m crazy, but I’m perfectly serious. Although I already wrote a post about trashing my list of things I’m looking for in a husband, there are still a few things that are permanently ingrained in my mind. I simply choose not to dwell on all of them at the same time, or even one of them for very long. Just because I want to marry a man who sings and dances doesn’t mean I’m taking auditions.

I hope you don’t feel like I’m sending conflicting messages by saying, “Trash the list, but know what you want.” If the list works for you, keep it. As long as the things you’ve set in your mind aren’t distracting you from life here and now, keep thinking about them. Just don’t ever compromise. Know the things that are non-negotiable, but don’t think about it all the time. Here’s my encouragement of the day:

Don’t sacrifice the big dreams, because you may have to sacrifice the small; and one day when you look back, you will have sacrificed them all.

The man doesn’t have to have dark hair and the perfect smile, but if singing and dancing is a requirement, don’t even look at that guy who’s barely squeaking through Amazing Grace. It won’t end well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my feet are itching to dance…

What’s the Rush?

I want to know what the world has against being single. I honestly want to know why it seems like everywhere I turn, someone is encouraging me to get married. Why is it that people look at you as if you are somewhat less of a person because you don’t have a spouse? What’s wrong with being single? Why is there such a big push to get married? Don’t get me wrong. I definitely want to be married someday. I simply don’t understand why people act as if I have to get married right now.  

William Booth wrote: “Don’t instill, or allow anybody else to instill into the hearts of your girls the idea that marriage is the chief end of life. If you do, don’t be surprised if they get engaged to the first empty, useless fool they come across.”

William Booth died in 1912 and I guess his words died with him because this is exactly what I see in our society today. It would appear that people think the purpose of a single girl is to find a husband. The single girls feel this way because the rest of the world is all too eager to play the matchmaker. And because of this mentality that has been instilled in our hearts, we are settling far too easily.

I’ve seen many girls give their hearts away to “empty, useless fools.” Somehow, they don’t see that the man is, indeed, a fool. You know the old saying, “Love is blind”? I think the more proper wording would be “Desire is denial.” We’re willing to overlook serious character flaws simply because we so badly want something to work out. I think that accounts for the ridiculously high divorce rate in our country. Denial only lasts for so long. There comes a day when you tire of lying to yourself. And instead of living with their mistake, most people call it quits.

So ladies, don’t let anyone instill in your hearts that marriage is the chief end of life. This isn’t a race to marry before “so-and-so” does. There’s no rush to find Mr. Right. Our season of singleness is meant for so much more than finding a future husband. I’d love to be able to tell you what that purpose is, but the details are something only God knows. Your purpose will be different from mine. Our callings may vary greatly. But you are called to something in this moment. Right now. Please don’t miss that calling because you’re too busy looking for a guy. Mr. Right will come in God’s perfect timing. You must first fulfill the purpose God has for you right now.

You Don’t Marry A Calling

“Do you want to marry a pastor?”

Well, what was I supposed to say to the little missionary lady who smiled up at me so sweetly? I had a feeling she wouldn’t understand that not everyone wants the happy little love story God gave her. I’d like a happy little love story, all right. Just not hers. It’s not that I don’t want to marry a pastor. It’s just that a pastor isn’t the image I get in my mind when I picture my future husband and the ministry we do together. I feel that his ministry is going to be much more subtle. But maybe that’s just me.

I don’t feel called to be a pastor’s wife, but even if my future husband would be called to be a pastor, I would still be called to be his wife. The man. Not the pastor. So the answer is: no, I don’t want to marry a pastor; I just want to marry a man. After all, it’s the man I’ll be marrying. Not the calling. When the dream has died or the calling has been fulfilled, I’ll be left with the man. Not the pastor. It’s the man that I’ll love and live with and care for “until death do us part.” I doubt anyone who is married to a real estate agent puts a lot of thought into the fact that he was called to be a real estate agent. Same goes for the wife of a banker, contractor, or factory worker because when he comes home, he’s just a man and his job at home is to be a husband. So why is it so much different to be married to a pastor? Why is that portrayed as some noble calling? You don’t have to be a pastor to do ministry. God still uses the journalists and the businessmen and even the computer nerds. (I’m not sure how he uses the computer nerds, but I’m sure He can…)

The truth is, I don’t really care what my future husband does as long as it’s what God has called him to do and he’s passionate about it. I’m not going to marry a calling, but a man who is called. And if he happens to be called to be a pastor, so be it. But if I fell in love with the man, I’d even marry a computer nerd. (Just don’t tell that to the sweet missionary lady. She’s pretty set on the pastor idea…)

They Lived

Yesterday, I had one of those days. You know, the kind of day where you fume about  stupid stuff and think things like, “I’m not going to get married for the next hundred bajillion years because I don’t even want to deal with this junk.” It took moving 450 miles away from home for me to realize that guy/girl friendships are difficult to come by. I don’t know if that fact makes me want to hug my old guy friends and apologize for all the years I’ve taken them for granted, or slap them in the face and yell at them for making me believe that our relationships were normal. I think what I felt yesterday was a combination of the two. I could have walked right up to one of them and shouted, “Thanks for being amazing, jerk.”

Well, I did what any girl would do in such a situation. I grabbed a bowl of chocolate ice cream and popped Ever After into the VCR. By the time it was over, I felt a whole lot better about the topic of men and marriage. What I love best about that particular version of Cinderella is that the characters have flaws. Prince Henry was selfish, arrogant, didn’t listen very well, and acted like a jerk when he learned the truth (to which he had previously refused to listen). And Danielle weaved a web of horrible lies then tried to keep the pretense going. What makes the story so enchanting is that they manage to overcome their flaws and find a happy ending. I’ve been told that chick-flicks are not good for a girl’s emotional health, but I needed that movie last night. I don’t think it’s bad to hold out for “Prince Henry” – as long as you’re willing to accept that he does have flaws.

The movie comes to a conclusion with this beautiful line: “And while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.” They lived. And while those words were said to convey the idea that Cinderella was more than just a folk tale, I think that line carries a much greater meaning. Take Prince Henry’s line, for example: “You swim alone, climb rocks, rescue servants… Is there anything you don’t do?”

The character of Danielle De Barbarac did not only live “happily ever after,” but “once upon a time.” She embraced the moments and lived the journey. She may be a fictional character, but she’s still a great reminder that we weren’t meant to live for the “happily ever after.” We were made for the “once upon a time.” “Happily ever after” means that the story is over. No more adventures. No more life. One day, I hope I’ll make it to “happily ever after,” but as for today, I simply want to live.