For many of us, Valentine's Day doesn't always bring with it eager anticipation of candy and cards. For some, it shines a proverbial spotlight on our relationship status, or rather, lack thereof. As a single mom in my thirties, I am admittedly walking through singleness during a time in my life that I never thought I would be.
I missed the whole "true love waits" phenomenon in our contemporary Christian culture by a few years. I had started attending church my sophomore year of high school and by the grace of God, avoided falling into relationships where I was pressured to compromise my purity.
It would be another sixteen years - and one divorce later - that I would find myself single again. In the wake of divorce, I expected things would be different within the realm of adulthood. Instead, I find myself in the midst of a culture that has an eerily resemblance to that of high school, with all of the same pressure and confusion and yet, without parents setting curfews or laying down ground rules. There is the same societal pressure, this ambiguous, unspoken expectation that every woman should be with a man and that if she's not with a man, she should be actively looking for a man and if she's not actively looking for a man, then she is just waiting on the right man. This is prevalent even among in our Christian culture. Everyone is seemingly looking for someone and if you're not, clearly, something must be wrong with you.
It is the story of our culture and of our media and of our animated fairy tales. We buy it hook, line and sinker and we sell it to our children in neatly packaged, strategically marketed paraphernalia. We buy into the belief at a very early age that we need a another person to complete us, that true love with another human being is what will make us whole, that we need someone to write the ending to our story so we can live "happily ever after".
Sisters, can I encourage you today by telling you, He already has.
What if the world has so twisted and deformed the truth of God's love, we have become overly eager to substitute it with romantic love? What if we have this whole thing backwards? What if this is the reason that young women give in to promiscuity?
What if this is the reason we live in a culture plagued by broken hearts and broken homes?
The truth, the real truth, is we do someone to make us whole, to complete us, to write the story of our ever after. But that someone is God in the flesh, Jesus Christ.
Can I encourage you, regardless of your relationship status, to allow the Lord to teach you the same contentedness He had taught Paul, who shared this in his letter to the church at Philippi:
"I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am" (Philippians 4:12, The Message).
On my left hand, I wear a silver band that has Romans 12:12engraved on it. Yes, I am painfully aware that this may seem a bit strange for a thirty-something divorced mother of two children. But the truth is, at this stage in my life, it has much greater implication than its face value. It is not merely a reminder of God's will for sexual purity; but a declaration of my intent to live according to His word, that I will be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer”.
The ring, in and of itself, has turned out to be a great conversation piece. It provides the perfect opportunity to share God's story of redemption in my life and immediately declare both where I am and who I am in Him. The cliché has become truth: true love will wait, because true love is patient.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, those of us who are walking through seasons of singleness have two options: We can lament and long for that which we do not have, or we can rejoice in the only love which satisfies our souls. Can I encourage you, as Paul did, to choose rejoicing? “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:5). He goes on to encourage them not to worry about anything, instead to pray about everything and then (and I might add, only then) “you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
This Valentine’s Day, celebrate love like never before. Rejoice in the Lord, experience His peace and rest in His love.
Nadia Wilder is a Southern girl by birth, saved by grace, mommy of two by blessing, and a writer by heart. She is passionate about her faith, family, photography and encouraging others to live abundantly in Christ. You can read more from Nadia at The Narrow Path Home.