If it hadn’t been for a snow day, I wouldn’t be here.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, Lawrence, Kansas, had a sizable snow storm. Enough snow fell that the university (KU) decided to cancel classes. But did that snow prevent my dad’s fraternity from throwing a party? Heck no, techno! Although my mom was hardly a “partier,” she joined a few sorority sisters and ventured out to the snow day party. My dad first spotted my mom when she was in the main living room of his fraternity house, standing by the window and wearing a red sweater. The rest, as they say, is history. My parents got married in July after their graduation—two days after my dad’s birthday, so they would both be 22. Adorable, right? A few years later, they moved to Germany and I was born. The best just kept getting better, haha. 🙂
Over the years, I’ve heard and told this story countless times. My sisters and I have grilled both of them for details, and we’ve mined through photo album after photo album looking for pictures of them together. During Christmas break, we even stopped by my dad’s fraternity house and got an impromptu tour. At my sisters’ and my request, our parents showed us that legendary spot where they had met and, surprise, told us the story again.
I’m not the kind of person who often plans my future. I tend to stay in the moment and focus on doing the next thing. But while growing up, I always assumed that my story would turn out like my parents’. I’d go to college, join a sorority and meet an amazing guy sometime along the way. We’d get married after graduation (once we were the same age, of course) and the rest would be history, so to speak.
But that didn’t happen. Yes, I went to college and joined a sorority (and even had a few snow days here and there), but when graduation rolled around, my left hand was still as empty as could be. While I certainly wasn’t the “ring by spring” type and I didn’t attend OSU to get my “MRS Degree,” I always half expected to meet someone there, like my parents had. But the path toward the stage in Gallagher-Iba Arena was the only aisle I’d be walking down that summer.
Some time has passed and so much has happened since then. I “lifed it” (ie, worked the whole summer) at Kamp, attended the Kanakuk Institute, moved to Georgia and started graduate school, and even spent 2.5 months learning Polish. During that time, I’ve met a lot of incredible people and have even been on a few dates. But for one reason or another, nothing has panned out for me in the relationship category. And so here I am, on yet another Valentine’s Day (or as I like to say “Singles’ Awareness Day”) alone again. While God has brought me to a point where I am truly thankful for my singleness, I still can’t help but wonder when my day will come. When someone will look across the crowded room and notice me, and that chapter of my story will begin.
I love to journal. Since I’m a historian, I have a compulsive urge to keep records of my life and the things that happen to me. But over the years, I’ve developed a special love for what some people call “prayer journaling,” which is Christian-ese for exactly what it sounds like: writing out my prayers in a journal. As a writer, I find that this is the best way for me to untangle and make sense of my often convoluted thoughts. And because I invite God into this process, sometimes He even gives me a moment of insight or clarity along the way. So here is a glimpse into my prayer journal a few weeks ago:
“What does faithful singleness look like? What does it mean to wait and watch and have hope? How would it look to be expectantly content? Do I really believe You will write this story? Am I willing to quit planning, to give up my orchestrating, and actually lay down the pen? …
… Do I really trust You with this area of my life?”
Like a song stuck on repeat, that last question came up in my mind over and over again. Do I really trust God with my singleness? And do I really believe He is guiding and will continue to guide my life? The Sunday School answer is a simple “yes,” but the real-life, rest-of-the-week answer is so much more tricky than that. Faith seems easy until you actually need to have it.
And so I returned to that broken-record question, “Do I really trust God with this area of my life?” If I’m honest with myself, the answer is ‘no’ or at least ‘not always.’ But by His grace, I’m trying.
You see, when life doesn’t go the way we’ve planned—relationally or otherwise—we have a few options. We can sit down and mope (or as I like to say, “Valen-pine”), we can do everything in our power to “fix it,” or we can wait patiently on the Lord to see what He has in store. And for me at this point in my (*cough, cough*) very single life, I think that waiting is exactly what He wants from me. Because in the waiting, I am learning to trust and have faith that He cares for me, that He knows me better than I know myself, and that He will fulfill His purpose for me in His own time and way. If that includes an amazing fella, awesome! But if not, then He will be enough for me—and I trust He will make that true. So in the meantime, do I trust Him? And am I living in such a way that shows that I trust Him? Lord, let it be so.
That being said, it’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m not sure what to wear. How about a red sweater? 😉