It’s December 12, 2012- 12/12/12. The mathmetician in me loves dates like this. Last year on November 11, 2011 (11/11/11), I thought of how neat it would be if I could be married on 12/12/12. I had it all planned out. I would meet him in December 2011, and we would be engaged this past summer, and I would have a Wednesday wedding just so I could have the 12/12/12 date.
The Wedding Date Dream
I doubt I am the only one with such a dreaming spirit. I have met many women like me. They pick a date based on something- favorite number, movie, etc, and they set that as their wedding day. They have no potential husband- nothing- just a dream.
Why does it always seem like everyone else’s dreams come true? Ever noticed that? I had a friend get married on June 30, 2012. I talked with her months before when her Facebook status changed to “in a relationship” (because we all know it isn’t official until it is on Facebook).
She told me this sweet story of how eight years ago she picked June 30, 2012, as her wedding day. In the summer of 2011, her younger sister got married. My friend, according to reports of women in the area, got really upset. She saw her dream day of June 30, 2012, quickly fading away, and to add insult onto injury, her younger sister got married. It may not be a custom in our culture, but there is just an unspoken rule that says the younger cannot marry before the elder.
Little did she know, God planned on fulfilling that dream. On June 30, 2012 she married the photographer from her younger sister’s wedding. How’s that for a love story?
The Dreamer’s Dilemma
The girlie part of me just swoons over that. How romantic! Isn’t God just so creative and good!
Then I start going through the stage of self-battery. I am not a woman to sit and drown my sorrows in a gallon of cookie dough ice cream. I, instead, sit there and think of all the things I must be doing wrong that are preventing me from experiencing God’s same goodness and creativity.
Everyone has an opinion. Every married woman has a love story and will be quick to share it with you and, in most cases, tell you how to start writing yours. How many times have we heard, “Once I gave it to God, the next day He brought my husband” or “Once I surrendered to missions, He brought my husband.”
I’ve had people give all sorts of advice. Some tell me I need to pray harder. Others tell me I need to pray more specifically and give God a timeline. One person tells me to forget it altogether, and the next person tells me to pursue it like a college degree. One warns against the “UPS Cupid” mentality, while another warns against not being content in Christ. One woman of God tells you to go where the fishing is good, another advises to not be to quick to ‘catch.’
Maybe I just need to pick a date. Yes, that’s it. I’ll just flip through next year’s calendar and pick a date and just tell God that is what I really really really want (because maybe He somehow overlooked that desire of my heart?).
It’s Not Funny
The thing is, I’ve done the date thing before. It started off as an age thing- I wanted to be married at 21. I just turned 27 on Sunday, so it is obvious that didn’t happen. As I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I panicked and started “frog-hopping.” Any available male (frogs turn into princes) in my circle of acquaintance became vital to my happiness. As long as I could entertain even the slightest possibility of maybe someday in the distant future being married to one of them, I was happy. God is amusing, and made sure to marry those men off, just to kill that possibility.
It became a running joke that people who became my friends would quickly get married. I can’t count the number of people who I befriended (male or female) who became engaged/married within months of my meeting them. At first it was cute, and then it got to that point where I said, “Alright, I can’t take it anymore. God, this isn’t funny.” It stopped.
In the middle of all of that, I started Beggar’s Daughter. I thought, “Oh! OK, that makes sense. This is what God was waiting for. Now, I’ll be getting married soon.” Almost four years later, still hasn’t happened.
And it’s hard. I won’t downplay that. There are days, maybe more than I like, that I get frustrated with Him. There are days that, yes, I do wonder if He is punishing me for my past sins. There are days when I myself ask the question so many women ask me, “Will I ever get married with this baggage?”
It’s hard, and there are days that it hurts- emotionally, mentally, spiritually. It takes extra grace to listen as people offer suggestions for all the things I could possibly be doing wrong. It takes patience to listen as people offer to hook me up with their second cousin’s, nephew’s, neighbor’s son’s best friend.
It takes focus.
Not a Date, a God
In my journey of freedom, I have found that so much of it depends on focus. I need to focus on grace, not failure. Focus on Christ, not the sin. Focus on truth, not the lies. Focus on Him, not me. Focus on others. Focus.
All of this struggle comes back to one little place where I am off-focus. Did you catch it back up at the top?
I, instead, sit there and think of all the things I must be doing wrong that are preventing me from experiencing God’s same goodness and creativity.
Since when is God’s goodness and creative defined by marriage? He is good, right? So, can He be any less Himself to me just because I am not married? Is He more good to someone else? Does He change?
No! He does not change. He is good. He does not withhold His goodness from us. It just does not manifest in the same way for all of us. No, I am not married, and when my head is screwed on straight, I am thankful for that. God is so good, and His goodness has been manifest to me through the healing He has brought, and the friendships He has given me. I have more than I had ever dreamed.
I am blessed to be “Aunt Jess” to so many little children who are no blood relation of mine. I am blessed to have a ministry that touches the lives of women around the world. I am blessed to share about His grace and His love and to watch Him change lives. Yes, I would take that any day.
I will confess, though, I do pick a date, just for the fun of it, and every year, when that date passes, I get excited. Why? Because it reminds me that God’s plans are so much better than mine. It reminds me that as creative and romantic as I am, He is far better, and whenever His plans are fulfilled, even if they do not include marriage, those plans will make my imagination look like 1st grade art class, because He is God, and that is who He is.
That is a hope to hold onto far greater than any dream wedding day.