“Yeah, so me and Jazmin are dating.”
With my hand reached out to return a library book to the shelf, the words left me frozen for a couple of reasons. First, as a sophomore in high school, I wasn’t dating anyone, nor had I ever dated anyone. And second, I knew the guy who had made such a bold statement.
When I’d entered our high school’s library that morning to peruse the shelves, I’d noticed him and a friend sitting at the computers a few yards away from the historical fiction section. I’d shared a few classes with him, but never once had I been on a date with the guy. I’m not sure I’d even had a real conversation with him.
My head spun, trying to make sense of the conversation. What is this? Does he like me? Does he want to date me? Is he trying to get my attention? Fearing he might come over and talk with me, I abandoned my search for a book and hightailed it out of there. I was sixteen at the time, had never dated, and really didn’t have a whole lot of experience with guys.
But I was also intrigued. For the rest of the year I kept an eye on him like a true creeper. I wasn’t really interested in him, but the idea that he was interested in me was enough to make me pay attention. There were about a dozen lockers separating ours, and I would casually (or not so casually) glance down the row to see if he was watching me. But nothing ever came of it. If he liked me, he never approached me.
At the end of the year I was serving with National Honors Society as an usher at graduation. I knew his brother was senior that year and kept my eye out for the one who said we were dating. I wanted him to notice me in my cute skirt and flowery top. I wanted him to pay attention to me and finally explain what he’d said in the library.
Shortly before we closed the doors to start the ceremony, I spotted him down the hall at the other set of doors. My shoulders drooped a little, because I knew he wasn’t going to see me. And in that instant, a still, small voice echoed quite loudly in my heart. “It’s not yet time.”
While I was surprised to hear the voice, I didn’t need to ask what those words meant. I knew. It’s not yet time for a relationship. It’s not yet time for a guy to notice me the way I wanted.
It’s not yet time…
I saved that experience in my journal. I had heard God speak to me, and His words provided unexpected comfort. That evening as I processed, I thought about how I had surrendered that part of my life to Him. I told God I didn’t want normal when it came to relationships. And those words, that moment, felt like a confirmation that He was doing just that–He was writing my love story. If it was not yet time, He knew when it would be time, and I would be content and trust Him.
Nearly six years later, the words felt like a vague memory. My heart was aching and I was a volcano about to blow her top. I was a senior in college and had spent four years watching people couple up, while I stood on the sidelines waiting. Actually, forget standing, I felt benched.
With hands stuffed deep into my coat pockets, I forged my way across campus, mentally fuming. I don’t get it, God. This isn’t fair! I’ve done everything right. I’ve waited on you to do what you said you would do, and nothing has come of it!
As I vented my frustrations, that same voice broke through my anger and spoke truth. “You blame me for your singleness.”
It wasn’t a question, and it was true. I sucked in a breath of cold air as tears filled my eyes. I did blame God for my singleness. How could I not? I had given my heart to Him, handed over the pen, asked Him to write my love story, and what had He done with it? Nothing! He had set the pen aside and written nothing for me!
Though I’ve tried to console myself over the years and believe that God has been doing things behind the scenes–putting pieces in place and shifting hearts–it’s been hard to not give in to the hurt. Relationships are important to me, and while I have many great relationships with friends and family, I’ve yet to experience that relationship I’ve dreamed about all my life.
I had believed God was holding out on me.
But I was wrong.
When we surrender something to God, we have to trust that what He does with that thing is for our good and His glory.
Recently He’s been changing my perspective on things, allowing me to see a hint of what’s really been happening over the last decade since I asked Him to give me a crazy love story.
In all sincerity, I feel like God stuck me in a bubble. I feel like my prayer gave Him permission to wrap me in this bubble of grace. Maybe there had been other guys who were interested, but were driven off, not by something I did or didn’t do, but because God’s plan was at work. Because it was not yet time.
He was not holding back from me; He was protecting me.
In my weakest moments when I want to shake an angry fist at God and give up on this whole waiting thing, I think about how my life might be different. I think about all the heartache I’ve avoided because I’ve waited. I think about all the ways I’ve been able to grow in my love and trust of God because I didn’t have a relationship to distract me.
And when I’m able to see things from that perspective, I’m extremely humbled.
Singleness is no longer a scarlet letter to me now. It is no longer a mark of shame or rejection. I still have days when I want to be married, when I want someone to hold me tight and love me. But those days are becoming less and less the norm. I’m learning to embrace the place I’m in, still fully trusting that the Lord has a man for me, and He is orchestrating a great love story. I’m claiming joy in this place and allowing God to heal this deeply cut wound of rejection by receiving the love He so lavishly pours out on me.
I am loved.
I am held.
I am cherished and treasured and chosen.
All of that in the Lord.
I am enough. Where I am is enough.
He is enough.
When we realize that, that’s the place where healing is found, no matter the wound.
Live in that truth.
Live in His love!
Related: That Same Old Wound