My Season of Singleness: The Bitter and The Sweet

I just celebrated another birthday; my 38th to be exact.  Thinking back ten years, I’m not sure that I saw my life the way that it is now.  I never thought I’d be 38 and unmarried.  SINGLE.  I say it as if it’s a dirty word.  There are days that I bask in my singleness.  Then, there are days that I loathe my singleness.  SINGLE.  I’m 38, 40 minus 2 (as one of my friends so eloquently put it on my birthday), and I’m single.  I’m unmarried.  I’m not engaged.  I’m single, and I feel some type of way about it! 
The Bitter
I consider myself to be a fairly successful woman.  I have multiple degrees.  I have a stable career.  I own a home.  I own a decent car.  I have excellent credit.  I’m fairly attractive (so I hear), and I’m friendly (more days than not).  Above all that, I love God!  So, why, oh why, am I still single?!  If I knew, I’d tell you…only after I told myself first though.  I’ve never been married.  I’ve never had kids.  Did I mention that I was 40 minus 2?  If I’m honest, I use the word “fairly” in relation to my success because I’m not married, and I don’t have children.  Women are meant to be wives and mothers, and in the words of Sojourner Truth, “ain’t I a woman?”
It’s rare for me to admit that, but I believe in transparency.  Someone, other than me, will be blessed by my transparency related to the bitterness I feel being single.  I get it; being single ain’t leprosy.  It’s not the end of the world.  However, I want to be delivered from it.  I feel like I’ve served enough time in this single game.  There’s a definite difference between being alone and being lonely, but I’m woman enough to admit in my season of singleness, I’ve seen both. 
Being alone gives your mind too much time to process and overthink the season.  It gives you time to analyze why you’re single.  If you’re not careful, the enemy will creep in and fill your head with all sorts of negative thoughts about you and about men.  Being alone makes you sorrowful.  Then, there’s being lonely.  Being lonely makes you pursue and actively participate in relationships that aren’t God ordained (though the flesh tells you they’re fun at the time).  It makes you do things that aren’t befitting of a Christian woman.  It makes you jealous of your family, friends, loved ones and even strangers.  Being lonely makes you, well, bitter.  It can even make you feel like a failure.
Rationally, I know that I’m not a failure.  I know that there are women reading this right now thinking, “Hmmph, I thought she had it together.”  I do, about most things; however, not so much about being single.  I grew up with my mother and father in my home.  In fact, my parents have been married over 40 years.  My parents married shortly after my mother’s college graduation; my father graduated the year before.  Most of their friends have been married about the same amount of time.  Growing up, most of my friends’ parents were married.  So, as a little girl (and for that matter, a young woman) I thought that’s what you do:  you grow up, graduate from college, get a good job, marry a nice man, raise a nice Christian family & live happily ever after, the end.  I’m setting the stage for you to taste my bitter.  My role model of a woman (my Mama) got married at 22 years old; she had her first child at 26 years old.  I’m 38; yes, I’m 40 minus 2.  I’ve never been married; I’ve never had children.  Again, I get that there are worse things to be than single, but right now, this is my thorn.  This is my burden. 
It might be different if I didn’t know what it was like to be in love.  I hear you saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”  Most days I’ll go with you on that, but on my bitter days, I call hogwash.  I hit you with, “you can’t miss what you never had.”  I’ve had my share of non-God ordained relationships.  I’ve allowed men to use me for my time, my body and my finances and leave me with nothing but wasted time, a puddle of tears, a broken heart and bills.  I say “allowed” because you have to own your mess.  Your mess stinks, it makes you feel stupid, and leaves you overall empty, but you still have to own it.  Owning your mess can make you bitter.  After reading this, I know you’re thinking, exactly when and how does this get sweet?
The Sweet
Being single with no kids has allowed me the time to accomplish and do things that I may have felt guilty doing if I were a wife and mother.  I purchased my home at 22 years old, just 10 months after graduating college.  It’s not a mansion, but it’s mine.  I’ve been able to work for a company almost 14 years.  I’ve worked hard and proven myself, and I’ve been favored enough to be promoted not once, but twice.  At 31 years old, I made the decision to go back to school and pursue my MBA.  I worked full time (40+ hours per week), and went to school 2 nights per week.  I earned my MBA in 18 months, in a program that people told me would take at least 2 years.  I’ve been able to advise young sorority sisters, which was a full time job in itself.  I’ve traveled with family and friends.  My time certainly hasn’t been wasted.
I think to myself, had I gotten married at the age that my mother did (the same age I moved out on my own and bought a home), would I be as financially savvy as I am now?  If I was a wife and a mother, I wouldn’t have time to be as career-driven as I was.  I’d have to get home to make a pot roast or meatloaf and check my children’s homework and talk to my husband about his day.  I know for a fact that if I were married I would have never gone back to school.  I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that much time with my husband and my children.  There were a lot of nights I didn’t sleep at all or slept 3 or 4 hours, and went to work on a wing and a prayer.  I would have shied away from being a Graduate Advisor if I was married, and I would have missed the opportunity to be impacted by young women that I was actually charged to impact.  I may not have sailed to Hawaii with my mother and my sister.  I may not have spent time sipping drinks on the beach with friends or enjoying girlfriend road trips where we listen to old school hip-hop & R& B that reminds us of days gone by.   I may not have spent countless hours at FedEx Forum or on the sofa with my Daddy cheering on the Grizzlies or just watching basketball period.  I’d have a husband, and that time would be for him.  I’d have children, and that time would be for them. 
The sweet part of this season is I wouldn’t trade marriage for any of that.  Those are sweet moments in time that you couldn’t give me all the money in the world to miss.  They are moments that I treasure more than anything.  I’m old enough to realize that my parents won’t live forever.  One game is going to be the last game.  One trip is going to be the last vacation.  I’m smart enough to know that my sister and my friends that aren’t married want to be married too.  This means when we do get married, our times together will be limited because we’re going to give our best to our husbands.  I’ve had time to get to know me.  I’ll be prepared to introduce the good, the bad and the ugly parts of me to my future husband.  Even in my imperfection, I’ll be able to love him perfectly.  I won’t have any regrets of what I missed or didn’t get to do because I got married young.  That helps to keep this season sweet and makes the waiting easier.
The Glory in Waiting
The bitter and the sweet of my season of singleness have allowed me the opportunity to get closer to God.  In my bitter days, He’s been a comforter and a companion.  He’s kept the enemy at bay and hasn’t allowed anything more than my feelings to get hurt.  In my sweet days, He’s my joy and my peace.  He’s given me the opportunity to serve Him and to witness to people about Him.  Why am I still single? 
I’m meant to be such a blessing to my future husband that God wanted some extra time with me.  He wanted to make sure that I was a suitable helpmate for my future husband.  He knows that I still need a little more work to be what my future husband needs.  He’s getting me ready.  He’s preparing me, and at the same time, He’s preparing him.  God knows the bitter days that I’ve seen, and He wants my latter to be greater than my past.  He wants to bless me beyond the boundaries of my dreams.  So, He has allowed my future husband and me to experience things and situations in life that were painful when we experienced them, but will, in turn, make us grateful for each other.  God trusts my future husband and me to be witnesses of the benefits of waiting on His plan.  He has plans to prosper us, and not harm us.  So, in the meantime, I wait in faith, while remembering that faith without works is dead.  I’m praying for my future husband, and I’m praying for me as his future wife.  God is pruning me and taking away those things that aren’t suitable for me to be a blessing to my future husband.  Likewise, I pray that He does the same in my future husband.  I’m learning to let go of the bitter and embrace the sweet.  I’m trusting that the tears I’ve sown will reap a mighty harvest of joy.  If you related at all to anything I said, might I suggest you do the same thing.  Habakkuk 2:2 says to “Write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”  And that my sisters, is just what I’m doing. 

My Prayer

Lord I pray that you’ll give me beauty for my ashes.  I pray that what I’ve sown in tears shall be reaped in joy in my due season.  I pray that every disappointment, every rejection, every heartbreak be forgotten because of the memories that my future husband & I will share with each other.  I pray that neither of us be marred by past relationships or by unpleasant memories that we might have with each other.  Help me to not rehash the past.  I claim today that my latter shall be greater than my past & that you continue to bless me beyond what my mind can fathom.  I claim victory over the loneliness that my singleness sometimes causes me.  And Lord, I pray that my future husband doesn’t feel lonely waiting for me.  Prepare me Lord so that I might be ready to be his bride soon.  Through tear stained eyes I profess my love for you right now & have faith that you hear my petition & that you won’t return it void. Amen.
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6 thoughts on “My Season of Singleness: The Bitter and The Sweet

  1. Hang in there, life doesn’t stop at 40. I thought my teens were great, til I was in my 20’s. Thought they were the best til I hit my 30’s. Now that I’m 42, I have discovered that maybe this decade will in fact be better than the last. I don’t have much, I don’t have a big fancy house, but I have a home. I don’t have a new flashy car, but a very reliable SUV I love. I don’t have much, but God did give me four kids to love and raise, and they love me more than anything in the world, and that’s all I really need. God did exactly as he promised and gave me just what I need for my life. I’m sure he is true to you as well.

  2. I am more than touched and encouraged by your words, I am 38, soon in November 12th, I will celebrate my 39th year, and like you I am i sorrows of singleness despite something abit different… It is so sad, but yes, God is my strength and I believe that he has all the reasons in whatever life we go through. God bless you so much, and I pray that he will see you through and make all your wish come to pass and very soon… God words is true and God can be trusted…, His word keeps me going and i forcus on being more connected to him than worrying too much about what I cannot solve, not forgeting the fact that when we pray he hears and will surely answer us. God bless you so much.

  3. Good blessings to you! After reading what wrote Doris wrote so well & true I felt there was nothing I could add but I can. Your article blessed me ~ I’m 53 ~ I’ve walked the road your on not in singleness but childless. It may seem so different to you, you might think, “I could deal with that” but I couldn’t. The journey you described with feelings and questions and struggles sounded so familiar.
    It cut me deep ~ as you quoted Sojourner Truth, “ain’t I a woman?” Ah, so true. I often wondered and asked Him, “this is how you created me! ” A woman, and I’m not feeling much like one. I related to the shame of the women in the Bible. So it is different but oh so much the same.
    I entertained bitterness (unconciously) to the point it crippled me spiritually, mentally and emotionally deny the Lord is more than enough. I struggled but held on. Then God broke me and I discovered the depth of my anger and bitterness. All resulting in me Believing In God but not Believing Him….huge difference! As He healed me, He repeated to me “accept Me as I am ”
    Sister don’t entertain bitterness ~ not for a momrnt. Fight those feelings as satan himself! It is understandsble but I hope to encourage you to hold fast to your First Love and don’t looking past the day at hand. No looking back, no looking forward – those things belong to Him alone. You’ll be in my prayers – that His presence envelopes you, His Spirit guides and enciurages you.
    Remember this life is only a journey but we are on this pilgrimage together – you are not alone. Your God loves you and He understands all & longs to help you ~surrender it all so your soul clings to Him alone.
    With love

  4. I enjoyed reading this post. At the age of 37, I got out of a 5 1/2 year marriage where I have enough reason to believe that my ex was cheating on me from day 1 and was with me only for my money and the money my mother had from my father passing away. I never regret anything I have done in my life because I wouldn’t be where I am today had God not made me face the sometimes horrible decisions I had to make while married or in a relationship with guys prior. I don’t hate men, I just am hard on myself for letting love blind me to what was really going on.

    I thank God every day that I am where I am now even if I do not like my current living situation, to watch over and bless the few good friends that I do have, and to continue to guide me and show me the way that will one day lead me to buying a home for my dog and many cats. I have no desire to date or ever get married again, and I’m sure that if God wants me to re-marry, he’ll more than let me know when that time is right.

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