Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another One Bites the Dust This Instant!

“Another one bites the dust.” When you’re 36 and single, this can only mean one thing. Another one of your friends just got engaged. But hers is not just a one-off, random engagement. No, she is the fifth person in two months to announce that she’s on the fast track to wedded bliss.

The thing about being 36 and never married is that this is nothing new. You’re a pro at this. You’ve been to exactly fifty weddings (with an Excel sheet of dates and bride and groom names to prove it). The waves come and the waves go. You surfed your first wave in your young 20s, when the masses were dropping like flies left and right. It was the college “ring before spring” frenzy. Things simmered down until the mid-20s wave revved up. Thinking that must be everyone, you then enter the late 20s engagements, of friends who thought they were “soooo old” and how did they ever survive their 20s without a man.

Rounding the corner into your 30s, you think you’re safe to say that everyone is married off and surely your turn is coming. But then, you have a problem. You keep making friends with other singletons because they “get it,” and in order to find other singletons, you must dip a few years behind you in age. So your friends become younger. And those friends, like the rest, have a knack for lassoing the opposite sex and scoring a rock for their finger. You continue to say yes to bridesmaid duties, and soon your tally hits 10.

Then comes the mid-30s wave and your 11th chance to be a bridesmaid. The stars of this group include the few remaining lifelong friends who have been riding these waves with you for over a decade. Also now the mix is diversified with friends who are not lifelong singletons, but divorced singletons. Don’t forget, of course, your recently made friends in their late 20s who were freaking out because they thought they would never get married, but now they finally are.

I’m 36 and single. I realize it hasn’t been my time, it’s not my time, and I can’t predict whether it ever will be my time. I am a pro at rejoicing with those who rejoice, rocking $150 bridesmaid’s dresses, and even catching a couple bouquets (officially debunking the myth that you’ll be the next to get married if you catch it). While I can – only by the grace of God – genuinely celebrate with my engaged friends, at the end of the day I still go home to an empty house, with an empty heart, grieving the reality that I never thought would be mine. But even as bleak as the circumstances are, something within me refuses to give up. Defeat is not my middle name.

When the world screams at you that you’re inferior and something is wrong with you, do you get crushed under the load, or do you press into the only One who can give you all the guts, grit and gumption you need press on for one more day? Do you harbor resentment that life doesn’t look like you thought it would, or do you eagerly look to the Mighty Warrior to surprise you at any given moment – be it tomorrow, ten years from now, or perhaps not even until Kingdom come? Do you fan the flame of hope He’s placed in your heart?
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5: 3-4
"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21
"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

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