Wednesday, January 02, 2013

All the Single Ladies

I have been watching the awakening happening for some time now.  I remember my daughter’s  14 birthday.  She wanted to have a “mixed”  party.  I remember watching her shyly inviting a group of boys to our home for the gathering, and then marching down the street to the Revlon store to buy the long-awaited make-up.  It was a rite of passage we had set in place years before as a moment when she would pass from the world of little girls to that of young ladies.
Four years later, the tones are more serious, but the heart is the same.  Most of us ladies—apart from the occasional peaceful soul—have to accustom ourselves to a certain ache and longing that is part of being a single woman.  I wish it wasn't so, but my memories are so clear.  There were days when I just had to fake it to get through.  There were plenty nights in tears, crying out to God for relief from the feelings that were customary to those years for me.  Even worse, my single lady friends all assure me that it doesn't ever really go away.  We are wired for romance, to respond to a single noble man who recognizes our value and beauty.  And to make it worse, we have precious little control over it. 
We Christians don’t talk much about this…but it is there.  I want my daughter to be able to function, to pursue her personal goals, to be a focused, mature person, but I can’t promise her that there won’t be dark days when her heart is breaking and she has to take the final anyway, or has to go to work, even if that means a few trips to the bathroom to wipe her eyes and try to pull herself together.
 I know there is an option.  She can try to turn it all off, and some do. Some of us Christian parents, in the interest of protecting their hearts, encourage our daughters to ignore what is happening in their hearts, and instead of keeping them from pain, we end up training them to be distant with men.  I don’t ever want my daughters to turn their hearts off to the possibility of finding love, to the beauty of walking through life committed to loving someone and knowing someone else as deeply as is possible in a good marriage. We can't be slaves to our wayward hearts, but neither can we pretend like they are machines controlled by pressing a few buttons.  Love is crazy, messy, and sometimes defies logic or circumstances. Love makes life rich, even when it is at the same time disappointing. 
All the single ladies (and even the married ones!) have to walk through this and learn to pour out our feelings at Jesus’ feet.  In my single days---days in which I really didn't believe I would ever marry—I started imagining myself dancing with the Lord in a white dress.  I had to make Jesus the one who met those needs.  Even when I knew the ache would return later, I could pour out my feelings and find relief.  Now my girl is joining the single ladies, and she will have to learn to do the same thing.  I am so thankful that He is able to keep her, the Lord of crazy, risky love.  He understands.