When The Nightmare Becomes A Gift

When I was a little girl, I remember watching Princess Diana marry Prince Charles on the television when I was two years old. Watching Diana walk down that cathedral aisle with her elegant wedding dress with a twenty-five-foot-long train enraptured me. Being a toddler, I was usually a squirmy playful little girl, but this time, I sat still in front of our television with my blanket laid on top of my head as though it were a veil. My parents think this was the cutest memory, but I now notice how early the desire to be a bride was. Looking back on it now it astonishes me that I was dreaming of being a bride at the early age of two years old. 

My mom and dad met when they were in college at a small school in Indiana. They were married right out of college and soon were pregnant with me. Growing up, I wanted to have a similar story to theirs. I loved that my mom stayed home with my sister and me. I looked at my parents’ marriage with great respect and wanted something like it for myself.

What I never dreamed of was being single well into my thirties.

I came close to realizing my dream of being married right out of college, and I even met the guy at the same college my parents had attended. He was also working towards the same degree my father had graduated with. I believed I was well on my way to duplicating what my parents had, but I found out God had a different plan. 

Looking back on it now, I can understand what God was doing. I can see how God saved me from myself. I know now that what I thought was best for me was not the best for me at all.

What I then considered my worst nightmare was one of the best gifts God could have given me.

At the time, I was scared and in deep pain due to the loss of my first love and the death of what I thought my life would look like. Yet God had a different and more beautiful plan than I could have ever dreamed of for myself. 

It’s funny how the Apostle Paul talks about singleness being a gift, and yet today, I believe singleness is considered by most to be anything but a blessing. I know that I scoffed at the idea of it being a gift.

If anything, I felt betrayed by God for forcing me to be a single young adult.

In some ways, it hurt my pride because I had this belief that the term “single” came along with the stigma that I was unwanted. It took me much wrestling with God before I began to see the gifts of singleness and that I was a gift as a single person.

I couldn’t see the gift of it until I began to realize that I didn’t trust God’s goodness and sovereignty in my life.

When I finally began to believe that God was good, He truly loved me, and that He knew what He was doing with my life circumstances, I finally began to ask God to show me how my singleness was good. I began to allow myself to see the good in my relationship status where before, I had just fought against what I had never wanted for myself.  

It’s hard to reconcile our deepest desires with what God does in our lives when what He chooses for us is the opposite of what we want. I, at some point, realized that my fighting God about His will for that season was only hurting me. It was making me angry, bitter, and blind to the incredible gifts He was giving me through my singleness. Surrender and trust in God go hand in hand.

There is something precious about learning the practice of surrendering to God’s good plans for our lives. When we choose to walk in the belief and knowledge that God is trustworthy, we can then surrender to His plans for our lives. It doesn’t mean we have to ignore the desires of our hearts, but it means that we are finally able to hold the desire out to God with open hands.

Surrendering our desires doesn’t mean that the dream dies; it means we give control of the plan to God and allow Him to breathe life into it in His perfect timing if and when He sees best for us. 

What I began to find was that Paul was right. Singleness is a gift. It has its blessings that I began to enjoy genuinely. I knew then that I would never regret my years of singleness after I got married. I look back on that season of life with such deep fondness. Those years had their hardships, but they also hold some of the sweetest memories of my life.

I can see God’s fingerprints all over those days of my life. God gave me beautiful experiences that I would never have done if I were married. He gave me amazing friendships and jobs to encourage college students in their singleness. Because I was single, I could speak things to them that they knew were coming from someone who understood their loneliness and struggles with singleness.

I had something to offer the world precisely because of my singleness. 

My friend, I want you to know that singleness has more value than you may realize. The question is, are you willing to look for it? Are you ready to enjoy it? Are you open to trusting that God sees you, loves you, and is only giving you what He knows is best for you today?

Take some time today to look at the gifts God has given you through your season of singleness. Write them down and take heart that God is working for your good out of His magnificent love for you. Ask Him to help you see it if you can’t see it on your own. He will open your eyes if you ask Him.

– Evonne