Date Night and Alone.
February 27, 2014
Deuteronomy 30:19, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore chose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
It’s the second Saturday night of the month. Date night at church. My husband is working. Again.
I take a shower. Blow dry my hair. Put on my make-up.
What am I going to do?
I have no plans. Ironically, my kids do. I have to pick them up at 10pm. That means I have to kill three hours on a Saturday night. And my husband is working… Did I mention that?
Earlier in the week, I made plans. They fell through. So, here I stand in front of my bathroom mirror all dressed up with no place to go. A few emotions run through me. 1- I don’t want to be alone tonight. 2- I don’t want to be a third wheel. 3- I thought these days were over. 4- I think this is going to be good for me.
For years I thought when I got married I would never have another unwelcomed night solo, but with a husband who works a lot, it happens. Even when I don’t want it to.
In the past two weeks, I have gone out to lunch by myself. Twice. I sat in church alone. Twice. I was the fifth wheel at a dinner party one Saturday night. The next, I went to see the movie, “Lone Survivor” by myself (kind of ironic as I look back.)
Being single for so many years taught me how to be comfortable in my own skin. To go it alone. And to enjoy every moment of it. And so I did. But- it wasn’t always this way. Years ago when I had nothing to do or my plans fell through, my regular day would quickly turn into a miserable night. I would sit at home and think about the life I wished I had. I would end up being the star of my own, personal pity party decorated with crying until my eyes hurt and eating until I wanted to throw up.
Those days are long gone. But it isn’t because I finally have a family and never have a lonely night. It’s because I learned how not to let my emotions rule my life. Just because I feel a certain way, doesn’t mean I have to live in that place. I can choose to live above my feelings by focusing on the good things in my life. By focusing on what I do have, and not what I don’t.
It took years of practice for me to learn… It’s up to me to choose life or death. Much of this choice happens in my thoughts. Before, I didn’t know I could choose my thoughts. Now, I realize I can choose what to think on and what to push out of my mind. I can choose joy or destruction. Happiness or sadness. Peace or worry. Faith or doubt.
This weekend served as a great reminder for me. Life is full of choices. Our choices make all the difference in how we live. Now, rather than sitting down feeling sorry for myself on a Saturday night, I make a choice to get up and do something.
Every time I choose life, my choice pays off.
Where is MY Valentine?
February 14, 2014
Psalm 31:14-15, But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands.”
For years, the mere thought of Valentine’s Day made me want to cry. The best solution my love sick heart could think of for dealing with this dreaded day– was to curl up in bed and sleep– for at least a week. Of course, that was unrealistic. So, instead, I rode the rollercoaster of emotions brought on by this February day. Every year.
I had spent years longing to meet the love of my life. I watched one friend sail off into wedded bliss after another. Some were starting families. Others were traveling to exotic places with their new hubbies. But, I… was still home. Single and alone.
Then, a couple weeks before V-day, 2000, in walked Tom… I felt a spoonful of hope rise up on the inside of me. “Maybe he – is him. Maybe this is the man I have spent hours and hours praying for. Maybe he is the one I have been waiting all these years to meet. Could this year be the end of my single life?”
I hoped so.
It only took a couple of dates to discover that though Tom was a very nice guy, he definitely was not the man I had been dreaming about. Of course, relating “he just isn’t the one,” was not reason enough for my friends and family to accept. So I came up with a excuse not to like him. I distinctly remember telling my sister –“He’s a great guy. But… he drives a ‘car’. And he… isn’t a good golfer.”
That’s all you’ve got?
To complicate things, as I grabbed my keys to leave the office on Valentine’s Day, there sat a dozen lavender roses on my desk. From Tom. My face smiled, but my insides turned.
“What is the matter with me?” I thought. “Here is this great guy- who is kind and thoughtful. Nice looking and a good dresser. He is a good conversationalist and even has a good job. Now, he has sent you flowers on this dreaded holiday. And the best you can come up with is ‘He drives a car and isn’t a good golfer.’”
“What is wrong with me?”
“Am I afraid of commitment?”
“Should I settle for someone who is good, but not great, to me?”
“Am I looking for something that doesn’t exist?”
Thought after thought ran through my mind. After all, I wasn’t getting any younger. My clock was ticking and time felt very short.
“Where are you, God?”
“What is taking so long?”
“Am I going to be single? Forever?”
It was another two years before I met my husband. In that time, God did an amazing work in me. I became a great wife. To a man I had never met.
I learned how to not sweat the small stuff. I learned how to get off of the roller coaster and live an emotionally stable life. I learned the art of living one day at a time with a hope and expectation for a brighter future. I learned patience. I learned perseverance. I learned self-discipline. I learned how to depend on God in ways I never needed to before. I learned how to trust Him with my heart’s desires. I learned of His faithfulness and unfailing love. I learned how to appreciate – in an extremely intense way – the husband I did not yet know… All of which have had a huge impact on my life. My husband’s life. My children’s lives. And the lives of my grand and great-grandchildren who have not yet been born.
My waiting was not in vain.
Through those years of waiting, I learned that God’s timing is perfect. That His promises are true. And that when you entrust your life and dreams to the Maker of the Universe, the Maker of the Universe moves heaven and earth for you.
If you had asked me back then, “Are you ready?”, my answer would have been emphatically “YES!” When I look back now, I know that is not the truth.
I am the wife I am today because of the work God did in me through those years of waiting. So, this Valentine’s Day, I exhort you… Your waiting is not in vain. Your day will come. You are a bride… whether you have met your groom yet or not.