Sometimes I forget what it felt like to be single. Sure, I remember the dates — the good, the bad, the non-existent. I remember driving places alone in my little blue-green Corolla (no car seats involved) to meet friends for movies or late-night coffee dates. And I remember crawling into my empty bed at day’s end and waking up to a totally silent house.
I remember all of those things. But with each passing year of being married, I find it harder to recall the feeling of being on my own.
Why am I telling you this? I’m not totally sure. I think partly to give you hope if you’re wishing for a different existence than the one you’re living today.
Things can change really fast.
And what seems like just a few years ago can quickly become seven years not-single. And it can feel like the most natural thing in the world. So natural, in fact, that you begin to forget how the word “single” used to define you. You forget the angst you felt at constantly searching for where you belonged. You forget the struggles you had — lonely weekends, bills to pay on your own, sitting by yourself at church.
Oh, you have struggles now, of course, but they are of a different sort. Instead of agonizing over why the great guy you hit it off with never called, you agonize over if everyone in your care is safe and healthy. Instead of wondering if you’re still single because you’re undesirable somehow, you wonder if you’re a good wife or if you’re raising your kids well. Instead of pouring out your heart to God about your desire for marriage and a family, you pour out your heart to God about your child’s health issue or your spouse’s job.
When I was single, I viewed those years as kind of a waiting room for the “real” experience of marriage and family that I hoped would come later. I’m thankful that mentality didn’t stop me from embracing life and experiences during that season. Because here’s the thing: Singleness was less of a waiting room and more of a training ground. The identity, skills, spiritual disciplines, and even bad habits I acquired during those years have followed me into marriage and parenting … much more than I imagined they would.
I now appreciate both the joys and trials God allowed during my single season. On hard days, dealing with toddlers (whom I love dearly), memories of some of my more carefree days sustain me and bring a smile to my face. And when I’m faced with new pains of this season, I remember God’s faithfulness to me during the pains of singleness, and my faith is bolstered.
God is the same, no matter what season I find myself in. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” How true that is. But we are always in motion … always progressing, growing and changing. If you feel like you’re in the waiting room of life today, remember that you are not stagnant. God is preparing you, His beloved child, for whatever He has in store. And when the next season comes — whatever that may be — try not to forget all He’s doing right now.