The bride-to-be shared her engagement story at her bridal shower. I had just entered the second half of my 20s, and I listened with interest as she described how hard it had been to wait while she watched her siblings marry and start families. She stressed several times that both she and her fiancé had been single for longer than they had expected — or wanted. But finally, here she was preparing for her own wedding and telling the story God had written uniquely for her.
I left feeling encouraged by someone who was a little ahead of me, who knew what it was like to remain single longer than she’d hoped but was now seeing God provide for her next season.
Until I got home and looked her up on Facebook.
I discovered that both the bride and groom were younger than me — just by a few weeks or months, but still. All that talk about being single for a “long time” — and I had already been single longer.
Since then, I have attended quite a few more weddings, bridal showers and baby showers (including one for that same bride). As I write this, my sister-in-law and brother are expecting their first baby, a friend is expecting her second baby, another her third, and another her fourth.
All this while my life is nearly the same as it was five years ago. Even 10 years ago. When I run into an acquaintance at the store or at church, I feel like I have no sufficient answer for the inevitable “What’s new?” question. Many days hardly anything is “new.”
Sometimes it’s easy to feel stuck. Like nothing will ever change. Here are two reminders that have helped me when I begin to wonder if I will ever move on from this season of life.
1. I don’t know what tomorrow holds
None of us can see into the future. We may feel like our circumstances will never change, but the fact is they probably will — we just don’t know how. Or when.
My best friend got married eight months after meeting her husband. Another friend thought she had her immediate future planned out until one conversation encouraged her to look into missions. She moved overseas about a year and a half ago.
Life as we know it could change drastically in a short time. “You do not know what a day may bring forth,” the book of Proverbs says.
2. My circumstances are not the point
Of course, for every friend I can point to who quickly moved from one life stage to the next, there is another friend who seems to be just as settled in their circumstances as I am. It’s true: I could be “stuck” in this season for a while. But even if my circumstances never change, I will still change.
“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life,” John Piper said, “and you may be aware of three of them.” God is still working in this life stage I’m in — He is still working in me.
Am I more concerned about entering a new season – any season – than I am about learning what God is teaching me right here? There is a reason God has me where I am. Am I squeezing every bit of growth out of where I am now? Or am I daydreaming of supposed “greener pastures”?
The God who sees me
In one of the earliest chapters in the Bible, we read that an angel “found” Abraham’s runaway servant in the wilderness, which couldn’t have been a safe place for anyone, much less for pregnant Hagar. But God gave her a promise for her unborn son, and Hagar’s perspective changed. “You are the God who sees me,” she said. Another translation adds: “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
God sees me. He sees you. And He looks after each of us. He has not forgotten any of us or misplaced His map for our lives.
My God has promised that all things will work together for my good. Maybe not the way I wanted. Maybe not as soon as I expected. But whatever happens, He will use it for my good.
When this season (that feels unexpectedly long) is in my rearview mirror, I don’t want to have regrets. Have I used this time of waiting to seek God and prepare for wherever He will lead me next? Even if I stay right here, I know He sees me and He will guide me. Am I ready?
Copyright 2021 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.