My grandfather passed away last weekend. So naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about death, and how unnatural it is. It always feels jarring, even when it’s expected. Because nothing can prepare how unnatural it is. It always feels jarring, even when it’s expected. Because nothing can prepare us for something we weren’t created to experience.
I have been known (at least in my own heart) to have a chip on my shoulder criticizing how churches operate: Why do all the pastors sit together instead of spreading out in the sanctuary? Why aren’t the pastors mingling with strangers? Why don’t those worship leaders go hangout with a loner in the back? And so on. But at one-point years ago in my grumbling to God about church operations, He so kindly reminded me that though I am not paid to do so, I am a part of the body…so if my heart is so strong in reaching out to people, why am I not the one doing exactly what I think they should do?
Two days before I was offered the job I spent a lot of my time crying because I was so afraid of moving. I had spent my entire life in Michigan. My friends and family were all in Michigan, I had the best living situation of my entire life, and I was finally feeling settled. I had been praying for a camp job for almost a year, but I wanted my dream job on my own terms.I remember telling God, “If this is the door you are going to open for me, I will walk through it. But I really really don’t want to.”
Deconstructionism calls for the pulling apart of faith for examination. At first glance, this sounds beneficial. We should know what we believe and why we believe it (1 Peter 3:15). However, the deconstructionist is rooted in doubt, not in faith. We are encouraged to doubt everything that we have ever known. Doubt, not faith, is encouraged and praised.
Some of you may not know this, but just this past year I started a new job at the missions organization, World Mission. It’s amazing to me how quickly your focus can change depending on the environment you’re saturated in. After carefully watching award show nominees for five and half years while working at a film school, this past year I couldn’t tell you which films were nominated for the Oscars. I could however tell you about the crazy military coup that was taking place in Myanmar or the humanitarian crisis in Bangui, Central African Republic when rebel groups were choking off their supply chain.
I didn’t think I wanted to get married so young. I wasn’t looking for a husband. I was looking for a career. Marriage and family? That could wait until after I’d put my degree to use. Maybe 28. Maybe 30. That’s when it would be time to settle down..... Those were my thoughts as a nineteen year old girl. I knew that I wanted to get married… someday. But that someday seemed a lot farther off than the two years when I’d be standing in front of the altar exchanging wedding vows at only 21 years old. So what changed? My perspective on what marriage is and what marriage isn’t. As a 21 year old bride, I realized that marriage isn’t just a season of life. It’s doing all of life... together.
How do I know he’s the one? How do I know I’m ready to get married? How can I possibly be sure when he’s the only man I’ve ever loved? You’d think those questions would have plagued me as a twenty-one year old bride. I never thought I’d get married young. I never wanted to. Wasn’t I too young? Too hopeful? Too naive to marry the first man I had ever loved… let alone dated?
Writing about singleness is certainly not my idea of a good time, but I suppose that is just the reason to do it. I have been single for 31 years, and while probably the first 21 or so I was praised for my focus and not being distracted by the opposite sex, I have now spent the last decade feeling the pressure. Thankfully (and one of the reasons I was encouraged to write this e-book) I have had the joy of experiencing a lot of healthy community over the last decade and, quite honestly, I have put in a lot of work along the way to receive that blessing with an open heart.
What if I stay single forever? This is a thought that used to haunt me. I lived in such denial of this being a possibility. At weddings when well-meaning women would say “there’s someone out there for you too” I would nod my head in eager anticipation. But I have a bit of a different perspective on that now.
I didn’t want to be angry at my ex. I didn’t want to be angry at myself. I didn’t want to view our time together as wasted time, or lessons learned, or any other classic view people take when a relationship dies. I wanted a renewed vision of the time we had spent together. I wanted God to take my feeble natural perspective on things and help me see what He saw, and if it wasn’t asking too much, I still wanted a way to be able to show my ex I cared.