For twenty-eight years, I spent Valentine's Day single. I dated one guy "officially" and talked to a handful of others, but our "relationships" never fell on the pink, flowered, chocolate-covered holiday. I'd never received flowers from a boy admirer (except my dad growing up haha!) and I'd never been taken out for a fancy Valentine's night dinner. And that was by choice. I decided, at the age of thirteen, to trust the Lord with my love story and to bring my future husband into my life in His perfect timing. Little did I know then, it meant committing to a lot of waiting, wondering, questioning, and more than a few lonely evenings -- to be quite honest. But, I knew I was worth waiting for. I knew my future husband, who I prayed for daily, was worth waiting for. I knew the value of marriage and I wanted to be fully and totally first the Lord's girl, and then my husband's.
In my book, "At Long Last" I write about an experience I had as a seventeen year old girl, when I visited Ireland with my best friends. I met an older lady who prayed with me at a meeting, for my future husband:
"Margaret's eyes softened. She looked at me, a young girl fifty years her junior, and told me how she had done the same. How she'd prayed for her now-husband. And how he'd come along, at the perfect time. They served the Lord together now as pastors in Ireland.
he prayed for my man. She prayed for his protection. She prayed for my heart; that I would be strong and wait, and give him to the Lord. And, that I would be made into a woman of faith who would bless "him." She prayed that 'he' would be a godly, good, holy man, and that the Lord would be the one who miraculously brought us together.
At the perfect time."
Over ten years later, those prayers were answered. Ten fold! My husband is the greatest gift I've ever received and my greatest joy in this life is loving him. I always loved him, fierce, before we met. I just had this love and desire to love my future husband... and now that he is "here" in person and we are living our first married year together, waiting for him was oh so worth it! And I am grateful he waited for me and prayed for me, too.
So, ladies in waiting. I encourage you with this: keep on praying, keep on waiting, keep on trusting in a big, big God.
And don't settle for anything less than a man who sees your worth and treats you like gold.
And in the "mean time" -- please don't wish away this season. Looking back over my single years, now being a married mama-to-be, I look back regretfully at some of my season. Because even though I was the "purity and waiting blogger" who encouraged everyone to trust and enjoy the single season, I often struggled with self pity, loneliness, comparison, and just plain being down. And that's okay, and real. But, I wish that in certain moments I had truly trusted the Lord more fully, and given Him my desires -- leaving them at His feet and really truly just going and enjoying. There were many times I just totally enjoyed singleness. I loved being free to serve, and take trips with friends -- I have a totally open schedule aside from my work, and I loved being free! I had such adventures and the time to spend building amazing friendships.
One of my sweetest memories from college is when my sweet roommate Heather and I got dressed up on Valentine night and went to a tiny random thai restaurant in our town. We sat and chatted and had a girl's night out. And then, we got Starbucks and we drove up to the top of the hill on our college's campus, opened up the windows, and sipped our tea and coffee and shut our eyes, and we prayed.... for a couple hours, for our husbands. In detail. For their hearts and minds, eyes and bodies, for their passions and spirits, their ministries and hopes and dreams. For their purity of heart. For their strength of character. It was such a sweet time. And I remember feeling so powerfully close to the Lord, and even though we were not with our husbands and didn't even know their names! Even though we both had secret crushes at college and wished with all our little hearts that we were being given flowers and chocolates that evening by our future "men", we felt so close to Him and to our future men, whoever they were. We are now both married. And those prayers were very faithfully answered by a very wise and good God. Our husbands are exactly what we prayed for -- maybe not exactly what we imagined in every single way, and they certainly aren't those boys on campus at college that we had our eyes on at the time and just knew were the ones ;) But, they are better. They are our best friends and the godliest leaders, and we are so grateful.
So ladies, embrace. Enjoy. Pray. And know, you are worth waiting for.
Reading can be a very encouraging way to not "pass the time" but to embrace and savor the time of waiting. Some books that might encourage you in this season:
- At Long Last: A Story of Love + Hope (my love and life story ;)
- PS He Loves You: A Devotional (by yours truly!)
- Prayers For The Single Journey by Rebecca VanDeMark (my sweet blog friend, such a beautiful heart she has!)
- When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy (it's an old one, I know. But I will always love it!)
- Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
- Wait For Me by Rebecca St. James
- The Chase by Kyle and Kelsey Kupecky (I have not read this, but I trust the authors and have heard it's an inspiring read!)
I love the blog community on Instagram and all my sweet followers and friends. I asked y'all to share with me your words of advice and encouragement for single ladies, and here are some of my favorite responses (their Instagram names are before their encouragement so that you can go find them if you'd like!) Hope you're encouraged!! This really is a sisterhood and you aren't alone!
- imkristen_Offer to baby-sit for a couple so they can enjoy an evening out, pamper a single mom and make her feel like a million bucks, anonymously send someone a gift card for dinner/hotel/flowers/etc who you know might be feeling lonely or would be blessed by such a thing, host dinner at your house for singles, send encouraging notes to the people who have most impacted you by their love for you. Be the "wife" you envision being someday by actually being the woman today who eagerly and excitedly makes the lives of those around her better -- whether that's some kids from church, or lonely neighbors, or your husband and babies.
- lalalabreezi: Every Valentine's Day I write my future husband a letter... I feel as though me taking the time out to write to him helps to cultivate my love for him (because soon he'll be my forever Valentine) and refocuses my perspective that I am not alone!
- _glitter_and_gold_: Take time to pray for your future husband more specifically this Valentine's Day ☺️
- chelsyrenee91I did a post on my blog about this one year on Valentine's Day too! I think this is such a beautiful day for us as unmarried women to share the love to others! Last year I had flowers sent out on Valentine's Day to two elderly widow friends of mine, and also sent cards to several other single friends. Both widows were both so blown away-the one told me that it was the first time in her life that she had ever received flowers on Valentine's Day from ANYONE. I felt like the most blessed girl in the world to be able to share the close God has given me and bless others on that day!! Truly it is "more blessed to give than receive!" I think if more girls spent their single Valentine's Day spending love on others instead of wishing for more themselves...their perspective would change so much)
- a_wats_I have learned that in this waiting time, the best thing I can do is to prepare myself (spiritually, domestically and physically) for my future husband and to make my relationship with Christ so strong that my future husband will be a bonus to my happiness, because Christ is what already gives me my true joy!! 💓💓
- missionwildflowerValentine's Day is 2 days after my birthday, so I've always celebrated it even though I've never had a real Valentine. I buy myself flowers and chocolate and do a little baking and watch my favorite movies. I may be single, but while I wait for the man God has chosen for me, I choose to truly enjoy this sweet holiday.
- thegirlwiththeartfingersSomething that me and my friends are doing instead of sitting around all Valentine's Day weekend, wishing we had a boyfriend, is making a TON of Valentine's Day cards to give out to some beautiful children (who are very much in need of Christ-like love displayed to them) through a ministry at our church. Then we are throwing a "Girls Only" party Sunday night with our small group to give out cards, chocolate, and have a sweet time of sisterhood + making each other feel special! 💕 Since we will be focused on loving the needy and each other, we won't have time to get depressed or lonely!!!
- amgonzales10I'm feeling the singleness weighing a little heavier this year but I know that I need to prepare my heart more than anything. Like, I think I'm ready to find my man, but in all honesty, what I really need is to prepare myself spiritually, physically, financially, and emotionally and pray that I continue to strengthen my relationship with Jesus Christ before He can bless me with someone.
Happy Valentine's Weekend, ladies!! Single or married! You are LOVED and fabulous!