Sometimes people ask, “What advice would you give to your younger self?”
It’s hard not to let regret overwhelm me. My whole life I’ve wanted nothing more than to find a husband and live our lives together, with or without children.
At the end of sixth grade, our class ran outside to play.
It seemed that everyone paired up
and ran off to kiss in the woods, except me and Donny, the 300-pound twelve year old. Disappointed, I climbed the old wooden fence to go home alone and cry on my bed.
I’d tell that eleven year-old girl not to cry. God protected her from growing up too fast.
Lots of rejections and tears followed, all of which I now see as God protecting me. Each time I ventured out and forced a romance, I got hurt. (We all have free will to choose the wrong things.)
In my late twenties, I repented of my sins, accepted Jesus’ work on the cross and He became my Savior. I also learned what it meant to make Jesus my Lord. At that time, I received a promise from God for a husband and I stopped trying.
I relaxed … just a little.
After two decades of learning to trust God for my best, Dean and I found each other. Both of us flailed in our singleness until the ripened age of 50. (He often reminds me he was still 49 for another month when we married.)
I’d tell my teens and twenties self to slow down and take a breath. Stop living for the moment of having a romantic relationship. Trust God is for you and not against you. (Jer. 29:11)
Stop thinking He’s punishing you.
He has not forgotten you. I have a writer friend who sees rainbows when she needs a reminder of God’s love for her. When I put myself under Jesus’ Lordship, I began winning prizes. I’d NEVER won stuff before, but now I win so much I wonder what’s up when I don’t win a drawing or contest. I know it’s not my own doing, only God’s reminder that He hasn’t forgotten me. He uses these winnings to remind me I am His; I belong to Him.
I view my thirties and forties as inactive years when I made little or no progress in life—spinning my wheels. Instead, I’d tell my younger self, look at it as a time of cocooning and protection. I’d never say it couldn’t happen to me, but I saw many people marry and divorce during those two decades. I didn’t have that added pain and drama, but I felt numb.
The pain of a longing heart still echoes within me. It’s created empathy for Singles longing for that end-all-beat-all relationship. I can relate to anyone waiting (and waiting) for whatever would make them feel fulfilled, and for whatever would make them feel normal: children, career, friends, lost loved ones, a spouse, etc. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Prov. 13:12)
Relax. Do some breathing exercises (inhale deeply and slowly through the nose, take twice as long to exhale through the mouth. Repeat 3-5 times to release endorphins).
Give your desires to Him, and ask Him to match those desires to His. Your hopes might be realized tomorrow or in decades. But don’t live today holding your breath waiting for it to happen now.
· Get your degree, or better yet, specialized skills training for less money/time
· Take classes to make you a better [fill in the blank]
· Take cooking or gardening classes; learn a new hobby
· Learn how to create something artistic, practical or scientific
· Learn how to fold an envelope sheet
· Ask an older person to teach you how to sew or work on a car
Be a better you. Get ready for whatever God has for you. Study up on how to be a great spouse or parent. (Ladies, have a career until it’s time for babies, or you may look back one day and have neither.)
Move forward. Be all that He’s created you to be.
There is Hope in Waiting.