Around twenty years ago, I had one goal in life – to be married with children. Twenty years later, and I’m questioning if God really is enough.
Who remembers that game you played as a child where you somehow figured out your husband, car, type of house, and how many children you’d have, all by counting how many lines your friend had drawn while you kept your eyes shut? What a silly game, but we played it so many times. Years later, I remember getting swept away in conversations with my teenage girlfriends, planning even the minutest details of our weddings sure to be soon to happen, and they were – for all of my girlfriends.
It’s funny, I’ve been eagerly waiting to write on this topic since Angela assigned it to me last year. I thought it would be so easy to write about because it’s been the theme of my adult life, but I have had the hardest time putting words on a page. It might be that I’m sharing one of my biggest struggles over the years. It might be that I’m right now in the midst of wrestling with the Lord about His sufficiency. Regardless, I pray that He would shine through my brokenness, and as a result of reading these words, you would be encouraged to love wildly, your Beloved.
Since I can remember, I have loved to share, and not just to share, but engage in a shared experience. One of the earliest examples I can think of is when I wanted to start drinking coffee. Why did I want to start drinking coffee? Because two of the most precious people in my life – my Dad and his mother – my Granny, would make a cup of coffee after Sunday lunch and enjoy each other’s company. I witnessed that special time they were having and wanted to be a part. Thinking back over the years, I have found that my darkest times have come from a deep longing for someone to share life with. In preparation for writing this blog post, I poured over the pages of my journals for the past ten years. Over and over again, the words “He is Enough” were there – a testament to my continual struggle, and His unrelenting whispers of love.
Over the summer I read a book called, “Not Yet Married” by, Marshall Segal. I only read the first half of the book, but I would highly recommend it to any single person wanting to be confident in what God has for you in this moment. One of the things he wrote that stood out to me was, “The cravings deep inside us are a mercyfrom God meant to lead us to God.” God created you and I with a craving that can only be satisfied by Himself. Married or not, this applies to you! No relationship except one with our Heavenly Father is going to meet that craving that we have to know and be known. It’s designed that way.
A couple of months ago, a dear friend told me that she was having a hard time accepting the goodness of God in that she was still single. I listened empathetically, and when I felt like I could, I shared how for years and years I failed to trust that God knows what’s best for me. I questioned His goodness and his faithfulness because why would he withhold something that I wanted so badly? And, what was so wrong with me that no man wanted to marry me? This destructive thinking and lack of faith led me to a place of deep loneliness and rejection and a season of depression I talked about in the last blog. But that wasn’t the end of my story. I continued to share with my friend that now I walk in victory because I surrendered it to the Lord. I got to a point where I really just believed that He loved me and that if He loves me, why would He withhold something that was good for me. Ray Ortland, pastor of a church I attended in Nashville, said it so beautifully, “Who secures a better future for me – me or Jesus?” I still remember that moment of belief to this day. It is forever settled in my heart. After I shared those things, I think she went away encouraged and I was left grateful to God that I don’t have to deal with those doubts anymore. Little did I know how God was going to use that conversation to show me just how much I doubted after all.
Can I just take a moment and confess to you that this next part is what I’m wrestling with as we speak? God has been breaking up the fallowed ground of my heart for the past several weeks, and it hasn’t been pretty. Have you ever experienced a season of conviction, or even just a season of restlessness? You know that feeling of your younger sibling tapping non-stop on your shoulder and you try to ignore it, but it just keeps getting stronger and stronger until you can’t help but stop and listen? That is exactly what was going on in my heart. Nothing would satisfy this restlessness, either. It got to be so intense that I found myself face-down on the floor crying out to God for Him to reveal the sin in my heart. I’m gonna spare you the details of the next hour of snot-filled crying while I poured my heart out to Him, but what He revealed to me in those moments of prayer was so very precious. In my trusting of His plan for my life in not giving me a husband, I had forgotten to fill that longing with Him. I love what Amy Carmichael says, “God leads us through deserts to teach us to thirst.” I had become so thirsty but continually ignored the very thing that my soul was craving. Matthew 5:6 tells us that “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” I don’t know about you, but I want to be satisfied. This longing in the depths of my soul is only satisfied when I sit in the presence of the Lord, and commune with Him in His Word. John Piper puts it this way, “Jesus came into the world to change your desires so that He would be your main desire.” Another quote from Amy Carmichael says, “I have wanted answers, while You have wanted us to become One.” How beautiful is that? He wants my heart. There on my knees, I gave my whole heart to the Lord that day. It’s so fresh on my mind, I can’t help but cry as I type out these words. I’d like to share with you what I wrote in my journal that day, because I think it gets to the heart of the struggle.
September 8, 2018
Father, I’m sorry for doubting that you can’t fill my longing heart. I’m sorry for replacing you with the temporary things of this world. I’m sorry for taking your presence for granted, and even worse, pushing you aside.
My heart and spirit long for intimacy with you.
My soul yearns to be one with its Creator.
My hands and feet yearn to go and do what You’ve called me to do.
My mouth desires to praise You and Your awesome works.
But inside, deep inside, a battle rages for my attention and affection. Day and night, people, places and things take a seat on the throne of my heart. And, the thing is, they’re not sneaking in. I throw a parade for them, put a royal robe on them, shine the throne for them.
When all along, Jesus sits at my table and waits to dine with me, to ask me about my day, to comfort me, to hold me, to correct me, to encourage me, to guide me, to love me. He’s not just enough. He’s better.
When I don’t feel like God is enough, I run to him in prayer. And, what I’m learning about Him is there I sense His nearness, I enjoy his companionship, and I experience His comfort like never before. All of the things that I think I can only experience with a husband or friend, He fulfills, and He does it perfectly. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages – no one, NO ONE knows us like He does, and He is waiting with open arms to show you He’s not just enough, He’s better. The Great I Am invites you into His dwelling place and treats you as His beloved.
Dear Daughter of the King, give your whole heart unashamedly and unreservedly to the One who gave everything for you, and there, experience the sufficiency of your Lord and Savior.
He made us for Himself, and we are restless until we find rest in Him. – St Augustine