Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Singleness: Why I'm okay with it

My eyes were blinded by the sparkling diamonds that were on every left ring finger in the room except for mine.

I was hanging out with some old college friends and after a few moments of conversation, I suddenly felt out of place. Talks of in-laws and diaper bags faded into white noise as I entered my own little world of thoughts.

It was strange to think that a few years ago, these friends and I were experiencing life together. Now they had husbands and some had children. I was still very single and didn’t know how to relate to them anymore. Of course I still cared about them and enjoyed their company, but I just felt…different.

“So…any prospects for you? I mean, time is ticking!”

I snapped out of my daydream as my friend jokingly directed this question at me.

I casually replied, “Well, you know, I’m really content being single and don’t know if I’ll get married. I’m cool with it either way.”

You could almost hear crickets chirping in the background and from the looks on their faces, I wondered if I had suddenly developed three heads.

Someone quickly changed the subject, but the awkwardness of the conversation still lingered in the air. I was dumbfounded.

Why was it so appalling that someone could actually be content being single?

I’ve found that young adults, especially in the Christian community, feel a pressure to find “Mr. or Mrs. Right” before life can truly begin. Even worse, we’re made to think that in order to fulfill God’s will, we must first have a spouse.

I totally disagree.

I think marriage is wonderful and a beautiful representation of God’s love for the body of Christ. However; it simply isn’t the answer to our loneliness and life purpose.

Getting married will not solve all of life’s problems. Our satisfaction must be found in Christ alone.

Singleness is not a curse

When I tell people that I’m single, I get a lot of different responses. Some will say, “Well you know, they say it happens when you least expect it!” or, “Oh….I’m sorry honey, I’m sure God’s got the perfect one for you out there somewhere.” I’ve occasionally gotten the blatant, “Well why not? You need to get out there and join one of those dating websites.”

It’s hard to know how to respond to some of those comments, but I usually try to do it as gracefully as possible. As much as I appreciate their concern, I want people to understand that I honestly am content and don’t want people to feel sorry for me.

Singleness is not a curse. There’s nothing wrong with it. It doesn’t mean you aren’t pretty or aren’t cool enough for a guy to pursue you. I think it simply means that for this season of life, God wants to have you to Himself. I actually prefer to see singleness as a blessing.

The way I see it is that this is a time in my life that I can have the freedom to travel the world and explore and discover who God created me to be. When I feel led to move somewhere, I have nothing holding me back. I want to treasure these years and truly live life to the fullest.

Being married used to be something I would dream about as a little girl. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that marriage is not the end-all be-all. If it happens one day, I’m sure it’ll be great and I will love it. However; the reality is that it might not happen and surprisingly that really doesn’t upset me anymore.

Marriage is not my ultimate goal in life. Just like everything else on this earth, marriage is temporary. My ultimate goal in life is to glorify God and to tell others about Him. If I can bring Him more glory as a wife and mother, then I’d love to get married one day. But if I can glorify Him more by staying single, I will gladly stay this way.

Instead of moping around feeling sorry for myself, I choose to be confident in who God created me to be. Whatever the future holds, I choose to rejoice, knowing that either way God is in control. So don’t feel sorry for me, friends! I’m loving life and am living it up…even though I don’t have a shiny diamond ring on my finger.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sister Hashinka

I can still see her big brown eyes and dark black hair weaved into two braids. It's been two years since I was in Sri Lanka, but Hashinka's face comes to my mind almost daily.
Hashinka in 2006
I wonder what she is doing. Is she still in school? Is she already married? Has anyone else come to tell her about Jesus?

We met in 2006 when I was in Sri Lanka for two months. Every week, I would come to her village to dig wells and build houses. At the time, she was 13 and I was 19. She became my little Sri Lankan sister. We had a blast together.

When our van rolled up the dirt path, she would run outside barefooted and wave with a huge smile on her face. I'd always look forward to going into her house and having tea with her and her mom. We didn't speak the same language, so we acted most things out. We had inside jokes and would laugh til we cried!

At the end of that summer, I was heart broken to leave Hashinka and the rest of my friends. It was mutual. Hashinka's mom told me that they night after I left, she could hear Hashinka weeping in her room in the middle of the night.

The last thing I wanted to do was go back to my comfortable life in America when I had developed such a deep friendship with such an unlikely person on the other side of the world. Only God could have orchestrated a friendship between two people so culturally different who didn't even speak the same language!

That year we wrote letters back and forth. Mostly our letters were just drawings. Every time I would see a red, white and blue envelope in my mailbox, I couldn't open it fast enough, knowing it came from Sri Lanka.

The next summer, I went back to visit Hashinka and my other precious friends on that South Asian island. We picked up right where we had left off, as if no time had passed.
Hashinka and her mom, Malanie, in 2007
She had matured so much in the past year and was even more beautiful. Hashinka's spirit is so sweet and calm. It was fun to walk into her home that year and see photos of us on her wall. I knew then that we had both remembered each other every day throughout the past year. When it came time to leave that summer, it was even harder. I didn't know how long it would be before I would see her again. It broke my heart to get on the airplane and leave my beloved island. 

saying goodbye to Hashinka in 2007
It ended up being three longs years before I was able to visit Hashinka again. I can't describe the feeling I had when I pulled up into her village that day. She had no idea I was coming and I had no idea if she even lived there anymore. I nearly jumped out of the van before it had stopped. This was the moment I had dreamed of for the past three years. 

First I saw her mom, and before I knew it she was running back to her house and came back with 17-year-old Hashinka, who had turned into such a beautiful young woman. Our reunion was short but sweet. On that trip I was able to share the story of Jesus with Hashinka. Through the years, she had been a constant prayer for me. I had told her about Jesus before, but this time she listened intently and we both cried. My heart ached for her to know Him. It was like God had given me His heart for her and I was overwhelmed by how much He loved her.

When I said goodbye that summer, I left with a peace, knowing that Hashinka knew about God's love for her. It's been two years now and I still wonder if she has chosen to know Him. I pray daily that God will draw her to Himself so that my sweet sister can experience. Him.