AS PROMISED YESTERDAY, I AM GOING TO START POSTING ABOUT SINGLENESS AGAIN LIKE ON MY OLD BLOG (WELL, A FEW TIMES A MONTH AT LEAST), STARTING WITH TODAY....
I think that a LOT of people don't know what to say about singleness. Actually, people don't know what to say about loneliness, pain, rejection, hurt in general....but singleness especially throws them.
While single, particularly after breakups and heartache, a popular "sentiment" to share went something like this.... (and note, the intention was right, although the words weren't.)
"One day you will meet the right guy and it will be like all this heartache never occurred."
"When you get married, you won't even remember how this felt."
"Don't worry, one day this will all just be a distant memory."
"When you meet the one that you will marry, you will forget all the ones that broke your heart."
First of all, I know I've only been married for about 12 weeks, but that's just not true. Marriage to a great man is wonderful. It was worth the wait. I'd go through all the bad first dates, breakups, disappointments, dateless weekends, "catching the bouquet", insensitive comments from others, weddings and events without a "plus one", rejection and tears in order to meet Dave. I'd even go through the heartache and embarrassment of a broken engagement again if that was the path required to meet my sweet husband. As painful as the path was at times, it proved to be fruitful - not only in meeting a wonderful man to marry, but also in shaping me into who the Lord is making me to be.
BUT, as worth it as the journey may have been and as willing as I would be to relive it in order to arrive at where I am now, meeting Dave or even marrying him did not make those years disappear in my memory. Singleness and the accompanying challenges are still very present in my mind, still very much a part of who I am and who I am becoming.
It's belittling of a single's struggles to pretend that gaining something you are waiting for immediately erases the years of waiting and struggles. It's belittling to singles: the pain wasn't very real if it's immediately forgotten. (Few things are more irritating that the implication that a struggle wasn't real) It's belittling to God: every hard moment is used by Him in a person's life - if the memories of those trials immediately goes away with marriage, then marriage is the Savior, and its not. Marriage isn't what sustains us and overcomes our bad times, our Savior does. And, as I learned, that sustenance and comfort often comes in the midst of, not in replacement of, times of waiting. If Marriage brought immediate healing for the painful times of singleness, then what need do I have for a Savior now that I am married?
Additionally, despite the breakups, bad days, frustration, I also had lots of girls nights, wonderful dates, times of growth, travels, laughter, adventures, accomplishments, etc. I don't want my single years to be a "distant memory" -- those years, good and bad, shaped me. Just as marriage is shaping me now. To think that I "arrived" and could forget the past, however rough it might have been, is not only inaccurate, it's sad. Those moments existed. Those moments were my life. I don't want to forget - even the moments I might want to forget, I can't and I don't think I'd be better for forgetting.
Because remembering those struggles makes me a better wife, a better sister, a better friend. Remembering those years points me to me Savior. Remembering the pain of being left makes me so incredibly grateful for the man that stayed and even more importantly grateful for a God that is faithful. Remember those years also reminds me of the many good happy moments and wonderful blessings of my life.
So, meeting and marrying my sweet husband didn't immediately make every painful memory disappear, nor would that be best for me. So those claims by others that marriage makes you forget all the ones who hurt you and all the hard memories is wrong. Those people and those memories may not hurt me as much anymore, but they still shaped me.
What people mean by their comments is this: "These hard times, these hard circumstances, can and will be redeemed." That's true. That's biblical. One way or another, He will restore.
Not on our timeline. Not always in the way we hoped....but He will redeem every painful memory, either here or eternally. After all, "He will make every sad thing untrue." That's redemption. That's the gospel.
And speaking as someone who is currently living in the grace of God's restoration, even the most painful situations can be redeemed. I wish my path had gone more smoothly. I wish it had included fewer painful memories. But then, I wouldn't fully know the Joy of God's redemption.