To All the Single Ladies

To all the single titleThere was a time in my life when I was single. Twenty-three years to be exact. During the last part of that time, I was very happy with my singleness.

So if you had told me at the beginning of 2011 that I would soon meet a man that was right for me – that I’d want to spend the rest of my life with – then I not only wouldn’t have believed you, but I probably wouldn’t have cared. I may have even resisted the idea. At twenty-three years old, I was not interested in spending the rest of my life with someone else. I was confident in myself, which for most any woman, is fairly rare. I knew who I was and I was content with that.

I remember being eleven years ago and falling in love so fast and furious that I’m sure I might have fallen right off a cliff. I remember feeling like I was going to die if I didn’t have someone to love me. And that someone had to be Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

And when I was thirteen, I remember praying so hard for God to give me a husband that wanted to serve Jesus just as much as I did. I even wrote to the teen girl magazine Brio, asking them if they thought it was possible to marry someone that God had given the same dreams and visions to. A man who wanted to be a missionary. A man who was okay living in poverty as long as it meant helping people. I still have the letter they wrote back.

To all the single - 1

Pretty intense for a little girl, but I’m serious.

As a high school teacher, I saw girls obsess over teenage boys all the time. It’s a thing. More often than not, they find their identity in their crush – in what he thinks of her rather than what is really true about her. Their worth gets wrapped up in him.

To all the single 2

And it’s not just teenagers that this happens to.

Whether we like it or not, as human beings, we are wired to want to be with another person. We want to be loved and respected by someone else. And more that than, we want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to be with people. We want deep relationships. It’s that desire that makes the church and church community such a beautiful thing.

Being single, singleness, goes against that desire in a way.

To all the single 3

Even though I’m married and very happy about that, I have this weird desire to support singleness, and all the single ladies. This particular desire has made it’s way onto A Little Sanctuary’s blog calendar. It’s been penned in – not penciled – for the last week of January 2017 since August 2016.

Penciled in, I have some posts on marriage planned for February, the month of love. But, we’ll just see how far singleness gets us, shall we?

To all the single 4

So, to all the single ladies:

 

Find out who you are because you are a fascinating individual.

 

Pay attention to the dreams that pop up inside of you – the real ones, not the distractors.

 

Foster and feed who you are and those hopes and dreams.

 

Because when you are single, who you are is important. And those dreams and those goals are important.

 

Don’t be sad about being single. Don’t dwell on it. Proclaim it and cherish it. Go on adventures and be the person that loves who they are rather than whether or not someone else loves them.

I’m married and I love my husband more than I ever thought I could love anyone. Whether or not I had met him, and whether or not I had married him, that time when I knew myself and loved myself (without having someone else confirm that I am loveable) has carried me through and made me stronger. It has made my relationship with Mark stronger. It has made me relationships with my friends and family stronger. It has made my relationship with God deeper.

To all the single 6

To all the single ladies.

Oh, oh oh.

Oh, oh oh.

Who cares if you get a ring on it?

And by “it”, I mean ring finger.

Reality of Fairy Tales

What does a fairy tale really look like?

I’m sitting here in a sun-drenched bach, looking out the window at green mountains and valleys – out into the ocean and the beach down the hill, out to boats resting in the harbour for the winter. The water is so blue, I could easily mistake it for sky, so the boats look like little seagulls flying far away. The song of native birds rings out in the air – beautiful hymns that the tui sings with the angels and happy, joyful tunes from the fantails as they flit and float through the trees. The deep, intimate ballads of the wind and the sea makes it easy to feel that I am one with this place – that nature doesn’t mind sharing itself with me.

Untitled design (2)When Mark & I were married eight months ago, I felt a sort of happiness that I’d not felt before. It was similar to the calm I feel right now, sitting here. That everything was alright in the world – that I was one with another person. He and I are the same.

We have only been married for those mere eight months, but I have a different view of a fairy tale than I had before we got married. I mean, I knew that marriage was hard, and I was not soooo naïve that I thought we were going to live the rest of our lives in a magical castle and ride together on horseback every afternoon of our lives. I knew that I probably wouldn’t be wearing a crown or that fluffy pink dress every day for the rest of my life. Fairy tales have a use, but they look a bit different when they aren’t animated and people aren’t singing and dancing like a flash mob wherever you go.

Having said that, marriage is better than I imagined. You know how the prince and the princess ride away in their carriage after the wedding and you don’t really know what happens in “happily ever after”? In this “honeymoon stage” of my marriage, I feel like the movie should start with the wedding. Yeah, I’m lonely sometimes (even though I have Mark) and I get sad and homesick, but there is another person with me. I am his and he is mine. Where he goes, I go. Where he stays, I stay.

This goes for friendships, too. Mark is my best friend, but I have other best friends as well. I have a best friend in Holliday, a couple in Oklahoma, another in Dallas, and luckily, one in New Zealand. They bring me peace and comfort. And I think that a committed friendship is like marriage in a lot of ways. My best friends are my friends for life and we don’t give up on each other in the hard times. We get closer.

So, sitting here in the Coromandel, gazing out the windows into the sunshine, listening to the wind and waves soothe our souls, I reflect on peace and I reflect on my friendship and on my marriage. I am grateful for the friendships my husband has – that we can be here with his friends, and that he is out there now spearing fish with his friend’s spear gun, wearing another friend’s weight belt.

I am thankful that our friend found a octopus yesterday. I never dreamt of ever seeing one in real life.the octopus

I am thankful for the starfish and the kina we found.

I am thankful for the quartz and jasper at the top of the ocean.

I am thankful my husband let me bring home seashells and random rocks.

I am thankful that he found a perfect paua shell for me to keep.

I am thankful for the sunset’s colours pouring out over the Coromandel cliffs and valleys.

I am thankful for these little things.

Mark has finished his studies for nursing, and took his final test last week – the state exam. He has been offered a job where we wanted to be, and so many others won’t get jobs or interviews this time around. We have a roof over our heads, and a fireplace for the winter.

I am thankful for all these big things.

I get to experience a fairy tale – walking barefoot on the sand with my lover, my husband, my best friend – sharing my life with him, laughing when he laughs and crying when he is sad. I am thankful for this life in the good and the bad. And I want to remember to do that for the rest of my life. My happiness doesn’t depend on my husband or my friendships. But they do enhance my life.

This fairy tale – this life we have – is ongoing, and I’m glad it doesn’t end with a wedding.