I had a birthday last week. A really significant birthday. The kind with a zero in it. The kind that used to make me think “Wow, if I’m still single when I’m that age, I’ll be so upset. That would be really, really awful.”
I have often imagined going back in time, to tell my “younger self” all about the things that have happened, and how my life has turned out so far. And, knowing that “younger self” very well, I’m quite certain how the conversation would go. I would tell her all about the ways God has worked in my life, about the places I was able to visit and the talks I was able to give and the lives I have been blessed to touch. And she’d say “And who did I marry? I got married, didn’t I? How many kids did I have?”
And when I told her that hadn’t happened, she’d recoil in horror. After that, I don’t know what she’d do. To her, it would just be too awful to contemplate.
And I would tell her that it isn’t awful at all—that the one thing she fears more than anything doesn’t need to be feared at all. I would tell her that God is faithful, and that he blesses any life lived to follow Him. I would tell her that God has a plan—a plan that incorporates all of our missteps, our disappointments and even our sins, and turns it all into something beautiful.
My life has not turned out the way I thought it would. But I would say that, thus far, it has turned out very, very well. There have been crosses, of course. What life is without them? But there have been amazing blessings as well.
I didn’t have children, and this point I believe it is safe to say that I won’t. But God has brought children into my life—spiritual children, godchildren, nieces and nephews—and they have filled my heart in a way I never thought it could be filled.
I haven’t married—and I don’t know what the future holds in that regard. But God has brought amazing friends into my life. My community—like that of many single persons—waxes and wanes. Sometimes I am surrounded by lots of friends and family. Other times people move away, circumstances change and I find myself more isolated. But I have learned that God is always there, and that sustains me even in the difficult times.
God has shown me over time that my life won’t look like other people’s lives. But he has also amply demonstrated that there’s more than one way to have a good life—a very good, full, satisfying, blessed life. It comes not through seeing all of my dreams come true in exactly the way I’d planned them, but through fidelity to Him and His plan for my life.
I don’t think I could have understood all of this at 25, or even 35. Perhaps you can’t either. But I would strongly urge you to trust Him, and to really place your future in His hands.
He’ll take care of you. I’m sure of it.