By Tiffany Dawn
Growing up, I was the most boy-crazy girl you’d ever meet. I thought being single was the worst thing that could happen to me, and spent my days imagining the perfect, most romantic first meeting with my future husband. (Funny, this confession coming from an almost-29-year-old…who’s not yet married.)
Ever since I can remember, I’ve dreamed of the man I’d marry. He’d be 6’3” tall with dark hair and milk chocolate eyes. Shortly before my 20th birthday, he’d propose on a balcony, and whisk me away to our fairy-tale home, where we’d be missionaries overseas, living in a tree house. And then we’d be martyred together (killed for our faith) in a romantic last bold stand of faith around age 21. (Yes, seriously. That was my dream.)
In high school, I felt like the only girl who had never had a boyfriend. Post-college, I continued to pray about nearly every boy I met, only to find myself still single on each passing birthday. Some nights, I felt like I was suffocating in loneliness; other evenings were spent deciphering what was wrong with me, why I was still single.
When my 25th birthday came around, without a man or prospect in sight, it became very clear that life was not turning out how I expected it would. In moments like that, it was tempting to think God was holding out on me. Instead, I had to remember the truth:
- God works in our darkness. I love Job 23:8-10: “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive Him… But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” When we don’t see anything happening, it doesn’t mean that God has forgotten us. He’s at work behind the scenes. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know the One who holds our futures.
- God is good. I like to find Scripture verses that I can hold onto and pray back to God. These remind me that He is good (Psalm 100:5), that He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), that He will never leave me (Joshua 1:9) and that He is guiding me even when I’m at a loss (Psalm 23).
- The goal is to come closer to the Lord. In difficult times, it’s easy to run from Him instead of to Him. In every season of life, our goal should be to love the Lord more, letting the trials draw us to Him. One way to do this is by asking, “Lord, what do you want to teach me through this?”
- I’m not the only one struggling. When life isn’t going my way, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and become self-absorbed. Serving someone else helps move me outside of my brokenness. That could mean getting coffee with a hurting friend, sending encouraging letters, volunteering, etc.
- God is always worthy of praise. It’s easy to focus on the negative and forget the positive. Brainstorming all the good things in life, and thanking God for them, reminds me of the truth: I can always worship. Even if there were nothing good left in my life, I could still praise God simply because He is worthy.
Ironically, when I was around age 25, in the very season of singleness that I hated, God had something incredible waiting for me. I released my first book (The Insatiable Quest for Beauty) just before my 26th birthday, and began traveling around the country, sharing my story. I could do this…because I was single.
What I thought was a curse was actually a gift.
I’ve been touring the country for three years now, wondering how life could be any sweeter. And then…it was. This incredible guy came back into my life. (I say back into my life because I’ve known him since we were kids.)
Six months ago, he proposed. On a balcony.
In three months, we’ll get married, on the weekend before my 29th birthday.
And then, he’ll tour with me. [Insert ridiculously excited emoticons here.]
It’s nine years past age 20, but not a day late. Because even when we feel like life isn’t going our way, we don’t know what God is doing behind the scenes.
What “reminders” help YOU when life isn’t going your way?