Let me preface this by saying: I never thought I’d post something like this on here. I swore it to myself. I. will. not. talk. about. my. singleness. Because, A) It’s too personal B) Awkward? C) It’s like being naked in front of people! You’re kind of baring (no pun intended) your soul when you talk about stuff this personal, but I was asking God what I should write about, feeling really stuck, and I felt an impression in my heart to just pour my heart out about what I’m going through. I was recently reading in a blog and in a book about the subject of being vulnerable and transparent. While reading both I realized my favorite parts to read and what I gravitated towards were where the writers were being just so heartbreakingly honest about themselves and open about their own personal, internal struggles. I felt so touched, and I was saying to myself, ‘Yes, me too!’. It made me realize how we are all so much more alike than we are different, and how our pain can be so similar. God was showing me the power of being vulnerable.
There’s a quote that I love that says, ‘We read to know we’re not alone’. I really love that. We want to connect and know others feel the same way we do about things, or have gone through or are experiencing what we are, to find someone who can explain with clarity a problem we have. It’s in our makeup to want to connect and relate to each other. So. I’m being VEEEERRRYYYY vulnerable here and telling you my story. My love story, that is. It really has only been half-written so far, though. Although the true one belongs to my King, my first true love. The one who showed me what love really means, what it is and what it looks like. I’m taking a deep breath and decided I’m going to be more personal on here (because people need real, they don’t want a veneer). Being vulnerable is scary, but it also can connect you with people in ways you never realized. I guess I thought no one would be interested if I talked about my personal life on here, but then I realized, it’s MY blog. Who cares!? Of course I can talk about myself on here! If they no likey they no looky. Talking about yourself and posting it is frightening, but I know there are tons of people who are experiencing what I am. I hope you enjoy and I have to say, it was very freeing to let the keys tell my heart. Here it is.
I’ve always wanted to be in love. Not just that, actually. Because you can fall in love, but it’s not with the one you end up marrying. I wanted the final cut. The overstated and ever-clichéd ‘ONE’. Or the ‘Two’, as one pastor says we should be calling them, because Jesus is our One already. Can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of stuff. High five if you know the reference to that. I wanted the real deal. I was (still am) never willing to fake it with another person and quell my own loneliness at the expense of someone else’s heart or compromise what I want and need just to have a relationship. I didn’t want to mess up someone else’s heart for my own selfishness. Or give up on finding the real thing.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve just wanted to find my ‘person’ to marry and spend the rest of my life with and go through trials with and dance through this crazy life together. I’ve always wanted to have that best friend in life, partner in crime, and heart to care for, and I expected to have it by the time I graduated college. I wasn’t popular in high school, but I wasn’t exactly a social pariah either. I kind of floated. I felt like a loner to some degree. I had a few people I was close to that I cared about a lot but I didn’t meet my best friends until after high school. I don’t really know how people saw me. And, welp…I didn’t really care, I just wanted to survive the torture that is high school and make it to college, where I was fairly certain life would be better (it was). It was strange that I didn’t worry perhaps, I think I just always knew there was more to life than those four years. Popularity didn’t appeal to me that much (what was the point, I thought), and I felt comfortable with myself to a certain degree.
What I really wanted was for a guy to like me-not just think I was cute, but LIKE like me, (I know, 6th grade girl speak here). I wanted love. At that time, it was pretty much ‘movie love’ I desired. The kind of stuff I saw in the romantic comedies I ate up and drifted into dreamland with (I can quote more chick flicks than I’d like to admit from beginning to end with impressive panache) and was sung in the lyrics in the angsty music I listened to that seemed to so perfectly describe my aching and tortured heart for a boy that didn’t care (Dashboard Confessional, anyone?). I had crushes and wanted to be noticed by a guy so badly. Boys may have liked me, but they never asked me out or pursued me. I didn’t have any idea of what TRUE love was-as in, Christ’s death and sacrifice for me. The mark of real love-suffering and taking on the horrors of sin and giving up HIS life for ME. I read in an article recently that Jesus was picturing my face, and yours as he hung there, bleeding and taking on the punishment of the world. That’s really a powerful thought, isn’t it? I didn’t know THAT love at 16. I also didn’t know anything about a Godly guy and what that looked like. I knew ‘Christian’ guys but they didn’t seem remarkably different from the ones that weren’t. I have to thank God for saving my young, innocent, and fragile self from dating so young. I would have so easily lost my identity to be with someone, anyone. I didn’t know who I was, or what I thought about anything and I know I needed to discover that, without that I would have morphed into someone else and lost who I already was-and who I could be.
When I got to college, I was certain I would find the one I wanted to be with. It was overwhelming and exciting at first. There were cute guys left and right, and I thought for sure in this sea of eligible young guys I would find someone great (Every time I read this line I start laughing, I’m sorry, continue). I didn’t ‘party’ in college with the exception of my first semester, where I went to 3 house parties with a girl who turned out to be a not so great friend. I was disappointed by the conversation I had with the guys that were introducing themselves to me. They either came on too strong and made me feel super uncomfortable, seemed half in the bag already, or the conversation was excruciatingly boring. I was crushed. Where was the romance? (What did you expect to find at a crappy college house at midnight with a bunch of wasted people, 18 year old Steph?) There were other crushes throughout college, but the guys who really were kind and intelligent and funny always seemed to be taken. The other ones just didn’t work out. Part of me always held back, and I know now it was the Holy Spirit giving me a reminder of what I wanted and deserved-a man of character, not a boy who would carelessly play with my heart. And, the majority of guys there seemed to be into drinking as their main source of happiness and that was never my thing. I mainly focused on my studies and worked my tail off, putting in long nights in the library in the back stacks with my ipod, water, and trail/chex mix (the essentials) and spent time with friends making awesome memories and enjoying my freedom as a college kid where my only worries were exams and socializing.
Five years post college (this May it will be) I’m still single. Did I think I would still be single at 27? Uh, that would be a negative. But I’ve learned more about who I am and who God is in the past 5 years than I could have ever imagined. Truly. I’m not just feeding you some corny lines about gratitude and trying to be sappy or make things sound a certain way. I really AM grateful for the journey God’s taken me on-to depths I never DREAMED of getting to at the age I’m at now. I’ve been so insanely blessed in numerous ways and each piece of my life He’s touched with favor and grace to get me to the place I’m at with Him, right now. It wasn’t easy getting here. It never is. There were some freakin’ dark, lonely, tough moments of my life but God was THERE. I couldn’t have made it without Him, and I know they would’ve been SO much worse without Him, my hero. Even the worst parts of my life God used for GOOD and caused me to understand His love even better because He MET me there, and loved me, and cared for me, and I was held by Him and when I was hurting and weak I had my Savior batting for me.
When you start walking with Him at first, yes-it takes some work-putting forth genuine effort out of a desire to know Him by seeking Him. But eventually you love Him so much it becomes a JOY to seek him. It doesn’t feel like a chore but rather exciting and interesting and the possibilities are endless because GOD IS. It takes trust, letting go, faith, patience and a sense of humor. You have to let go of your old self and all of that muck and junk. But my goodness…is a walk with God ever worth the investment. The beauty and peace and joy and freakin’ awesome blessed and beautiful relationship with Him you get to have when you give up yourself and your life in exchange for a life with God is traded for SO much more than what the world could EVER give you.
I’ve grown as a person and when I look back at where I was from that lonely college freshman, I am blown away at how much has changed. I know part of me is still that girl, with her optimism about life and romantic heart, but I’m now fully becoming my true self, the person God intended me to be all along, and every day I am attempting to take steps to be like the one I really want to be like-Jesus Christ himself. I’ve been stretched, pushed, prodded, broken down, beat up, and busted, and I’m wiser and stronger from it. It’s all been a blessing in disguise, the challenges. Truth be told, I don’t know where I’m going to meet lower case ‘him’. I don’t know how. Maybe I already have. I mean, I totally get God’s amazing power and abilities. I’ve seen it time and time again and again, and He truly IS a MAGNIFICENT God. I know I’m capitalizing a whole lot here but guys…it needs to be done. It’s God-He is, He is, He is, AMAZING! Back to the story-at my own little miracle I have the biggest doubts and sometimes scrunch up my face when I think of it and go, ‘Umm God? Is that really going to work out for ME? I see you doing it for everyone else by the age of 22…’ See, even when you have faith in God you will have doubts and struggles. Christians are not perfect and anyone who acts like it well…that’s just no bueno. Jesus is perfect, NO ONE else. When you get older it can get harder to keep hoping, but you also grow stronger in who you are and your resilience gets a lot tougher. Maybe it’s from weathering all those storms. Here’s what I know. I’ve seen some amazing Christian men in my walk with God so far. At church, through friends. And they are out there. They actually (gasp!) exist. They have showed me such kindness, respect, humor, personality, and compassion, and most of all passion for God that it has given me great hope and joy knowing that there are men like that out there, living life like I am, seeking God actively and deeply, and echo what I want in my own husband.
Along the way I figured out what I need. Truly need. The must haves. That I know…that I know…that I know what I need. I need to laugh. I need someone who can dance with me in the street or the parking lot of Caribou and not care what other people think and just be free together, who can make life an adventure with me. I want there to be so much joy when were together. Silliness is my must have. I want him to have strong character and a deep faith in God, that it inspires me to be better. I want to be with someone who is compassionate and has a heart to love others the way Jesus does. I want someone who can teach me things about faith and life and myself and we can just talk and talk. I need someone who will tell me when I’m wrong, hold me when I’m feeling broken, be patient when I’m screwing up, and just take me for what I am, flaws and defects, past and present, right where I’m at. So. There you have it. That’s what I want, and that’s what I need. And in return for the rest of my life I will serve Jesus with you, try my best to give you strength by encouraging you when you’re weak but always point you to the Savior, help you to see your own beauty, hold your hand when you need to be brave, remind you of your good, and make you dance. A lot.
Here’s to all the girls out there, dreaming of a heart of their own to love. For now, we shall dance in our rooms to Prince with our sunglasses on and croon to Sam Smith when we’re feeling sad or croony (or maybe that will be just me) laugh with friends in the car about silly things like making accents like the GPS lady, have deep convos about God and share our ‘God moments’, have cooking experiments that turn out but sometimes make you feel like a Pinterest failure, read delicious and wise and intelligent books, listen to sermons that light your fire, and pour your heart into loving those sweet kids you work with because that’s what you’re meant to be doing right now. You’re going to sashay in the grocery store to the music because you should (cuz, uh, grocery stores play awesome music), paint and feel free, spend an embarrassing amount of time at Target, and laugh with your parents. You’re going to trust God, because He’s pretty dang good at what He does.
Odessa-I Will Be There