Tuesday, August 30, 2011

34 and single

The time has come for this blog to be written.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends near and far, strangers whom I have never met...

I am 34 years old.

And single.

It's an odd thing. I thought (hoped) I would be married at 25. But 25 came and went. As did 26, 27, the rest of my twenties and now four years into my 30's.

I don't want this post to be a pity-party for myself. That's not productive. I do allow myself pity-parties from time to time, but they occur in my mind and they last for a short, healthy amount of time. And then I make myself stand up tall and say, "Ok you've let yourself do that. Now move on, girl."

Since I look at my blog as an online journal of sorts, I want to process the reality of being single. First, I'll share what I'm looking for. And then I will share about where my heart has been recently with all this.


1) They love Jesus.
My faith is the most important thing to me and about me. I love and follow Christ. It's been frustrating because I don't meet a lot of quality guys who also love Jesus. I meet nice guys, but it becomes evident while hanging out that they are not Christians. It's a shame because they really are great. But I desire someone who shares my faith, beliefs, and values.

2) They are single.
Most people my age are already married and these are the people I hang out with (my community). So if there's the off-chance I meet a guy somewhere else, they always seem to be already dating someone. There have been so many times I've been chatting with a guy and I'm enjoying our conversation...and then his girlfriend walks up. Oh hi, I'll excuse myself now.

3) They are around my age.
This one is embarrassing. If you know me, you know I look extremely young for my age. So I don't know if I just attract younger guys because I look younger than I really am. Add to this that I'm the worst judge of age. I can never tell. This had led to quite a few uncomfortable moments. I'll meet a single guy who loves Jesus and I'll be stoked. And then at some point he tells me he is 22. What. The. Crap. Cougar alert.

I'm not blaming my singleness on men. And I'm not saying I'm perfect. Dang, I'm so flawed. I have issues, too. Don't we all? But I constantly get asked, "Why are you still single?"so I felt I needed to explain a bit. However, I'm ready to personally process where my heart is with being 34 and single. Here we go.

First off, let me say I love my life. It is filled with blessings. I don't want to wallow in the one thing I don't have when there are so many things I DO have. I love my parents. I love my sisters. I have the cutest nephews in the whole freakin' world. I live in a beautiful place. I enjoy my job. I live in a great house with great people. I have amazing friends. Just looking at this paragraph makes my heart swell with joy and thankfulness. I am so blessed.

So why can't that be enough?

Why do I insist that there is still one more thing I need?

The truth is, I don't know if I will get married or not. I am not promised anything. Nowhere in the bible does it say every believer will get married. God is not obligated in any way to give me a husband. I feel like a spoiled, entitled 5 year old when I look at all the blessings in my life and ignore them to focus on the one thing in my life I don't have. As if getting married will make me complete. As if being a wife will bring me eternal happiness. As if changing my last name will settle all longings I have (or ever will have) in my heart.

I think the best way to share where I am with my singleness is to tell you about the breakdown I had last Friday. I was with a friend and she asked me how I was doing with God. As I spoke, I could feel myself getting choked up. Where is that coming from? I swallowed and tried to keep talking, but the next thing I knew, I was crying uncontrollably. It was like all my emotions, fears, and heartache couldn't stay inside any longer and needed to be released.

"Sarah, what's wrong?" my friend asked.

"I am scared, B. I know I need to trust God with every area of my life. And I want to. But I am struggling with doubt. I am doubting God's goodness. I'm doubting God's provision. I feel like this has been a desire of my heart for so long. I feel like I've been patiently waiting and praying and He has done nothing. I keep praying and hoping, but I am wondering if it will ever happen. And I'm afraid that I am starting to give up on hoping. I hate feeling this way. I feel like my doubt is pushing God away. It's creating this distance in our relationship. And it's my fault. Why can't I trust Him?! I'm scared to say I don't trust him in this area of my life. It's scary to admit it out loud."

And with that, I continued to cry as I replayed in my mind what I had just said.

My friend was wonderful. She let me cry. And when I calmed down, she responded.

"Sarah, I'm so glad you admitted that. What has been in darkness has now been brought into the light. It loses some of its power over you now that you have shared it. And you're right, we are not promised husbands [she is single and in her 30's, too]. But it's not a bad thing to want that. It's not an unholy or sinful thing to desire. On the contrary, it's a wonderful and understandable thing to desire. What I love is that you are being honest about where you are with God. Satan would love for you to keep all your doubts and fears inside, where he can judge you and make you feel shame and guilt. He wants you to feel far from God. But think about this: when you feel these things, can you remember what you KNOW to be true?"

I stopped crying.

Feelings vs. Knowledge.

I choose knowledge.

I choose TRUTH.

Is God good? YES. Does he know me? YES. Intimately. More than anyone else. He created everything about me. Does he love me? YES. So much he sent his son to die for me. Has he blessed my life? YES. Does he provide for his children? YES. Maybe not always in the ways we want him to. But we're not God. He knows what is best. Does God have a beautiful plan for my life? One that will not harm me but give me hope and a future? YES.

I'm 34 and single.

When I feel like doubting God in this area of my life (which still happens a lot), I choose to trust Him.

It's hard. But good. Hard but good.


(P.S. If you like this post, you can check out this one, too. Entitled "What NOT to say to a single adult".)


Amy said...

Best post yet. Thank you for sharing!

Emily said...

Thanks for being so transparent. Keep your head up. I have other friends who right there with you.
Now a suggestion. Have you considered eharmony.com? I only ask because that'show my dad met my step-mom, and how my cousin (who was 32 at the time) met her husband. God brought Nancy and Clay into our family through that website, and they are amazing, perfect fits for my dad and my cousin. I don't want to play God, but who knows...may He's speaking through me today.
Love you friend!

Anonymous said...

love you, marshie. And you KNOW I'll keep my eye out for single guys for my amazing SC girlfriends!!

Jody said...

This IS one of the best posts of yours I've read.

New Branch said...

best. blog. ever. like i want to enter it in a contest to be the voice for too many awesome women i know who are 30-ish and single. sis, speaking from experience, you are incredible. not perfect, but no one is. you definitely do not have the social issue skills that you list of the single men your age. that's what blows me away. what happened? why are there so many single, awesome, christian, women...where are their male counterparts. i am always on the lookout and have to say, from experience, i think i have met one available, great, christian guy in the past 5 years. and he has commitment issues. go figure.

Smarshie said...

Thanks, ladies! I hesitate to write blogs like this one, because I sometimes feel like a loser (ie. "What's wrong with me?"). But it felt really good to write out what I'm going through and be honest about where I am. And Emily, yep, I'm doing the good ol' eharm. I'll let you know if anything comes from it.

WackyMamma said...

You and your heart are gorgeous. Thank you for letting us in. Your transparency.... wow, so refreshing.
keep on keepin on. I'm trusting God for you! :)

Smarshie said...

Thanks, friend!

Anonymous said...

I am 34 newly single and I have a 7year old son and I am just about to drown from disappointment

Smarshie said...

Anon, I'm so sorry for your sadness and disappointment. Life doesn't always turn out the way we expect, huh? I'm sure you find so much joy in your son. I hope on days when things seem especially hard he brings a smile to your face. Thank you for sharing.

JessM said...

I admit I found your blog via a web search. I'm 34 and in the middle of a divorce (my husband was not honest with me about who he was and he became verbally abusive after we were married). There are days when I feel so down and wish things could have been different. I've always had these big dreams of being married and having a family. I just want to say your post really spoke to me. God has great plans for me and it's hard to remember that sometimes. It's better to focus on all the good that's in our lives. Thank you so much for posting this (even though it's been a year!).

Smarshie said...

Hi Jess, I'm so glad you found this post and that it encouraged you a little. I'm sorry to hear that you are going through a divorce, but I am so glad you will not be with a verbally abusive husband anymore. You will soon be free of those chains.

And I totally hear you when you said you had dreams of being married and having a family. I feel like we all have dreams (to some degree) like that and then life throws us disappointments.

However, even though this post is a year old, I still like to come back and read it and be reminded of what I was learning then. Because it still holds true today.

I am almost 35 and still not married. And I'm worried I never will be. And maybe you are worried that you might not find love again or start a family. And all these thoughts start creeping in, like we're not good enough, no one will want to be with us, etc.

I have to keep reminding myself - those are lies. They are not from God. The Lord tells us to trust him. That it's okay to be weak, because then He can be our strength. That He is the one in control, not us. That He has a plan for our lives (and we usually don't know what that is). And He is the giver of hope, which we so desperately need during hard times.

This doesn't take away the pain I'm sure you're going through, and I'm so sad you have to deal with this. But I hope God brings little encouragements to you through each and every day. Thank you very leaving your comment! You're not alone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post and naked honesty. So many of us 30-ish single women rarely speak from our hearts like that, afraid we'll look weak or desperate-as society tells us we don't need a partner. I am 34, single and currently on overseas volunteer work where all this is magnified in a sea of 20 something year olds with all the time in the world living in the moment. Ironically, being here, East Africa, after having a recent break-up, has/is bringing me to seek out God more. I too want a family-as Christians we are brought up and loved in the family of Christ and its almost like second nature to have one of our own. I too have doubts if God wants me to get married and have a family......I shouldn't question God, human frailty. I do know that the peace I get from him, I can't get from any relationship---recent revelation:), so that is where I begin, peace with God and let him do the rest. Satan is strong to tell us we've "failed" and "its because we "aren't deserving of love",but God says otherwise,we do deserve love and we are NOT failures--perhaps we didn't follow God's words in love when choosing our mates, perhaps we were seeking out earthly needs, perhaps that person we met was just for a reason, or a season and not meant to be a lifetime--I am thinking of JessM on your blog responses--God does send people in our lives for a reason, though sometimes it turns out bad, he (God) doesn't make mistakes, we do but he doesn't hold us or judge us by them. He did promise us we will NEVER be alone....so I am holding on to my faith that he will fill my life with richness and peace and all the people who HE ordains to be in my life, not by my choosing--not always one to make the best decisions with that.

I wish you much joy, success, love and grace.

Smarshie said...

Anonymous, THIS is why I love the internet. You are across the world serving in East Africa and yet the world wide web can connect us to those who are dealing with the same thing.

You brought up a really good point. I feel like I get conflicting messages. The church doesn't know how to handle people in their 30's who aren't married (or have kids), so there's a lot of awkwardness. "Why aren't you married? Why aren't you dating anyone?" etc. And then society tells us, "Screw marriage. Live your life. You don't need a man to make you happy. Be strong and independent!" etc.

I'm sure being around a bunch of young twenty-somethings can be refreshing but hard at times. =) Sometimes when I hang around my college students, I am wistful and a bit envious. I dated a lot when I was in my early 20's but now everyone my age is married and I feel like the odd man (woman) out.

I also loved what you shared: "I do know that the peace I get from him [God], I can't get from any relationship." So true! I am discovering that more and more. Thank you for the reminder.

Basically I am just glad you wrote. And that goes for everyone who has shared on here. It's so nice to know I'm not alone in this struggle. We can encourage each other in this, which is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Smarshie, I will admit that I was somewhat disappointed when I typed in this phrase in google.com "34 years old and still single" I found this blog to be very helpful to me as a guy most of the woman my age are married have kids or single and have kids. My greatest strength is change and relationships. Smarshie, Someone told me once that maybe the reason why you are still single is because maybe the person that God has picked for you is not ready yet, or maybe you are not ready for them, or maybe God has someone really special waiting for you. I love life, even though I like to stick on a schedule, I love change as it keeps me from getting bored!
Congratulation on this post being in the top 10 2 spot of the "34 years old and still single" category of google.com Until than live laugh play, that is what I do.

Smarshie said...

Hi Anon, thanks for your comment. It's always good to get a guy's perspective on things. Yes, I agree with you: when we get into our 30's, it seems all our friends are married or married with kids. And that's normal. I just struggle with feeling abnormal because I don't fit in either category. But while I continue to pray for whoever God is going to bring into my life, I WILL live my life and live it for the glory of God!

nla78 said...

I love your post. I'll be 34 this year and I have doubts at times but I choose to remember all the times God has been there for me. He has brought many miracles in my life and I know he has a plan for me.

Smarshie said...

Thanks for your comment, nla78. I think our doubt is normal. In fact, I'd be surprised if I met a single male or female in their 30's and they DIDN'T struggle with doubt. But you are so right - it's important for us to look back and see how God has taken care of us and provided for us in the past. We obviously don't know what He has in store for us and it can be hard waiting. But do I believe He is a GOOD god? Yes. Do I trust Him, even when I doubt? Yes. Is it hard being patient? YES. =) But that doesn't mean I stop believing He is good and/or worthy of our trust.

riya dutta said...

Hello, I am an Indian woman of thirty four and although orient is coming a rapid close to your country, women above thirty are still considered oddballs in the society. I am smartly single and God loving too. although of a different race and religion. But reading your article was a definite morale booster. Thanks and keep posting more such stuff

riya dutta said...

Unmarried women specially above thiry are still frowned upon in certain parts of my country and tends to cause comments. But as you said laugh loud at it and do that a lot. But its nice to know am not alone in the world. Thanks a lot again.

Smarshie said...

Hi Riya. How fun that you are writing from India! Yes, please remember you are not alone in this. We are in the same boat. Loving God and patiently waiting for Him to bring us together with our intended. And yes, sometimes the best way to deal with people's comments is to have a great sense of humor about it. And keep praying!

Anonymous said...

Another 34 and single here. Thanks for the blog. Sometimes feel like a loser but I'm not, there's lots of us out there and there is nothing wrong with us!

Smarshie said...

Hey Anon, welcome to the blog and thanks for writing. We're all in this together. (We should start a club and wear matching jackets.) =)

Anonymous said...

Smarshie, I'm a 34 year old guy and I'm single. So I know what it's like to be 34 and single. From reading your comments, it sounds like you have met single guys, but none of them are exactly what you want them to be. I can honestly tell you that no one will ever be exactly what you want them to be. Also, you are good looking. Maybe it's the whole Jesus thing that puts many guys off. Have you ever considered that religion might be a load of nonsense, and that your own basic need for companionship is more important? Forget about religion. If religion cared about you, why would it make you suffer? Wake up to reality, lady! There is no god! There is fairness in the world! If you want a boyfriend, go out into the world and find one. Take action. Don't wait for an imaginary super being to deliver things to do your doorstep just because you've managed to convince yourself that things can happen that way.

Anonymous said...

Correction to sentence in my post above: "There is NO fairness in the world!"

Sunshine said...

I'm 34 unmarried born again, never dated bcuz I always thought God would bless my life, like you I thought I'd be married by 25, looking back I'm sooo sad that this is where I am, I could tear myself into pieces I regret the life I've lived. I come from a Christian family but behind closed doors filled with domestic violence, lack, abuse. We pray, serve, give but God does not answer. I don't want this life I have no desire to live anymore, I've accepted that I'm a joke I can't pray anymore, he never loved me, if he did he would've answered and given by now. I'm soooo stupid, I was never meant to be here. If I were to go back in time i wouldn't spend all my time in church

Smarshie said...

I haven't checked this post in awhile and I'm so glad I did tonight because I wanted to respond to "Anonymous". Hi Anon, I'm glad you found this post and commented. I just wanted to say a couple things to what you wrote.

You asked if I've ever considered my faith in God to be a deterrent to men. Yes, there are probably times when it has been. But my faith is the most important thing to me and about me. So if it's a deterrent that I follow Jesus, then I shouldn't be dating those guys anyway. I really desire to be with someone who shares my faith and beliefs.

You also asked if I ever considered that religion might be a load of nonsense and that my own basic need for companionship is more important.

Yep, there have been times in my life where I've doubted God. I've doubted both His existence and if He truly does have control of my life. I've wondered if Christianity was nonsense.

But through my ups and downs, my doubts, my questioning, my searching...I always come back to God. To me, He is real. He is truth. He created everything. Through Him, I have life. My love for Him overcomes my doubts. I'm not trying to be "preachy", I just want to share where I'm coming from.

As far as companionship, I have it. I have an awesome family, co-workers, roomates, and friends. But I am looking for something deeper than just companionship. I am looking for a husband. A husband who I can share everything with, including my faith in Jesus.

I can definitely say I am not waiting for God to magically have my husband show up on my doorstep. I mean, it's been over two years since I wrote this post and I am still single. It's still hard, but I'm continuing to join activities and meet people. You know, put myself out there. My prayer is that he will be worth the wait.

He won't be perfect. I'm not perfect. I don't need or want perfection.

Smarshie said...

Hi Sunshine, I'm sorry you are struggling so much right now. I mentioned this in an above comment but it's worth repeating again.

Anytime you feel worthless or you feel like a joke, just remind yourself...those are lies. They are not from God. The Lord tells us to trust him. That it's okay to be weak, because then He can be our strength. That He is the one in control, not us. That He has a plan for our lives (and we usually don't know what that is). And He is the giver of hope, which we so desperately need during hard times.

Sunshine said...

Hi Smarshie, thanx for your encouragement and your blog, you couldn't have imagined that it would go on for this long and impact so many lives, you're such an inspiration, I pray God grant you the desires of your heart Amen. I'm doing better now, and I've received a word- to check the condition of my heart, to sow seeds of the Word that address my desires and till my heart with praise, forgiveness and Gods love. Thank- u

Anonymous said...

I like your post, but just wanted to point out that god exist.

Anonymous said...

God is definitely using you right now. I am now doubting myself and God. I am going through a breakup in which my engagement was canceled. Im feeling like a huge failure and yes here I go again 34 and single. Im waiting for the judgements and the what's wrong with her comments. Although id much rather be single than in a miserable relationship, but realistically I desire to be married and right now I doubt that will ever happen.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. It's nice to know that I'm not alone.

Smarshie said...

Hi Anon, thank you for writing. First off, I'm sorry for your engagement ending. I'm sure it was for a very good reason (reasons?) but it is a bit disheartening to think, "Now I have to start all over at square one." But you are absolutely right - to be in a miserable marriage would be worse than being single.

(By the way, I hope people around you will be mature, understanding, and supportive instead of judge-y.)

This is a hard season you're going through. But I love that God created seasons in life. To use this metaphor, I remind myself that winter always ends, the snow melts, and spring comes - bringing new life and growth. I hope you are encouraged that "spring" will be here soon.

Anonymous said...

Being a Christian should not matter, you should like a guy regardless of his faith. There are lots of great guys who don't go to church and there are lost who do that are not so great. I hope you find love.

Smarshie said...

Hi Anon, what you said is totally true. There are great guys that don't go to church. And some of the guys at church aren't so great. (The same could be said for women who do or don't go to church.) However, sharing my faith with my husband will be the most important thing in our relationship, so that's what I'm looking for.

Aaiya said...

I just found this post and was bawling by the time I was done. This is so me. I too am a believer and sometimes questions God and His provision for me in that one area. However when I look around and see all the wonderful things He's provided I know He has a plan for me. It's hard sometimes I won't lie. So thank you very much for this post .. at least I know I'm not alone. May God's favour be on you and may He provide for us all in His time.

Smarshie said...

Hi Aaiya, I'm so glad you ran across this blog and I loved what you shared! I agree, sometimes when we feel down about being single, we should look at our lives and marvel at how God has blessed us. It helps our perspective and attitude.

And I liked what you said about God's timing. I keep telling myself that my timing is not God's timing (and vice versa). And His timing is always perfect, even when it doesn't make any sense to us.

And yes, it is HARD! But that's why this post and all the comments have been so encouraging. We're not alone. Many of us are admitting that being single is hard and yet we're choosing to trust God. That's beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I am having a very rough few days betting myself up for being 34 and single. I so needed to read this. Thank you!

Smarshie said...

Hi Anon, I'm glad this post was an encouragement to you.