I have been thinking a lot about seasons lately, and not just because the rainy weekend has me thinking of fall and the beauty it will bring to Tennessee. I am thinking, rather, about the seasons of life and the sweetness in each season. If I had to, I could probably divide the past year into at least seven seasons – maybe more – defined by different ways God was moving in my life both physically and spiritually. With college coming to an end for me in nine short months, I am thinking of what my post-college season might look like. I also find myself thinking about seasons long after that, for a few reasons.
For one, many of my close friends are getting married soon. I have dear friends getting married in October, January, June, and August – and some other friends who aren’t engaged yet, but will probably be married within the year. I knew all of these friends before they met or started dating their husbands-to-be and it is really exciting for me to have seen their courtship – some up close and some from a distance – and witness how God is weaving two lives together to glorify Him even more together than apart.
Until recently, I had never thought about marriage very much. I have always been the love skeptic, the anti-dating girl, and the one who has never even thought about what her wedding will look like. Though I haven’t completely changed my mind about all of those things, God has done a ton in my heart in the past nine months and by speaking to me through my friends and other circumstances in my life, God has me thinking a little bit more about marriage.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not at all ready to jump the broom. I haven’t met anyone, for one thing, but most of all, I think I have a lot of learning to do before I am ready for marriage. However, I have been looking at marriage a lot differently lately. I have been living with a family for the past nine months and have been super blessed to witness an awesome, godly marriage at work day in and day out. I’ve learned a ton from them about all sorts of things – everything from parenting to making time to read the Bible together to making sacrifices for each other to serving each other…so much. I’ve also had the privilege to witness my other married friends and see how they laugh together, resolve disagreements together, love and discipline their kids together, and sharpen each other constantly.
I have been super blessed with friends of all different ages. One of my friends has three children – two in high school and one that graduated already. She and her husband have been married for over 20 years and are still best friends and very much in love. Another of my friends has been married even longer – all of her children are grown and married with children of their own. I love hearing about the ways in which she and her husband are still in love and are serving each other in this sweet season and how she is learning so much from her own children and their spouses. I know another sweet couple who has been married even longer. One of them has been battling with cancer for years. This sweet husband and wife are still very much in love and always have so much joy in their faces, despite some of the painful challenges in their lives. The secret to all of these marriages? Each of them are completely rooted in the love of Christ and their love for each other flows forth from the love Christ pours into them.
At one point in my life, I think I may have resented marriage. I did not grow up around a healthy married relationship until my teenage years. I was one of those kids who was scarred by divorce at an early age and it really skewed my perspective of marriage. Now, however, having witnessed my parents’ courtship, wedding, and marriage over the past several years and being able to see the marriages of close friends more recently, I am really excited about the time in my life in which I will get to serve my husband and live with my best friend for the rest of my life. It is kind of hard to imagine for me, still, so I don’t imagine it much. I do, however, continue to be fully reliant on God and totally satisfied in Him and the blessings He is giving me now and expectant and hopeful of the future blessings He has in store for me. I am thoroughly content in this season of my life right now and realize that having a man in my life at this time could prevent me from investing in certain people and activities as I am currently able to do.
If there is one thing I have learned from watching godly friends do marriage, it is that the “honeymoon phase” is not necessarily the best part of being married. To me, it seems that every season of a relationship is sweet and beautiful and invaluable – from the romantic courtship to the newlywed phase to raising kids to celebrating the achievements of older kids, to learning to live with and for each other again once the kids are gone. In the same way, every season of life is sweet and irreplaceable.
I have no idea what God has in store for me in the coming years. But I cannot live in my head and try to out-imagine God. He is teaching me constantly that His plans are way more amazing than my own. And I cannot wish away this moment and this season while thinking of seasons to come. I am so amazed at the opportunities God gives me daily and am so thankful for each day. I celebrate the marriages of my friends and the impending weddings of my other friends. I also celebrate the lives of my dear friends who are being used by God in incredible ways to accomplish His purposes and impact the lives of others during their season of singleness.
Paul applauds the single person in Scripture because the one who is not living to please another is able to use his/her efforts and devotion for God alone. That is my prayer for my single friends – that “single” would not have a negative connotation, but would instead connote possibility and opportunity to be available to respond immediately to God when He asks. For my married friends and soon-to-be-married friends, I pray that God will be glorified in two lives united as one even more than He would be in each of those lives individually.
Seasons are so beautiful. And I am so enjoying this season of being able to observe marriage and celebrate the way in which God brings together two people that He created to live together and serve Him together for the rest of their lives.
If you are single, keep depending on God to satisfy you completely and fill you with all the joy and love that you need. Do not be fooled by the world’s lie that happiness lies in another person. Learn to love marriage and celebrate it, even when the wedding bells aren’t yours. If you are married, seek God and depend on Him to sustain you individually and in your marriage. Truly, truly the only way to maintain a healthy, loving, fruitful marriage is for God to be at the center.
Thank you, Lord, for such a great gift and for the many blessings you have given me through my married friends recently!
Peace and joy, my friends.