Monday, December 9, 2013

Thanksgiving & Being Single

Thanksgiving & Being Single.

October 30, 2013 at 5:19pm

Well it turns out I re-wrote the devotional because it was supposed to apply to be specifically for single women (oops! and my examples in that were about wanting to go see what was on sale at Brooks Brothers and about diaper poop. oops!) Since I was near 30 when I got married my friend thought I might have some thoughts. Here is what I sent her...

There is something almost haunting about the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting. Almost haunting because it beckons to a picture perfect earthly ideal that seems written into so many of our hearts. The happy family all together. Generations of couples and children all celebrating God’s goodness as, from the kitchen, floats the scent of warm pumpkin pies.

And that’s wonderful and beautiful and great. But for those of us who have known, or are currently walking, life’s road alone, it can fill us with a twinge of emptiness, of not fitting-in-ed-ness, of sadness, of loss, of loneliness.

I think we’d all say that, in many ways, we have accepted and even embraced God’s choosing in allowing singleness. Often we handle it quite well. But at times, particularly at holidays, there can be moments where the loneliness is deafening. We see the couples walking hand in hand at the mall, the man with his arm around his wife as they sit at the Messiah together, and the TV commercials of the family all together. But when we walk through the mall there is no man holding our hand and we don’t get to buy a man a special Christmas gift (be honest with me, haven’t you wondered what it would be like to be the woman shopping for a new shirt for her guy instead of the woman just walking through the men’s section to get to your car?) And even if we sit with our girl friends at the Messiah, at the end of the night we get into our cars alone and drive to our homes where we are alone. And we have no one to laugh with at a good TV show or a hilarious commercial because we are sitting on our sofa alone. Yes, sometimes the silent loneliness is indeed deafening.

And at Thanksgiving we are often invited into other families’ homes or maybe we host our own Thanksgiving for other women. But at times its just not the same. Its just lonely and it hurts. And so that picture haunts us.

I could go a lot of places with this devotional at this point. I could tie in how we are in the family of God and so all of us at that Thanksgiving table are family no matter what our marital status. Or I could say to be grateful for your circumstances – afterall, there are children in China that are hungry right now. But that’s not for today. Today I just want to be honest that sometimes being single is very, very hard. And very lonely even though we know and have embraced the fact that the Lord is our spiritual husband. We indeed are physical beings and its hard not to have a physical husband fighting for us, opening the door for us, buying us a beautiful something from Kays jewelers that’s wrapped in a little golden box and placed under the Christmas tree. And its OK to acknowledge that its lonely at times and Thanksgiving won’t be quite everything that part of your heart wishes it could be. Its OK, and its good, to be honest with the Lord about this.

And with being honest to the Lord, we find a freedom to picture sitting at His feet or being held in His arms, asking Him for His grace to help us, in a special way this year, grasp hold of the reality of His lovingkindness and of all that it means for a daughter of the King and specifically someone single.

In asking God to help me understand His lovingkindness, I am realizing a key is looking farther than the good things He has placed in our lives. So many people tell single women to concentrate on the good things God has given them. But I think that’s missing so much. Don’t end your focus on the good gifts! That’s dangerous (what happens when you lose a good gift or you see everyone else having something “good” that you aren’t given at all and it just doesn’t seem fair?) And, more importantly, if you make that your end focus, it actually cheats you from a deeply rooted joy. You see, if you focus only on what God has done for you, you miss taking joy in discovering the depths and riches of who He is. And especially as a single woman there is such power and such a grand victory in glorying in your Redeemer and the wonder of His character. There is a tremendous testimony and confidence we can have in knowing Him to be our Keeper, in Him being our Provider, and in Him being our Worth. Delight in His who He is! You and I may not always understand His acts and the way He gives or does not give certain gifts, but we can have such security in knowing His ways – His attributes, His character.

This Thanksgiving I am asking God for the gift of a genuinely grateful heart focused on His attributes, particularly His lovingkindness toward me. I’m asking Him to remind me of my tremendous worth to Him. I’m asking Him for hope and joy and peacefulness. I’m asking Him for this knowing I don’t have it in me but God can pour it into my heart as I cling to Him.

And so, I pray…

Lord, this Thanksgiving may I take hold of the grace and victory you have given me to find great delight in knowing my worth to You, plumbing the depths of Your character, and seeking to glorify You forever. This Thanksgiving help me to particularly be mindful of the attribute of Your unfailing love toward me. And as I do this, the times then when loneliness does comes creeping in threatening to undue my joy, may You uphold me, whispering your love deep into my soul. May my life continually reflect all You are to me as I glory in You, My Redeemer and the Song of my heart.