High School Me always assumed I would meet my future husband in college. In my intricately-woven teenage daydreams, Future Husband and I would cross paths late in my freshman year. Obviously, he’d be a ridiculously handsome junior (it seemed right that Future Husband would be two years older). After graduation, I’d live on my own for a year before we got married. We’d get hitched when I was 23.
It was the perfect plan.
Then freshman year of college came and went.
“I’m angry that no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to find love. Why can everyone else? How come they get that happiness?” - My journal, age 19
So did sophomore year. And junior year. And senior year.
“I was looking around at all the couples today with children and all I could think of was wow - I want that! I want to be married to a Christian guy…” - My journal, age 20
“Lord, please help me to be patient till the time comes.” - My journal, age 21
“22 and never been kissed - Lord, how long will it last?” - My journal, age 22
Oh, did I fail to mention that? I was 22 and had never been kissed! A living embodiment of Josie Gellar from the late-‘90s chick flick! Not only was my perfect plan a total bust, but I was light years behind my high school daydreams. Several of my friends were already making sweet music with their husbands (let’s face it, so were the vast majority of people my age, husbands or not) and I was waiting for something that I always imagined happening before the 21st century.
After graduation, I decided to move to Vermont because I wanted to experience the fall foliage and see lots of covered bridges (yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds). One day, I mentioned to one of my colleagues (also a recent college grad) that in the prior three months, I had attended seven or eight weddings. Astounded, she asked if all my friends were in their 30s. "I know one person who just got engaged," she said, "but she’s 28 years old."
What? There were people my age who weren’t even thinking about marriage? For the first time, it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, my “perfect plan” wasn’t a failure at all. Perhaps God had an even more perfect plan in mind for me, one that He would make known in His time, not mine.
And slowly but surely, God started to open my eyes to the infinite ways my singleness was a blessing, not a source for tears. My singleness was the reason I was able to work amazing contract positions in a variety of places - how I could develop a wide range of skills and determine what type of work I truly loved.
My singleness allowed me to travel extensively overseas, marvel at the wonder of God’s creation and meet incredible people from all walks of life.
My singleness gave me time to serve the Lord - by leading church youth groups, teaching ESL, playing musical instruments and organizing outdoor fellowship activities.
My singleness is the reason I landed my dream job.
“How many hours I have spent crying and praying, Lord…again as always I would ask that you grant me patience and the ability to trust your will, no matter what it may be.” - My journal, age 26
My 20s were definitely not all sunshine and roses. I cried. I shouted at God. I wrote dozens of additional passages in my journal like the ones above. I lost a few friends because I took more than I gave. I kissed more than one really cute foreign guy. I had to slap more than one really cute foreign guy in the face when things got a little too cheeky.
But for every day that I cried, there were more days that I laughed. For every time I shouted at God, there were more times that I sang His praises.
You know what He says in Jeremiah? That passage you’ve heard seven hundred times? It’s true.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11
HE knows the perfect plan. It may not be yours. God’s plan for my life thus far certainly wasn’t the vision of High School Me. But it’s been even better than I ever could have imagined.
So, to all the single ladies! Enjoy the single years. Develop friendships with other people at your stage of life. Find the ways you can use your singleness to serve the Lord.
And if you love country-pop, you should probably put the Dixie Chicks’ The Long Way Around on your running playlist:
"Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down If you ever want to find me I can still be found Taking the long way around…"
Oh, yes. Ten years after I thought it would happen, I met Future Husband. He has the best smile with an adorable dimple (that was in my plan). He is also a Lutheran minister (that was totally NOT in my plan).
*To check out my travel and culture contributions on the backroads blog, The Back Beat, click here.