If you are a woman completely content in your singleness, bless you, sister. Seriously, go with God and change the world right where you are, and teach us your ways.
But maybe that’s not you. Maybe your heart feels broken open a little with unfulfilled longing and buried dreams. You are serving Jesus and following Him to your next door neighbors and the far corners of the earth. But your little girl visions of a white dress and white picket fence still take up space in your soul. Maybe the biological clock is ticking and soon your body will no longer be able to grow and nourish a tiny human being. The revolving door of teammates creates a layer of loneliness and you want that one person who will always have your back. You wonder, “Will it ever be my turn?”
There’s a time for wild adventures and celebrations of the gifts of freedom and sanctification that come with singleness.
But today, it’s okay to lament.
It’s okay to sit with the longing, that crazy bit of hope still left in your heart.
It’s okay to weep and pray and even to be angry.
After the horror of watching their Rabbi crucified and unsure of the reality of resurrection, two disciples walked along the road to Emmaus. We read their story in Luke 24:13-21. They don’t recognize the Savior who comes to join them as they remember all that has transpired and express deep disappointment. “We had hoped…” they say, and we can almost touch the longing in their words. They had hoped the Messiah was coming to rescue them, to make things better.
Jesus doesn’t rush in to stop them, to turn their mourning into joy with the flip of a switch. There’s no glib, spiritual phrases found here, no push to make the sorrow disappear. He lets them talk. He lets them express all their dashed hopes and confusion.
Only after His invitation to let them pour out their sorrow does He remind them of Truth, explaining the Scriptures to them and pointing out all their blinded eyes had missed.
When we lament, it doesn’t mean we are complaining, untrusting, or selfish. We have the same invitation, the same response from Jesus as the Emmaus road sojourners: to be honest about what hurts, the gifts but also the ache.
What had you hoped the Father would do for you, in your relationship status or your ministry or your family? Maybe your heart is full of questions, like these two disciples. You wonder, “What is this season? Why the ache that doesn’t go away? Why do You withhold these gifts from me?”
Allowing space for grief in our lives, no matter what is causing the pain, is not a quick process. It’s not a once-and-done kind of thing. No, lamenting is not to be rushed through, but instead we must slow down and linger there for awhile.
But the great thing? Lament is not the end. It pushes us forward to a place of hope and acceptance. We don’t have to rush there, but we do come to a place of healing and restoration. We are reminded that God has not forgotten us in our pain, but that He is faithful and overflowing with love.
My counselor is the one who has been encouraging me to lament. She gave me Psalm 13 as my primer, my lamenting template. If you need an example, that’s an excellent place to go. Actually, Scripture is full of examples of lament and this can free us to go and do likewise.
There’s room for both the celebrations and the sorrow of your singleness. It’s okay to admit the longing, the hurt and confusion, even while gratefully acknowledging the gifts. Sister, there’s no need to rush, this invitation is there for you.
As you think about the way Jesus met the two disciples on the Emmaus road, what does that stir up in your heart? I know it’s hard and vulnerable, but how would you finish the phrase, “I had hoped…”?
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