Past Present Future (#LoveBlog2017)

As soon as I was born, and it was clear I was born the much wanted granddaughter my late grandfather was certain would be a boy, my late grandmother started working on my trousseau.
She was really good at weaving lace, like all accomplished women of her generation, and failed throughout her life to pass it on to me. It’s not that I didn’t want to be a wife and mother, I grew up to die inside whenever someone asked when I would get married at any family reunion since I was about 14 because I wanted it more than anything. I just could never imagine spending my afternoons making lace when there is so much history to learn about (I was truly obsessed).

And there I am, at the ripe old age of 28, single and a historian (no surprise there), wondering if maybe I shouldn’t have closed the door on being the kind of woman my grandmother was. I look exactly like her, and may have inherited some of her good nature as well as her big eyes, although mine are deep blue while hers were grey with violet undertones.

What if my own selfishness and ambition closed my door on motherhood? In the lowest moments, when I’m the most insecure, I can picture God saying: “You made your choice”. Except that it doesn’t really feel like a choice, it’s more the result of growing up in the 1990s with a working woman as a mother and a proper feminist as an aunt. Long before I embraced the faith chosen for me long before I was even born, the idea of what woman I was supposed to be had been imprinted on my mind. I have to fight really hard not to resent the people who impacted my upbringing when I feel like I would never fulfill my purpose until I say “I do”.

Suddenly, one day, I woke up to the realisation that I got it all completely wrong. There is only one “I do” that can fulfill me, and that I do I nearly shouted at my first Easter vigil when renewing my baptismal promises. I may, one day, be someone’s bride, but that’s Jesus letting me take a second husband. He would always be the first, or I wouldn’t be a Christian.

That day wasn’t just any day, actually. It was the anniversary of graduating from the IMPACT course (a leadership course targeted at Christians with an interest in public life). I have made some friends for life through it, and in a way found myself. It was an intense journey of prayer and learning, and it was an extraordinary opportunity. I look back to it with a little more pride than I should, but that’s how I’ve come to realise that being single is not a curse, and it doesn’t mean I’m not fulfilling my purpose or I’m any less valuable than if I were married. And the future has a way of surprising us, as one of my friends from that course is recently engaged.

I looked back to that year and I can’t see what difference a husband would have made, except being one more person to support me (but what if he didn’t?) and the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to complete the course because expecting. With the hindsight of how much I’ve changed and grown and how my relationship with the Lord has deepened, and where learning to walk by faith has taken me, I’m grateful that wasn’t the case. If I will be a wife and mother now, I will be a better one, because I am a better person. But to be completely honest, the way I picture my future has changed too, and I’m not sure I really see myself as such anymore. Or I ever truly have in the past beyond the feelings of inadequacy and the need to be liked.

Sometimes we are so focused on what we lack to be fully aware of how much we truly have to give, and unless we know that deep down, there’s no amount of Psalm 139 being thrown at us to stop the “but” sneaking in. I used to worry way too much about what people will think of me if I never find anyone to spend the rest of my life with. I’ve spent too much time chasing the wrong people out of fear, and mourning losses that I should have celebrated because I invested too much in being loved by another human. I still do, at times.

Being single is a time of my life that I missed out on cherishing because I didn’t realise I wasn’t at the cinema during the trailers and adverts waiting for the film to start. The film started at 3:45 am (GMT +1) on January 2nd 1989. And I’m not the kind of woman my grandmother was, and there’s no point in wishing I was someone else. God didn’t need to make me, He made me because he wanted me, and He made me as He pleased. Intellectual, stubborn, kind and principled to a fault.

So much is being written in the Christian blogosphere (and beyond) about making sure you make a good use of this time of waiting and preparation, but there is this rather scary question at the back of my mind: what if I’m not waiting for marriage at all? God may have other plans, and as a recovering control freak I just can’t deal with it, so the perspective scares me. My first reaction is to just-do-something-about-it. Join a dating website, go to dating events, while a voice at the back of my mind reminds me that actually who has the time for that? Maybe if I cut down the Jane Austen marathons in bed in what is left of my free time..or maybe I just need someone who would like to spend hours watching adaptations of Jane Austen novels in bed. Or maybe I just need to stop fretting because I’m exactly where God wants me to be or I would be somewhere else.
I have many qualities that are good attributes of a wife and mother, but my identity and my purpose aren’t that. Wife and mother are just assignments (cheers Fearfully Fashioned for reminding me that), and they’re not mine right now. They may never be.

I don’t know where I will be in one year, but I hope to look back on the coming 365 days and see that I’ve done something amazing with my purpose rather than letting time pass me by while my focus is on the wrong thing.






This blog post is part of the #LoveBlog2017 blogging challenge and linkup. Meet your co-hosts for the day:

Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.
Twitter || Instagram || Pinterest || Facebook || Bloglovin

Charlene is a 20 something wife and fur mama living in Ohio. She uses her blog, “Enduring All Things” to inspire young wives to keep God first and their husbands second in everything they do.

Twitter || Instagram || Pinterest || Facebook || Bloglovin

Also I’m so excited to introduce a new thing this year: a giveaway!
The #LoveBlog2017 giveaway started 01/02/2017 and runs through 28/02/2017. While we love our international readers, this is limited to US residents only due to legal restrictions. To learn more about all the sponsors, check out Belle Brita all month long!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. I enjoyed reading your reflections, quite a bit! Not knowing the future, not knowing what exactly you might be waiting for or not waiting for because it’s never going to happen is definitely hard for a mind like mine that feels like I just want to know what will happen in advance and when and then I’ll be patient about it all. ha! I believe marriage is a very good thing–but I tend to see it as an ‘add-on’–life is rather awe-inspiring all on its own and having my best friend around all the time for the past 6+ years has also been really cool. But it’s not the only thing. I have a number of friends in their mid 30s who always say they really want to get married…but they don’t say “yes” any time a guy ever asks them out because they think dating is too awkward, they mostly hang out with me and the rest of the girl gang and keep waiting for God to drop the perfect guy in their laps, and keep waiting for fireworks or instant attraction. That works for some people…but for me, it’s not the most practical approach. Then again, I’m probably overly practical and a little too un-romantic, ha!

    1. I used to be a little romantic, then someone broke my heart really badly and I already wasn’t completely sold on the whole romantic thing so that kicked it in the gutter. But I so know what you mean about not knowing, it’s way too hard. I love your approach to see marriage as an add-on, I’m really scared I’ll end up seeing it as a problem like my mother does. I need to surround myself with people like you!

  2. Love this! Wife and mother are terms I’m still toying with. I want to leave the door open for all possibilities. If you could send me a private email about living in London, I’d appreciate it. Within the next 5 years, I want my writing career to be profitable so that it can be my full time job. That way I can afford to live there.

    1. Thank you! It can be difficult at time to leave the door open for all possibilities because they don’t always look as appealing, but the reality is that not all of them are as appealing as they seem from outside anyway.

      (I’ll send you the email tomorrow as I’m only here to save any new links on pocket with a view of going back to bed asap)

  3. It took me awhile to believe that being single wasn’t a curse. But once I embraced it, I was able to be a lot more content and get more in touch with who I was as an individual. I think that’s why I was ready when my husband finally came along.

    1. Amazing! I love to hear those stories. So many don’t believe you when you say you’ve grown at peace with being single so it always reassures me that I’m not alone 🙂

  4. God may very well have other plans for you! I always hate how our society seems to put so much pressure on us to get married and start a family at a certain age. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single and I wish more people believed and respected that. I’m so glad you can look back on your life and see what a blessing it’s been to be single.

    1. Thank you. You’re so right about societal pressures, I could have probably enjoyed my time even more if I wasn’t too busy being worried 🙂

  5. I would be lying if I said I didn’t love my married life… But I loved my single life just as much. Life is this big, messy, glorious gift from God, and She’s put together some awesome plans for us. I’m super-impatient and not always good at trusting God, but I ask Her to help me better trust Her.

    This is a wonderful response to the prompt. I have so enjoyed your beautiful writing this month!

    1. My bet would be that you enjoy your married life more because you come from a position of strength, as someone who loved what you have left behind. That makes your husband a partner rather than someone you need to fill a gap he could never fill. Had I married anyone in the past few years I could have never said that of my relationship, and now I see that it’s better this way.
      And thanks <3 I loved your prompts too!

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