In just a few short months I’ll be reaching the ripe old age of 30. Perhaps that sounds young to some of you, but to a still single woman who figured she’d be married with kids by this time, that mile marker is a bit daunting. In the midst of reflecting on the past few years; a heartbreak or two, the obvious absence of little ones running around the house, and the overwhelming desire for companionship with the right man, I’m faced with a question, is God’s love really enough? In the aftermath of recently stepping out in obedience and saying goodbye to a man that I cared for deeply, I have to ask myself, is God’s love really enough? In considering the fact that neither a life long marriage nor kids are promised to me in this life, I have to ask, is God’s love really enough?
I, along with millions of other Christian singles in their 20s/30s have believed, in theory, our entire lives that God’s love is enough for us. We’ve had plenty of well intentioned friends, family and church leaders tell us, we just need to be satisfied in God’s love before the right man will come along, as if His gifts are conditional. So we tried harder to be more satisfied in His love, not for the sake of love but for the sake of recompense.
For years we’ve sung songs about how “He Loves Us” and how His love is “Enough”. We’ve known the good sounding words. We’ve sung them a thousand times, tears flowing down our faces, fully in the moment. Yet, we still find ourselves at home alone on a random evening, in the stillness of our bedroom, doubting again. Exactly because it is in the silence, the stillness and the absence of others around us to help drown out the longing, that we are forced to face our fears. It is there that we are forced to face the reality of the here and now. We are forced to face the fact that we are “alone” while seemingly everyone around us is getting engaged, and married or having kids and plastering their joyous memories all across social media feeds. And as we sit in that moment we ask, “Are you really enough God?… And if you are, why do these longings and desires for companionship and intimacy still remain?”
This is the struggle. But what I have come to realize after one too many years of living it is that God’s love is in fact enough, but not in the way I always imagined it to be. I’ve gone year after year waiting for this longing inside of me to go away. Waiting to finally find, “The One”. To have one of my love stories finally end in “‘Until death do us part.” To have this seemingly eternally dragged out question answered. But the answer has not yet come. And after nearly 30 years of “waiting”, what I’ve realized is that I’ve been searching for the wrong thing.
In theory I’ve known God’s love is enough and have even preached that to other women but in practice I have never fully believed it. I have spent years of my life doubting myself, doubting God and believing that the answer to my doubt, longing and even fear could be found in the arms of a man. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with desiring a spouse, deep intimacy with a man and companionship. It is natural and beautiful and we absolutely should desire that. But we must realize ultimately that that is not the solution to the eternal longing that lives inside of us and if we enter a marriage relationship believing it is, we will be sorely disappointed. I’ve had one too many married women remind me of this over the past several years.
So for the first time in my life God has brought me to my knees and I’ve realized that I’ve had it all wrong. He is Enough. He is my Beloved and I am His. That is the totality of my validation, worth and the reason for my existence. It has nothing to do with being married or single and it has everything to do with being a child of God. It is not just some cliche, good sounding idea. It is truth and the definition of my life. His love has been enough for me since the day I was born. I was the one all along who chose not to accept it and allow it to define me.
This doesn’t mean that my desire or longing for intimacy with a man will disappear. It doesn’t mean that things will always be easy. It doesn’t even mean that my heart will never again be pulled towards the desires of this world or be tempted to be defined by them. I am human. We are human. And all of these things are natural outflows and longings of the human soul. But I believe we find freedom when we discover that Jesus didn’t come to make us happy, He came to make us His. And this is where he steps in and offers His grace.
He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.“(2 Corinthians 12:9). So when we struggle, doubt and fear we turn to Him and He reminds us that we were “bought at a price” (1 Cor 6:20). I am reminded here of a quote by Henri Nouwan, “From the moment we claim the truth of being the Beloved, we are faced with the call to become who we are.” That is our call in this life, that is our aim. Not marriage, not children, not the perfect job, success or fame but simply to discover what it means to be the Beloved of God and live our whole lives there.
The definition of Beloved is “dearly loved, adored, cherished, treasured, prized, highly regarded, admired, esteemed.” That is why Christ died, to make that our identity. His blood, our freedom. His pain, our wholeness, His sacrifice, our identity. So that we are free someday to enter our marriage relationship knowing that His love is enough and our spouse is simply a beautiful gift from Him.
Until then, my prayer for any single or married woman reading this, including myself is that you/we would truly understand that He offers us more love in one moment than any earthly lover could give us in a lifetime. He has already done the work, it is up to us to receive it and live like it is all we will ever need because it absolutely is.
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