For a long time I was bothered when close friends got married. It was a reminder that they’d progressed from the dating to married phase in life and that I was still single.
I didn’t want to feel envious or even jealous as friends celebrated the happiest moments of their lives but I did. I’d have to pep-talk my way into accepting invitations, attending, and even smiling when I went to weddings and wedding-related events.
Years after a friend of mine was married, we were talking about dating and relationships and I shared how hard it had been for me to attend her wedding. Being single and in my 30’s wasn’t something I anticipated and it came with a lot of emotions. At the time of the wedding, I knew it wasn’t right to feel that way – to be thinking so much about myself – but I pushed those feelings aside so I could celebrate my friend.
It was hard ya’ll. I’m not even going to front like it wasn’t. But now, having watched the majority of my friends meet, date, and marry their husbands, and birth one and even two children, I’ve learned the reason God sent them ahead of me.
Whew – this is PEAK vulnerability. My chest hurts. Ok, keep reading.
While growing up I didn’t have a lot of role models when it came to marriage. I saw people get married but I didn’t have access to a healthy marriage up close.
I believe God sent my friends ahead of me to help lead and guide me along the way. I’ve had friends tell me not to do things the way they did, or to think about _____ when deciding who I’ll marry. They’ve flat out said, “this doesn’t sound right” or “this is what you need/don’t need.” Or my favorite, “this is what marriage is like in real life.”
They’ve literally gone before me and I’ve gotten to the point where I realize God did this FOR me.
For a long time I felt like God had me hidden. A year would go by and I would’ve gone on exactly ZERO dates. NO DATES! I remember running into an ex and listening to him talk about all of the dates he’d been on. He wasn’t saying it to be rude, it was his reality. At the time, I felt like everyone was moving forward in that area in their lives except me.
I’m glad I’m on the other side of that but I’d be lying if I didn’t feel a pinch when I see others jumping the broom while I’m still sweeping with mine.
My friends have basically carried me through my singleness. They’ve helped me realize what’s real and what’s fake so that one day I can make a good, good choice.
And I’m thankful for that.
The same concept is true for those of us who have aging parents. Parents with debilitating diseases, or addictions or anything that has significantly changed their quality of life.
I get so much joy knowing that I can help a friend whose parent’s health is challenged and she/he doesn’t know what to do or where to start.
I know what it’s like to cry at night not knowing what to do or who to turn to – or to become so engrossed in the wellbeing of a parent that you forget about yourself. But it’s a pleasure to know that not only is this helping me see God in a brand new way, it’s also changing my family, me, and placing me in a unique position to help and support my friends.
While many of them have gone before me when it comes to marriage and starting their own families, for some, I’ve gone before them when it comes to caring for a parent with health challenges.
We’re at the age (in our 30’s) when things get really real, really fast. And it’s both a privilege and a pleasure to have friends who are giving me advice and helping me through and to be a friend who gives advice and helps others through.
Iron sharpens iron right?
So count it all joy – for real. None of this is to hurt or harm you it’s to make you better. Whether you’re waiting on God to send your forever boo or you’re asking God to heal a sick loved one, my prayer is that you can see beyond your current circumstance into the heart of God and what He’s doing through you and the people around you.
For the last few weeks my personal motto has been – “Nothing is wasted. Everything is for something.” It has literally gotten me through. When things come up that are out of my control I say to myself…..nothing is wasted, everything is for something.
And I believe that.
God is here. He’s shaping you (and I) into who He wants us to be. It may be uncomfortable, you may feel like it’ll never be your turn, and you might feel like giving up but God is with you. And if you stick with Him, if you abide in him, it’ll work out for your good.