I’m 34. Most of the time I try to block out my actual age because I know I’m over 30, have never been married, and do not have any children. I realize in the eyes of society, my female stock just keeps going down. So, when someone asks me my age, I literally have to take a step back, not because I’m trying to lie, but because it’s one of those things that I don’t like to be constantly reminded of.
There are awkward introductions when meeting new women whereby age 34, if you don’t have a spouse or children, you are the odd man out. In those situations, since I don’t meet societal expectations, I have to find inner validation.
Most women in this stage of life define their identities by being a wife and having children. The next time you meet a woman I bet within 2 minutes you will know if she is married and if she has given birth to a child. Our society is so conditioned to make that the apex of our worth here on earth that it’s hard not to get caught up in it.
Growing up I knew I would have a family by the age of 27 and be this amazing wife and mother, nurturing a growing family. I had a calculated timeline that could not be interrupted. I was going to have every box checked off of my list to happiness. So, as time began to tick, at 25 I was looking around for my husband. It’s time to get engaged! At 27, I was saying to myself: “Did he get lost?” At 28, I questioned: “Did he fall into a well?” By 30, I had tears running down my face thinking about how I was going to be a crazy cat lady who doesn’t even like cats enough to be a cat lady. I began to ask God what He was doing to me. Why was I being cursed? At this point, if I was a character in the Bible, I would have been Job with the enemy picking on me.
Then I got this great idea that I’ve got to go on a rescue mission to find my husband because he is apparently lost. I had to form a game plan – I’ll search all the typical places they could be. Listening to others, I took inventory on where they met their spouse. Still no luck, so I turned to the last place I could think to look – church. Ironically, hitting multiple rock bottoms will lead people to Christ.
I began the journey of walking with Christ but continued a low-key walk to finding a man. Sisters let me say, this is a really bad idea! I cannot begin to describe how problematic this is. A large majority of men in church are already taken or married. Apparently, going to church is an activity that couples tend to do together. So, where does that leave me?
So just like any good adversary, the enemy started saying some pretty messed up things to me. The words, which played on a continuous loop in my mind, started out as him talking to me and then, somewhere along the way, I started saying those things to myself.
You are never going to get married.
You are never going to have children.
You are going to die alone, and no one will be there to mourn you.
Nobody wants you.
You are ugly, who would want to marry someone as ugly as you?
The list could go on. He wanted to hit me with every lie he could think of to discredit and discourage my belief in God’s word and my value to the Kingdom. These became my dark daily affirmations. Because I didn’t know any better or understand the tactics of the enemy well enough, I believed and internalized these thoughts.
Amazingly, at my lowest point and during my dating churches phase, I visited a church that I would later call home. My intention was to see if there was some eye candy in the congregation. But God walked up to me, tapped me on my shoulder, and introduced Himself.
The message that Sunday was about the Jewish temple and how it was set up. The temple had an outer court, then there was an inner court which was considered a holy place, and then there was a special place further in that only the high priest could enter – The Holy of Holies. The pastor went on to explain the procedure for how the high priest must enter the Holy of Holies. In those days, a rope was tied around the priest in case he displeased God and was struck dead, he could be pulled out without anyone else having to enter this sacred place.
It ministered to me. It made me realize that God is the one who will ordain my high priest and that if someone is not qualified to be in my Holy of Holies, it will cause them to be dead in my life. That message helped me to start healing from my failed relationships. It spoke to me that as a daughter of God, I was too powerful for what those old relationships had to offer. God asked me: “What is being married and having your own family going to provide you with?” “What are you going to gain from these things?” I thought someone to talk to, someone to live life with, someone to love, which is everything I thought I needed to be happy. It was then that God introduced Himself as Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is Peace.
Now when the enemy tries to lie to me, I can reply with God’s truths. I am not alone because my Father is with me. The Holy Spirit tells me: “I made you past a man’s idea of beauty into my idea of what beauty is.” He says: “I’ve always wanted you.” He lets me know that He has enough children in the world that need a mother like me. He enthusiastically wants to do life with me. He’ll even wake me up at three in the morning just to be in my presence and have my undivided attention. When it comes to love, who better to give and receive love than Love itself? He’s wanted to give me these things all of my life. He put a hunger for love in my heart. I was looking for a man to give me identity, purpose, validation, and wholeness but something greater found me and let me know He’s been there all along waiting on me. What I’ve been able to discover is that only God can truly make us whole and anything else is counterfeit.
During this season of being single, He has told me: “Daughter, I’m taking my time because I love you so much. I want to give you something special. I’m sorry if it seems that when you talk to me about being single that I’m not listening. That is not the case. What I’m doing is talking to the man I’ve called to be your spouse. I do not want to entrust my beautiful creation to just anyone. You, my dear, are not overlooked. Handcrafted things just take longer to make. I’ve intentionally given you this season because you have a lot of sisters out there that you need to set free. They need to know, if they will let me, I can fill the emptiness and they can live in peace during this season of preparation.”
There is freedom in having peace while being single. You have the opportunity to have unadulterated, extremely deep intimacy with Christ like no other time in your life. In you, He has the space and room to do incredible things in you, for you and through you. During your single season, you have the Lord, who will rule justly, fairly, and with reason. He is not a man and not victim to the imperfections of mankind. You have a Savior who has been your champion since the beginning of time. He has been waiting for the opportunity to know you completely. Every attribute of Himself, He is able to unselfishly share with you without you having to split your focus. He enjoys your company so much sisters that He wants your undivided attention a little bit longer. Every creation is special, but some provide Him with a different level of joy.
I’m 34. I’ll be 35 in March. I haven’t been on a date in at least 4 years. The world tells me I have a biological clock that is ticking. My flesh shows me that the effects of gravity across my body are real. I find gray hairs everywhere. But God, my Jehovah Shalom, reminds me that He made time and if it’s His design for me to have a child, I will have one. If not, He has so many children He needs someone to help love on. God, My Peace, reminds me that the gravity pulling at me really means He needs my heart on this earth a little longer so I can be His hands and feet. God, my comedian, told me the gray hairs are genetic and I got that from my mom’s side of the family.
All jokes aside. The freedom He gives us allows us to choose how we see this season. I have chosen to trust God and believe in His plan for my life. I have peace because I have the ability to show the Father my cheerful obedience and demonstrate my trust. How about you?
Written by Katrina Hodges