Some moments pass by without regard, while others demand our attention. I do not consider myself someone who flusters or reacts to the drop of a pin with great emotion, but as I grow older and remain single I find the Christmas season shakes me to my very core. It evokes all the feelings at once. In a season where I long to celebrate and rest in God and the unfathomable gift of Jesus Christ, I instead withdraw attempting only to survive from Thanksgiving until New Years. Who are we kidding, I try to survive from Thanksgiving through St. Patrick’s day with a short reprieve before the summer wedding season begins again. I force smiles as I attempt to psych myself up to celebrate with those I love. Pitiful, but my current reality. Christmas 2015 proved no exception.
Relishing the teacher perk of a long winter break, I began to prepare for my trek up to Wisconsin to spend most of my break with my older brother, sister-in-law and my beyond adorable nephew and niece, my younger sister, brother-in-law and my parents all joining to celebrate the joyous holidays a few days later. I love my family, but as the sole single spending extended amounts of time with them can strain my fragile resolve. To top it off, the Christmas spirit of love and couples abounded all around me highlighting my status as a single.
I did not want this to be another Christmas where I pouted about my relationship status. Full disclosure, my feelings are valid and I am allowed to feel them, but I must choose not to wallow in them. I long for this season to end. My roommate and I (both single late twenty somethings in Oklahoma, which translates to “one step away from getting a few too many cats”) skipped decorating for Christmas the last two years. But in an effort to combat my feelings and embrace the spirit of the season, I took a stand; I decorated for Christmas.
In actuality, decorating proved two-fold as I needed to stay up late to pick up a friend from the airport. Because it was late, I played MacGyver and created my own decorations. After stringing cotton balls and coffee filter snowflakes on fishing line, building a tree out of books and assembling my new snow scene in the windows, I felt a bit more festive. The next hour seemed like a turning point of rediscovering the illustrious joy of Christmas as a single female.
Then someone else got engaged and someone else called elated to share that they are pregnant with another baby, and I, yet again, felt left behind. I do cherish celebrating how God works in the lives of those I love, but it stings to watch as they “get” the God-centered marriages and families I desire with such a deep and profound ache, while nothing changes for me. Envy and jealousy are real beasts I must choose to fight against with the grace only God provides.
Christmas grew closer and my time with family crept up faster than the fresh wound on my heart wanted. Feeling the pain of “single at Christmas” while washing dishes at my sink, alone, two days before leaving, and nine days before Christmas, hot tears began to surge down my cheeks as I poured my heart out to God. I shut the off the water. My tears still plinking against the stainless steel sink, I glanced up. My eye caught the quirky little lit Christmas tree made of books and saw the cotton ball and coffee filter window display flittering as the last colors of a vibrant winter sunset streamed through the window.
Right there, standing in my kitchen alone washing those dishes, I grew more and more pissed at Christmas and couples and God for “making” me single and for my family for making their own families and at all the couples unknowingly suffocating me. I just wanted Christmas and Christmas as a single girl to end. I wanted to drive faster than my headlights and tell God what’s up. Irrational, yes. But in that moment my outrage all felt so valid. As my eye caught those decorations against the fiery watercolors bleeding across the sky, everything went still. Struck by the stillness, God’s presence permeated the room.
This, right now, is beautiful and one day – whether I get married or not – one day I’ll long for this. I will miss this apartment and these stupid decorations and this silence and this moment and this season and I’m wasting it.
I can be mad, and I can feel how I feel. But I don’t ever want to actually wish a season of life away, even though I want to wish all this away more than I would like to admit. I long to be a person who figured out how to chase God with everything, to relish and see the beauty here, now, even if it doesn’t come with ease. I want to see God in the now – whatever my now looks like or doesn’t look like.
God brought me to this exact season. I pray for myself and for you that whatever you’re in the midst of, you rest in who God is. I pray you and I can both see the purpose in the season where we find ourselves. In hard seasons like this, I find my trust in Christ growing to new depths of intimacy. I find I trust He is good. He has not forgotten me. He has not forgotten you. I trust He will use this exact season for His glory.
I wish I could say that I had this healthier Christ-centered perspective the entire Christmas season. I wish I could tell you I processed and moved past feeling alone at Christmas. I can’t tell you I did those things. What I can tell you, I survived Christmas 2015, single. I laughed, enjoyed my family and friends and my precious niece and nephew. I celebrated with those I love. For the first Christmas season in a long time I did not fake it the entire time, only part of the time. Baby steps, y’all.
I still desire to share my life with the man I pray God is preparing to team me up with for His glory, but I know I am in the exact spot God wants me. I am living a story only my God can author with such intricate eloquence and beauty. I do not wish this away. I want the season of single to end, but I will relish in where I am no matter how long I am here. This is where God has me and I trust what He is doing.