As the season shifts from spring to summer another season starts to make a mark all over our calendars, wedding season. For a lot of us the save the date cards, invitations, and RSVP cards fill your refrigerator and mailbox. The beautiful photographs and carefully curated color schemes on each of the cards represent another person we love to celebrate. But if you are single, this can all feel very daunting. So I write this weekend’s blog for you.
Wedding season ebbs and flows for me. Some years it felt like every single weekend I attended a shower, party or wedding. Other years I only attended a few. In the years where each Saturday held a bridal brunch or an evening of dancing at wedding reception, I recall feeling drained at answering questions about my life or dodging the bouquet toss while Single Ladies blasted ruining the song for me yet again. In contrast, the wedding seasons where I only received baby shower invitations felt like I had officially been left at least two seasons behind everyone else in life. While each of the differing types of wedding seasons can bring an ache to my soul and a deep longing for a relationship, I learned and continue to learn a lot about myself in the shadows of those dark hard seasons.
Here are four things I learned through my many wedding seasons single.
You will never regret celebrating those you love.
The time from a friend getting engaged to when the first indication of the paper trail to come shows up in my mailbox, I find myself weighing how committed to celebrating them I want to be. I do not take pride in admitting this. But sometimes I wonder when I will get my shower or when someone will celebrate me with fancy gifts. I often revert to the Sex and the City episode where Carrie Bradshaw gets her fancy heels stolen at her friend’s baby shower and has a shower for her friend for the single purpose of replacing her expensive shoes. And then I emerge from my spiral and consider the friendship at hand.
Each and every wedding or wedding event ever attended presented an opportunity to celebrate someone I love. And when I look back, I can honestly say I can view that experience without regret. I want to be someone who celebrates those she loves no matter what. I want to be someone who stands with those experiencing joy and finds the joy with them despite my own circumstance. I want to be the person who does not wallow, but pushes past to experience the life at hand. I do not want to hole up and not be present for the ones I love because I don’t have what I want. I am no longer a toddler, I can’t act like one.
Let me tell you, as I have stepped out to celebrate others God has shown up with such grace and mercy. Whether I attended a wedding alone or with a big group, He has not forgotten me or forsaken me. I am blessed with deeply rooted friendships. Friends who recognize me celebrating with them means I am setting myself aside. Friends who will grieve with me as I choose to celebrate with them. As you love others in the midst of what might be hard for you, I pray that they rally around you and with an authentic and genuine grace to love you well.
On the flip side, you can say no. If you need to not attend every shower, don’t. If you need to not go to the wedding, reach out to your friend and get coffee instead. Know yourself and know when you need to press through and when you need to step back. Communicate with your friend where you are at in life and why you need to step back.
Your desire for a relationship does not make you weak.
You are far stronger than you even know. If you long for a godly marriage or relationship, you are not weak. If you do not long for marriage, you are not strange or wrong. God has placed unique desires, longings, and gifts on each of our hearts. He created us each as individuals. He formed us to be exactly who we are. Longing for marriage does not make you weak. Vulnerability about how you feel does not make you weak. Your openness and honesty with those you trust makes you strong. Read with emphasis on those you trust. You do not need to go around telling everyone. Find a trusted few and confide your heart to those. Rally around each other and spur each other towards Christ and His unfailing, unending, unconditional love.
It is okay to not be okay.
It is okay to be sad. It is okay to be upset. It is okay to feel all the feelings. It is okay to not be okay. Feel all the things. Throw eggs at an ally wall, which I have never done when I am upset. Blast Beyonce and angry run to Lemonade. It is very cathartic. Confide in a friend. Write everything you feel out to God. Pray and tell God how you feel leaving nothing behind.
And then, remind yourself of what you know to be true. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139). The creator of the universe exults over you. He quietly loves you. He rejoices over you with shouts of joy (Zephaniah 3:12-20). The Lord treasures you more than the lilies of the field (Luke 12:22-34). He has not forgotten you. He will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Rest in the Lord and seek His truth.
You are exactly where God wants you for this moment.
As you wrestle with your relationship status or lack there of, remember that as you seek the Lord and trust His plan He will light a path for you. I know personally, I just want to rush ahead to the “good parts” of my story and skip this whole “single” season. But in any great story, if I skip these chapters the rest of the book won’t make sense. I won’t be developed and refined for what God has in store, whatever that may be. The story will lose the beauty the author is developing.
God is writing a story with each of our lives that is far more beautiful, daring, adventurous, brilliantly developed than we could ever dream up. And let me tell you, I have a very active and creative imagination. But God always seems to throw out the most perfect plot twist I never saw coming. The one that makes my story so much more than I thought. Single is so much more beautiful than I ever thought it could be.
I can’t guarantee you will one day have your “forever wedding date”. I will not tell you that when you “stop looking it will happen”. I do not know what God has in store for you or for me. But what I do know, He has not forgotten you as you RSVP “one” on that wedding invite. He hears your prayers and He knows your heart. He has not left you high and dry as you sit in a circle and eat a cucumber sandwich for the second Saturday in a row watching someone you love open a Kitchen-aid. Side note, if you really want a Kitchen-aid or a crock-pot or fancy plates – go buy them. You do not have to wait until you get married to have pretty things. I promise.
So go into wedding season with confidence. You are a beautiful badass (sorry mom). You are fierce. You are confident. You are enough. Kick off your shoes and dance your heart out. Celebrate those you love and then go throw eggs in the ally. Rest in the Lord and trust in His story. Know wedding season, much like spring and summer, is not forever. You got this.