Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

There Has to Be a Reason

on June 20, 2014
With Neville the Moose

I collect moose and my family gave me this one when I was offered my first book contract. His name is Neville. Photo by Susie Jarvis.

I spent almost a decade writing a book I never wanted to write. I fought it every step of the way. Truth be told, I’m still fighting it. During that time, though, small victories and big epiphanies convinced me I was on the right track. Not just the right track book-wise but the right track toward discovering the reason for my singleness.

Because there has to be a reason, right? We want there to be a purpose for our brokenness. There has to be a story to tell to make it all worthwhile. Yes, my grief over my perpetual singleness was hard but if through it I was able to minister to others or I became stronger, it would be totally worth it. And besides, it’s better to be single than in a bad marriage. Isn’t it?

A while back I wrote a scene for a novel in which my main character, Catie, feels abandoned and alone and she wants to know why she’s still single. One day, while trying to think things through, she decides to hike one of her favorite mountain trails near her home in Colorado Springs. Then this happens:

***

I bundle up in my warmest quilted parka, plus a hat, scarf, and gloves, hoping to ward off temps in the low twenties. At least there’s no wind, but it’s still frigid-cold. I move quickly. It’s the best way to warm up.

Once I reach the top of Mount Cutler, I simply stand there, taking a moment to catch my breath and admire the view.

This would be a good time to pray. I’m alone up here. I have so much to say, I’m not even sure where to start.

Flecks of snow start to drift around me. I probably should head back down soon. Instead, I hike a little farther across the summit. Trip over a tree root. Stumble. And twist my ankle.

“Really, God?” I say, out loud. And that lets loose the torrent. I can’t stop yelling. About everything. I’m glad I’m alone and no one can see me, screeching to the heavens, tears streaking down my face and mingling with flakes of snow.

But I’m angry. At God. And guilt joins hands with the anger. I shouldn’t be mad at God for this situation, especially since so much of it is of my own making. Yet if anyone could do something about it, that would be God and, still, all I feel is His silence. Years of silence.

“Has any of it ever been real?” Then I scream, “Where are You? What do You want from me?”

And a still, quiet voice whispers, You, Catie. I just want you. But can you just want Me?

I do just want you.

No, you don’t. You want what I can get for you.

The words hit me like a Mack truck. I stumble to my knees, my heart breaking more than it ever has. He’s right. All the time I’ve wasted longing for something instead of God. I can tell myself over and over how what I’ve wanted was a good thing based on a desire He gave me but, in the end, I placed marriage as my ultimate prize and God as the horse I would ride to win it.

And now, I’ve been whacked in the face with what I’ve lost — the time I could have spent basking in Him, enjoying His love and presence rather than moping and whining and asking God why He hated me so much. Was it hate that yearned to know me without anyone else getting in the way? Was it hate that gave me so many years to come to know Him intimately?

“God, You are the prize, the goal,” I whisper into the cold snow whipping around my head. “You didn’t let a husband get in the way of that. But I did. Even though I didn’t have one, I let him come between us. A fantasy of my own making.”

Then, because it has to be said, I add, “Please forgive me. And please take me back.”

A silly thing to say, of course, considering I left Him.

***

We should never see God as the provider of the dream. He is the dream. That’s it. Lord willing, I have two books coming out soon and that’s wonderful. It’s a dream come true.

On the other hand, I am more single today than I have ever been. There isn’t even someone on the horizon. I haven’t been attracted to a man in years. Does that hurt? You bet. I’m human, a woman and a hopeless romantic, to boot. But it’s OK because my greatest dream has already come true — God loves me and I belong to Him. And if I want to truly find hope, that has to be enough.

We need to stop making our faith about what God can do for us. Our hope is found in what we do for Him.

That’s the reason.

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4 responses to “There Has to Be a Reason

  1. Carole Brown says:

    Lovely, true post. So glad I read it.

    • sharynkopf says:

      I’m delighted to hear that, Carole! It’s certainly my hope that this is something that resonates with many people, not just singles.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Sharyn – I love the honesty of this post. Long-term singleness is hard in ways that many people will never understand. It’s so perpetual, so easy to stop hoping. So easy to say, “I never wanted that anyway.” But to live honestly with the continually unmet hope is almost too painful to imagine. I’m so excited about this book, this blog, your ministry, YOU. Thank you for writing so honestly.

  3. sharynkopf says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Charity. I’ve always believed a writer has to choose to be honest & vulnerable … or pursue a different profession. Which has often made me question whether this is actually something I want to do. But I love it & can’t imagine doing anything else.

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