136. HOW I USED MY SINGLE YEARS TO PRAY, ‘PREACH’, PLAN AND PREPARE
(The Single Woman Series – Batch 3)
Some years ago, I felt panicked because time seemed to be running out and I wrestled with the urge to feel desperate because I didn’t know where to begin to find a quality husband. I thought sadly on the fact that the statistics were discouraging, in that it portrayed a ratio of much more women to that of men, in general and I harboured trepidation, that the decent, loving, christian husband I desired, may never come.
Thankfully though, I came to my senses and remembered that God was still Lord over ALL and still on the throne.
He was still in control of my life and it was he that was ordering my steps. As the years went by therefore, I realized that if my status was single, that was exactly where God in his wisdom and according to his perfect will, wanted me to be at that moment. I reminded myself of the truth, that God was ALL powerful and that the day that HE decided that it was TIME for my single season to end, it would happen, just like that, without me having to make it happen for myself.
I also realized that, despite what many people, including beautiful Church folk and family members say or imply or think, being single is not a curse, nor does it mean that you missed out on life or are being punished by God. Sometimes, contrary to popular belief, it is those that are highly favoured by God, that he holds back, until his perfect timing.
Although I still love and desire marriage and everything that comes with that, I have come to realize that singleness is a blessing, an opportunity, which may never pass your way again, once you become hitched.
I recognized that it was God’s desire for me to be fruitful right in that season, before Mr. Right stepped unto the scene. When my future husband comes, undoubtedly, the Lord will have other things for us to do then as a couple and greater heights for us to reach as one but in my present moment of singleness, there was fruit which needed to be borne to perfection.
With this knowledge, it dawned on me that I could choose to use my single years as time to invest in my future and for the promotion of God’s Kingdom or I could just sit there, do nothing but eat chocolate and feel sorry for myself, as the days, weeks, months and years rolled on by.
Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way saying that singleness is easy. It certainly wasn’t for me. There are days I longed to be in someone’s arms and dreamed of the intimacy I had never completely experienced. There are days I longed for companionship and cried myself to sleep because I desired to have someone invested in me and in my future with whom I could be vulnerable with and travel the world with and live life with and make beautiful babies with.
To dream all that and then to be reminded of your reality and to have no control over the outcome, even as the clock continues ticking, can be difficult. However, I learned to use my single years to my advantage, so much so, that I have come to appreciate and be thankful to God for this season. I see the work he has done on me and through me over the years and it is only through his grace, that I have something to show.
‘Hephzibah Diaries’ is an example of the fruit God enabled me to bear in my single years. Maybe he would have me write more from the perspective of a married woman one day but even if he doesn’t, I am grateful for the 130 plus Articles he allowed me to write, as a single woman.
God took me from that place of restlessness and reminded me that I am already complete in Christ. I didn’t therefore need to be overly curious about what sex entails and what that experience would be like. I didn’t need to feel ashamed that I was still a virgin and my hymen not yet broken. That meant that I had a precious and priceless gift to give to my one day husband. He would be claiming territory (as he rightly deserved), which no other man ever had the privilege of passing through. My hymen would be broken by him one day and blood shed, as a sign of COVENANT (how beautiful and special is that?) between me and the ONE man which God approves of, in a marriage union, also signifying that we are now one.
I could afford to wait, no matter how long God decided to take before he sent my spouse. In my longing, I would not die but I would grow stronger, become more patient and my future husband would be all the more grateful and appreciative for the fact that I waited for him.
I still want to marry and yearn in my heart for the knowledge and experience of what it feels like to be truly and genuinely loved by one of God’s sons spiritually, emotionally and physically. I am also believing God that one day, he will bring my heart’s desire to pass. However, until then, I needed to be careful not to make my desire grow to the point where it became an idol. There is a difference between really desiring something and making that something into an idol, as if life would have no meaning and you, no purpose or worth, without it. As I’ve often counseled myself and told other single Christians, have a heart’s desire but don’t set your heart on it.
Until my situation changed, in addition to guarding my heart against idolatry, I also needed to be fruitful in THIS season of singleness. Ecclesiastes 9:10 states “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…”. It did not state whatsoever thy hand findeth to do after marriage, do it with thy might. I therefore needed to work for the Lord right in my season of singleness.
I therefore began to focus on all the beauty that God could bring out of my single season and I am grateful that with his help, I was able (even during my lonely moments), to extract spiritual fruit out of it.
In particular, I used my single season to engage in four (4) activities, that helped change my perspective on the single season, forever. The single season is a valuable season which you can choose to use positively or negatively. It is all about your perspective. Although at times, I still did have my occasional sad and lonely moments, instead of moping around feeling sorry for myself all the time, I decided to flip the script of my emotions and to invest the time and energy I had, by doing the following, in anticipation of my season changing one day:
I used the years I had, uninterrupted, to pray a lot for the type of man I wanted and the marriage I desired to have and the ministry I was convinced God would use it to bless others by. I observed examples of relationships and marriages from others around me, some of what I wanted to emulate and some of what I wished to avoid and I prayed about it.
As I learned more about the challenges of marriage and what God intended it to showcase for HIS glory, I prayed about my one day union with the man I was yet to meet, that God would plant himself at the centre of our relationship but that he would also intervene from the get-go and orchestrate things to bring about our meeting (the presentation).
I prayed for discernment for when potential suitors came and for the Lord to prevent me from marrying or even getting involved with the wrong one. I asked him to lead me directly to THE ONE he wanted for me and to keep all other doors shut.
I had seen and heard of too many horror stories of Christian women who thought they had married one of God’s sons, only to realize afterwards that he was a son of Belial or a son of the devil, in disguise. I could not afford to fall into that trap and so I used my single years to pray earnestly to God. I knew I could not lean on my own understanding which was limited and many times flawed and so I acknowledged God in all my ways and asked him to direct my path.
In particular, prayed that he would send me a man that had the Spirit of Christ in him and was therefore a genuine Christian, a man that was a man after his own heart and who loved truth and therefore loved his Word the Bible. I prayed that he would send me a man that would be able to lead me and our family spiritually and who was truly submitted to Christ’s Lordship. I prayed that he would keep me from being deceived by a counterfeit or an imposter, which is a man that pretends to be a Christian but is not or thinks that he is but is not.
I prayed for God’s blessing and guidance on the list of tests I had devised based on wisdom gleaned from his Word, to assess whether a man I was interested in was THE ONE God wanted for me or not.
I prayed for our self-control during our period of courtship, so that we would not succumb to temptation and sin against God. I prayed for God to give the man I would court strength to deny himself and to honour me during that period and for me not to give in to the temptation to exercise any kind of sexual prowess over him in the way I dressed or the things I said to him.
I prayed for our Wedding day, that it would surpass the best of my high expectations and be a glorious tool, used by God to bring people closer to HIM. I prayed that he would send the right networks and handle all the expenses that would come from now, since I definitely did not even have enough money to even spend on a Wedding.
I prayed for the preservation of my womb and our fertility. I even prayed for our children, that they would be healthy, that their souls would be saved and that they would grow up to do mighty things for the Lord.
I prayed that God would enable me to be a good mother and a blessing to my husband, instead of a curse.
The more I observed issues with other couples or in life in general and the more a trait stood out to me in the scripture or I learned something that was valuable to know about love relationships, I went to God and prayed about it, in advance.
I prayed about the things in myself that I saw could create problems in a relationship one day and I asked God to remove what needed to be removed and to change what needed to be changed. I refused to wait until the man came and I was in a relationship, to pray about issues. I gave my courtship and marriage a head start, by using my time as a single woman, wisely.
Nothing was too small an issue for me to pray to God about. I even prayed that he would show me how to please my husband physically when the time came, as I have learned that this is an important requirement for married men. I prayed that my husband’s desire would always be for me and that he would remain faithful to me. I prayed that our marriage would be one of those that lasted, where we would not just grow to tolerate each other but would love, cherish and appreciate each other dearly until the end.
So, I prayed for the selection, the presentation, the courtship, the Wedding day (which I want to be glorious), the finances, the children and everything else I could think of. In short, I used the time I had, to pray like crazy about the Marriage Ministry I wanted one day, which would be showcased to the world.
Are you using your single time not just to pray to get a husband but to pray FOR your future husband and the spiritual qualities you desire him to have and for your future relationship and for your fertility and for your future family, that God will be invested in it and at the centre of it always? Are you praying that your marriage will succeed and be used by God to bless others and for his continued glory?
NOW is the time to invest in your future relationship (which it may be God’s will for you to have one day) by showering it with prayers. NOW is the time to build that strong foundation you want to have, by praying to God about EVERYTHING you can think of in relation to you, the guy he may one day send you and your future with him.
I used my time to proclaim God’s Word. This doesn’t mean that I went on a pulpit or usurped the authority that God undoubtedly gave to men. I did not. Instead, I used some of the time I so liberally had and which was not yet bugged down by a demanding husband and children, to spread the gospel, to strangers I met on the streets, to strangers and friends and acquaintances and work colleagues at my office and at a home for the aged I repeatedly visited, while living on another island for work.
I also visited an elderly man in a wheel chair right in my home village, who I felt God was impressing upon my heart to visit with the good news. I resisted the call initially but when it persisted, I humbled myself under God’s mighty hand, walked quarter of a mile to his little home and presented him with the gospel. Having obeyed, God did his part, the man stated that he believed the gospel and right then and there, confessed through prayer, that Jesus Christ is Lord. Him having made a profession, to follow up, I contacted a brother in the Lord (brother Craig, now deceased) and asked that he check up on the man, as he had given his heart to Jesus. I also purchased the man proper radio that would work when he turned it on the a.m. stations, so that he could tune in to a really good Christian radio station called Harbour Light, to be continuously nourished by God’s Word.
I also taught Sunday School and tried to impress God’s truths into the minds of the youngsters and on the whole, although I foolishly squandered some of it, I used my single years, without fanfare and without spotlight, to witness to others in person and on social media about the love of Jesus Christ, to touch lives whenever the opportunity presented itself and to write many Articles (like I am doing now), for the edification of the Church and the conversion of those not yet saved.
Admittedly, I did not use as much of my time as I could or should have but in short, I did not just sit and pine away throughout those years with no effort made to do God’s work. I still pursued souls and the edification of fellow believers with the gifts and talents that God gave me, for the promotion of God’s Kingdom. I still served as a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ and still testified to those I met or interacted with daily, of all that he had done in my life and was still doing.
I realized, that even when my husband did come, it would only be to play a further role in God’s continued story, that was all about HIS Kingdom business.
Life is much more than getting a man to marry and having a family of your own, It is about spreading the good news to those who are in need of it and building up those who are already in the household of faith. It is therefore about finding ways to be a blessing, irrespective of the season you are in, as opposed to sitting around and wondering or obsessing about when you will be blessed with marriage.
Are you doing anything during your single season for Christ based on the gifts and talents he gave you or are you just remaining silent, feeling sorry for yourself, crying and feeling cheated by life? The day you begin to deny yourSELF and put the focus back where it belongs (on Christ), the day you decide to obey his call and go out and tell others about HIM and what he did for them on the cross, may be the day that things begin to change for you.
I have learned that SELF is a web that keeps you stuck in stagnancy and sterility, if you are not careful.
People can say whatever they want and think whatever they like but I started to plan for my Wedding day, before the man even came. This was not due to obsession with marriage or having a husband but partly because I loved planning Weddings, am highly creative and always had great ideas for other couples.
I simply redirected all that creativity and those ideas and my love of Wedding planning, to planning my own Wedding. This was easy to do because the day I envisioned was not one that would revolve around my husband but around Jesus. The way I saw it, I already had the main protagonist in my love story (JESUS), so I could plan and begin to sketch out the day I wanted with his guidance. I did not need to wait until the man came.
And yes, some people take the view that this would create problems when the guy comes because I did not involve him in the planning process. But there is still so much to be done in terms of execution when the time comes, that he will still be quite busy. Further, this may come as a shock to some women but most men HATE Wedding planning. My future fiance will therefore have more time to focus on whatever he wants to focus on during our engagement and he can plan the honeymoon if he wants. I’m sure he would like that!
Seriously though because the vision I have for my Wedding day is one that showcases (not me or my husband really) but God’s glory, I feel confident that God is powerful enough to send me a man that will support this vision and fit perfectly into it, when he finally arrives. Of course tweaks would need to be made here and there to accommodate my future love and to incorporate some of what he likes (and I have no problem with that) but the general vision remains. I am trusting God to send a man that has the same vision and that will love what I have already dreamed up in my heart and put down on paper, provided that it is pleasing to God. At the end of the day, what I planned is not cast in stone, (although the theme is. Ha!) and I know that it will only come to pass if God is pleased with it.
The day I envision is a magnificent one, where Jesus would be exalted as he rightly deserves and where everything would be done with a stamp of excellence. The vision is so big, it needed time that was not rushed, to plan, maybe more than the usual year that a couple takes between an engagement and a Wedding day. In fact, unpressured, I took my time and slowly, excitedly, put my ideas together, did my research, identified the best and most cost-effective options, privately studied the quality of work of vendors as presented on social media and even identified a few favourites.
All this was done over the space of a number of years, actually. Whenever I felt bored or loneliness wanted to threaten, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I thought on the day when God would bring it to pass and place me in a family of my own and I went to my little laptop and did some further planning and researching. I refused to wallow in depression. I would dwell in excitement and hope!
I spent so much time planning (which for me was leisure), enjoyed myself so much and learned so much about Weddings in the process, that I would not be surprised if God births a Wedding planning business out of it all, one day. Stay tuned!
This is one of the things I loved about planning during my single season. I did not feel pressured by limited time to get it all done but had the freedom and leisure of taking all the time in the world I needed, to properly craft the vision I had and truly enjoy the process. It enabled me to properly research different vendors online, see their work and compare prices, as to the most efficient yet quality choice. I may not have been able to do this, had I waited to plan after my engagement.
I am also grateful because the time I spent in advance planning, meant that I would have extra time during the engagement period, to enjoy and devote to my fiance, to attend more marriage counseling sessions with him and for us to read more marriage books together. We would have more time as an engaged couple, to focus on where we would live and getting that organized and we would be able to just bask in the joy (without any hassle or headache that time was going and we needed to plan, quick) of the thought that we were about to become Mr. and Mrs. whatever.
My planning was spontaneous and started with one Christian song I heard on a radio station in 2009. From there, it dawned on me that I could use only Christian songs in my Wedding and it would still be romantic (maybe me even more so than if we used secular songs) because God was love and christian songs were dedicated to him and his glory. This then led to me compiling song after song that I continued to hear in the radio and liked and this then led to another thing and another thing and another. Before I knew it, I had a theme for my wedding, colour scheme and was jotting all my ideas down as fast as they came, on a Microsoft Word page on my computer.
In retrospect, although I am still single and still waiting, I have no regrets about it. In fact, I felt and have evidence, that God inserted himself in the planning process and now, when I look at what has been created, I feel overwhelmed and even unworthy at times to execute such a vision that has clearly grown to be much bigger than I had originally anticipated.
It is clear to me because the vision is now something much bigger than I can handle in my own strength, that I would need God’s help, strength, supernatural power (and finances) to pull it off on the day.
In short, I used my single years, not to buy the dress or book a hotel or anything crazy like that but to visualize what kind of Wedding day I wanted, to do my research and to properly record the plans that only God could bring to pass one day, in HIS perfect timing. I wanted my Wedding day to be used by God as a tool of ministry, to minister to both the unsaved and the saved in attendance and to all those who would view it afterwards.
Eight (8) years after and with not a man in sight, I am still trusting God to bring it to pass. The people that know I already planned my Wedding probably think I’m crazy but that’s okay. I call it faith.
In my heart, I knew I was called to be a wife someday, although I had no idea when or to who or how God was going to bring us together. I therefore prepared for married life during my single season, by using the years to work on myself and improve on my character.
I also used the time to grow spiritually in my Lord because at the end of the day, Jesus would be the only one that I would always have, in this life and the next. Issues pertaining to my soul were therefore far more important than getting a ring and a man to walk me down the aisle. I needed stability in Christ before I could assist any man in stabilizing the home I was trusting God to give us.
I therefore used the years to focus on RELATIONSHIP with Jesus and to become more and more like him. I allowed him to have his way in my life, revealing to me things I needed to change and what I needed to become, not for a man but for myself and his glory.
I still have a long way to go but I have seen so much progress over the years, from where I used to be and how far he has taken me.
I also used the single years to improve on my cooking and to prepare for married life by creating a recipe book of a variety of tasty dishes I intended to cook for my future family (yes I want a husband that likes to eat and will appreciate my cooking). I also prepared myself for marriage by constantly reading Christian articles over the years about successful Christian relationships and watching the testimony of other Christian couples on YouTube or listening to Christian marriage sessions on the radio.
In particular, I prepared by studying men because they are so different from women and if I was to one day live with one for the rest of my life, I wanted to understand better how they think, how they react, what they like and what they don’t. I learned a lot over the years and I feel better equipped with this knowledge, to be the kind of wife that my future husband will be proud of and feel blessed by.
What about you? How are you preparing for the change in season you anticipate? I am not saying to go plan your Wedding day as I did but faith without works is dead. What are some of the things you need to be working on in order to be a better wife and mother one day? Is this the time you need to spend furthering your education? Is this the time you need to spend learning how to cook? Have you even formulated a list of spiritual qualities yet for the man you wish to marry? This will serve as a wonderful checklist later when prospects start coming, to guide you with God’s help, to identify whether he is GOD-SENT, DEVIL-SENT or definitely GODLY but not for you.
Are you doing anything at all to PREPARE for your change in season or are you just sitting around and waiting? NOW is your opportunity to prepare. While you have more time than you know what to do with it, why not use at least some of it wisely.
In summary, I learned that the single season can be relabeled, ‘TIME’. For that is exactly what it is. It is a gift of time that God has allowed me to have, which once it is gone, I will NEVER have again. What I do or don’t do during this time, could influence and even contribute to shaping my future, whatever it may be. I need to therefore not waste it but use it wisely.
Don’t waste your TIME sitting and wishing and fretting and crying. Instead, get up, embrace your single season, use it to plant the seeds and build the foundation of the life of which you dream to one day have and for God’s glory.
(Written on 9th September, 2017)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 56 – ‘Rebekah, Zipporah And Ruth – How They Got Found’
- Note 59 – ‘Nine (9) Tips For The Single Woman Hoping To Be Married’
- Note 72 – ‘Qualities That Got Women Noticed And Eventually Married To Good Men In The Bible’
- Note 137 – ‘Who To Marry?’
- Note 142 – ‘Single Woes – The Battles We Singles Fight Every Day’
- Note 240 – ‘Serve God Wherever And In Whatever You Are Called‘
- Note 253 – ‘Seven (7) Practical Things You Can Do While You Wait On Your Prince Charming’
- Note 261 – ‘Seven (7) Ways To Do Single With A Good Attitude While Hoping To Be Married‘
Under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters Of God’ Page:
- Note 89 – ‘Prayer, Using Words From God’s Word’
- Note 134 – ‘So You Have A Prayer Life – How Is Your Repentant Life?’
- Note 135 – ‘My Prayer For Deliverance From Solitude And For Positive Relationships’
- Note 100 – ‘Sharing The Gospel Message’
- Note 169 – ‘The Christian’s Mandate: Go’
Under the ‘COURTING OR ENGAGED Daughters Of God’ Page:
- Note 61 – ‘I Being In The Way The Lord Led Me – A Match Made In Heaven’