By Beth Doohan
“Trust in God, and trust also in Me.” ~ John 14:1
“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” ~ Romans 8:32
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In early college, I recall going through a season of intense longing for a significant other. I had had several relationships of interest, but none of them bloomed into a dating relationship (in hindsight, I’m very thankful for this!). The longings of my heart were very deep: for companionship, someone to laugh with and share life with, to know and be known deeply. I knew these longings were dreams in my heart, God-given (see Genesis 3:16), and I wanted to trust that God would one day fulfill these desires. Yet in that season, I found myself feeling lonely and discouraged in the waiting.
I remember one specific phone call with my dad during that time. He knew I had been feeling some disappointment in romance and invested some fatherly affection and encouragement by singing, “Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be close to you.” (The Carpenters). It may sound a bit cheesy, but boy, did that song do my heart good. My dad wanted to be close to me. Just like my Heavenly Father wanted to be close to me. Hearing him sing affirmed that, one day, my future husband (God’s best!) would want to be close to me, too. This song had such an impact on me, that it was the song I chose for the “father-daughter dance” at my wedding. (Check out Romantic Relationships before Marriage, Part 1 to hear my story of meeting my husband Corey!)
As women, we all are susceptible to seasons of loneliness for one reason or another, even after getting married. A husband may become extra busy or need to travel frequently for work, children will grow older and leave the home, we will have misunderstandings with a loved one, friendships will change, we may lose a loved one, a relationship may end, a move will require developing new connections. These moments and seasons of loneliness can be challenging, but they are brought about by deep desires of our hearts for companionship that are God-given. When we face loneliness, God calls us to continue seeking and serving Him, surrendering our dreams to Him and His timing. This is what sets a Christian woman apart from others: no matter what season she is in, her ultimate purpose and fulfillment is found in her Lord.
Longings of the Heart
As women, we all have a unique need for fellowship and deep, meaningful relationships. Not to say men do not have this need, but God designed women in particular as relational beings, in tune with the emotions of others and craving deep, lasting relationships. In The Gift of Singleness, we talked about how singleness may not be something we choose, but that it is nonetheless a gift from the Lord and a time for us to draw nearer to Him in our daily lives. We are called to seek God and surrender the desire for a spouse to Him, so that He can fulfill our deepest longings with Himself. Even with a surrendered heart, however, we can still face periods of loneliness from our God-given longing for companionship.
When facing loneliness, whatever season we are in, our purpose and fulfillment needs to be in Christ Jesus. Not to minimize her need for deep relationships or to say she is immune to feeling alone, but if a woman of God’s heart is His first, then she will look to Him for fulfillment and to help in her season of loneliness. It is the same for the deep-seeded longings for companionship in a spouse. If a woman’s heart is the Lord’s first, she can pour her heart’s desires out to Him and receive spiritual intimacy and understanding.
Always remember that the One who made your heart knows you, sees you and cares about you. Psalm 33:15 says, “He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do” (NLT). A woman’s worth is not measured by whether she has a ring on her finger in marriage, but by the state of her heart. When her heart is the Lord’s, God will fulfill her deepest desires.
A Trustworthy God
Throughout the Scriptures, we see countless stories of God’s faithfulness. Know that you can trust God with your desire for a spouse. Your life, and future marriage if God calls you to marry, is in the Lord’s hands. He knows you better than you know yourself and will give you His best in His timing. We encourage you to keep seeking after Him, keep knocking and keep asking, entrusting your dreams to Him. Pray specifically over the desires of your heart for a spouse. Surrender these dreams to Him and ask Him for wisdom to show you the kind of man you need.
In Isaiah 14:24, the Lord says, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen” (NIV). Keep entrusting your desires to God, asking Him to help you in times of loneliness, whatever season you may be facing. And know, too, that, God uses other people in our lives to lift us up and provide companionship, such as a sister, brother, father, mother, friend or child.
Joy in the Journey
As wholehearted women, we encourage you to enjoy singleness! Don’t view marriage as the solution to loneliness. Instead, seek God about your future mate and be open to new relationships. Go out and have some fun with friends! Honor your femininity and allow others to do so, too. Appreciate when a door is held open for you by a father, brother, friend, or even a passing stranger. Be open to going on a date once in a while. Encourage yourself in the Lord, and bring the desires of your heart before Him in transparent prayer. Trust Him to bless you in His timing with the mate that you long for, or to fulfill your heart’s desires if He calls you to singleness. God knows you and your needs better than you know yourself. He loves you, longs for intimacy with you and wants to fulfill your heart’s desires as you seek and trust Him.
In Isaiah 54, we see a promise from the Lord for the single, widowed or childless woman. To those who are lonely and distressed, God promises to be your husband: “‘Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame… For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,’ says your God… ‘I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer” (verses 5-6, 8, NIV). What an amazing promise and picture of the beautiful intimacy the Lord longs to give us as His daughters.
As we close our discussion of loneliness, let’s revisit the widow’s offering in Luke 21. As Jesus watched people giving vast amounts of tithes and offerings at the Temple, He paused and noticed a woman who gave two small shillings. First, note that Jesus saw her; she was not alone. He knew her heart and her great need as a poor widow. And Jesus was pleased with her heart of surrender to have given all that she had to the Lord.
With great honor, Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has” (verses 3-4, NLT). Wherever you are at today, know that God sees you, cares about you, and loves you. Come to Him today with any feelings of loneliness, and ask Him to fill them with Himself. Spend some time in His Word and with loved ones, encouraging yourself in the Lord and being refreshed by the relationships He has given you. Through these things, God will help you experience deeper intimacy, meaningful relationships, and will encourage your heart.
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We hope this series on singleness and romantic relationships has been a blessing to build encouragement, hope and a vision for your current or future marriage.