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Monday, March 4, 2013

when waiting is hard.

Sometimes, waiting on God is hard. Well, waiting in general is hard.. and at very least, not the most fun thing ever. And in all honesty, I've been struggling with that "waiting" the last few days. It's hard to share that, because let's face it - it's much easier to say it's always a breeze and to look all cute and perfect and to seem perfectly content here in our little blog world. But that's just not real life. On this little space, I feel called to share my heart on the topic of waiting. Waiting on God's timing and following His plan for our lives - specifically in the area of relationships, sexual purity, and matters of the heart. I believe that waiting on God, giving Him the "pen" to write your life (and love) story is a precious thing. He will not ever let us down! And He is completely trustworthy. I believe that He has the absolute best plan for my life, and I gave my life and heart to Him a very long time ago and I have never, ever looked back. I feel prompted and moved to write my honest struggles in this area today, even though it's hard to be real sometimes about what we face - but I pray that you who read, whoever you are, may find encouragement as you walk through your "waiting valley" in the things God has lifted my heart with in the past few days. 
Sometimes, we struggle. And sometimes, I doubt Him. Honestly, I do. A few days ago, I was chatting with an old childhood friend who is in a similar position in life, and we talked about how this is not what we expected. We both expected and planned to meet our future husbands in college and blissfully walk down the aisle toward our handsome men of God by the age of 22 (at the latest.) That's just what we prayed for, and dreamed of. But God did not see fit to answer that prayer in the way we would have liked. Being 26 and unmarried is certainly not the end of the world. And just because I did not "plan" this timetable, does not mean I am unhappy or missing out....I trust that God had a bigger plan than I had, and there is joy in that! Not everyone is supposed to get married in their late teens or in college. It's okay to be single, it's not a bad thing or a curse! But as my friend and I chatted, we realized we truly are the last ones in our groups of friends who are unmarried. 

It's not that there's really a lack of guys. Just a lack of "the" guy. There are many good men out there, but when you tell God (as I did at the age of 13) "I want one man, one man only and I want You to pick him out." You must be prepared that a lot of waiting may be part of the deal, and it's sometimes, it's not a cake walk. Waiting for the right guy at the right time may not happen overnight and sometimes waiting is a challenge. 


Feeling this way does not mean you're desperate. My friend and I chatted about how we could have chosen to marry several different guys in the past, we could choose to "settle" now and get married to someone just for the sake of it, even if we knew it was settling. And don't get me wrong - sometimes, being single is pretty dang fabulous. Things like sleeping in, going out with girlfriends whenever you want to, spending extra money on cute clothes and coffee shop lattes, spending free time serving people or pursuing fun hobbies, whipping up your favorite snack for dinner and watching your favorite TV show in bed are all perks. In many ways, it is a beautiful opportunity - the freedom to pick up and go without reservation. The unmarried can impulsively and whole-heartedly throw themselves into ministry and their passions. I have the freedom to leave the country for a mission's trip next week if God called! (Something a wife and mama are not really free to do.) 

Yet, singleness can be lonely. It can be happy and fulfilling and really fun, but it can certainly be lonely. Sometimes, opening the mailbox and seeing another wedding invitation hurts. Sometimes, even though you're genuinely happy for your friends, seeing their families and baby bumps and homes grow can feel like a knife to the heart. Sometimes, the security of marriage and the thrill of over-the-moon love is all your heart desires. Sometimes, when a married friend complains about having to cook her hubby's dinner again or vacuum the floor, you want to scream because you dream of making dinner for the man of your dreams and would give your right arm to fold and iron his shirts. And sometimes, you cry yourself to sleep at night, praying for God to open the door and bring "the one." 

There are seasons in singleness. Some days you are happily going solo and embracing all the good and the learning, but some days are more difficult and loneliness colors the hours.
And in the past days, as the latter has been true for me, I heard this song and was reminded and encouraged by the truth of it.... have a listen. And read the lyrics below - 


   Grant me serenity to accept things, the things I cannot change.
Grant me to courage, Lord, to change what I can - wisdom to know the difference.
In my weakness You can shine, in Your strength I can fly.
And You make everything, everything beautiful.
You make everything, everything new!
In it's time, in Your time - it's beautiful.
Grant me serenity, Lord, and patience for things will take time.
Grant me freedom to walk a new path and let me feel Your love.
In my weakness, You can shine. In Your strength, I can fly.
-Rebecca St. James 

And then a friend sent me this picture from someone's sweet wedding. What a beautiful celebration of His perfect timing! 

Precious. Friend, whatever you are waiting for - maybe it's your future spouse, maybe it's
something different - a baby, a home, a ministry. Maybe you're waiting for your heart to heal. Maybe you're waiting for your dream to come true. Or for direction for your career, for an open door. Or for a breakthrough. Remember - nothing really good comes easily. It takes work, prayer, sacrifice... and waiting. He makes all everything beautiful - in it's time. In His time.

"He has made everything beautiful in it's time." 
-Ecclesiastes 3:11 

Waiting has it's beauty. 
And the culmination of that waiting, it will be beautiful too.
So I smile and embrace this season, knowing it could change overnight and we don't know what the future holds, but we know WHO holds our future.
Because God is the One who opens doors and closes them.
And we can trust His timing.
I encourage you to embrace your waiting season, too. Whatever it is.
Because, whether single or married, we are never alone - because He is with us.

Love.

XO
E.


  And a few snapshots and inspirations from my last week. Follow my feed! I post daily inspirations and photos from everyday life - search erin_sweetnessitselfblog on Instagram

Trying on clothes with the sis. And hats.
 

48 comments:

  1. love love love love love this post. I'm not kidding when I say I'm in a period of waiting on the Lord and have come to a major time of doubting if He will answer. needed to read this desperately this morning. thanks dear:) love yoU!

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    1. so thankful :) love you precious girl!
      XO
      E

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  2. you're amazing! Good for you for being so beautifully honest! It's amazingly refreshing, I know that as soon as I stopped looking for a relationship (and I was looking EVERYWHERE which usually meant I ended up with the wrong/worst person because I just couldn't wait) I got a random myspace friend request from the guy that is now my husband :) we had trouble waiting for a baby especially. We wanted one as soon as we got married we were hoping I'd get pregnant on our wedding night! And we tried for 3years and nothing! It was so discouraging! But the Lord definitely knew better than we did! We both needed that time to do some more growing up, make some more mistakes, and really see how committed we were to each other and I thank the Lord for that :) because as soon as Stephen came home for good I got pregnant and now we have our little girl! I'll be praying for you Erin I know God has someone amazing planned for you! He's going to have to be to deserve such a beautiful woman inside and out ♥

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    1. Your story is such an encouragement to me <3 Love seeing how God has continued to write your story & fulfill promises and dreams, so precious :) love you!!

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  3. Hey, I was once in your shoes, waiting. I met my now-husband when I was 26. We got married when I was 29, I'm now 31. But you know, I'm still waiting, just for different things now. I'm waiting to have a baby when everyone around me is currently doing so or has already done so. I'm waiting to find out where my husband will match for fellowship (pediatric nephrology) because we can't "settle down" 'till that happens- we find out in November, and then could have to move in June 2014. It really seems like the waiting never ever ends. Oh & you'll probably find your match just when you stop looking &/or thinking about it, I know I did :)

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    1. I love hearing your perspective, girl. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart :)

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  4. What a beautiful and powerful post! Trust in Him, it will happen and you will look back and be so thankful it all happened the way it did. Such lovely pictures!!

    storiesofkel.blogspot.com

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  5. as i sat in my room last night, tears streamed down my face as i saw two posts from facebook friends, one announced her pregnancy, one announced her engagement. "will this ever happen for me?" is what i kept asking. sweet erin, our God is so big that He used a girl from cali to give encouragement to a girl who lives 1500 miles away in oklahoma. thank you for sharing your heart because i was feeling so alone in my hurt, like i was the only 26-year-old who was still waiting. waiting is often hard, but God promises to always be with us, even in the waiting. love you, precious sister!

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    1. oh friend, thank you for sharing that so honestly. means the world. just love you - we are not alone! thankful for you <3

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  6. Thank you for such a heartfelt, honest post. I completely identify with your feelings. I'm in exact same boat. All of my best college girlfriends, including my very best friend, are getting married this summer. I'll be the only one left in our group to not be married. Right now, I don't even have a boyfriend. Waiting is hard but, like you, I know God has a plan for each of us.

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  7. Oh Erin, this is lovely. I'm sorry for the days you struggle with this, but I love that you can always find comfort in God and knowing that His plan for you is formulated and perfect and will unfold in His time. I'm so so encouraged here, friend. I'm only 19, but I feel a lifetime older and seeing all the blogs with girls who are getting married or already are is hard. I've been struggling lately waiting for Matt and I to get married, because we've been dating for a long while now it just feels right and I'm dreaming of that day. But I know I'm still so young and waiting will be well worth it! Thank you for this post. I'll be praying for you! :)

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  8. Thanks for sharing!


    http://honeylaceandsugar.blogspot.de

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  9. I am 100% in this same season in my life! I love being single but I can't wait for the day that HE comes into my life. I'm just like you said, knowing that God's plan has to be wonderful! :)

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  10. thank you so much, friend, for posting this. i have been struggling with patience as of late. i needed to read this.

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  11. Dearest Erin....
    Last night without knowing what you were going through and where you were in life where this waiting was concerned, I felt led to pray for you. Pray for you specifically about the journey you are on, and the wonderful but hard decision to wait. You have been in my prayers darlin', and will continue to be. I'm so sorry for the hurt you've been feeling.
    This post was exactly when I needed today. Yesterday I was just crying out to God about this very thing.
    I'd really thought I was over the hurt of a certain relationship, but I noticed over the weekend that I really wasn't. I still felt that gnawing pain of not being worth his time, of not being wanted.
    I've been trying to remember that the way everything went with that relationship does not define my worth. Loved by him or not, I am valuable and needed....And loved. A lot of things just seemed to spring up as someone I greatly valued who was waiting too, started dating someone. So many people around me are just "in the clouds" about having someone, and even though I'm not really old enough for that just yet, it still hurts.
    Thank you so so much sweet friend, for the encouragement.
    God's plans are bigger than any of us could ever imagine, and I know that he doesn't plants such strong beautiful desires in our hearts just to not fulfil them. That special man is out there waiting for you too, Erin. I just know it. Keep hanging in there! That special day will come when you see him face to face, and that moment will be so precious. The wait will be so worth it.
    Love you so much, Girl.
    -Lauricia

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    1. ADORE you, beautiful girl! You are precious to me!

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  12. I love Ecclesiastes 3:11! Thanks for sharing this :)

    http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com

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  13. This is SO beautiful friend! Because it is so true for each of us, with whatever season of life we are in =)
    Keep waiting for your guy! You have a beautiful heart and the Lord is doing some truly amazing things through you!!! =) You have no idea!!! =)
    Love you so very much!

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  14. Goodness, if there is anything the Lord has had to teach me time and time again, it's how to wait on Him. You have an amazing attitude in this season and I know you are an encouragement to other single women. Believe me, the waiting doesn't get any easier once you're married.. there is always something you want to happen now! But like you said, it's all in His timing and that is always the best way!

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  15. Such a beautiful post. Waiting IS really hard. I know exactly how you feel. There are a few things I've been praying for & some days it's difficult to believe that they'll come to pass. I know God will work everything out. Thank you for being real & sharing your struggles. I can most certainly relate.

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  16. Thank you so much for being vulnerable and SO honest! I love this post and am glad that I stumbled onto your blog :) I'm currently dating but I've had MANY times of feelign lonely and questioning why God had me waiting. But the Lord knows what he is doing even if it doesn't make sense to us at the time! Praying for you girl :)

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  17. Erin, I love that you shared what is on your heart! It seems so easy to be discontent in our world. I have the husband and the kids but now it seems I am waiting for money and to buy a house. It really never ends! There is always something to wait for. It's sad to be robbed of the present blessings God gives us. Anyways God has someone really special for you and I can't wait to celebrate that with you one day!

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  18. I absolutely LOVE this post. You are such a great example to me and women everywhere, and I truly mean that.

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  19. I just recently found your blog about a month ago...you are such an inspiration. I would offer words of encouragement, but you seem to be getting them from the right place already, which is totally awesome...and seems rare for young people these days.

    Like that line says in that old Tom Petty song, the waiting is the hardest part,everyday you see one more card, you take it on faith, you take it to the heart, the waiting is the hardest part...

    Right now in my life I feel like instead of waiting for something to happen for me, the ball seems to be in my court and it's my turn to take a leap and make some major choices, I recently saw your vlog about being fearless...that was really helpful for me...thanks for that. It's easy to get discouraged when we're afraid but, just like the date today says...we must March Fourth... one foot in front of the other each day and we will surely make it through the hard times.

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  20. It can be so difficult, once we've surrendered to God's timing, to then wait for it to come to life. But you're right- God makes everything beautiful in its time. And He is faithful. It's just up to us to use this time for His glory whether or not it's where we thought we would be at this point! Love you girl!

    Oh, and that blue polka dot dress? Super cute!

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  21. I could not have read this post at a better time! love you sister <3

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  22. This is my first time visiting; your instagram photo that said "struggles in singleness and waiting" caught my attention. I know there are many girls struggling with this, but sometimes I've felt like I am the only one.. I'm 24, turning 25 next month and I still haven't even MET "the one". There are times when I'm happy being single, but there are also times when I'm sad and wish I could at least meet HIM already! My mom got married at my age, pretty much all my friends/acquaintances married/are getting married/or having babies. I've met a couple of guys; some good, some not so good. I've been heart broken in different ways (best friend stealing boyfriend, boyfriend abusive with words, not being loved back). I seem to keep falling for the wrong ones. I do thank God, however; My prayers have ALWAYS been "God if he's not the one, please take him away" and I've seen the way He's protected me. I still remain pure and proud of it.
    Recently, I met a guy. And everything was great..I felt comfortable around him; my parents approved of him; a christian guy. I was getting really excited and thought I had Finally met "the one". He sweet talked me, told me he was going to prove he wasn't like the other guys, wanted a future relationship with me, respected me and my parents, and every line I hadn't heard of before. But then he made a move that confused me and I questioned him, we talked it out..I thought we were good, but then a few days later he just completely ignored me.
    Yes, I cried and it hurt. I wasn't looking for anyone, he came out of the blue and left out of the blue. I still haven't heard from him, but I know God is in control of everything. It helps reading your story and everyone else that's replied, y'all are all so very encouraging.
    I pray every night for my future husband and will patiently keep waiting for him. I know God has someone special and worthy for us. Thank you for the reminder. We're not alone..

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  23. Most of the time waiting on God is hard but it's always worth it and he ALWAYS knows what he's doing even if you have other plans. I learned that the hard way with my struggles in my career and he finally shed light on the direction he wanted me to go in. I'm so grateful!!

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  24. I saw this quote today and thought of your latest post right here on your blog that you wrote today.

    "Can I say something to young ladies here? I’m trying to pick my words carefully here. Your husband, whoever he is, single ladies, will have an unbelievable amount of influence over your sons and daughters in regards to spiritual things. If you want your children to love Jesus deeply, hold out for a man that is Godly. And let me tell you this: I am well aware that Godly men are rare. Lots of neat Christian boys, not a lot of Godly men. And we’re working our tails off for you to try to develop some into that. But don’t settle, because it’s better that you be lonely now than you be married and lonely later. Are you tracking with me? It is better that you be lonely now than for you to get married to a man that will teach your kids everything but the way of Jesus."--Matt Chandler.

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  25. You have no idea how much I needed this tonight. Thank you for being honest and open. God used you to encourage me tonight.

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  26. Seriously as I was reading this I was like "Omg did she get in my head and steal my thoughts??" because I feel the EXACT same way.
    Growing up I really thought I would be married by 20 and by 25 have 2 kids with one on the way....just like my mom. I really thought that's exactly how it was going to be, there was no other option. But when I turned 20,then 21 and now almost 26 with no prospects on the horizon I have learned all to well it is not my plan that will have its way but His. And although like you said, waiting is hard, especially when every single one of your friends is married. (I am the only single one left in my group) I am so glad I have chosen to be patient and wait on his perfect plan because I know it is so much better then any plan I could come up with for myself.

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  27. LOVE hearing your heart!!!! Each season has its reasons of waiting, and they are not all fun. But God is abundantly faithful, and that right there covers it ALL. I can't wait to get to know you better sweet girl! Praying for your heart today!

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  28. I love this post. And it is so true--when you're single, you can just get up and go. You can completely devote yourself to ministry and enjoying life in the present. When you're married, it takes more thought and more prayer to align everything.

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  29. As a long-married lady who is still madly in love with her husband, waiting for the right one, the right time, will be worth the wait. I was blessed with finding him early but know many others who have not. Some waited and other's did not. The results show in success of the marriages. Thank you Erin for sharing with young women that it won't always be easy to wait but that God has a plan and His timing is always perfect!

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  30. Oh Erin, you don't even know how perfect this post was for me to read today! I honestly just posted about how much I was struggling about waiting and how tired and impatient I was becoming. I thank God that He uses you and your blog to speak so much truth and to point my eyes back at Him instead of the men that just aren't the right ones for me.

    Thank you for your posts on singleness. They're always just what I need to hear! Waiting is hard stuff and I'll be praying for both of our waits! :)

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  31. I so needed this today. 37 and waiting. I had a meltdown this morning and so thankful to have read this. So encouraged!! Thank you

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  32. *big BIG hug!* what a fabulous post, friend. i love you so much and i love how you are such an encouragement, not only to me, but to so many others. we single ladies needed this post. i know one thing, whoever gets you, Erin, is going to get a gem. <3

    xo
    purposelyathome.blogspot.com

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  33. Its hard to embrace the waiting sometimes, but embrace it we must. God has a plan, and it will happen when he thinks we are ready. Thanks for highlighting the sometimes difficult times during a period of waiting Erin. Its nice to see a little reality coming into the blogging world.

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  34. Fantastic stuff, girl!! I echo what EVERYONE is already saying, you've got a voice - keep sayin' truth to us, even when you're reminding yourself of it, too. Honesty and transparency are two hard things to find in the single's world and especially in the blog world. Keep it up! :D

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  35. I can not even begin to express to you how much i needed to read this today.
    Waiting has been excruciating for me lately, to the point to where sometimes i just throw my hands up and say "God, i'm over it, i'm going to settle"...which is insane and i realize how ludicrous the statement is within a few minutes (thankfully)....but it doesn't make it any easier.
    I, like you, fully recognize the beauty of singleness! Being able to come home, throw on sweats, cook whatever the heck i want (or not cook) and watch stupid tv without caring if someone else "doesn't want to watch that tonight" is awesome....but like you said, it gets lonely.
    You're not alone, i am not alone, and praise God for community, encouragement, and honesty!
    <3
    Thank you again for sharing what is on your heart, i really, really needed to hear it today!

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  36. You are such an inspiring soul! Waiting is definitely not so fun but I'm still trusting God for the best, for 'the one'. *btw your pictures are so cute* <3

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  37. I am SO happy I found this. Not only is it beautifully expressed, but it resonated with me so much and also I wanted to reach out and share a tidbit of my story. I'm 31 now and waited until I was 25 to find my husband. I can so relate to that feeling of, "if I had settled, what about that boy...what if I had ..." but when I met Nate (my husband) we were engaged in 6 weeks because it was so obvious to us that God had brought us together. You've inspired me to blog about my story, but for now I think I just want to leave you with my favorite quotes, "God gives the best to those who leave the choice to him." and "God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame." Way to go girl! You've brought hope into my heart that there are truly amazing young people out there willing to wait and finding your blog was a God-sent to me.

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  38. Ahhhh such a great post! This is possibly one of the best that I've ever seen about waiting. I might post the link to it in one of my upcoming posts and encourage my readers to check it out! You essentially put to words everything that I feel about waiting, dating and marriage.

    xoxo Miss ALK
    http://missalk1994.blogspot.com

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  39. little did you know that a year from this post God'll hook you up with His best + your dream guy for you! :)

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  40. Lovely post erin!
    -Maddie
    http://girlswhoglow.wordpress.com/

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  41. This blog post is over a year and a half old but your words are refreshing to me tonight. I'm only 20 but right now even, it's hard being patient. I've never had a boyfriend and don't have any close guy friends; I've grown up with the same group of friends from church and my two closest friends have gotten married in the past year, one being my sister. Not to mention the other is in a relationship. And for me, never being in a relationship before, it's hard. They all went on a triple date today and sitting at home alone on a Saturday knowing my three best friends are together and I'm not there because I don't have a boyfriend (even though all of us have hung out before, MANY times, with the husbands and boyfriend) just hits me in the wrong spot tonight. I know it's just a day, and I know these feelings come and go of just really not liking being single, but I'm totally not the girl to go out and date just to have a boyfriend. Like I said I've never had a boyfriend or anything close to that. But your words, oh do they soothe my impatient heart. You understand what it's like to be in my shoes. To be receiving bridal shower invites, wedding invites, and now baby shower invites too, it's hard. And don't get me wrong, I'm so genuinely happy for them and each of their lives and them having their own families, but somedays, it's ridiculously hard. But nonetheless, I know God has a very special man picked out just for me and I know it'll be in His timing because, like you, I told God at an early age that I wanted Him to show me who to marry and to not settle for any boy. God is good ALL the time and has a plan for ME. Thank you for writing these words a year and a half ago because they are so relatable and bring so much hope seeing your love story unfold! Sorry this is so long, I just felt the need to share.

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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