I started the series On Marrying Young because I was one of the first of my friends (my acquaintances too) to get married and I felt alone. That hasn't changed. My best friends are still long from being married, but I've started to realize that they feel a bit lonely too. This post is great because it's the first in the series by someone who is not yet married and addresses the opposite side of the spectrum. I've been hoping for a post like this for a while and I'm glad that Amanda is the one who wrote it.
My reality at age 24 is very different than what I had long dreamt it would be. For as long as I can remember I was certain that I would be married by the time I was 23. My mom married my father when she was 23 and they have been happily married ever since, so naturally I thought that the perfect (and only) age to get married was 23. God clearly had other plans for my life.
I am still a firm believer that my vocation is marriage. I’ve discerned religious life to varying degrees more times than I can count and every single time God’s answer is some variation of, “Thank you for your willingness and openness to religious life but you and I both know where you are called. Stop worrying about it so much, I’ll send him to you when it is time.” Sometimes His response, whispered in the depths of my heart, is met with relief and peace. Other times, if I’m being really honest, it is met with whining and questions along the lines of, “But why God?” and “What if I said pretty please with a cherry on top?” If nothing else, He is teaching me to trust Him more with each breath I breathe, and that trust is serving me and will serve me for the rest of my life.
I look around and see so many of my friends married and having kids and wonder when it will be my turn. In college, my girlfriends and I made lists of who among us would be married first, and I usually ranked pretty high on those lists. However, now I’m one of the few who isn’t married, while the others are buying houses and raising a beautiful brood of children, and I wonder when we got old enough to do such things. There are days that the green eyed monster comes out in me and there are days I’m grateful for where God has put me.
God knows I wish I had some wonderful love story to write for you about how I met my husband and we fell in love and lived happily ever after, raising our ridiculously cute kids. Perhaps (God willing) someday I can come back and tell you that wonderful tale. Who knows, maybe I am in the midst of it and don’t know it yet. What I do know is that God has called me here to this yet unmarried state just as much as He has called so many of my young friends to marriage, motherhood, and fatherhood. For the record, I much prefer to refer to myself as a “yet unmarried” lady – that “yet” provides a ray of hope and reminds me that God is at work in my life and in my future spouse’s life. That tiny little word reminds me to keep praying, for me, for my future husband, but most importantly for God to teach me how to love as He does.
The goal of this yet unmarried state isn’t to wallow, nor is it to constantly complain about not having my future husband yet. The goal is not to compare myself to my friends and people on the street and assume their life is better or worse than mine. Even as I sat down to write this guest post (thanks, Mandi!), I found myself looking through the other posts in this series. The comparisons began and I wondered why I should even write this post. My story is different, and I didn’t marry young but I’ve learned that comparison will kill a girl stone dead. I’ve found that to be true on both sides of the marrying young fence, further proof that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Some are called to marry young and some aren’t, and there isn’t anything wrong with either route you take, because where ever you are is where ever God Himself has called you to be.
The goal of this state of life is to learn, to prepare, and to grow. Isn’t that the goal of our lives whether we are married yet or not? My daily prayer has become, “Lord, prepare me to love my future husband as You love me. Soften my heart, dwell within its walls, flood my soul with Your grace, mercy, and love. Teach me to love as You do. Guard my heart with Your jealous love. Grant me patience and perseverance to run well this race as I fall deeper in love with You.”
A woman after the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, Amanda is also a Colorado native and can hardly imagine living anywhere else. She graduated from Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina in 2009 with a Bachelor's in Theology, as well as minors in Psychology and Philosophy. Amanda works as a youth minister, and also has a heart for women's ministry. Her personal blog can be found at worthy of Agape.
Please check out the other posts (including some great guest posts) in my On Marrying Young series.