by Lynn Corker
There it was, Isaiah 54:1 staring me in the face and sucking my very breath away. The words I never wanted to hear and feared hearing my entire life, “Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst in to song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”
I supposed I should start by saying, “Hi. My name is Lynn. I’m single and never wanted to be.” My entire life I have hoped, prayed and waited for the day the Lord would bless me with a spouse, a partner in ministry, someone to walk through life with, someone to hold my hand and someone who would be as excited as I was about having a family. Sounds normal enough, right?
I’m actually really great at being single but for years I have wrestled with why I am not married. I’ve heard all the advice, prayed all the prayers, I even bought a Bible and started underlining passages and writing notes to my future husband so I could give it to him on our wedding day.
I have “waited patiently” and asked God if I needed to (again) put this on the altar of sacrifice (because I couldn’t be certain I hadn’t picked it up from the last time I laid it down). At times I have become so frustrated that I have cried out saying, “God, just tell me if I should keep hoping for it! If it’s not going to happen I can handle it, but the hoping is just too painful. Just tell me!”
This is the part where I caution you to be careful what you pray for because you just might get it. I was hit, hurt, and shattered in an instant when I read Isaiah 54:1. I knew. Deep down I knew these words were from the Spirit, speaking directly to me; God was asking me to remain single and my worst fears were realized.
“WHAT?! God how could You ask this when You know the desires of my heart?!”
In one Band-Aid ripping moment my hope was decimated. I don’t know how to put in to words the deep sorrow I have been journeying through. I have had to ask myself if my God was worth it; if I was willing to surrender to His will above my own wants and desires and I needed to start over figuring out who I am in Him, apart from my hope for a spouse and spawn.
I wasn’t mad. God asked this of me, and I had a choice to reject it, but I was grieving … deeply grieving the loss of something I have wanted my whole life. Something that bludgeons me daily with how “out of place” I feel as a single person in a married person’s world.
It keeps me isolated when I want to belong. I didn’t/don’t understand; I was created to create; I am called the Bride of Christ, yet now I may never know what it is like to walk down the aisle dressed in white or know the feeling of carrying life inside of me.
Isn’t that like most of us, though? At some point in our lives we are faced with the pangs of loss. Maybe the marriage you thought would last forever was cut short. Maybe you are in an empty marriage and feel just as single as I do.
No matter if we are single, married, divorced, widowed, young, old, male, female, at some point our life doesn’t go the way we wanted it to and we are left not knowing how to recover. We ask, “So what now, Lord?”
Our actions (or lack of actions) in those moments can sometimes prevent us from moving forward. I was so heartbroken over this call to surrender that I couldn’t open my Bible.
I knew Jesus was there, ready to comfort me, but I wasn’t ready to receive it. I didn’t want anyone to comfort me, I just wanted to be sad and left alone (how ironic is that?!).
A good friend happened upon me when I was particularly engulfed in thought over this new calling. I ended up sharing about my struggle and, being the faithful follower, my friend referenced Scripture.
“Ugh. I’m not ready. I don’t want to go to Scripture right now. The last time was so painful and I can’t handle another blow. (Sigh.) Fine. I’ll read it …’The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” –Ps. 34:18
I couldn’t swallow the tears. I let my walls down and it all poured out. I fell into the arms of my Savior and wept. He knew. He knew I needed Him. He knew I needed to hear that He understood my broken heart.
He knew I needed to know He was close and that I felt crushed. Like a husband comforts his wife in her distress, I was now being comforted by my Lord (more on that in part 2).
I am still sorting through what this all means, and I certainly don’t have it figured out. I don’t know if this call to singleness is for a season or for the rest of my earthly life, but I do know that I have a husband (Is. 54:5) that loves me and can do immeasurably more than I can imagine.
Maybe you are struggling with what God is asking you to do and it’s left you feeling isolated. It can be scary to even consider letting God have control and ultimate authority.
One thing I can say for certain, He has never led me in to the desert without bringing me to the Promised Land, so why should this time be any different? He supplies my needs.
He is the sustainer of my life. He is the one who knows when I sit and when I stand. That is daily bread I can digest and it is enough just for today.
Stay tuned for the second dose of this journey where God’s incredible mercy is revealed and a rescue comes from the most unlikely of places; through the ministry of Women of the Pearl.
If you would like to learn more about “Women of the Pearl” you can like them on Facebook. In addition, St. Luke has generously made Women of the Pearl the focus of their Quarterly Missions this quarter. To God be the glory.