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.



  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.