A Single Purpose

By Sarah Stonier

sarah stonierI walked in the door to a clamor of chaos. The happy kind of excitement where children with gappy grins wrap both arms around your legs, wide-eyed four year olds run around in circles and sophisticated 11 year olds ask you very grown up questions about your day. These are my favorite nights of the week; where I turn in my glass of Cabernet for cookies and milk, change out of my heels into sneakers so I can push toddlers on tricycles, and become “Mishush Sharah Shonyay” or “Miss Binky”. It is these nights that make that usually dreaded span of time in-between the last Thursday of November all the way to the 14th of February more of a blessing, than a bane.

Since high school there’s always been that acute awareness that I was single and an even more so apparent sting during the holidays. In homeroom I would always hold my breath and hope, but there was never a “candygram” being sung by an elfin-eared member of the student council for me, not once did I receive a carnation tinged in hot pink dye, and yes I have a prom picture of myself in an eggplant colored dress, outdated hair, and no date.  Even ten years later I’m still stumbling slightly over the awkward realities of an unadorned left hand. Such as, I don’t have a male counterpart to contribute to the Thanksgiving family football game. Sending a Christmas card of well, just myself, would be a glaringly obvious proclamation that I was standing alone in a season where I would be placed lovingly with an alphabet magnet beside families in matching sweaters, couples on their wedding day and the bright expressions of beautiful babies. And, at the twilight and dawning of the years there would not be a beau to kiss after a loudly sung Au Lang Zyne.

Yet, God has been gracious to me in allowing me to see the facets of why I have lived the life I have been given; and when it comes to being single, and in the South where the old maid and cat lady jokes begin at 22, He continues to slowly and quietly reveal His providence. In college after a major heartache for a boy who had chosen another, I changed my mind about singleness and I fashioned a vision for everything I wanted do for me before I “settled down” or “gave up my freedom”.  However, this was not water pouring from a thankful heart. This was a stubborn self-reliance, a manifesto of independence, a thwarted perception of marriage and a tight grip on the precision of how my future would be measured out. Then I heard an old and weathered story that cut me to my core.

Legend has it that in The Crusades soldiers would be baptized in order to make it a “Holy War” but as they were submerged they held their swords out of the water because this was the one area of their life God would not control. I realized that relationships and my timeline of how and what I wanted to have happen, was my sword. I had given control of my life to God with the exception of my love life. I knew my preferences and when my heart would be ready, and what it wanted, so I would figure out the particulars. Yet was He not my father? Did He not form me in my mother’s womb? He knows me better than I know myself; so I decided at that moment to lower my sword and instead of trying to determine the outcome of my dreams, I would focus on becoming the woman of God He desired me to be.

 Being a woman God desires me to be is an attitude I must daily fight for. I must fix a foundation in the Sword of the Spirit so that the truth of Gods’ love for me doesn’t fade. There came a season where I became extremely disgruntled and anxious; godly man after godly man would just want to be friends or never call back or never even ask for that matter, and I didn’t understand why God wasn’t allowing my heart to be chosen, to be won, why He wasn’t bringing me the plan I had surrendered to. I was to say the least, restless. Then in the Wal-Mart freezer section, of all places, I saw a young child howling at the top of his lungs because he wanted something his mother was not giving him. My first reaction was to shudder at the child’s poor, callous manners, and then in the swift second that followed I was convicted. I didn’t want to be the child stamping her feet, and pouting, crying for God to bring me my husband. That would rob His beautiful gift of its sweetness and blur the perfection of His timing. It was then that I decided to be content in the season God had given me, to seek out the beauty in moments of solidarity and to cultivate a heart of thankfulness.

For me it has been a wise and helpful act to start my mornings with a simple “I’m thankful I’m single because…” I love finding those reasons in the kids I babysit, the bucket list items I get to cross off, the other single and married women with whom I have cherished relationships. This doesn’t mean that I don’t yearn to embark upon the world with my mate one day; but for now it means that I will string up, just like Valentines Day cards on a wall, the precious memories I experience now.

Remember Esther and how a beautiful Jewess remained unchosen until she was taken from her people to be a Queen. In the midst of her circumstance she chose to be Gods servant and humbly say that she had been called, for such a time as this. As single women we have such a powerful gift; our talents and passions can be poured in to the Kingdom in a way we wouldn’t be able to if we had families of our own. I challenge you, as a single lady, to throw your hand up and say here I am Lord, use my freedom for your will, create in me a heart of rejoicing for this season, and use my time to glorify you.

In the season of Advent the church celebrates and anticipates the coming of Christ, our Bridegroom. In many homes you’ll find some semblance of an advent calendar where each day is marked by a special experience or story, which prepares us for the final day of Christmas. As I looked at one such Advent Calendar with it’s painted doors and hidden treasures behind, I was struck with its simple comparison to my life. I have been given the incredible gift of walking through doors and finding incredible experiences behind them. All of which become woven in to my own personal story, preparing me for that last door, upon which opening I am introduced to my bridegroom and the adventure God has prepared for us both. It will be a lovely and exciting door and I will open it when my Father knows I am ready for such a gift and His plans for my life of singleness have come to a close. Until then, I will sojourn independently in a life dependent on God and I will have a singular purpose, to serve Him and to share His love with the world.

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2 Comments to “A Single Purpose”

  1. What a gift you are Sarah Stonier. What a gift!

  2. Gai says:

    I am awe-struck by your maturity and devotion.