It’s the time of year when we pause to count our blessings and reflect on all the reasons we have to smile. Families, friends, jobs, churches, homes, cars, and other comforts. We’re grateful when our bills are paid, someone makes us laugh out loud, the sun is shining, we receive a nice compliment, or the table is piled high with a turkey and all the trimmings. YUM!! Being thankful on a good day is easy. It’s natural to stay thankful when things are falling into place the way we want and the way we plan. The real challenge comes when nothing’s going our way…or we’re forced to wait longer than we like for our prayers to be answered. That’s where I find myself this holiday season.
Yes, I’m blessed by an amazing family; wonderful, generous friends; three hysterical pets; two jobs that stretch and challenge me; a supportive agent and boss; money to pay the bills; a reliable car; opportunities to travel; perfect health; a great new church; my salvation; and a God who loves me more than I can comprehend. For all of those things, I give thanks on a regular basis. But I’d be lying if I said they aren’t often overshadowed by a dull pain in my heart and a longing that never goes away. I’ve been praying, waiting, hoping, and believing for a husband and family for more than a decade. It’s the deepest desire of my heart, the most important thing to me for my future. The older I get, the more difficult it becomes to wait and the more I feel as though I’m trudging this path alone. I only have a few girlfriends who remain single, and they’re nearly all ten years younger than me. Most friends are married and having or raising awesome kiddos. All my eligible family members are married with children now. Even at church, I stick out like a sore thumb. The majority of people within the Christian community marry young, so in a group of hundreds of other people sharing a common faith, I can still feel brutally alone. Friends suggest I try not to think about it so much, but that’s impossible. This longing to share life with a husband, partner, co-pilot, and father to my kids never leaves me. I don’t know why it hasn’t happened for me yet, but I have zero designs on giving up. I WILL keep waiting until it works out. Until then, my daily challenge is to stay thankful and focus on the gifts and blessings I DO have.
A couple years ago, I started a list of reasons why I’m glad to still be single. When I’m really struggling, I force myself to say them out loud. Many times, it’s through tears. But it reminds me the time is not wasted. Topping the list is my relationship with my nieces. I can’t imagine loving two girls more than I love them. I’m so thankful I’ve had the time to get to know them, to go to DC to hang out with them, to attend their basketball games and concerts and plays, to take them on special adventures, to cook with them, and to enjoy downtime by watching movies or playing games. If I had my own kids already, I wouldn’t be able to drop everything for a visit just because I miss them. I cherish those relationships; so no matter how hard it is to be single, I wouldn’t trade one second from the time I’ve spent with them. The same goes for my other family and friends. As they face obstacles and challenges in their own lives, I’m grateful for the chance to support and encourage them, pray for them, stay in contact, and even travel to see them. It’s also a blessing when they want me involved with their children. I’ve learned so much about parenting by observing and helping out. No doubt those lessons will serve me well in the future. Plus, they want me around because I’m constantly entertaining them with my dating horror stories. Ha!
On a professional note, while plenty of people in my industry balance marriage and families with demanding jobs (I will too), I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if I’d gotten married before now. My path as a woman in sports radio has required nearly all of me. I’ve given it everything I have for more than 15 years: body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit. I would still be successful if I already had a family, but I wouldn’t be where I am now. My priorities would have been different all this time, and my efforts wouldn’t have been concentrated on my broadcasting goals. You probably wouldn’t be reading this blog either.
Lastly, I’m thankful for the ways my singleness has changed me as a person. I barely recognize the girl I was 15 years ago. I was extremely insecure with a propensity for making poor choices about the men I allowed into my life. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned and accepted about myself and how aware I am of my strengths and weaknesses. I know what I bring to the table in a relationship, and I know what I’m looking for in a husband and home. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin, and I like who I am. That perspective is invaluable in any relationship. I’ve also developed more patience than I thought possible. I don’t always wait with grace, but I hang on and refuse to give up. That tenacity serves me well in every other area of my life. This period of waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) has prepared me to be the wife and mom that I want to be.
I believe everything happens for a reason. No day or challenge or pain needs to be wasted. These years of being single were never what I planned or how I envisioned my life unfolding. In the bleakest moments when it feels like all hope is lost, finding reasons to be thankful is what chases the darkness.