Everyone once in awhile while I read a book a find myself nodding yes to every story, every sentence. I find myself underlining and adding my conversations in the margins. The author becomes a very real person who is for me and whom I would much prefer to sit next to at a coffee shop. A book that I want to shout about and at times throw across the room. Lets All Be Brave by Annie Downs is that kind of book.
The whole book was fantastic, but the chapter that impacted me the most, and made me want to throw the book across the room, was Everything You Have.
If you know me at all, you know that I am single. If you know me a little more, you know that I absolutely want to get married and have a family. And if you really know me you know that I have really only been single.
In this chapter Annie write about her singleness. About how it is something that she never wanted to talk about, much less write about, yet, God was pushing her to, and I am so thankful she listened.
The world, (and internet!), is full of stories of singleness. However, most of these stories are either superhappy or supermad. Both of those stories annoy me. Then there are the stories that while they are good, come from people who are no longer single who have found their "happily ever after." That's not Annie. Annie is raw and in the midst of her singleness. She is choosing to be real and to be brave, and that is what this world needs to hear.
She says, "It's not just about being alone at the dinner table or in the bed; its about unanswered prayers and how to face a God who can do something about those unanswered prayers but doesn't."
I could have written those same words.
Since I was little, while being a complete tomboy, I dreamed of my wedding. I prayed for my future husband and wrote him letters in crayon after seeing that Jessica Simpson did that (ridiculous, I know). I included him in journal entries that involved my dreams and hopes for the future. As I grew I continued praying for him and also praying that God would continue preparing me to be a wife and a mother.
Now, all those years later, those prayers remain unanswered.
Yet, my hope remains the same.
My hope remains in God alone. I am able to hope in the one who knows what He is doing.
Annie says, (and I echo)
You are going to survive this, friend.
God has not forgotten you.
Your life and your desires are important to God
Sometimes thing are going well and it's easy, yet so many times it is far from easy. What do you do when you have to make major life decisions alone? What about when everyone around you is getting married and having kids and you feel left behind? When your life begins to look like a real life version of 27 Dresses. What do you do when you feel like you can't take that opportunity because it may cause you to miss out on the one who just might be around the corner?
I have found myself in all of these situation, and have cried many tears at unexpected times.
When I was thinking about going back to China these fears were very real in my mind. In my thoughts committing to go back to China meant I would be putting off potential marriage for at least another year. That somehow moving to China directly related with the possibility of marriage and I couldn't see how the two could possibly happen simultaneously. I believed the lies that I was in this by myself, that moving on with my life would mean the things I so desperately wanted to happen never would.
As Annie says, "That became my biggest fear - waiting for a marriage I'm not guaranteed, keeping me from doing the good things that bring glory to God right now."
I don't want to stay stagnant. When things are stagnant it doesn't stay the same, it rots, it deteriorates.
Staying stagnant doesn't bring God glory.
Knowing that God is always with me means I don't have to be afraid. I don't have to be afraid of being alone or the unknown that may or may not happen. I am able to have hope and walk forward in the hope so that I can do His work and from Him glory. I have faith that God hears my prayers and He knows my desires.
Knowing God means I can be brave in every season of life, no matter what circumstances surround me
And I continue to walk forward.
Right now I am walking forward towards time in China
In the future I hope walking forward means marriage and children
No matter what I am able to walk forward because I know the one who is always walking with me, and He will never fail me and will always love me
This is my "rewriting" of this chapter. Do yourself a favor and read the book yourself!