Recently a friend asked me an interesting question. She said, ‘What’s something, besides what you’re doing right now, that you feel really excited and passionate about doing in the future?’
It didn’t take me long to come up with my answer. It’s one that’s sat in the deepest parts of my heart and the highest shelf of my mind for a while now. I want to have a family. I want to be a wife who supports her husband, encourages him, and loves him in a way that makes his jaw drop because the way I love him just makes no sense outside of the power of the gospel (a very realistic goal for myself in marriage, I know).
And I want to have children. I’m not too keen on the baby stage. But little humans make me laugh and bring me joy. They’re so honest and sincere and say the funniest things. And the chance to help guide them through learning and to lead them to the Lord: that sounds fun! Challenging, Exhausting. Like the scariest task I could ever set out on. But fun. However, as I opened up and shared with my friend this desire (that sometimes feels a bit like a secret, or something I shouldn’t talk about because people will think I’m discontent in my singleness) my mind also went to a new place. And I began to tell her how in some ways I feel that the Lord is already giving me this blessing. As I teach my kiddos on Sunday morning or study the Bible with a younger believer, I’m raising those spiritual kids. I’m laughing and crying and being amazed at the thoughts that develop in their minds and spill out of their mouths in the form of words. And I have the pleasure of being a part of their learning to walk with the Lord.
I always thought the place for me to learn about family and how to do it right would be in the context of me starting my own, biological family. But God has placed me into a context far from that. I’m far from my birth family and have no prospects of starting a new generation in sight (shoutout to all my single ladies!). But what God is showing me is that this too is the best place to learn about family. He’s building a family for me. But His way of building is teaching me a few important things:
1. Earthy marriage is not the ultimate goal or the most desired end result and singleness is not a punishment.
2. Children really are from the Lord.
3. Christ is sufficient.
4. Christ made us to live in the context of family, and he gives ALL of us the chance to do just that through his body: the church.
For the longest time I’ve struggled to find that good and right balance between my longings and my reality. How can I be content in my singleness and still have faith that God will give me what is good? I think, by his grace, he’s finally led me to that ‘sweet spot’ of rejoicing in the now and having hope for the future. It doesn’t mean I don’t wake up some mornings or fall asleep some nights wondering ‘God, why did you choose to do it this way?’ It just means that I trust him even though he does. That I believe, even in my unbelief, that God is really, truly, actually good. And how can I not believe it when I think of who He is and all that he has done for me?
Maybe for you, it isn’t a lack of a biological family that makes you fear, but one that’s riddled with complicated relationships. Or maybe you’re the only believer in your family, and it feels like you’ll never have the joy of pursuing the Lord with the other people in your home. Perhaps it’s the fear that you’ll bring the messiness of your birth family into the new one you’ve begun to form with you spouse. Or maybe you have a great family but long to continue developing a fuller understanding of how that translates to a local church. No matter where you come from or where you are, you can trust the Lord to teach you what it means to be a father, mother, sister, brother, son, or daughter. Because he has brought you into his family, and he is, after all, the original creator and designer of the whole thing.
“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” ~Romans 12:5
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” ~Proverbs 17:17
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” ~Colossians 3:15