For the most part, I’m okay with being single. I get to live a pretty cool, spontaneous life and I am enjoying it as fully as I can in case it changes.
But dangit, sometimes it’s really hard.
And by sometimes I mean…. Tuesdays and Sundays.
Once at our little area youth pastor meeting, all eyes were on me to answer the question, “what is the hardest part about being single and in youth ministry?,” because I was the only single person at the table. “Not having anyone to talk about it with,” was my answer. There have been nights where I’ve had kids straight up tell me they hate the stupid church and roll their eyes at me and say they’re never coming back. I deal with it alone. I go fill out attendance and stats alone. I drive home alone. I go to sleep alone. I RARELY talk to ANYONE about what has happened at church on the day it happens.
Sunday I had a rough day. I was sitting in my office, frustrated to the point of tears and I realized that the people I’d instinctively reached out to were single, God-fearing men. and I hurt because of that truth. I started texting Mary-Keith about it, which was good…. but then I’d brought these kind boys into the midst of my problems so I could use them to temporarily fill an emotional void in my life. I reached out in the hopes of finding an interim significant other for a few minutes, because I craved the intimacy of someone loving me enough to hurt with me.
Obviously I survived Sunday but now I’m frustrated. I’m a pretty okay person. I’m loyal and I’m really really funny. I try to be a better friend than I was the day before, and I have actually accepted my role as an adult in society pretty well the past few years.
I have lots of people who are just a text message away.
But I don’t have a person.
and I kind of don’t understand, because I’m not just pretty okay… I’m actually pretty awesome.
and super humble, too.
But really…. I’m cool.
I don’t understand.
I did what I always do when I’m too frustrated at God to pray but still wanting to be reminded of all the ways that is a stupid decision. I turned to Madeleine L’Engle.
“Just because we don’t understand does not mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”
It kind of felt like we were sitting at The Q Cafe talking about life and she responded to my frustrations with those words, because they hit hard. Her words are what “trust” means in the frustrating times. When I put my trust in the Lord, I’m acknowledging that God has a reason for things. He and I don’t operate on the same level at all, so I will actually understand very little of it.
My loving friends are still without child.
My friends hurt from disease.
and I am alone.
It’s stupid. I’m not going to be gentle about my feelings towards it all, because God knows my heart and I think he’d rather me be honest than to be a hurting spirit in the shell of a good Christian. It’s all stupid and it makes me angry and I don’t understand at all.
The goal is not to understand. The goal is to trust.
There are two boys in my church that always get in trouble. Sometimes I’ll ask them to split up before they’ve actually been in trouble, because I see them slowly starting to get out of control and I want to help save them from trouble. They’ll get angry at me because they don’t understand. I ask them if they believe I’m on the same team as them. and I ask them if they trust that I love them and want them to do well. and they say yes, and I encourage them to trust me.
I guess that’s what God does in my moments of frustration.
“Stephanie, do you believe that I am for you?
Do you trust that I love you?
Do you believe that I will not do anything to harm you?
Do you trust that I am good?”
More often than not, my “yes, Lord” looks a lot like the little boys…. feet kicking at the floor, head down and eyes to the side. Then a loud, overdramatic sigh when they are asked to get up and be on their way.