|Photo by Melissa Driggers|
My Wedding Day
I don't often write about being single. Mostly because while my "singleness" is a part of my life, it's simply not the main focus of my life or ministry. For today, however, I am choosing to talk about it a bit. (This post is for everyone, so if you're not single, I hope you'll stick around!)
I have an amazing, fulfilling life. I am surrounded by the incredible, devoted Godly men and women who challenge me, love me, bless me, minister to me, and just generally "put up" with me every day. My community is deep and wide with family and friends. Moments of loneliness do come, but they are very rare and usually short-lived. It wasn’t always that way, but God has transformed my heart over the years to bring me to this place.
Yet even in this full life, there is a short list of things that occasionally make me “feel” single. One of those things is coming home from a trip to a quiet, empty home, with no one there to hug me and tell me I was missed. I don’t love that part of being single.
Another is being sick, and this is probably when I "feel" it the most. I really struggle emotionally and spiritually with being alone when I'm not well. No one is here to hold my hand and tell me it's going to be OK, pray over me, drive me to the doctor, or bring me soup and meds. Once, while driving myself to the emergency room, I completely lost it. In a feverish panic, crying out, “God, I’m going to die alone!” Oh, the melodrama of a single Italian woman with a fever!
And then came October 17, 2011.
October. My favorite month of the year. I love the crisp air, the colors, the sound of the leaves blowing, and the promise of the harvest. In fact, I've often said that if God called me to marriage, I would want an October wedding.
On this beautiful day in October, though, sickness would enter my life in a way I'd never known before. This wasn’t the flu. This wasn’t a cold. This wasn’t about me driving myself to the local drugstore to get my own OJ and cold meds. This was way bigger than that.
About an hour after I got the news, I was driving across town to my parents’ house to tell them. That hour had been a whirlwind of information overload and emotional chaos. And as the surreal became real…
Oh my God. I have cancer. And I’m single.
I immediately started to pray, and to this day, I remember my exact words in that prayer.
OK, God, this is going to be a weak area for me spiritually, so I need you to perfect my weakness in your strength. I mean, like right now. Set me like a seal upon your heart.
From that moment on, as tough as this road has been, not for one day have I felt single or alone in this journey. Not for one second. His presence has been felt at every step – in every victory and in every setback.
I have also been lavished with love and the presence of my community. I have continually thanked and praised Him for filling loneliness with the prayers and presence of my community. But God would show me something unexpected about my heart. He would show me that as wonderful as my community is, they are not the reason that I have never felt alone in this crazy ride through cancer.
While working on my book and reflecting on verses that I’d read a hundred times before, the familiar words suddenly jumped out at me in a way that I had never read them before.
Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope...“In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master’ … I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord." (Hosea 2:14-15, 19-20, NIV)
Upon reading those familiar words, He captivated me with new truth. How had I missed it before? I haven't felt single through this journey because quite possibly for the first time in my life, I have allowed Him to be my Husband. And just as that realization began to penetrate my heart, he allowed me to recall my prayer in the car on that dark day in October.
I had prayed, “Set me like a seal upon your heart.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)
You see, His wedding vow had long before been spoken over me when I invited Him in to my heart, my mind, and all that I am. But mine was spoken in the car that day when I prayed. And I meant it. From that point on, I had finally allowed Him to be the Husband that He always was.
I don't know why I was so surprised by this. He had been courting me all along. Just a few short months before that dark day in October, while in Africa, He revealed to me His promise that He would not relent until He had my whole heart. He was preparing me to receive my dream of an October wedding and didn’t even know it.
October 17th was the day I found out I had cancer. But that day was about so much more than that.
October 17th was my wedding day.
About Me: Reminded daily that I’m being chased by the One I pursue. Cancer survivor, encourager, teacher, speaker, blogger, writer. Passionate about relationships, coffee, books, my kids (who are “technically” canine but they think they are human), and cooking for the people I love.