Three Years Ago
Three years ago: December 15, 2015 — I was student teaching and looking for a job. I was single. I was lonely. I had a lot of questions left unanswered in both my personal and professional life.
Three years later: December 15, 2018 — I am in my third year of teaching. I am married. I am still sometimes lonely. Looking back and reflecting on how God was working in my past helps me count on Him even more now.
If sharing this honest post from three years ago does one thing, I hope it demonstrates the faithfulness of the Lord. I can still remember feeling the stress of all of my unanswered questions. It is beautiful to see how God works everything out in His timing.
December 15th, 2015 (cue the dramatic tone)
I don’t know how to start this. It’s hard to figure out how to word what I’m feeling because these feelings are so much a part of my everyday life that they have become something that has transformed into a dull, numbing irritation in the back of my brain. You see, I’ve pushed my loneliness to the back.
But, every morning before work, every evening after work, and especially on weekends, it pops back up to the surface and inches it way forward, despite my persistent effort to push it back. Sure, there are distractions: students, co-workers, family, and friends. Yes, there are moments of brief revival, renewed hope in prayer and in pews.
It’s ironic really– though I continue to push it back, I’m acknowledging it right here, right now. I am bringing it to the surface, intentionally, to ponder, discuss, question.
With a few weeks remaining in the semester and no definite plans for the spring, this feeling moves from a dull cry to a dramatic plea. My unanswered questions are more prominent than ever.
I have none of the big life decisions figured out. As someone who loves to have a plan and work three steps ahead, this scares me.
Writing about my loneliness is also scary. I can think any thought in the privacy of my head and not worry about the social repercussions. What will people think? What will they label me? I can’t possibly want to share these feelings– reveal my longing and abandon my pride. People will call me desperate, too eager, hopeless. I want a new relationship, a different relationship– a better one. I fear there won’t be a better one in my future.
Isn’t that the fear of most? When you give up a meaningful relationship, there is always the chance that there won’t be another one like it in your future. Or, what I fear in my case is happening, there won’t be one at all. I mean, it’s been two and a half years since I’ve dated someone seriously. Waiting is frustrating. Frustrating doesn’t even adequately describe it. I demand a better word to convey this sense of impatience. To “demand” is impatient, isn’t it? Fits the theme, I guess.
I had different ideas about my future. God was giggling.
We don’t normally think of God giggling. We think of God judging, or loving, or comforting, or condemning, but we don’t think of Him giggling.
I don’t mean a sardonic giggle, a “holier than thou” giggle (though He is holy). I mean a “I want the best for you, but still you have such a hard time understanding, little one, so I can’t reason with you” kind of giggle (like a mother tenderly hugging her three-year-old child and sympathizing with his pain but still finding slight humor in his inability to rationalize or trust).
God giggles at me. He giggled at my sixteen-year-old self– on a bus heading to go cheer on my high school team, discussing what major we want to pursue in college. He giggled when I said I would become a successful Public Relations professional, graduating in three and a half years with a major and two minors. I’m an English Language Arts student teacher on no income in my semester out of four years of college. Year 4.5 on that broke college kid budget. He giggled.
He giggled when I said I wanted to marry right out of college– that I’d be married by the time I was 22. I’m 23 and single.
But still, I try to plan it out and tell Him what I want. I set deadlines and due dates as if my personal life were as simple as planning out a curriculum unit. Honestly, I wish it were. I wish I could determine how much time it would take for me to grow in my skills of “life” so that I could accomplish the next task and move on to my next goal in a precise, pre-calculated manner.
I wish I could anticipate my “tests” and understand what problem-solving equations I should use. Life can’t be parceled out on a calendar. God’s plans can’t be determined this way– this way I have been preparing for and practicing all throughout college and in student teaching. I wish it could.
The hardest thing is not knowing when it will happen or if it will happen.
God knows my heart. He knows how much I desire a spouse and a job. I have to daily surrender, resting my hope and future in Him. It makes trusting difficult. If people looked through the pages of my life– all the journal entries for the past decade (Gosh, that’d be embarrassing!), they’d catch a glimpse of this continual cycle: frustration/loneliness, crying out, temporary sense of relief, repeat.
People tell me that cycle will continue throughout my whole life. Once I get what I desire, I’ll have another problem I must depend on God for. I’ll have another issue to wrestle through, to surrender.
December 15, 2018
The cycle exists. I am married and settled in my personal life. I also found a career I enjoy. And yet, three years later, I’m still searching for answers and must depend on God to move in certain areas.
The beauty of this particular cycle of dependence is the more time I spend in it, the more I lay down my control and give it to the One who has proven Himself faithful. Seeing how He’s worked in just three short years leaves me joyfully excited for the next three.
Wherever you're at today, whether it be a season of unanswered questions or answered questions, remember the One who has all the answers.
God is working. We may not feel it in the moment, but when we look back, we can see it.
Do you have a story of answered questions with God's faithfulness? I would love to hear it!