As you all may know, I recently had my second baby girl. If I can be honest, I was on the struggle bus the first few weeks suffering from lack of sleep and just trying to adjust to being a family of 4. Now, I am beginning to get back in the groove of things, and I am crazy busy. I am striving to maintain my home, my family (including my husband and the kids) as well as continue in the areas I know that God has called me to including serving at my church and maintaining my brand Hidden & Found. Not to mention helping my husband with our mobile app, trying to get snatched again after having my second baby, remembering to drink my water and take my vitamins, have girl time, self care time, maintain friendships...the list just goes on and on and on. Ya girl is TIRED! I’m not complaining though because I am graced for this. But it did get me to thinking about a particular season in my life when God spoke to me very clearly.
One day during what I like to call my “wilderness season”, He told me to rest because there was a season coming when I will be extremely busy. To give you some context, this was shortly after God told me to quit law school. I was unemployed and trying to figure out my purpose and next steps. I had been searching for a job for months now to no avail. I was depressed and spent much of my time sleeping my life away. And when I wasn’t doing that I was up feeling guilty because I felt useless. I knew that God was calling me to a season of rest (both figuratively and literally), but I was fighting it because to me it just felt lazy.
I think back at that time now and I just laugh. Oh how I wish I had listened to Him quicker and just taken it all in. How many times do we fail to give in fully to a particular season, because we are too busy striving for where we think we should be in that particular moment? As hard as that season was, it was an important time in my growth and development with God. That wilderness season was an invitation to draw closer to Him. It grew into one of the greatest times in my life. I never would have discovered that though had I gotten stuck on the fact that I was single, with no job and no real future to look forward to. In many ways, it actually prepared me for the season I am in now. So I got to thinking...there were many things that have prepared me for the season I’m in now, particularly that of marriage. So of course I thought I’d share with all of you. So here are 7 things I’m glad I did when I was single that has helped me to thrive in this season of marriage and family:
1. I learned how to serve others
If you are a Believer but you haven’t figured out yet that you are called to serve, then let this be an eye opener. Jesus Himself said For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - Matthew 20:28
So when I was single I served A LOT. I served at my local church in many different ministries. I served at different community service events. And I even served in my own little ways to be a blessing to different people and families. Of course, I still serve now, but it is nothing compared to when I had way more free time. I’m glad I learned how to serve people for two important reasons. For one, being married is all about serving your spouse. There is no room for selfishness or self centeredness in a marriage. All those years of serving other people helped me to take the focus off of myself and be able to give of myself while expecting absolutely nothing in return. Had I not made serving a lifestyle, my marriage would look a lot different. It would be completely jarring for me to love, honor and serve my husband the way in which the Bible calls me to love, honor and serve him. And let’s not add children. Being a mother is totally sacrificial. Some days you barely have time to do anything for yourself. You have little people depending on you for their every need. I am so glad I learned how to serve and sacrifice and be happy about it during a time when the pressure was off.
The second reason I am glad I did so much serving while I was single is because the seeds I planted back then are producing a harvest for me now. I never thought about serving as a seed when I was doing it, but the truth is that all of our actions are seeds that will produce after its own kind (see Galatians 6:7). I can see that so evidently in my life right now. I would do things such as give families a ride who didn’t have a car. I would also babysit, for new moms, give gift cards for date nights to married couples on their anniversaries, be a blessing to single parent families during the holidays and other things as such. Now, among other things, I have people who are willing to provide safe care for my children when I want a date night with my husband. I do not take that for granted living in a city where I’m not from. Many couples are not able to do that or they have to pay someone. So many people have sown into our marriage and family from the time we got engaged, and I know part of that comes from a time when I was sowing,( out of my heart, not out of expectation of reward) into other families. I’m grateful that I have seed in the ground that is now harvesting full gardens for me in this season.
2. I LIVED a fulfilling life and worked on becoming a better me
If there is one thing I can say, it’s that I fully and thoroughly took advantage of the time when I was single to LIVE. I have so many good memories of events, trips, random impromptu outings and so much more. I didn’t wait around for a man to have a good time. I made the most of what God had given me right then and there. It was truly FUN. My season right now is fun also, but it looks completely different than my single season. It is consumed with hubby, kids and building our future together. Do I still go out to events and things of the like? Of course. But I do so far less often and they are hardly, if ever, impromptu.
Now I have to schedule with a babysitter if hubby and I are going somewhere together. Or I have to coordinate with hubby to make sure we don’t have anything that conflicts if I’m going alone. And while I still take trips, they’re not as often and most of the time they’re with the family so they actually tire me out instead of refresh me with all the prep and care that goes into traveling with a whole family. Had I not lived my life to the fullest while I was single, I may have resented this now that I am married. But I absolutely do not. Instead, I have those fond memories to look back on and I can now cherish this season even though it comes with a lot more diaper changing and house cleaning and less plane catching and event hopping.
I also took the time to work on me while it was just me. This included building my credit, getting in shape physically, eating healthier and honing my cooking skills. I also worked on my mental health and being free of some things as not to bring a whole lot of baggage to a relationship when it was time.
So while it is completely fine and perfectly normal to desire a husband and family, do not get so lost in the desire that you fail to live right now. Take the trip. Buy the house. Get the degree. Take up the new hobby. Have fun with your friends. And don’t be afraid to fail.
3. I established a good foundational relationship with God
My devotion time with the Lord looks quite different now, than it did when I was single. When I was single, I had an entire apartment to myself to run, shout, sing and dance unto the Lord. Now I have to experiment with different rooms/closets in the house and confine myself to those in an effort to not wake anyone else and to get some privacy. I had the convenience of planning out my devotion time, and I didn’t have to work around the schedules of little humans. Now I have to hope my newborn gets on some sort of predictable schedule soon that doesn’t involve keeping me up all night. I also have to pray that it aligns with that of my 3 year old or run the risk of her interrupting my quiet time by barging in my closet yelling “I want to pray with mommy” I low key find that adorable however lol. I used to have a rough outline of what my devotion time would look like including prayer, speaking in tongues for at least 30 minutes, worship and reading my Bible. Now that’s usually broken up throughout the day and it is usually combined with something else, such as making dinner or loading a dishwasher. It’s also a really good day if I’m even able to get all elements in. Honestly sometimes all I get is a little time to speak to God under my breath throughout my day because the day has been that hectic. I used to go on little dates with God such as going to an ice cream shop and journaling or to the park to just talk to Him. Now when I get some free time to myself, it’s always me wrecking my brain trying to figure out what I’m going to do with it and before I know it, my free time is up.
But the point is because I disciplined myself during my single years and made spending time with God a priority, I am able to carry over that foundation into my family life even though sometimes it can be difficult to always show up. I’ve arrived at a delicate balance of giving myself grace instead of beating myself up when I fail to get in that time, yet I know the importance of not being away from that place for too long. Had I not done the work back then, I would be really struggling now. I’m happy I made it a point to cultivate that quality time while it was available to me. I see now why 1 Corinthians 7:34 says this:There is difference also between a wife and a virgin (bible speak for unmarried). The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. My attention is now divided between so many things including husband and children along with everything else. But my heart continues to be devoted and my actions steadfast always seeking the Lord. This no doubt was developed in that secret place when it was just He and I.
4. I developed my faith and deepened my prayer life
Let me tell you a secret: the test and trials of life do not stop when you get married. You may have this picture in your head of riding off into the sunset with your prince charming while you guys live happily ever after, and you do live happily ever after (hopefully) but that doesn’t mean that life stops. The only difference now is that you get to fight the battles that come with someone by your side. Depending on the situation, this could be a good thing or a bad thing. If your faith is lagging way behind, you may pull the whole unit down with you. Listen, the attacks that come when you are married are on a whole nother level. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when. The enemy does not like marriage, so he’s going to try you. Therefore you’re going to want to have a good foundation of faith before you say I do. Does that mean you have to be perfect? No. We will always have learning and growing to do. Does that mean that your spouse can’t help you in your faith? Of course not. In fact, he should be washing you in the Word (Ephesians 5:26). But it does mean that you should come with some battle scars for yourself. You should have already proved God in some areas and know He’s a waymaker for yourself so that you don’t have to rely on someone else’s faith. I’ve found in my marriage that it’s not uncommon for when I am lacking in a faith area, my husband is strong and at other times it has been vice versa. Trust me, you are going to want to know how to pray the heavens down as keeper of your home (Titus 2:5). You are going to want to know how to get on your face and intercede for your husband and your family. You are going to want to know how to hear God’s voice for yourself. You are going to want to know that God is your provider so that you’re not putting all the pressure on your husband to be that. You’re going to want to know God as your God so that you’re not making a man that in your life. You’re going to want to have some faith wins under your belt as a single so that when you are married with a family, you know that the same God who did it for you, can and will do it for all of you.
5. I discovered my purpose and identity
This might be the most important one yet. I am so glad that I am secure in who I am and who I belong to. It is so easy to get lost in motherhood and wifehood that if you’re not careful, you can look up and not even recognize yourself. Many women are in identity crises right now because they are so consumed with their roles of mommy and/or wifey that they forgot who they are underneath all of that. They feel lost. Even worst, many people can lose a certain title or position and don’t know what to do with themselves because all they’ve known themselves as is wife and/or mother. While wife and mother are two of the best things about me and I am completely and totally honored and ecstatic that I get to be these things, it’s not the most important or the only thing about me. Before God gave me a husband and family, He first and foremost gave me an identity. It is an identity that is rooted and grounded in Him. Secondarily, He placed purpose on the inside of me. He put a calling on my life which includes being a wife and mother but encompasses so much more. Because I know these things beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is nothing anyone or anything can do to shake my foundation. I am built on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ and that is one of the most important things any person can carry into a marriage. If you don’t get real clear about who you are then trust me, there will always be someone or something trying to dictate it for you.
6. I learned to obey and submit to God
The reason why this is so important is because it made it easier for me to submit to my husband once the time came. Before giving my life to God, I’ll be the first to admit I was rebellious. I had a problem with authority, and I did not like to be told what to do. After all, Im grown lol. But that kind of attitude would have gotten me nowhere fast in a marriage..except divorce court. So one of the first things God began working on with me is being obedient to Him in both the big and the small things. If God said to go, I went. If He said to let go, I let go. If he said to give, I did it. If he said no, I had to accept it. Whatever God said, I wanted to obey because my safety is found in my obedience to Him. God also rewards our obedience. So if you’re having trouble with the concept of submitting to a man, I would challenge you to thoroughly check your heart and actions when it comes to obeying and submitting to God who is supposed to Lord over your life because that relationship is the foundation for all of your others in the area of submission.
7. I cultivated the relationships God gave me
I remember after an intense argument with a group of friends I was ready to cut off, God asked me “How can you expect me to bring you a husband when you don’t even value the relationships I have already given you?” Ouch. He was right. I was always quick to cut off a friend, a male suitor, a family member or anyone for that matter. What I didn’t realize is that I was practicing divorce. That “I don’t need you” mentality was not getting me anywhere except taking me down a lonely immature path. From then on, I challenged myself to grow in the fruit of the Spirit such as patience, kindness, gentleness, meekness and love. I no longer ran from confrontation, but embraced it and learned to engage peacefully and productively. I learned to value people and not just for what they could do for me, but just as human beings. God was expanding my capacity to love, and I am a better wife for it.
I am a better wife because of all of these things. What are some things God has you working on while you are single? Or if you’re married, what are some things, you glad you did or wish you would’ve done while you were single?