By Sarah Sargent
Lately, I’ve read many social media posts, devotionals, and blogs where Christians share their struggles, admitting to insecurity, frustration, and confusion. At times, I like this trend in honesty. Too often, Christians feel the need to put on a “happy face” and act as if we have it all together. In reality, we are hanging on by a fraying thread. When we step outside of ourselves and admit our weaknesses, we show others they are not alone in their struggles.
While you may not share my particular struggle, nearly everyone can relate to the sickening feeling when plans change. I don’t think anyone lives exactly as planned. Circumstances and God’s will often send us on unexpected detours. Sometimes, when those detours bring immediate relief to circumstances and situations, it is easy to be grateful and praise God. However, when God’s plan leads to greater hardship and deeper valleys, thankfulness and praise do not come as easy.
Here’s my ugly truth—singleness at 33. I have struggled with this for over 12 years. Sometimes, the pain of the struggle feels like a dull toothache, always lingering in my heart and mind but not necessarily demanding attention. Other times, desperation hits me out of nowhere. One moment I’m fine; the next, my heart feels as though it is in a vise grip. If the pressure isn’t relieved soon, it will crush to dust.
Here’s the part of this circumstance you can’t understand unless you’ve lived it. It feels almost impossible to talk about my struggle with others. When I shared this struggle with a group of women, their comments did nothing but confirm my suspicions—this isn’t something I should share. While I have no doubt the ladies meant to be encouraging, I was inundated with comments such as, “You are single so God can use you for WNAC.” I serve in WNAC leadership with ten other women, and I am the only single. Therefore, God clearly uses married women to serve the needs of WNAC. “I was single until my 60s before God brought the right man into my life.” While I am grateful He brought that man into her life, the thought of another 30 years of feeling this way is anything but encouraging. With each comment, the wound rips open a little more.
In Scripture, Job’s friends constantly connected his loss with some unnamed sin in his life. While my friends aren’t making that comparison, it is something I wonder about every day. I feel as though God is punishing me. I have no doubt I deserve punishment; I’m aware of my past sins. In my head, I know God doesn’t work like that, but in my heart, I constantly return to that conclusion. I know I’m not alone in this head versus heart fight. Still, I feel I am constantly at war, with my head knowledge facing off against my heart’s feelings. Whether heart or mind wins, at the end of the day, I still find myself standing alone in a room full of people.
This is the part of the article where I should begin to weave in positive thoughts, share uplifting Scriptures, and pen a happy ending to this little story. Unfortunately, at the time of print this plan is still unfolding. All I can do is hold on to the hope that maybe tomorrow my circumstances will change—possible somethings. Maybe tomorrow God will say yes.
About the Writer: Sarah Sargent graduated from Ohio State University in 2006. A third-generation member and leader in WNAC, she has been active at the local, district, and state levels since an early age. She has been a member of the WNAC Executive Committee since 2013, serves as president of Ohio Women Active for Christ, and has been WAC local president for nine years.