“It’s time to meet someone, time to move on and move forward with life. Stop making excuses put yourself out there. It’s not like you need to marry the person but the longer you don’t date the longer it will remain and then the chances of you meeting someone to share your life with will be slimmer. You know it becomes more challenging with age.”
These were the words of some of my friends, some even of my inner critic. It had been and has been quite some time since I dated someone new. Years. The last “new” person I dated was about 7 years ago which resulted in my beautiful baby boy who will be five years old this month. I have been single for a while now. My story complex as to the exact timing, the timing I knew and accepted that I had to close that door, but for all intents and purposes it has none the less been a very long time since I met someone new. And so a couple of years ago I gave into the loneliness and decided that maybe my friends and the pesky voice were right. Maybe it was time to put myself out there and meet someone and start a new life. I didn’t want to get into another relationship. My heart break and sentiments were still raw and painful from the trauma that I had experienced in my last relationship but still I was willing to meet new people, or so I told myself.
“When do I have the time”? I discussed with a friend of mine’s. I am a single mother and sole provider for both my kids, each with their own activities and schedules. “You’re making excuses” my friend replied to me. Maybe she was right. The thought was overwhelming and anxiety provoking. I hadn’t even held a telephonic conversation with a new person of the opposite sex in years. “Ok so let’s say I make time to go out on occasion and I do meet someone then when will I find time to date on a more consistent manner?” Wait a second, I am not even ready to date I told myself. “It’s just getting to know someone” my cousin told me. He was right. I would just look for male friends nothing more, just friendship. “The experience of dating will help you to get to know new people” I told myself.
And so I talked myself into just getting to know to new people. More specifically, new people of the opposite sex. Reluctantly and against my better judgment I decided to throw my apprehensions to the wind and opened three separate profiles on three separate online dating accounts. I made it clear that my intention was to seek out honest and clear communication which could lead to friendship and eventually, maybe eventually into more. More? Was I actually “ready” for more. No. But company, conversation and an occasional dinner would be nice. Little did I know how devouring the dating scene could be.
Going from being someone who never spoke to any males outside of work I suddenly felt bombarded and suffocated by the tremendous amount of feedback. I had date offers for that night, for next week, for dancing, dinner and drinks. I had offers by clinicians, doctors, ministers and private investigators. There was no “let’s chat and see how conversation goes”. Rather it was “let’s meet this Friday.” “I am looking for a girlfriend.” “I am expecting my next girlfriend will be my wife.” I began text communication with a psychologist who practiced and lived in the luxurious Boston Seaport area. A handsome man, with an impressive practice and education. His downfall? Texting back 40 minutes later after my responses and a very pompous character. I could have been incorrect in my judgement of him but after a week or so, I simply wasn’t interested in wasting my time texting someone who appeared interested in playing hard to get. I simply stopped replying to his texts. There was the minister whose conversations with him spoke to my soul and lifted my spirits. We spoke for hours during our first conversation and I was impressed and moved by the depth of our conversations. The downfall? He was looking for a wife who would co-minister with him. I definitely was not interested in having conversations about potentially getting married (I was barely trying to convince myself to date). I also had and have no interest in converting my religious beliefs as he was set in his. But conversing with him stimulated my mind and ignited a inkling of excitement of something new. I was open to friendship with him but he being smart and wise and a man knowing the word decided that it was best to not have friendly communication as he would long to have more than friendship. Having told me that he had a dark past that he felt I would judge him on and did not want to disclose I affirmed it was best to cease communication. As a mother of a young lady and a little boy I must be extremely cautious what and whom they are exposed to. Without knowing this man’s past I informed him that though I strive to not be judgemental that I was only human and could in fact end up judging him. I said this out of pure honesty but also because I knew that it just did not sit well to continue in communication when I did not see this individual as someone I would be interested in investing my time in. I closed my online profiles but not before I exchanged numbers with a private investigator who was very eager to have a girlfriend. Who applauded me on the type of mother I am (without knowing) and who claimed to respect me as a woman but subsequently sent me pictures of himself in his boxers. I exchanged text communications with a restaurant manager who sent me about 5 selfies a day and wanted an equal amount back. How pointless and vain. He claimed he wanted to get to “know me through pictures”. But how can a person know another through pictures? Getting to know someone involves communication, time and observations, not an absurd amount of selfies. There was an endless pool of possibilities. Doctors looking for cures, Graduate degree students, single fathers, Brazilian, Latino, Black, white, Asian and something just felt wrong.
Swipe left, swipe right. Message pending, respond to a message, you received a wink, wink back, favorite this person, reject that person. It was like online shopping. Yes, no, yes, maybe. And then there I was at a church retreat and I felt a tugging in my heart. It didn’t sit well in my spirit. “Get rid of those accounts”. “Get off those dating apps.” I knew right then and there my focus needed to be off of finding a new man to move on and needed to be focused on God. I was lonely, I wanted company, I wanted communication and I wanted validation but what was I doing?
I was opening doors that had no business being opened. I knew in my heart that I needed some major healing from the trauma I had experienced in the past handful plus years. I knew that I was not ready to meet someone who would require time and attention. Time and attention that I needed to devote to my children after the rollercoaster of emotions I had been on. I knew that even in friendship that something could be eventually end up being cultivated. Something that my heart and soul were not ready for. I knew that by throwing myself into something that I was not emotionally, mentally or spiritually ready for that I was hindering my own healing, my own growth and in some ways my own salvation. I was going to take all my pain and hurt and unleash it on someone else. I would continue the cycle of a failed relationship after another or if not I would waste another individuals time by entertaining a man that I knew I would not be prepared to be a good woman to.
I knew this to be true. I also knew that the Bible was full of so much wisdom. That there is a season for everything under the sun and to not awaken love before it’s time. And so I deleted all the dating profiles or at least ended payment to such. I stopped communication with the individuals that I had communicated with and I gave that over to God.
Over the course of the past year and four months, though occasionally I do have moments of feeling lonely,I have more moments of growing and learning through God. My children are my greatest blessings and as long as they are around loneliness barely passes my heart. I learned a lot about myself and the relationships that I sought out or maintained in the past. I have become aware of what needs to be changed and what needs to be battled in prayer.
One of the most beautiful sentiments that I hold in my heart is being equally yoked with a man after God’s heart and mine’s . Someone that can talk with me for hours about God and the Bible and just life. I find that this touches me in profound ways. I put the thought of meeting or getting to know anyone out of my mind. First, my solitude has become quite comfortable. Second, I began to believe that no man would want to date me or take me seriously because I had two children by two different men. I have since learned that this is an example of something that has to battled in prayer because God does not condemn me nor my children based on the actions of individuals that He never intended I tie my soul with. I have learned that it is best to let God heal and work things out in the manner that He desires. I have trusted God in every area of my life, my career, education, finances, health, home and children but have always been apprehensive in giving him my love life for fear that He would want me miserable and with someone I would find dull or not appealing. I have failed to acknowledge that God is the author of love and he can write a love story beyond my dreams.
My hope now comes from the women that I have encountered. Women that have found love through God after doing things God’s way. My hope comes from having individuals come into my life and tell me to pray to God for a good man because I deserve a good man and my children deserve to have a father figure in their lives and to see how a man should treat their mother. It’s been as of recent that I felt in my heart, just a beautiful sense of serenity. Jesus was raised by his mother and Joseph who was not his biological father but who loved Jesus as such and provided, guided and protected He and Mary as such. It’s so beautiful how many stories in the Bible can give us hope for what God may have in store for us. I am inspired everyday by the couples I see at my church supporting each other, lifting each other and loving each other. Not having witnessed this kind of love and emotion being expressed in my own upbringing made me believe that it was something of weakness to desire such and express such. Seeing it now through others my longing is to be healed and get right so I too may experience and express this in the future. If one day that kind of romantic love never makes it into my life I know that God has given me amazing men that fill my heart with love. I have met amazing priests whom have encouraged me and uplifted and guided me. I have met men my age or younger who have offered true friendship and have shown me respect and care. I have my son with whom I share unconditional love.
I think it’s important to remind ourselves that we are treasured. We are worth more than rubies and God loves us enough to die for us. God has a plan but the first part of his plan is to capture our hearts as His own. He longs to love us and share love with us so that we may know how to accept and expect love and just as importantly how to give love. The days of empty promises and lies spoken by our lips and our bodies have to become a thing of the past. The days of giving ourselves freely without a Godly commitment are gone. No man deserves you without working for you because you come at a high price, so high that Christ died for you. And so I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t know if God intends for me to have a husband. I don’t know if praying for this supposed man if he will actually make way into my life. I don’t know if God will provide or deliver in this area ( if it’s meant/ not meant for me), this area of my life which I have always had doubt, this area of my life which I have feared giving to God but I have experienced first hand doing things my own way and just how much pain it has resulted in not only for myself but for my children as well. And so, reluctantly I give it to God and decide to do it His way and to pray for whatever He desires for my life but not only that but that I may desire His will, whatever it may be and rejoice in it.
I know in my heart that true beauty, true wisdom and true love come from God. And so I share his post to show that being counter society can in fact be so liberating. I don’t need to date to find happiness, fulfillment or validation in my life. Regardless of the voice of your friends, society or your inner critic the voice of God is much stronger and when convicted there’s nothing to do but follow the voice of God.