Heart Lessons

I’m 25 and incredibly single. So single, in fact, it looks like I’ll stay single forever.

Okay, maybe that’s a tad dramatic.

But it feels that way. And I wrote that letter because hopefully someday those things or a variation of those things will be true. Which is hard for me to even type because it feels so incredibly vulnerable.

When I was about three weeks away from college graduation I was talking on the phone to my parents. They told me they were going to make my car payments for an entire year as my graduation gift. I got really emotional and thanked them. Somehow this led to more tears and as I was talking to my dad I said, “You know, it’s just hard because I’m scared. I just realized I’m going to graduate and not be married. I never thought that would be the case.”

And my dad started giggling and yelled for my mom. “Susan! Susan, Rachel just realized she’s not going to be married when she graduates.” They both giggled and then I started giggling because of the absurdity of it all. As a little girl I just assumed I would be married when I graduated from college. Because that’s what girls did – they went to college, found a husband, got married, graduated, and started a family. That’s what my mom did!

I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself to be married when I graduated. But there I was – barely 21, graduating, no boyfriend, no prospects, having to learn how to provide for myself and I was terrified.

I also felt like a failure. I felt like I failed and I was worthless because no one wanted me. I always thought surely by the time I got to college someone would want my heart. So even though I wasn’t directly rejected – I felt shame and buried it. I hid my desires so deep inside that no one could find them – not even myself.

Scaling walls, navigating booby traps, slaying dragons, and climbing the massive tower seemed like a safe way to keep from being hurt again. But at the same time I wore this thorn covered fortress enclosed bleeding heart on my sleeve, offering it to everyone and anyone who came along.

In fact sometimes I gave it to those who I knew would reject me because I think I was too afraid to actually let someone love me. I knew how to handle the pain of rejection. That was familiar pain but the pain of being fully known, loved, and possibly hurt was too much. I wasn’t sure I could recover from that.

So for years I refused to acknowledge that I wanted to be married and have kids. Anytime I was close to saying those words out loud a voice would remind me, “Don’t tell them. If you tell them they’ll only think, ‘man she thinks SHE could be loved? she thinks SHE’LL get married?’ and then they’ll pity you, rachel.” So I shut my mouth and kept it hidden. Occasionally a glimpse would come out but it hurt too much for people to fully see it.

And because I want to live a great story I’ve decided to be fully honest. Call it a sequel to this Confession.

– Aside from living a life worthy of the calling I have received and being a woman who loves the LORD with every fiber of her being, I desire to be a wife and mother above all.
– I want to be a companion.
– I want to be a helpmate.
– I want to be the biggest cheerleader.
– I want to raise men and women who love the LORD and love others.
– I want to give my free heart to a man fully and completely.
– I want to be known.
– I want to rest my head your shoulder.
– I want to hold your hand.
– I want to hear my name called and feel like the only woman in the world.
– I want to be fought for.
– I want to be led but respected.
– I want to make you laugh.
– I want to be the mother of your children.
– I want to be old and wrinkly and still kiss you.
– I want to be the type of woman our sons want to find.
– I want to marry the type of man our daughters won’t settle for less than.
– I want to write a love story. Not the type found in books or movies, but the real life kind. The kind where we both have to love sacrificially and we choose to love regardless of the circumstances. The kind that reflects Christ better together than apart.
– I want to be better with you than I am alone.
– I want to chase hard after Jesus because you are in my life.

I just know I don’t want to be the type of woman who marries the first man that smiles at me because I’m afraid life is passing me by and I’ll never get a chance. I want to be the woman who lives a great story, even if this chapter doesn’t start until the end.

Because my story doesn’t start when you get here. My story has already started.

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