Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Honestly, half of the time I'm bummed to be single and the other half of the time I am so thankful. I've been single and haven't dated anyone in five years up until recently. I went on a few dates a couple of months ago but that's about it.
I'm still single.
I heard a pastor once say that there is a way to handle singleness well. I leaned in to hear more and he said the secret sauce was to secure an unwavering devotion to Christ. The truth is that I can have a stable heavenly marriage before an Earthly marriage. I asked God to help me lean into this truth. I've been wearing a simple silver ring that says "One King" in English and Japanese since 2014 to remind me who I'm truly committed to. (It's not a purity ring. It's a ring that reminds me of covenant.)
I'm going to list the big milestones in my single years to give you a picture of what this journey to figuring out what a devoted heart to Christ looks like. I'm still learning but here's what has happened so far.
I started wearing the ring to remind myself that I wanted a heavenly marriage before a earthly marriage.
I started to read the Bible more on my own in my free time.
In the summer of 2015 I had the opportunity to coach for a summer sports ministry program. I traveled all over the East Coast with a great team of God-fearing coaches teaching kids about Jesus and basketball.
I found out that I actually had a huge sexual sin problem. I was attracted to girls for years and flirted with the idea that same sex attraction and couples were actually okay. However, my spirit was wrecked over this and I couldn't reconcile what was going on in my heart and why I felt so wrong and dirty. I finally sat down with a pastor to look for answers and asked for help.
God became my best friend during this time... I had no one else to talk to. No one but my sister knew of my secret sin except God. I constantly was talking to Him about my feelings, what I thought, and my questions...
I was taught how to fight sin and the flesh with the Word of God. Memorizing scripture, reading the Word, and constantly listening to worship music filled my mind and heart with the Truth. The Truth set me free.
This was the first year I began to mentor a great friend of mine. We started reading the Bible together, praying long intercessory prayers, and sharing our life together. She was the first person apart from my family and my pastor that I shared my whole story with. I knew I needed to take to the step to tell someone my whole story of what God has done in my life.
I moved to Okinawa, Japan (where I grew up and lived until I left for college at 19 years old) after graduating college with a God given passion to do a sports camp and live the Oki life. I followed what God told me to do... but this was the loneliest time in my life. My family and friends were miles away (I moved to a part of the island where I knew no one) and work was rough the first few months. I truly "started over" and began a completely new life. There was also a few weeks when my phone broke and I did not have WiFi in my home, so I could not contact my family or friends. It got real lonely ya'll. Again- God became my best friend. I had no where else to turn. I read the Bible so much, read 3 books, spent much of my praying, and learned so much in just 3 weeks. I also had an incredible thirst for Godly knowledge and wisdom. I began to binge listening to sermons, read the Bible more deeply, and listened to worship music 90 percent of the time.
This was a year of intense one-on-one discipleship with the Lord. I really had to rely on Him and I was in constant communication with Him. I think the hardest valleys in life reveal what we value and need the most. Before my phone broke, I valued and needed my family's help and affirmations to keep going with my mission work and actual job in Okinawa. The tragedy of my phone breaking was exactly what I needed to be shown who I really needed. I needed God desperately and didn't know it until I was completely alone with him. Looking back, I'm fond of those memories. The happy worship dances in my apartment alone, the ugly cry prayers, and even when I yelled out of frustration and anger to God. All of it was real.
I found a church in Okinawa with a one of a kind Pastor. Pastor Nick and his wife, Pastor Sandy, showed me what it looks like to live the Christian life like I've never seen before. They minister to and disciple the marines stationed up North of the island, close to where I lived. Pastor Nick and Sandy asked the hard questions; they were real about sex, marriage, heartbreak, pornography, masturbation, dating, idols in our lives, work, and just about everything in life. I loved their boldness and their church. I was trained heavily how to defend my faith and take a position of offense in my faith.
Probably my favorite part of going to this church was seeing the men love the Lord with a passion. I get emotional when I witness men my age actually KNOW the Bible, PRAY out loud without reservation, and LOVE the Lord more than anything. I hadn't seen that kind of bold faith in the men around me before... I was moved.
I moved back to the USA in the fall to follow another God-given passion of mine and be closer to family. My time alone with God in Okinawa stirred a passion within me to live my life creatively. From spending a year alone with Him, I see an out pour of creative ideas and desires in my heart. These include: starting a business, writing a book, starting a podcast, and other projects I am working on.
I'm excited to see how 2020 will turn out but so far I only see God's goodness in my life. A goodness I don't deserve. I'm thankful for my singleness and the lessons I've learned. Each one was necessary for me because GOD WAS AND STILL IS REFINING MY HEART. I know with confidence I have a heavenly marriage. Not because it's been 5 years or because I've been through a lot. It's because He made a covenant with me when He died on the cross for me. He chose me as His bride way before I knew Him to be my groom. He did all the work, all I have learned on this journey so far is that I constantly have to accept His hand. In doing so I accept His grace and everlasting love for me. His covenant is literally forever and devoted to loving me forever. He's the best groom. If I never get to experience a Earthly marriage then that's ok because I have the most important marriage.