Only two years apart in age, my older sister, Kristen, and I are the best of friends. But when she got engaged to her now-husband, Zack, I knew the dynamic in our relationship was about to shift. Kristen would stand in front of hundreds of wedding guests and say two little words that would change her life. Zack would become the new priority. Kristen would enter a new season of life as a married woman—and I would keep on living a single life.
I was by Kristen’s side during all those months of wedding planning and prep. Wedding dress shopping, bridal shower hosting, venue scouting—I was there. And as much as I desired to be married, too, my heart was in a good place. It didn’t make me upset that my sister was getting married and I wasn’t. I just assumed wedding bells would be coming my way within the next year or two.
But my life didn’t go as I expected. I stayed single for the next seven years.
During the years that followed Kristen’s wedding, most of my friends got married and had babies. It felt like their lives were moving forward and I was left behind.
I attended dozens of weddings, purchased countless bridesmaid dresses, hosted multiple wedding showers and baby showers—all as a single woman.
My unexpected season of singleness lasted throughout my early-twenties, continuing into my late twenties.
Coming face-to-face with my unmet romantic expectations was really difficult. Admitting to myself that I could always be single was not an easy thing to do. (God doesn’t guarantee marriage!) I didn’t like the thought of being unmarried. I didn’t want to attend singles groups, go on countless dates, or keep on looking for a “plus-one” for all those weddings. I wanted a man of my own. And I wanted him sooner rather than later.
But looking back, I realize that singleness was in God’s perfect and merciful plan—even though His plan didn’t include me at the wedding altar as soon as I had hoped.
Always a Bridesmaid?
If you’re currently single, know that I understand. I get what it’s like to feel alone. To attend wedding after wedding, wondering if your own big day will ever come. It’s not always easy to navigate the pain and discouragement that we often experience.
And with the wedding season in full swing, it’s possible that invitations have filled your mailboxes. You might be “saving the date” for multiple weddings. Fancy lettering, beautiful ribbon, and romantic photos adorn your fridge. And unless single girls have the right mindset, many of us could end up trudging through yet another wedding season of singleness feeling hopeless.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Worship or Whine: Our Choice!
Over the years, God has done changed my heart toward wedding season. I don’t dread it anymore.
Over the years, God has done changed my heart toward wedding season.
One of the things that impacted me was a piece of wisdom I learned from Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth. She said we have a choice to make in life: We can either whine or we can worship—but we can’t do both at the same time.
We can dread the wedding season and whine the entire way through it, or we can learn to worship God and praise Him for what He is doing in other people’s lives.
As I’ve taken Nancy’s advice to heart, it has changed the way I approach wedding season. The more I say “no” to whining, the more I’m able to celebrate and rejoice with my friends. The more I focus on worshiping Christ, the more I’m able to enter into the joy of others and rejoice in the work that God is doing. By God’s transforming grace, each of us can be changed.
In addition to that nugget of wisdom, I want to share with you three life-changing truths that transformed my perspective during wedding season. I hope and pray they will do the same for you.
1. Trust God with your story.
This has probably been the biggest game-changer in my life.
I often trusted God for other people’s journeys, but not for mine. I believed that God was directing and working in my friends’ lives, but I frequently questioned His work in my own life. In my mid-twenties, I decided to get serious about learning how to trust God. I searched the Scriptures and realized that God truly is the same yesterday, today, and for all of eternity.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb. 13:8).
- He is the same God who protected Daniel and closed the mouths of the lions (Dan. 6).
- He is the same God who chose Esther and used her to deliver the Jews from annihilation (Esther).
- He is the same God who put Joseph in the right place at the perfect time and used him to save His people from the famine (Gen. 37–50).
He’s still that very same God today. He hasn’t changed. We need to remember who He is and accept that He is truly trustworthy.
Learning to fully trust God has made such an impact on my life, that I wrote an entire chapter about it in my new book, Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships. Here’s a snippet of what I share:
Trusting God with your singleness is an essential step toward finding satisfaction. You will feel most content and joy-filled the more you surrender and entrust your desires to the Lord.
Consider what it means to fully trust God. How would trusting God change wedding season for you? Consider memorizing Proverbs 3:5–6 and making that your wedding season anthem.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
2. Don’t wait for your life to begin once you find a guy. Live all out for Christ as a single woman.
When I stopped viewing my singleness as an “in-between stage,” my life drastically changed.
- I stopped waiting around and instead started pouring my heart and time in God’s kingdom work.
- I started mentoring and discipling young women on a regular basis.
- I got serious about serving at my church. I got intentional about women’s ministry and co-founded GirlDefined Ministries.
- I loved on my family and chose to become a good and reliable friend.
- I dug deeper into my relationship with Christ and continued growing in my faith.
The more I focused on using my life to serve Christ, the more content I became as a single person.
As I say in Love Defined, “Instead of wasting our days waiting for the next season, let’s live with purpose and intention. Let’s take advantage of this incredibly unique season of life and live with eternity in mind.”
Living surrendered to Christ takes intentionality. It doesn’t naturally happen. So what are some ways we can put feet to a dedicated life?
- Always start in the Word. That’s where you’ll find God and His wisdom for your life.
- Get involved in your local church!
- What outreaches are going on?
- Can you serve at VBS?
- Can you help in the nursery?
- Sing in the choir?
- Serve coffee at Bible study?
- How can you show kindness in your community? Look for ways to not only serve but also to share the gospel while you serve!
- If you have social media, look for creative ways to challenge and encourage the people who follow you.
The more you get your eyes off your own needs and onto the needs of others, the easier it will be to live joyfully during wedding season.
3. Surround yourself with community.
Good community has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. Solid friends and a solid church can make all the difference in a single person’s life.
Pouring into others and being poured into is essential. God designed us to be in fellowship with Him and in relationship with others. I get that finding and maintaining community can be challenging. It can be difficult to invest into others. But remember, hard doesn’t automatically mean bad.
- Make good community a high priority in your life.
- Make an effort to get involved your with local church.
- Join a small group.
- Invite younger women to get coffee.
- Initiate social gatherings.
- Host a Bible study.
- Do whatever it takes to get involved in people’s lives and to get people involved in yours.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Heb. 10:24–25).
I have found so much encouragement through my local church and in the relationships I’ve established there. Having a solid community has helped me overcome loneliness during wedding season!
Whether you’re nineteen, twenty-five, or thirty-nine, it’s possible to thrive during wedding season.
Let’s put on those party dresses, buy those wedding gifts, sign those guest books, and eat that cake with joy for our marrying friends and with faith in God’s plan.
And I’d love to hear from you!
- Have you struggled to attend weddings this summer as a single girl?
- Which of those three points can you begin working on today?
- If you’re already doing all three, which one can you strengthen and grow in?