the very hairs on my head.

Tonight, as the sun sets over Crestwood, my heart is full and empty all at once. I wrestle with so many tensions as of late. Loving being in Alabama – and living life with these people who are my friends, who I have come to call “family” in the truest sense of the word – with desperately missing the Carolinas. Mountains and foothills and fall foliage and small town living. These people here are family – and those people there are family. And that place is home. But Birmingham, with her sunsets and hills and tree-lined streets, is also home.

And this tension is multiplied times a zillion when I think about my friends across the country who have my heart. The friend in Houston, TX (twice-removed from Peru and Louisville) who shared rainbow Twizzlers and Scripture and life and a bathroom with me five summers ago. The friends from my summers in Charleston, who are also like family – reunions and weddings and New Years extravaganzas and plane tickets and loud singing and speaking in accents and serving and loving and moments where it seems my heart could burst with joy. And the friends from college, who are also like family. The kind of people you run to hug when you see them (even me, I know, even me). I miss these faces and I miss that place. Williams Brice and palmetto trees and the Horseshoe and bricks and the feeling of fresh cut grass between my toes.

And I think about the tension of life as it is, and life as I thought it would (or, should) be. And this is the moment where I can say that singleness is not for the faint of heart. When your friends are all getting married, and having children, and buying homes, and painting rooms – and you are alone, in a rented room in a 1940s house, where your landlord forgets every other maintenance problem you call him about (repeatedly). I know that marriage is hard. I know – because I’ve seen it (and seen it not work out). I know that it takes selflessness, and determination, and covenantal love, and a constant, steely determination, with your gaze focused upon the gospel. But I also know that singleness is hard. Because I live in that tension. There is no one else who can help me make decisions. And, there is no one there to make decisions for me. There is no one to fix the leaky sink. And there is no one to bring home flowers or to remind you of the your lovely-ness (which you might not always feel). There is no constant companion to walk beside, in the ups and downs of life, to proclaim the gospel alongside. The fear of loneliness can almost be suffocating. And the hope of meeting someone, of marriage, of children dwindles each year as I realize that the odds are no longer in my favor, as the number of single, available men that I know also dwindles.

But this season of singleness has also been so incredibly good to me. And it is the tension I live in each day. To have a roommate who loves Christ and who loves his church, and who spurs me on in my walk with Christ and call to holiness. To have the freedom of traveling to see friends and family who I love, who do not live in Birmingham. To be in a position where I can live and work in a place that I love, with people that I love, until God calls me elsewhere, on my own accord and in his perfect timing. To be able to teach and learn and love on students and people my age, and write, and serve, and work out my calling in this place has been one of the greatest gifts – and it might not be possible if I were not single.

The tension I wrestle with is often the tension of God’s provision. He is always faithful to provide. Sometimes, what he provides is not what I’ve asked for, or what I want. But it is always for my good and for his glory. And so, on quiet Monday nights where my heart wishes it could be in a million places at once, I trust that I am here, and not there. I am not in Texas, or North Carolina, or Georgia, or Boston, or Columbia, or whatever that place of magic and longing might be. I am in Birmingham. With people I love, in a house I love, in a life that I love, even in all the tensions. And in moments where dreams of marriage and covenantal love and children and steadfast faithfulness seem to fade, I trust in the gift of singleness I have been given in these moments, and try to turn my gaze away from my situation and loneliness and to his immeasurable goodness. And in moments where I doubt his provision and his goodness, I look back over the memories and people and faces and names of those I care so deeply for – because, though I miss them, their friendship and involvement in my life is a clear and resounding reminder of his faithfulness. Scripture says that he dresses the flowers and cares for the sparrows; that he knows the very hairs on our head. Surely if he cares for these – how much more so will he care for his children? He withholds no good thing from us.

I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain
That broken find healing in love
Pain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I believe in a fountain that will never dry
Though I’ve thirsted and didn’t have enough
Thirst is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes
To all that you have for me

(Sara Groves, No Good Thing)

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One response to “the very hairs on my head.

  1. Hi! I know you don’t know me (I saw your post on Lindsay’s Facebook), but this is beautiful! Just wanted to let you know that your honesty is an encouragement! This is so applicable to any season in life, really. Learning to be faithful and content where He has planted is daily battle of laying down our heart’s desires, trusting that His are far better…Anyways, thanks!

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