for when we celebrate and mourn.

I haven’t put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, in a long time.

Oh, I’ve written plenty – plenty of emails and newsletter articles and lessons for Sunday and thoughts for small group. But, in what writing is for me…I haven’t written. And – I’m not sure why.

Sometimes, it is exhausting to formulate more words when you’ve been doing that all day. And sometimes, it is exhausting to have to think about the words. And sometimes, it is even exhausting to try to put to words the feelings in your soul – because you know that, well, I feel all the feelings. Deeply.

But tonight I’m sitting at the breakfast table in the kitchen, by the window. It’s a cloudy evening but I can just barely see the pink of the sunset, even still. And I’m drinking peppermint tea and wondering when my sinus infection will go away, and desperately missing the feeling of feet to pavement. Perhaps running became the new writing for me. (Don’t worry, running – I’ll be back later this week when I can breathe through both nostrils again.)

I am learning that, sometimes, we celebrate and mourn simultaneously. Perhaps this will be a theme in 2015 for me.

As I think back over the last six months, I celebrate the community that the Lord continues to put together in my life. And how he makes room and provision for such community – to live life with single and married ladies, and spend time in Scripture together, and pray together. It has brought the kind of joy to my heart that you don’t realize is missing until it is there. It has been such a hard and beautiful and lovely picture of his faithfulness to work in the midst of our brokenness.

And the reason that I have time and space and room for this kind of ministry in my life is because I am single.

I used to come back to this over and over again. I don’t think about it as much these days, until the wedding invitations come and the pictures of friends’ first babies on Instagram and engagement shoots and I begin to wonder what is next in my own life. And, maybe it’s better to say – I begin to wonder if those things will ever happen for me. I think for a long time that I wrestled with the idea of marriage and almost worshipped it – thinking that my own marriage could erase all the sad places from my childhood. I’ve lived with those demons for long enough, though, to know that an imperfect thing like marriage – even a good one – can never make those hurts go away. And that an imperfect thing like marriage – even a good marriage – is only a gift from the Giver, the one who truly deserves our worship.

I am thankful that I’ve taken marriage off the pedestal. But it doesn’t mean that, there are some days when the ache in my heart is real – for family and for children and to be a wife and to have a person. The single life can be a lonely one.

Yet even in those moments – I am reminded of the sunset tonight, that hides just behind the clouds. You see, in the midst of my loneliness and singleness, I also have the opportunity to experience family – just in a different way. These girls who I have come to love over the last six months – they are family. And these Mission Friends I play with and sing with and dance with each Wednesday night – they are family. These people i serve students with – and even these students – they are family. And these married friends, who let me come in and be a part of their lives and open their homes and worlds to me – they are family too. We find family in the most unusual spaces and they help the aches. But sometimes, I need the aches to point me back to him – to remind me of God’s goodness and sovereignty and promises – that he is faithful to keep the promises he makes, and that many of the things which cause me heartache are so very temporary. And to remind me, just in case I’ve forgotten, that what I really need is him.

And so tonight, I give thanks for my singleness – that he creates time and space for ministry and others and friendships and familyships. And that he is faithful – even in the clouds, I can see the faintest pinks from the sunset. He is faithful.

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