My Choice to be Single

I often, even on this blog, bemoan the fact that I’m single. I mean, there are good things about it, and I get to know Jesus in suffering and whatever. But it just occurred to me in the past couple of weeks (mostly because of a comment my dad made on a previous post – thanks, Dad) that I actually have chosen singleness. Do choose it. Am choosing it.

I kinda don’t like that. It’s easier to think of singleness as something that’s happening to me, something that has been chosen for me. I like to think that, if it were up to me, I would choose marriage and a family of my own. Yet, 33 years into this life, I have yet to make that choice.

For instance, when my best-ish guy friend asked me to be his girlfriend, I turned him down. More than once. When a guy I reconnected with after 10 years indicated that he might be interested in me as a future wife, I turned him down. Again. I’ve gone on dates only to firmly cut things off before the second date, and I’ve refused to give out my number to interested parties.

It’s not like this happens often. Read More

My Coffee Date Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I was meeting up with a friend for coffee after work. She got married last year, and I knew her before she was ever dating her husband. She and I were in the same accountability group at church, so I got to see the trepidation when a man (her now-husband) from church asked her out to breakfast the first time; the awkwardness of the first months of dating; the agony of waiting through trials before engagement.

I was there at the surprise engagement party, I bought her her first wedding magazine, I slaved over the wedding DIY, I agonized with her over the family drama that seemed unfair, and I dragged my roommates into the planning, whether they liked it or not. The planning of that wedding dictated my days, and I experienced “bride brain” for the first time. I blogged about the wedding itself last year.

In all that time, I had done well in not being envious as she and her groom in their early 20’s found each other and planned a wedding and experienced the first year of marriage – all things that I’ve wanted/craved for decades. In fact, I’d done so well that I took my joy for them for granted. Read More

My Emotional Month

This week, I re-read my post on being in limbo, and I had to chuckle to myself because of everything that has happened since then.

When I got back from Europe about a month ago, my bosses announced that my job will soon be based out of a different city – over an hour away from my house (in no traffic, so it would be an even longer commute during my normal traffic times).

After the craziness of planning/coordinating two weddings back-to-back and a Europe trip on their heels, all I really wanted to do was be settled down. I just wanted to put my feet up, work on my Blithe Book, and start putting money back into my savings account.

God, though, had other plans. When my bosses made their decision, I knew I had one to make as well – do I move closer to work to keep my job and miss out on the life I’ve built for myself in El Cajon? Or do I find a new job to keep my church and miss out on my accrued vacation days and everything else?

After about a month of soul-searching, dramatic conversations with my mom, less-dramatic conversations with the leaders of my church, and nearly constant weighing of my options, I decided to move (with my current roommate) closer to work. Which means I’ll be leaving the church that captured my heart the moment I walked in three years ago. Which also means I have to pack up my apartment AND my office. At the same time. Yippee. Read More

My Buried Treasures

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I was thinking about treasures yesterday, noticing the things in my life I put value on. There are obvious ones like friends and family, but a bunch of less obvious ones (buried treasures, you might say): the way I look physically, what other people think of me, the control I may or may not have, the size of my bank account, my dreams for the future, even this blog to a certain extent.

This was a good week to process the concept of treasuring the things of this world vs the things of God. I had a surgery last Wednesday – nothing serious, just a routine outpatient procedure to correct a birth defect on my neck. I realized several things about myself and my treasures through the experience.

My mom came from out of state for a week to take care of me. I love my mom, and every part of me is thankful she came and did my chores and administered my meds and got me water in the middle of the night. But it was a huge reminder that when I’m in need I still turn to my mom instead of to a husband. Instead of treasuring my hope of being married – which would only lead to bitterness – I chose to treasure the fact that Jesus (my eternal husband) was giving me invaluable time with my mother (in fact, more one-on-one time than I’ve had with her for over 30 years, no joke).

I had to take time off work, even though all of my PTO this year is going to other trips; so my next paycheck is going to be significantly smaller than usual. Instead of treasuring my bank account – which would only lead to stress – I chose to treasure the eternal riches I am promised in Jesus (Luke 12:33).

Like most people, Read More

My Rainy Day Woes

Photo credit: Love Your Life Photography

When I cry, it’s usually for one of two reasons:

  1. I’ve lost complete control of a situation.
  2. I’ve encountered grace.

On Sunday morning, I cried harder for the first reason than I’ve cried in almost my entire adult life. Nasty, ugly, snotty bawling that probably scared passing drivers.

After months of planning, weeks of coordinating, days of errands, and hours and hours of DIY projects and spreadsheets, I (Charity J Edwards, blithe wedding coordinator) found myself driving in the pouring rain to the bride’s house to tell her that we had to move the ceremony location. After all, no one wants to go to a wedding in a mud puddle instead of a grassy knoll.

I’d lost all control over the wedding I was supposed to be in charge of. And I was big-time disappointed in God for taking away all my control.

Having been told by several people to expect a rainy-day wedding – and not being able to process the idea of losing all my work – I had staunchly ignored the forecasts and prayed for sunshine, dramatic clouds, and a rainbow.

Hey, my God is big. I know He does big things and answers big requests. I had absolute faith in the fact that He would give us sunshine that day – after all, I’m His daughter, and He loves me.

I had gone to sleep on Saturday night, kind of grinning to myself as I listened to the rain outside my door; I was hoping against hope that God would pleasantly “surprise” me with sunshine the next morning, and I knew he would come through.

I woke up to rain. Read More

My Communal Reasonings

No unmarried person should be an island. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems (especially in the church) that island-hood is expected and/or encouraged for singles. I’ve definitely been to churches in which I was the only single woman over the age of 18 – or the only single woman not living with her parents.

Fortunately, I’ve had some excellent people (married and unmarried) in my life who have joined me on my Island of Singleness, wallowed in the Swamp of Sorrow with me, and then pulled me into their boats and taken me to the Continent of Personhood where everyone is treated like a person – not like a marital status.

Because I’ve lived in the extremes of No-Community and Really-Really-Great-Community, I thought I’d say a few things here on the value of community and why it’s important to find ways off the Island of Singleness.

Community builds skills:

  • Conflict resolution skills – sometimes life is messy (literally and figuratively). Living in community brings more mess, but it also teaches me how to deal with mess and thus makes me a nicer person. This is especially true when I do life with people who are different than I am.
  • Auntie skills – whether I have biological nieces and nephews someday or not, it’s good for me to be “Auntie Charity” to my friends’ kids. It reminds me of what it was like to start understanding the world, keeps me relating to people of all ages, and teaches me how to talk about Jesus in smaller words.
  • Keeping-things-in-perspective skills – It’s easy to think I’m alone in the world, or that singleness is the ultimate suffering in the universe. But hanging out with people of all ages and demographics reminds me that there are bigger problems than mine, that other people are (or were) single into their 30’s, and that it’s nice to not have to wake up with kids five times a night.

Read More

My Courtship (Non)Experience

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations, and I think a certain expectation deserves to be fleshed out more.

Last week, I said that I expected to “meet someone, maybe hang out a couple of times. Then he’d talk to my parents, and we would decide to ‘court’ (but rebelliously call it ‘dating’) because we’d already know that we were headed toward marriage.”

In the words of the great Inigo Montoya: Let me ‘splain. No, ‘tis too much. Let me sum up.

I grew up in the “courtship culture” that has generated national buzz with the recent weddings of two Duggar daughters. This belief system is basically thus: man meets woman, man gets to know woman in a community setting (like a church or family outings), man asks woman’s father for permission to pursue her, man and woman never go on unchaperoned dates, man asks woman’s father for permission to marry her, man and woman get married and have many babies.

I have a lot to say about it, but since there are many, many, MANY blogs and books and otherwise published opinions and commentary on this subject, it took me a while to figure out if I have anything to add to the conversation. Well, I do. Read More

My Life of Good-Byes

A few weeks ago, my friend Ashley and I were discussing the challenges of singleness vs. dating, and how the Gospel of Jesus applies to it all.

Ashley is dating a man in our church, and she said that one of the things she’s looking forward to someday is never having to say good-bye to him. When (if) they get married, he won’t have to walk her to her door and go back to his own home. They will be able to go to their home, and spend every evening, night, and morning together.

I’ve heard other couples say the same thing – that it gets harder to say good-bye, the longer you’re together. One of my roommates literally takes up to an hour to say good-bye to her boyfriend.

I poke fun at my roommate, but I remember when I was in Australia, and I felt like my Read More

My Independent Ways

I wonder sometimes if I’m not married because I’m too strong and independent. Hahaha. Like that’s a thing, right?

No, but seriously, I do love my independence. And I wonder sometimes if that makes me less beautiful to men. Here are some of the things that I don’t need to share right now:

  • Bank account
  • Bathroom
  • Bed
  • Car
  • Closet space
  • Weekend plans

I used to live with my family of seven kids and two parents, and we had a house with only one shower. So I greatly, GREATLY enjoy the freedom now to not share when I don’t want to.

In fact, the idea of losing my independence Read More

My Selective Faith

I sat on my bed in the basement, boxes packed and piles sorted. I would be leaving the next day to travel for an indefinite amount of time with my job. God had heard my angst and found a way to get me out of Minnesota, and I couldn’t WAIT to get on the road and explore the county.

I plopped backwards, exhausted from packing during recovery from wisdom tooth removal surgery, when my friend walked in. We’d been friends for 10 years, and he had come out from the East Coast to help me move down to Missouri.

He had his “Let’s have a serious talk” face on, and I graciously suppressed a groan and scootched myself up onto pillows. I watched him sit down in my pink desk chair, thinking, “Please don’t let this be a DTR, please don’t let this be a DTR.”

It was a DTR.* Read More