It’s 5am and I am writing to a complete stranger. .. I apologise for taking this liberty but I have been reading your blog and I think you will understand.
I will not be ruled by lies any more, but they shout loudly tonight. Alone, unprotected, unloved. Single women, particularly single women with a history of mental health problems aren’t taken seriously in evangelical churches. Or perhaps I am immature and callow and proud and deserve to be ignored.
I know the truth and try to preach it to myself:
‘ I am loved, desired, protected, he proved it with blood and pain and shame. Christ has my honour, it’s bound up in his. The Jesus who allowed Lazarus to die for his glory weeps all the more for our pain, Mary, Martha and me. And some day, I’ll be with him and it will not only be over but redeemed and beautified. ‘
So I rarely hear those nagging voices anymore, but sometimes the world’s mis-truth enters like a clanging cymbal, meaningless, but un-ignorable. So I speak them out and preach truth at them.
Just because they feel the pain and fear of aloneness doesn’t mean a single person idolises marriage. Our society tells us that intimacy belongs in the nuclear family; our church teaches that married couples have to prioritise one another and make space to invest in their marriage. I am alone – I have to go to Christ, and I will, but please, don’t slap me on the other side of the face by calling me an idolater for feeling the pain of it.
How can someone who has never experienced the monster voices in their brain trying to kill them possibly understand my fear that there is no one in the world to whom I can say “protect me”, no one in the world who does not have a higher priority or call on them? I will go to Christ, my shield, my fortress, but please, don’t call me an idolater for being afraid.
I long for a baby too, I see them given all around me to people who do not really want them, but as a single woman it’s an unacceptable longing. Why is that? For a married woman to be unable to have a child is a tragedy, for a single woman it is an idolatry. I will dwell in Christ and bear fruit for the kingdom, but I feel the pain of childlessness too and I have no husband to comfort me. The God of all comfort will be my comfort.
Precious are the friends who wait, and wait and wait expectantly until I can find the words to speak my pain. They are few and my bitter thought says that God seems to delight in taking them away. But the truth remains that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His patience never comes to an end.
I feel so tired I can’t keep going and I give up… I’m fat and ugly inside and out and I’m starting to be old. I can’t compete with beautiful, thin lovely Christian girls at church who didn’t have my experiences and can cover over their ugly bits so much better than I can. And I never get like this. I try to encourage others, bear their burdens and hear their complaints when mine are heavy – but I don’t complain. I do it because I love them and I feel my blessings in Christ. But just sometimes in the night…
I’ll wait for Christ, my husband who delights in me and covers my shame with his righteousness. But sometimes it hurts.
So I’ll email a total stranger and say what’s on my mind.