Desperate Woman

I’m in a time of transition right now. Actually, all of my life since I left my parents house to attend university halfway across the country has felt like a time of transition. And here I am ten years later, still in process.

“I love my life,” I said recently to my family, the heartbreak ringing in my voice. “It just isn’t the life I wanted.”

I wanted to have a kitchen. I wanted to know how I would keep a fridge. I wanted, even more than I wanted a husband, a perfect gaggle of little kids. And I wonder, was that too much? God, did I dream too big?

It hurts to ask that — but everything hurts these days. Every life decision feels like pressing a thumb into a wound because it’s another decision I didn’t think I would have to make.

I know what they say: us single women, we’re desperate. But it’s not in the way they think. It’s not desperation for a guy, it’s desperation to keep our dreams from dying. And though desperation may be taboo in the church, there’s a place desperate women are honoured: the Bible.

Imagine Ruth, full of all the hope of a new bride, when suddenly her husband is taken from her. All her hope for the future is extinguished, and her choice is to return home to her family to see if another man will take her, or follow her mother-in-law and become a destitute beggar in a distant land. Talk about decisions that hurt! What would you have chosen?

Think of Hannah, she marries a man who loves her, but time passes and she’s unable to become pregnant. To make matters worse, year after year she watches as her husband’s second wife bears him a family. In those years she must have felt like she was carrying her hope around like a stillborn child. She wept so hard at the temple, the priest thought she was drunk. And she made this wager, “God give me a son and I will give him up to you for his whole life.” Talk about desperation! What would you have done?

Consider the woman of Shunam in the book of 2 Kings, when the prophet Elisha told her she would have a son, she begged him not to toy with her emotions. Imagine how she felt when the son she had been promised and given by God, her only heir and hope for the future, curled up and died in her arms. Talk about heartbreak! What would you have prayed after that?

And maybe you do feel like that, maybe you feel like me — that at some point your dreams just curled up and died in your arms.

But before you think the death of dreams is unique to the women in the bible, remember the prophet Jeremiah who spent his whole life warning the people of Israel of the coming deportation, despite derision and death-threats, only to watch the very thing he had preached about come to pass before his eyes. His heartbreak (and God’s heartbreak lived out through him) makes up the book of Lamentations. Yet in the middle of that tome are some of the most hope-filled words of the prophetic books:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

We so often lose the very revelation of those words by stripping away the desperation of their context. In the ache of loneliness, His love never ceases. In the moments of doubt, His mercies never end. In the pain of loss, great is His faithfulness. Even long after our dreams are dead, He is the Resurrection and the Life. But Jeremiah doesn’t even stop there . . .

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.

It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
(Lamentations 3:24-26)

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him. 

As a single woman, it’s a good reminder of who the “Him” is that I’m waiting for. Desperation for a guy (or a home, or a family) avails nothing, desperation for God avails much. The only difference between us and the desperate women in the bible, is we know the end of their stories:

Ruth finds a worthy husband and becomes the great-grandmother to a king. Hannah’s son is the first in a generation to hear the voice of God. And the Shunammite woman . . . well if you haven’t read it before, I won’t spoil it for you (see 2 Kings 4:8-37). It’s one of my favourites.

It’s tempting to make the moral of this story, “It will all be good in the end.” But the moral of my story, and your story, and Jeremiah’s story is, instead, “God is good, all the time.” That’s why its so important to know, as Jeremiah did, that He is our portion. He may not give a husband or family, but He will BE our husband and family if we let Him. I didn’t dream too big. There is no dream bigger than He is. And though I can’t tell you the end of my story, I will tell you this: My story will be defined by a desperation for God above all else.

I’m in a time of transition right now: I am moving from a place of counting my losses, to counting on God’s goodness. I have turned away from heartbreak and turned my heart over to the One who is faithful. I am relinquishing my dreams to hold on to Him as the greatest Dream Come True.

What dreams are you or have you been truly desperate to see come true? Did they in the way you thought they would?

 

Photo Credit jng Via Flickr cc

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emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
Emily Lewis is an American writer and freelance editor. She lived on four continents and traveled to nearly 30 countries before finding her home in New Delhi, where her heart still remains -- though life has relocated her twice since then. She loves finding the adventure in every circumstance, plumbing life for its depths and striking up conversations with strangers.
emilyrlewis@gmail.com'

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27 thoughts on “Single in the City: Confessions of a Desperate Woman

  • priyagordon@gmail.com'
    September 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM
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    Thank you Emily:) That was so encouraging.

    Reply
    • emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
      September 12, 2014 at 2:47 PM
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      And thank YOU, Priya, for being one of those amazing testimonies of the power of waiting on and trusting God in this area of our lives. You are a constant encouragement to me!

      Reply
  • efriend93@yahoo.co.in'
    September 12, 2014 at 12:24 PM
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    This is beautiful! And so very true…
    “In the ache of loneliness, His love never ceases. In the moments of doubt, His mercies never end. In the pain of loss, great is His faithfulness.”
    Thank you for the encouraging article, from a woman who is experiencing God’s faithfulness first-hand 🙂

    Reply
    • emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
      September 12, 2014 at 2:56 PM
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      Thank you, friend! It’s been a journey but I know this to be true more and more, day by day, not only from the way I see His faithfulness in my life but the testimony I see in the lives of others. Thank you for being one of those testimonies.

      Reply
  • iayicha@gmail.com'
    September 12, 2014 at 1:16 PM
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    Thank you for the encouragement Emily 🙂 I have been looking to soothe my desperation and praying and I believe God led me to read this. Thank you for such a wonderful read.

    Reply
    • emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
      September 12, 2014 at 2:51 PM
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      Thank you for saying so, Ayicha. It can feel scary to be open and raw about these things, but hearing that God used it to encourage another person in the same place, makes it more than worth it! I pray God continues to show you how open his heart is to you, in this, and everything else.

      Reply
  • jyotee.j@gmail.com'
    September 12, 2014 at 2:08 PM
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    Emily! This was so encouraging, heartfelt Confessions and Wisdom knitted together.

    How true it is and such solace at the end of these lines:
    “I know what they say: us single women, we’re desperate. But it’s not in the way they think. It’s not desperation for a guy, it’s desperation to keep our dreams from dying. And though desperation may be taboo in the church, there’s a place desperate women are honoured: the Bible.”

    Conclusion is great when you said “My story will be defined by a desperation for God above all else.”
    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
      September 12, 2014 at 3:08 PM
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      Jyoti, reading those words out of context, I realize how bold that statement was! But I pray that it will be trueboth for me and for everyone inspired by this article to become “a desperate woman.” 🙂

      Reply
  • sengchigabil@gmail.com'
    September 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM
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    Wow its so well expressed and i feel so connected with your stories! !!Thanks for sharing. …God bless for He is good all the time .

    Reply
  • September 12, 2014 at 7:24 PM
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    Beautifully expressed, Emily! Thank you!

    Reply
  • adhipiyer@gmail.com'
    September 13, 2014 at 1:47 AM
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    I love it. This is so wonderful Emily, I’m gonna read it aloud to someone. I miss you and I hope to see you soon.

    Reply
    • emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
      September 15, 2014 at 1:42 PM
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      Thank you, Adhip! Having one’s written read aloud is nearly the best compliment of all. Only after, “And THEN what happens?? 🙂 I very much hope to see you as well, if not I owe you a personal bit of writing, maybe in the form of an email… 😉

      Reply
  • elisa294@gmail.com'
    September 15, 2014 at 6:00 AM
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    Emily,your heart for God shines through every word you have written. I have often found that desperation is very close to faith. I am praying that God will grant you all the desires of your heart.

    Reply
    • emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
      September 15, 2014 at 1:44 PM
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      You’re such a blessing, Aunt Beth! I’m glad you read this since it all started with that family sharing time…

      Reply
  • sandhyadeepak@gmail.com'
    September 15, 2014 at 1:21 PM
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    Wow…This is such a beautifully woven blog, Emily.

    🙂 I am glad I could finally manage to read it. I can say with absolute certainty that your blog deserves all those recommendations I received for it…and I can’t agree more with you when you you write…”As a single woman, it’s a good reminder of who the “Him” is that I’m waiting for. Desperation for a guy (or a home, or a family) avails nothing, desperation for God avails much. ” …Yes it does! 🙂

    Reply
    • emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
      September 15, 2014 at 1:52 PM
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      Sandhya, I was so encouraged when you said people had recommended it! It was so sweet of you to share, and to make the point of coming here to read this. I hear little snippets of your story from others but I hope to hear the whole thing from you soon!

      Reply
  • evangelinepeter@gmail.com'
    September 15, 2014 at 5:06 PM
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    This article was very timely and encouraging. Thank You for being so honest!

    Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 9:18 PM
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    Thank you Emily, for expressing the feelings of a desperate woman so well. “I love my life…it’s just not the life I wanted.” That one sentence says exactly what I feel like crying out so often. And “the desperation to keep our dreams from dying” — I resonate with that as well.

    I get the message of hope and the “desperation for God” that can define our story. That’s something I know in my head although it’s a daily struggle to move that message down to my heart. But truly, what I am most grateful for is the way you give voice, without shrinking back, to the raw honesty of despair. Sometimes you have to open wounds to heal them.

    Reply
  • sou172@yahoo.in'
    September 19, 2014 at 11:33 AM
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    It was insightful to me and the message did hit the right chord to one singleton to the other “single in the city ” – This article has re- traversed my way of thinking emily and the best way to hit it across by quoting examples….

    Reply
  • claudia@eamail.org'
    October 29, 2014 at 12:47 AM
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    As I just wrote to your dad, “WOW. And amen.” You’ve beautifully expressed what I’ve experienced myself, and what I’ve heard come out of the hearts of so many. Your dad sent me the link to this, as I’m the singles coordinator for our company. May I post the article on our Singles forum? And on the Women’s forum? If you prefer, I can just post the link. Thank you for your transparency and reminders of truth!

    Reply
    • emilyrlewis@gmail.com'
      October 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM
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      Thank you, Claudia! And thank you for your powerful words on the forum — Catherine forwarded me what you posted. 🙂 I love hearing from someone who’s put so much of their heart into this area that my experience resonates. If people are concerned about security, you may re-post the article. But if possible, please just link it? IndiAanya really deserves the credit. 😉

      Reply
      • claudia@eamail.org'
        October 30, 2014 at 9:25 PM
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        Thank you for your kind words, and for the permission. There’s been great interest, and very positive feedback, from those in our movement and at the US office, from both men and women. I think the FATHER is up to something good! 🙂

        Reply
  • jr_delaese@yahoo.com.mx'
    October 31, 2014 at 9:39 AM
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    Dear,
    Thank you for shared this in an very “magic” way…I mean the story of those women through the Bible (I am reading a book about them right now), and how it is also on our days for us as women/workers on the Kingdom. I identify with some of your experiences in my own live and ministry.

    May God BLESS YOU in amazing ways . Love!

    Reply
  • Ksamy2014@yandex.com'
    November 5, 2014 at 12:10 PM
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    Thank you Emily, for the amazing ability to sermonise the story of women who went before us in their struggles and weave it with our current ongoing desperations. You aptly describe the various stages of women’s lives and how at the end we find our hope and rest in God. Indeed let our desperations continue to drive us to Him! Blessings anointed & most beloved Emily <3

    Reply
  • janettadavid@yahoo.com'
    July 23, 2015 at 10:55 PM
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    Thank you for the encouraging post, Emily! Very timely.

    Reply
  • karenigonsalvez@gmail.com'
    February 11, 2017 at 5:51 PM
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    Hello Emily,
    I just came across an article written by you in to Love, Honor and Vaccum.
    Well, I am in that stage now like so many others waiting for dreams and desires to unfold into reality.
    It’s been a looooooong wait, disheartening, painful, traumatic, joyful inbetween, memorable, melancholic and hopeless sometimes.
    As much as I know that God loves me and is with me, its difficult to grasp that He is there during those really trying times.
    Though God has shown up countless times in my dreams assuring me that He is right by my side and not to worry.
    Reading your article has comforted me very much and has given me a new perspective on how to view handle my singleness.
    God is my spouse and maker, my dream giver, my pathfinder, my way maker, my gift giver and my comforter.
    I will hold onto His love for me and will live my life learning to love Him back the way He deserves to be loved, worshiped and praised.
    Indeed we have a Loving God who will give good things to those who wait on Him in accordance to His will.
    Blessings on your journey Emily.
    Looking forward to reading your blog and articles.
    Be blessed
    always
    ‘Karen – Chennai, India

    Reply

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