To quote the queen (no, not Blair Waldorf, but yes, Queen B, Beyonce herself), “all the single ladies, now put your hands up!” So, my hand is up. Yes, I’m single and a lady, and find myself walking into church all too often to hear another message about marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I love marriage. In fact, I want to be married (any other single ladies with their hands up on that one?)! But frankly, I’m not at this point in my life (note the empty ring finger, bed, and womb that remind me daily of that fact).
My journey in “singledom” may or may not be similar to your journey, but whether you’re a 20-year old pining away for that cute guy, or you’re more seasoned in life, with a failed marriage or two under your belt, us ‘single ladies’ all have one thing in common – and it’s not our marital status (although that may seem the obvious). What we have in common with our journey is that God is the orderer of all our steps (Psalm 37:23), and whether we’ve made all the right decisions to lead us to where we are today or we took a few devastating detours to arrive at our current destination, the reality is no matter the journey: God is in control.
GOD IS IN CONTROL
It has been my greatest life lesson the last 18 months. In those months, I’ve battled a few broken relationships, struggled with comparing my life to my ‘married with three kids best friends,’ and fought insecurities of loneliness, worth, and feeling forgotten by God. So, you can imagine (or maybe you’ve even been there before), walking into church on a Sunday to hear another message about marriage, doesn’t always lead to the great, uplifting feelings of hope, but rather reiterates the feelings of despair in my heart and emotions.
During those 18 months, I had a major breaking point. I (thankfully) called on a friend during my low-point, and they did what every good friend should do – they listened and then they created space for me to meet with the only One who could really help me in that moment with all that inside junk. They turned on the United Pursuit song Never Going Back (yes, pause and go download it now!). I sat in their car, tears streaming down my cheeks, exhausted from battling my heart and emotions, listening to the lyrics of this song:
You say I am Yours
I never am alone
You found me
And I’ve made up my mind
I’m never going back
The lyrics hit my heart like a weight, pressing down on my insecurity of loneliness and the feeling of being forgotten; those misguided emotions that kept trying to squeeze the life out of me, kept me singing along hopelessly with Queen B and all the single ladies. Overwhelmed by the weight of my emotions and the puffiness of my eyes (not to mention, the mascara parading down by face like a black waterfall), I sat there silently waiting for Jesus to show up. At that point, the song shifts, and all of a sudden, so does my perspective…
I’m singing out Your lovely name
I’m giving You everything
You make my soul alive
You put Your love inside
Where my soul felt choked by my season and emotions that surrounded my circumstance, I realized He is what makes my soul alive! Maybe it’s a no-brainer for you and I’m just late to the game, but in that moment, my soul felt life again; my soul felt God. My soul felt peace that comes not from having all the circumstances right (cuz they weren’t) or all the prayers answered (cuz I’m still waiting on some…) or even all the emotions in a healthy place (cuz, well, I’m a girl and when are we not emotional?!); but it felt peace that transcends my understanding (Philippians 4:7). Peace that comes from when He’s in control and not me.
I kept trying to control my circumstances and season. If I could just look this certain way, talk to that certain guy, live in this certain place, do this or do that, then surely, I’d no longer be singing Single Ladies, but instead Prince Charming would be sweeping me off my feet with his own rendition of Train’s Marry Me. And that was the problem. I was trying to be in control. And quite frankly, it wasn’t working.
So, I decided to give Him everything. It’s in that place of surrender, where I genuinely let Him be in control that my soul found life. It brought greater meaning to the verse that says when I lose my life, that’s when I find it (Luke 9:24). When I give up control and allow Him to lead, that’s when I find life; that’s when my soul is truly alive, full of joy and peace that can only come from Him.
You’re like… isn’t she a pastor? What does she mean she wasn’t surrendered to God? I love God; loved Him for a long time. I obey the Bible to the best I can, reflect Christ in my daily life as much as I can, but still held onto a few things trying to stay in control. Control is comfortable and familiar, so I thought. Like a good backseat driver, I let Jesus take the wheel, but I kept trying to give Him directions.
So surrendering completely to Him, meant letting Him drive and trusting He knew the best route and the best timing and the best people to take along on the ride. It shifted from comfortable control to the adventurous life of faith. The difference was the One calling the shots.
YOUR LOVE INSIDE
Don’t get me wrong, I still want to meet the love of my life. I want to have someone who loves me the most and thinks of me first; someone to put a ring on it, fill my bed and my womb! However, in that moment where I felt my soul come alive, I realized I don’t need that to be alive, fulfilled, and happy. I realized WHY my soul felt alive: because His love is inside me and He is in control!
He loves me. He put His love on the inside of me. There’s no greater love than the love of God towards me. It may seem so elementary, but for me it was revolutionary. I can’t control my love life, I can’t control people, I can’t control circumstances, seasons of life or anything else. But I know the One who controls it all; the One who puts His love on the inside of me, that drowns out every insecurity, comparison, and deferred hope.
John 15:13 says there is no greater love, than a love that will lay down their life. Jesus loves us so much, He demonstrated the greatest love, to give His life, that I could have life in Him. Greater than the love of any man, parent, friend is the love of God towards me. There is truly NO greater love. Don’t let that RomCom, Insta post, or person tell you anything otherwise! Jesus is the greatest love story to hit human kind!
NEVER GOING BACK
I made a determination that day, that I’m never going back to life without His love inside. Not that it ever wasn’t there, but I let the lack of love from other sources overshadow the most incredible love of all time! And I would never go back to that.
I lean fully into Him. He’s in control of the circumstance, in control of the season, in control of my life. He’s in control! And that’s relief – I don’t have to be!
I’m not going back to insecurity – I’m secure in His faithful love.
My future is secure in His faithful love.
My heart is secure in His faithful love.
My hope is secure in His faithful love.
I am secure in His faithful love, and I trust Him.
The message of marriage is powerful – Ephesians 5 tells us it’s the closest replication of God’s love towards His bride, the church. But even the love of a man and woman in marriage cannot compare to the love of God towards me and towards you. So now when I hear another message about marriage, I’m reminded of God’s incredible love. I’m reminded of my season and that God’s in control of it, and so far, His track record is perfect in always knowing better than me and working things together for my good. So I’ll rest in that.
So to all my single ladies, what a beautiful season to be lavished in the love of God. What a beautiful season to fix your heart and attention on Him and trust Him to faithfully work ALL things together for your good (Romans 8:28). It takes all the pressure off, puts peace in your heart and mind, and makes for a beautiful, adventurous life of faith. I’m content He’s in control.
I’m confident someone will come and “put a ring on it” and I will be ready to say yes, quicker than the Bachelor can hand out roses! But my hope and security are not in that. I am secure in His faithful love. We are secure in His faithful love; and for me, I’m never going back to anything else.
Breanna Giberson is an associate pastor and executive administrator at The City Church. She serves weekly at the Ventura campus. Breanna moved from Seattle to help Pastors Jude and Becky plant the City Church in 2011 and loves the sunshine in Southern California. Breanna experienced God in a powerful way as a high school student and served in youth ministry for many years. She is passionate about introducing people to Jesus Christ and raising up leaders in City Groups. She adores her nieces and nephews and is affectionately known and loved by all of the City Church staff kids as, “Auntie B.”