We’re taught from a young age that it is better to be “in” than “out”. Accepted is better than rejected. Chosen first better than chosen last.
If the cool kids had a club? I wanted in on it.
If there was anything musical going on? Let me at it.
If the neighbor kids were playing a game? Please Lord don’t let me get picked last.
Running the dreaded “mile” in elementary school PE? Identify the slowest girl & be faster than her.
As we grow up we begin to realize that there are still “clubs”, they just become a little less obvious. There’s the “Thin Enough” club, where all you need to do to belong is wear less than a size 6 and talk about how fat you are so everyone still sees you as humble. There’s the Mom club, God bless them, driving their mini-van like a badge of honor, keeping their babies safe & healthy and trying to salvage some sense of a social life in the midst of diapers and homework and soccer practices. There’s the Married Club, where the men talk about how “smokin hot” their wife is and the women write Facebook statuses about their perfect little family. It gets harder to remember once you’re part of this club how to be friends with people who aren’t in this club, so let’s just go ahead and call the Married Club the V.I.P lounge.
I realize there are a lot of other clubs that you may notice – the Star Hostess Club, the Beautiful Home club, the Perfectly Put Together Club, the Well Traveled Club, The Best Dressed Club, etc. The list really could go on and on. But those three? They’re the ones that I find myself dying to be “in” when the truth is, I’m as “out” as it gets.
Single & childless at 29? That’s a club I didn’t choose. A constant struggle with body image and comparison? Didn’t choose that one either.
So what do we do? Where is God in the midst of seasons of life that are not what we expected them to be? If God can do anything, why doesn’t he answer the years and years of prayers begging him for membership in the thin married momma club?
Sweet friends, from one who is “out” in areas she desperately wants to be “in”, the sweetest thing I’ve learned is that these areas of vulnerability is that the Lord works most powerfully in me when I allow myself to be honest & transparent about the fact that they hurt.
It hurts every time a friend gets engaged. It hurts so badly I literally use the HIDE button on Facebook so that I don’t have to look at all their happy updates & congratulations well wishes. Their happiness is wonderful, but it is also a reminder that I am still “out”, and it’s painful. It hurts watching my friends begin to have babies & post pregnancy updates & flood my social media feeds with their sweet little angels. My heart could burst with happiness for them, but it’s bittersweet knowing that I’m 29, single, and staring the end of baby-making years in the face. It’s bittersweet to be the honorary “aunt” & resident babysitter of my friends kids when my heart longs to be the Mommy who needs a break and a night out and a sweet friend who will come love my babies so I can get away. Oh y’all, I get so much joy from loving those babies, but it simultaneously reminds me that I am “out”, and it breaks my heart.
It took me til 29 to be open & honest about these hurts. (& I’ll be honest, writing a public blog about my deepest insecurities? I’ll let you guess how my heart feels about that one.) Yet in the midst of this season of brutal honesty, the Lord has been near. I’ve yelled and asked him why he took away relationships that could have been the key to the future I had planned for myself. Why He allowed my heart to be drug through the mud and broken so badly that it took years to begin to recognize life in it again. Why He surrounded me by people who are all “in” the clubs I want to be “in”, and asked me to love them sacrificially. It almost feels like a cruel joke.
Yet I am certain He hears me and is near to me as I am brokenhearted. (Ps. 34:18)
I am certain He is good, and has plans for my life that are greater than I could imagine. (Jer. 29:11)
I am certain He honors those who wait in hope. (Acts 11:13-16)
I am certain He is faithful when we find ourselves thrust into seasons we didn’t choose, because He orchestrated them in His goodness & faithfulness for the working out of HIS GLORY and MY GOOD. Ruth didn’t choose to be a widow. Joseph didn’t choose to be sold by his brothers. Jonah didn’t choose to be swallowed by a whale. Countless men & women didn’t choose leprosy, a disease that left them very much “out” in a way you & I will never understand. And yet the Lord saw each and every one of them, He sees you, and He sees me. He redeems the dirty, broken pieces of our lives that leave us insecure and hurting. Maybe not in our timing, maybe not in our lifetime, but His promise is true, and we can hold tight to it when everything else seems to be falling apart.
“That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.” Romans 8:18-21 (MSG)
Hold on, friends. Good times are coming. Joyfully anticipate the day when “all that is sad will become untrue“. (Tolkien)
Rescue. Redemption. Nothing broken.
Totally, completely, once and for all “IN”.