Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

After sending my friend and her new husband off for their honeymoon, I walked back to my lodging by myself. Some friends had decided to go out after the wedding, but I was eager to get some quiet time alone after the busy day.

Still wearing my floor-length bridesmaid dress but now carrying my high-heeled shoes, I felt a warm contentedness for my friend. I was grateful I could stand beside her and celebrate the start of her marriage to a loving man.

But I also felt sadness and grief that at the end of the night, I was alone.

I thought I would be married right out of college and have two or three kids by the time I was 30. I thought I would marry my first love. I was sure my first serious relationship in college was the one.

RELATED: I’m Tired of Being Single

I believed in the promise of a fairytale marriage—a promise that many well-meaning Christian books, pastors, and mentors had sold me in my adolescence. I was taught if I did things “the right way,” meaning I remained pure, dated intentionally, and tried to please God, then he would grant me a fairytalecomplete with my prince, a beautiful wedding, and a family.

Instead, my relationship ended after three years, and I spent most of my 20s single with only a handful of dates along the way. This wedding would be my sixth time serving as a bridesmaid—celebrating my friends’ love and happiness—without a date myself.

I grieved my unmet longings for a spouse and the life I thought I would have. I yearned for the companionship, intimacy, and security of marriage.

And I felt let down by God.

Whether or not we marry, we all live with unmet desires. In various ways, we all grieve the life we expected or the timetable we planned for ourselves.

Even when our waiting is in the past, the memories of our grief can continue into the present. And God is with us in this grief, still offering us His grace.

You may grieve years of infertility even after the blessing of a child.

You may grieve a child’s disability while being grateful for his life.

You may grieve having cancer even after a clean bill of health.

You may grieve the years of spiritual doubts—the many dark nights of the soul—while being grateful for a faith that’s been tested.

But God’s grace carries us through these seasons of waiting. He is present as we grieve the unmet longings of our hearts.

God does not promise to reward us if we do the right thing. Faith is not a transaction or formula of “if I do A, God does B.”

But He does invite us to bring Him our grief. Psalm 34:18 (NIV) says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” And in Matthew 5:4, Jesus tells us, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

I did eventually meet my husband after seven years of singleness. We celebrate our fifth anniversary this spring. The card I chose for him said, “I wish I had met you sooner so I could have loved you longer.”

RELATED: I Remember What it Felt Like to be Single and Wishing For Love

I am grateful every day for God’s grace that brought me and my husband together.

I am grateful every day for our daughter, who is now two.

And along with gratitude for God’s grace, I also hold space for grief.

I still grieve my years of singleness, full of pain and longing to meet my husband. 

I still grieve the false promises I was told that twisted my faith in God into a transaction and made it difficult for me to trust Him again.

I still struggle with comparing myself to other women and feeling behind.

Through this, I am learning that grief and gratitude can coexist.

We can hold space for both sadness and joy.

We can validate our feelings of disappointment and longing while still being grateful for God’s blessings in our lives.

God can handle our grief and sorrow. He can handle our anger, confusion, and pain. God accepts and validates our feelings, but He doesn’t leave us in our grief.

He also gives us His grace.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Camden Morgante

Dr. Camden Morgante is a licensed clinical psychologist and college professor. She writes and speaks about Christianity, psychology, and gender equality and has been published in Fathom magazine and Christians for Biblical Equality’s blog and magazine Mutuality. She is currently writing a book on the myths of purity culture. Camden lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband and their daughter.

Lord, You Know What I Need and I Trust You

In: Faith
Woman in field

During these really hard months, when my anxiety has soared to unbearable heights or my heart has plummeted to darkening depths, my prayer has been, Lord, you know what I need. I trust you. On many occasions, it was (and still is) all I could pray when my throat closed up and my breath was strained, when my thoughts were unraveling and I felt completely untethered to any anchors of peace. This was my cry, my call, my plea, and so it continues to be. This petition encapsulates many things, really. It’s both selfish and self-less, as I’m desperately seeking...

Keep Reading

God’s Not Trying to Keep Me From Something Better—He’s Trying to Save Me From Something Bad

In: Faith
God's Not Trying to Keep Me From Something Better—He's Trying to Save Me From Something Bad

This past year, my family went to a concert at the Houston Rodeo. The concert was awesome. The singer was both crazy talented and fully clothed, which it seems they are usually either one or the other, so praise God for that. The kids loved it. The husband and I loved it. But at one point, right before her last song, she paused to share a message with the crowd. She said this: “You do you. Do what you want to do, be who you want to be, go where you want to go. Stop worrying about what everyone else...

Keep Reading

If God is Truly Good, He is Still Good When Life is Not

In: Faith
woman with bible

In the cool of the morning, while the sun still worked its way into the sky above, I sat on my deck overlooking the grassy back lawn, just taking it all in. I put on my favorite worship music, and sipped on my favorite coffee—oh how I love a nice hot cup of dark roast to start my day. I could hear my little girl giggling and singing—music to my ears. I observed as she ran about, and my heart was filled with joy for all the good God had provided. “Father, you are good,” I quietly proclaimed. But, the...

Keep Reading