Do you ever have those days when you start dissecting your life and your future? You know, those kinds of days when you feel as if you have your own personal thundercloud hanging over your head?
Well, that was me.
I was contemplating my value to this world and started to become melancholy at the results. And after the pinch of melancholyness (yup, that’s not actually a word), came a twinge of envy. I was just a little bit jealous of friends my age who have cuddly babies and mischievous toddlers. And yes, the mother dealing with postpartum depression, wailing infants, and crayon marks on walls is thinking, “You’re completely insane. Come take my place for a day and you’ll learn what it’s really like!” No, I was not envious of the messy diapers and sleepless nights, but I was thinking about those tiny feet, little giggles, and sticky kisses. I was feeling a bit worthless and like I hadn’t achieved to some greater maturity and specialness because I’m single and am not raising, teaching, and loving a child with the same last name as me. I was comparing myself to that ever-perfect Proverbs woman whose children arise and call her blessed. Here I am, just plain me, who at this point will have no one to call my own or pass my legacy on to when I am eighty years old. I feel embarrassed saying this because we, singles, don’t like to admit our feelings on this subject. I feel really embarrassed admitting this because I am not very old, a lot of things can change in my future, I truly love every minute of my singleness (I’ve been able to do amazing things that I couldn’t have done otherwise), and being vulnerable with my feelings is plain down embarrassing because not everyone will understand. But I share this to encourage others who may be facing the same thoughts in this stage of their lives. Motherhood is a usual desire amongst most single females (despite the pain, selflessness, commitment, and frustrations that we realize go along with having and raising children) because it’s a maternal longing that God gave us.
Then God stopped me right there in the middle of my negativity. God had to do this for Elijah and he still has to do it for us humans today. Anyways, He brought to my attention the verse, Isaiah 56:3-5 (KJV) “Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.”
The eunuchs could not have children and were one of the lowest on the social scale. Because they had no offspring, they could not leave a name or heritage behind, but God hadn’t neglected them. First, notice the conditions in the verse- keep the Sabbath, choose the things that please God, and take hold of the Lord’s Covenant. Then notice the promises- being given a place and name better than of sons and daughters within God’s house and walls and being given a name which will not be cut off. Isn’t that beautiful! Perhaps I shouldn’t pull out this solitary set of verses and try to apply it to singles, but I think it fits well and can hold a lot of meaning for us.
But that Still Small Voice wasn’t finished talking yet and began to awake me to the fact that I do have children and I will leave a heritage behind when earth’s departure flight comes for me.
Let me explain- My children are the hundreds of little lives which have entwined themselves around my heart through camps, choirs, classes, etc… To them I have given tears, love, lessons, and prayers. Every time we hold a Sunday-School Class, become a counselor at camps, teach a classroom of students, hang out with the nieces and nephews, help with VBS’s, support and sponsor orphans, and take the time to impact the life of a child, God has given us sons and daughters.
I was recently at the Meadows of Hope Banquet, and this thought kept coming to my mind as I watched the single young ladies with the girls they are mentoring and helping. Those girls may not have the same last name or physical resemblances as the women who care for them, but that won’t make any difference when they are walking streets of gold. Those women may not have physically birthed them, but they have birthed hope, courage, faith, and trust in the girls’ lives. Because those young ladies are single and childless, they won’t be celebrated on Mother’s Day; but nevertheless, they do have “children” who arise and call them blessed. Their heritage left behind will tell of countless lives who loved them and viewed them as a second mother.
We, singles, have many opportunities to help “raise” the children around us. Don’t view your babysitting job or weekly kids’ clubs as unimportant, but use the “parenthood” God has given you to dry tears, apply band-aids, feed hungry tummies, break-up quarrels, teach valuable lessons, and impact little lives for eternity– which really is no different than any actual mother or father would do for their children. And one day when we look across Heaven and see the faces of our “sons and daughters”- the children we taught and loved, we will realize that we truly do have an everlasting name and heritage!