Hey Sweet Friends! I’ve been thinking about singleness a lot lately…mine specifically. Really, I’ve been thinking about my life and how my singleness has shaped me and my perspective on life and the Lord. How I’ve gotten it wrong in the past and how, with courage and joy, I pray I’m getting it right, now.
Waiting is one of my least favorite things. Upon closer inspection I think it is one of my least favorite things because when we wait we are essentially waiting for it to be “our turn” in something.
In the checkout line, in a life event, like marriage, a promotion at work, or, insert your particular season of waiting here, and if we are honest, we want it to always be our turn!
I sat in the Edinburgh airport with my moma, eating a boxed sandwich when I found out that our plane’s turn to take off had been delayed. My meticulously strategic planner’s heart began to pump a little faster with anxiety as I did the mental calculations for what that would mean for our already short layover in Amsterdam on the way back to Atlanta. Deep breath. It was just a 20 minute delay. We would be ok.
When it was our turn to board the plane, I breathed even deeper. We would be ok. We had plenty of time.
45 minutes later we were still sitting on the tarmac due to a broken air conditioning unit and I was bouncing with anxiety. It’s important to note that this trip was in October of 2019. This was pre Covid-19, worldwide pandemic, Kathryn. That Kathryn was still very much deceived by the illusion of control. Because of that stupid A/C unit we would now have all of 25 minutes once we landed in Amsterdam before our plane to Atlanta left. 25 minutes and I had never been to the Amsterdam airport before and had no clue how far away our terminal would be.
When we touched down in Amsterdam a flight attendant came over the intercom and gave me the singular piece of information I needed. Our gate number.
I had one aim. Get to F7 as quickly as I could and make sure they held the plane until my moma and my cousins could get there. Once I stepped foot off the plane I didn’t look behind me, I was solely focused on finding F7. Looking back, should I have communicated this to my moma, whom I left in my proverbial dust? Sure, but I was a desperate woman, who had been away from her emotional support animal for 11 days and I was NOT missing that plane!
12 minutes and counting…
Approximately 45 seconds into my sprint to find F7 a man sidled up next to me and he was walking quickly, keeping stride with me. He looked to be coming from my gate as well and I looked at him in exasperation and he had a sympathetic look on his face. I can’t remember who spoke first but gate numbers stumbled out of our mouths and it turned out he was looking for F8 so we weaved our way through the airport. In our exchange I was surprised to find out he had not been on the ridiculously delayed plane with me but had been in Amsterdam for several days with some of his mates.
Did I forget to mention his thick Irish accent? My apologies!
As I walked/jogged through the airport I remember wondering why he was in such a big hurry if he wasn’t also on the plane with the broken air conditioning. I had no way of knowing how far I had to go as I followed the signs, with this man right by my side, when all of a sudden he asked, “Where are you headed?” I told him Atlanta, in the south of the United States, which would get me home to Columbus after having been in Scotland for 11 days. He wanted to know if that was close to Washington, DC since he had been there several years ago to visit a friend. No, Atlanta wasn’t close to Washington, DC, but I had been there a couple times. I found out he was headed to Dublin, heading home himself.
“So what do you do for a living?” When this question hit me I was frantically looking for signs that told me where F7 was and I gasped with a laugh, out of breath and I thought to myself, “Ok, we are doing this, now!?!” After stumbling over my words, trying to explain my unique job in youth ministry through cultural barriers in 30 seconds or less, I found out he was a dairy farmer.
Yes, you read that correctly…an Irish Dairy Farmer. I was officially on the set of the beginning of a Hallmark movie.
I made some crazy statement about not being able to enjoy dairy from America because of the way it is pasteurized but I thoroughly enjoyed the dairy while in Scotland, thank you very much! Insert a guffaw and eye roll here…Kathryn, you didn’t! Oh Sweet Friend, I did.
Having him there with me helped with navigating the rush of people around us and we were making good time. I could see the terminal. As the distance between me and F7 became shorter I realized this new friendship was going to end as abruptly as it began, and no way was I going to come away from this interaction without his name and I told him so. He gave me his first and last name but I only heard the first name clearly because, thinking that was all he would give me, I spoke over him with, “And my name is Kathryn.”
I know, I know, why didn’t I make sure I heard his last name clearly, but y’all, it was all so insane and then our time was up. I had to turn and he had to keep going straight. I turned around, walking backwards, and laughed saying, “Well, it was really nice to meet you.” He laughed as well and said the same.
I turned around and hit an all out run. Well as much of a run as my backpack, pillow, and carry-on suitcase would allow me to. Oh, I didn’t tell you I had all that on me at the start? Does that make the picture of the story I just told you a little fuller and more fantastical?
The gate attendants saw me coming and they began to shout, “Hurry! Run!” As I was already running I was confused as to what more they wanted me to do but then I shouted back, “My Mom and cousins are behind me but they are coming! We have to wait.” As I pulled up mine and Moma’s tickets on my phone I looked back and I saw my moma coming.
Deep breath! I could get on the plane. I wasn’t going anywhere without my mom but my cousins were on their own. Sorry Cristina and Jeremy, but I had already decided I would leave you as long as moma and I could make it on the plane together.
“Run, Moma! They are leaving us!” We were about to walk onto the jetway and I saw my cousins round the corner and told the gate agents. More shouts of “Hurry” and “Run” but after all was said and done, all four of us got on the plane.
After putting my stuff down and immediately going to the restroom to the absolute frustration of a flight attendant and a few passengers, I sat down next to my moma, took a deep breath and said, “I think I might have just met my husband.” Affronted, she said, “I saw that! One minute you were right in front of me and the next minute I looked up and you were running away with a man!”
Laughing, I made a point to make sure she knew my intentions to get to the gate as quickly as possible so they wouldn’t leave us.
Several hours into our flight across the Atlantic Moma and I went for a stroll around the plane to find my cousins and I relayed the story to the group. It was so random and the least likely thing to ever happen to me. Was I really on the ground in the Netherlands for a mere 45 minutes? Did I really run through the Amsterdam airport looking for my gate with a good looking Irish Dairy Farmer as he asked me where I was from and what I did for a living? Sweet Friend, that might be your life but it is most certainly not mine.
When I got to the part of the story where I asked him his name, my cousin, Cristina’s eyes got big. I told her his first name and what I thought I heard him say his last name was and she said, “As soon as we land in Atlanta, I’m looking him up.”
The drive from the Atlanta airport to Columbus is an hour and a half and we hadn’t even made it to Columbus before she found him.
Now what? When we got home it was close to midnight and I was exhausted and excited to see Willa and overwhelmed by the sweetness of the Lord in the previous 11 days so I decided to sleep on it.
The next morning I was resolved to reach out to him so I friended him on Facebook and sent him a message.
Y’all want to know my favorite part about this story? This whole time I had been thinking he was late for his flight too, we just happened to be running late together going in the same direction. Yea, no. After connecting with him I found out his flight wasn’t scheduled to leave for another two hours…and yet.
He pursued me, at a run, through the Amsterdam airport, just for 12 minutes of out of breath conversation and my presence. Finding out that Mr. Irish Dairy Farmer sang in the choir at his local Presbyterian Church and was also a fan of Phil Wickham made me really take a pause. He loves Jesus?!? What are the odds?
A couple of weeks later, after snippets of conversation via Whats App, I garnered up enough courage to ask what made him approach me at the airport. Since we hadn’t been on the same plane and he didn’t have to get to his gate in a hurry, what on earth made him race through the airport. He said that he remembered walking and he noticed I was in a “mad” panic so he thought he would say hello. I responded with something like “it takes a brave man to decide that is the time to approach a woman”.
As more and more time increased between contact I asked the Lord to show me what it was all for. Why, at the very end of that trip to Scotland, that trip that my friend prayed for the Lord to romance me, why at the very end would I have this encounter with this man.
The Lord reminded me of my revelation about Heath earlier in the year, the one I shared about in Episode 6, and then brought that revelation into the same light of the absurd reality that I was chased through the airport by a man who wanted to know me. In both, the Lord hammered home that I am worthy of pursuit.
I am worthy of an 8 ½ year old secret being made known. I am worthy of risk and taking a chance. And the Lord, knowing I needed a seal on my heart in this area of my singleness, sent one of His sons to pursue me all the way to F7, answering once and for all, that I am not single because I am not worthy of a man pursuing my heart. I am single because the Lord has set me apart. I am single because He is sovereign and knows better than I. I am single for His good pleasure, my good, and His glory.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t still want but as I wait for what I want, I wait with the One who has given me the gift of glimpses into how He sees me.
And He sees me as worth pursuing.
Worth the unveiling of secrets.
Worth moments that remind me, in Him, I lack no good thing.
It was God’s kindness that gave me those glimpses that I am worth pursuing. He certainly didn’t have to and I was not owed them but God’s heart towards us is kind. He is intimately aware of my desire to be pursued as a woman, since that is one way I uniquely bear His image as female. Thank you, John and Stasi Eldredge for teaching me that through Captivating all those years ago!
No, God didn’t have to give me those glimpses, but in His kindness He did and it has made me ponder things in my heart and made me wonder about how we wait.
So much of my 20s and early 30s was literally defined by my waiting for a husband. I polished it up with a “waiting for the Lord to bring me my husband” but ultimately I was waiting…for my turn.
My turn for showers and parties to be thrown for me.
My turn to just show up and be showered with love and presents.
My turn to be celebrated.
My turn for the ring and the promise and the love and the forever.
The trouble with this is that the Bible doesn’t have anything to say to us about waiting for our turn, no matter what we are waiting for, but it does have plenty to say about waiting on the Lord.
Isaiah 40:31, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Psalm 27:13-14 “I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word.”
Habakkuk 2:3, “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”
Over and over the Bible tells us to wait for the Lord, to have courage and wait for the Lord. The word of the Lord in our lives will not delay. It awaits it’s appointed time. Blessed are those who wait for Him.
Somewhere along the way I got confused. I thought I had read in II Kathryn 3:24 that God had promised to give me everything I ever wanted, so waiting for the Lord began to be waiting for the things I thought I was owed and due. Waiting with the Lord began to be less and less about who I was waiting with and more and more about what I was waiting for. Every conversation I had with the Lord was about when He would bring it to pass, and who it would be, and where it would happen, and when it would happen, and where I needed to be to make it happen, and why is it taking so long, and are you even listening anymore?
Sweet Friends, He always hears us but here is what I know to be true…I grieved the Holy Spirit with how I waited in my singleness because I cared more about Him keeping promises He had never made to me than being supernaturally set apart by the Promise Keeper Himself. And what I know now, a month away from 41 years old and, hello, still waiting on the same thing I was waiting for then, is it has to be more about the Promise Keeper than it is about the promise kept.
So what are you waiting for, Sweet Friend? Are you waiting for the Lord or are you waiting for the thing He can give you? If the answer is the latter, I do not stand in judgment. I know how messy and slippery that slope is and I know how when we want things for God honoring reasons it gets even messier. Take your answer before the Lord. Confess that you’ve made an idol of this thing before the Lord. Ask for His help as you unravel the thing you are waiting for from who it is you are waiting with. He is not beholden to us, Sweet Friends. He doesn’t owe us anything.
But even so, He is kind.
I love that verse in Psalm 27. We can be certain, confident that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, but we don’t get to determine what that goodness looks like.
I read Annie F. Downs’ book Remembering God the summer of 2019, in between the revelation of Heath and Mr. Irish Dairy Farmer. It was all about remembering the kindness of God and I didn’t like it at all. Like me, Annie is in her 40s and hasn’t been married yet. As I read through the book, where at the beginning she mentioned that year of her life being a life of finding love, knowing that she still wasn’t married, I couldn’t bear it. I knew this book wasn’t going to be tied up into a beautiful bow and I simply didn’t have the words for what the message of that book was for me.
The truth is, I still don’t like that we have to filter God’s kindness through the disappointments and soul crushing pain this life brings. There is a tension here that may never truly work itself out in my mind. So no, I didn’t like Remembering God, but it marked me and I have held onto the truth of it like a lifeline for the past two and a half years, because Annie was right, Sweet Friends. When you look for the kindness of God, you will find it. It’s in His very nature to be kind to His children. From a cotton candy sky, to a sale you weren’t expecting on a needed thing, to a good parking spot, to a mad panicked race through the Amsterdam airport with a good looking man at your side, God’s kindness is everywhere. The question is, will you soften your heart enough to see it?
Sweet Friends, don’t let what you are waiting for keep you from waiting for the Lord. What a travesty, if we miss the most important thing for the thing we’ve defined as most important. With authority, I can say that waiting for the Lord, alone, to show up in my life is so much better than waiting for any thing I thought He could bring me. Turn your expectations to Him, keeping them unspecific. Be expectant, Sweet Friends, but look to Him to inform them. His plans are better than our wildest imaginations and He sees you and He is kind.
Until next time,
Thank you for being here.
Remember to take deep breaths,
And God has got us.