to the girl who wants a boy for Christmas.

Oh, honey.

Let’s sit awhile. I’ll put on a pot for tea.

I know, I’m more of a coffee girl, too, but I think tea has something to teach us here, about this, right now–teaches us to steep, to bleed into the quiet peace of waiting. Coffee–how I love it!–is the violent caffeinated cacophony of force, and we need a little less of that for the moment. Tea it is.

I’ll cut you a fat piece of orange-cranberry-pecan bread, and between bites I’ll tell you I think next time I’ll ditch the crumble for the glaze and that I’ve been single for a lifetime.

For my whole life. All that time.

You’re startled that I’ve blurted this, but that’s how I do things. If we’re to be friends, you should know that. I’ll try to skip past the whys of self-deprecation; I’ll spare you the bad joke about being a tall order in short stature.

OK. Maybe I won’t skip all that, because maybe you need someone to squeeze your hand a little and admit that it’s hard sometimes, that yes, hurt is there.

Because it is hard being the excited friend all the time, feeling all sidelineish. You’re scared to admit that the fact that you are genuinely ridiculously overjoyed to get save-the-dates in the mail and to wedding-scheme with your friends and to walk before them down the aisle almost makes the way out a little more tricky.

If you found bitterness to wrap yourself in, or to paint over your skin (layer after layer of brittle, impermeable shell), eventually it would crack and I think you would have to deal with that pink exposed flesh all at once. BAM. No other way.

But here, where the joy is real? It’s lonely and it’s wonderful all at once.

And maybe if it was later in the evening, with wine instead of tea, I would look away and admit that there have been plenty of why not mes accompanied with my own composition of answers.

I’m telling you this so you know I get it. I do.

I understand that you want to be loved like that.

I understand that you have so much to give. That you want to love like that.

I understand that marriage is one big eschatological metaphor for union with the One who made us, in Whom we have our being, and you kindof want in on that.

I also understand that sometimes you really just want someone to kiss.

But honey. Dearest daughter.

It cannot be all you live for.

It cannot be the only thing you dream of.

You might not even think that is how you do things, so look again while you press your thumb into bits of that crumb topping in question. Examine the way you’ve planned in secret, the imagined wedding date you’ve charted the rest of your life around.

The I’ll-be-married-by-thens and the not-married-untils.

Because here is something hard: that boy of your dreams is no guarantee, and not on any timeline of yours.

We think the falsehood of the prosperity gospel is just about the nice cars and big houses, but it goes deeper still to hot wives and guitar-playing husbands to make us whole, and perfect life plans to give us purpose.

[Here's something risky: marriage is not the only happy ending, the ultimate eucatastrophe.]

And I want it to be clear that I am not telling you this so you’ll be content dating Jesus or becoming marry-able and-then-he-will-give-you-the-desires-of-your-heart. While sometimes blessing comes just when we’re not hunting it down, I’m not so sure he’s a God of reverse psychology and rhetorical questions. It is not a cosmic dating formula or trick.

We are to be faithful because of who He is, because He’s worth all of it [whether we feel it or not], not to get what we want.

There is a God to know now, and we will participate in that eschatological metaphor whether there’s a ring on our finger or not, when it is more than comparison.

There are people to love now, to listen to, people to clothe, to care for, to feed.

There are even lepers to kiss.

[They are both your dearest friends and total strangers, both next-door neighbors and brothers and sisters across the sea.]

There are cups to pour, hands to get dirty and to hold. Another loaf of bread to bake.

And we circle back round here again, don’t we, love?

It is all grace anyway, the giving and the gift–grace, grace, grace.

We ask, and He always gives.

And gives.

Sometimes now, sometimes later. Sometimes the same, sometimes something different.

But always more.

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47 thoughts on “to the girl who wants a boy for Christmas.

  1. This is pure gold, friend. I laughed out loud (hot wives and guitar-playing husbands) and winced with familiarity and nodded along because you are writing from the depth of it and calling us all back home with this one. I’m so glad you write here.

  2. This is good, good stuff, Antonia. I wish I could’ve read it when I was in my early 20s. Thankfully I’ve grown into myself since then and I’ve been able to view who I am as greater than my marital status. If it happens, great. And if not, then God will use this, too. Sometimes I think singleness is not for the weak- it takes a lot of grace and strength to rejoice with others, honor the sadness that can come with the territory, and pioneer through life. Grateful for your voice.

    • “God will use this, too.” Yes, yes, yes.

      And I think you are right about such activity of the soul– the rejoicing, honoring, pioneering, recognition. Somehow it’s good to point out none of these are passive things. Thank you for stopping by here, Leigh!

  3. this is real —like a warm soup, a cup of tea – no sugar, or a pedicure kind-of-comfort—for this southern girl (who after being asked ‘what are you doing now that you’ve graduated college?’ is certain to be grilled on ‘you need a boyfriend. do you have a boyfriend?’)

    there IS more to live for. there is Love to live for.

  4. Found this post through my friend, Jacqueline (whose comment sits above mine now). I literally sat at my desk for several minutes, just speechless. Because this is EVERYTHING. Everything us single girls face and deal with and won’t admit out loud. Thank for sharing this. It inspired me in so many ways.

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  6. oh, this is perfect. As a fellow “I’ve been single for a llifetime” girl – this is so, so, needed to be said. thank you for your beautiful words of truth.

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  8. I’ve read this three times now, cried every time. God knew I needed to hear this! “We are to be faithful because of who He is, because He’s worth all of it…” Thanks for the heart talk!

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  11. Hi!
    I just saw your post quoted on the breakpoint.org blog, and I came over to read the whole thing. :) When you say, “be content dating Jesus or becoming marry-able and-then-he-will-give-you-the-desires-of-your-heart,” are you talking about the Leslie Ludy “Set-Apart Femininity” book? Because that is the point I thought she was making when I read it, and I agree with you. My Lord is not a God of reverse psychology.
    I do value being content wherever God has me, and purposing to grow (in my relationship with God and my family and friends, and in my personal struggles). I just don’t think it’s biblical to say, “Act like you don’t really want it, and then God will give it to you.” That feels manipulative to me.
    BTW, I’m 20 and single, and always have been. :)
    Ellen
    Oregon

    • Ha! I don’t know that book; I have just heard that kind of language over the years, and still do. I think that kind of casual causality can come out in even the subtle ways we tell stories.

      You’re right, contentedness is key. But it is a virtue that doesn’t stop needing practice upon ‘I do.’ (I know one or two married couples that would back me up on that :-) ) Contentedness, faithfulness, all of it has a far more reaching scope beyond our relationship status: hard to realize sometimes.

      Thanks for stopping by and bothering to read it all! Bless.

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  14. I love this! And am sure I’ll be back to read it again and again. So encouraging. The Lord has been shifting me in this direction for years, and some of my friends don’t get it and even question my desire for marriage because it’s not something I’m consumed with. “There is a God to know now,” and I’d rather be consumed with that.

    • I’m so glad you found encouragement here, Katrina. Yes; I am always surprised at the even indirect pushback/confusion I get from friends and family on this. People often don’t get that it’s a tension– I do really want a husband and family someday (I pray for it), but I also pray to be faithful in worshiping a God who is Savior, not Santa.

      “I’d rather be consumed with that.” Yes, yes, yes.

      Thanks for reading!

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