Pictured: fierce, loyal, loving, godly, incomparable, beautiful women who are at the forefront of my mind on a day we celebrate love.
I’m going to be perfectly honest here and say that there are many, many times I have felt passed over by men in the church. I’m not referring to a specific man. (Men whom I’ve attended church with: CHILL.) But I was raised in the church, spent the most recent half of my adult life in the church, and have often felt unworthy of being pursued by a godly man because none of them have expressed interest in me. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit picking myself apart and wondering what it is about my body, my spirituality, my intellect, my social skills, my profession, and my ambitions that aren’t worthy of notice. I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to commit to an intellectual, handsome, fun, everything-on-my-list-but-Christian man because it just wasn’t happening in church. I’ve even wondered . . . if not a single man of God thinks anything of me, could it be that God doesn’t think I’m worthy of a loving relationship? And throughout all of the questioning and insecurity, I honestly believed marriage was the highest, deepest, and even most spiritual relationship one could have. For a long time, I believed I couldn’t be loved or fully known without it. It was exhausting, and I was so afraid of never finding true fulfillment.
But then . . . these women. One by one they showed up in my life, with their authenticity, their strengths and passions, their own sets of problems and weaknesses – and their arms wide open. They accepted the friendship I offered, and they’ve given me deeper friendship than I’ve ever known.
For better or for worse, these women have loved me. They’ve seen me angry, resentful, jealous, afraid, and sinful. They’ve seen me love sacrificially, pray passionately, serve wholeheartedly, and learn lessons of love and duty at the feet of my Savior.
For richer or for poorer, these women have loved me. They’ve let me treat them, serve them with my time and money and home, and bless them with gifts. They’ve walked with me into college – and student debt; they’ve seen me broke and sat with me at home when I couldn’t afford to go out.
In sickness and in health, these women have loved me. We’ve brought each other food during illness, rubbed each other’s backs on stressful days, and prayed each other through the deferred hope and anxiety that makes the heart sick. We’ve laughingly, energetically played with each other in sunshine and in storm.
These women. We have loved each other, cherished each other, held each other, forgiven each other – been to each other what Jonathan and David were – and basked in love that is not better or less than the love of men, but equally as sweet, equally as deep, and equally as valuable. We bring the romance of deep friendship into each other’s lives with flowers and cards and cute text messages . . . with inside jokes and nicknames . . . with adventures in the cold and nights spent in by a crackling Netflix “fire.” We’ve done life together in accordance with God’s holy ordinance – not the ordinance of marriage, but the ordinance to “love each other as ourselves” that we were given when we entered into the ultimate covenant with Christ.
These. Women. We spend so much time looking for “the one.” I’m glad I don’t just have ONE. I have a bunch of significant others and four of them are pictured here. “Single” may apply to my marital status and my tax forms, but it’s an incredibly inaccurate description of who I am and the community I’m part of. In relationship with Jesus and in relationship with these women, I’m not alone. I do not lack romance and adventure and support. Seasons may part us – men with their sweet talk and shiny diamonds may show up (EW 😆) – but these women loved me FIRST. These women championed me, advocated for me, defended me, loved me in my weaknesses, encouraged my strengths, and prayed for me first. They saw me with bedhead, beat me at “5 Clicks to Jesus,” ate my food, and drank the last of my wine first. 😂 And I am so blessed as to say that there are several more women in my life of whom this can be said, but who couldn’t be with me tonight. This is imperfect but lasting love. We’re forever sisters through the ONLY covenant that is truly eternal: covenant with Jesus.
When the Lord said He puts the lonely in families, it was not an empty promise or a promise only for the married. It’s not a promise that’s a little bit more effective or fulfilling if God has a spouse in the wings for you. Celebrate friendships as deeply, as joyfully, as gratefully, and as sincerely as you celebrate marriage. You do not have to wait until engagements/marriage to know or be known, or to be swept off your feet by true love. And you’ll miss out on so much if you over-value one type of relationship or under-value the other.
If He hasn’t done so already, may the Lord place you in a family as beautiful and diverse as mine.
Happy Valentines Day, friends! You are loved. ♥️💐🥂