I used to have a prayer corner in my living room. It was a beautiful little desk, dedicated to just prayer. It was in a windowless corner of my house, making it free from distractions. It wasn’t where I sat down to do any work or bookkeeping or any of the boring stuff that needs doing as well. It was purely my place to pray. I had a candle there I could light as a symbol of God’s presence.
There was a stack of prayer books, bibles, devotionals to choose from if I needed inspiration. There was also a ‘board of inspiration’ on which were prayer request from friends and missionaries I supported, prayer letters, drawings, whatever inspired me to pray for someone or something. I regularly changed what was on there.
One of the people I prayed for was a little boy I never met, who lived in a children’s home run by missionary friends in Kenya. His leg was bad and needed healing, that was all I knew. And I had his handprint. So I lay my hand over his, and prayed for him every day, for years. Much later I found out he was actually healed three years after they handed out these handprints in our church.
The thing is, looking back, what I did was invest my time to pray for my extended family and to be connected to my heavenly father. And it was a thing of beauty to be able to do so. Yes, my heart yearned for a family of my own. But I took that yearning and on good days I was able to give the love my heart was full of, to people that surrounded me, near and far.
Sometimes I miss my single days. Is it ok to say that? Now that I’m almost seven years into a marriage with a truly good man, having two wonderful kids that are harder work than I ever imagined, I find I miss my single days sometimes. I don’t want to trade. I love the love I’ve found, the deepness of it, the ups that come with the downs. But being so fully occupied with connecting to these three most important people in my life, meanwhile doing my job and connecting to friends still, I miss out on connecting with God.
I’ve always firmly believed that we connect with God as much directly as we do through connecting to our loved ones. So there’s a lot of indirect connecting happening, more so than in my single days. But there’s so much less of the direct connecting. The daily sitting with God, talking to God, listening to God. So much less of the intimacy with God, as it seems to be replaced with intimacy with this little tribe of mine. And yet. There is a well of intimacy I’ve been digging when single, that I still get to draw on.
Nowadays my mornings are filled with changing nappies, getting little people dressed and fed and ready for the day while getting myself ready. And yes, I could get up an hour extra early to still have my quiet time, but I’ve yet to find the courage to do so after 5 years of pregnancy and childbirth and sleepless nights. One day I’ll get there. But until then I feel honoured and privileged to benefit from the well my single self has been digging for all those years. Thank you, beautiful single lady, that I once was, I love you. You’ve done well digging deep.
P.S. In case you missed it: my new book Single in Church is out! You can find it on Amazon. I’d be honoured if you take the time to read it and leave a review!
Aukelien Van Abbema is a singles and couples counsellor, public speaker, and successful author, including the title Dare to Date.
Helping people with Christian dating, relationships, singleness in church, dating in church, loneliness, connectedness, christian connection, healthy relationships.