Re-Minding: Why I Fast & Pray

This is your reminder that was are fasting and praying during what would be Monday lunch for marriages for those who long to be married and for the courage & strength for men and women to walk upright and into marriage.  And as you fast & pray with the 740 of us (!), here are a few words to consider from one of our fast-pray-ers, Emily.

I nearly had a panic attack driving home from work at the end of this past week. Let me explain…

No one—let alone a single girl—should have to throw two bridal showers in one week and volunteer to cook and deliver a meal to a family that just had a baby in between shower planning. But this has been my life of late: bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, baby showers, helping friends move into their newly-purchased homes.

The tears were about to surface as I ran through my mental check list of things to do—cook a meal that’s nursing-mom-and-baby friendly, finish my microeconomics homework by 11p.m. for the summer class I am taking for personal edification (don’t ask me why—I couldn’t tell you at this point), finish my shopping list for bridal shower #2,  go grocery shopping for the 4th time this week to buy food for bridal shower #2, finish unpacking from spending the weekend away at bridal shower #1… Why is traffic so bad when I am in a hurry?!?

“Lord, why me? Why does it always seem that I end up in this place, running around doing things so I can make other people happy—people who should be happy enough with their impending weddings and new babies without me having to shower them with gifts! I don’t know how I am going to get everything done. I am tired. I am going broke. I don’t want to spend the evening tripping over my roommates in our tiny kitchen. I am done. I am tired of giving.”

His answer was to remind me of a conversation I had with my roommates two nights before when they told me neither of them would be home until late that night. This meant I could take over the kitchen without fear of getting in anyone’s way, blast the worship music, and sing my way through my chores. And I did just that. I got the to-do list done plus two loads of laundry and finally hung the new shower curtain I bought three weeks ago. It was a late night, but once I was finished, the rest He gave me was so sweet.

It’s amazing how that still, small voice can bring calm, and that something as little as having the apartment to myself for the evening can remind me that He’s looking out for me.

This is why I fast and pray. To remind me that I am not alone in this journey. To remind me that God will bless my obedience to His Word. To carve the time out of my busy schedule to reflect upon the ways He has blessed me by making sure my needs are always met. To allow Him to fill me with His supernatural joy that gets me through each and every day and keeps the bitterness I often feel welling up inside of me from consuming me. To remind me that my hope is in Him—not just my hope that I will someday be married and have a family, but my hope of a permanent home in Heaven, my “continuing city” (Hebrews 13:14) where I won’t feel out of place because I’m a single, where all these tears will be wiped away.

For this, I am eternally grateful.

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14 Responses to Re-Minding: Why I Fast & Pray

  1. Melody says:

    Oh my. This post really hits home. I know I’m a couple of weeks behind, life has been busy, but I still wanted to comment. I have really been struggling with our society’s celebrations of milestones in people’s lives or achievements and how many revolve around marriage or children. I’ve had some great conversations in the past little while with married and single friends about changing the paradigm of our expectations for people. I have a very good friend who acknowledges that she does not want to put pressure on her children to grow up, marry, and have children and so uses the words “if you get married or if you have children”. This has been great language to use with myself as well. I do desire to marry but when I take the expectation off of myself there is way less pressure to live up to these societal expectations. There is also a chance for society to start opening up to celebrate with as much enthusiasm (and gifts!) other achievements and milestones in people’s lives.

    I have a friend who is thirty this year and has just finished her masters. I was SO EXCITED when I was invited to a formal dinner/party to celebrate her achievements. Her parents organized an evening at a local community center and invited over fifty guests. Maybe this is not the same as a wedding celebration but we are starting to see that these achievements are equally as important.

    • Emily says:

      Melody,
      This is a great reminder that there are other things in our lives to celebrate other than weddings and starting a family. It’s also encouraging to know that your friend is raising her children in such a way that she’s not perpetuating the pressure to marry and raise a family. Following His Will in our lives and earnestly seeking Him is so much more important (and rewarding) than constantly trying to live up to the expectations of others.
      Thank you for sharing!

  2. Sylvia says:

    Those surfacing tears you mentioned, Emily, came to my eyes also as I read your entry. I have SO been there before! And your closing paragraph is right on, not to mention beautifully stated. I’m new to the blog and am amazed at the way these posts and comments resonate with me. In an abstract way I know that I am in good company on this pathway of singleness, but it’s such a relief to see it here in the concrete words and thoughts of other Christian women. . . a relief in the sense that some others really DO get it (like Oliver); that they can verbalize what I could never quite put into words (thank you Katy!); and that we — who do not even know eachother — can exhort one another to press on, to trust on, because of our common bond in Christ Jesus.

    • Emily says:

      Sylvia, I felt the same way when I first started following this blog! Relief. Encouragement. Strengthened knowing that I am a part of this body of women (and men!) who are united by our common faith and praying for each other and for marriages in the church. Your comment was further validation for me that I am not alone in these struggles either! Thank you!

  3. Oliver says:

    Emily, thank you so much for your empathetic and encouraging post. Katy, your comment hit home as well. To all the single women who frequent this blog and make fasting and prayer a part of your weekly discipline, I’m raising a metaphorical and celebrational glass to all your successes and achievements, but particularly to those that went unnoticed because you were too busy planning someone else’s baby shower. 🙂

    • Emily says:

      Oliver, I think I speak for all the ladies who read this blog – thank you for your words of encouragement! We need this acknowlegement every once in a while. 🙂

  4. Anne (McCain) Brown says:

    Great post! Very encouraging. Thanks for being so honest… Great reminder of why we fast and pray.

  5. Katy says:

    I know that this isn’t the point of the post, but I wanted to chime in and say that this feeling of constantly celebrating others’ lives and never having my own happy moments celebrated by married friends (or comfort during rough moments) is a real problem.

    I think it requires (1) realizing how much you can handle….I got to where I was hosting WAY too many showers. I am now dating someone long distance and a few times have declined hosting a shower — maybe I sent money to help host it or a nice gift. I realized I couldn’t do everything and still have time to date or get work done. I do a lot, but not everything..bc when i tried to do everything, I ended up resentful; (2) I think I get frustrated bc i realize that those who I throw showers and cook meals for don’t call after a first date to see how it went, schedule a lunch or drinks to celebrate a promotion, or bring me a meal when I’ve had surgury. Thats always hard to me, just because my life isn’t stressed with kids doesn’t mean its not stressful. Just because it isn’t joyful due to a new arrival or impending marriage doesn’t mean it isn’t worth celebrating.

    Point of this post isn’t to whine, but encourage us to realize this and do something about it. My single friends and I are very good about rejoicing and mourning with eachother….and I have loved how a few of my friends who are engaged/married still try to celebrate/pray for/encourage those who are single…one of my married pals makes it her goal to pray for her single friends (one is now married, four of us are in serious relationships….) I hope that if I am one day married, I remember the stresses and frustrations of singleness and make a point to celebrate dates, promotions, marathons, new cars and homes with the same excitement my single friends give for weddings and babies… Just a thought. Until then, God gives me the strength to get through wedding season with joy for others, the endurance to host many showers, and the wisdom to say no at times. 🙂

    • Emily says:

      Katy, thanks so much for your response! I appreciate your reminder that we need to say “no” sometimes or find another way to help celebrate that doesn’t stress us out. I’ll admit that I’m not very good at saying no! (Obviously.)

      I’ve had similar experiences with my married friends – some are great about reciprocating the care I have shown them in their time of need while others assume I live a charmed, care-free life because I don’t have the responsibilies of marriage and a family. So, I’m partnering with you in purposing to not neglect or forget my single friends should the Lord see fit for me to get married someday. Let’s be culture-changers on this one! 🙂

  6. Sara says:

    Thank you, Emily for your post. I was feeling VERY discouraged and wondered why I should even bother to fast. Last night I was feeling so hopeless, like marriage couldn’t possibly be part of God’s plan for me. Well, today I’m fasting and trying to keep my focus on Him.

    • Emily says:

      Sara, you are not alone! This is why fast. pray. exists – to share our struggles and support each other as we walk in obedience, even when things seem hopeless. Praising the Lord that you stepped out in faith to fast today. Praying God’s best for you and that you will continually have a sense of His Goodness and Faithfulness in your life.

  7. Joanne says:

    I appreciate hearing others’ stories of challenging moments and how God orchestrates things to meet their need in the middle of everything. He is such a wonderful, personal God. I’m so thankful that He understands our pain and is always ready to provide us with hope. Thanks for sharing!

    • Emily says:

      Joanne, all I can do is say “Amen” to your statements! He is a wonderful, personal God who is our HOPE. To Him be all the glory!

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