Party of One
For many women the holiday season is full of wonder and magic – childlike wonder seen in the eyes of their littles or grateful wonder of all God has done through their family. It’s a joyous time to reflect on the gift of Christ and to celebrate with food and family.
But for the single women who want to be married or have a family and do not, the holiday festivities from Thanksgiving to New Years can often be tinged with sadness. This brings a different kind of wonder – the kind filled with doubt and skepticism, the kind that’s full of questions.
I wonder how long it will take for the topic of dating to come up at dinner. I wonder how many pitying looks I’ll have to endure from Grandma. I wonder why God isn’t answering my prayers for a partner. I wonder if my partner even exists. I wonder, has God forgotten me? I wonder...I wonder...I wonder...
These feelings are heavy and heartbreaking, very different from the whimsy and joy the holiday season promises. But they're also real and valid. There’s nothing wrong with feeling the disappointment and frustration. But how can we carry these emotions without allowing the holiday season to become a listless burden – a time of year we just have to get through?
First, we have to stop trying to hide our true feelings. I’m not saying show up to the party like Eeyore to the Hundred Acre Wood, but I am saying show up fully yourself. This takes practice, vulnerability and, for some, healing. And it starts from the inside out.
We serve a God who intimately knows us. Before a thought is fully formed in your brain, He knows it.1 You may be able to fool your family when you say you’re fine being a party of one for another holiday dinner, but your Father isn’t fooled. If you’re not going to be honest with anyone else, at least be honest with Him. You’re angry? He can take it. You’re disappointed? He’s not surprised. You’re hurt? He’s heartbroken alongside you.
It can be scary to admit all of this to a trusted friend, let alone to God, but don’t be quick to gloss over your emotions. Doing so creates numbness, bitterness and, more importantly, a divide between you and the ones you love, as well the One who loves you.
Feel your feelings, sit in them. But don’t camp out there.
Second, can we all agree it’s best just to put our phones down? Instagram is everyone’s highlight reel and that’s never more true than this time of year. Sure, you’ll see the photos of your college friend’s roommate with her hunky hubby and cute kids in their matching pjs. But what you don’t see is the fight your former acquaintance had with her husband or the temper tantrums that were thrown in the making of the family photo.
Stop comparing your raw reality to someone else’s curated content. You’ll always be left wanting.
Instead, let’s look for the wonder in our own lives. The wonder you see will look different than the woman next to you who’s celebrating her first Christmas as a wife or making memories as a mama, but that doesn’t mean there’s not wonder to behold. We have to stop believing the lies that God’s blessings look a certain way.
By refocusing on the God of Wonders and how he’s showing up in our waiting and wondering, we’re able to experience the holidays with a deep sense of gratitude, rather than an overwhelming feeling of wanting. This is true for women who find themselves in any kind of unwelcome season.
Presents come with a variety of bows and trimmings, but just because it’s not the most perfectly wrapped gift does not mean the gift itself isn’t spectacular.
If you’re a single lady, know that you aren’t alone this holiday season. I see you, and I bet a lot of other ladies do too. And if you’re not single, remember to take a moment to let your girlfriends know that you see them and you love them. Let them know that just because they don’t have a partner by their side, it does not mean they’re alone.
More importantly, remember that we serve El Roi – the God who sees us.2 You may be a party of one this holiday season, but to Him you’re the one that He has given His life for.