By Guest Author, Stephanie Bostick
Did you ever play that children’s card game called “Old Maid?” I hated that game. Not playing the game, but the images that “old maid” conjured up in my mind even as a child—that of an old, unmarried, crazy cat-lady, school marm. I felt sad for her—not having children or a husband; living alone and growing old.
But ironically, that is exactly what I became—the very thing that I feared the most.
Even though I was interested in boys, I never dated much—well, none in high school, one in college, and then not again until I was 28. But this one was different. There were BIG red flags from the beginning, but I ignored them because I wanted this relationship to work. I was pushing 30, and I could hear that clock ticking.
Anyone else relate?
We were together for a year and a half and were planning out the rest of our lives. It was everything that I thought I wanted. And then, one day out of the blue, it wasn’t what he wanted anymore. And he left me. Just like that.
I was blindsided.
I felt like the rug that was my world had been jerked out from under me. I had never known a grief that big. It was like a hole that I just fell into. My heart was broken. I was broken.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and for weeks all I could do was weep. I also felt like I didn’t have a right to ask for sympathy or help from my friends, because I knew that I had willingly put myself in this situation. And I was too ashamed to pray or ask God for help because He and I both knew that I shouldn’t have gone down that road to begin with.
I felt numb and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. After a few weeks I ended up in my doctor’s office with a prescription for anxiety and depression. They weren’t exactly happy pills, but they did bring me up to a level of function necessary to keep my job. This was how I lived for years. I was able to cope a little better as time went on, but I was still depressed and couldn’t shake my sadness.
It was such a dark place to be, and even though I knew I was a Christian, I questioned how God could just leave me in that place. Was this really His plan for my life? Wasn’t He a good shepherd who would rescue His wandering sheep? Would He really leave me in my darkest hour?
I made a few honest attempts in the next few years to return to church, but I couldn’t feel His presence anymore. I resented God’s seeming disappearance and silence in my life.
I also resented everyone I saw who was happy and enjoying their lives. I especially resented loving couples and families. I specifically remember sitting on the back row at church one morning and realizing that I was almost 40, and it was possible that I may never get married.
What if I remained single for the rest of my life?
I might never be proposed to, never have my dad walk me down the aisle, and never get to say, “I do.” I would always be alone—always paying for my own dinner, always going to events by myself, and always being the awkward 3rd wheel.
These are the things I longed for; the things everybody else takes for granted. I began to sob quietly. And then I realized that at this age, I most likely would never have my own babies. I grieved as I realized I that I would never get to tell my mom, “You’re going to be a grandma!”
I wouldn’t get to pick out school clothes or pack lunches. I would never braid my daughter’s hair or take my sons to soccer practice. I wouldn’t have weddings to plan or grandbabies come to my house for Christmas.
Feeling more alone than ever, I realized that none of what I was feeling was known or felt by anyone around me. I felt as if my children had suddenly died, and there was no one to grieve with me or for me.
There wouldn’t be a funeral to mourn my great loss. I felt like there was no one who could understand what I was feeling.
And that’s when my mourning turned to bitterness.
I didn’t want to be around anyone; but at the same time, I was dying in my loneliness. The more I isolated myself, the worse my thoughts got. I know the Evil One took advantage of my weakness and my self-impo
sed separation from others and from God.
After several years of this downward spiral in what I thought was a bottomless pit, I finally, FINALLY hit bottom. I had bee
n fighting with God for hours one night when I finally admitted defeat. I didn’t have the strength to keep at it.
I was beaten, and through my tears I finally just gave up. I realized that as hard as I tried, I couldn’t fix my life. My will was finally broken, and I needed help.
For the first time in years, I heard His still, small voice. I remember being very still and very quiet, and then I felt Him softly remind me that He had created me, and He was the only one who was able to fix me.
As simple as His message to me was, it was just as profound. I needed it to be simple, and it was. I suddenly felt a peace come around me that I hadn’t felt in years.
His truth felt like a healing balm that covered my raw heart. I knew I had been bleeding out for years, but now I was under the care of the Great Physician. It was like in that one night, He corrected my eyesight and I was able to not only see more clearly, but see things from a different perspective—from HIS perspective. Not long after that night, God led me to Psalm 73:26.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
It was a picture of my life: me following my unfaithful heart and my fleshly desires into a life of misery and despair, but God stepping in to heal my broken heart and provide for me everything that I needed in spite of my unfaithful wandering.
I prayed hard to be content in my singleness, but it was a life that I never wanted, and it gave me great fear. However, I knew that if I was going to fully trust Him, that I would have to surrender ALL of my life and my future to Him.
And so I did.
But I asked the Lord for one thing—that He would reveal to me WHY He had chosen singleness for me.
I was 50 years old by this time, and had finally, FINALLY accepted that I would never have my own children and probably would never be married. But I had begun to enjoy life again, and was experiencing the miracle of being content.
Single, but content.
And ladies, that’s when it happened. I was blindsided again.
God surprised me with the man of my dreams, and a step-daughter to boot!
And suddenly I understood.
God had kept me single for this man—this man who had been married for 28 years and whose wife had tragically lost her battle to cancer.
This was why I had to wait for so long. He was carrying out His plan for me all along, working it all out for my benefit and for His glory. He was faithful when I was not. I made a mess of my life but He redeemed it, Hallelujah!
Stephanie Bostick lives in Cabot, AR, and is the wife of Dr. Terry Bostick, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Cabot. She has a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics—Interior Design from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and a Masters of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. Stephanie loves teaching math to middle schoolers, being a pastor’s wife, and dog-mom to Remy the Wonder Dog.