Guest Blogger Erica Cheslock
I’m 32 years old and I’ve never been in a long-term, serious relationship. There I said it.
Sharing this personal information about myself with people has brought a wide variety of responses from “Girl, you just keep on holding out until the right guy comes along. He’ll be worth the wait,” to “what is the matter with you? Do you ever want to get married?” As a matter of fact, yes, I do.
Since I was a young teenager I remember having a strong desire to be married and have a family one day. But I never knew at the age of 32, I’d still be waiting for that dream to be fulfilled. I was (and at times still am) a shy, quiet girl who grew up tall and thin, at times feeling so awkward in my own skin. My body image, and self-esteem, conveyed a message to the world what I thought about myself: I am not worthy of anyone’s love.
In college, I found a love that has filled my life for the past 14 years, the love of Jesus. Over the course of these years, my love for Jesus has deepened. I have gone through mountains and valleys in my relationship with him, but while I was looking for the right man to come along, Jesus was always there. I have dated a number of men, ones that I thought someday would be “the one,” but had to give up these opportunities of a relationship over and over again because I knew God had a better plan.
It’s been discouraging, especially as I get older. I long for companionship, for a life partner, someone who understands me and wants to love me fully for who I am. I long for children. My dating life has not been easy, as I learn more about the baggage that each person brings into a relationship, into a potential partnership where each has to lay down their lives for their partner. But I am encouraged by the fact that God has always brought me in and out of situations with his grace and mercy. He has taken me out of dating relationships that were unhealthy, even when I didn’t think I could walk away on my own. Even during the times where I considered throwing in the towel and settling for someone who was not right for me, He has shown me that his love is far greater than that of any man.
While at times I still struggle with my self-esteem, and the “what’s wrong with you?” comments don’t sting as much, I know that I am constantly being refined. Both positive and painful experiences in my life have made me into a stronger woman who is not willing to accept anything but what God has for me. I continue to pray for the Lord to bless my desire for marriage and family. I do not know if that prayer will be answered the way I want it to, but still, I pray.