Article Written By Vikki Ledbetter
Wrestling moves may not be something you’d expect to talk about in a spiritual conversation, but that’s exactly what happened when Linda Brown shared her story.
“It was like God put me in a full nelson, and I just finally said, ‘I give.’”
An administrative assistant at Brainerd, she’s married to her husband, Matt, and dotes on grandkids like any loving “Gigi” would. But there was a time when “family life” seemed out of reach– she was single until age 41.
“It’s a season I look back on and am thankful for,” she said. “I learned so much, but it was difficult and painful, and I don’t know that I would’ve said that at the time.”
Through high school and college, Linda watched as friends dated. She wanted a relationship eventually, too, but also didn’t want to just date to date, or try to engineer anything. Later, as friends started to get married, she was genuinely happy about it … but it left her questioning herself.
“I was excited for them, and I was glad to learn how to do things myself – buy a house, pay the bills,” she explained. “But there were always these questions – what’s wrong with me? Do I need to fix my hair? Wear my makeup differently? Dress differently? Am I just weird?”
It’s a familiar struggle for many single adults. And while the Bible outlines advantages of singleness for the sake of the Gospel, that desire for relationship and to be wanted can be overwhelming. For Linda, it was most overwhelming in her mid-30s when her friend and roommate got married. It was a sort of tipping point, when she began to grapple with the idea that marriage might not be in God’s plan for her life.
“Ya know, I would just cry and get mad talking to God,” she explained. “But I found that when I just put it all out there, I not only felt better, I also got to know the Lord as Wonderful Counselor.”
It was a season she grew in her relationship with the Lord, she explained, quoting Psalm 3 and His care for her during that time.
“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”
The phrase “the One who lifts up my head” means He cups my face in his hands and He listens.
From then, she resolved to just be okay with it — that’s where the “full nelson” moment came in. It was a continued struggle, to be sure, but in her heart, she’d surrendered.
Then, before 40, that ember of hope for marriage began to glow again. Which was frustrating to Linda. She didn’t want to return to that all-to-familiar discontent. What she didn’t know, though, was that God was preparing her to meet Matt.
The pair met at the church she was working for. It was a slow process, one that started as friendship and turned to romance. Not fireworks, but a subtle and intentional path to dating, and then marrying a year later. They celebrated their 13th anniversary earlier this month.
“It was so worth the wait. Looking back now I know God was protecting me, protecting me from emotional baggage, and protecting me from myself in some ways,” she said. “I was ready for the right reasons, and I’m so glad I didn’t hurry the process … although it was tempting!”
Even now, knowing the growth she experienced, she knows it is a difficult spot to be in for those who do want to be married. So, she offered a few pieces of advice for single adults.
- Know that it’s okay to not feel okay sometimes, and just be honest with yourself and God.
- Understand that you are blessed, and that God may be protecting you and wants to use you for a unique purpose.
- Don’t be in a hurry because you have your life planned to look a certain way. Have you consulted God about that plan? Talk to Him, and look for ways He’s teaching you more about himself and helping you grow as a person.
Get more articles, resources and news on the Brainerd Baptist blog.