By Kammy L. Willis
Family and friends assured me that God must be planning “someone special” for me. What other reason would He have for keeping me single for so long? Years passed and the assurances began to inflict more pain than comfort. I pleaded and bargained with God. However, the continued loneliness magnified my doubts until I felt that God cared about everyone’s problems but mine. Eventually, I issued a challenge to God. Could He really make someone special enough to be worth the years of loneliness I had endured?
A few days later an old friend called me. He wanted me to fill in for him at a multi-day Christian music celebration. He was promoting discipleship tools to use with youth groups but he felt that he needed a day off to spend with his wife and children. Because of his commitment to help another friend at the festival, he needed an alternate.
I agreed to go, but dreaded the approaching event. It would be a long and boring day during the humid summer. I arrived in the morning and found my way to the merchandise area only to find my co-worker acting less than cordially. My earlier expectation of a long and pointless day seemed certain.
The scheduled speaker was one of my favorites. The event was seeking volunteers to counsel people who responded to the teaching, and the organizers were glad to accept my previous training with a Billy Graham Crusade. Anticipating the evening service added to the discovery that we were located near the stage for my favorite band. We even enjoyed an extra hour of music as they warmed up before their concert and the day continued to improve.
Finally, the vendors’ tent closed for the service to begin. I made my way to the counseling area as the speaker shared the message of the Cross. Many young people responded to the invitation. The lead counselor sent a few girls in their mid-
teens to me and we sat in a circle to talk. As I started to ask them if they had any questions, God prompted me to share my own story. It barely seemed appropriate, but God clearly urged me to help these girls make a connection with me. I understood how easily it could feel like no one cares at that age so I explained to them why my favorite verse, Even if my father and my mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. (Psalm 27:10, NLT), was so important to me.
I told the girls how even having a great stepfather couldn’t completely erase the feelings of rejection I experienced growing up. Knowing that my own father had left me as a toddler was a rejection that had darkened many relationships during my high school years. The Lord brought peace and started healing my heart when I accepted His gift of salvation my first year of college and that healing continued each day.
The girls started crying as I told them that God loved them that same way. In this verse, God promised that even if they felt completely discarded, He would hold them close. When I shared how God’s strength embraced me when meeting my father for the first time, the girl at my side began sobbing violently. I put my arm around her, finished my testimony and answered some questions.
After praying together, the other girls left and my attention turned to the young woman still sobbing in my arms. “My Mom wants to meet me!” she exclaimed. After growing up in a foster home, her birth mother had recently contacted her for the first time. She wanted to honor the foster mother who had raised her and loved her as if she was her own daughter. Still, this girl longed to discover the part of herself she believed knowing her birth mother would reveal.
We talked for nearly half an hour. She had accepted the Lord as a child, but now wanted to rededicate her life to Him. We discussed what God had taught me when my birth father reappeared and prayed for God to strengthen and comfort her. During the prayer, we asked God to give both her foster mother and her birth mother wisdom to handle the situation peacefully. We also asked God to use the approaching events to deepen the girl’s faith in Him.
I left the tent thanking God that my own experience could help someone so special, and that He had brought me there to help her. Abruptly the realization rushed through my heart: God designed that moment to impact me as much as it touched the girl going off to face a vague future. He had brought someone special enough to be worth the years of loneliness and struggle with singleness into my life, and it wasn‘t a spouse. My friend said that he had called me to substitute because he believed that as a single I might be available without much notice. Who else would have been so equipped to help this teen if I were off “enjoying” a marriage?
My mind rushed to the people and opportunities I might never have noticed if busy caring for a husband and children. I thought of children and teens that had come to me at church just to have someone listen. I thought of co-workers for whom I had prayed. Would I have met them with my stay-at-home-mom plans?
Singleness became a new experience for me that day. It wasn’t about being chosen or rejected. It wasn’t about something wrong with me, or with the guys out there. Singleness was my mission field. In it, God gave me the gifts of time and accessibility to people who I might never have known existed otherwise. My family and friends had described God’s strategy in a way they could never have imagined. While I didn’t have a someone special to take care of my longings, my life bustled with many special someones with whom to share God’s love.