What can a thirty-four-year-old, mother of two, who has been eleven years married say to a twenty-something single person looking for love? Perhaps I shouldn’t put myself down. After all, when I was a twenty-something single looking for love, I would have loved to hear some helpful, valuable advice from someone who has been where I have been and then come out the other side. Isn’t that why we follow Jesus? He has been where we have been and come out victorious so that he can walk with us through all our ‘trials and temptations’. And isn’t that partly why we go through them too? So we can help others? (Luke 22:32)

What would I say to single, twenty-something me in those days when I was looking for love?

Oh what I would love to go back and say to that girl! Actually, I would say very little at first, but just hold her and love her. I would embrace her and tell her how loved and valued she is and how she will touch the hearts of so many in her lifetime. In fact, if I look back, I believe that is exactly what God did during those years using the arms of others. I can walk through my life step by step and recognise very special people that God placed there to do exactly that. Friends who loved the real me and enjoyed my company, friends who would encourage me and pray for me and listen to me and see the real gold in me. Friends who said through every act of kindness 'You are not alone'.

When I think of it like that, I see the hand of God over my life. I see his heart for me, longing to love and embrace and encourage me and lift me up and tell me to keep going and not give up and reminding me over and over of the gift and talents and desires he has placed in my heart for a reason.

You see, I believed for the longest time that I had a ‘husband-shaped-hole’ in my heart that only the man of my dreams could fulfil. God in his goodness didn’t give me the gift of a husband till he had sorted out a few priorities in my head first. But also in his goodness, God didn’t wait till I had it all completely, perfectly sorted before he gave me that gift either. Because his gift was not based on my achievements or sense of spirituality. When my parents bought me a car, they waited till I could drive but they didn’t wait till I had a perfect lifelong record of spotless driving because by then it would be far too late!

God’s gift came in God’s perfect time and I am so thankful for the lessons I learned in the meantime and those I’ve learned after. I’m thankful for the hard years of waiting, I’m thankful that he didn’t abandon me when I messed up but healed my broken heart, I’m thankful that when my gift came, I wasn’t desperate for it anymore – I’m thankful for every bit of God’s transformational work that he did in my heart as a young single, woman especially the painful bits. And I’m thankful that I didn’t do it alone.

If I look back to that young single woman, desperately looking for love, I would say to her that she is not alone. The hand and heart of God is over her and with her. I would say, there are very special people he has placed in your life, some you haven’t even met yet, who will love you and cherish you and care for you. God has many, many gifts for you. One of them may be a husband but it’s not the only one and it will come at the right time. There is so much of life to learn and enjoy right now so enjoy it and cherish every moment. Then perhaps I would hand her this book I’ve read called Looking for Love, about finding God’s purpose for love and marriage. I know how much that young woman loved to read and how she embraced words from wiser women who had been there. And I would promise to pray for her because this would not be the last time she would need to hear words from a wiser woman.

You are still not alone

I wonder what my older self, twenty years from now, would say to me today? I think she would say pretty much the same thing – you have no idea what’s in store for you! There are good times as well as some painful times coming but you are not alone. The hand and the heart of God are over you and with you. He has placed special gifts within you and people you haven’t even met yet to love and encourage and pray for you. There may still be a few things to learn but that’s ok – you will be thankful for them in the end. Enjoy each day, cherish the moment, thank God every day because God has been, God is and God will be good to you all the days of your life.