I have been busy lately. Now, granted, I have taken the summer off from schooling just so I could work full-time, but aside from working 40hr weeks at a Preschool, I have crocheted many a beanie and scarf set, hung out with friends, edited some photography of mine that I took at my Aunt's wedding, and have recently joined a single women's Bible study through my church.
|My latest Beanie/Slouchy and scarf set. All hand Crocheted by me!|
|A precious preview of my Aunt's wedding photos! Totes Presh!|
And with that Bible study there has been a lot of study! This week, on Thursday, the single women and myself are going over Hannah, a feminine character of the Bible. The mother of Samuel.
What is the story that Hannah can tell us? What are the unique qualities of this Biblical woman that can offer encouragement to all the single ladies?!
I am a single lady. I have been in relationships only two times in my whole existence, which has been bitter sweet, to be honest. My first relationship left a sweet taste in my mouth for being bound to someone through love. It made me feel connected, whole, Loved. But at the same time, I had ousted God and was striving to meet the needs of my "Adam", my modern day man, and not the needs of my spiritual connection with Christ.
So needless to say, I am single. It's a pill that's hard to swallow. I am 21. So I have a ways to go! I am still in school. Have a great job. Go to church. What more could a single girl who has the world at her feet want?! Um...oh, I don't know! Let me guess....love?
I used to think "yeah, I can get my love from God. But I cannot see him, touch him, feel him." I wanted to be loved so badly that I was willing to stay in a relationship for a year that was unhealthy and emotionally/sexually abusive. Needless-to-say, I have maintained my virginity, but not my innocence.
As I look back, though, I realize something. I have never been content being in a relationship. Each time I was disappointed. And as you well know, I have only been in a relationship twice! So that's a huge deal. Why? Because I wasn't content with being single. How could I, someone who wasn't content with being single, expect to be content in a relationship? Simple. I couldn't. Why? Because in both situations God was not the focus. He wasn't the center.
So, as I read Hannah's story, I was struck by how God used one woman's human desires for His greater good-to glorify Himself! Now, those questions (above) made me really think seriously about my situation. My life is barren right now-in relational terms. I have human desires to find love and be with someone. But that day is far off in the vast future. So until that day comes, I consider the present time that I am in as a time of relational barrenness. I am empty. I am weak.
What does Hannah have to offer the single ladies of the world in regards to becoming happier women who are content with their current barren situation?
First off, a little background:
1) Hannah was the favorite wife of Elkanah
2) She was barren-Childless
3) Pininna-Elkanah's second wife-gave Hannah grief about her "closed womb" (1 Samuel 1:5).
So...what advice does Hannah-a married woman-have to offer single ladies? Perhaps, rather, we should ask-what hope does she offer?
In Hannah's case, she was barren. Sounds a little redundant saying this again and again, but this is an essential part of the story. She could not have any children. This caused her much grief. And in that state she cried out to God to give her a son, and in return she would give her son up to God in dedication as a Nazirite (a man set apart to severe God). As the story goes (1 Samuel 1-2), God blesses Hannah with the birth of a son, in which Hannah eventually gives to the Lord in service.
As I read Hannah's story, I wonder why it is so essential to the story of Samuel. What importance does it have? Looking closer into the story of Hannah, my heart is warmed to see that God uses her situation to glorify Himself through her grief. Through her weakness, through her faith and trust, through her tears...a glorious story of a woman's heart brings to pass a new season of Israel's history.
We learn from Hannah's story about a God that does great things for those who are weak:
1) He is the One who helps the weak.
2) He hears and rescues those like Hannah.
3) Our Strength comes from God, not self.
4) He has the ability to make those who are weak strong.
Now we're wanting to know what HOPE Hannah can offer us who are single! Hold on! There's more to the story than just Hannah. In this story we also get a glimpse of the heart of God:
1) He doesn't despise human desire.
2) He comforts.
3) He hears our cries.
4) He doesn't chastise us for being discontent. He understands. (1 Timothy 6:6).
5) He knows that "a hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12).
6) He invites us to bring our requests to Him (Philippians 4:6).
Hannah's story teaches us single women that God can, indeed, use our human desires and weaknesses to accomplish great things. Hannah's desire was to have a baby, even if it meant giving him up to God. What Hannah's message is about is "have hope". There is hope that one day you will be a wife. It's a good desire.
But we need to have an obedient heart of faith and trust in God for all things regardless of the outcome. He answers prayers on His own time-not ours! And he uses out weakness to embolden us to a greater purpose.
The hope that I think Hannah has to offer us is this:
It is in our barren time of life-in our case singleness-that God can use our desires and weakness to glorify Him, to strengthen us-our faith! Hannah tells a story of hope, faith, and the desire of a woman's heart. God did not ignore her. He will not ignore us! He's waiting on us to accept our position as single women, and allow Him to use our barren lives as a strength. He will give us the desires of our hearts in due time. But until then, we need to be diligent in prayer, trust wholeheartedly, and have faith that all things work to Glorify God!!