A few weeks ago, I was at an event during which the speaker began telling a story about when his now son-in-law came to ask for permission to ask the man’s daughter for her hand in marriage. Nice story, right? Something every girl loves to talk about, hear stories about, and, of course, watch movies about. Then, the speaker said something to the effect of: Well, it made me feel good, you know, that someone wanted to marry her. It means you didn’t raise a lemon.
The connotation, then, being that if you’re a single person, you’re automatically someone no one wants. That there is something wrong with you if you’ve reached a certain age and haven’t gotten married. That single people are the ones no one wanted.
People all around me laughed, but I sat there silently, casting a glance at the one other single person in the room, a dear friend who happened to be sitting next to me. A few of the people near us finally realized this statement was kind of hurtful to single people and slowly stopped laughing, furtively sneaking peeks at us, trying to see if we were hurt or angry or whatever.
The speaker didn’t mean anything by the statement. He wasn’t going out of his way to be downright hurtful; he just wasn’t thinking. It hadn’t occured to him—EVER—that saying something like that might hurt someone. But as I’ve said before, words may not break our bones, but they sure can break our hearts.
Yes, I’m 30 years old, and I’m single. Am I always happy about that? No. Do I sometimes wonder if there’s something wrong with me? Yes. Do I sometimes give into my secret irrational fear that the reason I’m still single is that no one wants me? Yes. Have I spent a lifetime coming to grips with the fact that because of some things I chose to believe about myself at a very early age at the hands of some girls I sometimes believe that I’m not pretty enough, skinny enough, or anything a guy would want? Yes. Did those words hurt? Undoubtedly.
But surprisingly, not as much as they used to. They were just careless words spoken by a man who probably got married right out of college and has never had to navigate this world on his own. They didn’t mean anything. Because the words my Father has spoken over me are the things that matter. And God says I am the apple of His eye, that I am His own special creation, that I am a woman who strive to know Him more and grow in faith, which is what really matters.
What I’ve come to embrace in the last few years is that my worth isn’t built upon what the world says about me. Because there are always going to be those girls who overshadow you, the ones who make you feel invisible with their perfect bodies, hair, and personalities—and when they’re alone, they secretly wonder if they’re good enough. And there are always going to be the things you wish for and don’t get. In the end, though, God’s word speaks loudest and He says that I am worth it. His proof was displayed on a cross all those years ago—and every day that I wake up and understand the power of living under His promise to guide me.
So, by the world’s standard, I may be a lemon.
But I’m making lemonade.