A Full Place Setting

Well here it is… I am officially becoming a Blogger.  I love to write and have heard so much encouragement from friends to start a blog. REALLY?  Why in the world would anyone care about anything I have to say?  But if my words bring any laughter, encouragement, or thought into your day then why not?   Now all you encouragers need to follow me.  🙂

So to give you the low down on me,  I am  40, single, and live in the same small town in the South that I grew up in, that recently was named the #3 place in the country that is horrible for singles to live in.  Sounds exciting right?

Where I live we still stop driving when we pass a funeral procession, we wave and say “Hi”  to people we don’t know, and we don’t realize there are other teams in college football outside the SEC. Nothing stays open past 9pm except the Walmart, Walgreens, and Waffle House. Fried chicken is brought to every picnic, reunion, or fellowship, and Sweet Tea and cornbread are staples in each home.

And by the time you finish college you should be married.

What?

I love telling people I am 40 and single.  They always answer back in a whisper….      “Oh, I am SOOOOOO sorry.”  Like singleness is a disease that I have contracted while out saving humanity.  I am forever getting emails, Facebook links, or random pieces of mail advertising dating websites, tips on being single, what to do while I am single, how to make myself appear available, and places I can meet other singles. All are well meaning, but they can get OH so annoying. People can’t seem to grasp that not all of us Singles look at our singleness as an affliction or a curse. I LOVE living alone.  I hate to cook, and I hate fast food, so I can sit on my couch and devour a bowl of cereal or a big honking mountain of popcorn any night of the week I want (which is usually 4 out of the 7 nights).

Here’s a little fun trivia fact for you.  Every roommate I have ever had, I have married off.  That would be 6. That is 6 weddings, 2 Bridesmaids dresses, countless showers, making thousands of party favors, lots of diets, 1,500 pounds of wedding cake, and about 175 pounds of punch.  My first ever roommate got engaged the DAY I moved into the apartment, and the other followed shortly.  After that, I feel my girlfriends wanted to live with me.  I was a good luck charm to them.  It quickly became a joke in our circle of friends… Live with Jessica and you will be married within a year!  It did take a while for me to marry off my final roommate, Kimberly.  It took 6 whole years to finally get her hitched and out of the apartment, but we Got ‘er Done!  After that, I decided to retire from the roommate business.

Then my baby sister got married.  Now that set off all kinds of alarms for people around me. Sarah, was getting married before Jessica! WHAT???!!! HOW did that happen? People questioned how I felt or how I was dealing with it.  Dealing? My sister was getting married to a great guy.  I was ecstatic for her.   During the reception at least 15 people came up and hugged my neck like we were at a funeral instead of a joyous occasion.  They would lean in and speak in that same hushed sympathetic whisper, “Your time will come sweetie. Don’t you worry.  We will be doing this for you one day soon. Don’t give up!”  Each was heart felt, but almost comical.  They made it sound like I was setting out to climb Mt. Everest or had just been diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Seriously, Marriage does not define me.

Don’t get me wrong…. I don’t wake up in the morning and scream, “YES!!! I am still single!” And I don’t always feel strong when I am around all my married, friends.  But after several tear filled nights, and about 2000 Little Debbie Fudge Rounds, I finally picked up a book that someone had given me and I had thrown to the wayside.   I opened up LADY IN WAITING by Debby Jones and Jackie Kendall, and after reading the first page… I knew they had written this book for me.  I learned that the most important relationship I would ever have is with Jesus, and until I fell in love with Him, then any other relationship I had would be meaningless and unimportant.

One specific story at the beginning of the book that struck me and changed the way I live life is the story of A Full Place Setting.  A young single, like myself, had collected items over the years and placed them in a Hope chest for “When” she married.  Over time the items started piling up, a fancy quilt,  beautiful decorations for her home, and a most exquisite set of  gorgeous dishes.  She soon came to realize that those items were being wasted sitting in a chest, waiting for the day when she was  married and could enjoy them.  Why did she have to wait?  Could she as a single, unattached, no prospect in sight, female even dream to enjoy such nice, exquisite items that were meant for a married woman?  She soon saw the foolishness in such thinking and brought out each of the items.  The beautiful quilt was placed on her bed, and she savored every meal she ate on her full place setting of valued China.

Talk about a light bulb moment.  I too soon realized how much I was putting off until the blessed day when Mr. Right came along. Oh how life changed when I started living!  I found life so much more enjoyable when I realized the good stuff is not meant to be boxed up, but enjoyed.  I didn’t need a man to make me complete.  What I needed was a new way of thinking and living. Through learning this I found myself falling in love with Jesus and realized that my relationship with HIM is the only one that can bring me total fulfillment and completeness.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not Super Single Gal who walks around full of joy each day for the single life she leads.  Nor do I always make the right choices.  There are those times that the  pings of jealousy sting extra sharp and I am flung into a period where I want to hang out on my couch with my dog and  my BFF Little Debbie and watch my collection of 90210 dvds.  However, I make a conscious choice every day to live life to the fullest.  My life is not incomplete because the 4th finger on my left hand is naked.  Being married or even in a relationship does NOT complete or define me.  Having contentment with the One who gave HIS life so I may have mine, is what completes me.  He is enough.  Through Him, I have all I need.  I may be alone, but I am never lonely. One of my favorite quotes from Lady In Waiting is,

Incompleteness is not the result of being single, but of not being full of Jesus. Only in the process of reckless abandonment to Jesus does any woman (or man) ever understand that, in Him, they are complete.”     

Well, that pretty much sums up right now. Yes, I am 40.  Yes, I am single.  No. My life is not sad or empty.  It is full.  Full of family and great friends that love me despite my quirky, fiery redheaded nature, and who encourage and inspire me each day.  I am full of love and passion and lots of opinions.  I have an obsession with books, football, and my dog Ellie.  Stick around and join me on this journey that is my life. As the great philosopher Karen Carpenter once sang…. We’ve Only Just Begun.  And remember, if you come over to my house for dinner, I may serve you popcorn and cereal, but it is going to be served on my finest full place setting of my beautiful dishes.

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18 thoughts on “A Full Place Setting

  1. I completely understand even though I am married. I get the same sad or confused reaction when people find out that I never had children but I’m fine. I didn’t need to give birth to love someone as only a mother can. I have my dogs and a wonderful step daughter that need me and that I’m happy to be there for them.

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  4. Happy Bloggiversary, Jess! I totally get you, and it’s true love (how’s that for looking in the mirror?!) You are the Tennessee version of this Maryland girl (who has a few years on you, married at 36, and still wading (waiting?) through the teen years with two bright and somewhat confused children. I’m not too good at math, but even I know I’ve dropped too many hints on how old that makes me. Wanted to share the experience of my first real friendship with a Southern girl (capitalization all mine) oh so many years ago. We worked together (if you could call it that). And she was the highlight of the office, for sure.

    Suebird (from Aiken, SC): [in a hoarse whisper, down a long and otherwise quiet hallway] Shay-ron, you look like you need your butt beat, and I am just the stick to do it!
    Shay-ron (me… ): [speechless. doubled over in laughter, and with effort after gulping air] I wish I had Southernisms like that in my vocabulary.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story – a prompt to us all to bloom where we are planted! No one makes a better you (except maybe me, but now I’m projecting). And God be praised – He does good work 😀 !

    Liked by 1 person

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