Written By: Kerrington Sweeney
At the beginning of this summer, I was asked to come share at a church in Wheatley about my Women’s Ministry. The original plan was, that I was to share for about 15-20 minutes. In, out and done. I was so thrilled to have this opportunity to share briefly in a church congregation setting. The night before I was to share, I received a call from the associate pastor of that church. He explained to me, the head pastor and himself had been discussing and had decided that it would be such a wonderful idea, to have me share the whole length of a sermon rather than my 15-20 minute, 6 page memorized rendition. I was to preach.
The words that the associate pastor had said on the phone that night truly struck deep within me. He said:
“We feel that you are in a Season of readiness.”
It was then in that very moment, that God began to reveal to me, the message I was to share today. Seasons, is defined by the Webster’s Dictionary as: A time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature.
Our world frequently changes seasons. Seasons are so apart of our everyday lives. For example: Our weather is divided into seasons: Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall. Our calendar is divided into seasons BC and AD. Our time is divided into seasons, day light savings time, etc. The list could go on. Seasons can come yearly, monthly, bi-yearly, occasionally or sometimes just once. God created seasons for us to understand them and know about them fully. God has planned the seasons of our lives with infinite wisdom. He has ordained each one, knowing exactly what fruit is to be harvested during each time frame. Today, to start off…I am going to share about the Season of Life I am currently in and how I got here.
I joke with people all the time about, how I was homeschooled all my life, born into a passionately serving Christian family who loves God with everything, saved at a very young age, baptized and now walking into ministry…I didn’t really feel like I had a testimony to share. Because I never really had a “past” or any mishaps in my relationship with Christ. It was tough going into this, with that mindset, thinking I didn’t even have a beneficial testimony.
Until, I truly sat down at the writing board and God began to show me what I was to share. So share I must…Ever since I was a young girl, I have always loved the sight of relationships. I loved weddings, I loved everything about LOVE! I made it my ultimate life goal…to have the perfect dating relationship and Godly-marriage one day.
The pressure and high expectation of myself started as far back, as my junior kindergarten year. I was probably about 4 years old and for some odd reason…I couldn’t understand the difference between the numbers, 3 and 4. My Mom and My Grandma, always tell me this story. Poor Kerrington stressing out to the point of tears saying: “How am I going to plan my wedding, if I don’t know what’s 3 and what’s 4!?!” My Mom, would remind in those moments of my wedding-bliss stress, that I would have plenty of time to learn my numbers, and to plan my dream wedding.
I was a 6 year old, with two favorite movies at the time…father of the bride, and the wedding planner, watching them way to often and planning my dream wedding to a tee. From the wedding dress I was to wear, that I had concocted on some lined paper, with my gel pen collection, to the perfect, gorgeous wedding cake I had drawn in homeschool art class, to the simple wedding invitations (with a blank spot for the grooms name of course…) that I had created on a now monster-sized computer, in the program, paint. I was ready for this dream of a wedding. Just waiting for my Prince Charming of a groom to be dropped into my Life.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11
As I was getting older, and I began to have crush after crush through grade school and obviously nothing really became out of those crushes but, I wasn’t too sad about that though…because everyone knows, that you will always find your ‘one true love’ in your high school years. At least, that’s what I thought going into it…
In our home, my parents have made the very wise decision that, in order to be in a dating relationship we need to be 16 and older. Which is totally fair in my opinion and I look back at that now and think…Thank goodness, they had that rule in line because I was definitely not ready for the stresses and drama of a young teenage relationship.
I was now 14 years old and I had just been invited to my friends Hawaiian Style “Sweet 16.” I remember the day like it was just yesterday…it was a chilly April spring afternoon. This was my very first co ED party I was ever attending. I was so thrilled. Like I mentioned before, I was 14 years old and still in the process of ‘finding myself’ so to say. That evening before I was just about ready to leave for the party, my parents were in the process of ordering new cell phones. They were put on hold for what felt like forever (literally over 2 hours long…got to love customer service)
At this point the party had already began and I was getting very impatient to get going. I arrived only about 30 minutes late to the party but, still I was late!!! Upon my arrival, I walked in the back door of my friend’s house and was greeted by a staircase landing filled with dozens of shoes. I could hear the voices of tons of people partying and loud music playing from inside. My heart began to pound.
I am at a BIG party and it’s going to be a late Friday night…this is amazing! I thought. With great anticipation, I opened the door and the party was already in full swing. I had noticed vaguely that there was some guests I did not know at this party but, I didn’t really pay much attention to it. Like any other teenage-birthday party we all visited, played games and ate snacks. But then…it was cake time! I remember making my way to the dining room where cake was to be served. Between getting up from my chair in the living room to making my way the short distance to the dining room, my attention in an instant was caught by a very handsome young man whom I had never met before in my entire life. My Friend, the ‘Birthday Girl’ seen that I was intrigued. She quickly ran to my aid and introduced us. I was speechless. In that moment I could feel my tummy fluttering frantically with hundreds of butterflies. I mustered up all the courage within me to say “Hello!”
We chatted for quite some time that night and in amongst the crazy chaos and noise of the party for that 20 minutes or so it felt like it was just us there. No one else. Just him and I getting to know each other. The party went on and it was such a great night filled with so many memories. I remember leaving the party that night, with many hopes that one day I would see this young man again.
About a weeks’ time had passed and I had given up any hope of really ever seeing him again. Besides I didn’t even know if he was a Christian or anything like that. I let the ‘feelings’ I had go. It was now the next Friday and I was off to youth group. All of us youth were just casually relaxing and chatting in the lobby of our church that night waiting for worship to get started. My back was faced towards the door. I heard the door open behind me and for some reason I turned around and long behold… there He was.
As time went on, we both began to have a crush on each other for about a year and a half between seeing each other at youth on Friday Nights and now at Church on Sunday mornings. I was so excited to finally turn 16, so I could just date this guy. Then Life happened, and reality struck…
I knew without a doubt, deep down in my heart, that this was not the guy, God had chosen for me. Experiencing a heart-break for the first time was very difficult. I felt so empty…like I had nothing to offer. Like I wasn’t worth it. I came so close that time, to having that ultimate life goal fulfilled, with that perfect dating relationship and possibly filling that blank-space on my wedding invitations. But God had other plans for me. I moved on and began walking a different journey in my life.
Around that time, I joined a Book Study Club that my youth leaders, Mandy and Cindy, were hosting for the girls of our youth group…and it so happened to be, that the book we began studying was “When God writes your Love story.” Perfect timing, I know! I still remember the day that we ended our book study, and we had a time of reflection. It was then that, I rededicated this part of my life to God. May 30th, 2013…I gave my Love-story to the Lord once again.
In that special God ordained-moment, right in Mandy’s living room…sitting with 6 other single young ladies, who also were patiently waiting for their prince charming. We prayed together. We prayed that we would praise God in the good times and we’d praise Him in the tough times. We prayed that we would be patient for the right one to come into our lives and that we would trust God from that day forward with everything.
Over the past few years, I have witnessed the pure sight of excitement watching a lot of girls my age, begin sweet new relationships…
“When will my day ever come?!” Was the question, I so frequently asked of myself? I struggled deeply with thoughts of, Are my standards too high? Should I be working out? Should I lose weight? Should I try and become less of a “church girl”? Should I get a new wardrobe? Should I be changing the way I live my life?
….Why am I still single!?!
God really began speaking to me clearly in those moments of distraught. I thought back and I couldn’t even believe myself for thinking those things that I had been. I was willing and ready to lower my standards, and completely alter my close relationship with God. I was ready and prepared to start changing my body image. I was ready to change my life, in sheer hope of…”Maybe somebody will have me?”
I felt so ashamed of my past thought life and on the spot I felt summoned to ask for God’s forgiveness. To clear my ‘Life Slate’ of the filthy darkness that was covering it. In that season of my life, I truly learned many difficult lessons, on being genuinely happy for others. Even when they received something, I so desperately wanted, have waited for and have petitioned in prayer for. I was and am still very young but, the pressures of being single, in a relationship-obsessed world at times can overcome my heart.
The 4 out of 6 girls that had prayed for their Love-stories that day in our book club, are now dating some very incredible young men. I am still single and I can still get caught up questioning God. “Why aren’t I one of those happy blessed girls with a young man by my side?”
My yearning for a happily ever after, had begun getting in the way of living my life now, in the moment. I have felt inadequate that I truly didn’t have what it would take, to have the blessing of a relationship in my life.
About maybe 2 months ago, I was visiting some distant family members who I hadn’t seen in roughly 5-8 years. The very first question they asked me was: “So are you married yet???” My Grandma caught wind of the question that had just been asked of me, and she defensively replied with, “She’s only 17 years old…” That family member then proceeded to say, “Well isn’t she ready yet?!” It was in that moment…that I broke. In an instant, when those words were spoken, a gut-wrenching feeling came over me. I simply wanted to step back and weep. That pressure and high expectation was there, not only from myself, not only from the world…but now also from my own blood relatives.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” ~Proverbs 14:30
The pressure and high expectation, only grows with time. Every girl’s night sleepover, birthday parties, church services, homeschool outings and more, basically whenever I have come in contact with any human being…the questions are asked of me:
“Anyone special in your life?”
“Do you have a significant other YET??”
“You dating anyone?”
I felt like a complete failure, to be honest… The feelings of worthlessness and not measuring-up have crept into my weary heart. Envy had taken over my body.
I was raging inside, each time a friend began a new relationship, got engaged or even married… it had to come to a stop…but HOW?!?! I was knee-deep into a dark pit of wanting and “if onlys” being shoved down more and more each passing day. I just couldn’t keep my focus anymore, I felt like I had nothing. Before the Lord I came buried, broken and defeated and in that moment of desperation He vividly spoke these words of love over my Life…
“Kerrington, your day will come. In this continued season of waiting, I want you to do nothing but, listen to me. Don’t ever change your standards or the way I have created you to be, just to get that significant other. I have created you unique on purpose the way you are, and I intend to keep you that way. You are my precious daughter, in whom I am well pleased…Continue on this journey with me as your guide and you will bear much fruit in the near future. Come my daughter, and follow me.”
God created each of us, with one sole purpose of knowing Him and making Him known. I personally wouldn’t have been able to get through this without God as my ultimate guide. He was my comforter, when I had nowhere to go, He was my lead, when I felt lost and wandering, and He was my Love, when I felt all alone. He was my Heavenly Father then, and He still is today, and He will be forevermore.
Instead of dreading each new day, wondering if every young man I see is ‘the one’…I can start living right now and choose to see the beauty in each and every day. Knowing that during this time, this current Season of my life, God is shaping me into the woman, He is calling me to be.
My singleness, is God’s perfect place to thrive in. I am no longer caught up believing …that I need to wait for my “knight in shining armor” to truly start living my life. God has shattered my mindset with the knowledge that…I can know the Lord fully and serve Him wholly right here, right now, with or without a young man by my side.
So my Testimony is one of, God’s grace…Coming from a girl impatiently waiting to date just any guy, to a young woman waiting with purpose for her future Godly Husband. My desire for my life is to be a reminder to the world that singleness does not mean you are “stuck”. The purpose I believe in my Season of singleness is to take every day and to glorify Jesus in everything I do. It is an opportunity to let my life, be a true living sacrifice for Christ.
Until Next Time,