I saw a picture in my head one time as a friend told me a story of his trip through the jungle. He could see the path at his feet before him, but if he looked straight ahead, the brush was so thick that he couldn’t see anything but the vines and leaves tangled at eye-level.
He was leading a team, and so it was up to him to use his machete [don’t you know he LOVED telling me this part of the story] to chop at the overgrowth to make a way for his people to head down the path. He got scraped up a good bit, but, as he tells it, that was just a minor setback in the bigger story where he was the hero- yes, he called himself a hero – the story that there was a way to walk and it was up to him to make sure those behind him had clear access to travel.
. . . . .
I sat across the table in a coffee shop here in Nashville as a younger single girl told me of her aches and pains and the faith issues that, in her mind, were directly related to her singleness. [I. Hear. Ya. Sister.] She didn’t cry, but I held a napkin in my grip because I thought for sure, at any moment, she would. She told me stories, many that I felt she was pulling from my own journal as a 20-something single Christian gal, and I told her what I never knew to tell myself.
But God has not forgotten you.
He is showing you His love for you, even now.
Believe Him. Believe His Word. Believe His heart.
She asked me why I started writing about singleness this year. What was it about my 31st year, she wondered, that made me finally want to talk about it.
“God.” I said, “He just made it clear that this was the right time.”
Without hesitation, she said, “I’m so glad. We all need trailblazers. Now that I see that you have done this, I genuinely think I can do it too.”
I almost laughed. Trailblazer? Sister, if this is trailblazing, I am the most cut up, ill equipped, whiny leader a team has ever encountered.
I frustratingly hack away at the brush that cuts me on this path of singleness, the thorns of lies that try to penetrate my skin, the leaves of worry and the vines of loneliness that weave so tight before my eyes that the only way I can even know there is a way forward is by the path at my feet. [And even that isn’t so comforting because I don’t know where it leads.]
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path….” I sing in my head as the tears pour and I push forward on this trail.
I’ve never noticed the innocent young faces lined up behind me, watching the clearing process, and then walking through the openings that my toiling has created.
I never knew this was for them.
If that is the case, then every day I have wrestled with my singleness and the God who knows and loves me through it was so that others behind me would see and then know an easier path?
Then every day has been worth it.
. . . . .
You, my friend, married or single, you are blazing a trail with your life for the younger women behind you. They will have their own overgrowth to challenge them, and they will lead the way for others. But for today, would you be intentional about cutting back as much brush as you can?
Because you are making a way for them, saving them some pain that your bloodied arms prove is real, and honoring their footsteps by providing a clear path.
Never forget that as you are stepping forward with your life, you are a trailblazer.
Someone is watching.
May they learn to blaze with integrity, honesty, faith, and heart.
Much like you do.
By Annie Downs // AnnieBlogsLeave a Comment
Absolutely beautiful. I really needed this today as I head to another 15 hours of class to prove I’m worth to adopt. Just hacking away at the weeds,
I’m right there with you Kristi, walking to adoption road and have no idea where the Lord is leading at the end of it all, but trusting it’s all for the best. Praying for you!
Annie, I loved your posting for so many different reasons. First of all I am going through a high conflict divorce. My ex is an attorney and has intentionally delayed proceedings. I’m into my 4th year and on top of it I have a daughter who has health issues. I definately feel like a trail blazer even at 51 years old as I try to navigate the whole family court system with no money for an attorney and come to understand my singleness and my walk with the Lord. I have come to realize I cannot put my trust and faith in the courts but only in the Lord. I have stuggled with control issues and have now allowed The Lord to be in control. As I’m trail blazing, the Lord is teaching me and helping me grow in my trust and faith in Him.
I also have wrestled with my singleness. A friend sent my a poem titled “On His Plan for Your Life”.
“Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone – to have a deep soul relationship with another…but God, to a Christian says:
No, not until you’re satisfied, fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone; with giving yourself totally and unreservingly to me…discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be planned for you. You will never be united with another until you are united with Me – exclusive of anyone else or anything else, exclusive of any desire or longings…” (this is not the entire poem, if you want the complete version let me know).
God Bless all the trail blazers as they are lead by God.
Absolutely beautiful. I really needed this today as I head to another 15 hours of class to prove I’m worthy to adopt a child in from the foster care system. Just hacking away at the weeds…
Oh Annie, this is wonderful. Such wisdom and important truth here. Thank you for opening my eyes up wider to this concept of “trailblazing for others”. I just love this so very much. Bless you for being honest and real and for your ministry. What a gift this was today. Thanks for sharing your beautiful words. They touch deep.
You are totally making my week! First, the hilarity of your fitted sheet re-post. Now, this post – simple, heartwarming, encouraging, inspiring. Thank you for reminding me that my struggles are not just for my own growth but for the benefit of those who follow. What’s next, I’m going to bump into you in line at Target where we’re both buying the same perfect t-shirt?
Thank you for sharing this trailblazing post … it’s one I will book mark and return to again and again.
You are a blessing Annie. Thank you for sharing your journey, and know that you ARE helping others. There are many paths to “single”.
My path was a long one. I married my high school sweetheart. After
being a couple for nearly 40 years, 24 of those happily married (or so I thought) he has left me for another woman and filed for divorce. The blessing is that I have four wonderful children. Now I am single too.
I will pick up my machete and hack away right next to you.
This encourages my little trailblazer heart more than words can express today. Thank you.
This is lovely. Thank you for sharing!
So encouraging. Thanks for hacking away, for in doing so, you are proving that this life can be lived honestly, graciously and with hope (by the grace of God).
Annie, thank you so much for obeying the Lord and having the courage to write about something that can be so painful and hard for us as women to address. You write with tenderness and understanding, and I am grateful for your perfect words. They were like a soothing balm to my weary soul.
Beth Williams says
Really needed this reminder of others watching me all the time! I tend to mess up & not realize that anyone is watching. I feel bad afterwards.
The trailblazing aspect is intriguing. We are all showing the younger generation how to handle the ups and downs of life–& remain a good solid Christian!
Annie, I feel as if I could have been the girl at the coffee shop. Thank you for being the trailblazer–the hero(ine)–so that we all know we can do it, too.
Almost two years ago, God called my husband and I to an open domestic infant adoption. It wasn’t the usual story. We are in our 40’s and have 3 children. We aren’t wealthy. There was nothing about it that made sense. And lately, as we have waited to be matched with our child’s birthmother, I have found myself asking God, “Why?” There surely is someone younger, braver, wealthier who is more suited for this road than me. In my quiet time, the LORD assures me that we are, indeed on His path, and still I have begged Him to help me to understand His plan for our family. Your article today, gave me that answer I have so been longing for. I am a trailblazer, both for our new baby, and for his/her birthmother. May God give me the strength and courage to follow after Him in all things as together, we clear the path ahead and make it clear for those coming behind. God bless you for sharing your insights and wisdom. Today, you were a trailblazer for me!
Annie and all the other older women at (in)courage, Thank you for trailblazing! As a younger girl following in the trodden trail of your trailblazing, I greatly appreciate it. Seeing what the people before me have done, mistakes and triumphs alike, is so helpful. While I know it may be hard to share those struggles and feelings, please know that those of us who are younger love it! I love knowing I’m not the only one; not the only single one, the only one confused about what to do when I “grow up”. So thank you thank you thank you for having the courage to blaze the trail!
Annie – thank you so much for this! I am married but I never saw myself as trailblazing (or needing to) before! Your words made me realize how truly important it is that we all do our part. Reading this was a God moment for me!
This is lovely, and timely. I was married for a very long time, and being in my 50’s am single again. I thought I was an example for other single women my age…. that YOUNG women would not think my example applicable because I had been married before. I have a new perspective today. Thank you!
Being single is not promoted in our culture. Everyone asks if I am seeing someone, or looking, or whatever. But I can stand with head held high, and be at peace. Christ is my ‘someone’, my ‘significant other’, the lover of my soul. You will never find a better man. Being single could be temporary, so use this time to the fullest and spend your all on Christ. If it is not temporary, you have lost nothing.
Robyn @ a bird in the Father's hand says
I appreciate this post as well. Unfortunately, I have blazed a few trails in the last year that I hope no one follows. I love the way you write that we must believe His heart, because when we do that we can trust His character and rest in the hope that He has good planned for us. When I doubt that I tend to turn to fear, which causes me to grasp for control … and we all know how lovely that turns out, lol. Here’s to blazing the high trail, and knowing that He has already gone before us on all good paths.
“Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.” -Psalm 85:13
Heather :) :) :) says
Oh, I am right there with you on this post. I am 38 years old and still single, never been married. I was having a really good conversation with a married friend about this the other day…and there’s much good to say, but it’s slipping my mind right now, because I’m thinking about dinner 😉 🙂 🙂
All I know is that when God brings that right person along, all that time that you spend waiting won’t matter anymore…and you’ll be glad for that time, because you waited for God’s best 🙂 🙂
In the meantime, we have time and we should use it to grow in our walks with God and to bless other people…those are things we can do whether single or married 🙂 🙂
Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂
Thank you. I want to be what you are. I’ve got nieces and nephews I want to follow Jesus.
Thank you for this. I am not single, but know some who are and have shared it with one particular amazing gal. I’m sure you will touch her even more deeply than you have touched me. Thank you for train blazing! Whether you knew it or not. 🙂
Annie, thank you. It’s been blessings and indeed encouragement to ponder and be “renewed” reading your post esp on the subject of singleness, satisfaction, contentment and trust that goes with being one. We have different paths ahead of us and somehow we have to take the step or continue taking steps of faith and trust. And as we continue one step at a time, may our dear good and great God sustain us with knowing and loving Him more, that in what’s ahead, may we be found faithful in Him.
What a beautiful word picture. Thank you Annie. This was much needed today.
Blessing to you on your journey.
Elangwe christina says
Thanks for the article. I am forty six and I ahve never been married but I don’t regret any moment of it. It is true there are those times you would have loved to have that experience and what it feels like. But the Lord always knows best. I am involved in taking care of orphans, abandoned and destitute children so I do not feel as if I have missed out on anything. The Lord bless you and keep writing
I have seen this same truth in my own life the last few years and even more so with a recent development. Glad we’re in this together, Annie!
Sarah W. says
Sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes. Sometimes you need to be reminded that it’s worth it – no matter what. Thank you for sharing!
So timely to catch this post, a few days late (but right on time). This morning I finally opened my heart to a trusted friend and as we prayed, she looked up at me and said,
Don’t beat around the thorny bush. Go through it. There’ll be lots of Hello Kitty band-aids waiting for you on the other side.
I’m not much of a Hello Kitty girl… but the picture was sweetly perfect. It made me tear up.
I will trail-blaze today, and tomorrow, and for as long as it takes. Because I trust the One who guides my path, and will never let me get more scratched up than I can handle.
Thanks, Annie… Your transparency compels others and makes you shine.