Surviving The Relationship Status

Ever since I was 14 years old I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer. I love absolutely everything about the American Legal system, as well as American government and politics. Fast forward about 16 years, and here I am at age 30 doing what I absolutely love--- I’m an attorney and currently serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff for a sitting Governor.  

Needless to say the years between my childhood dreams and now were filled with transformation, and a whole lot of growing up. Ultimately, I believe that God uses our interests to help reveal our own personal callings, and for some, like myself, at a very young age. I feel such a strong sense of purpose and the presence of God through my current profession. I truly love what I do.

Did I mention I am also not married?

To be perfectly honest I hate talking about this topic with anyone other than people that I am very close to. When someone brings up the topic "why aren't you married?", I immediately want to crawl into a hole and hide, or respond with “BACK OFF OF MY LIFE, I am the one living it!” But usually, in true lawyer style, I always try to finagle the conversation into a different topic.

I can remember a day about two years ago where I recently received an exciting promotion, and I was reflecting on how all the hard work I put in since college and law school was really starting to pay off. It felt like suddenly I was riding this exciting current, and so many blessings and opportunities were suddenly materializing in terms of my career.

Then all of the sudden it was like my entire life flashed before me. I started to remember all these childhood moments on family vacations--the laughter and love, and I found myself thinking "What in the world am I doing? How will I ever have those things, or a family, if I continue on this career path? There is just no time for anything else because I work all the time."

My mind swirled with thoughts like "Seriously, what am I doing? Literally, every single friend I had is now married. Most of them have kids that are older now than we were when we all met. SEVENTEEN weddings. I have been in SEVENTEEN WEDDINGS. It feels like I don't fit or relate to any of them anymore. Everything around me has changed. Not to mention if one more person announces my marriage status at a mass gathering...I will PUNCH them."

The bottom line is, that moment really marked the beginning of a dark and lonely season for me. It’s almost as if this fog came over me making me feel so disconnected from the rest of the world around me. Growing up I never really obsessed over or thought much about getting married or having kids, but I guess it also never really crossed my mind that I would be 30 and on my own either.

I felt stuck, lonely, angry, and confused about my past, present, and future. I was scared and conflicted because in some areas I was living the life I had always dreamed about, but at the same time I was starting to feel like it was going to cost me everything else.

As a result of this, I basically put everyone on trial, including God and Myself. I questioned and re-evaluated every relationship decision I had ever made, and blamed myself for being so independent and career focused in my 20’s. It was a hard place, mostly because I was so afraid that I had gotten myself stuck or lost. I didn't want to be around anyone.

However, in God-like fashion He was faithful to not only bring me out of the dark place I found myself in but also reveal so many new things to me.

Here are three things I learned:

     1. This experience forged in me a level of intimacy with God that I had never really known. Because I felt so lonely, disconnected, and confused, I guess I can say I really found Him in that time. More importantly, I found a place with Him that I now know ONLY He can fill, regardless of my "relationship status". This place with God I will fiercely guard forever, and it’s something no one can ever take from me.

     2. I learned that I cannot compartmentalize my trust in God. Either He is faithful, present, and working in ALL areas of my life or He is not. I cannot parse it out and say "He is faithful with some of my dreams but not all."

     3. I learned to ask for help, open up, and be vulnerable with people that I trust and know me well. These are the people that know the intimate details of my life, and remind me of the faithfulness of God when I need it.

I can honestly say that I made it through, and out of that dark forest of fear and obsessive questioning. I mostly have good days, but I would be lying if I said that there aren’t times when a comment or a joke doesn’t trigger the obsessive hamster wheel of thoughts. However, I have learned to ask for help from people I trust when that happens. I found my smile again, and the rest of the journey I just take day by day.    

Natalie LaBorde

Natalie LaBorde is an attorney who most recently served as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of Governor Bobby Jindal in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Join the discussion

Inga W. March 25, 2016 at 8:36pm

Dear Natalle,
Thank you so much for your blog! Much of what you and the responding ladies wrote, resonates with me.
I would just like to add one thought: Singlehood and family vacations are not mutually exclusive. In Germany there is a growing movement of people looking for alternative ways of living. Two of my friends, single women in their thirties, are looking for a big house to share with a family of four and possibly others. Another lady I know of has bought a semi-detached house next to a family of seven.
This lifestyle won't stop the annoying questions but it might add some great fellowship.
Sincerely Inga
P.S. I am in my fifties and after a long journey blessed with the gift of celibacy. Just saying....

Natalie L. March 1, 2016 at 8:17am

Thank you everyone for your kind words and comments. More importantly, I am very thankful this was helpful for people.
Nat

Camille February 29, 2016 at 8:08pm

Thank you very much for writing this article! Very timely for me, I am currently in that season. I feel very left out and is rethinking all the potential relationships I've had with guys in the past years. And how each of them I could have blew, just simply because of how I handle things. I am turning 30 this year and I find it harder and harder each year to explain to people why in my age I have never had an official boyfriend, more so get married. But thank you, it feels good to know I am not alone in this struggle and I pray I come out victorious by God's grace in this season.

Christine February 26, 2016 at 2:32pm

Thank you for being so transparent and posting this. I am also in the same exact boat! Just turned 32, have been working in public safety dispatch for the past 2 1/2 years, and my schedule is unlike the typical 9-5, Mon-Fri, which makes it hard to date. There are times I also feel what you feel, or thought similarly in regards to this current season in life (friends getting married; others raising their first or second kids already). It's difficult to see what God has planned for us, but that's the beauty of it. Trusting God completely, growing with him and going deeper into his Word.

I love what was posted - that maybe, God isn't ready to share us just yet! :) He's got plans though, bigger than we could ever imagine or fathom for our lives. Hang in there, God bless you!

Amy February 16, 2016 at 12:57am

Natalie,

Thank you so much for writing this article. As a 31 year old successful but single business woman your words resonated with me so much. I am encouraged by the truth that I cannot compartmentalize my faith and trust in God in certain areas, but must learn and trust him in ALL areas or none. Great blog..thanks again! Good to know we aren't alone out here.

Ange February 15, 2016 at 4:50pm

I'm in the exact same boat regarding all my friends being engaged, married, and now having children - while I'm still single. It's a challenge to transfix your eyes on the One true love who gives all contentment - to trust in Him in ALL areas. Then again, when the comment people make as to asking me "why are you still single" really does get in my skin and want to hide in a cave. I also don't like it when people (friends who are couples or church members) match-make you with other single men within the church; quite frustrating.

Merritt February 15, 2016 at 7:09am

Natalie, what a beautiful message. I, too, was single much, much longer than I wanted to be and really relate to everything you shared. Thanks for being an encouragement to other single women and for being an example of letting Christ rule in your life when it's hard--especially when it's hard! Blessings to you sweet sister.

PaulineClark February 14, 2016 at 11:25pm

hank you for being so honest. I am a widow of 8 years and have experienced some of your days. God is GOOD all the time and He is mine and I am HIS. In HIS time for HIS glory is my journey with Him. God Bless.

Victoria February 14, 2016 at 10:11am

Dear beautiful, brave and very courageous Natalie.
Thank you for your transparency and vulnerability.
Being a single and successful career girl in her early 40s I echo every word written and probably some of them unwritten :)
I was completely oblivious to that conflict in my life until 37 when it all of my hopes & dreams, the wonderful man I whom I'd been close friends for years went off track, excellent job, my house all got tipped upside down. I was devastated for several years. I had a nervous breakdown - girls don't be affraid to share the deep grief and pain. I didn't open up and know how to ask for help so I stayed in that dreadful place for longer than I needed! 😐

The sweet, hopeful and pure love from my little nieces kept me walking through that dark place.

AND Jesus, Father God and Holy Spirit came so close; so intimately; so personally. They carried my broken dreams and life; took me face to face with some of my deepest fears and "demons"; gently removing the scaffolding I had erected around myself....

in those desperately lonely years my Soverign King and best friend worked into me "Seek first the Kingdom of God"....now I have faith that "all this will be added". & "I would have lost hope had I not believed that I would see the GOODNESS of the LORD in the land of the LIVING!!

I haven't yet met my husband and life partner, but I can honestly say I have met my LIFE SOURCE my STRENGTH, my CONFIDANT, the LOVER of my SOUL and BEST FRIEND!!

Be blessed dear Natalie. You are amazing and highly desired by your Creator. You are right in the middle of His perfect Will for your LIFE and His perfect WILL for ALL that He will partner with you on!

He will guide you in all areas with His eye. As He will your gorgeous husband and life partner. πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸŒˆπŸŒˆπŸŒˆπŸŒˆπŸŽ―πŸŽ―πŸŽ―πŸŽ―πŸŒ…πŸŒ…πŸŒ…πŸŒ…πŸŽΆπŸŽΆπŸŽΆπŸŽΆπŸ‘‘πŸ‘‘πŸ‘‘πŸ‘‘

You are lovely!

Crystal Heisel February 14, 2016 at 9:11am

Thanks for keeping it real Natalie! We serve a faithful God who is forever teaching us to lean in and trust him.
Thank you!

Jill Bloemker February 14, 2016 at 7:13am

I was single until I was 32. All I ever desperately wanted was to be loved. Through all those lonely moments God showed me that I WAS LOVED by Him and that He wanted my heart first. I'm 45 and married now. God still has to remind me that He wants to be my first love. Looking back, I am thankful for every lonely night that made me aware and drew me closer to the Everlasting Love that never leaves me and never fails me.

Meredith Knox February 14, 2016 at 5:40am

I literally never do this- but I just felt strongly the need to say thank you and you are not alone.

I am a 28 year old leader in ministry- actually doing more than I ever dreamed of doing growing up. I have gotten to live in other countries, preach, teach, travel, and see God's Church expand. And there have been times right in the middle of living my dream where I have never felt more alone and forgotten. I have been in 15 weddings (with another one looking like it is soon on the horizon) and most of my friends are raising their second babies. I had one of those very friends tell me recently that she feels like I am actually "remembered" more than the rest of them. "WHAT?!?!" I said. "Think about it (she replied)- look at all you have gotten to do and experience and the woman He has shaped you into. He didn't need a man to help Him do that. He wanted to do that all on His own. Just you and Him. The Lord has used my husband to shape most of who I am. And I love that's my story. But with you? It was just Jesus. He doesn't want to share you just yet."

Natalie- you may never read this. But I know there are some days where even the truth you "know" isn't the truth you "feel". So may this be a reminder- you're not in it alone! Thank you again SO MUCH for sharing. I know I am thankful for the reminder :)

Sabrina February 14, 2016 at 5:01am

Thank you so much for sharing your story, it's encouraging and inspiring. Thank you for being brave enough to share ur story it is so refreshing to see this story. I know so many people can relate :)

Ruth February 14, 2016 at 4:26am

This really resonated with me! I'm also a lawyer and single. I have dedicated my 20's and 30's to my career. I love being a lawyer but I'm turning 40 this year and I'm doing the whole hamster wheel thing in my head about marriage and family. Thanks for sharing!

Danielle February 14, 2016 at 3:24am

It's strange how so many fantastic, Godly women have such parallel lives. I'm a 31-year-old lawyer. I love my job and the people I help through it, but I continue to be single as my friends all have their second round of children. I've been through all the same thoughts and low times. Your article is a blessing to many, including me. I have faith that God will continue to bring us both the relationships that will be most fruitful in our lives, and I have faith in his timing for all of us. Thank you for sharing!

sisa February 14, 2016 at 2:32am

thank you for sharing , i think i really needed to hear this right now, for the past month i have also been questioning myself on the same issue. Thanks again ...GBU

Annette February 14, 2016 at 2:15am

Thank you for sharing! I went through a very similar journey last year as I approached my 40th birthday, still single longing for a family, no longer had a career but a job that frustrated me. I questioned everything! I put everything out on the table. Could I trust God? When did i stop? Where did i get off track? Was their a sin I committed that God had abandoned me? I felt horrible for asking the questions. I knew the Bible stories that proved that's not like God! But I looked around me & I just couldn't understand. Christine Cane or Propel posted on twitter "it's a fight for your faith hold on tight" it became my motto. I was in a dark place. The friend/ leader I confided in decide it was too much & quit on me. A week later ... the day after Thanksgiving another friend said he had wanted to talk to me for a while that God had laid something on his heart to tell me... without knowing what i was going through ... he told me a story almost identical to mine & said i needed to trust God with my jouney! He hasn't left me! I was in tears! God wants a relationship with us above all else! There will be no sweeter relationship than the one we have with God. Who is tender enough to wipe away a tear & strong enough to silence a storm!

Kelli February 14, 2016 at 1:56am

Thank you for sharing that...perfect word :)

Jessica Riddle February 14, 2016 at 1:43am

Thank you so much for sharing this!! I'm still in my 20's but this definitely resonated so much with me. I absolutely love my job. But yes, it's time consuming and I have absolutely no time for a relationship now with it. It's like I'm torn in two because half of me desires so much to work hard and have this great career. But then I want to be married at some point probably; and as friends often point out, I need to make time to date if that's going to be a possibility. I'm on my 8th wedding that I'm in, and have lost count of the ones I've attended. The single friends I have left are dropping like flies and also really focused on finding a husband. I often feel isolated in my desire for a career and independence right now. So thanks for sharing. I needed to hear this. He has been so faithful and the depth to which I've learned to love God while single, I will never take back. I truly believe if we're pursuing him with all our hearts, He'll make it clear where He's leading us in each season.

Amy Pittman February 14, 2016 at 12:37am

Thank you. I am 39, divorced, and a single mom. I don't look forward to this holiday at all. This article is right on time just like God. Thank you for sharing. πŸ’•

Thankful in DC February 11, 2016 at 8:45am

Thank you, so needed to hear this- especially lesson #2

Lauren February 11, 2016 at 8:00am

THANK YOU. For me, I feel like I've had to attempt to focus myself on my career, as nothing in the area of my relationship status has materialized, no matter how much I try to "put myself out there." #2 was most convicting for me. I have seen God be faithful in oh, so many ways throughout my life, and I wonder if I am doubting his faithfulness and provision in this area. Thank you, sister!

Cleo Arvin February 11, 2016 at 3:41am

Your article gave light to my situation.
It gave me confirmation to be patient and wait
On the Lord for He is Faithful
Thank you & know you are truly blessed
Cleo

Elisabeth February 10, 2016 at 8:16pm

Dear Natalie,

Thanks for sharing your heart regarding the topic relationship status. I completly understand where your coming from. It's so re-freashing to hear someone's honesty and being real about how they feel. I often feel like singleness is pitied, I dread weddings or engagements not because I don't want to celebrate but because that's when I get those dum questions 'why aren't you married yet, don't you want to be married?!' Like its my choice, or I don't want too. The same with catching up with people I feel their lives change to getting married and having kids mine stays the same! Those things make friendships change. They all trigger low moods, deep sadness almost Greiving what my heart desires!

I have a friend I text when I'm low she texts me truth, and I do the same for her. I try to think in perspective, I know God has a plan. If I was meant to be married by now I would of been. I know I'm where God wants me. If I'm where God wants me then I know I won't miss out! So it can't be in his plan yet! Sometimes my perspective can be distorted I just learning God is my everything and all I need is him! I know I would rather stay single the rest of my life than marry the wrong person!