It bothered me for an entire week (maybe more). This one disconcerting thought that just really ate me up: What if I end up like Ate Marilou?


    If you go to my church or have attended any of the watches, you most likely know who Ate Marilou is. Before I go on any further, I would like to say that I have nothing against Ate Marilou. She’s one of the people that makes the night watch feel like home and she’s always made me feel welcome. She used to say that I’m like her best friend or something and I can honestly say that I love her as she is.
    Given that disclaimer, why ask that question with such dread? Here’s how the question came about in the first place…
    I was on a jeep on my way home and public commute normally equates to an impatient, idle mind during Manila’s insane rush hour traffic. Thus, my not-very-happy-with-being-idle mind began roaming the seven seas and ended up in Where-Does-My-Contentment-Lie Island. As a single woman, oftentimes, contentment could almost always be tied up with that inner tug-of-war between trusting God and wondering where on earth Mr. Right is.

    I thought forward to what it would be like if I was single forever and the question was the one thought that flashed on my mind: What if I end up like Ate Marilou?

    I’ll end up as that eccentric, off-beat, a-little-too-kooky woman who weirds everyone out especially when I begin preaching the Gospel in a jeep or on the MRT in a manner that will make my companions inch a couple of feet away from me and want to deny that they ever knew me. 
    All the Christian single ladies, let’s be honest here. We talk about contentment in God and focusing on Him and waiting for His best and His perfect timing. We talk about it and we know that it’s the right way to go but let’s admit it. It’s not easy! Especially when there’s that incessant ticking that never fails to shake our resolve: Our biological clock. Tick tock, tick tock. 
    Spell doom: S-I-N-G-L-E D-O-O-M-E-D-N-E-S-S. 
    The question “What if I end up like Ate Marilou?” really translates to “What if I wait and focus on God and end up being alone?”
    The older you get, the harder it seems to be (mainly because more and more people begin asking you why on earth you’re still single).

    I remember a conversation I had with a 28-year-old friend of mine when I was 21. She was talking about how hard it was to wait and that she was longing and all that jazz and I was reiterating to her the principles that we were supposed to be standing by as Christians. She blocked me off with, “Yeah. That’s what I said when I was 21. You’ll understand when you’re my age.”

    I remember coming out of that conversation, thinking, “Uhhh… the principles that apply when I’m 21 are the same principles that apply when I’m 28.”

    I haven’t reached 28 yet, so I still don’t really know if I’ll understand exactly the way she felt, but I do understand the longing. It gets me sometimes. It makes me wonder if I really should wait or just play it safe and take matters into my own hands.

    I find that waiting on God, being the unpredictable and exciting Being that He is, can feel like a risk sometimes. What if He doesn’t come through? What if He doesn’t do what He promised me He’d do?  I’m ashamed to admit that yes, I do entertain those questions sometimes. I’m not yet as doubt-proof as I should be. And it takes a conscious choice to trust that focusing on Him and my relationship with Him is my safest bet toward contentment. And it’s not even a bet. It’s not a gamble. It’s a sure thing.

    I used to overuse the verse Psalm 37:4 in my prayers: Delight yourself in the LORD and He will grant you the desires of your heart. 

    The prayers went along these lines: “I’m delighting in You, LORD! Yay! Now gimme what I want.”

    But there was a point in my walk with God that I began to understand this verse. This is the best way I can explain it:

    The Condition: Delight yourself in the LORD.

    The Promise:  He will grant you the desires of your heart.

    You know that you’ve fulfilled the condition when the promise doesn’t really matter anymore, because your complete and utter delight lies in Him. He has become the desire of your heart.

    That normally brings me the calm that I need whenever I break out into my “What if I end up like Ate Marilou?” moments. I want to learn to delight in the LORD, because when I delight in Him, it makes the waiting easier, because the more I delight in Him, the more unaware I am that I’m waiting. It becomes more about Him – the Greatest Love of all time – than it is about the wait.

    So I don’t really need to worry about ending up like Ate Marilou (who is convinced she’s going to marry a billionaire and promised to give me a monthly allowance when she does). As long as I stick with Him, I’m sure He’ll lead me to end up like Joanna – or the Joanna that He always meant me to be. ^_^

    ~ SDG
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    Joanna Alonzo

    Author/Founder at Almond Tree Publications
    Joanna Alonzo is a walking paradox. She is a beautiful, albeit messy, mixture of thought and emotion, expressed in the form of hopefully readable – and relatable – stories. She is a kingdom kid, who looks forward to being a writer and storyteller even when she reaches heaven. She is passionate about the unreached, about those who have yet to know the Love she found in the arms of the Almighty. She is intrigued by the world and its people, who day by day, continue to convince her that God is the greatest Storyteller of all.
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