ADVENT: A Time of Hope

I must apologize for being MIA these last months, as several projects have been keeping me very busy. I am working on a book for those suffering from prolonged singleness. More specifically, my book offers hope for those desiring marriage by sharing the theological truths that helped me to seek God for a suitable spouse. I hope to offer more information about this project in 2024.

Also, I teamed up with Celeste Sibolboro, of Love Is On Its Way, in the spring and summer. We offered two live classes on hope and biblical dating principles. If you missed these and would like to know more, please feel free to reach out to me.

If you are struggling this holiday season with finding or maintaining hope for marriage, I understand. I was there. The Christmas season is always a reminder that you don’t have your own family to celebrate with. The weeks of Advent, however, can be a doorway to great hope for the future.

God sent me the light of verse Job 42:12a during Advent 2009!

It was during this very time, 2009, that God spoke a word to my heart regarding my own prolonged singleness. I commiserated in prayer that, once again, another holiday season was passing by, and I was missing out. Then, this thought led to me telling God once more about everything I had missed out on as I was forty-one years old. I would never know what it was like to enjoy being the “wife of someone’s youth” and having all of the experiences that accompany this.

I opened my Bible to a Scripture in the Book of Job: “Thus the LORD blessed the later days of Job more than his earlier ones” (42:12a). In total shock because I had never read this verse before, and it was a foreign idea to me that the later part of someone’s life could be more blessed than the earlier part, this verse changed the trajectory of my emotions. I no longer felt that I was getting the short end of the stick in terms of life and blessings. As it turned out, I met my husband four months later.

I share this with you because I believe the scripture from Job was not just a word for me, but a promise to all who endure prolonged singleness. I also offer it to you now during this season of Advent because this is when I received it. Furthermore, Advent is the perfect time for all of us to grow in our hope for God. Hope for Christ’s second coming, hope for the growth of the Holy Spirit in each of us, and hope for God’s help with the impossible circumstances that each of us face.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us the following about this liturgical season:

When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase as I must decrease.” (CCC, 524)

The struggle with prolonged singleness is very similar. Our deepest longing is for God, whether we recognize it or not. And the profound desire each of has for love and marriage—to share our life with a spouse—was put there by God to mirror him and the communion shared by the Most Holy Trinity. We are longing for something we were created for, something that God wants to give us. It is part of our longing for God himself because it reflects God’s own Trinitarian life.

As much as all of us must work on our sanctification, as well as the things that may be keeping us from finding love and marriage, ultimately only God can get someone married. At first, this may seem scary. It was for me because I was afraid that God would leave me single. But the more I learned about his character, and the truth about the vocation of marriage, I was able to grow in faith and trust his goodness. God “must increase as I must decrease.” The same could be true for you.

This past year I appeared as a guest on three different programs. I want to share them with you as resources of support in your journey from prolonged singleness to marriage. Please check out the following:

  1. Ready for Love: Deeply Connect with the Faith, the Saints, and Find a Godly Relationship. This is a talk I gave for a conference. Please click on the link to find the video on YouTube.
  • Mamas in Spirit: A Catholic Podcast with Lindy Wynne. Someone once said that I make it look like I got married and lived happily ever after. I really don’t think this true! I always say that once you get married, that’s when God can really start to work on your issues. This is one reason marriage is so important. Well, in this episode, I share some of the heavy lifting that has been going on in my life, the issues that God was finally able to address in me as a result of being married. Take a listen at:

  • Candid Catholic Convos:The podcast of the Diocese of Harrisburg. I had a great conversation with Rachel Troche about prolonged singleness, the desire and struggle to marry, and the especially trying times of the holidays for singles. Don’t miss the tips and tidbits offered:

If you don’t already, please consider following me on Instagram, as I post more frequently here. Also, if you are looking for one-on-one mentoring assistance with your prolonged singleness, I am available to work with you. Please click on the above link and you will see information on my website under the “Work With Me” page.    

 In conclusion, I am looking forward to offering more resources to you in 2024. Until next year, I wish you a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, from whom all good things come!   

Julieanne M. Bartlett           All Rights Reserved           Copyright 2023 

6 thoughts on “ADVENT: A Time of Hope

  1. Hi dear Julieanne, thank you for giving us hope. I would need to repeat this part from Job every day to believe it despite the facts..because those who are not in this situation cannot understand the suffering in loneliness or getting disapointed over and over again asking yourself if I even have the strenght to try one more time…Sometimes even closes ones dont understand…I am afraid though that I will fall and settle for less because of this silent suffering..
    Did you write a blog about making some changes in life, like some practical advices that helped you get to know your husband? I feel called by God to move to another place, I did my vounteering for some time, now God asks for more faith to step into the unknown though it is very hard…
    Thank you and God bless you+

    1. Hello Marija!
      I couldn’t agree with you more in that people who have not suffered from prolonged singleness themselves do not understand the pain and sorrow involved or what a single person goes through. And yes, the scarcity mindset can makes us feel like we need to settle – I suffered from this, too. Actually, this subject gets talked about in the podcast I was on, “Candid Catholic Convos,” the link I shared in this blog post. The good news is that God knows our pain, and he owns the cattle on a thousands hills. There is no scarcity for him.

      I have not written a blog about all of the changes I made in my own life. This is a great idea – thank you for suggesting it. I will do this. I did move. So, if this is something God is placing on your heart, I encourage you to listen to it with much prayer. And it is hard to move, especially when one is single. I was angry, like why do I have to move by myself? Yet, it was in the surrendering of it that brought me to the end of myself. I did meet my husband about three months after I moved. But, those three months were very tough and lonely in a new place. I hope this helps : )

      1. Thank you, dear Julieanne. I responded in the message and hopefully you can write a blog about those three very difficult months when you moved because that is waiting for me too… I think I came to an end of my efforts, giving my heart to wrong people though they seemed right..eventually I think we have to stop justifying and completely lean on to God..I just pray for firm faith because living only by faith is very difficult so I need His strenght…God bless+

        1. You are most welcome, Marija! I will definitely write a blog about the changes I made in my own life and my move – I think this is a great idea. Regarding coming to the end of your efforts, sometimes we have done all we can do, and we must just wait with hope, faith, and prayer. I encourage you to read the Book of Hebrews in the Bible, chapters 11 and 12. This is always a great help to me and was as a single when I finally reached the end of myself. Blessings!

  2. Dear Julianne,
    I have found your articles to be such a solace! You have named something that I have felt for a long time to be a problem. Just your writing about it is…healing.
    I almost married and something was not right- I was way too rushed and pressured. When I failed to meet the deadline, the man quickly married someone else. It was all very painful.
    Yet, here you are writing about marriage! Thank you!
    This unmarried English teacher in a plaid wool skirt still hopes for marriage.
    I continue to pray for my four unmarried nieces – ages 25- 32.
    God bless you in your work!

    1. Hello Cecile!
      Thank you so much for your kind words. Your comment reminds me of an experience I had in my late twenties. I was engaged for a short time. It really never should have occurred, so you were wise to pay attention to your emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. Fortunately, the engagement was broken by the man and we did not marry, even though it did not seem like a gift then. God saved me from something because I didn’t have the ability to see the red flags and extricate myself. I didn’t know I would be single for fourteen more years, which is very painful.
      I want to encourage you to keep hoping and praying. God does love us and wants to help us get married. He created us with this desire and placed it in us for a reason. God won’t forsake those who keep seeking him for help!

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