Set Apart SPOTLIGHT: Abby Elijah
To this day, I have never dated anyone.
Some would say that it’s because I never had the opportunity to, blaming it on my family’s “strict rules.” Or my high standards could be the blame. It is true that I’ve yet to come across the kind of gentleman who would ask respectfully to get to know me better; a lot of my experiences in the past with men have been more injurious than inspiring.
However, the reason why I have yet to enter into a romantic relationship with a guy is because my life belongs to Christ. He is the Master, not me, and I truly delight to do whatever He wills during my short time on earth. Singleness is the trails I’m walking in today. That truth goes for today and tomorrow and all days until (and if) He chooses for me to marry.
It’s always been a journey with Jesus. And following Him is the most extraordinary adventure I have ever had and will ever have. But, I will confess that I did not always give Him the reins to lead my life, which includes the area of singleness.
My embracing singleness began when I was five, which was when I first came to understand my father’s teachings about how my sisters and I weren’t going to have boyfriends when we got older (you know, the way Disney always taught); instead we were going to trust God for a future spouse. Our household was governed by many good old-fashioned rules and keeping a healthy distance from boys was a big one. I was on the right track. I didn’t mind that rule, and I actually committed myself to obey it wholeheartedly, simply because I trusted my father and I felt great hope in the idea that one day our King would bring me one of His noble little princes.
However, that anticipation and heavenly pattern came to be damaged when I was seven years old. I was removed from my home by CPS along with my siblings, and sent to live in foster institutions. Over the course of time that I was there, I was exposed to many ungodly and impure things. I was bullied constantly by boys. I watched little girls as young as eight have boyfriends and deal with break-ups. I heard of marriages and relationships that were in shambles. I was even approached by one of the other foster boys, who asked me to be his “amiguita” (or “little girlfriend” in English). Though I refused, my father’s guidance was becoming a distant memory to my mind. I was sexually assaulted, and from then on, I feared men and decided I would never go near a boy again, in hopes that I wouldn’t be harmed again. I held onto the concept of singleness out of fear and I refused to believe that Jesus could save me from my troubles.
After I was returned home, sin really took a hold of me, and little by little my love for Jesus went cold. Outside I was a “good little girl” which is what I so wanted to be. But inwardly I was depressed and tormented, not only by indescribable fears, but by lust. My mind was filled with sexual fantasies, and I engaged in masturbation many times. I did not know what these things were, where they came from, or that they were sinful, yet I felt wrong when I did them. I longed for escape, love, and peace and while pop culture taught me that it was a guy I needed in order to be fulfilled and happy again, my inner abused self screamed for me to not even tread on such waters. It’s not that I never imagined having a romantic relationship because I did – I could probably win a gold medal for my imagination skills as every time I felt lonely, I turned to them as my salvation. But my painful realities were far greater than any fairytale I could dream up.
Life continued in this unsatisfied, tormenting way. Within a few years, I was entirely hopeless; nothing, not even my sin or the little bit of worldly things I was able to get past my parents fulfilled me. A terrible darkness clouded my existence then: kill yourself, it instructed. I was already dead in heart – there was nothing worth living for, so why didn’t I just finish the job? Yet even in such gloom, a flicker of hope remained in me… could someone save me?
There was Someone.
A good shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to go rescue the one that strays (Mt. 18:12). Through the testimony of another girl, I encountered Jesus, the Savior, when I was fourteen. And I went to Him, though in truth it was He who came after me. He lovingly pulled me out of the despair and sin I was in, and revived me back to life with His sacrifice and resurrection! I gave my heart to Him and while it was a process, fully exchanged all of what I am for all that He is.
Today, I am entirely in love with Jesus Christ – knowing Him is not only greater than any fairytale dream I ever had, but it’s real in the daily mundane! And it’s the best life. I have a purpose, and that is to follow Him. I have fulfillment and it’s in knowing Him. I have embraced Christ as my All in this life, and in doing so I have embraced singleness, because again, it’s not my life, but His. I don’t need anything or anyone, I just want Him.
I shouldn’t neglect mentioning the amusing reminder that Jesus gave me when I had been following Him for awhile: “Remember that noble little prince you once dreamed about?” He seemed to say. I wasn’t thinking of marriage or anything like that – I was entirely caught up with Him. Yet I know that that earthly prince will come around one day… but it’s my happiness to leave that all up to Christ, the Author of romance and marriage Himself.
is a prophetic voice and writer known as AbbyVision. Her ministry is to call the body of Christ back to their First Love and equip them for His return. Abby lives with her family in the Caribbean. Connect with her on her blog .