It’s that time of year again! Oh, you thought I was talking about the holidays? Nope, I’m referring to the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, known as Engagement Season: the month and a half where your social media feeds seem to consist solely of diamond rings and “YES!!!! I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend!!!! #helpweneedaweddinghashtag.”

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love engagements and weddings, maybe a little too much. I will stop whatever I’m doing to scroll through engagement photos or watch a wedding video, and I’ve been planning my own imaginary wedding for an embarrassingly long time. (My mom has been on the cusp of intervention a handful of times for the amount of Say Yes to the Dress and Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? that I watched growing up.) But despite my infatuation with all things love stories, if you’re anything like me—a twenty-something with no engagement anytime soon whose parents got married one month after their college graduation—Engagement Season is an uncomfortable mix of genuine excitement for friends who have found Mr. Right and a deep sense of longing and envy for what they have.

Cue the emotional roller coaster. I get a lump in my throat while watching a beautiful wedding video, followed by my mind running in circles with questions about why God won’t cooperate and follow my timeline (and hoping and praying that he hasn’t called me to a life of singleness). I remind myself, somewhat in vain, that God will take care of everything in his perfect timing, while the temptation arises to determine my worth based on attention, or lack thereof, received from the opposite sex. If I’m not careful, I will have a rapid downward spiral into despair on my hands in no time.

In these moments, I often find myself turning to the infinite wisdom of Whitney Houston for a little pick-me-up. If Whitney Houston wrestled with all of this, then I can rest assured I’m not alone. More than once, I have managed to turn “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “How Will I Know” into prayers—yes, you read that correctly, sincere, honest-to-goodness prayers.

For instance, if I start wallowing in my singleness with no male prospects on the horizon, I blast “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (usually alone in my car so I can belt out the lyrics), and as those irresistible 80s beats start pounding through my speakers, I immediately feel like Whitney has been listening to my thoughts:

Clock strikes upon the hour
And the sun begins to fade
Still enough time to figure out
How to chase my blues away
I’ve done alright up to now
It’s the light of day that shows me how
And when the night falls, loneliness calls

And then she gets down to business:

Oh, I wanna dance with somebody
I wanna feel the heat with somebody
Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody
With somebody who loves me

Father, I want to dance—literally and metaphorically—with someone who loves me. Please give me someone to dance with! Someone who loves me, though imperfectly, in the midst of my mess, in the midst of the joys and sorrows of life, in the midst of whatever comes our way. Someone who you have mysteriously picked for me.

See what I mean? Whitney knows what she’s talking about.

And then there’s “How Will I Know,” my go-to when a new potential suitor has arrived on the scene. We’ve gone on a few dates, and I really enjoy spending time with him, and the butterflies are relentless, but there are still so many questions and uncertainties, all of which Whitney conveniently put into a song for me.

Father, how will I know if he’s the one?! You know I can’t be rational about this because I can barely think straight when I’m around him. Give me some clarity! He appeared totally out of the blue, seriously throwing a wrench into everything, so I couldn’t anticipate or plan for any of this. He’s got to be part of your plan in some way, right??

As Whitney says, everything about this stage of life “is so bittersweet.” The freedom and flexibility of singleness mixed with the longing for marriage. The excitement of the potential for a new relationship accompanied by the anxieties of wondering if it will work out this time or if I’ll end up getting hurt.

And when the bitterness seems to so far outweigh the sweetness—and I’ve seen one too many engagement announcements—it can be hard, sometimes nearly impossible, to remember the one relationship to which “How Will I Know” will never apply, the one relationship that will never fail, the one relationship that was worth the ultimate sacrifice. In the brief moments when those truths do make it through my thick head, they are balm for my aching soul. I have the invitation and freedom to lean on His everlasting arms, knowing He’s there in the midst of the pain and uncertainty because He’s not “a high priest who is unable to sympathize” but rather “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Hebrew 4:15, Isaiah 53:3). What a relief that is.

So for now, I will pray with my girl Whitney for the patience to wait until I’m the one needing help with a wedding hashtag—although with a last name like Pope, it will probably write itself—and try and fail to enjoy this season of life.