Archive | May, 2012

What Some Singles Would Like to Say to The Church…

15 May

Singleness is not a disease to be cured or a problem to be solved with set-ups or Christian dating sites.  To move from the singles’ Sunday school class or Bible study to the couples’ group is not “graduating” or “moving up in the church;” it’s just changing phases in our lives in accordance with God’s timing. 

Singleness is not a sign of immaturity.  A single woman who is over 18 is an adult, just as the married woman with children is.  The single man or woman does not need his or her parents’ permission to donate money to a missionary, sign up for a ministry position, or go out to lunch after church with friends.  Yes, this includes the singles who are living with their parents- more than likely, we live at home because we’d rather pay $600 a month on our student loans than rent and groceries, not because we are helpless and need our parents to care for us until a spouse comes along.  If you need information from us or need to confront us on something, you come directly to us; you don’t need to talk about us to our parents behind our backs.  Anyone who is over 18 should be recognized as an adult in the church just as they are in society- a few exceptions may apply, but marital status is not one of them.

We should not loose privileges or be made to feel like social rejects because we are single.  Yes, I’m sure you want to host marriage conferences or romantic couple’s banquets for valentine’s day- but how about hosting a few singles’ events, too, so that we can feel like we’re part of the church family?  Of course, the church doesn’t need to be divided into two congregations of marrieds and singles- have some events or groups that are for everyone, too!  And please, when an event is all-church, don’t say, “$12.00 per person or $20.00 per couple,” (does it really cost you two extra dollars to make food for a single person, or are you hinting that you’d rather singles not come?).  Or, worse, tell the congregation that this is not a child-friendly event by advertising it as “couples only,” when you really mean “adults only.” 

Know that being single does not mean God is waiting for us to get right with Him or obey His calling before He will give us a spouse- you shouldn’t have to think too hard to know that there a plenty of married couples in and outside the church who are NOT living their lives in surrender to Him, and their are plenty of singles throughout history who have done great things for God’s glory- the apostle Paul, Mary Slessor, and *gasp* even Jesus Himself!!

And finally, realize that, if our identity is in Christ and we are living for God’s glory, then marriage is not our end goal or even a goal at all.  When we tell you about our exciting new venture to the mission field, graduate school, a new career or new ministry, celebrate with us, but don’t start speculating about how we will “finally” meet our future spouse there.  We are doing these things to let God fulfill His purpose for our lives, not to speed-date. 

Most of us hope that marriage is in the future for us…but until that day comes in God’s timing, we are just like you- members of the body of Christ, seeking to honor and glorify Him where He has planted us. 

Maybe It’s Never Going to Happen…

8 May

Last night as I gathered for small group time with three other women from my church family, I listened to them talk about their husbands and children for a minute before we dove into our study.  There wasn’t anything said that set me apart as the only single woman in the room- it would have felt more unnatural if the other ladies had avoided talking about their families for my sake.

I sat back and looked at each of these women- they are all older than me, but only by a few years.  They were all married by the time they were 26, and some of them had had children by then.  I found myself thinking, “maybe it’s never going to happen for me.”

Just tonight I enjoyed a girls’ night with Jessica (mentioned in my previous post, “Why do We Need to Guard Our Hearts?”) and she shared about her and Josh’s struggle to have a second child.  (Their son is Jessica’s biological child; Josh adopted him after they were married).  She said the whole process has been a hard one for Josh, but she just has peace that someday, “It’s going to happen.”  I wish I felt that way about marriage, but suddenly what I once assumed was part of my future seems more like a fantasy I entertained- just like being crowned Miss America or walking backwards through a wardrobe and landing in Narnia.

Is it safe for me to embrace the plan of being single for the rest of my life?  Of course I want to live in surrender to God and not demand that He give me a husband before I will trust Him with the rest of my life- but would saying, “Okay, guess I’ll plan on being single,” be like pulling the plug on a life support?  Does God expect me to prepare myself for marriage before He will allow it to happen, and if so to what extent?  Of course I plan to keep myself pure and stay in the Word; even if I knew for a fact that I would never marry.  But should I be reading Christian books on marriage?  Seeking counsel from married women?  Pursuing my career or my life plans with the intent of one day laying it all aside to be a stay-at-home-mom?  If I don’t do these things, will God decide not to bless me with a husband?  Or, if I DO these things, am I putting my hope in something He hasn’t promised, or am I trusting Him with the desire of my heart? 

It seems so much easier to just start saying, “I’m never going to marry.”  That would protect me from disappointment and heartache.  But God never promised me protection from either of those things- He only promised He would be near to those who mourn, and He asks me to trust Him with my future.  But what does that trust look like?  Is it acceptance that what I longed for isn’t what He has chosen for me?  Or is it hanging on to my hope knowing that He delights in blessing me and longs to give me the desires of my heart?