By Contributing Writer, Stephani
January’s theme at Visionary Womanhood is Suffering. There have been tremendously insightful posts written over the course of this month relating to so many areas of life. I began thinking about another season of life – singleness.
Is singleness a season of suffering?
Singleness Would Be Easy IF
Would it be easier to be single if we knew the answers to just a few questions?
- Will I ever get married?
- If so, when?
- To whom?
- Where will we meet?
- What kind of ministry will we do together after we are married?
Sanctifying? Probably not. Increased dependence on God? Probably not. Deeper understanding of our Father? Probably not.
But easier? Yes.
Since I was little, I have eagerly anticipated marriage to a godly man, raising children, and being a partner with my husband in life and ministry. This hasn’t happened for me yet. It hasn’t happened for a lot of 20-something and 30-something year-old women. Maybe you are one of them.
Our desires to be wives, helpmeets, mommas, homemakers, and encouragers are beautiful & GOOD – the Bible says they are! They have been woven into the very core of who we are as women. When God does not lead us into marriage, or He says, “Wait,” these desires don’t just disappear.
The question is, will we equate a season of singleness with sorrowful suffering because our desires are not met on our terms, or will we embrace Someone else’s plans for our lives, trusting in His sovereignty, provision, timing, and love?
Visionary Womanhood is all about equipping women with the highest perspective possible down here on planet earth ~ our Creator’s.
I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to get into trouble when I allow my eyes to shift away from my Maker’s perspective. There are a few weeds of fear that can easily grow in our single hearts if we let them. These thoughts will lead us to fields of needless sorrow. Let’s not go there. Let’s uproot them by embracing our Father’s perspective by believing His Word.
A Few Nasty Weeds and the Strong Hoe of God’s Word
Weed Number One – Something Must be Wrong with Me!
We need to ask ourselves where our identity and worth lies. Viewing married women as more godly or valuable than single women is an indication of where our hearts are. Whether you are married or single is not an indicator of your worth before God.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
Notice… this verse does not say this woman is praiseworthy because of her appearance, nor because she is a great conversationalist, nor because she has an appealing personality. She is to be praised because she fears the Lord.
Your worth before the Lord is not determined by your ability to “catch a guy’s attention.” Do you hold the Lord’s name in a cherished, honored place in your heart through Christ’s work in you? If so, you are precious to Him – because you are His.
Weed Number Two – According to My Clock, He’s Late! Where is He?
Some single women don’t know many single godly men.
Some single men don’t know many single godly women.
This could easily scare a LOT of singles. Our logic could quickly digress. Are there enough godly Christians of the opposite gender? Has something gone wrong? God, where is my husband?
But beware. Our perception of right timing and wrong timing, balance and imbalance, does not trump the plans of the Sovereign, all-powerful Creator of the Universe!
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will -Ephesians 1:11
God knows exactly how many single Christian men and women are over 20 years old and desire to be married. He is very good at math. Sometimes however, it may be God’s PLAN is for those two genders to be uneven in their numbers. And sometimes it may be God’s PLAN for godly men and women to marry later in life.
The first time I thought about this, it kinda scared me, but then I started thinking about the plans of God throughout history. God’s hand always directs history for His glory and His people’s good. The Lord is always doing a zillion wonderful things that I am completely unaware of. If He is going to use a season of prolonged singleness in a unique way in my life or yours, how can we wisely align ourselves with His plans and seek to honor Him?
No, I am not saying we need to “choose” between singleness or marriage. God chooses.
INSTEAD let this time of singleness cause us to dip the ladle of our hearts into the Word of God to savor Christ’s sufficiency in deep ways.
Let this season of singleness cause us to pray for increasing maturity in biblical femininity in our own hearts and increasing maturity in biblical masculinity in our Christian brothers’ hearts.
Let it cause us to zealously pursue good works while single in our 20s and 30s. Instead of fretting over the timing, the whereabouts, and the possible imbalances, we can embrace our Father’s purposes which are always good.
Weed Number Three – I Need a Husband!
In order for me to serve the Lord; in order for me to be happy; in order for me to make a difference in the world; I Need a Husband!
In Philippians, a lifelong single man wrote this,
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
The secret of Paul’s joy and perseverance in ministry (AND OURS) was, is, and always will be JESUS – the One who strengthens and satisfies.
Pascal said, “There once was in man a true happiness of which now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.” [Blaise Pascal, Pascal’s Pensees, trans. W.F. Trotter (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1958), 113.]
Marriage is definitely a wonderful gift, and for the believer, it is a relationship that can sanctify, increase, and enhance life and ministry. However, marriage is not the foundation or source of a productive, effective, happy life.
The sooner we embrace this truth the better singleness will be and the better a future marriage will be!
Weed Number Four – How Long Should I Wait?
This question implies that you are waiting to start living fully for Jesus until you are married. As believers, we should always be living FULLY. We shouldn’t wait to pour out our lives for His glory. Listen to Paul again:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
This season of singleness has the potential to be one of great fruitfulness, growth, and joy in God. Often years 15-35 mark a significant surplus of energy, health, and keen intellectual abilities in the lives of men and women. God has good works for us to walk in right now as single women.
The point is that there is a LOT of work that can be done for God’s glory, and it is to be done in relationship with Jesus. There is no other requirement. No need to wait. And wait. And wait.
Weed Number Five – I Can’t Help Feeling Discontent!
It is possible to strongly desire something, not receive it in our timing, and still be at peace. Our feelings are often the fruit of our thoughts.
1. STOP meditating on deceitful promises of “improved” circumstances:
Don’t worry about investing in ministry while you’re single… You won’t “really” be able to serve God until you’re married.
Feeling depressed? It’s because you’re single. Just wait. You will be happy when you get married.
2. START meditating on and rejoicing in the REALITY of God’s promises for believers (single and married) in Jesus:
There is nothing that I need or that will make me truly happy that Christ does not supply. All of my soul’s thirsts are met and satisfied in Him (John 4:13-14).
I am not alone. Christ strengthens and nourishes me (John 15:5), the Spirit helps me in my weaknesses (Romans 8:26-27), the Lord is my refuge and shield (Proverbs 18:10), and He comforts me (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 54:4).
Though I don’t know if God will bless me with the joys of marriage on earth, I know that I will experience full and endless joy of fellowship and worship of God when I am brought to Him eternally (Psalm 16:11).
I am loved and accepted by faith in Christ… Nothing can separate me from the love God has for me (Romans 8:38-39).
The Lord withholds no good thing from me (Psalm 84:11), He graciously gives all good things (Romans 8:32), and He always provides what I need (Philippians 4:19).
God will use my single years for His glory and my good (Romans 8:28).
God has good plans for my life. Christ has redeemed me from lawlessness and sin and whether single or married He has good works for me to zealously pursue for God’s glory (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14).
God Has Not Forgotten You
Dear single sisters in Jesus, God never forgets His promises. We must not forget to keep our eyes on Him!
Singleness isn’t always easy, But we have to ask ourselves – will our primary identity be “single” or “child of the King?”
Have I Given Up on Marriage?
You may be wondering if I’ve given up on marriage. Am I planning to be single for the rest of my life?
Good question. Answer: No. Marriage is a tremendous gift from the Lord and a wonderful relationship that glorifies Him! I am praying that as I run toward the goal of seeing and savoring God in Jesus, one day the Lord will allow me to run alongside a God-ward Christian man. Just because I am not running with him right now doesn’t mean he isn’t a part of God’s plan for my future.
I will leave that decision with the Lord.
I know that the Lord, His glory, and my future husband are not honored by years of “single sorrow” spent fretting, doubting God’s goodness, aimlessly waiting, and fearing the future.
I am running toward the goal of God in Christ Jesus, and if it pleases the Lord, someday I’ll run alongside a husband, and it will be great! But my direction won’t change either way. I will still be running for the joy of knowing, treasuring, and glorifying God!