The Meaning of Singlehood: Own It!

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Singleness! Singleness! Singleness!

Every unmarried sister is probably a little sick of reading about it and being asked, “How are you doing in your singleness?”, like it’s a condition or something. I . . . get . . . it!

I hear you saying, “Yet you felt compelled to write about this anyway?” Yes, I did, sis, because despite the countless books written, blogs posted, conference workshops, and ministries for singles, I still encounter too many unmarried Christian women who struggle deeply with their singleness. I so want the words of this post to cause all of my unmarried sisters to see with the eyes of their heart that being single is a beautiful and blessed place, and when embraced, it can be a beautiful gift used for God’s glory.

If you are a sister who does (or has) struggled, I hope to shift your perspective so that you can see what I see—what God sees: Singleness is a prime position to shine brightly for Jesus!

I wouldn’t dare presume that this is a simple subject. It’s very complex, with many variables and aspects to be considered, but I would like to focus on this mind- and game-changing idea: We must own our singleness!

I’m Deborah . . . I’m 53 Years Young . . . and I’m Single!

I believe one of the biggest stumbling blocks for unmarried sisters is that they haven’t really owned their singleness. I mean deep down, no reservations, fully embracing it. Say it: “I. Am. Single.” (Out loud, ladies.)

I know when you fill out applications, memberships, etc., you check the “single” box, but in your heart, do you see that as just a temporary status? One that is going to change someday, a holding place until you graduate to the next spiritual level of “married”? If we’re honest, some of us—either now or at some point, whether consciously or subconsciously—have held that perspective. 

You might say, “Yep, I certainly do, Deb. What’s wrong with that? I want to be married, and I’m believing God for a husband.” There is nothing wrong with desiring marriage, for it is a beautiful thing to desire. And there’s nothing wrong with asking God for it. What I would warn against is a heart that is demanding marriage and discontent without it. We don’t know what the Lord has in store for us, so we don’t want to insist on something He hasn’t seen fit to give us. Remember God knows best and just like with Israel, He knows the plans He has for you—plans to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).

Singleness Is Good

I’m not here to argue whether marriage is better than singleness or vice versa. The Scriptures are clear that singleness is good (1 Cor. 7:32). The challenge is to agree with the Lord on this particular word, which is what I’m hoping this post will help some of you do. It takes teaching and encouragement for the single sister (and the married ladies who may be discipling them) to see singleness in the best possible perspective so that we all can “bloom where we are planted.”

God’s promise for an abundant life is not attached to our marital status. His desire is for us to live the purposeful life He has called us to. He didn’t forget to send your husband, sister, and He isn’t ignoring your longing—but He has spoken this to us: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4).

This doesn’t mean that if you delight in Him—finding your joy, peace, and fulfillment in Him— that He will give you whatever you want. The Psalmist is saying that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, the things He desires for us will become our desires—not the other way around.

With all this in mind, I have one point and one encouragement for you. Consider this:

One Point: Not fully owning and embracing being single can hinder your purposefulness.

Not owning your singleness could prevent you from giving all of yourself to the Lord. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1). This verse tells us every Christian’s primary purpose is to glorify God with all of her life. For the single believer, this is particularly important because we can more easily give all of ourselves to the work of the Lord, whereas the married woman’s time and attention must be divided. The proverbial pie is sliced four ways: her Lord, her husband, her children if there are any, and herself. (Not necessarily in that order all the time.)

Loved ones, the apostle says that singleness is better is because it allows us the opportunity to have undivided hearts and undivided devotion to the Lord and His work. If you are single and not laying it all down for the Lord, then it may be hard for you to see or understand why it’s better. And it certainly won’t feel better.

Don’t Hold Out; Say “Yes” to the Lord

If consciously or subconsciously, we don’t give the Lord an unconditional “yes” because we are holding out for marriage, there is a temptation to say “no” to things that require a long-term or lifelong commitment, even though the Lord has called you to it.

One of the single ladies I am discipling is in the process of buying a home. She recently shared that it wasn’t until she started the process that she realized purchasing a home was something she thought she wouldn’t and even couldn’t do without a husband. It just wasn’t something she considered as a single woman. Praise God that she went for it, and interestingly enough, it was in the process that God revealed the reservation hidden in her heart. In God’s kindness, He allowed her to see what was hidden behind her fears and her own understanding.

Question: What if the Lord was calling you to the mission field, but there was a godly fella you had your eye on and he had his eye on you? How would you respond to the Lord’s call? Really think about that.

There is a young sister at my church who loves Jesus and has a heart for missions. She is hoping to go to a remote area in India with little or no Christian community. She is in her twenties and deeply desires marriage, but if the Lord clears the way for her visa, she is prepared to go. This sister wants to be married and have a family, but she isn’t idolizing it. Even if she has wrestled with the thought of, My chances of finding a husband there will be slim to none! What if my husband is here?, her willingness to trust the Lord is evident in her willingness to go anyway.

This is the important thing and what it all boils down to: Trust the Lord!

One Encouragement: Put marriage in proper perspective, and go hard for God while you can!

Because of what marriage is and what it was designed to display—Christ’s relationship with the Church—it is to be greatly honored. But honoring is not the same as idolizing, and many have made an idol of marriage. For some of us, it’s not just a desire, but it has become the chief aim—as opposed to delighting in Christ—which is evidenced by deep discontent.

I ask single ladies this question all the time: Do you really believe that Christ is enough? And when they answer, it’s usually, “I know I should, but I don’t know if I believe that.” In response, I always tell them a few things:

  • Despite how you may feel, if you have Christ, there is no void in your life.
  • Rehearse in your heart and mind that the Lord has promised He will not withhold one good thing from you if you are walking uprightly (Ps. 84:11).
  • Our God has promised to meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19), so if you don’t have a husband, you must not need one right now.

Dear hearts, I want you to know that Christ is enough. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). This is just one Scripture that reminds us with Christ, we have all we need to be fulfilled and fruitful. What we have been called to first and foremost is to love God with all our hearts and minds.

Sis, you do not need a husband to do that. (Yep, she said that.) We have to make a decision to love God with all that is within us, despite how we might feel, and joy will be the fruit—joy that the world can’t take away and peace! Peace that surpasses understanding and contentment! Contentment that transcends circumstances.

It’s Okay to Mourn . . . with Hope!

I know there are sisters reading who, as long as they can remember, have desired to be married with children. They watched their parents’ marriage, and though not perfect, it was godly and healthy, and it was the soil in which their love for the Lord and His beautiful plan of marriage grew. For these ones, to sincerely consider that marriage and children might not happen brings a type of mourning. As their sister, I empathize and I mourn with them (Rom. 12:15). I have been through that process myself . . . and lived to tell about it!

I want you to know it’s okay to lament and even mourn over our unfulfilled desires to be wives and moms. It really is, sis! But know God has promised us beauty for ashes (Isa. 61:3), so out of the mourning something beautiful will come. That very well could be a husband, but it might not. It might be a renewed commitment to take God at His Word. Some of us struggle to live content and purposeful lives because we simply are not believing the words of God. He created us, He owns us, and He has a perfect plan for our lives. It’s not a secret plan, my sisters, it just might not be the plans that we have. But who are you going to trust?

Here’s my final word: Marriage and motherhood are beautiful things, but they are not necessary things. They are not the source of our true and lasting joy and fulfillment. And girlfriend, if a perfect, loving God is not the source of your joy while you are single, an imperfect sinner certainly won’t be your source when you are married.

Somebody say amen to that!

For even more on embracing your singleness, check out our blog archives! Our team wants to serve you even better in this area. If you have any questions you’d like us to address in future posts—or thoughts on topics we should write about related to singleness, please write us at info@reviveourhearts.com. We’d love to hear from you!

“Gingerbread” By Helen Oyeyemi – Review of a Sombre Story of Family, Community, and Quality

via https://bust.com/books/195723-gingerbread-is-a-deliciously-dark-tale-of-family-friendship-and-class.html

gingerbread 5465c

 

Gingerbread: A Novel
By Helen Oyeyemi
(Riverhead Books)

In her six novel, Gingerbread, Helen Oyeyemi finds inspiration in fairy tales, as she did with her 2014 novel, Boy, Snow, Bird, and her 2016 short story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. This time, we follow Harriet, a beautiful woman in her 30s with a teenage daughter, Perdita. Both mother and daughter are prematurely gray, and both find it difficult to make friends. Harriet still feels tied to her childhood companion, Gretel, and Perdita’s main confidants are for dolls who have sprouted plants from their bodies and learned to speak. Harriet was born in the mysterious country of Druhástrana, and fled for Britain when she was a teenager—taking nothing but a possibly magical gingerbread recipe. As Perdita grows, she yearns to visit Druhástrana to solve the mystery of who her father is. The gingerbread may hold the answer.

Oyeyemi incorporates fairy tale elements, magical realism, and multiple framing devices to draw readers deeper into her story, building up the mysteries of Druhástrana and taking the plot through unexpected twists. Fans of Oyeyemi’s work won’t want to miss it, and first-time readers will become fans, too. (5/5)

By Erika W. Smith
Gingerbread was released March 5, 2019
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

 

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