Toni Lawrimore, the author of this post is a recent graduate school alum and a single woman in our church family.
Dear Single Ladies:
When I was younger, I had a plan. I was going to go to college, meet my husband, get engaged my senior year, and get married as soon as I graduated. My plan was pretty typical of many women: grow up, get married, and have a family. However, as the years passed, I met each milestone with one exception: I stayed single.
Over the past several years I’ve wrestled with seasons of fear, loneliness, and doubt. Through it all I’ve come to not only love my singleness, but come to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is because of how He’s walked through this struggle with me. But I know that sometimes, the struggle is so real and I want to remind you of some important truths:
I hear it all too often in culture, from friends, from family, and in my own inner monologue that to be single is to be alone. That is not true. The Huffington post recently wrote: “researchers discovered that fulfillment was overwhelmingly found in one thing: relationships–but not necessarily romantic relationships.”
They are correct. Fulfillment in the life of a believer is found in relationship with Christ. We are wholly loved and accepted in the fact that the almighty God sent His Son to save us from a lifetime of loneliness and an eternity without Him. And because of that, we are never alone (Matthew 28:20).
Furthermore, Jesus has invited us into and given us church family, in which we can belong. Romans 12 puts it simply: “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Because we are adopted into God’s family, we belong to each other: in that, we are never left behind to be alone.
A significant other can not fully fulfill us, nor are they needed to do so.
On Missing Out:
Whether my longing for a romantic relationship is motivated out of sinful insecurity or a desire for a lifelong ministry partner, both of these are fulfilled in relationship with Christ. Jesus answers our insecurity with his mercy and our loneliness with His presence. Right now, in this moment, you are exactly where the Creator God would have you. He is sovereign and cares for you.
So no, single sisters, we are not missing out. We have spiritual children available to us through discipleship relationships and a ministry partner in the Lord. We lack nothing in Christ.
On that Out-of-Reach Dream Wedding:
I’ve been in over seven weddings at this point in my life and it never fails. Every single time I am a part of a friend’s wedding, I cry. In general, the tears have little to do with the actual union of the couple. Of course I am happy for my friends, but I get overwhelmed at the beauty of what the ceremony symbolizes.
It is the ultimate, tangible picture of what awaits the Church when she is united to Jesus as depicted in Revelation 21. Jesus, the bridegroom, stands joyful and overcome as His Bride, the Church, approaches clad in purity despite her past–despite all the history she has left behind.
Both marriage and singleness on this earth are temporary, lasting only as long as we live. The fact of the matter is whether I am married or single on this earth, there is a greater joy waiting for all of us when we see our Savior face to face. Any loneliness or insecurity we experience now will fade away when we finally experience the presence of our God.
Ultimately, our lives are about marriage – but not a temporary marriage here on earth; an eternal one that it is to come. We get to serve and live in relationship with a loving God here on earth and for all eternity.
Making Use of the Meantime
So, the question is: what do I do in the mean time? What do I do when the desire for an earthly family or marriage is overwhelming?
- Draw near to Jesus. In prayer, in study, in serving, we come before the throne of grace because Jesus is enough. Even if our stubborn hearts do not always believe it, it is true: He is enough.
- Draw near to community. Church family does not exist for our fulfillment, but they are a tool Jesus uses for mutual support and encouragement. They are also a safe place for vulnerability and confession. We can admit when we are believing a boyfriend would satisfy us more than Jesus. We can confess our discontentment and our fears. We do not have to go through life alone. We are not alone.
- Remember your purpose. One day when we lay eyes on people from every nation, tribe, and tongue praising Jesus for eternity, none of this will matter. Our struggles on this earth will be considered light, momentary, and fleeting as we see Jesus in all of His glory. The more we focus on our identity in Christ and our purpose of making disciples, the more content we will with or without a husband and/or children.
When I was younger, I had a plan: get married and have a family before twenty-five. Though God’s plan was different than mine, I am thankful for that mercy. Singleness is a gift. Jesus has used it to help me love God’s plan for my life, to love my church family and to love my purpose even more. Whether your singleness is a short season or a longer one, either way Jesus is faithful to use it for our good and His glory.