The Single Journey [Guest Post by Rebecca]

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Rebecca from Caravan Sonnet is a 30-something, PhD student who has some thoughtful words on being a single Christian women. 

Hi y’all! My name is Rebecca and I blog over at Caravan Sonnet. I am so delighted to be here today to share a little bit about a subject near and dear to my heart: the topic of singleness. I am a thirty-something single gal who loves Jesus so as I write this I am not only sharing information but also part of my heart. To be honest this is a topic that my shy little heart always thought that I would avoid on my blog. But as I started blogging I realized that there were many people who like myself, were single and while longed to be married were enjoying life but that “got it” with how difficult the single journey life can be.

For seven years I had one of my dream jobs: being a high school teacher. I LOVED it. I have so many cherished memories. The last two years I taught a class called “Noble Beauty” where 12th grade girls and I got to explore life as a Christian woman. D.E.L.I.G.H.T.F.U.L. One afternoon though everything changed in my thought process about my ability to have an impact. Shortly after a particularly long day of feeling that all of my hard work was a waste and we could have all stayed home (*smiles*) I made my way to the bathroom to gather a few precious moments to myself before I had to report for after school duty. As I was standing there pacing in the back area trying to gather strength and “the face” for afternoon duty I was startled to realize that a conversation that was taking place in another section of the restroom was about me. “I agree honey, bless her heart, she is a wonderful person” {I smiled…thank you kind mom!} “And she is very pretty and funny {aww… this mom is the best!} “But…” {my head snapped up- there’s a but?} you don’t really want to have her life do you? I mean do you really want to be an old maid and have no prospects of a man and end up all alone?” There was more but their voices drifted as they left the restroom and I stood there with my mouth open. I was shell shocked… this mother had just praised me a week before for my effort as a teacher and told me that I was a wonderful role model for her daughter. Apparently I was also an old maid.

Despite being a woman who is madly in love with her Savior I have found that the American church often does not know how to handle the singles who are in their churches that are over the age of twenty-five. In my experience it is the rare church that knows how to lovingly involve singles into the community. To address the need that while we long to be married and would love to meet a spouse we also want to feel completely apart of a church even if they don’t offer a singles group.

Several years ago I learned that a co-worker of mine’s wife was actively involved in the women’s ministry at the church that I was attending. Having moved recently and not knowing many people, I was eager to find fellowship with other sisters on this journey. My theory then and as always been that everyone has something that they are dealing with and while we might not be able to understand it we can support and encourage one another on our journeys. One day at lunch I eagerly asked my co-worker if I could have his wife’s contact information because I wanted to get involved in the women’s ministry. I explained I would love to talk with her since I didn’t know anyone else in the women’s ministry. He got a strange look on his face, which might have deterred a wiser woman, but I naively kept pushing ahead in my quest to find good fellowship. His look on his face had grown more withdrawn and into a look of a parent scolding a young child and as I stopped to take a breath he interrupted with: “I have heard that xyz church has a very active singles ministry – you should look into that church.” I was dumbfounded. I reminded him (from a previous conversation) that while xyz church did have an active singles ministry I was eager to get involved in our church several months ago. He looked at me and I will never forget what he said: “This is a family church. I just don’t think this is the church for you. You need to find a church that has more people like you.” I remember being mortified and making some excuse of why I needed to leave the room and made my way to a restroom where I promptly burst into tears. The thing that I felt in that moment was what a lot of singles experience: feeling completely alone and not whole because we are an “I” instead of an “us”.

In many Christian singles books that are available we are told to live fully, use our single years with gladness, and to immerse ourselves into something greater than ourselves. On one hand I have a slightly difficult time with the fact that many of these Christian authors met and married their spouses before the age of 22 and are telling us how to live – but that is a discussion for another day. On the other hand, I would agree to an extent. In the context of throwing ourselves into our relationship with the Lord -a definite yes. Throwing ourselves into the latest cause for the sake of throwing our selves into a cause is not what I see scripture telling us to do. This is an unfortunate lie that many single Christians unfortunately come away feeling heartbroken and tired. I have even seen some good friends who have walked away from the church completely because they are burned out.

How do we as singles navigate the single journey with our hearts longing for our other half? How do we live fully while we long for a future day? I guess this blogger is going to explore the topic. *smiles*