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on singleness.

November 22, 2017

Hi beauties! I am so excited (and a teensy bit nervous) to share what is on my heart today. My words are meant to love you, challenge you, and speak life and truth over you regardless of the shiny situation (or lack thereof) on your left ring finger. I hope all relationship statuses take a moment to read and digest. I am going to write first to single women. And then to married women. So two letters in one. Like buy none, get both free. The best kind a deal if you ask me! (ß that rhymed)

Dear Single Women,

 

I see you. I see what an amazing gift to the world you are and how God has fashioned you with unique perspective. Your gifts are necessary to God’s kingdom.

 

Whether you are single by choice, single and patiently praying for a relationship, single and unsure if a relationship is in your future, single and wondering if you are worthy of relationship, single and desperately longing for someone to do life with, single because of divorce, single because of tragedy, single because you bravely walked away from abuse, single at 22, 35, 56, or 70 years old, or single because of any in-between reason, thank you for being here. Thank you for reading.

 

I have heard many of the same things you have heard throughout your singleness experience. You and I probably do not have the exact same singleness journey. We’ve had different life experiences and there are things that might bother me that may be comforting to you. Or vice versa. But, I do know that we have probably encountered some advice-giving voices in our life that have made us feel unworthy, unprepared, or confused about our satisfaction in Jesus. We have been offered various explanations for why we are single and when our singleness will end.

 

I know how badly those well-meaning advice givers’ words sting. I am intimately familiar with the stomach in my throat feeling of “not enoughness” that gets communicated through their meant-to-encourage-but-does-the-opposite words. I have spent many years debunking lies about my identity, questioning how I can do better or get better prepared for a relationship in order to follow the advice of those who have not walked in my shoes. It is painful, much of it is untrue, and I am here to ask you to continue to believe what is true about you AND to have compassion on those who have unintentionally spoken these faulty concepts over you. They did not mean to. I can promise you that.

 

For those of you who feel called to marriage or feel called to something that has not yet come - I believe you. Trust His calling on your life. I know what it feels like to be longing for God to hastily make a way for His calling to come to fruition, but have it feel like He’s holding out on you. I promise you He is not. He does not hold back good gifts from His children.

 

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Oh Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Psalm 84:11-12

 

It is a grueling task to wait for the fulfillment of a calling in your life. It takes grit. God asks us to be faithful in our waiting, so let’s encourage one another in that. Let’s speak life into our dreams, let’s believe each other when we speak life to that still small voice that whispered calling deep within us. That is freaking vulnerable to verbalize, so let’s not squash each other when we share. On this side of Heaven, there will never be a “ready” time and there will never be a moment where you become whole and complete because we will have a constant need for Jesus until our lives join His in our Heavenly home. Most importantly, there will never be a time that you are unworthy of God’s gifts for your life.

 

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

 

This goes for all of our callings, including those who feel called to marriage. Regardless of where you fall on the singleness to marriage spectrum, we need to learn how to uplift, encourage, and journey together to bring life to the callings of those around us. I believe that the culmination of our God given gifts and callings is what will bring others into the Kingdom. So rather than doubt, or be another nay-sayer, let’s freaking light each other up with Jesus-power. Let’s be each other’s cheerleaders, speaking life and truth into our dreams. Dreaming is risky, and it’s hopeless when we stop. When we stop dreaming, we stop believing that there is more to come and begin to believe that where we are at right now is the best there is.

 

Dream on, single women. I’m dreaming alongside you. I’m praying for God to bring forth our callings and that while we wait, we do so in faith and security in our good God. I am cheering you on.  

 

Dear Married Women,

 

I see you, too. I see what a wonderful gift God has given to you in your husband and what a wonderful gift you are to him. What a joy it is to see you in love with the person who is your #foreverweddingdate. I am here to share with you a few things that have been weighing on my heart. This is the perspective of an unmarried woman who has been on the receiving end of so much dating input (solicited & unsolicited).

 

Singleness can be a very painful journey for many, many women. I recognize that your singleness journey may have been painful as well. I have compassion on that and I am so thankful for your life’s journey. For others of you, your singleness journey may have not been tumultuous. You may even be married to your elementary school sweetheart. If that is your story, it’s beautiful and I’m so thankful you have had someone to journey through your growing years with.

 

I have surveyed many single women in my life and compiled a short list of things they hear. I’m going to explain why these things are hurtful and beg us all to band together to stop perpetuating a culture that idolizes marriage and implies a formulaic approach to getting not-single.

 

“When you are fully satisfied in Christ, God will bring someone when you’re ready.” 

 

This communicates a formula. As if to say, as soon as you become fully satisfied in Christ, then you will be worthy of God bringing you a husband. I can assure you that there is no such formula. I can also assure you that just like with every other unfulfilled calling, there is a feeling of incompleteness while we wait for God to make a way. You can have a heart focused on our beautiful Savior, Jesus, and still long for Him to bring forth your calling. It is not one or the other.

 

 “When you stop looking, God will bring someone into your life when you least expect it.”

 

This is as if to say, “it is your fault that you are single. You’re looking too hard. You are expecting God to fulfill a calling on your life and if you’re expecting it He won’t do it.” For some women, this has been their story. For other women, they were looking everywhere, traditional dating, online dating, etc. and that does not mean that they are any less “ready” to find a life partner.

 

“Enjoy your singleness, I’d give anything to have as much freedom and time as you have.”

 

A single lady hears this and thinks, “Does she think that I just prance around frolicking in vineyards all day?” Ok maybe not all single ladies think this, but I am here to tell you that single women are busy people, too. We may not be raising children, or setting up pack ‘n plays & play dates, but we are not up to nothing. We have plans, goals, and aspirations. We work hard, and we need rest too. Neither of our life loads is more important or worthy of attention than the other’s. As women, we must own our season regardless of how different it looks from others seasons. Give it your best. Ask for help. Drench each other in grace and compassion.

 

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:16

My dearest sole sisters, oh how I adore doing life with you! Regardless of your life journey, your marital status, your past, or your current, we need each other. We were created by a living God whose breath gave us breath. Whose flesh gave us flesh. And that God, in three persons, destined us for community. Let’s be radically generous in our compassion. Let’s assume our sister sojourners are doing the very best they can. Let’s love each other the way we love brunch: often & together.

 

Love you, mean it,

Catherine

 

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