Hope in Being Single

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Author: Sarah Dohman

It makes me a little nervous to write about my relationship status (or lack thereof).  It's personal, and frankly my philosophy for sharing my being single has been on a need-to-know basis only.  It's for me to know, and you to find out.  I think it keeps the mystery alive.  However, in the spirit of obeying God, and living my life based upon faith, not fear, I've decided to write about my experience of singleness as a young woman at 30.


Let's start back before 30, actually.

In high school I had a group of girlfriends who committed to not dating.  Most high school relationships end, and they took a stance to remain single so that they could focus more upon God.  I joined the bandwagon.  I focused on developing friendships instead, and I'm glad I did.  

In the beginning of my 20s, I carried on developing friendships as well.  I began a very long process of applying to nursing schools.  My focus was growing in my relationship with God, and studying nursing prerequisites including numerous hours of biology, chemistry, psychology, etc.  I continued not to date because I didn't find any young man worthy of giving up my free time.  I felt enormously happy being fancy free.  I developed an interest in travel, and given the opportunity, I packed my suitcase as quick as I could.

In my early-mid 20s, I began to watch my best girlfriends meet, date, become engaged, and eventually get married.  I also attended many other church friends', old roommates', and family members' weddings.  I love a good love story, and it was so lovely to share in my friends' joyous moments.

Now, at 30, I am the "single friend".  I am one of the rare few in their early 30s at my church who is not married.  I attend weddings without a plus one.  I travel to places by myself, sometimes quite far.  I am the single girl amongst a group of married couples in the community group I attend.  I don't intend to make anyone feel awkward, but sometimes it happens.

My purpose in this post, I suppose, is not to gain pity.  I'd say 99.5% of the time I am completely satisfied in my singleness.  I have an anchored hope in Jesus (that's for you Chara), and I've allowed Him to fill that need for a relationship.  I'm not saying I don't want to get married, because I do, but I am also realizing that God has a plan and purpose in my singleness.  I am able to readily serve others, I can foster healthy relationships with friends, I am able to seek out opportunities that might be a lot more difficult to do if I were married or had kids.  Whether or not God will fulfill this desire of my heart remains unknown, but in the meanwhile, I am seeking after Him, and I know that He is good.  He is good if I do get married, and He is good if I don't.


So, if you are reading this post and you are dating/engaged/married with a "single friend" in your friends circle, here is what I recommend you do: 
  • Encourage them.  Pray for them.  See James 5:16.
  • Ask them what God has been teaching them.  Share with them how God has been working in your life.  Single friends can learn from their engaged and married friends, and vice versa.  
  • If you are getting together with other couples, and you are contemplating whether or not to invite your single friend, invite them.  We are single, not contagious.  Don't avoid the single friend because of potential awkwardness in a group setting.  I can't tell you how many times I've loved being the third wheel, or fifth wheel, or whatever wheel.  My best friends and their husbands are particularly good at inviting me along to activities, and I rarely ever feel left out. 
  • If you've ever said this to your single friend: "I can't believe you aren't married, you're such a great catch," or "It's just not the right timing for you," or the ever-so-grating "God's just not finished with you yet," please, for the love, stop.  God doesn't complete you when you get married.  In fact, God continues to stretch you spiritually in marriage.  According to my married friends, marriage amplifies all of your imperfections under a magnifying glass.  The church needs to quit placing marriage on top of a pedestal, and fix our eyes upon Jesus instead.  
  • Lastly, try and remember what life was like as a single person.  It's exciting, it's freeing, it's terrifying, it gets lonely.  It's full of adventures, and it's the perfect time to focus upon God and serving His people.  Singleness is an opportunity, and you too were once in this stage of life.  
If you are reading this post and you are single, here's what I've been learning/working on:
  • Seek out opportunities to serve your church & community.  It's really easy for singles to avoid getting plugged in.  We are often known as floaters, going to and fro as we please.  However, there is something to be said about plugging into one church, one community group/house church.  No one church body is perfect- that's why we have a merciful Savior.  For the past 6, nearly 7, years, I have been plugged into a local church, Outward, and I can't even describe the support and love I've received by this body of believers.  We are all vital members of the church (single, married, divorced, widowed), who are all needed to plug in and serve others in the church as well as our community.  See 1 Corinthians 12.
  • Pray, pray, pray.  Pray that God will continue to reveal Himself to you.  Pray for your future marriage.  Pray that God will use you mightily, even if you don't get married.  Pray for those who do not know Jesus.  Pray for those who do know Jesus.  Learn to pray about anything and everything.  See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • If you have the desire to be married one day, surround yourself with married couples at all stages in their relationships, particularly ones who are seeking after Jesus.  Ask them to be transparent with you.  Ask them the tough questions.  Break bread with them.  Babysit their kids.  These will all aid in preparing you for future relationships, parenthood, etc.  Singles are often put off by hanging out with married friends, but I highly recommend it. Be the third wheel, or the fifth wheel.   
I'm sure there is more to be said, but I don't want to lecture, I just wanted to share from my heart.  So there you have my thoughts on being single ... 


Find more from Sarah @  http://sarahelizabethjoy.blogspot.com/

Hope in the Temporary Home

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Author: Holly Hawes


Have you ever lived somewhere that you knew would be temporary? The 3-month or yearlong in-between place?

It's interesting, when I know  a place is going to be temporary, I just kind of find myself in angst the entire time. No reason to put things on the walls. I might leave half of the boxes in the corner, only foraging  through them when I happen to need a glue stick for the first time in 6 months, and while doing so, I might just happen to find sandals I totally forgot I had.

 Our little family has been in a temporary house for almost 5 months now.  Due to a kitchen fire that looked really minor but caused enough damage that the kitchen, living room and dining room had to be completely gutted. Only things that were sentimental were saved, and we are still in the process of replacing stuff. God has been so good to us in this process. He provided for us through rental insurance (best thing I've ever bought in my LIFE!), through friends who graciously let us stay with them and people who invited us to eat with them in the middle of getting everything settled down.

We see some great things in this temporary place, BUT it is still temporary.

I've been thinking a lot about how for Christians  this is how we should be seeing this world and this life. We should see it as a very short and temporary place in the light of eternity with God. I can't even choose which verse to point out because there are SO MANY about this. I might need to do a word study on eternity and the eternal, because there is so much in the Bible reminding us to be thinking about that rather than the here and now.  Yet, what I usually do is think about now and how to make my life better short term. Looking for my best life now.
I think I've been missing the point:

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:1-3
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

I really don't know how to do this. When we're making decisions as a family, how do we think about what is better in the really long term rather than what makes us most comfortable? When things are just hard in life, how do we  not let depression take over and see that this is a short season in light of forever?

2Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Today I have a choice.  I can focus my time and energy on the things that feel so important, but are short in the light of forever;  or, I can keep my eyes on the fact that this life is not all there is.  I find great hope whenever my mind stays on the eternal.  Hope when I’m suffering and want it to end. Hope when Life is full of joy. But, my heart is still full of yearning for what is yet to come.

We're just passing through.

Enjoy today, (or just get through today) knowing that it is a season and not the ultimate goal.

Seek what is above.




Find more hope from Holly's life with Jesus @ http://ourrestorationinprogress.blogspot.com