Caravan Sonnet: the single journey

2/1/13

the single journey

Well this is a topic that my shy little heart always thought that I would avoid on this blog: the topic of singleness. Recently though I started seeing a series of posts on other blogs entitled: "letters to my single self" and have enjoyed reading through these delightful bloggers thoughts. I came away encouraged, but wondering if there were other bloggers 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. I found a few and a few others that admitted like myself that they were leery to approach this topic on their blog. (Can you still be considered a good blogger if you address and admit that you long for the cute husband to live the cute life with but don't have it yet?)

For seven years I had one of my dream jobs: being a high school teacher. I LOVED it. I have so many cherished memories and over 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 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. Singles that have never been married and yet long to be married. 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'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 more wise 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 breathe 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. 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 our selves 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*

(This post brings a smile to my little heart. It was written in 2013 back when this blog first began and when I was first exploring this issue. In the almost four years since then the Lord has guided and blessed as I have written a book, "Prayers for the Single Journey" and have written on the topic of singleness numerous times. You can purchase my book where books are sold and find it on Amazon HERE. I have also created a list on all topics discussed on the blog related to singleness HERE!)

11 comments:

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    1. Kaitlyn!! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your encouragement! :)
      ~Rebecca :)~

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  2. This is such an honest post, Rebecca. I remember wanting my other half so badly when I was single. I got married later in life. And now I want that baby so badly. It seems I've spent much of my life wanting and waiting. Yet, it is hard when you're "in it" to know if you'll come out the other side with what you want.

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    1. Jessah! Thank you sooo much for your sweet comment and encouragement. (And for following me! I am HONORED!)I totally agree with what you said! I am learning to live in the waiting... and it is hard when you are (as you said) "in it"! And I have to tell you ~ your blog was one that encouraged me to be so honest!! :) Thank you again for stopping by Jessah!
      ~ Rebecca ~

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  3. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! This was FANTASTIC!

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    1. Jade ~ Thank you so much! I know I already told you this but your encouragement is such a blessing!!! :)

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  4. I am so glad that I found this post! I cannot believe those people have said those things about and to you, but I am certain God has a plan for all of us. I'm single, and 23. I am happily single now awaiting God's man for me, but I often do wonder how I will feel in years to come. I am so thankful that I've found other single Christian women through Blogland, and am happy that we can unitedly stand for Christ in this season of our lives!

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    1. Amy! How did I not see this comment until now?? Thank you so much for your sweet comment!!
      :) Rebecca

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  5. I happened upon this post while navigating through your blog. I don't know how I didn't read this post before, because I try to read your posts when I can. I just want to say thank you for sharing your heart! The church problem you addressed is something that has been on my husband and my hearts for years now. We see such a void in so many churches, where they are lacking programs designed for the singles. The singles then just feel stuck or unwanted. I guess you could say that "Singles Ministry" has kind of become our calling. We have since started singles ministries in two churches now. We provide a class specifically for singles on Sunday mornings, and then we do a Wednesday night lifegroup/Bibe Study. We're at our second church now and are eventually going to be starting monthly events and so on. It's been so amazing to see God working through this ministry! We've also had the awesome privilege of seeing several singles in our group meet someone and get married (many of them within the group). It breaks my heart that so many churches don't seem to value their singles! When I was single, I remember feeling like I wasn't important unless I was married, because that's how I felt at church . . . not important. My husband and I are just hoping that God is using us in wonderful ways to make an imprint and to help get churches to realize the value in the singles of their congregations.

    http://www.andthismarinewife.com

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    1. Lydia,

      Please forgive me for my delay in my response. I was so touched by your generous comment and the time that you took to share your heart. I honestly welled up with tears at the way that you and your husband are reaching out to the singles in your area at your church! I wanted to hop through this post and join y'all!!! The time and the way that y'all are loving them is I am confident touching each heart and person that comes through your doors. Thank you so much for encouraging me today and letting me know that I am not the only one that has not felt "important" at church!! What an encouragement to just know that I was not alone in feeling that way!! Thank you again for all that you are doing and for sharing with me!! It is so lovely to connect with you here! I just went through and have spent time reading through various posts on your blog! I am so excited to be your newest follower (I think in everything! hahaha) Thank you so much again for taking the time to encourage me today!

      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

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  6. I love this post Rebecca. I won't pretend to know what you're experiencing but I will say that I love the boldness you have and I agree that within the Church, talking about singleness has become this awkward thing, for whatever reason. I wish there were more people like you that have not looked at their singleness as a time of waiting until the right man comes along, but realizing that the right man is already present, Jesus! I'm sure there are so many who relate to this!

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