"While rightly shoring up marriage, the church tends to neglect the unmarried or segregate them in a classroom down the hall. Singles often miss out on dinner invitations and family gatherings, and when the ladies meet, husbands and parenting are the main topic of conversation." Single-minded
"Over the past seven years, the number of live births per 1,000 women between ages 15 and 29 in America has plunged 9 percent. At the same time, research by the American Pet Products Association shows the number of small dogs — under 25 pounds — in the United States has skyrocketed, from 34. 1 million in 2008 to 40.8 million in 2012."
I know of a man who met his wife in a most unusual way. One day he was making a run for his job as a cleaning supplies salesman when he passed by a house that caught his attention—actually, it was the mailbox that caught his eye. It bore the phrase, “Jesus—the Way, Truth, Life.” He was intrigued, and on impulse, he stopped and stuck his business card in the door.
“I thought that a family lived there,” he later said. As a man in his late 20s with an evangelistic bent, he was aware that sometimes people present as Christians who, in fact, are not, and he wanted to meet the family who owned the home and find out where they stood spiritually.
But instead of hearing from a family, he received a call from the young woman who owned the home—a nurse who worked the night shift. After chatting by phone and enjoying the conversation, he expressed an interest in getting to know her better, but she said he would have to meet her family first. So she suggested they meet for a Sunday service at the Baptist church her family attended. He stopped by the church, and the rest, as they say, is history. The couple hit it off, the family approved, and three years later they’re happily married and living in the house with the legendary mailbox!
Reprinted with permission from Baptist Bulletin Jan/Feb 2013. All rights reserved.
A few months ago I was serving in my church’s nursery during an evening service alongside a single woman who attended a Christian college, is now employed in the secular workforce, and faithfully serves Christ in ministries such as Awana, VBS, teaching, music, and hospitality. I’d been reading up on the challenges that marriage-minded Christian singles face, and I wanted to pick her brain regarding what she has experienced as a single in the church, as well as what she desires and hopes—things like, does she hope for marriage and family? If so, how does she meet Christian men? Has the church been a help to her as a single—has she felt cared for, encouraged, understood? Were believing friends, family, or those at church missing anything in their care for her during this season of life? My friend and I had just two little ones in the nursery that night, so as we cared for them, we had some time to talk.
“Most of my friends are married or dating,” she said. “With friends getting married and having kids, the shape of those friendships is changing. Everyone in my Adult Bible Fellowship is great, but sometimes I feel awkward as the only single person, although this is probably just me.
I do want to be married and have a family, and I pray for my future husband, but as far as meeting someone…” Her voice trailed off. “Where would we meet?”
In my circle of friends and acquaintances, this was the year for weddings and engagements. I know four different couples who got married this spring and summer and then two more good friends got engaged just a few weeks ago. I’m honestly very happy for all of them, but at the same time, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to struggling with the temptation of a “when’s-it-my-turn” pity party. The plain truth is I am single at 33, and marriage, let alone a date, seems highly unlikely right now.
Still when Hannah and I reconnected this summer, I was initially very excited that she wanted to hear my thoughts and humbled when she offered me the opportunity to share about singleness on her blog. However, as my excitement dwindled, I found myself running for cover. Writing about singleness meant facing the reality of my circumstances yet again.
And since we are being really honest here, I’ll admit that sometimes it’s easier to hide. In fact, if it’s fight or flight, I often choose escape—usually running to the nearest story, whether it’s in a favorite TV show or novel. I think another other story is better than mine so I just hide out there for a while. And all the while I deceive myself into thinking that I’m waiting patiently in my singleness; but functionally, I’m living the opposite. I’m quietly rebelling against God’s sovereignty and providential leading in my life by thinking that anything other than Jesus will satisfy the longings of my heart.
Why is a married woman reviewing a book about fulfillment as a single woman? I think I might have a vested interest in such subject matter. I was nearing my 31st birthday on the day my husband and I exchanged vows. I spent years wading through misconceptions and stereotypes, confusion and disappointment. I wish there had been a valuable tool like this book available during those years.
Skip McDonald is now fifty-five years old, satisfied and single. She says of herself, “If one day [God] decides he wants me to marry, I’m confident he’ll make that clear. But I have to admit that I often thank him for my singleness and remind him that I would like to die a single woman” (p. 113).
That’s some out-of-the-box thinking for most single women. This book is a description of her journey to such contentment, a journal of frank observations, and a guide in which Skip bequeaths to her readers the hope she has found in God’s perfect design.
The book is a very accessible 150 pages of easy reading. That is not to say it is not full of deeper thinking, but that it is top-shelf truth placed on an accessible bottom shelf. She provides illustration of her points by way of “interviews” with various single ladies on aspects of the single life. It feels much like a group discussion, with the additional input effectively fleshing out selected points. I would not have hesitated to place this book in the hands of any of the many students I counseled, who were afflicted with “freshman frenzy,” the rash that develops later into “senior panic.”