To all the Christian single ladies

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Recently I read a random article about sexual desires and the single Christian woman. I was hoping this article would be helpful, with spring fever alive and well, but it was not. It was full of “advice” for humans, either married or single, not just for singles. Many of the articles written for my demographic miss the mark, do not apply to me, are far too general, and they are not at all vulnerable.

As someone who struggles with vulnerability because of the pain it can bring, I challenged myself to begin writing what I would want to hear. And as I chatted with other single friends about blogs, posts and articles for us, they too expressed a longing for something more real. So here it goes:

To all the single Christian ladies,

Sunday I went to church and heard a sermon that had very little to do with my life. It was good, it was full of truth, but it was about running from the Lord when you know His will. That is such a deep and rich topic, and many in the room where connecting with it. I have been working on my heart of disobedience and wondered: what happens when you are being obedient and the Lord’s promises still go unanswered? That is how I, a single woman in her mid-thirties, feel. Sometimes I think God forgets about me, and I know some of you feel that way too.

After Sunday’s sermon I talked with my pastor friend, who had no idea how I am feeling or what I am going through, and he said the Lord had a word for me—and I think this word could be for you, too. “You are not missing anything.” After he had spoken, I took a deep breath (and in all honesty, held back tears) because I knew that the Lord had met me. As I meditated on the word given to me, I heard two things. First, I am not missing out on anything by not being in a relationship. Second, the reason I am single is not because I am incomplete as a person. I am not missing anything. I know it feels like the world is hooking up and disobedience will lead to desires met, but God has not disappeared and He has something for you.

I often think there must be something wrong with my desire for a husband because it has yet to be met. But I know there is nothing wrong with this desire; and whether you desire a companion, a husband, an encounter, or to simply to be wanted—all of this is valid. And when these desires are not met, it is not because there is something wrong with you, it is not because you are in sin, it is not because “you are trying too hard.” Unfortunately, it is probably just God’s will, and He is Sovereign. I know this sounds trite, but it is also an encouragement. You are enough and He is faithful. You are not missing anything.

Recently I told a man I had feelings for him, but it did not go as I thought it would, and I had to be intentional about not letting lies creep in. I felt rejection and loneliness, but I know that although my situation is momentarily painful, Christ will show up. Single friend, when this happens to you, He will comfort you, He will understand your tears, and He does hear your prayers, they matter to Him. Singleness is a long road in Evangelical America. But know that you are important to the Body of Christ and the Lord will bring seasons of peace. Because you are not missing a thing.

Now onto sex. It is OK to want sex, to have chemistry with someone and to desire physicality. And if you are walking in obedience, things might not be simple, and you might have to walk away from something that you want in the moment. It is hard, and it sucks. But on this journey of holiness, give yourself grace—lots and lots of grace. Clearly you should be intentional with healthy boundaries, but when mistakes happen and sin creeps in, trust in the Lord and His grace will cover it all. His grace will cover shame and you can walk boldly as His daughter. Everything around you is telling you that you are missing something, but you are not. You are not missing a thing.

Single ladies, your struggles are valid and while memorizing scripture and working out are good, they will not change your God-given desires for a husband, for a physical relationship, or for someone to want you. In this season, it might feel like you are missing out or that your desires are misplaced, but as I have been learning that is not true. ‘Cause girls, we are in this together, and we are not missing a thing.

With love,

Candy

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Mother’s Day

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Originally posted on May 4th 2016, updated and revised

I have sat through 35 years of Mother’s Day sermons. I have sat next to barren friends with tears in their eyes, I have sat next to content single women who serve in the children’s ministry, I have sat holding a friends child so that she could worship freely, and I have sat alone and lonely.

Motherhood has always alluded me, as an adult single, never married Christ follower, Mother’s day has just been another Sunday I call my mom. My Sunday routine is the same, go to church, go get coffee, go home, call my mom- nothing is different- except on this Sunday Moms are recognized, women who have bore children are exalted.

I have often felt that my child-free life screams from the pew on this day. As the women around me are gifted with a rose or some other flower, I sat happily in my childlessness but sad that mothering is being viewed so narrowly in the church. I am not a mom, but I do love kids. I am grateful for a church that gives all women flowers on this day. It was not to belittle the sacrifice of being a mom, but to be inclusive of those who may want to mother, but because of circumstance, singleness, infertility, timing, can not. Motherhood should not be viewed as purely biological.

I once read that there are two types of moms: the ones who are mothers by circumstance and those who are called to mothering. Either type can actually have children, but neither have to want them. There are single, barren, married, and waiting women who are called to mothering – they staff our nurseries, they hold babies, they mentor young people, they help in homework clubs, they take in orphans and they fill our mission fields. They love nurturing and caring for children. There are others who love their own kids and have no desire to deal with other people’s kids; but they are gifted and called to other things.

So Pastors and guest speakers, as you prepare your sermons for Mother’s Day, be inclusive of those that mother yet have no children. Be gracious in the language around the “sanctifying” act of childbirth; God uses many things to sanctify His children. Celebrate the women of your congregation, what they contribute, and the mothering spirit many of them bring to the sanctuary. And maybe ask a mom to fill your pulpit.

Running From the Lord

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Sometimes I get so impatient for the Lord. I am tempted to be like many of the folks of the Bible and take matters into my own hands. Instead of waiting on His timing, I push for mine.

I remember one time when I was living in Pennsylvania, and I was spending time with this guy. He was a good man, a godly man, but not the man for me. I did not want to admit this to myself; I wanted so badly for the relationship to work. I just wanted something to work. So I spent time working on this relationship that was not right, and I was miserable. For weeks I was a mess, and one Sunday a friend of mine asked me what was going on. I lost it, I just broke down crying. I was trying so hard to be what this guy wanted, and even though there was nothing wrong with him, there was something wrong with us.

Whenever I begin to feel myself pushing for my timing, I think about this very defining event. I think about crying in the back row at church, about the beautiful handkerchief my friend gave me, about the freedom I felt when I walked away from my misplaced desire in order to be obedient. It was hard, but it was also so liberating. All of those memories make my will seem empty. I wonder if Jonah ever felt this way. He ran and things got terrible. He preached repentance and his enemies surrendered to the Lord—he sulked and his shade withered. Going to Joppa was not a sin, but running from the Lord was.

Lately I have been really convicted about my pride, like Jonah I often think I know better than the Lord. Like Jonah I often run away until the Lord captures me and puts me in the middle of His plan. But unlike Jonah’s known story, while dealing with my pride, God has been gracious to gift me with a growing acknowledgement and confidence in His promises and truths. While He is breaking down my earthly pride, He is also building my eternal confidence. While I am being stripped of self, He is clothing me with His worth and delight.

The last week has been significantly rough—deadlines unmet, phone calls unanswered, water finding a way to my tear ducts and into the cracks in the basement, and yet there has been great peace. The peace makes no earthly sense. I should be reacting like Jonah, searching for a tree in the wilderness away from happy people, a place to be bitter and salty. But God is doing something new in me. He is awakening me to my worth in Him, not worth in my job, not worth in my status, not worth in my home. My worth in Him. And with this very basic understanding of my worth has come peace.