By Elizabeth Prata
I don’t “struggle with singleness.” There are lots of things I do struggle with, but living single isn’t one of them.
My parents’ marriage was not the best, and other marriages I’d observed weren’t glowing with love and gentleness either. Divorce was rampant in my growing up years. The US was changing from strict divorce laws to less restrictive, or no-fault.
I was saved at age 43 so that meant for a long time I was a heathen, living for myself. I had an idol, and that was marriage. I wanted to be married, to be a wife. The guy the idol of marriage came with didn’t matter so much as me longing to be in the state of marriage. I felt marriage was important, offered security, and I wanted to be somebody’s number one. Not being saved, I had no clue about the state of marriage being a picture of Jesus with His Bride. I got married. But the Lord showed me the error of my thinking. Painfully.
But in my 20s when I so badly wanted to “be married” I remember the yearning, the wondering, the silence of the empty house, the aching of time passing. I know that being single is an issue that many women deal with. In order to learn more, I listened to Theology Gals’ podcast on the subject. Angela Whitehorn, Coleen Sharp, and Ashley Glassick are co-hosts. The blurb for the podcast states,
Theology Gals is a podcast by women on Reformed theology. The podcast addresses a variety of topics on the study of God’s Word, sound theology and the Christian life.
The co-hosts talked with their friend Jean Keeley about singleness. Jean offers encouragement to other singles through sharing of her journey and also scripture. The hosts also discussed singles and the Church.
What I appreciated about the interview was that when one of the co-hosts asked a question, they allowed the interviewee to answer at length, without interruption, diversion, or laughing/joking/giggling (as so many podcasters are wont to do). I learn more when I can listen to a reply unbroken and with no rabbit trails or personal anecdotes from the hosts.
In this interview Jean Keeley made some insightful statements about her reconciliation with being single. She said she has remained in her church for decades, the first one she joined. From that vantage point, she said she remembers when her church was small with few members. There were one or two women who were older (to her at that time older was mid-thirties) who weren’t married. She thought to herself, “That won’t be me. I’ll find somebody.” Then suddenly she was in her late 40s and still not married and thought, “Gee, that IS me!” It was then she had a long struggle with her status as a single woman. She said whether you’re a woman in your 20s and seeing all your friends get married, or you’re as she was, awakening one day to find you’re on the shadow side of the hill and still not hitched, I found her thoughts and journey for both/all demographics to be helpful.
The quote I remember best from the interview was,
“Ladies, this isn’t God’s Plan B for your life. This is God’s best for you.”
Jean Keeley described how she came to the Lord, which was an encouraging portion of the podcast. Then Keeley revealed some aspects she delights in with the single life and some things that for her aren’t so delightful. She discusses the difference between aloneness and loneliness. She offers practical advice on resting on God’s word in these matters. The hosts and Kelley discussed the verse from 1 Corinthians 7:34 and how it applies to each of them in the different states in which God has provided for them, married and single.
The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
The conversation progressed with grace, in grace, with neither status -married or single- being elevated nor disparaged.
For me, my singleness forces me to trust wholly in Jesus, and to lean totally on Him. He knows best. The remnants of making my husband the savior are still roaming around in me, I suppose, as well as the distraction of serving husband and abandoning my Lord is still likely being a risk. The Lord does know best for each one of us. I enjoy being in a narrow chute, like a horse with blinders, having to look only to Jesus. When struggles come, and they do- I was in one just yesterday- I pray to Him, read about Him, and look only to Him, and that in the end is sweet to me.
If this topic interests you, Ladies, for whatever reason, I commend the podcast. I hope you enjoy it as I did.