This post, originally shared in August, 2015, has been the most widely read guest post to ever appear on my blog. I thought it was worth sharing with a new round of readers now a year later. Thank you, dear Anna, for sharing!
I was recently enjoying rich conversation and reunion with old friends around the dinner table at a wedding. That is, until some thoughtless person (me, blush) made a funny joke about marriage and singleness. Everyone laughed, and then the table got a bit silent.
I realized with hot embarrassment that my joke could have hurt a single friend sitting with us, and I had not even considered her before opening my mouth. I knew I would not sleep that night until I had spoken to my friend and asked her forgiveness for my insensitivity. Her gracious response to me gave me pause to rethink her fragility and my own habits toward my single friends. Fragile, she is not. My habits, however, need to change.
It is a privilege to introduce her to you today as my first guest blogger. She bravely agreed to share with you what she has taught me. I think you may learn from her too, or if you are a single reader, she may just give voice to what you wish your married friends would understand. Thank you, Anna.
guest post by Anna
My name is Anna and I am single.
|In whatever the Lord has for me, I will be content.|
I didn’t expect to be 37 and unbetrothed. And yet, here I am, at the corner of Will-I-Be-Alone-Forever and Where-Are-All-The-Christian-Men.
Most of my adult life has been spent attending the weddings and baby showers of my dearest friends and family, rejoicing with them over the blessings they have found on this earth. I have spent countless hours counseling women about relationship issues and praying with them through some hard break-ups and exciting engagements.
Many days, I rest deeply in the contentment of believing that the Lord is in control and things are exactly as they should be. Then there are the other days. On those days, I ache with deep longing for a husband I have not yet found.
Having been a single adult for more than half of my life now, I want to offer some insight into how it feels and what your role is in my singleness. Did you know you have a role in it? Because you do and we’ll get to that next week.
But first, what does it feel like to be single at this stage?
To understand my heart, you’ll need to understand my situation. I have lived abroad for the last ten years – North Africa, Southeast Asia and now Europe – and I have done some amazing things. I’ve seen the most incredible wonders of God’s world and been involved in absolutely spectacular movements of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people. I’ve traveled the globe and made remarkable memories.
But I’ve done it alone.
And though I’ve served on great teams of people and have traveled with fantastic companions, at the end of the day, I don’t have anyone consistent to share these things with. I once asked a friend what she knew of her husband’s military days and she said, “He doesn’t talk about it with me because I don’t get it. I wasn’t there.” This is my problem.
I can explain all day long and show pictures and tell stories, but being there is different. And no one was there. It’s ok and I’m not sad all the time, but I do envy those who have someone to go home with.
So it feels lonely and isolating.
Unfulfilled But Content
I don’t sit around wallowing in my singleness, mind you. I have just gotten on with my life because I know what the Lord has called me to do.
Many have asked me if I believe my following God’s call overseas has resulted in my sacrificing marriage or a family. I look around at the multitudes of women who have gotten married while working overseas, met someone on a visit home, or found that special someone online and I can only say that I don’t believe the two are related in any way.
I have far too many single Christian friends back in my home country to believe that my geography is keeping me from this desire being fulfilled. God is so much bigger than geography.
But my heart sometimes asks me, am I even allowed to desire both a ministry and a marriage?
There are certain benefits to being single. Paul said singleness is better in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.”
In whatever the Lord has for me, I will be content. But if you want to know the truth of it, today I really want a husband to do ministry with, to walk through life with, to adopt a gaggle of orphans with. And I think it is ok for me to want that.
I was told recently that perhaps I don’t trust God because I want something that He hasn’t given me. I cried buckets of tears on this one.
My trust is in God; make no mistake about it.
Whatever God’s will is for my life, I will trust it. I believe, also, that it’s ok for me to want something that I don’t have while still trusting God.
Let’s remember that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus pleaded with His Father for another solution to man’s separation from God. He wanted to not go through it because it was going to be terrible. OUR Saviour Jesus didn’t say, “I only want what you want.” He said, “I don’t want to do this. But I will, if it’s what You want.” He had a desire but He also trusted His Father. That trust is how He could say, “Not my will but Yours be done.”
This is how I feel about my singleness. I desire marriage. But I desire God more. And if I remain single for the rest of my life because that is God’s best for me, I will trust Him.
Have you felt the tension of adventure and loneliness, contentment and longing, trust and hope, in singleness? Join the conversation and tell us about it.
And be sure to stop by next week to learn what your role is in your single friend's life.
Anna is a people lover and world traveler. She is the co-founder of Initiate Hope, Inc., where she encourages people around the world to engage with the heart of God.
Anna currently lives in the United Kingdom with her fur-child, Chico. She loves the beach, hiking in the Yorkshire Dales and gathering friends from different cultures around the dinner table. She is passionate about sharing the redeeming love of Christ with anyone who will listen.
You can connect with Anna and Initiate Hope at: