Dear Single Girl

Dear Single Girl:

You are not lacking. Did you know that? Has anyone told you that?

All those youth group sermons where you made lists of the qualities of the man you would marry – did anyone tell you that you can have a full, abundant life following the path God has laid out for you without waiting?

Did people give you advice like:
“God has the perfect man in mind for you” or
“Keep waiting and God will honor that” or
“Don’t worry someone better will come along” or
(Fill in the blank.)

Did you know that those things are not Gospel? Did you know that Jesus said that He came so that you could have life, and an abundant life at that! Jesus didn’t put a relationship qualifier on your abundant life or when it will start or whether you must be married for life to be abundant.

Marriage is not promised to you. Marriage is not something you can earn by not kissing any boys or not dating or praying for your future husband each night. Marriage is not the goal.

Please hear that. Marriage. Is not. The goal. Marriage is not a prerequisite for living out your calling.

You have a calling. YOU. Do not hold out to be a pastor’s wife. Be a pastor. Don’t hold out to be a cross-cultural worker’s wife. Be a cross-cultural worker. The dream of your heart is to be a mother? Be a spiritual mother who will have children in the faith. Did you know that Paul called Titus and Timothy his sons? It’s not a small thing. It’s not a lesser-than thing. I have daughters in the faith that I love differently than I love other people. They are my spiritual daughters. I am a mother to them.

This Kingdom, this Christ Kingdom that we are in, does not place qualifiers on you before you can participate. This Christ Kingdom does not say to you that your work is okay but marriage is the most celebrated. This Kingdom that we are in does not segregate you to a table in the back or an odd-man-out awkwardness. This Kingdom work says to you, please join us. Please use the gifts and passions God has given you – and use them now. Do not wait. Do not hide.

This Christ Kingdom does not say to you “when you grow up and get married” because getting married isn’t the requirement for growing up. Maybe you won’t get married. And that is the truth – maybe you won’t ever get married. But that is not the end. (Do you hear me?! If you do not get married, you are not pathetic or sad or un-loveable or un-lovely!) What is sad (hear this) is waiting and wasting years of influence and adventure because you are waiting to get married.

I sat across from one of my spiritual daughters at dinner one day and asked her what she wanted to do. Without blinking, she said, “When I get married I want to move somewhere cool and teach.” I gently corrected her and said, “Please don’t wait to get married to move somewhere cool. Move somewhere cool. What if you never get married and you spend your life waiting to move somewhere cool?” Those simple words changed her perspective and she ended up spending two years in Paris working with our team.

Single girl, release yourself from the wait. You may well meet someone wonderful and marry him – and that is to be celebrated. That is a gift. But do not wait to have this adventure called life – this adventure called ministry. Fill your life with friendship and love and don’t buy into the lie that you must be something else to be happy or used of God.

Live now.

16 Comments

  1. Spring May 22, 2019

    Thanks so much for this post! I think in general we limit others and limit ourselves when we have a “plan” or expectations as to how God will work. I am sorry for placing those expectations on others

  2. Rachel May 22, 2019

    I love this so much. I feel like I am living a pretty full life in my singleness and mostly content, but the hardest thing the older I get is finding community. I feel like I get left out of things with people my age because I’m the only unmarried one left. So I’m stuck trying to “fit in” with single people much younger than me. Anyone wisdom to share on this?

    1. Kristen May 22, 2019

      I’d love to hear suggestions for this too.

    2. Kathy Locke May 24, 2019

      I have been single all my life (and I turn 66 today!) In my mid-30’s, I found I had more community meeting with married women for walks, tea, etc mid-week–after they got their children off to school. I had to change my expectation of social time, since most of my friends’ evening and weekend time was with husbands/family. A lot of my ministry was on weekends, too–when I was involved with students, retreats and social events took place on Friday nights and Saturdays. Later, I was involved in a ministry that took place on Saturday mornings, when women were free. It took a while but eventually I got used to having my own relaxed time with friends during mornings. I am a strong extrovert but over time, I’ve come to enjoy doing things on my own.

      1. Michele May 24, 2019

        Happy birthday, Kathy! Thanks for your encouragement!

    3. J May 24, 2019

      If you can find a “small group” to meet with – that is people your age or older (even if they’re married), I found that to be a blessing. As much as I also would try to “fit in” with singles who were much younger, it came to a point where I was struggling to have community also because I just didn’t fit into that younger group any more. I can relate to this challenge a lot, just not sure I found the best way to deal with it. We also began a “singles” fellowship at church of people from various churches in the area – which is a blessing – but also hard to get people to commit to being involved regularly in.

    4. Lily June 7, 2019

      I had a similar feeling in the US church, being 8-10-14 years older than most of the singles aside from the older ladies with grown kids who were single again. Finding a small group in my part of town with a mix of ages and stages (including a single woman who was older than me for a change) helped a lot for the months that it lasted. If I were to stay in the US long-term, especially if for some reason I wasn’t living near my parents and brother, I would look and pray for a family or two to get really close to. Living in close community and friendship, possibly even sharing a home, doesn’t require a blood or marriage connection. Sadly, living internationally means that’s not a long-ish term option. That said, while I’m often with younger singles in the expat community, several of us do have that close community built by sharing daily life together in very close homes, which is a huge blessing. Not to say I’m never lonely for someone who shares certain interests that my community doesn’t happen to share, and not that I don’t still long to be a wife and mother and battle envy as friends who enter those stages are more and more years younger than me. But this year I’ve started praying specifically for spiritual children on the same day of the week that I pray for a husband & family. I hope for both, but if I can’t have both, I’ll take the former, and I will keep teaching myself the truth that it is NOT a consolation prize. Hopefully I can come to a place where I really believe it with my whole heart.

  3. Anna May 22, 2019

    Excellent! Thank you Kelly for this letter! I am a mature single women that is completely fulfilled doing what God has called me to do and its with out being married. Yes, there are times when you wish you had someone to share with… but there are many lovely friends that we can share life with! There are so many women desperate for marriage to begin life. I have been trying to show and share that other side and you have so eloquently stated everything I have been holding on to! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I can’t wait to share this with many of the young woman that I minister with! Blessings upon blessings to you!
    Sincerely and Gratefully!

  4. Michele May 23, 2019

    Preeeeeach! 🙂
    I told the Lord when I was 20 that I was just going to seek and serve Him, and if marriage fit into that later, I would trust Him to lead me into it. Thirty years later it would be hard to convince me to give up the life I live for marriage! I won’t say never ever, but it would be a huge sacrifice at this point. Marriage is beautiful and powerful and I celebrate it and love my married friends, but it is not the goal.

  5. Belinda V. Kuhn May 23, 2019

    Gaining in age, in cross-cultural work experience, and a bit of wisdom I was regularly asked as a single woman to speak on being “Single and Satisfied”. I would encourage parents to attend the seminar as well and some of my advice to them would be to prepare their children to know how to navigate a solo life well (like Jesus) as well as the possibility of marriage. I believe if more parents would invest in their children becoming whole persons, relating well with God, themselves, and others… we would not have the problems in promiscuity, pornography, and painful pleasure seeking. If our children marry, they will enter that relationship as whole people, able to give the best to their spouse and family.
    PS – I’m still a career missionary (nearly 40 years now) and [surprise!] got married at 60 yrs old. He was worth the wait! And, indeed, I have many spiritual children because my single life was not wasted.

  6. Jeanette Neil May 24, 2019

    I have sort of left church because it’s so embarrassing for me to still be single. I had too many relationships with men that left me feeling devalued. It didn’t help that my parents were ministers and constantly busy ministering to others as I grew up. I felt I needed an available dad. Now at 47 it’s a real struggle to find energy to go out and date. I’m a primary teacher, and I have become a mum to so many kids at school.

  7. Allysa May 25, 2019

    Wow! I needed to hear these truths again. They are now ringing with a new vibrancy in my spirit. Thank you so much.

  8. K.A. Wypych May 28, 2019

    Loved this! Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Rebekah Lieberman May 31, 2019

    I appreciate the idea of parents preparing their kids to be whole regardless of whether they marry or not. I think most everyone dreams of their own children marrying and having children, A part of that is good and healthy, fitting in with the way the Lord has designed us, the desires that He puts in us. Yet, a part of me aches when I hear my friends saying to their children, “Someday, when you marry… Someday, when you have children…” because that is not His plan for all of us. I know those friends are not trying to devalue me, and yet, I hear that message being reinforced, “You’re not fully grown till you’re married…” And, it’s not true. And, ti’s not helpful for kids to grow up feeling they will be half of a person till they marry.

    I am not married, and from the time I was small, I always wanted to be. It’s easy to feel like I’m cheated in some way, and yet, I have enough married friends to realize that we all live with unfulfilled desires. We all have difficult things in our lives that could make us feel disqualified from being fully alive. He asks us to live alive where we are today, to mourn the hard things, but to rejoice in the good of now, and also in the good of the new creation… what is starting now, and will be completed.

    1. Lily June 7, 2019

      So true. I guess parents have a hard time imagining a life for their children that’s different than their own, but as you and Belinda both said, it’s important to prepare children for singleness as well as marriage.

    2. Abigail Zhao June 25, 2019

      Thank you for sharing, Rebekah! I completely resonate with hearing parents of small children saying those things. Something my good friends and I often discussed when I was single. Because that is not a guaranteed promise from God for every single person.

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