Recently I was invited to share at my church’s young adult’s group. The topic was “The Joy of Being Single”. Not much of a speaker, I wrote everything down (including my prayers) and read directly from my notes. Still the words seemed to make a positive impact. I am deeply grateful to my friend, who leads the group along with her husband. Thanks to their invitation I’ve been able to gather my thoughts on being a single Christian woman.
I’ve included my entire message. I warn you it’s long. But thought you might enjoy it – especially if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day alone.
Let’s open in prayer. Holy Spirit, thank you for the opportunity to share tonight. I pray You would move beyond my limitations to the heart of this matter. Father God, I ask You to bring a revelation of Your Son to the deepest parts of our heart. Jesus, we want to align ourselves as Your bride, Your beloved, Your chosen one. Remove anything keeping us from fully living there. Amen
Since I’m single, I get to talk to you about the joy of being single. I’m nearly 37. That seems so old to me. Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been around that long. I’ve never been married. I’ve never had sex. You wouldn’t believe it now, but there was a time when I had my fair share of offers.
Growing up, I kind of expected to get married. But I didn’t make that my primary focus. Instead, I devoted myself to serving the Lord. I’ve never spent much time waiting for a man to come along – not that I wouldn’t welcome the right one if he did come along. But I believe the Lord has a plan for my life. If marriage hasn’t happened, there’s something else He has for me in this season. And I really don’t think it’s to my benefit, or the Lord’s, for me to waste time pining for something that may or may not happen. Nor am I going to waste time with frivolous dating or hooking up.
In my early 20’s, after being heart broken by the end of a very beautiful and godly romance, Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7 shook things up for me.
Let me read verse 8-9 in 1 Corinthians 7:
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Better to marry than to burn with passion, is something I’ve heard preached and quoted many a time. I’ve yet to hear anyone focus on the fact that Paul says “It is good to stay unmarried.” We live in a culture obsessed with romantic love. Sadly, the church isn’t much better. Too often love is really nothing more than lust. According to the apostle Paul, it’s good to be single.
Sometimes in life, especially, the Christian world, being single is looked upon as a problem to be solved. Too often, singles are waiting for their life to begin. We’ve bought into the idea that marriage is God’s ultimate goal for our lives. It may be society’s stamp of approval – but it’s not the Lord’s.
If there are issues in your heart or your personal life that make you a poor candidate for marriage, by all means deal with those things. Bring yourself to a healthy places. Deal with past pain or fear because of the example of marriage you saw growing up. Don’t hinder yourself if marriage is something the Lord’s put on your heart. Don’t choose to be single if that’s not the Lord’s intention for you. Do the necessary work to heal your heart so that you’re ready.
But if you’ve dealt with all of that and you’re still single, hear me very clearly. The Lord is not displeased with you. He is not holding out on you. He’s not keeping you from the good life. He has you in this season for a specific reason. I don’t say that lightly. You are not called to sit around waiting for love to show up on your doorstep. You are called to advance the kingdom of God. For reasons you may never understand, the Lord has determined you can best do that as a single person right now. That’s not to say, you won’t marry. If that is His intention for your life, a mate will come when He sees fit. In the meantime let’s get busy advancing.
When I was 10 the Lord put the dream of adopting on my heart. He did so by showing me the beginning verses of Isaiah 54.
“Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back;
lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.
4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
5 For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
As I grew up, the Lord continually confirmed His call on my life to be a mother. I hoped it would be with a husband. But I knew, I couldn’t let that stand in my way. The Lord called me with the possibility of me literally being the barren woman, her without a husband, spoken of in Isaiah.
For the past five years I’ve been a foster parent. I raised one special needs child through adolescence and into adulthood. 1 ½ ago I adopted two little girls who came to me as foster children. Sloane* is nearly 6 and Elise* is 4. They’ve been with me almost three years now.
Just before they came, the Lord, my husband, worked a miracle for me to be able to buy a house. It’s huge. When I first started looking for a home, I expected to end up in something very modest. But my house really was an enlarging of my tent as talked of in Isaiah. Shortly after I got the house, the Lord filled it.
Now with my two daughters, I’m following the Lord as He leads me into the next phase of life for us. I’ve built a life for myself and my children. I’ve not done it in the conventional way.
In case you’re wondering about the legitimacy of me adopting while single, the New Testament talks a lot about us being adopted into the family of God. But the only picture of adoption in the natural is Moses. He was spared from death and adopted by Pharoh’s daughter. Neither the Bible nor historical accounts indicate she was married. By all appearances she was a single woman. That’s who God chose to raise the man who would lead His people out of slavery. My kids may not grow up to do anything that significant, but I qualify as their mom. It’s in the Bible.
As I said, I live far from ordinary. Some of you need to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to your own life.
The Lord isn’t hindered by your singlehood. You might be – but He isn’t. Misty Edwards made a comment recently when she was speaking at the One Thing Conference. She said, “Some of you are so preoccupied with the idol of being married one day and hopefully that’s going to solve all your problems.” I’m sure any married person you know will confirm, getting married does not solve all your problems. It creates a whole new set of them. Paul mentions this in 1 Corinthians 7. (reading from the Message version):
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
The Message (MSG)
I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.
The NIV says,
“I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
Being single may only be a season. But in this season, I implore you to make the most of the place you’re at. Go after the dreams God’s placed in your heart. Forcefully advance the Kingdom. Live the life the Lord has designed for you today. Don’t waste your time fantasizing about falling in love. Don’t waste your time waiting for a man or woman to walk into your life. Encounter Jesus – today, now, in your present state. Let Him be your husband, your wife. Let Him connect with you. Let Him reveal the glory of the season you’re in. He’s not gritting His teeth trying to get through this to the point when you’re married. Neither should you. There is a specific purpose for the season you’re in. If you need clarity on what it is, press in. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal it to you. If you need help embracing this season, choose to put aside your own mindsets. Step out of the expectations – spoken or unspoken – of the culture you live in. Let the culture of heaven be your compass.
Mike Bickle, from the International House of Prayer, mentioned about a year ago, an increase in the earth of the anointing for celibacy. I’m not going to call you forward if you want that imparted. But if you’re single, it’s an anointing you need. Asking the Lord for it won’t seal your fate – it won’t keep you locked in a single state. But choosing to wallow in the struggle to remain sexually pure, isn’t going to move the hand of God. He’s not going to send you a spouse because He sees you yielding to sin. Single or married, you need Holy Spirit’s intervention to remain pure or regain purity if it’s something you’ve lost.
Like the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:2, I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. The leadership of this ministry are jealous for you with a godly jealousy. The Lord Himself is jealous for you. 2 Corinthians 11:2 goes on to say, “I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.”
Recently this verse rocked me. Father God spoke it right to my heart – I promised you to one husband, to Christ.
Let that sink in for a minute. Guys as well, you are promised to one love – to Christ. Married or single, I encourage you to renew that vow. You have been promised to Christ. As such, live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
In closing, I want to pray over you.
Close your eyes. Take a moment to bring forward any of the issues I’ve touched on that hit home for you.
Maybe you’re carrying shame because you’re still single.
Maybe you’ve made marriage an idol.
Maybe you’ve let go of your purity because you got tired of waiting or couldn’t see the point.
Maybe you’ve been stuck – waiting to get married in order to fulfill the call of God on your life.
Maybe you’ve despised being single. Instead of seeing it as an opportunity you’ve thought of it as a curse.
Whatever resonated with you, or whatever the Lord’s bringing to mind – just release that to Him now.
I’m just going to pray on your behalf and mine.
Father God, I thank you that You are a God of order. With you there is a time for everything and a season for every activity. Forgive me for not fully embracing the season I’m in. I repent for trying to hurry through it or fantasize myself out of it. Every good gift comes for you, Father God. I choose to see being single as a gift. Help me to make the most of this season.
I ask you, Holy Spirit to wash me – body, soul, and spirit – from any trace of shame that’s taken root in my life because I am single. Your word says it’s a good thing. I choose to stop contradicting your Word. Cause my emotions and desires to come into alignment with the season You have me in. I ask for Your anointing so that, whatever the future holds, I can present myself with purity to You, Jesus.
I step into everything You have for me right now. Forgive me for any times I’ve held back – discrediting myself because I’m single. You do not discredit me. You have specific assignments that I’m only able to complete in this state of singleness. I chose to open my eyes and my heart to see all You have for me.
Instead of looking for a spouse, I vow to look for You – Lord Jesus. I present myself to You today. Walk with me. Reveal Your heart so that I can love you better – and in turn be ready to love my spouse if that is where this journey leads me.
Regardless of the outcome, I declare Your love is enough. You are enough for me. You delight in me as I am. In this season, in this state of being single, You see me as complete. I am completely Yours. Thank you Jesus for the invitation to be wholly and completely Yours. I accept. Amen.