Wednesday, February 26, 2014

6 ways to love single women in your church

6 Ways to Love Single Women in Church 

Some claim to be content in their singleness & that's wonderful, but many are broken through their singleness.  Don't  minimize their pain,  its heartless. I believe God has put it in our hearts to have a desire for marriage. It began with The Garden &  Geneses & the very story of Adam & Eve & the resulting union & family life. It began there. Not everyone is made to be single, actually I will even go as far as to say that it is impossible to have so many "called" to be single as so many claim. Perhaps some, but not as many as I see. I'm hear to make an appeal to you, if you are happy single, I'm happy for you, but if you know someone who is not happy & their heart is stirring..... understand & love them. For those that desire deeply to have a life partner it is & can be a very dark cave. Just as much as "happy" singles claim that wanting marriage is an idol, I would say wanting singleness only can be idolized also. Allow those who are discontent in singleness to grieve. Its a very tough spot for many. 

I have a heart for singles. Many of my friends are single young women ranging from early 20's to mid 30's, I also know of a few men who struggle greatly in this area, they too desire a life partner, someone to grow old with.  The young men I know are truly looking & are as stuck as many of the ladies I know. I thought this was a good article to share. 

Reminder: I merely find articles on the web, I don't always necessarily agree with the source from which they came. 
6 Ways to Love Single Women in Your Church
Last week, my pastor published an article out of a father’s heart for the single women who want to marry in his church body. You can read it here:
The article was like balm for my chaffed, lonesome soul. The life of a single person is full of friction. Relationships are full of confusion, decisions are challenging to make, and each day is pregnant with “maybe never’s” and “not yet’s”. It was a relief to be acknowledged and for the complications to be noted.
At my particular church, married couples far outnumber singletons. This is a wonderful thing! Praise God for so many marriages. However, walking into a church service week after week not sure who you’re going to sit with while observing a sea of heads resting on shoulders and hands being held can bum a girl out. The single woman who wants to marry and loves Jesus experiences a wide range of emotions in regards to her particular season of life. At her deepest core, she desires to be loved (as we all do) and if I may, I would like to suggest ways you can love her.
1. Do Not Use If/Then Statements:
There may be nothing that irks me more than when I am told, “It’s when you let go and are ok with being single that God brings you someone,” or “Relationships happen when you least expect them”. Where this may have been your experience or your friend’s experience, God doesn’t use reverse psychology on his kids and he certainly doesn’t set up dating formulas for us to figure out and follow. In His grace, He often chooses to not give us our idols because he loves us; but that is not the only reason someone is still single. Let me just state for the record that contentment does not entitle you to blessings. By telling a single person that they need to be cool with being single before they can be married, you have (most likely accidentally) encouraged them to live according to a “works-based” mentality. It’s easy to fall into a manipulative relationship with God at that point, and pursue singularity in Christ so that he will bless you. What is more helpful, is to lovingly encourage a single woman in her relationship with Christ because He’s worthy of being pursued himself. Share with her how He has proven himself enough for you personally (not just you and your spouse) in difficult seasons of life.
2. Do Not Assume or Attempt to Fix:
Assumptions about why a person is still single can be very hurtful. Marriage is not a goal, it is a gift. As Pastor Mark said in his article, “There are some single women who remain single for no good reason.” When a single girl comes up to you upset and asking, “Why am I not married?!!!”, the last thing she wants is someone to take a magnifying glass to her heart to diagnose its condition. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. Of course we are all called to sharpen one another and (as the Lord leads) encourage one another toward holiness; but under no circumstance should we try to “fix” each other. There are all kinds of people who are married. There are not those who qualify and those who don’t. The single girl is most likely in a frenzy comparing herself to the married people in her life wondering, “what’s wrong with me?”. What her Father wants her to hear is that she is loved, she has been made worthy by Jesus, and that she has great value just as she is. When others (in an effort to help) fill her head with a lot of “maybe this is why’s”, she will be tempted to psychoanalyze herself rather than rest in God’s sovereignty and love. Trust me, she’s thought through all the reason’s “why not” and Satan likes to beat her with them. Instead, empathize with her and accompany her as she petitions her Lord for the desires of her heart. Pray together that God would provide her a husband, ending the prayer as Jesus does with “Thy will be done”.
3. Ask:
Some of this will depend on the personality of the single person in your life, so use discernment…
The single woman probably has a lot of her life that she wishes she could share with another human (especially if she doesn’t live with her family). Something as simple as a quick text, “How was work?” can mean the world to someone who never gets asked that question. It’s easy to feel like no one cares when you don’t have a spouse. When a single person falls on hard times or has a big decision to make, it all falls on their shoulders. There is no one right there to bounce ideas off of or make decisions with. If you are close with a single person, ask them about the day-to-day things in their life. “How was that dinner with your folks?”, “Did you finish that project?”, “So, what are you thinking about such and such?”. Ask these questions not as a controlling parent would, but rather as a friend who loves to hear about every aspect of their friend’s life. When listening to the answers, don’t be a fountain of opinions and solutions (if they share problems) – listen and simply hear. Offer advice only when it has been invited.
4. Affirm:
Everyone likes to be encouraged. Everyone should be encouraged! Affirming and building one another up is something we are called to do for each other. This is a call that applies to every person you are in relationship with; however let me offer up some specific ways that you can affirm a single woman. Don’t be afraid of her finding her identity in her looks, tell her she looks pretty. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have gotten ready for something and cried at the mirror because I felt sad that my efforts weren’t going to be enjoyed. When a married woman gets all dressed up, often she is giddy with excitement because she knows her husband will delight in her beauty. The single woman will often feel like a waste. God made women beautiful and beauty reveals its full richness when it is partaken of. Single guys in the church community know that it may give the girl the wrong idea if he says she looks pretty, so its unlikely that the single girl feels like her beauties are of any use. Delight in the beauty of the single women in your life. Not, in a sexual or creepy way; but enjoy the things that are lovely about her. Show her through your words that her beauty reminds you of the beauty of Jesus. They are a part of the Bride of Christ, celebrate them as you would celebrate a woman on her wedding day.
As you walk with a single person through their life, affirm their good decisions. When you see them growing in wisdom and making godly choices, say it. Often the singles feel unsure about their decisions because their life lacks immediate validation. She may not have godly parents and feels awkward always asking “Is this ok?”. There is power in “we made the decision”. It takes a lot of faith and guts to make all the calls in your life. If a single person is in your community, be a part of those decisions with them (when invited). Affirm their wisdom when they seek counsel from you.
5. Invite:
At my church, single people are encouraged to seek wisdom from people a life stage ahead of them. (As a little aside, “ahead of them” feels like a poor choice of words. Yes, statistically most of us will get married; but married people have not achieved something higher than the single person. “Older than” or “In a different stage” is a better choice of words.) I have inserted myself in the lives of married couples and reaped a multitude of blessings by being actively involved in other family’s lives. I’ve learned a ton about marriage and parenting – I highly recommend following this suggestion. The Bible teaches us to disciple one another. For the older women to teach the younger and so on and so forth. Much can be gained from obeying this truth. What I have noticed though is that the pressure is usually put entirely on the younger person to seek the disciple-er out. Where I don’t disagree that we should be doing this, I would like to add that the marrieds and elders should also seek out those whom they can disciple. If you’re married, invite single people into your home and life. Not as though they are a charity case, but as delightful people who you want to spend time with. It honestly feels embarrassing for the single person to feel like they have to invite themselves over. A lot of young single women would love to have you and your family over for dinner to get to know you, but their tiny apartment and roommate prohibit them from making that possible. Sheepishly, they may ask to spend time with you knowing that it’s hard for you to get away from the kids…so they end up offering to babysit which results in them spending time with your kids and not you. It becomes exponentially more awkward when you pay them. Invite them over for dinner and a movie after the kids go to bed. Drink wine with them and make them feel like a grownup, not a 13-year-old.
6. Give:
This last point is focused mainly on single women in their late 20′s or early 30′s who live on their own (or at least not with their parents). A fantastic way you can love the singles in your community is by being generous with them. A young single woman with (more than likely) a boat load of student loans, an entry-level job, and no family support is going to struggle financially. She is choosing holiness by not moving in with a guy who will help ease the burden, and she should be encouraged for that. While her newly wed friends are being showered in free furniture and are registering for all their household needs, the younger single girl is eating ramen and can’t even dare to dream about new dinnerware. She has to buy her own blender, her own flowers, her own kitchen table, and her own cookbooks. No one is teaching her how to run a proper household, or cook on budget, or get her whites extra white. That’s why she lives on Pinterest! Most likely the women in her family are saving things they intend to give her when she’s married. Though the sentiment is appreciated, she needs all those things now! You can really bless a single person by giving them things you would normally find on a wedding registry.
I hope this doesn’t come off as the bitter ramblings of a discontented old maid; but rather, I hope you read this and feel better equipped to love the single people in your life. Life is hard for everyone, for married people, for single people… By God’s grace, we are all one body working together for the Kingdom; depending on Jesus for our fulfillment and sense of worth and value.
Single gals, be encouraged! You’re not worthless, you’re not undesirable, you’re not broken – anymore. You have a new heart, a new identity. You are chosen, precious, of great value, and made worthy by a King who loves you. Daughters of the King rejoice! You will meet your groom. He will sing over you and delight in your loveliness. He died, so you might live. He exchanged His crown for rags so he could clothe you in the purest of white. He is preparing a home for us.

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