Why Have I Been Single for So Long?
Sharon has been a Christian since she was a little girl. Her parents raised her attending church, and she’s been faithful all of her life. She even worked at a local church for a while. She’s now in her thirties. Never could she have imagined that she would still be single at this age. She remained sexually pure until she was almost thirty years old. That one mistake- that one time - had haunted her for the three years since. She thought surely this guy was the one she had longed for all her life. Yet, here she was, in a puddle of tears, questioning everything. “How could I have been so stupid?!” she cried.
She wanted desperately to be married. She had waited, stayed the course, and had been faithful to God’s plan for her life. She was a pretty girl who had a lot going for her, yet her singleness seemed to force her into a path of self-doubt and self-deprecation. She simply could not understand why God hadn’t brought her the man of her dreams. Doesn’t He give us the desires of our heart? Doesn’t He create us for fellowship and relationship?
I’ve worked in single parent ministry for eight years now, and unfortunately, Sharon’s story isn’t unique. Many singles and single parents struggle with the “why” behind their singleness. Is it a curse? Have they done something wrong? Is their unconfessed sin in their life? Is this a punishment from God in some way? It is especially hard when children are involved and moms desperately want those kiddos to have a dad in the home.
We all ebb and flow through our walk with Christ. There are times when we are completely content in Him, growing and thriving in His word, daily pursuing His truth. And then…there are the other times – the times when we aren’t certain He hears our cries, we struggle to find joy in our season, and question why this thing or that is happening to us. Singles are no different. There are times through the journey when single Christians struggle with why they haven’t found the one yet. They worry they never will and wonder why the daily struggles of paying bills and loneliness keep creeping in. Other times, singles are fully content in their season.
Singles, listen closely. Your marital status isn’t a curse. It isn’t some life-without-parole sentence that God has somehow deemed you unworthy of love or a life partner. In fact, Paul writes that it is better to be single (1 Corinthians 7:8). Have you ever considered your singleness to be a privilege versus a disadvantage? Your singleness gives you an opportunity to dedicate more time to the Lord. One of my single friends was an executive for a large corporation and spent thirty years traveling the world with them, learning new things in a way she never would have, if she had married and had children. Another friend has done mission work overseas for a decade now and she, too, is convinced her singleness afforded her that unique opportunity.
The single moms I love so much are often marrying and moving into a new season of life. Inevitably, there are other moms left behind in the ministry who wonder why their guy hasn’t come along. Why has one single been single for many years, while another is single for only months? I would love to tell you I understand, and that I know when your season of singleness will be over. Some of you have been praying for a spouse for a long time now and are discouraged that he or she hasn’t come along. I don’t know why that is. I couldn’t pretend to know God’s unique plan for your life or even if there is a spouse in that plan, frankly. I know that the man at the pool of Bethesda waited 38 years on his healing, and the woman with the issue of blood suffered twelve. Abraham waited 100 years on God’s promise in his life to be fulfilled.
Am I saying to just “wait your time” and God will eventually bless you? Am I saying marrieds can’t serve the Lord fully? Of course not. What I am saying is learn to be content in your season, whatever marital status that is, and whether or not if ever changes.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
There was a time in my when I was convinced that I would never marry. I cried for years (literally), as I chased behind meaningless relationships in a desperate attempt to make me whole. It was only when I learned that my joy was found in Christ, my singleness wasn’t a curse, and my single parenthood wasn’t a hindrance to God’s plan, but rather a stepping stone to fully experience His plan, that I fully embraced by singleness. It was some time thereafter when God saw fit to bring me a spouse.
Singles, know your God sees you. He sees the desires of your heart. You attempting to make your own way, establishing your own plan, will never be better than God’s. He has a perfect plan for your life that is more than you even know how to pray or ask for. Stay the course. Don’t get off path.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker whose personal journey through homelessness, severe abuse, and single parenting leaves audiences riveted. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine. For more info, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.