I like to call myself a reformed Proverbs 31 woman. I grew up hearing, while you are a single woman you should work on your character as you wait for your husband. The end goal was not righteousness or purity for my own relationship with God or the pursuit to be like Jesus, but rather for self-improvement to snatch myself a husband. I set out on a journey of self-improvement. I read many books like “Even God is Single” one of my favorite authors is John Maxwell.
Proverbs 31 gave me the permission to be narcissistic. Though the church may not have directly told me to be self-absorbed, it encouraged me to emulate the Proverbs 31 woman at all cost. By the grace of God, my focus began to shift and I put the ways of my childhood behind me, and I began a new journey on Christology. Bible verses like 1 John 2:6, “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did”, began to have a whole new meaning to me.
As my desire to be like Christ grew inside of me, I began to live and love like Jesus did (DISCLAIMER: I have not mastered this). My community of married and single friends began to challenge my perception of marriage. I was asked kingdom minded questions. “Is it better for you to be single to advance God’s kingdom?” “Do you see singleness as a gift from God just as equally as marriage is a gift?”
I do believe that I am called to be single because this is what I am. It was hard for me to be content with my singleness because I struggled with letting go of the image I had for my life, versus living a surrendered life for Christ. God told me “to everything there is a season.” You can waste your season worrying about the past and the future seasons or be content with where you are and enjoy this season.” Every day I have to choose to surrender the image that I, as well as others have for my life, and start living a life married to God.
While pursuing Jesus; I inadvertently, became a Proverbs 31 woman, because God calls me his bride.
I’ve lived in an intentional community with married folks so I’ve seen the great, the good, the bad and the ugly in what marriage can offer. We single people tend to look just at the great and good, yet over looking the bad and ugly. I’ve been blessed to have married friends that allow me to walk along side and even fight for their marriage. Standing aside a friend on their wedding day means so much more to me than the opportunity to play dress up. I stand with my armor on proclaiming I will fight for you and with you for this union until our father calls us home.
– Romy Rochelin
Growing up, I thought life was supposed to follow a certain order… graduate, get married, have children and raise them up in the way of the Lord, just as our parents did us. By the time I graduated college at age 22, I realized this picture I had in my head was not necessarily what God had in store for me. Living miles away from my home country and family, with no prospective husband in sight, I realized the story I had written for my life was not unfolding as I had planned. All I had in front of me was a promising career and a deep desire to be used by God. While in college, Jesus had revealed himself to me in ways I had never ever experienced, even in all my life growing up in a church setting. My heart was on fire for this Jesus who I had finally come to know as my personal Savior. I wanted nothing more in life but to live for Him. I wondered why He would place me in this strange place, away from all I had ever known, with no clear direction. Why was I being plagued with all these questions of a finding a mate? Is that really all that should matter to me in this stage of life? Were my plans really on point, and marriage indeed should be my focus?
Through my questioning, Ecclesiastes 3:1 resounded with me. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Amidst the unknown of what tomorrow may bring, I needed to focus on what I know today; what I know of the season I am in right now. I was a single black woman in the Tampa Bay Area, with no one but myself to look after. I loved Jesus, and I had always had a passion for working with teens. Instead of wallowing in my singleness, and the unknown of my future, I decided to take on a role with Mama Africana, mentoring black girls in the Tampa Bay Area.
I realized that it was up to me to use the season I am in, as long or short as it may be, to serve God with all I have to give. I find Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7 about the unmarried being able to be fully concerned about the Lord’s affairs, very encouraging. I have a choice to use my season of singleness to silently wait for God to send me my mate, or to continue to follow the call to live like He did and serve those around me with my free time and all other resources I have available to me as I have no family to attend to. I chose and continue to choose the latter. My home, my time and my resources are spent on his lovely daughters and whomever else I happen to come across that can use an encounter with the love of Jesus.
– Shaniece Johnson
As we go through the different phases of dealing with singleness, it’s important that we realize and acknowledge that there is potential for idolatry at either end of the spectrum. We have learned through our walks that the “content in my singleness person” is not the antidote for the “waiting for my husband/wife person”. There is a balance point in between those two extremes that needs to be held on to. This is the “Servant of the Lord person”. It’s easy to find ourselves on either extreme, getting so caught up in culture or being counter-cultural, that we lose focus on the heart of our true life’s longing.
We advise singles to never forget the prompting for those made alive in Christ found in Colossians 3: 17... “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” None of what you do is about you. At the end of the day, all needs to be pointed back to Jesus! We need to be led by the Holy Spirit and not by our own desires.
For those who have gotten married and “have no time” for their single friends, we encourage you to rethink this mentality. If you truly see the life of a single person as a gift instead of a threat, we can be healthy abet for your married life. Singles serve as a reminder to you about putting God first in your life above all else. We represent the undivided heart for God.
To everything there is a season! Enjoy the one you are in!