In response to “Six ways to Love Single Women:"
1. Words are hurtful. People should choose their words carefully, I agree. God has many reasons for not bringing you that “someone” yet. He obviously has more work for you to do as a single woman/man. He may never bring you that someone. I know that is hard to hear, and I’d like to think he wouldn’t give you the desire if you are never meant to be married. However, we have all met the arch enemy, the devil. I advise you to give yourself wholly to the Lord. Read the Bible, pray and be the Lord’s tool. Stay busy for the Lord and IF it’s meant to happen, it will. If not, then I doubt you’ll notice because the Lord will be filling you with an unimaginable amount of joy for following His will.
“Because you, Lord, bless the righteous. You cover them with favor like a shield.” Psalms 5:12
2. I agree that we should not attempt to “fix” anyone. Empathy is important. Encouragement, especially biblical, is vital. However, sometimes people may sharpen or challenge an individual whose desires are not being granted. I like the suggestion that when asked by a single person, to pray with them for a spouse. However, I would LOVE for the advice to be to pray with the individual that God grant them peace and understanding during this time in their life. Pray that if now is not the time to seek a spouse, that God will diminish this desire and replace it with a desire that is fitting to His will. However, single ladies (and gentleman) we need to know that you are fighting such battles, to know that you need and want to be prayed over and for.
“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it.”1Corinthians 10: 13
3. Asking about a person’s day to day life is a wonderful way to invest in a person. However, the gesture should be reciprocated. Married folks need to be checked on as well. We want/need to be asked about our day/spouses/kids as well. Single people, if you are wanting more people in your life, don’t wait for them to come seeking you. SEEK them. Start by sending a text to a married person asking about their day. Chances are, they will reciprocate. They will start checking in and asking about you and your life. Married people, I’m not saying you’re off the hook until a single person seeks you out, we should all be seeking each other out. Neither side should be sitting back and waiting to be found by the other. Why are we on different sides anyway??
“No one should look out for their own advantage, but they should look out for each other.” 1 Corinthians 10:24
4. Affirmation is desired by all. Single girls, I understand your need to be told you are pretty. Single gentleman, that you look nice. However, this is true of all males and females. Don’t assume that a married woman will get all dressed up and then be doted on by her husband. Haven’t you ever heard the old adage about a woman drastically changing her hair and the husband not noticing? It is true. Nothing hurts a married woman more than her husband not acknowledging (I’m told that they do notice, they just don’t always verbally or otherwise affirm) her efforts. Also, you may have had a full hour to get dressed. A woman with small children may have had 15 very interrupted minutes. She does not feel put together, her hair may be up, simply because it is unwashed. The married woman needs to hear she looks pretty, just as much as the single girls. I imagine the same goes for the gentleman.
“What I mean is that we can mutually encourage each other while I am with you. We can be encouraged by the faithfulness we find in each other, both your faithfulness and mine.” Romans 1:12
5. Single women and men, I would love to fellowship with you, to disciple you. However, if I invite you over to my house, it will be for dinner, lunch or coffee. It will not be for wine, dinner and a movie after the kids go to bed. I’ll be going to bed soon after the kids. They will be up by 6am. Please note: I did not say at 6 am, I said BY 6 am. After the kids are in bed: ISN’T. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. Also, I don’t mind your small apartment and roommate. In fact, I’d like to meet your roommate. Why not invite the woman with small kids over for coffee. She would love to get out of her house. She would also love not having to clean up her house for you to come over. Have you ever tried to clean up after a 2 year old? You have no idea how much work she put into her house before you came over and then still apologized because it still wasn’t as clean as it used to be before kids. Also, a side note: The reason your pastor may encourage you to seek out folks in a "life stage ahead" of you: because you are to be seeking Godly counsel from the people who you want to be like. He is encouraging you to find women/men who are doing something you admire and wish to learn from. You may not wish to learn from every wife/mother. You may choose to seek out someone who is in missions instead of married...they are still a "life stage ahead" because they are already doing what you desire.
“And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
6. God calls us to be generous with all that we have. I’m sure it would be nice to be given the items on wedding registry. News flash, most newly-weds don’t receive all the items on their wish list. They get towels. I’ve been married for almost eight years and I still don’t have a mixer. I own 2 skillets and 3 pots. I do have 2 sets of dishes, one from Wal-Mart (that I actually got when I was in college, before I was even dating my now spouse) and one from Target. Most of the married couples in your congregation don’t have the money to give you new items. They don’t have the money to buy themselves new ones and give you the hand me downs (though, if they did, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind passing them along). I had more disposable money as a single person, than I do as a married woman. As a single woman, I could eat ramen noodles, spaghetti and sandwiches for a week if I needed to buy a new gadget. Not so much once I was responsible for feeding a meat eating man and small growing humans. Rent and your electric bill can’t compare with a mortgage, property taxes, child care, dance and baseball. A single person has one income for one person. We have two incomes for four people. You do the math. I will, however, be happy to show you how to coupon and cook with the resources you do have. I will be happy to give you my time and knowledge. Just ask.
“It is more blessed to give than receive.” Acts 20:35
As for how we can love on EVERYONE in our congregation (or workplace/neighborhood/etc), it really is quite simple.
1. Make it a point to ask about their lives. Ask if you can check in with them during the week. Friend/Follow them on social media. Get their email. Stay in contact. Many feel disconnected between Sunday's. Especially the newbies.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35
2. Affirm the person’s value. Once you get to know the person, ask their advice on a matter they have knowledge about. People in general want to know that they have value, that they have something to offer.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
3. Serve that person. Bring them a meal, offer to baby sit (set a concrete time, otherwise the parents may never ask. It is awkward asking someone to watch your kids for free), mow their grass. Find out how you can serve them best and then do it!
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:"1 Peter 4:10
4. Find out the person’s love language, and use it. Do they value time? quality conversations?
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love Honor one another above yourselves." Ephesians 4:32
5. Listen. Encourage. Sharpen. When someone is struggling, be careful of your words. Lift them up. Encourage them. Share your own similar stories. And when necessary, sharpen them for the Lord. We all have problems and short comings in our lives that we feel isolate us. But the truth is: many have been, currently are, or will eventually battle the same problems.
“May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God.”2Corinthians 1:3-4
6. Pray with them and for them. So very simple, yet so powerful.
“But you, dear friends: build each other up on the foundation of your most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, keep each other in the love of God, wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will give you eternal life.” Jude 1:20-21
The truth of the matter, is we are all not that different, no matter what stage of life we are in. One stage of life should not be pitted against another in a church. No matter who is in your congregation: singles, marrieds, single parents, married worshipping alone; they need your love and support no matter who YOU are. Be sensitive to each other’s situation and limitations and we can all fellowship together.
“Be firm in your faith and resist him, because you know that your fellow believers in all the world are going through the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:9
P.S. I'll have another blog post soon about why I've been silent for 2 weeks and all the new happenings in my life. Then I'll get back on track. ;)