NOT SINGLED OUT

Living singly part of God's kingdom


September 2, 2017

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

 

There are seasons in my walk with Christ where singleness feels less like a gift and more like a weight. And when it gets too heavy, I’m left with no choice but to come to the cross with it. There Jesus shines light on the murky waters I’ve been swimming in. Together, we do some soul-searching and unearth the same lies that continue to creep in time and time again. I painstakingly trade again that which is earthly for what rust and moth can’t touch, sometimes with a heart that cries “I believe, help my unbelief!” I sit at His feet as long as it takes for the fog to clear so that Jesus is my focus once again. Consider this post a personal pep talk for times such as these- a sieve to cleanse the cloudy water.

 

On Marriage:

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.” 1 Corinthians 7:26-28

“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31-32 

Marriage as a status is not an upgrade in God’s Kingdom, it’s a lateral move from one gifting into another. It’s a season granted when God sees it as more fitting, more pertinent to your growth and the furthering of His kingdom. That being said, why is its prospect generally so much more appealing than flying solo? What draws us into romantic storylines and forever promises?

Biology aside, I believe it’s because the Gospel is compelling, and marriage reflects that. God designed us with the ability to be in awe of intimacy and sacrificial love. We may spend and squander that awe on lesser things, but that doesn’t subtract from the value of the original purpose of marriage, nor the real reasons we are captivated by it in the first place. As believers, we have the ability to orient our hearts to the tune of the Gospel. We can remain fascinated by earthly marriage and even desirous of it. But in the fascination, we are in a posture to reflect and revel in the deeper, purer devotion of our Savior to His bride. It needs to be more about what is already ours for eternity than what could temporarily be granted for an earth-life.

 

On the Sovereignty of God:

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13

God only ever withholds what isn’t best for us. He who orders the universe doesn’t just care about your story but how that story fits into the bigger picture. His primary targets are His glory on display and working things together for your good. In His perceptive abilities, He sees when the things we ask for are scorpions and serpents in disguise. In this truth, we find trust and surrender to the faithfulness of our good Father.

 

On Emotions:

“Whatever is TRUE….Think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Emotions won’t always lead you to what’s best. It’s often quite the opposite. When emotions meet God’s will, it can be really powerful, but don’t feed emotions not yet based in truth.

 

On my Death Date:

“Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” Psalm 39:5

Life is SO short. And emotions aside, the only reason to give up singleness is if it will help build God’s Kingdom better. At the end of my life, I don’t want to look back and see a nice earthly kingdom crumbling in the wake of my death, no matter how much romance and adventure it afforded. As a woman called to ministry, I become more convinced that the only solid reason to give up what I’m able to do as a single lady is if it’s traded for supporting and toiling alongside a brother in Christ entrusted very specifically with his Father’s Kingdom work.

 

On Tomorrow:

“Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

Can I handle being single for the rest of my life? Heavens, no! Can I handle the possibility of being Miss Windham for another decade? Probably not. How about a year? I’d rather not. But what does God require us to steward? Just today. Can I be single up until my head hits the pillow tonight? Certainly. God owns tomorrow and portions me today. I choose not to dwell too much on the “what ifs” and instead focus on today’s allotment of “what nows”.

 

I’ll leave you with a final thought. The road we chose is narrow. The path we walk requires daily taking up a cross. The Savior who leads us asks us to deny ourselves as we follow. We counted the cost and went all in. And what do we get in return? We get life. We get Jesus. It’s well worth it.

Love,

Rachelle

“I think I can’t
But I think You can
I think You can
Gather my insufficienies and
place them in your hands”

-Relient K

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August 2, 2017

When God created marriage, He knew that singleness as a status would eventually result. You can’t have one without the other. With this design, He invaded the human heart. He instilled longings that radiate with stomach flip-flops, quickened pulses, ear to ear smiles, and feet-dragging, gut-wrenching heartbreak. Powerful human emotions behind the God-breathed words of “male and female He created them.” He knew what He was doing. He knew the countless individuals who would both rejoice and suffer in one category or the other, for those that have and have not.  He knew the longing and loss that would produce some of the darkest days for His beloved creatures. And yet He calls it “very good.”

Yes, this bold statement predates the fall, where man and woman would usher in a long, dark road of separation from God. But does that take away from what God established as good? If the highest good is God’s glory on display, even the darkness makes way for the brilliance of the Light of the World. And God’s definition of good is so different than ours. Our natural bent sounds almost Neanderthal: Hard bad. Easy good. But God flips that logic on its head, knowing intimately the human spirit. We need tough. We waste away in easy. And the Life-Giver says that His ultimate purposes are good, for those who love Him.

When it comes to singleness, I want to suggest that there is a question worth asking for every Believer. It’s a hard word, but a good one that can wage war with our primitive tendencies. It’s also revealing. In the midst of the potent emotions God weaved into the human soul, it will reveal how well you subscribe to the goodness of God’s designs. It will potentially challenge you beyond any other earth-journey storms. It’s a simple question, but it might take a lifetime to answer. The worthy inquiry into the human soul is this: What if God ordained that I should be single for the rest of my life?

Take a moment to let that question hang in the air. Breathe in God’s assurance and exhale any apprehension welling up inside of you. For those of us who want marriage or already have it, believing that it is indeed very good, this question can feel like disturbing a wasp nest. Perhaps it’s best to back away slowly. But what if under the nest lies a key to closer intimacy with Christ? Ah, now you must stand still and contemplate.

 

For myself, grappling with this question all the way through my 20’s has been a prominent supplier of growth. It has revealed idols. Idols of marriage, picket-fences, self, security…the list is long. The list is painful. Those wasps won’t let you destroy their intricately-woven domain without a fight.

It has taught me how to serve God irrespective of status. Elisabeth Elliot said, “The secret is Christ in me, not a different set of circumstances.” God’s Kingdom is not made with holding tanks or pause buttons that allow us to relax and wait to serve Him until our situations change. He wants to use us as we are, where we are.

It has taught me to trust that God really does know best. The gift of Singleness isn’t often received with glee, but after a decade of trying to figure out the return policy, I find the state of my heart and soul made healthier and my armor stronger against stinging-winged lies and attacks.

Grappling with the question of permanent singleness has taught me to loosen my grip on my will. “When the will of God crosses the will of man, somebody has to die.” (Also Elliot) And to live is Christ, to die is gain! I believe that more than I did at 20, and it brightens the spotlight on the forever promises that result from taking up our cross to follow Him.

But most importantly, it has produced an intimacy with Christ that I would not sacrifice on the altar of an alternate life, if given the chance. In the quiet moments of hoping and asking, Christ was my most constant companion. In the chaotic seasons of heartbreak and calamity, Jesus offered something better than answers and a thorough life-map. He offered more of Himself.

We don’t often day-dream about our nightmares. If you are married, it’s not appealing to think about the possibility of premature widowhood. If you are single and long for the very good one-ness portrayed in Genesis 1 and 2, it’s not pleasant to consider spouseless decades. But in that hypothetical, God might have some severe mercies to offer. I will finish with one more Elliot quote as you contemplate tough, emotive questions. Keep in mind that she experienced an initial single season in addition to 2 more seasoned with widowhood.

“Single life may be only a stage of a life’s journey, but even a stage is a gift. God may replace it with another gift, but the receiver accepts His gifts with thanksgiving. This gift for this day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived—not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.”

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“Hope deferred makes the heart sick” ~Proverbs 13:12a             It sure does, doesn’t it? Proverbs speak to the human condition, and this one is no exception. We’re all familiar with disappointment. You don’t get invited, you don’t get the promotion, or the heartbreak of a break-up is hard to shake. …

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