Element Church Blog

What if Singleness is Your Normal? Part Two

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23
 
Last week I left you on a bit of a cliff hanger. I shared how God brought me back to Santa Maria and how the attitude of my heart was challenged as He was guiding me home. Finding myself back in Santa Maria meant something of an identity crisis that I inadvertently placed on myself.  I wasn’t “Holly, Child of the Most High King.” I was, “Holly, Matt’s sister,” “Holly, the DeKortes’ daughter,” “Holly, the world traveler who moved back home,” “Holly, the teacher,” and “Holly, the single.” In the years that have followed, God worked through His Word, the Holy Spirit, and even His Church to renew, redeem, and restore my identity. 
 
Aaron’s sermon on singleness is an excellent platform to discuss how God has accomplished this mighty task of restoring my identity and equipping me to live as a counter-cultural single.  The seven sermon points will also show how we, the Church, the Bride of Christ, can do a better job of valuing and loving singles. Let’s face it...singles need a whole lotta love, but probably not how you might expect! I don’t need another meme sent to me about waiting on the Lord. I need your families. I need your hugs.  I need laughter.  I need the Gospel.
 
1. Open your eyes and look around to what God is doing.
In my own words, be willing to accept the gifts that God has given or will give. This might be lifelong singleness or finding yourself as a stepparent to three kids. We do not get to dictate God’s grace in our lives, but we have the choice to be obedient to His call. He sees the bigger picture and knows our hearts! I’ve wrestled with this quite a bit and have had many a conversation with God about it. “But God, what if I don’t like the person you bring into my life?!”   Remember, He is a good father. Good fathers discipline and establish character in a loving, non-abusive, non-manipulative way. 
 
Looking around to what God is doing has helped me move past self-centeredness. Just this past fall, I took a class called Perspectives on World Mission (which I HIGHLY recommend).  God used the class to break my heart for those who do not know Him, who have not heard the good news of the Gospel. After taking the class, I began to believe that God might be calling me back overseas as a tentmaker missionary (one who has a “regular” job, and spreads the Gospel through working the job and living a Gospel-centered life.)  I met with a life coach, and he encouraged me to look around at what God might have me do here in Santa Maria instead.  That led to joining a prayer team for unreached people groups and also becoming involved with Royal Family Kids. Let me tell you, God has opened my eyes and saved me from my self-centered thinking. There is SO much He is doing in Santa Maria. Praise Him!
 
2. Don’t idolize (or idealize!) any relationship, worship Jesus!
This is where things get messy. In fact, I don’t really like to talk about it. Four years ago, I heard quite clearly to “be still,” specifically regarding singleness. Do you know how hard it is to be still and to try not to control your own life? A few years ago, I had had enough. I saw God giving good gifts to “everyone,” but me. I jumped on a dating site and met a man, who didn’t follow Christ or honor God. Yet, I let him into my life and heart because I so very much wanted marriage and a family. God, like He has done with all my relationships, protected me, and the relationship ended. Like the mother hen, He sheltered me under His wings. I got angry; I questioned His love for me. He took away what I wanted and I threw a fit, just like toddlers and even seasoned Christians are known to do.
 
This led me to Redemption Groups, a ministry offered at Element. In my group, I was challenged to see marriage as what I had made it: an idol.  Michelle Gee asked me, “Would you still love God even if he never gave you a husband?” In my anger, I couldn’t answer that I would.  During the weeks that followed, God clearly showed me that He loves me. The phrase “the steadfast love of the Lord,” began to jump out at me while reading scripture. The Psalms especially illustrate how God’s children can cry out to Him, and by doing so, are reminded of God’s unfailing love (Psalm 145). 
 
I can’t say that stillness and knowing that God loves me came overnight. I had another big bump or two along the way, but Redemption Groups was definitely the catalyst God used in revealing my idol of marriage and who alone is worthy of worship. 
 
Brothers and sisters, please stand by the Christian singles who will need to grapple with that very difficult question: “Would you still love God even if He never gave you a spouse?” Pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes and hearts, that they will undoubtedly know their lives belong to God alone. Do not shame them; do cry with them. Do not give them false hope or stories about a 70-year-old woman who finally met her husband; do point to the source of all hope.
 
3. Seek wisdom and understanding.
My family is a picture of a gift I could not begin to deserve. God gave me wise, understanding parents who continue to walk beside me through this season of my life. Their support has not always been perfect, but their wise counsel and prayers have helped me to live a counter-cultural life. When they do not have the counsel that I need, they point me to people who might. “Talk to your brother. Talk to your sister (in-law).  Talk to your married friends. Talk to Deb Harman. Talk to God.” My mom will often say these words, sometimes in one sentence. Its great advice given by a great mom.
 
I still have a desire for marriage, so a few months ago, I started talking to the four members of my immediate family about re-joining dating sites. I wanted them to give me feedback on my heart and whether it was ready for the online dating rollercoaster.  The last two months indeed have been an up and down journey.  Imagine receiving paragraphs and paragraphs from an eligible man and then the messages abruptly stop.  Imagine beginning a conversation with a person who then wants to meet you the very next day.  Imagine men who like to post pictures in their underwear and then wonder why you don’t feel comfortable Facetiming them. Imagine meeting someone with potential and then letting that person go.  My family and close friends continue to pray for me through this process. I am so thankful for their wisdom and support.
 
Next week, we will look at Aaron’s last four remaining sermon points regarding singleness. In the meantime, find a single to invite over for dinner! Get to know his or her story. You might be surprised to find a passionate, God-loving heart hidden behind the “single” identity.