My Greatest Gift

My mom always speaks about my dad as one of the best gifts God has given her.

My best friends, as they get married one by one, tell me that a husband and marriage are great gifts from God.

My sisters have both married men who are incredible gifts to them.

My “adopted” grandpa says that a good marriage is as close to heaven as you can get on earth, and he dotes on his wife of several decades, looking at her as though he can’t believe the gift that God has given him.

Somewhere along the timeline of my young life, I began to believe that a husband was the best gift God could ever possibly give me. I believed that while singleness is certainly a gift, it was not as good as marriage would be. I easily fell into the trap-lie that said “God is not giving me the best gift, so He has to work extra hard to make up for that with Jesus.”

I don’t think I ever consciously put that thought into words. I started a blog about the truths of the Gospel and how they defeat the lies of singleness. I wrote things like “Jesus is not a consolation prize.” But underneath it all was the subtle, dormant lie that God has been withholding the best gift He could give me.

At the bridal shower for my roommate this weekend, my pastor’s wife Abbey shared a truth that completely…just…aaaarrrrrgh. It dug up the subtle lie, stared it in the face, and then blew it up. Just, BAM.

Abbey said to my roommate, Read More

My Buried Treasures

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I was thinking about treasures yesterday, noticing the things in my life I put value on. There are obvious ones like friends and family, but a bunch of less obvious ones (buried treasures, you might say): the way I look physically, what other people think of me, the control I may or may not have, the size of my bank account, my dreams for the future, even this blog to a certain extent.

This was a good week to process the concept of treasuring the things of this world vs the things of God. I had a surgery last Wednesday – nothing serious, just a routine outpatient procedure to correct a birth defect on my neck. I realized several things about myself and my treasures through the experience.

My mom came from out of state for a week to take care of me. I love my mom, and every part of me is thankful she came and did my chores and administered my meds and got me water in the middle of the night. But it was a huge reminder that when I’m in need I still turn to my mom instead of to a husband. Instead of treasuring my hope of being married – which would only lead to bitterness – I chose to treasure the fact that Jesus (my eternal husband) was giving me invaluable time with my mother (in fact, more one-on-one time than I’ve had with her for over 30 years, no joke).

I had to take time off work, even though all of my PTO this year is going to other trips; so my next paycheck is going to be significantly smaller than usual. Instead of treasuring my bank account – which would only lead to stress – I chose to treasure the eternal riches I am promised in Jesus (Luke 12:33).

Like most people, Read More

My Limitless Pleasures

My roommate reminded me of a verse the other day:

In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11b

On its surface, the verse looks like a happy-go-lucky, name-it-claim-it kind of verse. Everything is sunshine and rainbow unicorns if you trust God! La-dee-dee.

But she reminded me of the verse on a day when I was struggling with the pleasures that the world has to offer. It was a day when I was getting annoyed that I don’t get the pleasures that come along with marriage.

Besides the obvious wink-wink, nudge-nudge pleasures that come with marriage, I’m looking forward to heaps of things: being dropped off at the door while my man finds a place to park, waking up and snuggling for a few minutes until the alarm goes off, letting someone else take care of my car when it breaks down, writing love notes on the mirror, making out in the back of movie theaters, etc.

I’m not dumb – I know marriage is hard, because relationships are hard, and I enjoy not sharing a room. But that particular day this past week, discontentment with the lack of marital pleasures was underscoring my day. Read More

My Communal Reasonings

No unmarried person should be an island. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems (especially in the church) that island-hood is expected and/or encouraged for singles. I’ve definitely been to churches in which I was the only single woman over the age of 18 – or the only single woman not living with her parents.

Fortunately, I’ve had some excellent people (married and unmarried) in my life who have joined me on my Island of Singleness, wallowed in the Swamp of Sorrow with me, and then pulled me into their boats and taken me to the Continent of Personhood where everyone is treated like a person – not like a marital status.

Because I’ve lived in the extremes of No-Community and Really-Really-Great-Community, I thought I’d say a few things here on the value of community and why it’s important to find ways off the Island of Singleness.

Community builds skills:

  • Conflict resolution skills – sometimes life is messy (literally and figuratively). Living in community brings more mess, but it also teaches me how to deal with mess and thus makes me a nicer person. This is especially true when I do life with people who are different than I am.
  • Auntie skills – whether I have biological nieces and nephews someday or not, it’s good for me to be “Auntie Charity” to my friends’ kids. It reminds me of what it was like to start understanding the world, keeps me relating to people of all ages, and teaches me how to talk about Jesus in smaller words.
  • Keeping-things-in-perspective skills – It’s easy to think I’m alone in the world, or that singleness is the ultimate suffering in the universe. But hanging out with people of all ages and demographics reminds me that there are bigger problems than mine, that other people are (or were) single into their 30’s, and that it’s nice to not have to wake up with kids five times a night.

Read More

My Apologies

“So…is there a guy in your life?”

I’ve heard it a million times, in half a million different ways:

From the little girls in church. “When are you going to get married, Miss Charity? We want to come to your wedding!”

From the well-meaning relatives. “Your younger sisters are married. When is it going to be your turn?”

From the people I haven’t seen in a while. “So tell me…are you seeing anyone?”

From my married friends. “Marriage is wonderful. You DO want to be married, right?”

From my single friends. Read More