Sunday, October 13, 2013

Good Thoughts.....

So, I've been {at least somewhat} transparent here that being single at age 37 wasn't in my plans for my life. I fully intended to be married with several kids at this point in my life.  I don't typically do a great job of expressing all my thoughts and feelings in a way that makes sense without sounding like I'm whining or complaining, so I'm just gonna link up to some good things I think you should watch and read.

My church is currently doing a series called "Sequels" about how we've turned love, dating, marriage, sex, family etc into idols.  A few weeks ago, the topic was on being single and how the church has made being married the be-all, end-all of Christian life - never mind the fact that the man we follow, Jesus, was single!  I thought that Jonathan Storment (our preaching minister) and Jeff Childers (ACU bible professor) did a good job of tackling a topic that I've never actually heard preached in church - that being single is ok and I'm not broken because I am not married.  (And that it is still ok for me to want to be married -- and for others that it is ok to NOT want to be married.)

It sounds a bit harsh, but those two comments are things that I have struggled with for many, many years - and they reinforce lies that I have been told by my churches. Oh, not in overt ways, of course. But in the subtle, subversive ways that Satan tells his side of the story.

So, here are some of the lies I heard the church telling me about being single and how I fit in the body:

  • Jenni, you are single, so of course you have to volunteer for every event the church is putting on (and if you don't, we'll make you feel guilty).
  • Jenni, you are single, so of course the best place for you to spend your time at church is in the nursery - those poor parents need a break (oh, I'm sorry, does this make your heart shatter with the unfulfilled longings for your own children? sorry)
  • Jenni, you are single - and our young families are SO busy, so we need YOU to help out with XYZ, as we can't expect them to contribute to the body.....
  • Jenni, you are single and I forget that you have a job and home and other commitments, but of course they aren't nearly as important as our young families and the raising of their children, so you need to blah, blah, blah.
  • Jenni, you are of course an integral part of our body, but you are single, and we don't really think that is important enough to find a way to make you feel valuable to our body, so we aren't going to try to find a way to support you in your life. Instead you get to go to bible class where the lesson illustrations are all about family - or you are in a class with strictly college aged kids.  Oh, and the sermon illustrations - again....it's all about the family.
  • Jenni, you are single, and that means you must not need close community, intimacy, trust, touch, etc......you are an INDEPENDENT WOMAN. 


And the part about me not being broken - I have heard the unasked questions and unspoken comments (and sometimes, the overtly asked questions/comments).....

  • Jenni, when you stop looking, you will find your husband!
  • Jenni, have you tried eHarmony, match.com, etc etc etc???
  • Jenni, why don't you go to ABC church up the street -- I've heard they have a great singles program.
  • Jenni, think of all the heartache you have escaped! You are so lucky....
  • Jenni, when you fully trust in God and rely only on Him, then you will be blessed with a husband.
  • Jenni, when you have solved {whatever it is in you that is broken}, then your husband will appear!
  • Jenni, why don't you try exercising at the gym? When you feel good about yourself, you will be more attractive to potential mates.


Jonathan and Jeff's lesson certainly doesn't "fix" anything or solve the lies that I've been fed - and believed! - over pretty much my entire life (including my time at ACU - it's not referred to as a marriage factory for nothing), but it at least opens the conversation.  You can check out the recording here - the sermon starts around the 30 minute mark (http://new.livestream.com/accounts/245792/events/2419633/videos/30627043).

Jonathan then wrote a blog post the next day and referenced an article I had also recently read.  Here is Jonathan's post and the article he referenced.  There is a topic in this last article that I first discovered a few years ago - that of disenfranchised grief.  I read this article a few years ago and it really spoke to me about my feelings of pain over not having the chance to be a mom - yet or maybe ever.

And, even today, I read another post.....about the pain and baggage of never being chosen....and it resonated mightily with me.... except I'm a bit older than the author.

I don't have any way to wrap this post in a pretty bow.  But, I wanted to have these links all in one place - and give you, my readers, resources to try to hear and grieve with a sister.



11 comments:

Beth Daugherity said...

I love you and I admire you. I enjoy your company and I am sad I do not get to spend more time getting to know you. I will be here and I will stand by you. Others will as well because you are our sister. BIG HUGS!

MollieRMS said...

I don't think I could ever tell you how much I love you. I told your dad once you are a sister-of-my-heart. You are complete and wonderful and God-made. Dear friend, I live you.

Karen Smith said...

I've had all those same feelings and still do being single as well as Kathy. Thought sure we would have our own family down the road when I was younger and still held hope in 30s and 40s. There's still a little in early 50s but the desirable men out there are much fewer, and my standards or expectations haven't changed in wanting a devoted Christian man. The sermon at church today was geared toward couples today and Kathy and are in a class of mostly couples. It's a lonely world to be single and so much geared to families in church and community. I have gone to some singles Sunday school classes in Fort Worth in the past. Mom married at 38 and dad was 43 but they had dated a long time before marrying.

Jim said...

Thanks for sharing. I love you.

Joe said...

Jenni,

This is one of the articulate doses of reality I've ever been given. Thank you for sharing! Instead of making you vulnerable, speaking truth shows you to be who you really are -- a woman of valor who is valuable and precious to us all. I'm honored to be your friend and your fellow traveler. Keep sharing your heart. It's beautiful! You are more than OK . . . yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Leigh Kramer said...

Thanks for linking to my post! I'll definitely be listening to that sermon soon. So glad your pastors are taking the time to address and affirm singleness from the pulpit- that never happens!

Elaine Acosta said...

Powerful. I admire your candor and transparency. This is a point of view that the church(es) need to hear and pay attention to. Love you, friend.

That Girl said...

You are one of my very favorite people!

Donna G said...

very good post.
sometimes the expectations of others is harder to overcome than our own unfulfilled dreams.

the Whitelaws said...

Love you so much, like Mollie said - couldn't ever tell you how much, sister. Thank you for always being honest. It's really the best way for us to know how to pray for you and be there for you.

Miss G said...

This really is good stuff! Kelly