I’m Single, Part 3: Embracing the Family Church

I have struggled writing this post but when you can’t shake that calling the Lord has on you, you do it, no matter if it is comfortable or not.  I guess that is truly what makes following Jesus an unexpected adventure.

I want to be honoring, I want to encourage, but I want to be real.  I want people to know the journey from where my heart was to how the Lord has transformed it over time. It is my desire to live each season of life with grace, to be honoring to those around me, and to be living in such a way that draws people to the Lord.

This is the struggle I have- I have walked through moments of bitterness while attending my church.  I have been through seasons where my heart could barely take sitting in church on a marriage Sunday. I have been through seasons where I would skip certain Sundays of the month because I could not sit there joyfully. My heart was bitter and contentious.  My church is family-focused. It even has ‘family’ in the name. I do not have family in town and I am not married.  I do all the day to day mundane tasks of adult life on my own.  I don’t say this to mean that I am lonely, although those times happen. When they do, it hits hard. I say this because it takes courage to embrace a church that is not geared toward your specific demographic.

When I started attending my church, I knew that it might become a struggle for me.  I knew that there were not many people who could identify with my specific pains and blessings.  I still chose my church.  I still chose to pour every part of who I am into supporting the church, encouraging ministry leaders, and serving in various places within the church. In order to do this, I had to fight my feelings of insecurity and show up alone to women’s ministry events fully knowing I would likely being the only single person there. I listened to sermons trying to glean whatever wisdom I could from something that was not geared for me.  I had to get involved and fight my way through the mess of my emotions and look for God’s grace for the season.

I had two options:  to accept every challenge that was presented to my church family and modify it for me or sit in bitterness, being unwilling to change.

I recently read a blog from a pastor apologizing to the single community (http://johnpavlovitz.com/2015/05/14/a-pastors-apology-to-the-single-community/).

I have mixed responses on the article.  It is filled with good intentions, I see his heart behind it.  But my main response is this: I don’t think that the church or church leaders need to apologize to singles because I don’t think a church should cater to our every need.  The church is not about us and never will be about us.  I trust that the leaders of my church are seeking the Lord in every moment that they have the stage.

I don’t think singles should use their relationship status as an excuse not to get involved or as their identity. Being single is a platform. It is not who you are in Christ.   I don’t think the church needs to stretch out their hand and to us and make us feel welcomed.   Singles need to take initiative to get actively involved in whatever the church decides to see as their focus that week. I have fought to be involved, even when it was extremely painful and uncomfortable. There were moments where I would be in tears as I left.  But honestly, those moments of tears are what pushed me to the Cross and pushed me into the church even more.

As I look back over the past 5 years of living in this town, I can’t even imagine my life without the community i have in my church.  They have been sanctifying moments, there have been moments of pure joy, and moments that the Lord has used certain Sundays of the month to stretch me and encourage me.  I may never get married. Marriage is not an end goal, but daily becoming more like Christ is.  The expiration date on being single may never come, but that is not an excuse to zone out during sermons. It is exactly why we need to dive into truth daily and constantly be transforming our heart to the likeness of Christ.

I don’t wait until something fits my demographic, I look for areas to serve.  I look for areas that I can bless others in the church.  it is exactly why I dressed up as an Indian for a children’s ministry event one morning this week and by the evening had changed into a Snow White costume for a birthday party.  It is why I pour every part of myself serving others in this season of life.  What I (singles) do now, will determine who I am (we are) later.  I don’t know about you but I know that as my life progresses, I want to be constantly transformed into the likeness of Christ because in the end that is all I want.  Not a church that fills my every need. Not marriage. Not a family.  I want Jesus and only Jesus.

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