The Single Journey

Well this is a topic that my shy little heart always thought that I would avoid on this blog: the topic of singleness. Recently though I started seeing a series of posts on other blogs entitled: "letters to my single self" and have enjoyed reading through these delightful bloggers thoughts. I came away encouraged, but wondering if there were other bloggers who like myself, were single and while longed to be married were enjoying life but that "got it" with how difficult the single journey life can be. I found a few and a few others that admitted like myself that they were leary to approach this topic on their blog. (Can you still be considered a good blogger if you address and admit that you long for the cute husband to live the cute life with but don't have it yet?) For seven years I had one of my dream jobs: being a high school teacher. I LOVED it. I have so many cherished memories and over the last two years I taught a class called "Noble Beauty" where 12th grade girls and I got to explore life as a christian woman. D.E.L.I.G.H.T.F.U.L. One afternoon though everything changed in my thought process about my ability to have an impact. Shortly after a particularly long day of feeling that all of my hard work was a waste and we could have all stayed home (*smiles*) I made my way to the bathroom to gather a few precious moments to myself before I had to report for afterschool duty. As I was standing there pacing in the back area trying to gather strength and "the face" for afternoon duty I was startled to realize that a conversation that was taking place in another section of the restroom was about me. "I agree honey, bless her heart, she is a wonderful person" {I smiled... thank you kind mom!} "And she is very pretty and funny {aww... this mom is the best!} "But..." {my head snapped up- there's a but?} you don't really want to have her life do you? I mean do you really want to be an old maid and have no prospects of a man and end up all alone?" There was more but their voices drifted as they left the restroom and I stood there with my mouth open. I was shell shocked... this mother had just praised me a week before for my effort as a teacher and told me that I was a wonderful role model for her her daughter. Apparently I was also an old maid.

Despite being a woman who is madly in love with her Savior I have found that the American church often does not know how to handle the singles who are in their churches that are over the age of twenty-five. Singles that have never been married and yet long to be married. In my experience it is the rare church that knows how to lovingly involve singles into the community. To address the need that while we long to be married and would love to meet a spouse we also want to feel completely apart of a church even if they don't offer a singles group.

Several years ago I learned that a co-worker of mine's wife was actively involved in the women's ministry at the church that I was attending. Having moved recently and not knowing many people, I was eager to find fellowship with other sisters on this journey. My theory then and as always been that everyone has something that they are dealing with and while we might not be able to understand it we can support and encourage one another on our journeys. One day at lunch I eagerly asked my co-worker if I could have his wife's contact information because I wanted to get involved in the women's ministry. I explained I would love to talk with her since I didn't know anyone else in the women's ministry. He got a strange look on his face which might have deterred a more wise woman, but I naively kept pushing ahead in my quest to find good fellowship. His look on his face had grown more withdrawn and into a look of a parent scolding a young child and as I stopped to take a breathe he interupted with: "I have heard that xyz church has a very active singles ministry - you should look into that church." I was dumbfounded. I reminded him (from a previous conversation) that while xyz church did have an active singles ministry I was eager to get involved in our church several months ago. He looked at me and I will never forget what he said: "This is a family church. I just don't think this is the church for you. You need to find a church that has more people like you." I remember being mortified and making some excuse of why I needed to leave the room and made my way to a restroom where I promptly burst into tears. The thing that I felt in that moment was what a lot of singles experience: feeling completely alone and not whole because we are an "I" instead of an "us".

In many Christian singles books that are available we are told to live fully, use our single years with gladness, and to emerse our selves into something greater than ourselves. On one hand I have a slightly difficult time with the fact that many of these Christian authors met and married their spouses before the age of 22 and are telling us how to live - but that is a discussion for another day. On the other hand, I would agree to an extent. In the context of throwing ourselves into our relationship with the Lord -a definite yes. Throwing ourselves into the latest cause for the sake of throwing our selves into a cause is not what I see scripture telling us to do. This is an unfortunate lie that many single Christians unfortunately come away feeling heartbroken and tired. I have even seen some good friends who have walked away from the church completely because they are burned out.

How do we as singles navigate the single journey with our hearts longing for our other half? How do we live fully while we long for a future day? I guess this blogger is going to explore the topic. *smiles*

About the Author: rebeccaMs. Rebecca VanDeMark is a former High School History teacher who has taught in Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia. She is the founder of a creative company called “December Caravan” which donates a portion of all of its proceeds to charity and blogs about her love for Jesus and life at: www.caravansonnet.com. Passionate about education and writing, Rebecca holds several degrees and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Legal Studies from West Virginia University. Rebecca currently resides in Knoxville, TN. She welcomes emails at: caravansonnet@gmail.com.