Being a single woman in the church; part 1 of something


“You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” – J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit

Life as a single, late twenty-something woman is full of interesting finds. I have a closet full of anecdotes ready to pull out for others’ amusement, and many profound thoughts on our church society today, making me the perfect dinner party guest if anyone would like to invite me over.

For the sake of keeping this blog light and fun I refrain from throwing out many of the ideas bouncing around this rather large head of mine. But to stay true to myself (blame God and my parents for that creation fiasco), and the promise to “be real” (whatever that really means), I’m going to continue to write of whatever comes to mind. And if it’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine, maybe next week’s post will be!

I am not anywhere close to living the life I dreamed up 10 years ago. In truth, I am about a half dozen fork-in-the-roads, one plane ride, and a swim across the Pacific away from where I thought I would be. And I would imagine almost every person walking this earth has that same revelation when looking back over their life. “Wow, how did I get here?” Note this can be said in many different contexts.

Excluding those select few who are utterly and completely driven by goals, and let nothing stand in the way of achieving them (i.e. Olympians); OR, those whose life dreams were beautifully simplistic allowing them to easily obtain them.

I would say my own life goals are a good mix of absurdly out-of-reach dreams, and your “normal” life milestones.

I am an educated woman of the 21st century, a dreaded  an innovative millennial, who is self-sufficient, independent, and currently career mapping the next five years of her life. I am a realist until I’m an idealist, practical and creative, and a bit of a perfectionist until, well, I’m not.

I’m a bit of an anomaly in the Church. Because of the above I defy church social norms; I am a woman with a loud voice who lacks a male authority. gasp

I plead innocent, this was not of my doing. I have simply followed the path God has put in front of me, every fork-in-the-road, plane ride and swim He has thrown my way. For a reason only He can provide He has kept me single, He has educated me, placed a creative flair in my soul, made me sensitive to those around me, and given me a brain which produces a ridiculous amount of opinions and ideas. Some of which I even keep to myself.

Believe me, no one can be more shocked than I am that I have not met Mr. Right by now. I was certain I would be married young, I thought I was prepared back when I was 19 to say vows and tie myself to another. I never contemplated living life on my own for this long, and what hurdles it would bring emotionally, socially, financially, and spiritually. I should have known though, from my very first resistance to following mainstream culture, I should have known right then and there that my path would not look like any of those around me.

I struggle with finding my place as an older, single Christian woman. I struggle hard guys. I feel trapped in a corner, because what is the Church supposed to do with me? I fell out of line somewhere, and unfortunately have experienced many of the stigmas that come with that.

Do I have authority as a woman of God, if I don’t have a ring on my finger? Do I have a voice that can be heard? Is my value diminished because I have no home to care for or children to look after?

If I find myself married, with the cutest kids known to man, would I suddenly be seen as nothing more than just a wife/housekeeper/mom? Will everything I worked for be washed away in the eyes of the church when I say “I do?”  Because that is the flip-side, isn’t it? Women who have married and started families feel their identity is lost along the way, and suddenly they are seen as only wives and mothers. Not the artists, intellectuals, engineers, social advocates, adventurers, they are at the core.

Why can’t we be both without feeling we are in the wrong or stepping out of place?

Being a woman of God is complicated in this world, we’ve mucked it up people!

I set out looking for what I thought was God’s plan, and discovered that, yes indeed my thoughts are not His. (Isaiah 55:8) I find myself living a very different life, one I never asked for, and feeling guilty about it. I have obeyed God’s laws, I have obeyed the laws of the land, I have honored my mother and father, and yet something is still telling me that I have not quite done it right because, well, because I am single. Forget that I’m fairly successful in every other aspect of my life! It’s ludicrous!

This is an interesting find (all the above) that I was not prepared for. I have been wanting to write on this for quite some time, but could never gather enough courage to do so. This is just a small step toward the deep end. And I’m a really terrible swimmer…

I am so thankful that some prominent church leaders are beginning to talk more openly about the confusion women face when finding their roles and purpose in life. I am thankful they are encouraging women their brains were given to them for a reason, and not just to be used in a second-class nature. I am thankful they are showing women, in all phases of their life, that they are meant to do great and mighty works as daughters of God. And those works are not always going to be in the home.

I am thankful that I have a father who is always calling me out to do more than what I feel capable of. I was taught growing up to share what was on my heart, to be bold with the gifts placed in me, and to work hard for what I feel called to do.

I will more than likely return to this topic in the future; there is so much more I would like to discuss in detail. But for now I’ll put this out there and hope for the best. For those women who can relate to my angst and frustration I wish I could hug you, offer a glass of wine, and pray with you for a bit. My expectation is to see Christian women break out of the box that the Church has placed us in for far too many years. We were created to be helpers in this world not servants.

I warned you I was loud…

 

As a quick side-note: For those women whose call in life, and heart’s desire, was to be a homemaker/wife/mother, please do not feel I’m diminishing that very, very important role. I desire all these things too, or I would not feel so passionately about being displaced because I have not obtained them yet.

 

 

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