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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Monday, 10 March 2014

Christian Singleness ~ 12 Realities

A guy once commented that if someone didn’t have a successful marriage, perhaps they weren’t the best person to speak about marriage…I’m not sure he meant this as a hard and fast rule, and I think we can be a bit flexible, as I don’t think God wastes any of our experiences when we’re committed to Him…But don’t worry, I’m not going to write today anything like 10 tips for a Gr8 marriage!
Rather, today I want to reflect upon unexpected Christian singleness, and hopefully encourage some of you who may perhaps be like me; a single Christian, and not necessarily one by choice.
I re-committed my life to Jesus and was born-again in 2005 (if you’re not a Christian familiar with what that phrase means, let me explain).  As a girl I had a relationship with Jesus and walked away from it, but in 2005 I called out to God, asked Him to forgive me for my rebellious life and told Him that I wanted Jesus to be No.1 from now on…And He answered by giving me His loving, awesome Spirit, and changing my heart and mind.  
I had been married to a non-Christian guy from 1997, and although praise God he wasn’t anti-Christian, he certainly was challenged in ways by my new resolve and he left our marriage the beginning of 2012.  His departure was literally a huge surprise for me as he left after an argument one day and that was it, no return for reconciliation or further discussion.  There one day, gone the next.  I was left stunned, I really did not think anything had happened that was not something we could not work through. Previously in my non-Christian years we had reconciled many times after events which actually were disastrous…in all honesty our marriage had been the most healthy it had EVER been (this is now a comfort to me).
I remember searching online, looking for helpful articles on Christian singleness, as a way of getting my head around this new, unexpected and unwanted period in my life.  Praise God I did find some decent articles which gave sound counsel – but to be honest there wasn’t one which said exactly what I was wanting to hear, which was I think was; “This period can really sometimes suck, bit don’t despair God is bigger than this trial…” of course combined with useful applicable tips :)
I truly don’t think that any ONE article is going to make you feel totally better anyway, because every person’s journey is unique in some way, and the truth is that it is VERY challenging at times.  Also no-one can do it for you.  So if you’ve found yourself in this situation please know, that NO you’re NOT alone or the only one to go through unwanted singleness, but part of being single is that now you have sole responsibility for the choices you make from here on in…THIS MAY SOUND DAUNTING (I know what that feels like) but you do have God and His people, so hang in there…Have a good cry every now and then, but keep on keeping the resolve to please The Lord first and foremost, as that will be your anchor when faced with ungodly temptations.
I have decided to give 12 reflections on Christian Singleness, some positive/humorous, some not, but ALL true of my experience so I hope they help and bless you:

Christian Singleness ~ 12 Realities!

1. PROVISON:  God will provide for you like no other time in your life.  God really has stepped in for me countless times during the last two years, time and time again and has showed me His love, provision and support.  He has shown His hand at work in my life during this period even more than previously.  No it has not been easy, but every time I have thought, “I am exhausted” or “I am at the end of my tether” or “how will I get through this hardship” something fantastic has happened – then at other times awesome things that I did not necessarily expect or felt I needed to happen have happened! 
Don’t forget God is sovereign!  Someone may hurt you as they have a free will, but God will always carry you through.

2. BEING ALONE:  It’s difficult to get used to having an empty bed or house again.  My advice is to try to make your space/s your own.  Make your spaces comfortable - spaces you can relax and entertain in. Try to focus your mind on The Lord when you are trying to go to sleep alone…keep Him at the front of your thoughts, say goodnight to Him.
God is the true comforter!

3. MATURING:  Developing a deeper relationship with Christ is more achievable when single.  I know every sound post mentions this, and so they should because it is true.  But I think it’s necessary to acknowledge that you don’t have to be single for this to happen…rather that it is more achievable, simple because you have more alone time.  We must acknowledge that this alone time may not be of your choosing, therefore you may choose to avoid Jesus or spending quality time with Him when alone. If you have been doing this it is understandable, because sometimes we don’t want to process things that have happened when alone with The Lord.  But healing, although not easy needs to be pursued, otherwise you can stagnate and true healing involves learning to live as a single Christian.  Also time with The Lord can be in ways that you may not have thought about…like a bible study that before you could not go to, or even exploring a new ministry like hospital visiting.  I must admit that I don’t know if I’d blog as much if I were married.
Let God mature you during this period!

4. MOMENTOUS OCCASIONS:  It really sucks as a Christian single when you are struggling with big, important decisions or around holiday times.  However don’t hide away lamenting over your dilemmas or feelings.  God provides us with His people for good reason.  When you need sound counsel over choices…Seek it!  And if you struggle with holiday times, be pro-active, seek God’s wisdom and plan ahead. 
Don’t have the mind of a victim but rather a victor in Christ!

5. LONELINESS:  Do not let the desire for adult companionship be the main reason for starting up a new relationship.  Yes, you will sometimes be lonely, but often this will be a passing emotion that will pass when you do something constructive.  Loneliness can lead us to over romanticising others in our mind, and forgetting that they too are complex people who also come with baggage.  Focus on being healthy, growing in Christ, and being patient for His will in your life.
Focus on being a good friend to others in your life!

6. EXPLORATION:  Use this period to get to know yourself better as the person God made you to be.  There is nothing wrong with two people meshing and becoming one, we know this is biblical, however use this period of singleness to get to know yourself as an individual, uniquely valued, created and gifted by God.  What unexplored talent is waiting for your time and effort for God’s glory?
Do you know who God made you to be?

7. VALUE:  Single people are of equal value to those married.  Don’t believe that one is better than the other or that the “Grass is greener on the other side”…All situations present challenges.  As time passes you may be relieved that you don’t have to worry about having hairy legs or face.  And if you forget married couples have troubles, go visit one at home (where they can’t escape reality while out with you) and ask them how they’ve been…You may have to be a patient listening ear for quite some time!
Try researching some stories of Christian Singles for inspiration and encouragement!

8. LEADERSHIP:  Don’t think that you are unequipped to lead your family as a single person.  Okay, so single parenting is NOT God’s design…But does this mean your situation is beyond help?  I don’t believe so…God is MORE than able to lead you and your family.  I have learnt that The Lord knows our heart and is with us through all our struggles.  He will lead you; just keep seeking Him and taking your problems to Him.  We are not meant to be a lone Christian or a spiritual island.  We are made for relationship with God and others.  He will lead you in His wisdom and surround you with the right people, just follow Him, and His counsel.
What Christian group could you be involved in to widen your network?

9. NEW RELATIONSHIPS:  When presented with the possibility of a new relationship with another Christian person take it to The Lord FIRST!  Pray and ask for protection, because the reality is you are vulnerable (sorry if that sounds harsh)…but honestly I have found that some men have approached me just because I am single, and for no other reason…And yes, this can be from a Christian or non-Christian, as not every Christian is seeking The Lord’s will in their life.  I have asked God to shut the door on some relationships if they are not His will, and He has.  Just a warning, if this happens don’t take it personally and feel deflated, try to be positive about it and understand that God knows better and has a better plan for you.  Who knows what He is protecting you from, or preparing you for, or even if you are meant to be in a relationship during this time.
Be led by God, not by your emotion!

10. FLESHLY DESIRES:  Your flesh is going to give you a hard time.  Just have to put this one out there.  Even more so I believe for those of you who have been previously in intimate relationships.  However I do believe that God is more powerful than our flesh.  Sometimes even dreams can be very challenging.  Again, I do believe that the Lord can get us through anything, but we must be determined in our resolve to not gratify our flesh because each time we do, we keep feeding the desire, rather than starving it.  I have found that I can even control my dreams quite well when my body is rather hormonal.
God is bigger than your flesh!

11. OUTSOURCING:  You may struggle and get overwhelmed with certain tasks. To be honest sometimes I sulk when it comes to tackling jobs not within my comfort zone…jobs for example that my ex used to do.  I am NOT super-woman and gifted in every area…but one thing I can do is use a phone.  So this simply means that I now use service people that I may not have previously needed (and yes this costs so I have to be more frugal with my money) or that I call a family member or friend for help at times…These are things we may not necessarily like doing, but are a reality for single people.
You need to be self-sufficient as a Christian Single but this doesn’t mean you can’t outsource!

12. IDENTITY:  Your identity and salvation is in Christ.  Who you are as an individual and your salvation is yours alone and found in Christ.  This does not change for a single or partnered Christian.  Your God-given life, talent and salvation are all gifts from God.  If you are a reluctant single Christian, try to focus on this truth, because all that is in this life is fading and we are awaiting restoration.  Do not mourn your singleness (of course you may mourn the death of your relationship for as long as needed); But respect yourself as a single person, and God who loves you!  Take care of yourself and live out your singleness in joy…let your life exude thankfulness to your Saviour.  While you walk your life, try to keep focusing on The Lord…Keep seeking The One true Comforter who will not forsake you!

Set your mind on things that are above to help carry you through and don’t forget all things are possible with God!  Read: Col 3:1-17

Love Melanie :)


Justin M. Davito said...

I am sorry about your marriage.

Awesome post. Thanks for sharing. Going to send this to a friend.


Joanna Sormunen said...

Great advice, Melanie! This topic is very actual, and painfull for me, and it's great to know I'm not alone. HUGS!

Melanie Baker-Nash said...

Thanks for your empathy Justin and encouragement. Share away...God doesn't waste anything - hope it blesses your friend!

Hey Joanna, I know you know what Christian singleness is like and walk the walk with me...You are an amazing woman of God, sister, HUGS back @ ya!

Roger Bush said...

Very Well Written! I've been where you were! You've crafted a beautiful process of spiritual growth and peace for those calling out to God while dealing with a very hurtful and ugly process. Thank you for sharing your story in a way that strengthens faith and trust in our Lord and Savior!

Roger Bush said...

I've been where you were! You articulated this wonderfully. Thanks for taking the time to craft this message with care and understanding for those who are experiencing divorce as a believer. It's a great basic road map to healing, understanding, and spiritual growth.
Continue to be a blessing to others!