Allison wrote me a week or so ago and asked me if I would “address the issue of being mindful and watchful of single ladies in the church who weren’t expecting to go seeking for an established career. I know there is a contingency of female readers who read your blog and Berkhof’s systematic theology among other things. The paradox of being an older female single in the Reformed camp.  :) But the joy of rejoicing in Christ in the struggle.”

Well, I took the wise coward’s way out and asked her to write the post herself! Here it is. 

“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words” (Ps. 17:6-7).

As I am on the brink of turning 40 and still single, many a word have I spoken to the Lord regarding my current status. I am a Reformed Baptist, which generally lends itself to assuming I will get married because that happens to conservative girls like myself. Yet silence still pervades the air regarding that issue in my life.

With moxie, I behest the Lord to present before me just the right Calvinistic fellow who would lead me into marriage. But alas, God has the “gall” to not confirm my request in the speedy manner I was desiring.

Called to something different?
But what if God is calling me to something different?  It is easier and more natural to be under the protectorate of men, but to instead slip on heels and work alongside them was not something I expected.  My father was a military officer and my mother was a housewife, and I assumed I would follow her footsteps.  I am a member of a conservative Baptist church, and it is the norm to be married off and support the husband.  Thus it is perplexing to be handed a sword and pushed into a battle I was not expecting.

Many of the female bloggers of the Reformed camp speak mainly of family and marriage issues, and the dutiful posting about being a content single. Instead I look to blogs by men that talk about the workforce in today’s society and other issues my married female counter-parts don’t have to face as often.

So I wanted to encourage the other gals out there, who are flummoxed and bewildered at their current status in life, to still praise God.  To “hold fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped,” Psalm 17:6.

Online dating
Too easily, society quips to “try online dating.” But I caution against that. Do not be too quick to escape out of the mode of singleness with a flash of your credit card. Yes, it has worked for some, but deep down, aren’t you a hopeless romantic wanting true love the old-fashioned way?

I work in a warehouse, not an exciting career, and I gagged when I read this book about single gals who had stellar careers and were at the point of finally buying a house on their own. I can’t afford that. The book actually made me more depressed because I did not measure up to the standard of living that these other ladies possessed.

I too am getting older, not as financially stable as I would like to be, honestly a little fearful of the future.  But praise God that I still cry out to the Lord for help and I listen for Him and wait for Him to answer.

To other gals who are feeling discouraged, I can sympathize and gently admonish.  Cry, get a hug, spend time with God and read.  Sinclair Ferguson is a wonderful author/pastor and his warm, gentle voice is soothing on those hard days.  I recommend “Deserted by God” by Ferguson.

Be plugged into the women’s ministry, get a mentor, volunteer, and read rich theology.  Books in the theology section aren’t just for guys!  Read the biography of A.W. Pink and Adoniram Judson. Instead of checking that online dating site, open that theology book and feel challenged and excited. You will be surprised!

Be a member of your church, volunteer to the highest capacity at your church.  Love God’s Word, memorize it!  Be known as a lady of God. I can honestly say that I would not want a guy who had spent hours on e-harmony. Instead I want a guy who spent hours volunteering at church.

A rock on the hand or the Word in your heart?
Let God’s Word be the focus on your mind, to draw upon that when the dagger of disgust and frustration scrapes against my neck. Hard times will come, but God’s Word will never forsake me!  Have the Word on the tip of your tongue; have it as a goal when chatting over coffee about things to look forward to.  Sure having a rock on the hand is nice, but what is even better is to have God’s glorious Word encrusted and embellishing your heart forever!

Proverbs 31:25 reads “Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come.” I cannot do that on my own accord. But by God’s grace and by the pouring in of the Holy Spirit, that can be accomplished.

Thank you Lord for breaking me and making me reliant on you to be built back up. It is a good thing to be conservative, and Reformed, and educated, and, yes, sophisticated. I did not say homely or dull :)

It is nice to be able to be at church where men still lead.

Love God, love your church, love God’s Word and love His sovereignty!

Allison blogs at https://1happymongoose.wordpress.com/

  • http://justmerach.wordpress.com Rachel

    Thankyou, thankyou!

    • Allison

      be encouraged! :)

  • http://www.lightandgracephotography.com Karen

    Thanks for that, indeed it has been a surprise to me to end up owning and running two businesses and thinking ahead to my own retirement rather than simply leaving that to the man, which is what I always thought in my younger days I would do! I’d only add that I wouldn’t dismiss online dating with no efforts – I’ve seen enough friends find spouses in that way to know that it does often work. It didn’t for me, but at least I can say that having gone far beyond my comfort zone, several times, and given it more than just a quick glance. For now at least I’m going to just rest from that. Online dating does seem to encourage the woman to take initiative, which feels a bit ‘off’ and is doubly discouraging. My experience with online dating is that many men seemed to simply sign up and wait for things to happen – and that’s not the kind of husband I’d want.

    • Allison

      exactly….I don’t want to have to wade through men like a clothes closet to find one I think ‘suitable’. I don’t want that responsibility to pick out just the right guy.

  • Helena

    I know!! Does Mr Darcy even exist?! Thanks! So encouraging!

    • Allison

      keep waiting for Mr. Darcy, Helena unless the Lord says otherwise. plus, Darcy would not want a lady floundering in despair, but instead glowing with Christ’s love in her countenance. :)

  • Cath

    Well said. Sometimes it does feel like there isn’t a lot of space for single women in the church. Partly this could be because of the massive reaction in evangelical circles against family breakdown in wider society and the bogeyman of feminism. Church people respond by insistently affirming marriage and “traditional” roles for women as not only wives and mothers but home-makers as well. This puts a lot of pressure on Christian women who aren’t married (yet).

    It also means that when married women speak out (aka blog!) in Reformed circles, the topics they’re allowed or able or welcome to talk about are restricted to “being a good wife” and “bringing up my (many) children”. This is in spite of the fact that many Reformed women get married and have children *after* going to college or university and having work experience. They’re also often perfectly theologically astute. So it’s not as though these wives/mothers have nothing else to talk about. But it means that Reformed single women are in this sense excluded even from the fellowship and wisdom of other Reformed women and end up relying on blogs written by men when it comes to practical and theological issues, even though men’s attitudes and experiences are often quite different in spite of the shared theology.

    On the plus side, there are probably few better times in history to be a single woman. Clueless reactionaries who simultaneously blame women for not being married and expect men to take the lead, are thankfully few on the ground (although they can be pretty nasty when you do come across them). The workplace is much more friendly than it used to be now that there is legislative protection against discriminating against women.

    Also, I think we can be quite confident in the knowledge that people aren’t single because there’s something wrong with them. Whatever quirks and character flaws you might have, you almost certainly know someone else who has them in spadefuls and still got married. People usually don’t get married because they deserve it! Marriage is some sort of mysterious combination of chemistry and providence, not a reward for being a good person. Of course there is discouragement to be faced because there is so much fear attached to growing older on your own, so much inconvenience attached to living on your own, so much stress attached to providing for yourself financially on you own. Etc. But if you didn’t have these stresses in your life, there would be something else instead. The thing is not to treat singleness as a punishment, or second-best, or a sign of your inadequacy as a person. (Especially since not having a spouse doesn’t need to mean being totally alone, because most of the time, singles are valued friends, sisters, aunties, members of a congregation, colleagues, and more.) A Christian’s real identity is not ultimately determined by their human relationships in any case, whether married or single, orphaned, friendless, or widowed, but by being a daughter or son of the Lord. The advice to dig into serious theology is therefore absolutely right! Perhaps one challenge for people in Reformed circles is to make this point more prominent, so that we all value and support each other in a way that looks beyond mere marital status.

    • Allison

      I am pleased that you admit it is not easy, and that we can not be making excuses. Yes, the importance is in what we will find our identity. It actually is a blessing to not have the extra comforts and so we are relying on God that much more.

      • Allison

        Thank you for your heart-felt advice, Cath. I was terribly happy to see your comment, and I didn’t want to forget mentioning that to you.

        • Cath

          It’s definitely not easy :) I think you’re very brave Allison to raise the issue at all.

  • Annette

    Excellent points. One thing I run into, is that people (mostly women) assume
    that I have chosen to be a career woman (whatever that really means).
    Just because I am highly educated, have a high status type of job, does not mean that I am not looking for
    a godly partner. Last, your comment about reading different blogs than your married friends
    hit home. I, for work, devour as much business literature and news as possible.
    This often leads to awkwardness in mixed social settings when I am more informed than the guys, plus
    have little in common with the gals.

  • Allison

    Gotta love that awkward silence! :). Have you ever read ‘To the Golden Shore’ about Adorniram Judson? His first wife was terribly well-read and astute, and she is an inspiration to me. I will do a post on her. (I really enjoy my BBC app, for they are great with international news). Sometimes I think being too learned or well-read scares off some guys. Go figure. :). Being a submissive wife will prove challenging, but with God all things are possible. Keep on reading, knowing your sisters are doing likewise! Thanks, Annette! Hmmm, getting more ideas for blog posts. :)

    • Thea

      I have had several men who simply wouldn’t date me because they felt intimidated by me. What moi? I’m just a single gal who has no choice but to be a career girl. This is God’s doing. I have had several of my male colleagues tell me that this reaction from some men is not uncommen but that there are men out their who like intelligent and sophisticted women and don’t change!

      • allison

        don’t dumb down. :). that would be my worst nightmare. our sophistication and intelligence shine through, no matter if we try to hide it. what a blessing that is.

  • EAJ

    Cath said: “Perhaps one challenge for people in Reformed circles is to make this point more prominent, so that we all value and support each other in a way that looks beyond mere marital status.”

    That’s good advice for all denominations!

    Thanks you Allison for this post. I am now one of your fans.

    • Allison

      I am so glad to have inspired you, Cath. Here”s to Jesus continually inspiring and motivating us by putting sisters in our paths with whom we give high 5′s. How wonderful is the body of Christ!

  • Thea

    I remember being jelouse of all my friends who were getting married. I’m quite literally the last one left at 35. I swore that God remembered to set aside for everyone but me. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. Although now I’m at the dating stage with a wonderful Christian man. May I suggest that any single ladies out there read ‘Boundries Before Marriage’ By Henry Townsend and John Cloud. I wish I had read this a long time ago. It would have saved me so much heart ache. I love your article by the way. Well done in talking about such a difficult issue.

    • Allison

      That’s way cool you have met a great guy. Woohoo! Waiting is hard.

  • Allison

    It’s weird and frustrating. :)

  • Pingback: Latest Links | blog of dan

  • http://Www.army4Him.org RL Green

    Allison,

    What a great article, to encourage you. I’m 40 single male and reformed (preached for 20 years the Armenian thing, just got called three years ago). It isn’t any easier being a man, but to grow in and thirst in God. Stay the course. May God grant you the desires of your heart.

    • Allison Enos

      been a year and I just emailed David Murray to say hello. I checked through the replies and saw your post. Tis true women get ‘compassion’ for discussing singleness while men get the brunt of disdain for not ‘choosing a girl already’. huh…maybe an interesting topic to write on next.

  • Rebecca

    Hello, my post comes a bit late, however, I can relate to much that’s being said here. I am 38 now and only recently it dawned to me due to a remark of a colleague, comparing me to a nun, that I might indeed have received the gift of singleness from God. My problems with men are like a red thread in my biography, starting with an abusive, violent, drug addicted father, than at kindergarten I remember a scene when the little boys ran collectively away from me for some reason. Than as a non-christian teenager I had no desire at all to form a relation with the opposite sex, which lead to other people speculating that I might be a lesbian, which is not true.

    At age 20 I decided that I needed to get rid of my virginity since all the statistical data in the youth magazines pointed out that it was normal to be deflowered at age 16 – 18. So I thought, if i want to be “normal”, i need to speed things up. This lead to a very sinful period in my life for 4 years, with changing relationships and lots of heartache.

    13 years ago I became born again and started reading everything about marriage, homemaking and child-rearing. Reality is, the chances that I will meet a reformed guy are very low. I live in Germany and the reformed faith is hardly existing, with only very few churches who follow that path. So now I am trying to find contentedness in being single for the glory of God.

    I, too, am very interested in reformed theology and also read businness related things, so this might add to guys being not attracted to me. However, I won’t dumb down to make myself more marriagable.

    • Allison Enos

      I was happy to see your response. by chance I looked at the replies today and saw your posting. It is not easy, is it? It is hard when other gals aren’t interested in discussing theology so that leads to talking with the men. that is a constant struggle. I am so glad I read what you wrote. I just opened a facebook account if you want to send me a message there. Just type Allison Enos. I have a dog as my portrait picture so that will make it easier to track me down there.

      May you have a blessed day!