“I’m so happy to meet your new husband,” she said to a friend before jabbing me jokingly with an elbow as I passed. “Now you just need to find Grace one.”

She patted my arm.

“I heard what you said about Lottie Moon earlier. But I still think we can find you one.”

I’ll go ahead and tell you that singleness is not my favorite topic. Not that it’s a bad topic … I just would prefer for it to be brought up in conversation with the frequency of my subtle toenail polish color (hey, that really matches your dress) rather than that of an electric blue Mohawk (WHOA, would you look at that! That’s so bizarre! I know a great place around the corner where you can get that toned down … ).

Ideally I’d just like for that part of me to fade into the background and let – hopefully – the Jesus inside me come to the front instead.

I had told a story about Lottie Moon to a few folks that day, about how she had spent herself feeding the Chinese – physically and spiritually – and the starvation eventually got her.

But not before reaching many with the hope of Jesus.

“How many there are … who imagine that because Jesus paid it all, they need pay nothing, forgetting that the prime object of their salvation was that they should follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in bringing back a lost world to God.”

Lottie had an opportunity to marry once. But she knew she was meant for China. He didn’t feel the same way.

“God had first claim on my life, and since the two conflicted, there could be no question about the result.”

It was that simple.

Now I’m no Lottie Moon. Wow, I wish someday I could be a tiny sliver of the lady she was.

But what I am right now is a single woman fighting daily to cling hard and fast to a Savior who’s the most amazing thing life has to offer. Eternity has to offer. At the moment, there’s no husband. Every day I get up and do what disciples of Jesus do – sit dumbfounded at the infinite grace and joy we’ve been handed for free, and fight hard against distractions and my own flesh, fighting to keep my eyes locked on Him. I fight to take His love to the ends of the earth and finish well.

It’s not entirely helpful when I’m in full-on battle mode to hear that I need a different life, even when the comments are made in love.

I love Him, and I want to live the life He gave me.

I want to pack light. I want Him to spend me out in the best way He can use my single life. I want to have time to give from sunup to sundown to relieve the moms who just need a minute alone with Jesus to grieve or rest or decompress. To talk with friends who need it, when they need it, for as long as they need it. To move in with someone for a couple of weeks when they need some extra help close at hand. I want time to pray fervently for others.

My heart was so encouraged a while back when I listened to the podcast of one of our pastors from church speaking about singleness. Not that it’s never been said before, but I needed to hear that message that day.

That marriage is brilliant and messy and God-ordained for some to be the way God shows the Gospel in a human picture … Him giving Himself for His bride, the Church.

And that singleness is brilliant and messy and God-ordained for some to be able to share the Gospel without having the demands of a family (1 Corinthians 7:32-34).

Both of them valid. Both of them needed.

Right now I’m living in the second.

Either way, He’s all I need.


36 Responses

  1. I love this! And I love You! You were definitely there as God’s grace for me when I needed you. I LOVE the phrase “pack light” because this is not our home.

  2. Grace, I don’t know you. But I sure wish I did. :-) I have been blessed beyond measure reading your blog! Thank you for allowing your obvious love for our precious Savior to spill out onto these pages! I wish I could have you in my kitchen and share a cup of coffee while we talked about Jesus and all He has done! Looking forward to spending eternity with you, dear sister!
    Because of Him,

  3. One of the most encouraging things I’ve ever heard on singleness was when a friend of mine (single woman in her 40s) looked me in the eyes with such an intensity in hers and said: “Give your best years to Jesus. Take your 20s, the years when you’re at the peak of your physical capabilities, and consecrate them to going deep in the Lord, giving your life, time and money radically to Him. Go deep in pursuing the knowledge of God and getting to know His heart. Take these years to build a foundation in your relationship, love and passion for Jesus that no one and nothing can rob you of for the rest of your life.” These words have kept me running with a purpose all these years.
    Benny, 25, single, going hard after God

  4. I was out hiking the other day in the wintery mountains, and a scripture came to mind: “Sing O barren one who did not bear…for the children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married…” Four years ago I felt like the Lord had spoken this scripture directly to me in the midst of a lot of change taking place, and I thought “Maybe the Lord’s going to bring me a husband!” After all, I was 27, most of my friends were married, and I thought it was my turn. Four years later I see a different message in the Isaiah 54 passage. Because my life is sealed to the Lord, because He has set His love on me, my life will bear more fruit than a husband could give. I don’t have to sterilely commit myself to an academic or professional career in order for my single life to be of value. He is bearing fruit through my single life that is just as precious and miraculous and beautiful as a newborn baby. I continue to pursue an academic career, but it’s not a sterile substitute for marriage and children; it’s a way of loving my Lord. I’m open to marrying, but not dependent on that for fruitful, meaningful life, self-giving life. I’ve been reading through your blog over the last couple months, and it has ministered to my heart in many ways. I feel like I have a friend across the country, who I wish I could meet up for coffee with:-). Thanks for writing. Blessings.

  5. Adding another Amen. It’s a privilege to have the freedom to serve our Savior with virtually every waking moment, not having spouse or child responsibilities to be accountable to. We can assist our friends and family who have those responsibilities, to help them reach THEIR God-given potential, while fulfilling ours. Singlehood is not a disease to be cured, it’s a calling to cherish. (on a side note, do you find that most who are trying to “find you one” are themselves in unhappy relationships? I see that trend playing out in my own life. Thoughts welcome. :-) ) Great blog. Keep on keepin’ on.

  6. Love this post. I love my husband and being married but I so enjoyed my season of singleness with Jesus. It’s so sweet and so important I wish more women (and men) had the way of thinking that you do. Fill those single years with life – Jesus is life. Obviously life doesn’t end when you’re married but it for sure is different. I love the encouragement you give out with your posts!! <3


    I live in a world where marriage is about social security and validating a woman’s existence . . . I’m called ‘ the Mother of the Handicapped’ and ‘the One Who Loves the Burned Children’ and ‘the Owner of the Giving of Walking’ . . . but because I am not ‘Wife of [name of burly man]’ I am clearly incomplete and lacking.

    Thank you for the reminder of Lottie, whose first claim was God!! May we continue on in her footsteps!

  8. Wonderful post! I am not defined by my singleness any more than my married friends are defined by their spouse. As much as I may desire marriage, I never want to simply be known as someone’s wife. Like Lottie Moon, I want to be defined by relationship with Christ and my obedience to Him. If that means forgoing marriage in this life, so be it. While it doesn’t always feel like it, it is better to be single and obedient than in a marriage that isn’t God-ordained.

  9. Sometimes you hear people tell that they came to Christ because of Christians who seem to have something that they have missed. I’ve been reading this blog with similar thoughts, that there’s something in your life that I want to have too, even though I’m a Christian myself (and I don’t believe anyone has ever looked at me and thought “wow, I must find out what makes her life so awesome”). Faith and dedication in your texts have sometimes seemed to be on such a level that I could never achieve. So this post, even with all the same dedication, is very comforting: “fighting daily to cling hard and fast to a Savior”, “fight hard against distractions and my own flesh”, “It’s not entirely helpful when I’m in full-on battle mode”. It’s encouraging to be reminded that even superhuman-looking Christianity is not superhuman after all :) Life with Jesus is made of constant battles and, unfortunately often, defeats. We all need daily fighting against distractions and flesh but too often I skip and go straight to giving up. If you write at all like I do, as much for yourself as for others, your returning to this topic tells that it’s not an easy battle for you either. May God help you to keep fighting and may He keep using your battles, victories and defeats to encourage others to fight as well.

  10. Girl, you are speaking my language on these posts. I love my friends and they are well meaning. And someday I would love to be married. But right now, I know I am seeking Him and I know that I am walking in His ways and that is enough for me. That is all I NEED to know. The rest is in his hands.


  11. Perfect! It’s great to know that there are other singles like me out there who are just okay with being single. I’m not waiting for the right guy. I know he’ll come along when he’s supposed to and I’ll know. Until, I’ll give my life to Christ.

  12. Your writing carries His annointing and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your total comitment to Jesus. He speaks through you.

  13. I came across your blog upon the recommendation of a friend. Your words are a breath of fresh air – your words ring so true in my own life and the elbow nudges are all too familiar. May he keep pouring out our singleness for his glory!

  14. Amen. Thank you gor the encouragement for all of us to stay the course, giving our lives to Jesus in whatever circumstances – single, married, rich, poor, overseas or hometown. He’s what matters. Come, Lord Jesus.

  15. Thanks for articulating this so well. I often feel at times that people treat me as though singleness were part of my identity (and a part that clearly is unfortunate and should be changed as soon as possible), instead of one more facet of my life that God uses for his glory. Unfortunately it is often those of us in the midst of singleness who have the hardest time embracing what god might want to do with our lives, if only we would let him.

  16. Providential timing for this much needed post, and confirmation that anything, relationship or otherwise, that distracts or deters me from serving His foremost is a form of settling and disobedience.

    Thank you for sharing, and for reminding us all that while our lives may be different, we all are messy yet glorifying if we are walking the path set before us!

  17. Caution my sister. He is NOT all you need. Yes, all you need for salvation. But to lead the Christian walk. Nope. Not even close. We are commanded to live in fellowship with one another. 61 one another commands fill the pages of the NT. We are exhorted to live out our gifts so that all can grow into the “measure of the stature” of Christ. We need one another. Single. Married. Broken. Healing. Addict. Freeman. We need him. And we need one another. Even God said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” We need you!

    1. Thanks for the note, Bette. You’re absolutely right that we were meant to live our walk with Christ in community, helping each other persevere til the end. I hope the value I put on community shows through in the paragraph about spending our single lives out on and with other people, for His glory.

  18. Providential timing for this edifying word. It was much needed today. Christ is the priority, not marriage, and if I have to choose between the two, I pray I choose as wisely (and as oddly) as Lottie.

    Long live the messy and amazing lives of the single folks! :)

  19. Thank you thank you for writing this. I am now engaged, but I had to come to this very same place before it happened. And even now, when people attribute my happiness to my fiance, I feel that it cheapens it somehow. I am happy, but he isnt EVERYTHING. If I hadnt met him, and was still single, I would be joyfully living the call of God as I am now.. And I would be much more than ok!

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