When Rebecca* saw the notice in the church bulletin about a short-term mission trip to Haiti, she was elated. For years she had felt called to the small, impoverished nation and she believed she could offer much to the islanders.
After the service, Rebecca approached her pastor and told him she wanted to sign up for the trip. She was shocked when he scoffed.
“You are an unmarried student,” he said. “You would just be an extraneous adult appendage.”
More than a decade later, Rebecca is still single — and she still recalls that painful moment when she realized that to some people her value as a person was directly tied to her marital status.
Rebecca’s story and a myriad of others haunted me as I worked on this issue of Mutuality. Since my early days as a Christian, I have been aware of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways women’s callings are marginalized or, worse, negated, but somehow the unique challenges facing singles — and single women in particular — escaped my attention.
As we worked on this issue, it became clear that this topic touches tender spots for many singles. It also became obvious that this is a subject that generates much attention, but no clear guidance. Some writers and speakers encourage singles to “put themselves out there” in the quest for a mate. Others encourage singles to make the most of their lives “while waiting for Mr. Right.”
But platitudes cannot fill a void and no advice can replace God’s will.
I often hear God. Sometimes he whispers. Sometimes he shouts. Sometimes he fills my hands with his message and sends me scurrying to share it. For this issue of Mutuality I heard his message loud and clear: “My children need to know I love them. My children need to know I value them. My children need to know that this is all that matters.”
God yearns for our love. He wants us to fall into his embrace. He has a plan for each of us; a plan more beautiful than any we could dream of on our own. May we lay our trust in his divine wisdom and find our value in his love.
*Not her real name.