Focus on the Family interview #2

It was great to have a chance to chat with the team of Focus on the Family Australia.

You can listen to the interview by clicking HERE

The first interview went live last weekend and I was encouraged to receive responses from people all over the country. (You can listen to that one here.)

The feedback Focus on the Family has had over many years is that this topic isn’t discussed that often so it’s great to be part of bringing it to the fore.

There’s some strange vulnerability associated with having a very unknown listening audience but I keep trusting that it’s landing on the right ears, encouraging the right hearts and advancing the conversation in all the right places. 

another wedding closer to single

“Every time another friend gets married it hurts more.” – a Single person.

Well, actually, many Single people. It seems a commonly experienced emotion among those desiring to be married – the pain of watching others experience what they are waiting and longing for can be intense.

My personal journey with jealousy is well documented (see a blog sample here!!) and an engagement, a wedding or a birth announcement are certainly able to flick my jealousy switch. But one thing I try and remember in the midst of that emotional response is that marriage is not a numbers game.

Marriage is not a numbers game.

Each wedding that happens is not actually making it less likely that I will get married. There is not a finite number of weddings that can happen in my lifetime and every time one happens my odds decrease. I know we know that, but sometimes it’s easy to forget we know that and add another layer of despair to our grieving.

We say, think or hear things like “well, there aren’t many good Christian men left in your age bracket!” Or, “you do live in an area where there aren’t many Single people!” Here’s the deal, we don’t need many we only plan/hope to marry one. Whether that one is one of a thousand or one of one is not the point. You just need your one.

The Bachelor is a TV show not a real life phenomenon. You don’t need to start with twenty-four to find the one. The process of discovering your life mate is not a game of comparisons. You don’t need to like Bachelorette number 11 more than Bachelorette number 3 in order for Bachelorette 11 to be your future life partner. The qualities of an individual person stand alone and should be interpreted in relation to how you are or are not suited – not because they beat out another person in an apple bobbing competition or some other randomly determined measurement of their true feelings for you!

But stop! Before this becomes a rant about the inherent stupidity (and oh so appealing watchability) of the Bachelor franchise, hear my point. It is not a numbers game.

Another wedding does not make you more Single. You are not more or less valuable, likable, dateable, husband-or-wife-able the day after a friend’s wedding than you were the day before. Undoubtedly the moment of celebration for another person can be a poignant time of heightened emotion, longing or grieving but let’s not add an unnecessary element to that emotional cocktail.

Now … the fact that your friends just got a whole lot of free household items when you had to buy all of your own!? Well, that’s another matter. You’re completely right to be indignant about that! 😉

Barrabool Hills Baptist Church – Aug 30 2015

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It was great to be at Moolap and Barrabool Hills Baptist Church on Sunday across all three of their services.

Seated in one of the services was a lady who had recently lost her husband … and when I say recently, I mean super recently … 4 days earlier! She was there with a girlfriend who had come to stay with her – clearly still in that numb state of shock and disbelief that can often accompany grief and loss. But they were both blown away by the sovereignty of God to have her sit under a message about the importance of community and family for the Single person. Her girlfriend was challenged to understand the new needs and challenges that were ahead of this newly widowed lady. They bought a copy of the book for them both to look at in the weeks and months to come.

What do you say to someone who is processing such grief and loss? She was so convinced of God’s timing and provision of this message (& the book) and we were able to agree and affirm that God clearly had her number. While everything else ahead of her is uncertain right now – she can be sure that God is right there with her in it.

You can listen to the message HERE

that single girl

On Sunday I will officially become something I’ve been trying to avoid for many years -“that Single girl”. 

It was over 8 years ago that God first spoke to me (prophetically through a ministry friend) about writing a book on Singleness and God’s family. For the first year or two after that the idea was spoken about as a bit of a joke – “when you write that book …” or “that’s a story for your book!”

Alongside my general propensity for procrastination, one of the reasons the project didn’t happen for so long is that I didn’t want to be “that Single girl”. I didn’t want my “life’s message” to be about singleness. I didn’t want to be some sort of singleness expert. Even as my experiences accumulated and my understanding of the Single life (mine and other’s) deepened and even as I saw (from both positive and negative examples) the significance of the interactions between Singles and the Church family – I didn’t want to be the one to champion or steward the message. If I’m going to be the “voice” of something couldn’t it be marriage or parenting or … or … underwater basket weaving!?!?! Anything but singleness!

Last year, God’s long-suffering and gentle prodding shifted gears and He came at me with a multi-fronted attack – “Write the book already!! Just do it!!” So, while I may be good at procrastinating and excuse-making, when it comes to wilful disobedience I’m no dummy! In fact, another friend prophetically declared it my “book of obedience” and as I followed God into the project He opened all the doors and His provision was generous and sure. 

The book was published in March and has been seeping out to various individuals, leaders and churches since then. (Order your copy HERE) I am so encouraged by the feedback it’s received. God is using it to bless, encourage and challenge His family. I love that God works that way – He takes our humble offerings and breathes His Spirit of grace and truth into them and they bear fruit in the lives of His children and for His Kingdom purposes. And we get to participate with Him! It’s been such an exciting project to be part of. 

But now, as I prepare for my first book-related speaking opportunity, I find myself needing to process a fresh wave of …well, I’m not exactly sure what it is. Grief? Disappointment? Resistance? I have to step on the platform and be “that Single girl”. You know, the one who is so Single she’s written a book about it!? While there are some potential positives to such a public declaration of singleness (my mum has long hoped for me to make my status part of my introduction anytime I’m speaking to a new audience) there’s a work to be done to sort through the “stuff” to get to a place of greater celebration and expectation. 

I’ve rarely been as sure of God calling me to a specific assignment than I have been with this book. I am thoroughly convinced of the Church’s need to hear and respond to the message it contains. I am 100% committed to seeing this book reach the full intent for which God commissioned me to write it. But the reality is there’s a cost. There’s a surrendering required. There’s a setting aside of my own agenda, pride, embarrassment, or disappointment in order to free my hands to embrace all that these opportunities will no doubt contain. 

So I will be “that Single girl” …and anything else He would ask me to be … trusting His timing, being confident in His calling. Even if I’d have chosen something else, I know He has chosen me for this and this for me.