In an ideal world, serving our single sisters would be easy. But this is not an ideal world, this is a fallen world. And, so we struggle in our own lives and we can struggle to serve others well. As ministry leaders, we need to take this bull by the horns and become the catalysts in our churches and communities to champion for these women.
There are times, as married women, we look back on our single days … before marriage and children… as if we had all the freedom in the world. We remember it, like the picture above. Dashing off with our girl friends on another adventure, giggling away, without a care in the world. We forget that we too had to work, we too had sorrows, our adventures were outnumbered by the mundane. We may not have had our own kids to watch, but we may have been babysitting our siblings. We were working off hours because the married women or parents took the shifts during the school hours.
If we are honest, being single probably wasn’t as amazing as we remember it was. We forget that even in our singleness we had sorrow, that we may have felt alone, that there were times when life was hard. I’m watching a single friend go through the ringer right now. Everyone else in her life seems to have it all together. Marriages. Children. Amazing jobs. She’s feeling the weight of expectations on her shoulder, and wondering if any of that is every going to be in her future. She plugs away each day, and sometimes… she shares that the beam of hope for something different is getting dimmer.
She shares that she’s tired of eating out alone or ordering in take out, because cooking for one is not easy. She shares the heartbreak of being invited to another bridal shower, wedding, baby shower, and family party. She doesn’t want to answer any more questions about who she is dating, or when she wants to start a family.
Even for those who choose to be single, and embrace it as a gift, are hammered with expectations. Since they are not tied down, it is assumed they have nothing better to do than work more, work holidays, volunteer more, serve more, etc. People don’t understand why they don’t have enough money to travel more, go out on more girls nights out, or shop as if they have no budget.
In an ideal world, it would be easier. But it’s not an idea world, it’s a fallen world.
In one of our first pieces on the topic, we suggested that the first thing we can do to serve our single sisters better is to see them. By recognizing who they are, we make sure these women are feeling noticed, loved and cared for.
The second thing we can do to serve our single sisters better, is to stop assuming and start listening. We can not default onto our own memories of how wonderful the single life was and use that to create a menu of opportunities to serve these women. Instead, we need to engage them in conversation and get a pulse on what is happening in their world and lives. If we listen, we learn. When we learn, we know how to serve.
Having a single woman serving on your ministry team is a good way to start the conversation.