Dear Single Woman: God Cares for You!

Do you know God loves you?  I mean, do you really know?  Do you believe it, deep down inside? The Bible tells us God loves us, so it has to be true; living life in the full confidence of that truth is another matter.

For a long time, I struggled with feeling like God only blessed married women with children. Single women were somehow passed over or forgotten. And when you hear comments like, “God’s waiting for you to develop more faith,” well, that just makes it even worse.

Earlier this year I realized that I doubted the truth of God’s love. In my mind, God was clearly withholding blessings in all life departments- He couldn’t possibly love me as much as He loved other women.

You know- married women, with 2.5 children, a nice house, and a fluffy dog.

This realization marked the start of a hard-fought battle. The lockdown and quiet hours of solitude actually proved to be a blessing to me, because they provided time to think, to work out what I really believed to be true about God.  

Through the dreary days of late winter, through isolated hikes in the woods, through long summer afternoons by the lake, I fought through my doubts.  I read my Bible, prayed, and listened to Christian podcasts, trying to fill my mind with as much Christian teaching as possible.

There were times when I would just sit and tell myself, “God loves you, God loves you” over and over until I finally started to believe it.

Here’s what I can say with confidence now:

Singleness does not mean God loves me less.

My life is still blessed; the blessings just look different from most other women’s.

If that’s true for me, then it’s true for you, too!

A wise friend of mine recently wrote a great Facebook post about God’s love for women in general and her specifically. It resonated with me, so I wanted to share it with you:

“I spend a lot of time alone. Since I live by myself and work from home this is hardly surprising, but sometimes it’s easy to conflate being physically alone with being invisible to God. (Please don’t read this as a reason for pity! God has blessed my life in so many ways, and His plan is perfect even in my singleness. I am content in that.)

Satan loves to take aspects of our lives and twist them to make it seem as though God doesn’t care. He did that with Eve in the garden, and he hasn’t stopped since then. But it’s always a lie.

Today’s reading in 2 Kings 8 was a much needed reminder that God cares for us, and His care is individual and intentional. I’m sure you all remember the woman who ministered to Elisha, and how he in return saved the life of her son. But then there’s the rest of the story. Elisha warned her that a lengthy famine was coming, so she and her family left the country.

At the end of seven years, she came back and went to ask the king for her house and fields back. Now I have a hunch that King Jehoram – described as doing evil in the sight of the Lord – was not accustomed to generosity toward women. Women were second-class citizens, and he was not a good guy. But God arranged it so that she arrived just as Gehazi was telling the king all about the miracle with her son. And in his amazement, the king not only returned the house and field, he threw in seven years’ worth of produce from her field.

God didn’t have to do anything more for this faithful woman. After all, he’d already rewarded her ministry to Elisha by returning her son to life! But His care for her was constant and designed to meet her exact needs. He kept her from suffering the famine, and He restored all she needed and then some.

I am so thankful to know that the same God who watched over this woman watches over me. I’m never truly alone. And He loves you too! Trust Him, because he is worthy of our trust.”

Rejoice in the truth of God’s love for you- today!

Her thoughts perfectly sum up what God has been teaching me this year- He cares for each of us as individuals. Just because your life looks different it doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you!

If you’re like me and you struggle with feeling unloved, let God’s Word speak truth into your life. I encourage you to go to II Kings 8 and read this story for yourself. Remind yourself that…

You are loved.

You are blessed.

You are cared for.

This week I’m thankful for the truths found in Scripture. We can lie to ourselves, but God never lies to us. He loves us more than we can ever understand or imagine. And we can rest in that. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

True Beauty= A Quiet and Gentle Spirit

“No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

“Outer beauty pleases the eye; inner beauty captivates the heart.” –Mandy Hale

“True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” – Audrey Hepburn

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” –Proverbs 31:30

Myth: I’m single because I’m not pretty

I blame Ulta.

I went in there looking for a special shampoo. I’d never been in the store before, and as soon as I went in I realized why.

Beauty products of every color and type bombarded me, calling with a seductive siren song:

Products to make my hair thicker, shinier, bouncier, glossier, or any color I wanted.

Make-up I could only dream of and would have no idea how to apply.

Creams, gels, and serums that promised to wipe away wrinkles, lines, dark spots, acne, and any other horrifying blemish.

Tanning, bleaching, removing, enhancing- anything I could ever want to do to my face or body (and a whole bunch of things I’d never even thought to consider) were screaming at me to buy them.

I wandered around the store in a fascinated daze. Who knew women needed so much? I wasn’t using any of these products, so what was I doing wrong? I started to eagerly pull items off the shelves.

And then a little voice in my head whispered, “Maybe if you starting using these things you would become more attractive to men.” 

That brought me up short.

Physical beauty has always been a sore subject for me- I’ve been disappointed in my appearance since I was a little girl. If you ask me to list all the things I don’t like about the way I look, I could easily start with my hair (I have perpetually bad hair- one of my students told me the other day that I had “recess hair”) and go all the way down to my toes (weird feet and crooked toes that are getting weirder as I get older).

And don’t even get me started on my arms. My oldest niece is fascinated with them and actually likes to play with them. Once, when I was shaking a nail polish bottle for her she cried out, “Wow! Look at them jiggle.”

Yes, she was talking about my upper arms.

I learned long ago to look in the mirror and dislike… pretty much everything.

The struggle is real. I don’t have all the answers on how to be content with your appearance.

But I do know that Ulta doesn’t hold all the answers, either.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never dated. Frequently, when I feel most down, it becomes easy to blame my appearance for that. If only I…

Was thinner

was prettier

Had better hair

Tightened up my arms

Didn’t have to wear glasses

On and on the list goes, cataloguing every flaw until I’m convinced no man would ever consider me.

Have you been there? Do you tell yourself these things, too?

There is hope!

Ulta may not have all the answers, but the Bible does, even for this:

“Do not let your adorning be external- the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” -I Peter 3:3, 4

The importance of physical attractiveness is pounded into girls’ heads from a young age, and yeah, clothes, jewelry, make-up, those things are a lot of fun.

But they should never be the most important thing. Outer beauty should NEVER define us.  

God, our Creator, is the only One whose opinion truly matters. He cares so much more about the women we are on the inside. We don’t need expensive beauty products to be beautiful in His eyes

I don’t think the Bible is telling us it’s wrong to look nice, but rather it’s redirecting us toward what should be most important for women- cultivating an inner beauty that reflects our Savior.

Instead of nice clothes, Colossians 3:12 gives us some other attributes we should put on- “Put on then, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. “

That sounds like a woman I would like to get to know. That sounds like the kind of woman I would like to be.

Yes, I wish for long, beautiful hair and thin arms. I will probably continue to struggle with my appearance. I will always fight the little voice that whispers, “You’re single because you’re not pretty.” It’s hard, it really is, in an appearance-driven world.

But I don’t want my appearance to define me, and I certainly don’t want to fix it just to catch a man. Those things don’t really matter.  I want to learn to like who I am on the outside, but I would much rather improve who I am on the inside.

A quiet and gentle spirit. It just sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?

If you dislike what you see in the mirror, don’t let it get you down. Move away from the mirror and open your Bible instead. Let God tell you who you are. He can shape you into the woman you’re meant to be. Good character, kindness, compassion, a loving heart- those things will never go out of style. They don’t need cover-up or concealer. In fact, they get better with age.

And the right guy will be attracted to those qualities, too.

This week I’m thankful l external beauty isn’t the only way to define ourselves. God offers us something so much better.  Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

Firm Foundations

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. -Psalm 62: 5-8

Foundation: an underlying base or support, a body or ground upon which something is built up or overlaid

I stood five stories up, looking over Loch Ness. The castle sprawled around me in ruins, except for the tower I was in. Despite bombings and other destruction, the foundations remained, dramatically etching the outline of a castle that had once been the largest in Scotland.

The foundations remained.

On that same trip, my sister and I decided to kill an hour visiting Armadale Castle while we waited to the ferry to take us across to mainland Scotland. Left largely to its own devices, Armadale had become derelict, little more than a hollowed-out shell.

But the foundations remained.

Eight years later I was in England. This time I find myself on a vast mound, constructed by the Romans as a defense. William the Conqueror later claimed the mound and built an entire city up there. Again, everything was in ruins, but the foundations could still be clearly seen.

The foundations remained.

The ruins of Rosslyn Castle, outside Edinburgh

I’ve seen this truth repeated throughout my trips to England and Scotland. Castles, houses, and religious buildings have been brought low by wind, rain, fire, and wars. They lie crumbled, abandoned, and ignored.

However, their foundations remain stand strong and will continue to do so long into the future.

Armadale Castle on the Isle of Skye

Christ the Sure Foundation

It’s impossible to build an effective building without a strong foundation. It was true hundreds of years ago and it’s still true today. Modern technology and engineering haven’t changed that fact. Buildings cannot stand without the right foundation.

Neither can we.

Our modern thinking tells us, especially as women, that we need to be our own strong foundation. We’re encouraged to be physically and mentally tough. This mindset says we don’t really need anyone else. If we struggle, then we just need to be stronger.

On the other hand, sadly, Christian thinking often tells us women we need a man. He is the basis of our happiness, with marriage as the main goal of our lives.

When Christian women embrace these mentalities we’re just deceiving ourselves. We’re trying to build our lives on the wrong foundations.

 We aren’t strong enough. We aren’t brave enough, good enough, or tough enough.

On our own we are never enough.

We need Jesus, not a man.

Failure to build our lives on the right foundation- a personal faith in Jesus Christ- means we will crumble every time.  

Isaiah 28:16 says, “See, I (God) lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will never be shaken.”

This promise is repeated again in I Peter 2:6- “See, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame.”

If we go back one verse in Isaiah it tells us that the people made lies a refuge and falsehood their hiding place (28:15). God was going to wash all that away and prove to them that the only sure foundation, the only One who could always be counted on, was Jesus Christ.

Single, married, young, old, optimistic or scared of the future, whatever your story is- I hope this is an encouragement to you in the middle of these turbulent times. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He is our sure foundation.

When we build our lives on Him, we won’t be shaken.

All that’s left of this cathedral in Old Sarum is the foundations! Our foundation- Jesus Christ- will remain long after we’re gone.

This world has nothing for me
This life is not my own
I know You go before me and I am not alone
This mountain rises higher
The way seems so unclear
But I know that You go with me so I will never fear
I will trust in You

Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
No, we won’t be shaken
No, we won’t be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
That we won’t be shaken
No, we won’t be shaken

You know my every longing
You’ve heard my every prayer
You’ve held me in my weakness ’cause You are always there
So I’ll stand in full surrender
It’s Your way and not my own
My mind is set on nothing less
Than You and You alone
I will not be moved

“We Won’t be Shaken”

-Building 429

This week, I’m thankful for a faithful God who never changes. He will see us through every storm. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

Women of the Word(s)

I leaned forward, eager to add my two cents to the conversation.

“Oh, I know, right? It’s been so much better since she left. Not to be mean or anything, but she just didn’t belong here.”

I wasn’t really gossiping, was I? I said “not to be mean,” so that made it ok. Right?

Or… what about this one?

“It’s just so hard. I’m not trying to complain or anything. I’m just saying.”

And this one:

“He doesn’t have a clue, does he? Bless his heart.”

Each of these scenarios depicts women trying to justify their complaints or criticisms. These are common, common occurrences, even in Christian circles. Women are really good at softening their speech with little phrases like “I’m just kidding.” That takes the sting away, at least in our own minds.

Yeah, I’m not usually kidding.

I’m not “just saying.” I’m complaining.

And I really am trying to be mean.

What about you?

Women of Many Words

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

The Bible has a lot to say about our words, usually in connection with wisdom or foolishness. It even goes so far as to say that death and life are in the power of the tongue. That’s a strong statement.

I will be the first one to admit that I often let my mouth run freely. In my head I might even be thinking, “Why am I talking? Just be quiet.” But the words keep coming out. Complaining, sarcastic, hurtful, not helpful in the least. Luke 6 tells us that our mouths speak what is in our hearts. Many times, my words reflect a heart that’s jealous, bitter, and resentful.

Our words are a big deal. Let’s look at what the Bible teacher us about women who speak foolishly:

  1. The mouths of fools spout folly (Proverbs 15:1)
  2. The one who opens wide her mouth comes to ruin (Proverbs 13:3)
  3. A fool’s lips bring strife (Proverbs 18:6)
  4. A godless person destroys his neighbor with his mouth (Proverbs 11:9)
  5. Their tongues are as poisonous as vipers (Psalm 140:3)

These are sobering thoughts. When I read them it makes me realize how seriously God views our speech. And these are just a few verses among many. The Bible is full of warnings regarding the careless use of words.

How freely do you fling words around and what do they say about your heart?

A Wise Woman of Words

In contrast, a wise woman…

  1. Restrains her lips and is considered wise (Proverbs 10:19).
  2. Guards her mouth and preserves her life (Proverbs 13:3)
  3. Is delivered by her mouth (Proverbs 12:6)
  4. Has a mouth that is choice silver and a fountain of righteousness (Proverbs 10:11, 20)
  5. Knows when to stay silent (Proverbs 11:12)

That one sounds a lot better. But it’s also a lot harder to carry out. One of the major reasons our words flow so freely is because it’s easy to talk. So many of us blurt out anything and everything that comes into our heads. Some women even pride themselves in it. “I speak my mind, and if you don’t like what I have to say, well that’s too bad.” “I say it like it is.”

While they may sound good on the surface, statements like those are really the opposite of godly speech. Again, women who say these things are simply excusing the unkind or abundant flow of words coming out of their mouths.

Even better, you might try staying silent. The Bible says that a wise woman uses words that are kind, compassionate, and even beautiful. But she also knows when to keep her thoughts to herself.

He who restrains his lips is wise, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.  Proverbs 17:27

Last week I wrote about women who feel pushed into dating. What’s the major reason for this? People talk. People use their words to make single women feel, quite frankly, like losers. They probably don’t intend to do it, but their free-flowing words typically communicate that thought- You’re nothing without a man.

Most of the time being single doesn’t bother me until someone says something about it. Suddenly I start to question my life, my purpose, and even my femininity. A lot of the single women I talk with say the same thing. We don’t necessarily feel bad about our single lives until other people make us feel bad.

Our words are so important. Do yours bring life or death to others?

I’m trying to memorize verses about my speech and I’m working on being more careful with what I say. It’s not easy, but with God’s help, I pray that I will become a woman of wise words.

This week I’m thankful for the blessing of godly women who use their words to build others up. They are truly sent from God. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing! 

Paddle Boarding and the Single Life: Keep your Head up

The world looked different from this vantage point. It felt different, too- changing, shifting, and unsubstantial.  I’d never stood directly on top of the water before, but that’s exactly what I was doing- slowly floating across Lake Erie on a paddleboard.

Clinging by my toes, doing my dead level best not to fall in.

They say there are lampreys in the lake, after all.

Paddle boarding looks deceptively easy. But as someone who doesn’t have great balance, it’s not as easy as it looks. Before attempting it for the first time, I watched videos on youtube to try and get the idea. Watching strong, fit people easily pop up on their boards made me feel ready to try it myself.

If the skinny girl in a bikini could do it, how hard could it be?

Watching and doing are two different things, however, and I was disappointed to find that I didn’t just pop up in a casual and athletic manner. I got up, sort of, but it looked more like a crazy Quasimodo crouch for a while. And then I fell in. And fell in again.

It wasn’t really my fault. The lake was too…ripply.

I did get better, finally, and have gone paddle boarding multiple times now. It’s become one of my favorite summer activities. I got to the point where I could relax and reflect while on the board. It became a great place to think.

One day when I was out there it hit me that there were a lot of great lessons that could be learned from paddle boarding. In honor or the end of summer, I invite you onto the paddleboard with me.

Paddle boarding and the single life

I don’t think it’s a stretch to compare the single life to being on a paddle board. When you’re single, life can feel precarious, slippery, and uncertain. You’re out there alone, with only yourself to count on. If you look around too much you’ll probably slip and fall. And there may not be lampreys circling around you, but it can certainly feel that way at times.

When you paddleboard you do better if you keep your eyes on the horizon- look up and keep your eyes on what’s ahead of you. That’s what helps maintain balance. If you start to look down at your feet or focus on the waves, you’ll fall in.

If you start to look around you in fear, you’ll fall every time.   

It reminds me of the story of Peter when he wanted to walk on the water out to Jesus. 

He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:29-31)

Peter felt confident enough to come out to Jesus. And as long as Peter kept his eyes on Him he did fine. He was able to miraculously walk on the water. But when he started to look around him and let fear cloud his thinking, he started to sink.

He fell when he began to rely on his own strength.

He fell when he started to give in to fear.

Just before Peter stepped out of the boat Jesus was already reassuring the disciples, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Peter didn’t have to be afraid. He just needed to keep his eyes on Jesus.

I have the same choice in life: I can look down at the waves around me, lose my focus, become afraid, and fall.  Or I can look ahead and keep my eyes on God.

Being single is scary at times. Stepping out and doing life alone can be tough. There are nights when I lie awake and worry. And worry. And worry.

If I let it, fear takes over and becomes all consuming.

It will make me fall every time. If I’m not careful, I’m swimming in dark, dirty water waiting for the lampreys to come bite me.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

There are times when I feel like I’m drowning. I’ve fallen in and the water’s threatening to close over my head. I have to stop, breathe, and make a different choice. One that’s far, far better.

I can take Jesus at His word- “Take heart. It is I. Do not be afraid.” In the moments when I find myself in the water, I have to pull my eyes off the winds and waves and fix them straight ahead.

I can get back on the board and try again.

That’s really all we can do. We may not be able to control our circumstances, but we can trust God to bring us through them. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lift our heads up.

In those times when singleness feels hard, take your eyes off yourself and put them on the One who orchestrates your life. Keep your head up.

This week I’m thankful for the blessing of summer adventures that can point us to God. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!