topics:
Singleness

"One" On Brick (Washington, DC)

I’ve drummed my fingers on the laptop keyboard like two racing horses.

I’ve stood up and made a lap around the kitchen table a few times, thinking about and rewriting sentences in my mind.

I’ve leaned over the computer and said, “Well. Why don’t you tell me what to write?”

I ate a brownie.

All personal coping techniques I use when trying to write something deeply important.

Today, there’s a desire to tred lightly, but speak bravely.

There’s a call for honesty packaged in tenderness.

There’s fear inside worry inside self-protection. [Like a turducken, just less delicious.]

But there’s a need. And there is hope. And there is joy.

So even though I’m a little scared wrapped in worried covered in a desire to protect my emotions, here we go.

. . . . .

Hi. I’m Annie. I’m 31 and I’m still unmarried.

Single.

Uno.

I know some of you out there are the same. I know it because we at (in)courage read your emails, your posts on facebook, your blog-froggy-ness. [That is not a word.]

Being single, whether never married or single again, can be a challenge, a blessing, a curse, a joy, a disappointment. How many emotions can us single gals cover in one day? A gazillion. [That’s an appropriate use of the word there, isn’t it? ]

As we hope you know, (in)courage exists to be a beach home for the heart of every woman, married or single. So we need to take just a little time and gather all the single girls on the screened-in porch, sit cross-legged, and watch the sunset together. Once it is dark and we’re all still sitting there, we’ll get honest and talk towards the ocean, but let each other hear the words being spoken.

It doesn’t matter your age. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do. You are welcome here.

As we twirl towards 2012, you single girls are on the heart of the (in)courage women. To say “we know how it feels” is mostly true. I mean, every (in)courage writer was single for some portion of their life. But for me personally, I definitely know how it feels. Because hello, I am still single.

I want you to know that I’m the first one sitting on that porch. I’m ready to listen, to cry with you, to laugh after the bad dates and to rejoice in answered prayers. I’m not here to teach – I certainly don’t have all the answers. Truth be told, I’m know at some point I’ll be the one spilling my guts through the tears and you’ll be the ones listening in the cool dark of a beachy summer night. And you’ll have all the answers. [I hope.]

But for now, let’s just get together and chat. You’re turn to talk… er… comment.

First of all, are you single gals out there?

How can we support you?

What do you want to talk about?

What questions would you like answered?

What do you need from the (in)courage sisters?

What do we need to talk about to make this a life-giving community for you?

Are you going to be cold out here on the porch? [Nah… we’ll have blankets and coffee and all be squeezed close on those wicker sofas. You’ll be fine. :)]

I’m looking forward to what becomes of the conversation we’re starting today. Thanks for being a part of it.

(Also, by the way-  in January, we’re going to be listing some new things we’re going to do as single girls in 2012. So get your list ready and we’ll all link up next month. More details coming soon….)

By Annie Downs // AnnieBlogs

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  • http://everlypleasant.blogspot.com Everly

    I’m single. :)

    I struggle with the differing opinions people share with me about getting married. Some people tell me that I am just “waiting on the right guy” and “waiting on God to bring him” while others tell me that waiting for perfection is a snare and I should keep my options open. It’s confusing. I think that God wants me to be a wife, but one option seems ridiculously placid while the other seems to be taking things too much into my own slippery hands. Is there such a thing as “The One”? Did those happily married couples ever doubt that they’d found “The One”? What is my part in all of this, God?

    I’m only 19, but I’ve been asking these questions a long time and, I think now, listening to too many voices at once.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Oh girl. I hear ya. I struggle with that too.

      Here’s a list of a few of my favorite books about dating/singleness.
      http://annieblogs.com/2010/09/27/when-i-talk-about-dating/

      I would also add How To Get A Date Worth Keeping. I’m reading it right now and loving it.

      We’ll definitely talk more about this stuff in the future. So don’t quit wrestling with it! God will help you (and us!) figure it out.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • http://lifeeversince.com Rach (DonutsMama)

        Can I add another book to your list? Choosing God’s Best. Changed my perspective when I was single.

        Everly–I constantly doubted that I’d find the one. But God didn’t. It was in His timing b/c mine would’ve been years earlier! As for there being a “one” I really think there are other people my husband and I could’ve married and probably would’ve been just as happy. But since we’re married to each other, then we have become “the one” for each other. Hope that makes sense!

    • mattie

      Emily – I certainly don’t have all the answers – but I can tell you that i didn’t think my husband was “the one” when I first met him. I actually thought he was a little odd and kept putting him off.

      God knew what was up, because my husband continued to work on getting to know me and 17 years later we can say we are celebrating a 15th wedding anniversary.

      Although I didn’t have any magical movie moment where I swooned, etc… I did eventually know that this was the man for me. There was a connection that felt right.

      Have I ever doubted that I found, “the One” – YEP! Mainly it occurs when we are in a rough patch in our marriage – then I try to remind myself to pay attention to God, not the devil.

      I will keep you in my prayers.

      I hope God helps you see the answers to your questions.

  • Katherine

    I’m 40 and I am single. And {in}courage has already been such a blessing in my life!
    Look forward to seeing what’s in the works here! :~)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thanks, Katherine. So good to hear from you.

  • http://michellerenich.com Michelle

    I’m single, just turned 30, and I’m asking the question…how do I start really living my life, since I thought from the time that I was a little girl that I would marry young, birth children and adopt some more…I thought that I would have a family of at least four by now, and every dream for my life I’ve had has always involved having a man by my side and children circling around me. Someone just gave me a book about dreaming, and I waver back and forth with “waiting on God to fulfill promises” and pursuing who he has created me to be. It’s really hard for me to think about trying to actually pursue those dreams on my own. I’ve spent the last 10 years feeling like I’m behind everyone else, that my life isn’t really going to start until I’ve got that piece of the puzzle (a husband) into place. I still believe I’ll be married someday, but how do I live without feeling as if I’m waiting around for it? Do I let go of those intimate desires? I don’t want live hopeless, but don’t want to live the way I’ve been living either. Do I pursue dreams, or “live life and bloom where I’m planted”? What do I do with all those motherhood and career dreams of teaming up with a husband/ministry partner (I currently work as a chaplain in a juvenile detention center)?
    What do I do with all the things I’m good at that I would love to do “if I had my own home”?

    • http://craftygodchick.blogspot.com Larissa

      I know exactly where you’re at!!

      • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

        Me too. Good questions to ask.

        • http://authenticfaith.tumblr.com/ Anna Marie

          Me three, ladies. I say, go for it. Perhaps work on some easy home projects that bring you joy NOW? Consider adoption through Compassion or other charities – there are many little ones needing your mama love! Or work towards becoming someone whose accomplishments your partner will one day be in awe of, rather than waiting to become that person when he comes along…just a thought :)

          • Jemma

            Me Four, every time I try to work at living my life and not waiting around to get married I end up going overseas on holiday but its so hard and lonely to holiday on your own and I feel like I miss out not having someone to share it with. My sister and her husband have talked about going in with me to buy a house together and I live in a studio attached but they are worried I will meet someone and want my money, I’ve thought that would happen for the last 5 years though. Its soooo hard to plan for the future when there is one big puzzle piece missing.
            At 28 the more time goes by I feel like I become more set in my ways, more and more independent (by force) and will find it harder to be in a relationship.
            When you work so hard at enjoying being single sometimes it feels forced because its really just because you don’t have what you want. Everyone pities you too because they know you want what they have and you don’t. That just makes it harder. Praying for you all, that one day God will write the love stories that we dream of.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      You are so honest with your questions. Thank you.

      I know how you feel. As in, it looks like you copied some questions out of my journal. :)

      My honest answer to all of these? I don’t totally know yet. But I have some ideas. So stick around- we’ll definitely keep talking about this.

      • Janet

        I know exactly those questions and feeling! I am 37 and very very single, so single, I have never been on a date. Not for lack of desire. I had a heart to heart with God around my 32nd birthday and knew after several years of just working and living, I was not happy waiting for a husband to come along, so I told God (scary but right step for me) that I would say yes to what he was doing, step out, and follow wherever he lead. That lead me into doing mission work, and now living abroad. I still, every single day face the frustration of doing this “alone” without a husband and sometimes don’t know what to do with it. On one hand, the way for me may be easier, because I am just one person, I don’t affect another life with my decisions the way a couple or family is impacted. On the other hand, I have no one who I can talk to intimately in a country where English is not spoken readily, and for me to suddenly feel as if I have no voice, that is very hard.
        I have always wanted to be a mom, always, but found out that on top of not having a husband, even when/if I do get married, I will never be able to have my own children. I have always also wanted to adopt so I have no problem at all with that, love it in fact, but there is a difference between having the option to adopt and still have biological children, and being told you don’t have a choice. The cool thing for me is now even as a single lady on the mission field, I have “children” all over the world, they may not be “mine” but God gave them to me, and I have hundreds, each one that I have been able to speak into the lives of, give wisdom, a bit of advice, a shoulder to cry on, a step forward in belief that they have worth, and a hand to steady them when they are unsure. And my life is the richer for it.
        But I still have the times where I can do nothing but cry because I am so tired of walking/fighting/standing alone.

        • Jemma

          I so know about the walking fight standing alone thing!!! When the care breaks down or you are at the end of your rope and theres nothing left, it would be nice to have someone to pick you up.

        • Stacey

          Wow – this could have been me writing – only I’m over 40.

    • http://edhyndman.com Elizabeth

      I have all these questions, too!

      • Emily

        Me too!

    • Sharon

      I know where you are at. All my life I dreamed of motherhood and family. I’m now 51, facing a 2nd divorce of not my choosing. My first marriage was putting him through school so couldn’t have children with that happening…pursued his dream, when that was over he decided to keep pursuing his dream, without me. My child bearing years over. Married again what I thought was the love of my life. He has now decided he wants a different life.

      I don’t know what to make of this except to encourage you to not wait for someone else to fulfill the role that only God can fill. Ask those tough questions. Seek Him, lean into God. What purpose did God make YOU!! What does He want for YOU! It’s about you and God and where that takes you, you won’t know until you walk.

      I speak out of my own struggle with this but also out of the losses but learning to give thanks through these blogs and book readings has changed my life. It’s as we lean into God that He reveals Himself to us. Developing the friendships that are really right in front of me and being thankful and seeing what opportunities God brings my way. I’ve even (admittingly half heartly) prayed if I should adopt or foster. But I have health issues and wonder with my upcoming financial limitations what I could do, what I would be allowed to do. But I do know God’s plan for my life is what God chooses to do with me, His great love never ceases.

      Before I couldn’t agree with people when they said “God is good”, but now I can! I can rejoice that He is always good, no matter the poorness or lack I may “feel”. I am not going to allow the enemy to steal that any longer. God is good!

      • Sharon

        Well that posted in the wrong spot, trying to reply under “Michelle”

      • http://incourage Sandra

        Sharon,
        I see your point and feel God is going to teach me something in this stage of life. Being 61 and single again (not by choice) it is so different. I dreamed of growing old with my husband. I do have three grown children but at last their lives are full and I have spent most of the last four an half years alone. I am thankful my oldest daughter has time for me.

        I long to get out and have new friends, but I feel like a fish out of water. I do volunteer work and have a home Church (it’s big). It seems as if I put one foot forward and two back. Just as you have done I tell satan he is not going to win.

        I trust in the Lord and have been put to the test this year. Losing everything from my home (at the end of Jan) and income and now my health; fell and now my neck has two fraction’s. I have a brace on for now; surgery may be in the future won’t know until all my test come in on the fifth of Jan.

        Keeping the faith, but without friends that live close by. Any ideals from you lady’s for us older gals.

    • http://weavingasimplelife.blogspot.com Elaina

      I’m so there too.

    • http://bahava.wordpress.com katy

      i hear you and echo many of the same thoughts and questions..

    • http://www.seastararts.com Jeni

      Im in the same place only ten years ahead. Dreaming ahead is hard ad accepting my single, childless place in this world is even harder. I have a successful career and my own home…just praying for the one to share it with. xo

    • Ashley

      Thank you for writing this. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I am almost 27 and have always desired to be married to a good man and have children. I long to come alongside a man and support him, encourage and cheer him on, be on mission with him, etc. This is my dream, my passion. It’s so hard to act like those desires don’t exist…because I can’t do anything with them right now.

    • http://www.jenniferdeitz.com Jenny D

      Hey Michelle – I’m right there with ya! I’m single and also just turned 30 (literally within the last month!). Also, most of my friends are married with children. I do have one single girlfriend who is a few years older than me and I see that, in some areas of her life, become rigid and almost stuck in her ways. I’m scared that as I get older I will also become that way and I do not want that! (God is already working with me about my stubbornness – I certainly don’t want to go backward! lol)

      I know that God has my best interest at heart and He has a plan (He feels the same way about you too!) – I am learning that I need to cling to Him instead of the promise of the plan.

    • Hilde

      Dear Michelle,

      when I read your story, it was like I heard myself talking 10 years ago. I can relate to your honest questions. I was a little younger, but also wrestling with my own expectations and dreams versus the plain reality. I was afraid to move on and make decisions a that would involve commitment. I didn’t want to buy a house or commit to a ministry in our church, because I wanted to be ready for my husband-to-be. At some point I decided I had to change this, because I wasn’t really going for anything in my life. I bought an appartment and really got involved in the neighborhood church. It felt good to have direction again. Sometimes I’d think I’d be more valuable when I’d have a hubby by my side. One day I felt as if God said to me: “I made your situation this way for now and I can use you in the situation you are in.” It was very healing to me!
      And now that I’m married and look back at that time, I realize it certainly is a blessing to share my life with my husband. But I now see more how valuable the time being single was. I had lots of time for other people, their children and ministry in general.
      I’m hoping you’ll find peace in whatever position you’re in!

    • Elisabeth Allen

      What Michelle says …

  • Katherine

    (continuing my earlier post)
    My fiance died over 6 years ago and there I was with this empty slate… and here I am wondering what does God want me to do with the rest of my life? How does one go on “alone” after knowing that type of close companionship? (like my case or those who divorce or are widowed).
    I’m really close with my parents, but they are getting older and I wish (if it’s God’s plan) that my kids could know them… (but to have kids you must be–married).
    I so agree with what Michelle says here… “what do I do with all the things I’m good at that I would love to do ‘if I had my own home’?” I’d love to cater family gatherings, etc. And I too feel like life is on hold.
    Here’s a story for you… I have a set of China (my namesake, my mothers aunt willed them to me). I took them to decorate a table for a ladies tea at church one Christmas and as I was visiting before cleaning up my table the ladies began to “help” by cleaning up my things, asking me who they go to… when I said they were mine, they didn’t even believe me. Like a single woman shouldn’t have her own china just cause she didn’t have a big “wedding” shower.
    I also find that the longer one is single the harder the struggle for purity… I mean if you’re married right out of high school or at least in your 20’s the struggles are there but they don’t last forever….by the time you’re in your 40’s and still waiting and dating and wondering and having those desires…it’s doable but tough.
    The longer one is single the more friends you have tend to get into the “married relm.” They visit and do things with you less often, almost like you, as a single are a threat, or that you no longer have things in common because their world is centered around husbands and children.
    There is so much we singles go through, face, and deal with. But the biggest is the word “alone.” ” That’s right, I forgot, you are me, myself, and I” was the responce I got when asked if I wanted 2 tickets to an event.
    I know God is with us and it’s in God’s hands, but…it’s tough. The questions, struggles… the thoughts… the maybe’s, what if’s….
    maybe I’m just not supposed to be married and I’m just wasting my time wondering about something that isn’t in God’s plan for my life. But then, like Job, maybe God has a greater plan and will bless me with greater than what I lost (????)

    • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

      I have never stopped living, even with the often difficult desires. I keep developing myself, growth is important to me. I am quite invested in that area. I seek authenticity, am always in search of my (God given) talents, learn in and from true friendships and so forth. I keep doing things I love like traveling, discovering new places, going out on walks, seeking adventure and all that. Of course there are lots of things I’d rather do with my spouse but he just isn’t here yet and I do have a life. One of the things I did this year was buy a house. It was a big step that also hurt a little. I never pictured me buying a house alone. But again, life is here and now. I act on what I know now. I know it’s hard, trust me, but I do encourage all of us to keep living live, grow and keep poring our heart’s desire before God’s throne.

      • http://authenticfaith.tumblr.com/ Anna Marie

        I Love it. I am looking for a house now, too. And yup, it hurts. BUT I am also excited. For the last 7 years, I’ve lived as a missionary in community alongside my parents and siblings, but now I feel God is calling me to grow. To get ready to place some roots down somewhere. I’m still praying it all through but one of my dreams for 2012 is to find a ‘home’.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yes. I hear you. And I’m so sorry for your loss.

      Great questions. And so much truth in your comment. Thank you.

    • http://www.getbusyliving.org Jess

      I hear you, sister! I’m 30 and my husband died 2 years ago, after 8 months of marriage. I have the “so this is my life” feelings right now – because I really really really thought that by now, by year 2 – I’d have someone else. Everyone I knew who was a young widow (all 3 of them!) had found their “second love” by this time in their journey, so of course I thought I’d find the same. Some days, I’m perfectly content and even, dare I say, happy to be on my own. Some days, I’m a freakin mess about it. It’s good to know there are “others” out there!

      • Katherine

        Hi Jess…it’s great to know we share this journey. My days are much like yours… content and at times such a mess! God bless you, sister!

  • ellen mcneill

    I am almost 21 years old and I am single. I have never dated (no, not one single time) and I am struggling with understanding what I can/should do in relationship with men I esteem. I don’t know how to seem “available” without overtly flirting (which I want to avoid entirely), or to appear interested without going after any particular man. I want to be pursued and not pursue, but I don’t know how much of a role I need to be playing in any sort of opposite sex friendship. I dearly desire a husband and family, though I trust that God will either fulfill that desire or present a greater one to capture my heart.

    • http://craftygodchick.blogspot.com Larissa

      In reading your struggles, I immediately felt like I was reading the story of my life … Well, not exactly, but pretty close!!
      My last proper relationship (after which I fell heavily into the go-out-on-the-town-get-drunk-have-a-one-night-stand world my then-friends were involved in) was ten years ago … the day of the 9/11 attacks. Now, he wasn’t killed or involved in anything connected to the events the world remember that day (in fact he’s just had his 2nd wedding, and has 3 kids with his 1st wife), but simply the fact that he ended our relationship on THAT day (seemingly out-of-the-blue to me) … I know he didn’t know I’d then be reminded every year that followed that I’d been alone *that* many years … He also didn’t know I’d be single so long afterwards… But that’s my life.

      He was the one I envisioned I was going to marry (we even talked about it, down to the colours and the like, though I’d insisted he put his money into his debts first before officially asking me as I knew he wanted to do it ‘properly’ … Which in his mind meant fancy and expensive).

      I let my dreams mix with the ‘fact’ that we were going to be together forever, left behind my friends as we spent more time with his, and generally got myself into such a state that I didnt know what to do and couldn’t comprehend a future without him in it, when he ended it ‘before he no longer lived me’ (?!)

      Anyway, long story short, the thoughts you’ve ‘spoken’ of are ones close to my heart too. I am now on a place where I am grateful we didn’t get married (he wasn’t a Christian, and through our relationship I drifted away from Gid heaps) and I know we weren’t meant to be together forever, but it does hurt seeing all my friends lives moving on and feeling like mine isn’t … Why not me? Where’s my knight in slightly-skuffed attire? I know the peace companionship avails … where is mine?! Lol!

      • http://craftygodchick.blogspot.com Larissa

        Sorry, this was in response to Katherine … ;)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      That last sentence? Whoa.

      Great thoughts. Great struggles. Hang in there, Ellen.

      I’m reading How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Dr. Henry Cloud. Might be something you’d want to check out?

    • Kayla

      I literally know exactly how you feel! I’m 23, and just had my first date ever this year. It was with a guy I’ve known pretty much all my life. His mom is basically my adopted mom, so even though I’m not necessarily attracted to him, I said yes because we’re friends and I love him as a friend… and I thought I should get into the dating world. I thought the date went well. We were ridiculously honest, had some laughs, and he wouldn’t let me pay for anything, but I tried to still keep things in the realm of friends so I wouldn’t lead him on. After our date, he didn’t text or call or anything, which got me wondering what I’d done wrong, if maybe I’d been too honest, or pushed him away. I told my one Aunt about it and she said with her and my Uncle, she hadn’t wanted to date him at all, just wanted to be friends, but he was persistent and kept coming around, being her friend but waiting for more. That made me wonder if I’m not important enough, special enough, beautiful enough for a guy to actually pursue me even just as a friend to see where things go. I don’t want to be the only one putting the effort into any relationship, but especially with a guy I’m interested in.
      I grew up in a small town (with few dating options), and my brother basically raised me after my mom died, so I treat guys like I would treat my brother. I can laugh and joke and tease, but flirting just doesn’t seem to be a talent of mine. Or guys construe what I consider being friendly as flirting. I would love to have someone special in my life, to talk to openly, curl up and watch a movie with, take me to dinner, but that doesn’t seem to be where I am in my life. Even though I’m trying to accept that and be happy in my singleness, everyone’s constant questions about if I’m dating, or why I don’t have a boyfriend tend to sting and make me think less of myself. Trying to balance desire with contentment, and hope with some difficult current realities is not at all easy, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one dealing with it!
      Love to all you single gals (and the married ones supporting us). :D <3

    • http://candicejenee.blogspot.com Candice Jenee’

      Ellen, I am right there with you. As we approach 2012, I find myself inching closer and closer to my 24th Birthday having never having had a boyfriend, not even ever having a date. I ask the same questions you do about what to do in a relationship, how much to pursue or to stay back.

      For me, it gets lonely. I grew up in the midwest and most people I knew were ready to be married right after high school, and if not then, sometime during college. I chose a different rout in life, and while I believe I am on GOD’s path for me, I get very lonely and have a deep, deep desire that burns in me to share my life with someone else.

      Your post gave me encouragement, because I felt like I was all alone in being a chronic single.

      I will add you to my prayer list. I pray that GOD would bring the right man to you at the right time, and that as you wait you would lean on Him. (It’s the same thing I pray for myself).

      Blessings.

    • Jessica

      Ellen. Holla. I feel you. I am 19, undated, and unkissed. I want to be pursued, but I have no idea how to communicate that to a guy I’m interested in.

    • http://www.elephantgrace.com Emily

      Ellen, I’m right there with you. I’m 24 and recently lost a friendship that I thought was ‘my one.’ We never dated, always insisted we were just friends, but it just felt so comfortable. He’d refer to us as “we” in conversations with others, and apart from physical closeness, in my mind it really was like we were a couple. We’d been close for 10 years and he’d even had me come look at houses to give him my opinion. I guess I was blind, because he only ever wanted my ‘friend’ opinion and after a tough conversation we both went our separate ways. Thus, I’ve never truly dated and have the same struggles you do. Hang in there and know you are not alone – despite what the world would have you to believe. Single women are living full lives without being stereotypical spinsters.

    • Janet

      I understand so much dear, I am 37 have an almost identical story, and feel the same way!! I still have no answers but I will keep walking and trusting that God has got me.

    • Shelly

      There with you. I’m 26, unkissed, never been on a real date, and boy, it gets more difficult each year to deal with that loneliness. I’m also currently unemployed due to budget cuts, and trying to balance finding a job with that desire to find the man God intends for me. Where I currently am, those prospects are nonexistent, but I also do not know what I want or where God wants me. Do you have a group of friends in similar situations that you can rally with? All my friends are gone from New York State and are married or will be, and there are no others here. That would possibly help you a lot, just to be around friends (and family, of course, but I also realize that you probably don’t want to depend solely on your family for your companionship, like I currently am).

      We’ll walk through this together, even though we are very far apart. You have a group of sisters here who feel the same pain and will help you however we can.

  • http://craftygodchick.blogspot.com Larissa

    I hear your struggles Everly, and feel them myself … sometimes quite sharply!!! … I am an almost-30-year-old (mid year) never-married single mother of one (3yo … whose father has chosen not to be involved – I haven’t seen him since I told him I was pregnant at 11wks … after knowing each other for 10years!!). All my close friends (excepting my cousins) are married with children, and while I love them all to death, and my daughter loves playing with their kids, it is still hard when someone else falls pregnant again or gets married (one just a few months ago to her baby’s Daddy). In fact, I stayed away from church quite often last year (2010) as I couldn’t cope seeing all my girlfriends experiencing the things I so desperately desired … it didn’t help that most if them were on their second or third pregnancy (I desperately want to give my daughter a sibling … more than that, I want to find my husband – no more sex outside marriage!! – the one God has planned for me). This year has been easier and I’ve accepted my ‘lot’ a bit better, though it still pains me to see the new babies and happy couples at times … the cuddles from babies makes up for this a lot though, lol!

    This year has been difficult for me in a sense, as I’ve slowly developed feelings for another church goer who I’ve ‘known’ for over a decade, but never really known (brother of one of my classmates, whose the husband of one of my friends … his brother is the husband, not the guy I’m liking). It’s been hard as he’s a guy I never would have considered on my own … I have gotten a strong feeling these feelings have been guided by God, but at the same time I’m hesitant that it might not (despite many prayers to God that he take the feelings away if they are not directed or wanted by Him). It has also been difficult in that there are only 3 people I have shared these feelings with … And this was after a reprimand from God after I said “no” when they were trying to guess who i might like on a ladies retreat where the focus was on forgiveness (I had to apologize for my lie, explain what the lie was, and thus divulge that I was feeling strong feelings for this person … NOT an easy thing to do despite the fact I had been developing these feelings for a good 6months).

    I have not told this guy, nor do I intend to — I feel that I need to leave it in Gods hands and let Him and my future husband (whoever he shall be) make the first step. This has been the hardest part … THE WAITING!!! It is difficult when all around you are girlfriends who are both married and have more than one child …. both strong dreams of mine … both desires I know God knit within my soul!!!

    I’ll stop rambling, but say I’d like to hear more about how to get through the time of waiting without actually feeling like you’re waiting … If that’s possible … especially in the late evenings when all is quiet and it’s time to go to bed … I actually go to bed after midnight-1am more often than not, and I know this is often because that’s often when I feel the loneliness of being single the most acutely. I fill the time with a DVD or sewing/craft, but it’s still hard!

    **sorry so long, but I didn’t realize it was going to pour out of me as such!!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yes. The quiet is always hard.

      Thank you for your beautiful and honest thoughts. I’m NOT sorry it was a long comment, I read every word. Thank you for writing.

      • Angela

        The quiet is the hardest. When you are home alone and can’t seem to find anyone to do something with!
        Thank you for your words.

    • Glenda Smith

      I am soon to be 33 years old in the next couple of days. I am unmarried and single. I have friends that are men but have not dated anyone of them. I am a Registered Nurse. I see a lot of my friends get married and go through divorces and talk about problems they have with their husbands. I believe that God is working in my life and that He will lead me to the perfect man for me to marry. Until then I am quite happy being single.

    • Tania

      Larissa,

      I know what you’re going through. As a nearly-30, never-married mom of a 7yo, it can be really hard sometimes to watch others, friends usually, get married and start families. It feels like they’re all moving forward, and most of the time I feel like I’m running in place. Especially as my daughter gets older, it’s hard to feel like I’m not able to provide the family that she wants. Also, though, it’s scary to start dating, because it’s not just my heart on the line anymore…it’s hard enough breaking up with someone, but what if you let your child get attached to that person and suddenly they’re gone? I had pretty much reached the point where I was closed off to dating entirely. I literally told God that if He wanted me to get married then He would have to drop the man on my head, because I was not looking for him anymore. And you know what? He did. We’ve been dating for about 6 months, and I think we’ll probably get married. It’s hard to put faith in a person after taking care of everything by myself for so long, but I think that’s just another way God is growing me.

  • angeline AKA Angie

    hello sisters. I am 58 yrs old, and I got married at 39yrs to a lovely man who had been on a prayer list for 10 yrs!! He is 3yrs younger than me and had to move from Somerset in the south of England to the Midlands. This took time as he followed his career path. I didn’t move very far from my widowed mother and younger sister and my nursing career. I found a personal faith in Jesus when I was in my late 20’s after my sister returned home on leave from the Air-force. She had had an encounter with the Holy Spirit during a church service and she brought the Good News home. My emotional needs were written down on a prayer list and prayed over regularly, as I got on with my life. Having trust in Father Gods provision means we have to learn to practice faith and belief in Him.This is something I can share with you in hind sight, while I waited I experienced ALL the emotional longings you have shared. Don’t give up on Father Gods delight to give you your hearts desire.
    Proverbs 16 v 3, roll all your works (praying for a righteous man is a work) on to the Lord and He will cause your mind to become like His and this will bring success. WOW.
    I have never stopped thanking God for bringing a blessing into my life, but I had to chose to wait for His will to be performed. It could have been so different if I had married some of the men I dated ! God GREW ME over the 10 years I waited otherwise I may not have appreciated His gift to me. Twenty years later we are still good companions for each other. We have a lovely daughter, another gift before my 42nd birthday! Just as father God had promised albeit I was being investigated for the menopause!!
    Ladies let go and let God. Invest in yourselves as woman of God and He will provide for the things of your heart. Put your longings for personal love into the needs of others and out of that fullness you will find blessings. Believe the word of God, it has power within its pages that the world can’t fathom. Lift your eyes off yourselves and look UP, ask God for knowledge of His plans for you. Be blessed of God so you can be a blessing to others ,even your future husbands.
    love in Lord Jesus. Angeline.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I hope every single girl reads your comment. Thank you.

    • http://sundilou.wordpress.com/ Sundi

      I love stories like this!! What a great reminder of how faithful God is & how HIS timing is always better than ours. As a soon to be 30 yr old & still single gal I struggle with so many of these same things… I’m excited that there is a place like this where we can come. I’m excited at what God has in this.

      It’s funny, I was sharing with my sister (who is younger & married) just yesterday how this Christmas season was hard for me because it made me realize how alone I am. Don’t get me wrong, I am very blessed with great parents, sister & b-i-l, and friends.. But theres nothing quite like those little reminders of what you’re missing during this season. My prayer for this season where God is growing me is that I’ll see this season as a blessing & take advantage of every opportunity He sends my way. This doesn’t make the waiting any easier but at least it helps!

    • http://marjoriepoff.tumblr.com/ Marjorie Poff

      I am so glad that you shared that story! Being 35 and single….many times I feel like I’m in a foreign land (especially in Nashville). It is good to be reminded again that God’s timetable is different and BETTER than mine…that I don’t know what is happening behind the scenes and I don’t know the big picture.

    • http://stregerlady.blogspot.com Jennifer

      Excellent! Pray, trust God – and GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE!!

    • Debbie

      That was beautiful Angeline. I am 47 and have been dating a Godly man for the last 16 months. I have mixed feelings about marriage after being divorced for 22 years, it terrifies me to no end, but I long to unite as one with him. All the questions flood my mind and heart, but the greatest one is “what’s taking so long?”. But I need to be reminded that it is indeed in God’s hands and I need to wait on Him, for he knows the desires of my heart. I need to continue to be a faithful obedient servant, believing and trusting. I need to continue to lift up my lonley heart and let Him fill me with his love.
      Bless you and thank you for sharing.

    • http://incourage Sandra

      Angeline,
      Thanks for writing that last Paragraph. It really says it all! God Bless

  • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

    This is SO VERY COOL!!
    I did feel a little alone here. Much writing is about family life, kids and such. I thought I was out of place coming here. But now… now I feel… just great.

    I am a 38 year old single. Yes, you read that right, 38!!
    I have been trying to blog out singleness for the most part because I saw so many being desperate and I never wanted to turn into a desperate woman. So I thought by not giving it any attention I would avoid becoming that desperate woman. But… I too had to admit that God does not have singleness for me, He wants me to be together and slowly I started to open up and be honest about my God given desire. That is was God given I learned later on. And yes, slowly I became that desperate woman I so did not want to become. It’s hard… the balance between feeling my desire and not hurting too much for the desire going unanswered. Right now I am in a very hard season and my singleness has to do with it.

    I am taking steps though. I have read this awesome book: How to find a date worth keeping. Girls, go read it!! It totally changed my look on singleness and dating. I see that it’s God who will provide and at the same time I am learning there is lots I can do about my singleness. For instance, smile!! Just smile at a guy and I didn’t know what came over me, guys started asking me out. The book is a true confrontation with oneself. My church is full of singles, yet no one is dating and meeting. So we started to give a course around this book. There’s actually a waiting list for the course now… how crazy is that.

    On to your questions:
    How can we support you?
    Just let me know I am not alone. Let us talk together and let us sit on that porch quite frequently. I would also like to have a place I can turn to when it’s gets hard and I need a girl (married or not) to be comforted and encouraged by.

    What do you want to talk about?
    How hard it is, what we can do about it, what our responsibility is or isn’t in searching for a spouse, what can we do in the mean time to prepare for marriage (cause I think there is lots.)

    What do you need from the (in)courage sisters?
    Attention. I feel more married couples could keep an eye out for us and be sensitive to us in that it’s not easy being single, especially my age.

    Side note: If I can be of any help in this area I would be happy to. The subject has my heart.

    • Makeda

      Your answers to the questions were perfect. When I read the questions I couldn’t think how to even begin to put into words what my heart needed. Thank you for giving me those words. So Annie and all the ladies of the (in)courage leadership team, ditto what she said :)

      • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

        Yes and amen. I thought the same thing.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      For starters, I am reading that book RIGHT NOW TOO!! It’s good. So so good. Really, the best I’ve read I think.

      Thanks for your thoughts. And yes! You can totally be of help- here’s how: keep talking about this! At BlogFrog and on your blog and in comments. And there will be more ways in the future….. :)

    • http://www.crittyjoy.com Christy

      This. Yes. So much of this is my heart too. I am 33 and single and understand the desperateness and now He is teaching me slow is beautifully the best for my heart.

      For over a year I was the singles columnist for an online magazine and to be connected with other women like me…..turned out to be the biggest blessing of my single girl life so far. I miss those times but know there are girls out there like me….who struggle in the wait yet want to please our God…so wait is what we do because we love Him.

      And the answers to the questions Annie ask….I agree. Just knowing I am not alone and there is a place here for me…to be encouraged and to be reminded I am not alone.

    • http://incourage Sandra

      MCH,
      That goes for me also! Great answer’s…I think I shall read that book. God Bless

  • Lisa H

    I’m single again, have been the past 2 years now after 12 years with my husband/ex husband. i’ve been on 1 date in those 2 years and that was about a month ago. Very very strange to go on a date! It didn’t lead to a second date because in a matter of days I went from receiving 1 text a day to 3 calls a day and went from “Lisa” to “Dear”, and went from discussing the 2nd date to “I wish I were there with you” multiple times per phone call! Yep, I cut that string fast and didn’t look back!

    I need to hear about dating, whats the new way of doing things? Before this last date, it has been since 1998 that I’ve been on a date! UGGGHHHH. It doesn’t help I work in an office with married women, my church is big but the single population consists of high-school to college age. So no opportunities at either place to meet people.

    I’m okay with that right now but I I do not want to remain single. I have put it in God’s hands and have left it up to him to guide me, and the man he wants me to date, to a mutual location to eventually meet!

    Looking forward to 2012!

    • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

      Read “How to find a date worth keeping”!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yes- I highly recommend the book MCH mentioned.

      And just FYI, since 1998, online dating has become way cooler. So if you aren’t meeting dudes in your life, that is a great way to meet guys (that you’ve gotten to screen a bit). :)

      Looking forward to hearing more from you as we continue to grow this community.

      • http://edhyndman.com Elizabeth

        I am so excited about this. I am 26 and I’ve never not been single in my life.
        I love, love, love the sentence about talking towards the ocean. That’s how these conversations usually go, isn’t it?

        As far as the questions, I would like to hear a little about online dating, from a Christian perspective. A lot of people are encouraging me to go that route, and I’m not completely against it. But then I wonder, how does that fit in with God’s timing and trusting God? I’m not saying they’re opposed–I know God can use online dating. I would just like to see it talked about. And I’d love to hear more on this book you’re recommending to everyone. I’ll definitely read it!

        As far as community goes, I understand the desire to wrap up everything with a bow and a smile, but let’s acknowledge that sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s hilarious. And sometimes we cry about it. Let’s be real, here. I appreciate, more than anything, knowing that I’m not the only one who gets slightly depressed when yet another friend gets married (not that I’m not happy for THEM; I’m just sad for me, too).

        Thanks so much for talking about this. I’m looking forward to hearing more.

        • http://sundilou.wordpress.com/ Sundi

          I love the questions about online dating.. I too have mixed feelings about it. Not that I think if you’re on one you’re not trusting God.. I know several people who have met their mates through websites. I would love to hear more on this as well :)

        • http://sundilou.wordpress.com/ Sundi

          I love the questions about online dating.. I too have mixed feelings about it. Not that I think if you’re on one you’re not trusting God.. I know several people who have met their mates through websites. I would love to hear more on this as well!

        • Kathryn

          I’m 40, a divorced mother of a 6yr old and just starting to think about dating again. The on-line dating idea has been floating around my head/heart, but I’m scared. I don’t know how it all works, I don’t want to get hurt again, am still struggling with the thought of trusting anyone again (for myself and my son)…am really going to try to focus on myself this year, getting to know who I really am (how can I possibly hide from myself??? Not sure but I do it every day!), developing my relationship with Christ to a point of deeper trust, and then hopefully being able to trust the man I’m sure God is going to bring me…well, almost sure! Seeing all of these comments and how they are already answering questions I hadn’t thought how to form is a blessing. Thank you ladies! Here’s to a great year!

          • Daphne

            I’m single and have been struggling with God about it. It has been my greatest question in life why He has blessed me with so much in other areas in my life but has withheld His hands on this one thing i so much wanted to have. But i have been thankful that I saw this post in (in)courage, thank you so much for all your honest questions and very practical answers. I just want to say something about internet dating. i do know of other ladies who found their ONE through this way but not for me. Please be aware that there are scammers online and they use even the most trusted sites to find their victims. I have had my share of heartbreaks before and I was totally hesitant to try online dating. Sad to say i met this guy who totally blew my mind off, was so good to be true and after all that talks, i found out he wasn’t for real.that broke my heart. i felt so devastated, i went back to being angry with God although at the end i realized it was me giving all the efforts to find a man, it was all me and my means to start a relationship. i have recovered from that experience and praise God He is always faithful. I hope that all of us here who are waiting for this one love will continue to entrust all our hearts to our FIRST LOVE. there are so many things that doesn’t make sense for now, but i know we will have our answers ONLY in HIS time, through His terms and will. Thank you ladies!

  • http://authenticfaith.tumblr.com/ Anna Marie

    I am SO grateful for this posting Annie, and for the courageous single women who have already posted and shared their hearts in the comments. I HEAR you. I understand your stories and I want you to know that I am here for you!

    I, too, at 33, am single. Did i envision this life for myself? No.

    I had thought I would be a Carrie-Bradshaw-type journo, living as a Nigella-type domestic goddess with my perfect husband and 4.5 kids……[yup..it was a dream! ha] but then.

    But then God called me into full time ministry…toootally wrecked my world in the sweetest of ways and told me to lay down every Worldly dream I’d dreamt [Matt 6:33] , for something a whole lot simpler, a whole lot deeper and purer.

    But then – EVERYTHING changed….

    Fast forward 13 years and my heart, my desires, my life look nothing now as I’d thought they would as an innocent.

    I am a full time missionary, I don’t have that big group of girl-friends I’d always imagined I would [much less Carrie B’s treasured 4!], I am not in a position where it is even likely to ever meet a prospective husband [moving endlessly to rural areas in far flung nations under the prompting of the holy spirit will do that..lol] and so no, there is no pitter-patter of tiny feet, and in my anonymity, there is no acclaim to fame or recognition of my hard work by my peers.

    But here, my friends, is what there IS…

    a GREAT ADVENTURE to be had with the King of the Universe.
    A time to discover the things we otherwise may not have.

    Time to grapple with our faith, understand more about the dynamics of life and relationships – and time to be self-ish whilst simultaneously being self-less. Yes, I believe my friends, that this is very possible. I have heart pangs – consistently, sometimes, nightly. But they have now served to help me remember that I am HUMAN. That I am a woman, alive in this body, even in the waiting..and there is no shame in that. Sometimes guilt and pain, but that is NOT by the Father’s design. He doesn’t condemn, but gently encourages, whispers His love, asks us to believe that His plans are pure and wholesome and good. Easy? No.

    But all will be made well in time.

    For some this may mean marriage at a later age than we’d expected, for others, maybe not. But a life fulfilled is the promise if we give it all to Him. And right now, by His design, what else can we do, but give all?

    So whilst I empathize with where we all are on the journey, I want to gently remind us to acknowledge that it is just that – a journey. And we are not to be undone in the traveling, but to participate with God in the awe and wonder and expectation of – what next God? What next?

    Yes, I wish to have a partner by my side in this ministry calling – I believe He knows that and that its a part of His plan for me. But until ‘he’ arrives, I MUST live on, being found to be about my Father’s business of building the Kingdom and bringing the balm of Christ to hurting souls.

    I never let go of the dream that one day, there will be a wedding. I anticipate it – I have HOPE. And hope never fails [Jer 17: 7-8].

    And so this past June, when I turned 33, I chose to name the year my ‘Jesus year’. I vowed to make it a year where in my reach I would work harder than before to emulate Christ’s ministry in every area of my life. There is no time or space here to discuss the FRUIT of this [wise-beyond-me-decision] that came to my life, suffice to say, it was God. At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I also took my motherhood dreams of having twins [long story – my birth month is June – please don’t attack me!] and when an opportunity arose out of the blue, I adopted Stephen and Shadrach, little twin boys in Nairobi, Kenya.

    In short, all of this to say – move forward in your life. In your plans, with HIM by your side. LIVE now – do not wait for then. And in the meantime…in the meantime, can we ladies offer each other some more of that intimacy we so crave? The stroking of the hair, holding of the hands and comforting hugs of times of old, that used to help soothe the pain?? Can we be each others lovers, as Christ commanded? [Matt 22: 39] and more importantly, allow Him to love on us and heal all the places where we hurt?

    Because He is always, always enough. Even when we want to dig our heels in and say He is not. The truth is, not just for now, but for eternity, for you and I.

    He IS.

    Annie, my sister, I look forward to your plans for us this new year!
    Living Single alongside you,
    Anna Marie

    • http://lynnpottenger.blogspot.com Lynn

      Anna Marie – Thank you for putting this into words far better than I could have! I am 46 and single. When I was 30 I knew God was calling me to serve him full time as a missionary and there was no husband in the picture. I felt like I could not put my life on hold waiting for a husband. Do I still want to be married some day? Yes, if that is God’s will for me. Am I content right now? Mostly. There are still times when I really wish there was someone here for me “with skin on.” :) Even so, I know that the Lord is enough and will be enough for me until or unless a husband comes along.

      In the meantime, I have been serving him in a very remote part of Kenya for 16 years. He has given me a new language, culture, friends and placed me where people care for me. They think I am strange sometimes since I don’t have kids or a husband, but they really love me and care for me and are glad I am here. I have several kids I sponsor to a local school who have taken my heart. My parents have visited here and even think of these kids as the grandkids of their heart.

      The Lord has blessed me in ways I never would have imagined when I was 30. It isn’t the dream I thought I would have, but it is a dream. I have grown and learned and followed. Yes, it is hard being lonely and alone a lot, but even married folks have that problem. He is enough and meets those needs when I let him. If I focus on my being alone, then I can’t get on with life and service. When I get on with life, he is faithful to fill my life with those who bless me.

      What do I want Most? What this site is called – to be encouraged in our journey with God whether we are single or married. To have helpful tips on being women of God and living lives of service. To be included in posts that may seem to only focus on those who have husbands and kids (I just assume that I am most of the time). To know that people are praying for us as people not just for us to find our spouse and have kids.

      • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

        Yes! Love that… “praying for us as people” – excellent point.

    • Trish

      Just this:
      “a GREAT ADVENTURE to be had with the King of the Universe.”
      I’m married with children, but I am reading this to be a better friend to my single Christian friends. When I read those words, it summed up for me why I think being single can be a blessing. It also challenged me to have that same kind of attitude in my wife and mother roles. I believe every life can be an adventure with Jesus. What great perspective!!
      He IS enough. Amazing, Anna Marie! (By the way, when our husbands disappoint us, we marrieds have to remind ourselves of this, too!)
      God bless,
      Trish

      • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

        I totally agree, Trish!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Adventure. Yes! So much yes! Great thoughts.

      Thanks for serving the Lord on the mission field. May you continue to see the fruits of your labor.

  • Glenda

    I am also single, but 50! I gave up on the though of ever being married, I don’t think God wants me to be married. I am tired of my once single Christian friends, getting married and then I never hear from them again. But my single non-Christian friends, get married and they remain my friends… Funny how many Christian friends can’t support me – very frustrating! I am just very tired of being lonely!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thank you, Glenda, for writing honestly.

      I hear ya on the loneliness. I really do.

  • http://www.fullersquotidian.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    If I may add a note here, I am not single but I have many single friends actively struggling with the same questions the beautiful ladies here have posted about.

    My heart aches for their disappointments and dreams, and I would love to see (in)courage and the single sisters here offer some honest suggestions about how we married women can be better friends and supporters of single friends!

    What would bless you the most? What faux pas do we married women commit that annoy you the most? I promise to really listen and not to take offense if you can offer pointers on how to be a better friend in this aspect of life!

    • http://authenticfaith.tumblr.com/ Anna Marie

      Thank you for asking Jamie. I’d say to just be a FRIEND. To ask about how your single friends are coping emotionally – and still care and be present for the sometimes uncomfortable or awkward answers them will give. To not feel like you have to offer solutions, but just to love them through whatever stage they’re in…this is just a start. Offering them community instead of isolation and encouraging their dreams whilst resisting the urge to tell them ‘how they should live their life right’ would be a bonus..anyone else?

    • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

      Can I just give you examples Jamie?
      * My church’s home group wanted to enjoy a Christmas dinner together. I was quickly to offer my home because I love hosting. But it was quickly set aside, we could have dinner at a married couples house cause they had space ?!?! My house has plenty of space, sure it’s not big big but I’ve got a table for 8! Why was I dismissed without thought? It just hurts. If they would have taken the time to read my heart, it would have been a huge blessing. Besides, if it were in my home I didn’t have to drive home alone.
      * I am used to doing things alone all the time. God is pointing out to me that this is not the way to go. I am allowed to be dependent. In my marriage I sure long to follow my husband, I need to start practicing. In that respect… how lovely if a married man would offer to come to my house to help with hanging stuff, putting my curtain railing up, fill my radiator with water, bring me a load of heavy wood for the fire place. The heavy stuff that sure I can do alone, but what a gift if a woman friend would lend me her husband for things like that. Not because I asked but because you know I need it (and really need to learn to be dependent.)

      • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

        Oh, how about setting us up on dates. There’s another one that would really help. Keep your eyes open for us, start match making.

        And give us a party at Valentine. Just a whole bunch of girls together, just because we’re single. Or even better, invite some single males!

        • http://lynnpottenger.blogspot.com Lynn

          I think on the setting us up on dates you need to be careful. Make sure your single friends want that. It can be really awkward. Sometimes I feel like my married friends think I am not enough on my own so I need a husband. So, make sure they want to be set up.

          I think mostly it is nice to be listened to. It is nice to be included in family events – not as “my single friend” but just as another part of the family. If the single person is away from their own family, it is nice to allow them to be aunts to your kids if they want. MCH, I am sorry that your offer to host was disregarded – don’t give up – keep offering. It is nice when people come to my place sometimes rather than me always having to go to my married friends’ homes. Just a few thoughts on this question.

          • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

            Good thoughts, Lynn!

        • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

          YES YES YES. Set us up on dates! :)

        • Gina

          Yes. What MCH said. Some singles don’t like setups, it’s true, but a lot of us do. You may have to ask first whether someone wants to be setup.

          And when you do, please follow through! Don’t get a woman’s hopes up and then forget all about it and leave her dangling!

          • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

            Yes, please follow through! It is so frustrating to have a friend build some guy up and then never hear about him again. Or worse, for a friend to tell me about a guy and not know if he’s actually single or a Christian.

        • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

          Yes and yes and yes! Your examples ring so so so true. I often, very often, feel invisible. I get tired of “doing life” on my own. Carrying my groceries, getting the oil changed, taking out the trash, PAYING BILLS! I had amazing friends living across the hall from me for nearly a year and every single week the husband took out my trash for me. Every. Single. Week.

          I have told multiple people, repeatedly, that I want to rearrange two rooms of my house and even went so far as to email and point-blank ask for help. Who responded? One of very few single girl friends who drove an hour and a half to be here with me. Offering your husband to help us, HUGE.

        • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

          and yes to both of these.

          I agree with the cautions about setting us up, but please for the love of all things holy, at least keep your eyes open for us!!! There was a fantastic article on Christianity Today forever ago about what to look for when setting people up. It does have to be more than “they seem to both be Christians.” But it can be less than “They are so absolutely perfect for each other you could make a movie out of it!”

      • mattie

        Thanks for your comments MCH. I will keep in mind the husband comment in the future. My husband has a huge heart and is willing to help EVERYONE. While I love this part of his heart – sometimes I begrudge the fact that it feels like he is putting others before me (I know, not very Christian, but reality!) Your comments really touched my heart and I hope I can remember them the next time my husband helps others around us.

      • http://chasingblueskies.net/ Kristen Strong

        MCH, great thoughts here. I am married to a military man, and we are both dedicated to helping out fellow military wives their spouses are deployed or gone training. Thanks to you, we will also broaden our vision to look for ways to bless those single folks in our circle of influence. So appreciate your voice here!

    • http://www.thegypsymama.com Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama

      Yes, Amen to what Jamie said – we’d love to learn more ways to truly be friends and (in)courage our single sisters. We’re listening closely today.

      • Amanda

        Also listening. Three of my closest friends are now married, as am I… and now there’s one who is still single, and who often feels left out. I want to learn how to support and encourage her better.

    • http://www.multitaskingmama.com Melissa

      Thank you for bringing this up, Jamie. I have been married since I was 18 but God has brought many single friends in to my {our} life. At one point, we had a Bible study in our home where my husband was the only man. And, I have heard from those ladies {all of which are still our close friends {one is now married, the rest are not} that friendship with both of us is dear to their hearts. My husband was the one they called when they got a flat tire or a dysfunctional boyfriend was sitting in the parking lot of their apartment complex. I would always accompany him but him being there for them with no strings attached meant the world to them.
      I am all ears to learn of other ways we can be supportive of the single ladies of the Church.
      Thank you (in)Courage for opening the dialogue!!

      • http://lynnpottenger.blogspot.com Lynn

        Melissa, I think sometimes, married women can feel threatened by single ladies – like we might be a threat to their relationship to their husband. I had a close married friend say this to me so I know it is true even if others don’t admit it. I also know it can be a strain to have your husband helping a single lady a lot. So, maybe if your husband is doing something to help someone you go along with him and just chat with her.

        I am a missionary and live in a very remote place. All my teammates are married. I work mostly with the husbands as I have an “official” ministry – as opposed to “just” being a wife and mother. I think that distinction is bunk by the way! I really appreciate when my teammates come visit and say something like “the last time we were here, we noticed that ….. was not working, so we are going to fix it.” I love spending time with the wives while their husbands get on with that fix. Could I have fixed it myself? Yes, probably or found someone who could, but it is really nice to know someone noticed I had a need – I didn’t have to tell them.

        When you married ladies have a little free time (does that exist for anyone really?), don’t just think of your married friends to call to go out for some coffee or tea or whatever – call your single friend too. We know you are busy and often don’t want to be a bother or bother you when your lives are so full, but we would really like to spend some time with you. So, call us too. Just a few more thoughts.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Jamie, you are already blessing us by just caring.

      These answers below are great. And yes- we’re going to continue to talk about how married women can love single women well AND how singles can love marrieds well too. So get ready to GIVE answers as well as get them. :)

    • Tammy

      Jamie,

      So many of the comments are right on point, but they also make me realize how blessed I have been. I’m single again – officially for a year on Dec. 15, but in reality for 21 months – since I found out that my husband of almost 20 years had been having an affair for almost a year, confronted him asking for the truth, and he chose to leave me and our two teenaged children. He is now with girlfriend number three, and there are constant struggles with our daughter, who was just starting to date when he left and is at the age when girls truly need their fathers most. Through all of that, God has blessed me with the married friends who I was truly afraid would remove me from their circle since I was no longer married. Through the hardest days, they were the ones who called or sent me an encouraging word or scripture.

      Now that I am stronger, they are still the ones who call to take me for a latte’ or ask if their husbands can come and cut my grass, come with their husbands to help me move a heavy piece of furniture, take me to run errands while the men in our church’s auto ministry work on my car. Help with the practical things that we need a man to do around the house, with wives included if they feel threatened by a single woman, are a huge blessing, but the biggest thing is for our married friends to just listen as we continue to, or have to work again through, all of the “junk” of life as a single woman without giving unsolicited advice or acting as if they have all of the answers just because they are married – or are still married.

      I just finished reading the book “Captivating” by John and Staci Eldridge and it was such an encouragement…to be reminded of who I am in Christ as a woman – married or single. I strongly recommend it.

      Ladies, may I gently encourage you – when you are feeling lonely or can’t sleep at night, curl up in the arms of our heavenly Father who loves each of us right where we are, married or single, mother of many or currently childless, who is the husband to the husbandless and who desires to be the lover of each of our souls!

      • Sharon

        Good answers. Cause you know what, we still like men. We like male friendships. We don’t want your man. But we do enjoy the friendship that comes from your willingness to share your husband (with you always). Men bring a uniqueness to friendships.

      • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

        I talk a lot. Like, A LOT! I didn’t realize until 8ish years ago that I was actually conditioned to not expect people to actually listen to me. Around that time I spent an evening having dinner with a couple I know and just talking about the things of life. A few weeks later the husband said to me “Ya know, I’ve been thinking about what you said, and (some sort of personal action on my comments).” I was totally blown away. I literally stared at him for like 30-45 seconds because I couldn’t believe he had even been listening to me!!

        Just allowing your husband to talk to me like a normal human being can be hugely impactful. Knowing that your husband thinks me worthy of deep, or intense, or higher learning conversation can boost my sense of self-worth. Allowing your husband to give me a hug, or just a pat on the shoulder (cause I *totally* get that for some people a hug is inappropriate and I totally respect that), can remind me that touch does not have to be sexual just because there is a man and a woman involved.

    • Sharon

      Thank you for asking those questions about how you can partner along with single people. Include us at birthday parties, your kids sporting events. Ask us over for dinner, holidays (especially!), even cookie making. Encourage your children to be friends with adults. I love being called “Aunt Sharon”. Be a friend. We don’t want to push into your family but if ask us in we would love it….be the community of God. Ask us to sit with you at church. Do you have time for coffee? Can you call or send an email? and not just a one time thing but cultivate it into more to where we feel secure and safe and loved.

  • http://jsimplylive.blogspot.com/ Maria @ A Blooming Spirit

    Annie, I love this post! Holler for the single girls! :D But seriously, it is so good to hear this be addressed. I think a lot of Christian sisters and even the church community we belong to really want to help us, but I feel as if they are a bit out of touch. Most of the single women groups I have gone to are about cookoff where mysteriously there is an almost equal number of single men. Seriously? Is this what we have become? For the now married Christian sisters, I have found that some are very supportive because they have been there where you are but others have turned very judgemental once married, raising an eyebrow at you as if they had never been single.

    Because of this, I usually stay by myself. But being single is not something I have let define my life. I actually love my single life, and have never really “tried to get married”. I love doing a lot of stuff: cooking, sewing, owning a home, etc. and I actually love that I can do all of these things by myself. One thing that made a difference for me is that once I really understood that God is in control of my plan the pressure went away. And believe me, when you are the oldest daughter in a Hispanic family (where every other female is already married) there can be a lot of pressure coming your way about getting married. But like I said, I know that is getting married is part of the plan it will happen when God decides it is time. I am in a relationship and it has make such a difference to be in a relationship where God is the center focus. I don’t know if marriage is in the future for us, but we both know that we would not be here together it was not for Him.

    • http://jsimplylive.blogspot.com/ Maria @ A Blooming Spirit

      Oh, and another suggestion: blogging conferences. Can we not just make them about mommies? No offense to them but I have a hard time relating to them in that regards. How about bringing a single Christian sister who can talk to us from a single’s point of view? and maybe get the mommies in the room to see things from our perspective because let mee tell you, those now married have tons of wisdom that we can use.

      • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

        Great thoughts. Definitely attend (in)RL with us in April…. :)

        • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

          I signed up to host in April, though overseas and it’s not coming off the ground yet. But I was wondering if I would fit in since singleness was never covered before. Like I said, I sometimes feel out of place. Are you saying that is not so in April Annie?

      • http://stregerlady.blogspot.com Jennifer

        Agreed! I have shied away from the Relevant Conference because I feel like I would be such an outsider NOT being a homeschooling blogging mommy. I enjoy their blogs, I find them helpful, but as a single gal – I don’t fit the mold.

  • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda

    Hi everyone!
    My name is Brenda. And I’m married. Please don’t hate me or kick me out of the party yet!

    I’m here because I was you. And in some ways I still am. Because even though I am married, some things do not just magically go away and I still face remnants of my single days regularly.

    One thing I wish I had as a single woman is a mentor to disciple me during this season of life. I felt like the girl who was never invited to the party and instead everyone just looked in from the outside and said, “Oh, that is so sad. I wonder what’s wrong with her?” I needed a friend. A real friend. Who would tell me what I didn’t want to hear. Who would hold me accountable. Who would show me my true self in Christ. And who would give me hope.

    Out of this life season God has given me a vision to be this for single women. You are my heart, and more and more my blog, Triple Braided, is becoming a place just for you. God is revealing this to me in doses, but I anticipate that in 2012 Triple Braided will be a space specifically for single women (and married women who want to share in the friendship). On the homefront I am on a team to start a solid singles’ ministry at my church. Single adults need a space in all arenas.

    Thank you, (in)courage, for giving single women a voice and a slice of the blogging sphere! I am praying that this ministry becomes all that it needs to be.

    And I am praying for each of you ladies. Every day.

    With love,
    Brenda @TripleBraided

    • http://hewillbefaithful.blogspot.com Megan

      Brenda,
      I am so thankful for the heart that God has given to you for us single ladies!

      • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda @TripleBraided

        Thank you, Megan!! I love your heart, too!! You are a great example!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Love you, Brenda. Thanks for being braver than me.

      • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda @TripleBraided

        Annie, you’re brave, girl, trust me! I would have been running away years ago! :-)

    • Stephanie

      Yes, yes, yes, Brenda! You spoke exactly what I have been feeling! I need a mentor – someone to walk with me through this time. While there is a great likelihood that I will be married at some point in life, right now I need someone that cares for my soul. I have tried to find that person before, but usually didn’t get good results – I think the mentor needs to almost feel “called” to that position. It is not something that can just happen, I don’t think.

      I look forward to reading your blog.

      • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda @TripleBraided

        Stephanie, I completely understand! God willing that is where I hope to move in 2012 on the blog – some sort of mentorship.

        Until then please feel free to email me at triplebraidedlife@gmail.com. I love talking to single women!

        Many blessings to you!! Praying for you!!
        Brenda

      • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

        Hi Stephanie,

        I am so for the mentor thing, it really will make the difference. I have actually put a team together. Married ladies, my age and older and even some couples. They encourage me in this season, help me ‘date’, help me grow in myself and in God. It’s an allround win. They are people from my church but the couple I barely knew. I just had it on my heart to ask them. So pray about it, look around and simply ask!

        • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

          PS. I give a singles course in church and we actually set singles up with married couples. We found out a lot of married couples and women want to come alongside single females. We also have married men come along side single guys.

    • http://bahava.wordpress.com katy

      always love your heart, brenda!

      • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda @TripleBraided

        Thank you, Katy! :-) You are special to me too!!

    • http://www.leafbyjana.com Jana

      Brenda, love this, and mentorship is one of the biggest gaps I feel in single life. I told my married friend a few months ago that one of the biggest things I think I miss by not being in a relationship is that sense of someone who is invested in your growth spiritually, someone who makes suggestions not just because they want a quick-fix (you’ve been tired lately? maybe you should just go gluten-free, oh, sorry, got another call coming in. try that and let me know), but because your growth and experience truly matters (and of course, this is not a one-way street; I would also love to be invested in a spouse’s growth and success. So often as a single, my relational investments are so temporary and seem one-sided.)

      She said, “you know, that person can be anyone. It doesn’t have to be a husband.” I think she is right. Yet many older women seem to only want mentorship/friendship relationships with only other married women, either because they crave similar experiences, or because they don’t seem to know how to respond to a single woman.

      Thanks for your heart in this. Please, married women, don’t be afraid to reach out to us. We need family.

      Jana

      • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda @TripleBraided

        Jana, in so many ways we all could benefit from mentorship. I need one now!! :-) But it does take a special and mature person. Someone who is willing to truly invest AND sometimes say the hard things.

        My prayer is that through this community and other blogs Christian, married women will start to see single women in a new light and choose to help mentor and disciple them.

        God has been moving in my heart in this area for a while, so I am looking forward to seeing what he has in store as I move my blog and ministry in this direction and join in the discussion with (in)courage. Stay tuned!

        Praying for you!!!
        Brenda

  • http://pensieve.me Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE

    Oh, Annie…reading through the comments so far, isn’t it clear that the Lord is leading you to lead and live in this space for a season? Only He knows the time, but it’s clear you’ve spoken life and encouragement into the lives of many by noticing a need among many in our community (and beyond).

    Yes, I’m married with teens, and yes, I’d like to know better how to be a friend to my unmarried friends. I guess the ones I know seem so BUSY, but what I’m hearing (I think) is just TO ASK, not assume, and let my friends tell me yes or no to whatever.

    Love you, love all these ladies…and I can’t wait to see how this continues to unfold!!

    xoxo

    • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com Southern Gal

      I second what Robin said. This is amazing.

    • http://lynnpottenger.blogspot.com Lynn

      Yes, Robin, ASK! Sometimes we singles use our busy-ness as a shield because we don’t have good married friends speaking into our lives. Or we think you are so BUSY and don’t want to bother you.

      • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

        this is truly such a hard hard two-edged sword. I fill my life with volunteering and writing and cultivating friendships that build me up. But in very VERY large part because I struggle with depression and if left to my own devices I would work and never leave home and spiral completely out of control. To be honest, I *love* when I have to shuffle friends around because I want to see everyone.

        I just had a friend tell me last week she doesn’t call because she knows I’m so busy she doesn’t know when it would be a good time to try to reach me. I know enough about her schedule to have been able to say “For you? Tuesdays will be the best time to call me.”

        Bottom line, ASK! Yes Yes and Yes and amen!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Love you, Robin. Yes- the Lord is clearly doing something here.

    • Tammy

      Robin,

      You are so right…just ask! Many of us want to appear brave and strong and self-sufficient, but so many times we just need for someone to listen – and to give us a hug!

  • Jaimee

    Thanks so much for your post, Annie. We’re here. And it blesses my heart to just sit and listen. I need to know others are where I am and have been there. To be reminded that others have the same fears and sorrows as we navigate a season that we are never prepared to explore. I also need to be reminded that this season is full of joys and adventures and an intimacy with our Creator that I long to savor. Save a spot on the porch for me.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      You’ve got a seat, sister.

      It’s AMAZING to read how similar our thoughts/fears are, isn’t it? I’m blown away this morning.

  • http://www.jennadamsblog.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Jamie, I love that you asked how you could help. :) I’ve been blessed with some amazing married friends (It probably helps that we were all friends before they got married). I think what they do best is they do things with me, even though I’m not in the same season of life. Hanging out with married couples does not bother me at all, but a lot of times couples feel like they don’t have anything to talk to me about, which isn’t true. Tell me about your kids- I’d love to hear. Brag on your husband. Tell me what y’all do right and what you guys do wrong. Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I can’t relate or that I’m not interested in your life. I love when married folks realize that, and when they care about my life as well.

    • http://www.jennadamsblog.blogspot.com Jennifer

      Sorry, that was in reply to Jamie #20

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Love those thoughts, Jennifer!

  • http://hewillbefaithful.blogspot.com Megan

    I am 24 and never-dated single! When I first entered the blogosphere, I tried finding blogs written by single Christian women, but had a hard time finding quality ones. It wasn’t until I created my own blog, and networked a little bit, that the blogs started to appear, but they still are not as prominent as some of the married ladies blogs.
    I think that I struggle with just knowing where to go for mentorship, community, and growth. The Lord is blessing my church very well with new believers, but that means that the maturity of the single’s group is very low, so I am having a hard time finding a mentor, rather than being a mentor.
    Thanks so much for this post, and vision for 2012!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Awesome. Thanks for your thoughts, Megan.

  • Mg193

    I’m single too. I’m currently 30 yrs old.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yay. Thanks, Mg193. Glad you’re here.

  • http://twitter.com/andsheflew Whitney

    I guess this describes me now, at least unofficially. I am rather newly single for the first time in nearly 15 years. On November 4th, I was 12 weeks pregnant with my third son and my husband decided that he was done with our quiet life and walked into a different one. When people discover my situation, they are always quick to console or pray or ask how I am, but truth be told- I am better than I have been in a long time. Marriage to my husband was never easy, and I’m no longer walking on eggshells all the time. Divorce has been filed, but it won’t be finalized until after the baby is born in May. Right now, I struggle with feeling earth shatteringly alone, even though I’m not. God is my husband, and I have friends and family, but there’s still those quiet moments. And independence is a struggle… flat tires, the yard, etc. That’s all new territory for me. So maybe I can learn from some of you how to be single, how to battle loneliness and stay strong in Jesus.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Whitney, thank you for your comment. I’m praying for you even now. I hope this community is good for your soul.

    • Tammy

      Whitney,

      I am completely where you are – it’s hard, but marriage to my husband was never easy either, and I’m no longer walking on eggshell all the time. God grows us and carries us if we let him. I have so recently been where you are, except with older children…you are on my prayer list!

    • http://mch-photography.blogspot.com/ MCH

      I so feel for the people who hurt because of divorce. My heart goes out to you ladies!

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      May God bless you above and beyond anything you can ask for, hope for, think of or imagine! I’ve only ever done life alone. I’ve never been married, never lived with a guy, or even a roommate truth be told. But I have excellent friends and wonderful family.

      I wonder if this might help you in the independence. Play “what if?” When I’m driving home late at night I sometimes wonder “What if I got a flat right now? Who would I call?” And I figure it out. Not in a worried kind of way, just a pre-planning kind of way. Then, if someone asks how you’re doing or if they can do anything, maybe it will open the conversation to “Ya know, I was just thinking the other night what would I do if my hot water heater died on me. Do you know anyone that might be able to help if something like that happened?” Just a thought, my two cents. Praying for you.

      ……. and praying your baby is born on the 16th because that is an Excellent and Awesome day!! Yes, that is my own birthday. I will be 34 this year.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      May God bless you above and beyond anything you can ask for, hope for, think of or imagine! I’ve only ever done life alone. I’ve never been married, never lived with a guy, or even a roommate truth be told. But I have excellent friends and wonderful family.

      I wonder if this might help you in the independence. Play “what if?” When I’m driving home late at night I sometimes wonder “What if I got a flat right now? Who would I call?” And I figure it out. Not in a worried kind of way, just a pre-planning kind of way. Then, if someone asks how you’re doing or if they can do anything, maybe it will open the conversation to “Ya know, I was just thinking the other night what would I do if my hot water heater died on me. Do you know anyone that might be able to help if something like that happened?” Just a thought, my two cents. Praying for you.

      ……. and praying your baby is born on the 16th because that is an Excellent and Awesome day!! Yes, that is my own birthday. I will be 34 this year.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      May God bless you above and beyond anything you can ask for, hope for, think of or imagine! I’ve only ever done life alone. I’ve never been married, never lived with a guy, or even a roommate truth be told. But I have excellent friends and wonderful family.

      I wonder if this might help you in the independence. Play “what if?” When I’m driving home late at night I sometimes wonder “What if I got a flat right now? Who would I call?” And I figure it out. Not in a worried kind of way, just a pre-planning kind of way. Then, if someone asks how you’re doing or if they can do anything, maybe it will open the conversation to “Ya know, I was just thinking the other night what would I do if my hot water heater died on me. Do you know anyone that might be able to help if something like that happened?” Just a thought, my two cents. Praying for you.

      ……. and praying your baby is born on the 16th because that is an Excellent and Awesome day!! Yes, that is my own birthday. I will be 34 this year.

  • http://www.thepaperbagprincesses.blogspot.com Christy

    Annie,
    I so look forward to see how incourage will be reaching us single gals in 2012. I am 33, and also a single (co) parent. One of the biggest things I struggle with is not seeing a single Christian marriage that seems healthy or appealing to me. I want to someday be married but the pickings are slim and I’d rather be alone than settle. A big question is what I am hoping for realistic. Finding a compatible partner who I am attracted to feels like a needle in a haystack. Finding one who is Christian and who would fit into our family feels next to impossible :) This challenge in my life has been the single biggest obstacle in my faith walk. It’s hard as a woman to not feel desired or pursued….and these are just the beginning of my thoughts on the matter :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I hear you, Christy. Those are all super valid thoughts. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the future as we all wrestle with this together.

  • http://fantasticalwords.wordpress.com/ Jenny

    I am indeed, single. :)

    You all have been extremely supporting and encouraging, I can’t say that there is really anything else you can do. ^^ Except continue to be the amazing, loving, wonderful people that you are!

    Love. I mean, seriously, I have no idea what REAL love feels like [I mean romantic “love” not “Oh! I love you, Mom~” love.] I’ve been sort’ve struggling with the concept, mostly, because I like a guy who… lets be honest, is WAY too far away from me for me to actually have a relationship with [My standards are WAY high], so I’m confused as to whether or not its real. I would love the opportunity to meet him and talk to him, spend a day with him. All I have to do is learn to speak Korean.. that’s a downer right? :D Haha, but, sometimes, I just feel like everything is going to be OK, when I pray to God. I dunno, my middle older sister keeps telling me its not possible, while my oldest sister tells me to go for it! What have I got to lose? Nothing really. Also, I don’t really think a guy could like me… pretty terrible self-confidence, huh? I’ve never had a guy I like, like me back. As for guys liking me at all? I couldn’t say (except for a seriously creepy PNC bank worker guy who is 30… dude, I’m 21!! EW! D:< )

    Uh.. all of the above? And also, do you think someone can grow spiritually without a church? I like Church, but I've been scarred by all the ones I've been to… YES my entire life.

    Lots and lots of love and friendship. I have literally almost no friends where I live.. OK, I don't even go out on the weekends because I have NO friends to hang with. It's.. boring. I'm turning into a hermit because of it… Not good.

    You girls were for me before I even knew about you. Well done~

    Pssh, only if I don't have a friend to sit with. Which, in my case, I don't. But with you guys, I'll be snuggly warm~

    • Jenny

      Forgot… >>; I’ve never once dated, though I think you can take that from my above comments. Haaah. XD

      • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

        You’re welcome on the porch with us, Jenny.

        Here are some great books I’ve read on relationships and singleness, etc. You may enjoy some of them?
        http://annieblogs.com/2010/09/27/when-i-talk-about-dating/

        Also I would suggest How to Get a Date Worth Keeping. I’m loving it.

  • http://hfrees.blogspot.com holly

    i’m almost 29 and single. like really single. like never-even-been-on-a-date-unless-you-count-my-gay-prom-date single. about 95% of the time i view this through the lense of hope – that i won’t have to go through disappointing and awkward bad dates and that perhaps my first date will be with the guy i end up marrying (at least, this has happened to a few of my friends who were also “late bloomers” so-to-speak). but there’s the 5% of me who wants the experience. i’ve definitely had my fair share of “woe is me” moments, but compared to some of my closest single-lady friends, i feel like i’ve embraced my singleness with a slightly more balanced approach. i have definitely taken advantage of this season of life and the freedoms that come with being single, but as i near the 3-0 i can’t deny that my biological clock is ticking, and that i’d like a few childless years of marriage before having kids. and i want kids. and i want someone to know me, someone to share stories with on a deeper level than a platonic relationship can handle.

    ultimately i think my hope lies in some wise words from another 30-year old single friend: god is sovereign. and i can look back on other stories in my life and see how he worked those out for his good and for his glory, and i can trust that this is just another example of that.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Holly, I think you are great at being single- I see you living well in our city and I’m so glad. But I hear your heart. I do.

      I’m reading a great book called How to Get a Date Worth Keeping…. check it out.

      Hugs to you, friend.

  • Allison

    Thanks for this post Annie! I’m a 33 (but not until next week), single-again mom of 4. I’ve been single-again for almost 2 years and recently started dating. I got married at 19. I was married for 12 years and the dating thing freaks me out a little. I’m currently reading Boundaries in Dating. It’s been eye-opening for sure.

    I’m glad (in)courage is going to be welcoming all the single ladies. :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yeah girl! You are welcome here. :)

      Is that Dr. Cloud’s book? He’s great.

  • http://lynnpottenger.blogspot.com Lynn

    Thanks for asking the question Annie! It has sparked lots of thoughts. I replied to several so I won’t do more. I just wanted to say thanks to you and to the ladies of (in)courage for being willing to speak about it. I have been so blessed by your blog posts and your book club even when I can’t read the books. So, thanks for allowing the Lord to use you all!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thanks for your kind words, Lynn. Really.

  • http://www.thelifeofsusan.com Susan

    oh annie this is surely an answer to prayer! my single roommate and i were just talking about these things last night. she’s 28 and i’m 29. it’s so important for us to have a place to share our hearts and be understood!

    i had never dated until 2010, got engaged christmas day of 2010 and then had my heart broken in march of 2011. 2011 was a tumultuous year for me as i was forced to face my faith head on and really trust God despite all the brokenness i felt. thankfully blogging was an outlet for me and God ultimately used the circumstances to draw me into deeper intimacy with my community and obviously Himself, but it was oh so very hard.

    i live and do full-time ministry in the urban context which doesn’t exactly provide great dating material. haha. i know it’s all a matter of trust and timing but it’s so hard to continue to see those around you passing you right on by.

    i think it would be great to offer advice to married people on how to relate to us singles. i can tell you horror stories of things people have told me, thinking they were helping.

    needless to say, i’m super excited about this series. i’ll be on the porch, too with a steaming mug of coffee. :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Bless you, Susan, as you enter 2012. May it be the year of the Lord’s favor.

  • http://jenwagenmaker.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    I was a “single” mom at age 29. The thing that stands out most for me during that season of my life, was the unending loneliness, especially at night. I felt God’s presence in such a beautiful way and it fueled me with Hope. He travels us on the road that is BEST for us. He knows the future.
    I am no longer single, but I can look back to when I was with much gratitude and a deeper understanding for how close God was to me.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Great word, Jennifer. Thank you.

  • http://dianewbailey.blogspot.com/ Diane Bailey

    Seeking God first was always a challenge for me when I was a single mother of two. I would love to pray with or for, or both for single women…its not easy out there sometimes, but living in a community ( even if its online) stregthens you in the journey.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Pray pray pray, Diane.

  • MJ

    Me, 31 and single. I like to “joke” that there is an inverse relationship between my interest in a man and his interest in me.. The only ones who express interest in me, are those where there is no chemistry..

    I think, having experienced relationships (romantic and not) with men who have been passive, I fear that no man will ever take initiative towards me. That “finding” the right person is up to me, even if I don’t pursue.. You know, right place, right time kind of thing. It’s really hard to believe God is going to “take care of me” in this, when 31 years of being single have shown me that men don’t pursue me.

    I know there is a LOT of misbelief about God in that paragraph above.. But that’s exactly the stuff I’m working through. How do I really trust God? What responsibility is mine in this? What does it mean that God takes care of me, if that also means living on my own? It’s a hard road..

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      OH girl. You are singing my song. Seriously. All those things about trusting Him even after 31 years of being single… yeah. I know it.

      Keep wrestling. Don’t quit. It is hard, but it’s a journey. Keep going, sister.

    • Shelly

      I agree with Annie – this tune is the same one running through my head. I’ve had only a couple of guys express even a remote interest, and, similar to your situation, they are ones with no chemistry – like so little that I didn’t even agree to a date. I realized last night, though, that I can sympathize with the one, because I think he and I are in the same situation, albeit different genders (although that’s not going to change the fact that I have no interest in him).

      Your last paragraph is so poignant. How do we know we’re really trusting God? The past couple of weeks, I’ve finally felt a closeness to him (I am currently unemployed and leaning on him) and it was wonderful. Today, though, suddenly the wet blanket of despair settled in, taking joblessness with my want to find my life partner but having so few choices here and mushing them together. THAT was why I came to (in)courage today, because I felt like I needed a reality check. And, for once, I was right – or, rather, God was right. :D

  • Cheryl

    I am fifty-four and never married. All I ever wanted was to be a wife – and I know I’d be a great one! You go from all the questions from well intentioned people to finally those that “feel sorry” for you because now at 50+ they’ve given up and you’ll always be the “spinster” in the family/group. It can be very depressing but I’m now in a place that I’m confortable with myself. Would I stil like to be married? Absolutely! But only if I am overwhelming in love with the “right” person. I know people in marriages who I wouldn’t trade with for the world; people that are the loneliest I’ve ever seen. Do I get lonely at times? Definitely!!! Do I wish some days when I got home I had someone to just “hold” me? Oh my goodness – YES!! But am I going to have a happy fulfilled life with or without someone ………… ABSOLUTELY!!!! I have had two very painful relationships – both men are now deceased. One of them met me for lunch and 30 minutes later an aneurysm burst and he drove into a tree and died. There was a time when the pain of loss for both of them was so awful I wanted to die. I’ve learned an important lesson though – no one else is responsible for your happiness or your sadness. No matter what life throws at you, it is up to you as to how you respond to it. That doesn’t mean I;ve given up on the knight on a white horse sweeping me off my feet…LOL!!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thank you for your thoughts, Cheryl. Yes- a husband does not equal a fulfilled life. God has abundant life for us in WHATEVER season we are in!

      Praying for you this morning.

    • http://dailyrefined.blogspot.com Leigh Kay

      What beautifully wise words Cheryl. Thank you, oh thank you for the encouragement of your faith.

    • Carol

      WOW! Cheryl you are so on the money! I am 53 and never been married. I try not to dwell on having anyone in my life but it sure does get lonely. Growing old and never having the opportunity to share the rest of my life with some that I truly love and he truly loves me (this time) is what scares me. I spend alot of time doing things by myself or with other single friends but hanging out with other single women all the time gets pretty old. But it is what it is. Considering the past relationship I was in I’ll take hanging out with my BFF’s anyday. One of my resolutions this year is to keep myself busy doing new things. My mother use to say “good things come to those who wait”….well I’m still waiting for my Prince and I will continue to wait because I know he is out there. Until then I will keep doing the things that I know make ME feel good. I’ve talked to people in unhappy marriages or relationships and they all say the same thing “you don’t understand” Seems to me like THEY are the ones that don’t understand. What I do understand is that we only get one chance at this life and I’m going to spend it being as happy as I can be with or without someone. I have leared and still learing how to be satisfied with the way things are. I know God has a plan for me in meeting my Prince. Life still goes on so I’m going to keep doing what I do.

  • http://yearofyay.com/ Amy Payne

    Dearest ladies! These comments are amazing. I didn’t date until after college, and when I started, I was so desperate to feel desired that I ran after relationships that were destructive. I would love to share more about that.

    I’ve talked with several friends about our need as a culture to stop idolizing marriage. Tim Keller has written a brilliant piece about this: http://www.qideas.org/essays/the-gospel-and-sex.aspx Now that I am married, I advocate having realistic conversations. We can encourage one another — married and single — that our Father is still the only one who meets our deepest needs. We aren’t doing anyone any favors by perpetuating an ideal of marriage as a cure-all. I think this is so important for married people to hear. You don’t have to air your dirty laundry in public, but you can be real.

    Also, you need to get Fabs in on this conversation!! She wrote one of the best pieces I’ve read on faith in a long time — it happens to be about singleness, but you could substitute any current struggle for the word “singleness” and it has the same butt-kicking effect: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationship/blog/27163-surrendering-to-singleness Her writing is just unbelievable. If she’s not already contributing here, please check out her blog: http://www.fabsharford.com/ She would be an invaluable addition to this stream.

  • Amy

    Annie,
    Thank you so much for this post and for opening up this conversation. It was encouraging to read your words as well as the words of others who have posted. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one. I’m 37 and still single. I have a very strong desire to get married, but it hasn’t happened. Some people say get out there, join a dating site, etc. No thank you. I’ve tried that whole taking the initiative thing. I found out that I make some not so good choices. Is it old fashioned to want God to bring that person to me? I don’t know. I do know that it’s hard. It’s hard to trust God in this, it’s hard to not feel that it is unfair. I do know that God is good and He has a plan for all of us, single or married. I look forward to this continuing conversation and what others have to say. I guess I would just ask for prayer that I could learn to be content with where God has me, that I would not focus on what I don’t have, but on all the blessings I do have.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yes. I will pray that for you, Amy. (And for myself!)

      Thanks for your honest thoughts. It’s so hard. I know.

      • Amy

        Hi Annie,

        I just wanted to let you know that I think your prayers are already working. At church yesterday, the pastor talked not about “change” for 2012, but “exchange”. He talked about the exchange that Christ did for us – death for life. At the end of the service, we had communion. There was a slip of paper for everyone to fill out and drop in a basket: In 2012, I would like God to exchange ___________ for _____________. Immediately my thoughts went to – exchange the desire for marriage for contentment in where God has me. But then I didn’t want to drop that slip in the basket; I did not want to submit that to God. By His grace, I dropped the slip in the box. The pastor prayed over all of the requests, submitting them to God and His will for our lives. It was pretty cool and I feel such a sense of freedom, like a burden has been lifted. It’s amazing what God can do for us when we submit it to Him.
        Thanks for your prayers,
        Amy

  • Michelle

    I am 39 and single. I never dreamed that I would be this age and single. I am looking forward to following this series, the need for a connection with a group of women in a similar situation is a deep craving for me.
    One thing that has weighed very heavily on my heart lately is “what if I missed someone or something that God sent for me because I was too focused on myself and what I imagined would be perfect for me?, I missed something because I could not relinquish the control I felt I needed to have?”
    My Bible study group (all of whom are married) has been very encouraging to me but I still struggle with this.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I know that struggle, Michelle. I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland for 6 months and struggled with “what if I’m missing the right guy at home while I’m here?”

      But God’s heart is FOR you. He is on your side.

      • http://www.passionistaatlarge.com Mimi at Passionista At Large

        But ladies, if God is directing your steps, do you really think He’d allow you to miss the guy He planned for you? Just sayin’.

  • http://www.4onepurpose.com Karen

    I was oblivious to the fact that I was living in a ‘married’ world until about 5 year ago when God began to open my eyes. He brought me in to deep friendship with several single women who had never been married. Together we began to learn how to talk and share our lives and journey through what often seems to be a taboo subject. (I did not want them to feel badly that I was married…..they did not want to appear jealous!)

    We found lots of common ground just because we were women!!!!!!!

    As a bible teacher God wanted me to teach His truth to women….NOT just married women. This journey has completely changed the way I teach! PRAISE BE!

    Two books that were very helpful in opening my eyes were:

    1. Singled out for Him — by writer/speaker (single) Nancy Leigh DeMoss

    2. Falling in love with Jesus — by Dee Brestin (married) and Kathy Troccoli (single)….the excerpts from Kathy’s journal were SO insightful and the deep friendship they share is inspiring.

    I look forward to seeing where God is going to take this!

    THANKS, Annie!!!!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thanks for the book suggestions, Karen! I’ll totally check those out.

  • http://www.commonground3855.com Tami

    Ohhhhh….I love the “sand between my toes” feeling of knowing I am 44, never married, in full time ministry, often very fulfilled yet have the “where is he at God?” moments to share with you ladies! Looking forward to the conversation 2012 brings!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yes yes yes. I know what you mean, Tami. I’m excited about 2012 too.

  • http://chasingblueskies.net/ Kristen Strong

    Annie, I’m so proud of you for opening up this conversation, I can hardly stand it. Thank *YOU* for opening my eyes to needs of those singles in my circle of influence. Excitedly awaiting to see what unfolds on this front.

    I’m crazy about all you dear ladies of this (in)community. Love, love, love you all so much…

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      thanks, friend. :)

  • http://dianeyuhas.com Diane Yuhas

    I didn’t marry until I was 30 and that utter disaster was the direct result of my stupidity and desperation to be married. We divorced a year after failing marital counseling. I’ve been single these 12 years since. It took a lot of prayer, therapy, and just plain waiting on the Lord to realize that God has called me to singledom. For me, the idea of romance, love and marriage was a HUGE idol in my heart that had to be crucified with Christ. I’m happy to say now that I’m content whatever the circumstances because my contentment is in Christ alone. I love being able to focus all of my energy on pleasing the Lord.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Beautifully said, Diane. Whether we are called to a life of singleness or a season of it, we should be focused on pleasing the Lord for sure. Thank you!

  • http://dianeyuhas.com Diane Yuhas

    I meant to say I was married for seven years.

  • Teri Snodderly

    I am 30 and single and for the most part I’m ok with it. I do have a strong desire to be married but I am doing my best on waiting on God’s timing and will for my life. The hardest thing for me is watching all my friends move on in life. Once most of my friends get married they just drop us single friends. Do we put off some sort of vibe or something? :) It just hurts because it’s like our friendship didn’t really mean anything to them. Thanks for bringing up for us to talk about!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I think something HUGE we can draw from experiences like that is, “when I get married, I will remember how I wanted to be treated when I was single.”

      Thanks for your thoughts, Teri! Looking forward to hearing more!

  • Stephanie

    Hi – I’m 25 and I’m single. I really enjoy Incourage.

    I would love to hear about living a fulfilled life while single. It is so easy to sit and watch friend after friend (all younger than you) getting married and starting families. God has helped me so much, but my fear is that I will end up sitting in some corner for the rest of my life!

    Also, I would love to hear about practical Christianity for the non-homemaking girl – I love hearing about hospitality and family and such, but I am currently working a full-time job and going to school, too. I would love to hear from other women like me.

    Thanks!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Stephanie, we are similar, girl! So similar.

      Yes- abundant life is for EVERYONE… but how to live that with desires unfulfilled is the challenge.

      Love your thoughts. We’ll definitely expound on these in 2012.

  • http://www.sittinthereoncapitolhil.blogspot.com Hilary

    Wow – to say that I feel blessed by reading this is an understatement. I’m 21, and single, and yesterday I was sharing chocolate pie with my childhood best friend, who asked me, straight out – “Is it hard?” And I looked at her and said, “Yes, yes. It is hard.”

    I want to know that there is something from all this mess that I can share, some part of the journey my heart’s on that is beautiful beyond the waiting, or the “becoming content.” I want to believe, so very much, that this is part of a story He is writing. Some days I wonder if there’s a checklist my girlfriends got that I didn’t – “What it takes to be asked out.” And if there’s a way to trust that even though it’s hard, and lonely, it’s also beautiful. I want to know how to tell this story in a way that pours out love to my married and dating sisters, how to listen to their joy and their questions and their struggles with a bigger heart, and how to ask them the right questions, the loving questions. I want to know how to share my single, question-filled heart.

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s meant the world to me to read it.

    Love,
    Hilary

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Hilary, you are on the right track, sister. Keep seeking God and answers and solutions and joy.

      A question-filled heart is a beautiful thing.

  • http://jglea1984.blogspot.com/ Jessica

    I’m 27 and single! =) And to be honest… I’ve only had one serious relationship (when I was 20/21) in my life and it lasted 9 months. And after that ended… I was crushed. I have been even MORE protective of my heart since then. See…. growing up I was teased a lot for being a little bigger than everyone else my age… but then it started to get in my head and I STILL hear it whispering in my ear ALL THE TIME: “No one wants you… you’re not pretty/skinny enough.” I try to shut it up constantly… but no matter what I do, it’s still there.
    I sometimes would get the courage to try online dating sites… but would wake up a day or two later and delete my page feeling discouraged or scared.
    Since my only true relationship (which was 5 years ago) I still will (from time to time) rewind in my head what I did wrong to make him just change his mind all of a sudden. He talked a big game about getting married, having kids, etc…. and truth be told… that freaked me out at 20. But I thought…. hey, it’s good that he’s thinking ahead. Until a few months later when he decided to dump me in my driveway after a bonfire with friends I just had.
    Needless to say… I have a lot to work through before I can ever let someone back into my heart. I sometimes wish I had someone to share my life with… but most of the time I’m really comfortable where I am in my life. I can focus on teaching my kindergartners and visiting my family to spoil my baby niece as much as possible.
    I’m scared that because I’ve been single for all but 9 months of my life… that I’m just not the married type. I want to have a family of my own someday and a loot of kiddos…. but the thought of that STILL scares me at 27. I don’t know… maybe I still have some growing up to do? Is this normal? Is there something wrong with me? Do I need to see a psychologist?

    I am so happy for my married friends… but at some point…. I start to feel a little lonely b/c I don’t really have anyone who can relate to me anymore. My only single friends…. were previously married and have kids of their own…. or are dating someone. So even with them… I can’t relate. I hate feeling so alone in this.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I hear ya, Jessica. I really do.

  • http://sonyamacdesigns.com sonyamacdesigns

    our position in this life … matters NOT to the FATHER, His ways are not our way … the last will be first and the first will be last. His most HOLY WORD states in my Father’s house, there are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you (ALL who believe) … single or not we need to live in the confidence of HIS word (Philippians 1:6) … for HIS word never changes. There is no mention of a Husband for Lydia … one of the first mention converts in the NT … yet Lydia sold dye and WORSHIPED the Lord. When Paul and Silas left prison they returned to Lydia’s house … Single women be incouraged by Lydia lifestyle. Single women with children … your FATHER sees you … just as HE saw Hagar … Beer Lahai Roi (Genesis 16:13)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Amen amen and amen, Sonya. Thank you.

      • Drey

        Totally agree with you Sonya. I’m 45 and single. Divorced 11 years ago. Two kids. Seems to me that the average American christian feels entitled to marriage. Where was it promised? This world is a fallen one, so how can we expect perfection in it? We would all do well to learn to daily trust God for his mercies which come new every morning if this life is indeed only a journey to that better place where there will be no marriage.

  • Stephanie

    Oops – I didn’t mean that it is easy to watch the friends get married. I meant that it is just something we do…watch their lives and feel left behind. I don’t want to wake up at 35 and realize I have just watched and never lived.

  • Angie

    Ok I’d love more discussion what happens with your first love relationship once you get married. I have come along way and now believe that it’s possible to get better and not worse, but I do want more insight in the difference between the single person and the married person as described in the Bible (the single person being able to he free’d up with serving God verses the married person pleasing their Spode and earthly matters). I kinda want to please God and grow in my relationshiP and intimacy with him more and more. I’m not really feeling the idea of that lessening though I would be excited at therhougjtof Him having a great man and I be gifts to one another.
    Also there ate some tough passages in general in scripture related to women that I’d like to seek God’s heart about; I trust His Word completely and am looking for more understanding. Thanks for your ministry!
    Angie

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Great thoughts, Angie. I try to remember that a lot- I am in a unique place where I am able to serve God without as many other responsibilities as a wife/mom.

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Angie

    Sorry for the typos!! I meant Spouse; “the thought of” and are in the above quick reflection! This is definitely a great topic. To be written at a computer (not an iPhone!!!) :)
    God bless!

  • rena

    i am 30. not single. but i was until this year. through what felt like endless years of refinement i fought questions on whether or not i should be able to give up my desire to be married. while that never happened, somewhere closer to the end of my singleness i quit fearing being single. it was an inexplicable and formerly unknown state of contentment from that point on.

    things didn’t happen as i ever thought they would, caught me quite by surprise actually. fresh within the bounds of my first year of marriage i can honestly say that while circumstances change, the God of your heart doesn’t. He’s the same now that He will be then. my season of singleness was restful and rich in so many ways. in the least that process holds me accountable to trust Him and His unfailing provision all the more.

    as i drove home from the social security office having officially changed my name, i had a sweet encounter with Jesus reminding me that being married is good and true but the only thing that’s too good to be true is Him. for today and forever, that’s already yours!

    • http://www.aronadesigns.etsy.com Elisabeth

      I love your post! God truly does remain the one that completes and fulfills us throughout life’s ups and downs. I was so happy single, but now that I’m at the beginning of a relationship I have to remind myself that God took care of me single, and he will take care of my relationship now…because he’s THERE wherEVER we are! (lol that just got me a little happy all over again.)

      • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

        Amen, sister. Love this, Elisabeth.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Great great thoughts, Rena. Thank you.

  • Stephanie

    Hi Annie

    I am so grateful that you are starting something for us single gals :) I think it would be nice to encourage one another in our singleness as we “wait” for God to bless us with a husband or be content in where He has us at this time. I know the enemy tries to make me think that God does not care about my feelings on this subject ( I am divorced but would like to remarry) but the safest place for all of us is in Gods good and perfect will and He will give us the strength and the wisdom to live a God honoring life and He really DOES care about our feelings. Psalm 37:4

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yes. The enemy always wants us to believe that we aren’t cared for. BUT WE ARE!

  • http://www.aronadesigns.etsy.com Elisabeth

    My name is Elisabeth and I’m unmarried–though I recently started talking to a really great guy. I am online a lot and love checking out blogs…I’ve noticed though, that while there are a ton of “mom blogs” out there, and even a decent amount of marriage type blogs out there, there are rarely any single girl blogs. It seems that we are really the plague in many ways.
    Now that I am talking to someone I have found that I’m okay with him moving slowly because I have things I want to have “accomplished” before I get married. I think it would’ve been helpful if instead of always trying to find someone for me, my married friends had suggested I make a list of things I want to have done before I get married-like (and don’t take this the wrong way) a bucket list of single life.
    I would love to see more blog posts written about the struggles we face as far as remaining pure, guy friend vs boyfriend, things we need to do to prepare for marriage, staving off desperation (like fun things to do while single that you likely won’t be free to do when married,) and even possibly retorts for people constantly asking when there will be a ring on your finger lol.

    • http://www.aronadesigns.etsy.com Elisabeth

      Oh…and I’m a few months shy of 24 (I just realized everyone but me told their ages pretty much.)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      A single-life bucket list? I LOVE that idea. So smart. What would you put on it?

      • http://www.aronadesigns.etsy.com Elisabeth

        Start a business first–already in the middle of that one…Leave the country. Go on a girls-only road trip with as many antique shop stops along the way as I want. Visit the circus. Be featured in a magazine lol. I would love to see people’s single-life bucket lists, I’m sure there would be plenty that are more exciting than mine :-)

  • http://unsafebehavior.tumblr.com Kristen Spencer

    I am 24 and single! I like being single most of the time. The thing is, I’m not even sure I WANT to be married ever, except for those few scattered nights when I get sick of being alone (I’m sure you have no idea what that feels like). Because of my fickle ideas of marriage and family life, I have decided not to pursue dating or a relationship and follow the mission God has give me for the moment (Check out the blog if you’re curious!)

    I would love to hear about how to find my identity in Jesus, and not in a relationship. I want to know how to be a woman of God. I want to know how to keep my mind and body pure as I wait, or as I stay single for the rest of my life…
    I would love to hear about your journey with God… your honest journey. The struggles, lessons, heartaches and glorious revelations that have all taught you about Jesus. Chances are, even thought its the scariest and hardest thing you’re ever done, there are women out there who have also struggled with the same thing… (as evidenced by the 124 comments before noon on this article)

    This is literally the second article I’ve read on this blog, and its about to be bookmarked so I can read everyday. Thanks for what you’re doing. Keep it goin ladies!

    peace.
    Kristen.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Kristen, your words encourage me. Yes, I will write honestly. I promise.

  • http://beckeye.blogspot.com Becki

    Thanks for sharing. I’m 31 and single. I love (in)courage, but have lately been feeling like all the writing is directed to wives and moms. I love my wives and moms friends, but definitely feel that there isn’t much out there for the 31 year old single. I’m in a hard place where I’m pretty much out of single friends and while I love my married and parent-friends – we’ve all gotten busier and it’s hard to fit into each others’ lives the way we did when we were all single.

    I don’t know what my needs are from a place like this – but I look forward to the journey and seeing what you all come up with. Thanks!!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yay, Becki! I’m glad you’re here.

  • Leanna

    I think my big question these days is how do you combat the lonelyness that comes with being single?
    Don’t get me wrong I have great family and great friends but at my age (31almost 32) most are married w kids. And just don’t usually have time.
    I stay busy but do find I’m often lonely. Which isn’t fun. And it’s hard coming home to an empty house.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I hear you, Leanna. I haven’t found an “answer” to this yet, but I think it sounds like you are on the right track- start asking God to help you find this answer. When the question is aching on you like this, I think it means that God wants to answer you. So ask Him. :)

  • http://www.sarahmarkley.com Sarah Markley

    I LOVE you Annie. You are simply amazing.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Love you, Sarah. So so much.

  • Corrie

    I’m a 35 single woman raising my nephew. Bridesmaid 15 times, Maid of Honor 3 times…never been on a date, have never kissed a boy. But I know that I’m living God’s will- just hate THD most when people feel sorry for me! Great post Annie…singles need ministry too!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thank you, Corrie!

  • http://whatthisgirllearns.blogspot.com/ https://twitter.com/#!/ThisGirlLearns

    I am about to turn 34 and have never been married. It has especially been difficult after growing up in small-town life, where young marriages are idolized, and anything else is frowned upon.

    I’ve felt both sides of being single. I had times I ached to find the right relationship, felt lonely, unwanted, and insignificant. I’ve reached a place in the last couple of years where I feel peace with my status, am enjoying the positive aspects of single life, and rarely think of dating unless I just feel strong interest towards someone.

    I’ve found that, while being single is looked down upon in some environments, being HAPPY while being single is sometimes even further looked down upon. Some people are more acceptable of others’ singleness if they believe the person is miserable and at least making efforts to “fix” their (non)relationship status.

    It can be natural for singleness to hurt and also natural for it to be joyous, which is something people don’t always see.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      GREAT point. Really really great. Thank you!

      • http://www.passionistaatlarge.com Mimi at Passionista At Large

        Oh my! People actually judge you for being joyful? They really feel like you should be depressed because you are single? That’s like telling someone with heart trouble or cancer not to laugh or express joy. And if that’s true, then where is God in our journey? If we can’t be joyful as we ARE, we probably will struggle with being joyful as we BECOME.

        Another thing from your post…it pretty much sickens me that women are not considered whole, complete, or worthwhile on their own. That unless they have a man they are just hanging out there until they can BECOME. This ancient mind-set comes from the Puritans (and beyond) where women were pretty much only for birthing and caring for the man’s home.

        It is TIME that women are valued for themselves, for the precious treasures we are, and for the value we have as people. Part of the pressure we feel to marry comes from the above-mentioned mindset. I do not understand why people feel they have the right to impose their beliefs (whatever they are judging–and Christians judge EVERYone, unfortunately) on others. Bottom line, we are only asked to please God with our whole heart.

        Sometimes I believe that those who frown on the unmarried only want to be relieved of the “concern” they feel about the single lady. They want everything placed in a convenient box so they can “check it off their list” as being taken care of. It’s much easier to let a husband take care of someone than to be moved or impressed to do it themselves.

        How many single women have jumped into a relationship because she felt she “owed” it to others to get her life taken care of? And then lived miserable, or divorced. What? That’s better?

        We need a community that applauds our creativity, our passion, our resourcefulness, our joy in the moment, our survival, our contentment, our questions, our seeking God in our life, our dreams and hopes. We need to be uplifted and appreciated for the unique people we are. And not frowned upon or criticized because we are not married. And NO! there isn’t something WRONG with us.

  • Marlena

    Annie, thank you for sharing something so close to your heart that has allowed us all to feel safe to share too. I am 25 and single. The only single girl left in my very close group of friends. It has made me realize a few things about myself: 1. I am a very independant person because I have always had to do things myself (not a bad thing to be independant but I have seen how hard it has become for me to accept help at times), 2. I hate always having to go places alone, 3. The true desire of my heart is to be a wife and mother, 4. I trust God wholeheartedly with everything and I don’t doubt that He has a plan for this part of my life. He has been so faithful throughout my whole life and I know He will be faithful in this. His timing is perfect, I believe that because I’ve seen it.

    It is hard when everyone around me is either getting married or having a baby because I am nowhere near that place in my life but God has given me joy for my friends and a hope for what is to come.

    I have been blessed with a group of married friends who don’t isolate me because I am single, they welcome me in. I love all of my friends and am so thankful to have them but sometimes its hard to be the only single one in a group of couples. I have been praying for another single friend or two to balance things out but this community could be how God has answered that prayer! :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Love how much you appreciate your married friends! That community is so important for me, too.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      Couldn’t agree MORE with 1 and 2. Especially 1. Apparently I am so independent that it is intimidating to men. I’ve been told that point-blank, to my face. Now, years later, I have my response.

      “Too independent? What other choice do I have? If I don’t set it up the oil in my car will not get changed. If I don’t take care of it the trash will not get taken out. What is my other option?”

  • http://shegetztheshot.wordpress.com LolaGirl

    Divorced one month short of our 6 year anniversary, at 34. Turned 35 in July. So I’m single according to state law. In the recycled? upcycled? repurposed stage. I think.

    I go to bed alone and get up alone and have lived more alone than as part of a couple.

    I want more than anything for the time spent on the porch with my gals to not be lost if there ever is a Mr. Wonderfully Repurposed for me. I think it is these relationships that will keep reminding me to see myself as God does…because honestly I don’t know how to enter the dating game feeling whole and loved.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Amen, sister. Yes- you are whole and loved and we’ll remind you as many times as you need to hear it.

  • di

    Single again after a 25 year marriage – didn’t marry until I was 25. I found a common thread through these posts – those who have accepted that they are single have moved on in their life with God. Yet they still have the thoughts and desires to be married. Those who continue to struggle with being single, I believe haven’t learned how to be complete in Him. This is something He wants for all of us weither we are single or married, male or female. As I have offered counsel to single and married women, holding on to “what we don’t have” keeps our focus on that fact. Moving forward and living the life He has given us, to be best of our ability, to glorify Him. When we start helping/serving others, we will find that nurturing aspect of our life being filled, the same way with working with children/youth, the mothering in us comes alive and we become fulfilled. Children were my struggle being childless in a marriage, and I became involved with the nursery at church and youth later on. He has lead me to counsel and encourage others, and recently He is leading me to teach. This is what I have learned over the last year – I have come to believe that He knows what’s best for me (I’ve messed my life up a few times on my own), and if He created me, I believe that He knows what is best for me and with that I have come to TRUST HIM with what is before me. We have the Holy Spirit who is our guide and it is in Him that we can walk the path of singlehood for however long it will be. I believe He gives us situations (trials) to grow us and we ask Him to take it away, instead of asking how can and/or what can we learn from this. Though at times it is difficult we should embrace our singlehood and make the best of it while it lasts. Like this blog – each of us can learn and encourage others through the trials of our lives, as so many have done. When I read “Letting God Meet Your Emotional Need” is when I realized until I let Him complete me, I would continue to look for someone to fill me (boyfriend/husband). It is in Him that I can face the possibility that I may never marry again, and though it doesn’t seem pleasant, I believe with all my heart that He knows what is best for me. It doesn’t means that I don’t long to be married again – I do – yet He knows the desires of my heart and I lay them in His hands daily. May Annie’s blog help us all with the struggles we face and encourage us with His strength.

    • Drey

      Agree!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Amen. Thank you.

  • http://www.beautyinhumbleplaces.blogspot.com Amber

    I’m 25 and single. According to my plans, I should be married with 2 children by now. But those were MY plans. They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. He was probably “LOL-ing” at what I thought I was supposed to do. I live in a small town. A lot of people I graduated with are married and having their second or third child. Some are engaged. Some are even divorced. And then there’s me. 25, single, and still living at home with my parents. No, this wasn’t what I had planned, but this is His plan. I tried it my way and only ended up with heartache and regret. 

    Seems like I get asked at least twice a week if I’m married or why am I not married. When I tell people I’m waiting on the Lord to bring me a husband, I get two responses: understanding with a pat in the back, or they look at me like I’m a two-headed monster. 

    You posted this blog at the right time. Lately I’ve been having a hard time with patience. It’s nice to see I’m not alone. 

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      You are not alone, Amber.

    • Shelly

      Yes, I feel you there. I know this sounds strange, but to hear you mention that you are with your parents still was so important to me, because it addresses a faction of young women that hasn’t been touched upon yet. I just moved out on my own in May of last year, and I hope you can do that someday, because it is another step in feeling that being single can be a good thing. I too am in a small town – the one I grew up in – and my job was eliminated in February, so I might also have to leave that atmosphere that I both love and hate. Age 26, all my friends are in other states, etc. The usual. :D

      And, if it helps, I HATE being patient! :D I’m currently dealing with that for employment reasons too, and it is so difficult. I’m finally learning to trust God, though.

      If you ever need to talk or vent with a similar-aged single lady, drop me a line. I’m not sure if it lets you see my email address, but I’d be happy to listen as a friend.

  • Sharon

    I have so many questions with being 51 and looking at being single again. How I wanted a long marriage to share with each other the depth of knowing one another and sharing that with others. All my life I dreamed of motherhood and children, there are none. Why was that dream planted so deep?

    Here I know face being alone….I have no family, literally. I spent Thanksgiving alone. It does seem married people and families don’t think about opening up their homes or families. I have a good church and they have been very supportive since my husband filed for divorce. But since they know both of us it’s like they don’t want to get involved. What’s there to get involved about…just be my family. I did have a great Christmas and spent time with friends and for that I rejoice, but even if I didn’t get an invite (that only came a couple days before Christmas) I was determined to have a Merry Christmas. I wasn’t going to allow Satan to steal that. I think this year I was more prepared for Christmas than I have ever been because i have had to lean into Him more, I was looking for Him in the unexpected and He does come.

    But I face many questions. (I’m on disability so I have a limited income). Where will I live. I think I should live here as there is a support group, the people I do know, the friendship possaibilities. But here in San Diego county it is cost prohibitive, yet I pray as I know God can provide if this is where He wants me to live. Other than that it’s a dartboard as to to where I will move. How I will live. I truly want a home. I’ve been a homeowner for 20 yrs (through 2 marriages now). the idea of returning to an apartment doesn’t sit well with me or my 2 cockers who are all I have. Will I have to give up the horses I’ve come to love and have been part of my lifestyle?

    Do I not know how to “choose” men? Is there a flaw in me that 2 husbands would walk away from our marriage and turn so ugly and hateful and hard hearted? The pain of being loved and than rejected aches deeper than any wound. It wounds me to see one who was walking with God seemingly turn their heart to stone.

    Is there a family or families that will allow me to be part of their lives as I hunger for family and the need to belong. I wish I had parents, siblings or others but I don’t, so why was there such a deep desire all my life for “family” and it keeps alluding me? Why have I now these health issues that limit my ability to be able to work and be able to provide my own living and take control of my own “destiny” as to a place to live and provide? That would even limit my ability to foster? I used to be called “Aunt Sharon” at church but that has been changing. I have found some girlfriends that I’d like to have and they say they want a friendship but it doesn’t happen as they spend time with their families or married friends. How come if there is a large gathering of “married friends” a single person can’t be included? I do fear growing old alone. I’ve decided I won’t let that happen. I’m going to keep pursuing friendships with girlfriends. Be active in my church and what little I can do with my health issues. I want, I need to be connected. I believe God wants that too, He is relational. But the most pressing questions in front of me is how I walk through this unwanted divorce as my husband grows uglier, when will I move (how hard it is to be living under the same roof still), where will I move, how will I afford it, will I be able to live alone with my health issues, who will be part of my life, what can I do…I have dear friends but most are scattered now across the U.S.

    I do know God is much more aware of these things than I am. As I’ve pressed into Him and asked some difficult questions He has revealed difficult things that I needed to know in order to move on. He will continue to reveal. I have to walk each step in obedience to Him. Somehow He will open the doors as to where He is leading.

    Most of all I desire connection, belonging. A group of girlfriends would thrill me.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      So many good questions. Really really.

      Thanks for your honest sharing, Sharon.

      Hope you’re planning on attending (in)RL in April… great way to meet a group of girlfriends for sure.

  • Tammy

    Annie,

    Thank you so much for starting this conversation. I replied to a couple of comments, but have to tell you that it is such a blessing, as a single-again woman, to find this community and be able to share with more than just a couple of single friends. I am so looking forward to what God will bring in 2012 and excited to take this journey along with you all!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I feel the same way, Tammy. Thank you.

  • Jess

    I’m single at 34! I was married for 7 years and have been divorced for 7 years. I am single, but far from alone…. I have a teenager, a toddler, a cat and a dog. I don’t know that I have time or room (in both my home & my heart) for a significant other. I’m on a journey to get back to myself. For so long I’ve made my being about other people that I’ve gotten lost in there somewhere. This post & discussion had come along at just the right time in my life. Isn’t God funny like that! I’m looking forward to it.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      God is funny like that, Jess. :)

  • http://zizzivivizz.com Sharone

    I was married most of my twenties, for seven years. After some rough times, my husband and I separated a little over a year ago. We were making a lot of progress in our couple’s counseling, but none of it changed my husband’s heart, and about two months ago, he asked me for a divorce. For the last year and a half I’ve felt like I’ve been in this weird liminal space, not single but not quite married. Now that there’s a definitive end (or at least seems that way), I feel even more displaced, especially in the Christian community. I still can’t call myself single, at least not in the sense that I feel anywhere near a place where I could think about another relationship, or how to find the right person, or anything like that. Like many other single people I do long for companionship and a family, and I am achingly lonely a lot of the time, but all of this pain is still far too fresh and will be for a while I think. So I guess the safe single space I envision for myself right now is one that isn’t so focused on being in or finding a relationship. It’s sort of a strange, inverse definition of a single space, given that the whole idea of being single is predicated on the absence of a relationship. Maybe it’s time for a new way of thinking about ourselves. Anyway, that’s where I am right now.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Praying for you, Sharone.

  • Andrea

    I wish I had known about this blog whenever I used to have those, “I hate being single, dangit, and I’m gonna wear red lipstick to prove that I don’t” kind of days. Gosh. Don’t write me off because I’m married – it’s only been seven months of marital bliss, after all.

    I loved being single (for the most part)! I obviously had my moments, but it was such a blessing to have time to get to know who I am in Christ, to find the identity that HE gave me, and to begin to pursue passions with Him alone. God promised me a husband eight years ago, and those eight years of waiting were priceless and often painful. I got to know my Savior. I got to know (and still know!) what He wants from me. During my last year as a single woman God asked me to pursue married friendships, no matter the cost. It meant giving up relationships that weren’t fruitful and beneficial to my heart, and digging in to ones that would teach me about marriage and God’s plan for it (even though I felt so far off from it). But I was OH SO SINGLE, and they were OH SO MARRIED. And GOD IS GOOD. I had the pleasure of learning the nitty gritty of marriage while I was living a (mostly) thrilling life full of adventure and free time. Life-long friendships were formed – I’m talking about those iron-clad friendships where differences and ages and babies didn’t matter. And one month before I moved nearly 1,000 miles away, I met my husband.

    I had words for God. His timing was not good for me, because I was on a (what I thought was HIS) mission, and in just a matter of weeks my husband and I knew we were going to be married. Five and a half months later we did marry, joining him, his two precious boys, and myself into a very happy little instant family.

    Yes, marriage (and being a mom! Wow!) is beautiful, but so is being single. I challenge you to dig deep – especially where it hurts, in that place where you feel like God may not come through on His promise to you. God took His sweet time in bringing me the fulfillment of His promise, and now that I have it, I get to find my identity in Him AGAIN, which really hasn’t changed at the core, but manifests differently because of a certain person called a husband and two certain littles called our boys. Be encouraged. God is near in both worlds of being single and being married. It’s finding Him and submitting to His will in whatever state you’re in that matters most to Him.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      That’s a good word- “I challenge you to dig deep – especially where it hurts, in that place where you feel like God may not come through on His promise to you.” I’ll be thinking about that for a while. Thank you, Andrea.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      LOVE the red lipstick comment. May have to start doing that.

  • CHRISTINE

    Dear Annie, thank you so much for writing this piece. I am single at 62 years of age, never been married. Watched all my friends get married, have children, then watched some of them get married and have children. I would LOVE to sit on the porch with you and other beautiful single ladies, because along with the heartache of not having anyone to call “my own” I also have the freedom to be ” me” and do what I want to do when I want to do it! More than anything else I miss having someone to talk to about the everyday things in life; memories, sunsets, creation, children, my plans for the future, my thoughts and pains. I also miss the comfort of a close male friend, someone to lean back into and be comfortable, someone to go out with to the theatre or for a meal, the male point of view when I want to discuss something. Anyway, I am really glad that you have invited me to sit on the porch with you, and I look forward to many happy times together. Christine

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      You are most welcome, Christine. :)

  • Lil Lyndon

    I don’t have a new story or a tragedy or anything that keeps me up at night but I do have this…I have faith that He who made me knows what is within me. And this catochismic mess that is hormones and striving for purity and loneliness that is stirred up daily is not new to my Papa. He knows. He remembers when His own Son felt lonely and He relates. He relates to small, infintismal me. And so? I’ll keep waiting :) it is good to know I’m not alone..

    • Drey

      Lovely.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Wow and yes and amen.

  • Jessica

    Thanks for just creating a place for us! I echo so many comments of women before me. As a 26-year old who feels like I’m surrounded by dating and married couples I know that single ladies go through such a range of emotions, and to hear that others know what you’re going through is good! Singleness is hard, but help us to truly seek Christ in it and live our lives for him whether or not he has someone “waiting” for us.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Good word, Jessica. That’s exactly right.

  • Jules

    Well first of all I’m glad to hear about a blog that is for singles…. I’m in my forties, never been married…never a been in a realtionship. Have had many friends just nothing has ever become serious… I have a best friend, I love him dearly but he feels different…
    Yes I’ve heard it all before, wait on God, sure I know but it’s hard to wait when everyone else is finding someone. However, I do trust in God and am waiting on his timing!!!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Oh girl. Guy BFFs are difficult waters. I know this from drowning a few times myself.

      Praying for you.

  • http://all4christjesus.webs.com/ Christ’s_Girly

    I’m 19, single and have never had a boyfriend. I’ve have a few crushes, but have always been fine with friendship. So many of my friends are either dating, engaged, married, or about to be married. Sometimes when talking to them and listening to them talk about their relationship and their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancee, I find myself wondering, “Will I ever have anyone to love me for who I am? Will I ever have a family like I have always dreamed?” I honestly am not in any hurry to get into a relationship or get married, but sometimes I still find myself wondering if I ever will. I dunno, I guess seeing others with someone so special to them makes me wish at times that I had someone too. I know God has a marvelous plan for my life and that it’s something more awesome than I can comprehend. I want what GOD wants for me, whatever it may be…and I pray that I will be open to His will and all.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Those are scary questions to ask, but worth thinking through.

      God DOES have a marvelous plan for your life. For sure.

  • http://rcspcss8.blogspot.com Reese

    Hi! Woah, someone opened a can of …. singles. : ) I am 35, single, and I love brussel sprouts. I have experienced “lonely” during this season. I .know.lonely. Therefore, I cannot STAND to bare the thought of anyone else knowing how it feels. I am highly-sensitive to other singles and widows.

    you have to reach out, be uncomfortable, and like the Nester said yesterday, “The risk is worth it.” …. chances are, the other person dude/or dudette is just as nervous.

    I am praying for you, me, and our future husbands. : )

    • http://rcspcss8.blogspot.com Reese

      AND… confession: I have registered with eHarmony twice but never completed the membership process because I’m skrrrrd. : ) hehe

      • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

        do. it. :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Opened up a can FOR REALZ. I had no idea this many women were ready to talk about it. That’s a big screened-in porch. :)

  • Nyncke

    I am 28, single and Dutch. In Holland we don’t have à lot of christian blogs. So it is great to come here and find your thoughts and advice. I really relate to the comment that I need to learn to become dependent again. And I really like the solution of friends lending me their husband :) My sisters are actually great in this.

    But most of all I need an example, someone to look up to. If I were married I could ask my mom for advice and use her or my sisters as my example. But I notice that they also don’t knowhow to help me with my single struggles. This is a great place to find just that! Thank you for that!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      We’re here for you, Nyncke.

  • terrilynn

    I’m 45 for a few more days; 46 on the 4th of Jan. I’ve been divorced for 2.5 years after a 24 year marriage, but we were separated for 3 years before the divorce. When I went through Divorce Care at our church (something I highly recommend for anyone who is contemplating, getting, or has gotten a divorce – even if you are the one who wants the divorce) one of the things they suggested was to remain single for at least a month for every year you were married. I couldn’t conceive of not having a man in my life for 2 years. I didn’t think I could survive – and that’s not flippant, it’s fact. Now I’m 2.5 years down this path of singleness and grateful that God has given me this time for just He and me. Time for healing and renewing – not only in me, but for my children as well. Time to enrich my life with His word, trading in a lifetime of lies for the sweet sweet Truth, and create in me a new heart.

    There are all kinds of singleness – and there are all kinds of marriages. Mine wasn’t godly, although there was plenty of religiosity. I didn’t think it possible that I could ever say I am grateful for my singleness, but I am. It isn’t that I don’t crave companionship, partnership and mutual affection – I surely do, with a godly man. They are the desires of my heart. But it’s different now. Before, I thought I couldn’t survive without a man in my life – even if he was abusive to me. Now, I know God as Jehovah Jireh; Provider – there isn’t any need He doesn’t meet. He has met every need during my singleness – including every need since I was laid-off in March. It hasn’t always been cotton candy and rainbows – but it’s always been constant and sure. And that’s the kind of love I’m learning about giving, and the kind I’m willing to wait for.

    I am glad to be among y’all. A little different circumstance, but sharing many of the same questions and desires as the women who have commented before me. I know I didn’t happen here by chance – and I love how He loves me like that. :)

    • Drey

      I like!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Great reminder- that God is our Jehovah Jireh.

    • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy June

      I’m with you! Divorced after many years of religiosity and abuse. God is faithful and now the divorce I never wanted I can now view as the keys to release me from bondage. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.brokengirl.org Keri

      I agree with you on Divorce Care. I wouldn’t have survived my divorce without it. Highly recommend!!

      You’re story is so similar to mine except you’re a bit further ahead on the journey. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessica

    Hi!
    I’m 27 and have been to so many weddings over the past few years. I’m happy single but a few years down the line I know that my plans for life involve being in a loving marriage.
    I’d love to hear other people’s journeys of healing past hurts, anxieties and fears to do with relationships. For me to jump onto the dating wagon would take a lot of courage!

    • http://dailyrefined.blogspot.com Leigh Kay

      Oh Jessica! I completely relate to everything you’ve said! Let’s gather that courage together, shall we. I know it will take much for me too. :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Jump on that dating wagon, sister. :)

  • http://weavingasimplelife.blogspot.com Elaina

    Annie, I’m so happy that you’ll be writing about this. I will come back a little later and read more of the comments. But I wanted to reply briefly.

    I am 35 and never married. This last birthday has been the hardest yet. Something about that 35 number hit me in a weird way. Being single at 35 when two of the four of my life’s greatest desires elude me still (being a wife & mom), has felt icky in a way I didn’t expect.

    One of the things I struggle most with is the number of people who tell me it “will happen” simply because it did for them. They have this view of God that convinces them He doesn’t ever allow us to experience the discomfort and pain of unfulfilled dreams. This is not the case. I don’t know how to talk to fellow Christians (married ones) that talk to me as if it’s inevitable that I will marry. That’s what I want! But I don’t know God’s mind. I don’t know what He has in store for me. When do I decide to live now? When do I decide to provide parent-less children with a forever home – in spite of not having a husband?

    How do I tell those well-meaning believers that they’re not helping when they say it “will” happen? If I decide to adopt, how do I “defend” (for lack of a better word) doing so when I know some people will look down on that choice because I am single?

    And lastly, when I’ve had a struggling relationship with my Heavenly Father because of some things that have happened in the not too distant past, and a mustard seed faith that is slowly growing back to what it once was, how do I wrap my brain around a God that doesn’t say yes to this prayer and dream?

    • http://dailyrefined.blogspot.com Leigh Kay

      “One of the things I struggle most with is the number of people who tell me it “will happen” simply because it did for them…That’s what I want! But I don’t know God’s mind. I don’t know what He has in store for me. ”
      Oh Elaina! How beautifully said. I’ve thought those very same thoughts sister, you are not alone in that. I think that is very wise and full of trust! You know God’s plans outweigh the good intentions but possibly misspoken words of others. I don’t mean to say they are wrong, because we cannot know! That is the point. But knowing that God has your days, and loving Him and yearning for His desires above all others, including our own – that, sister is the mark of truth faith. I know that is credited to you as righteousness. How beautiful!
      I will be praying for you, that you are able to wrap your brain, heart, spirit and arms around The Father who has fashioned your beginning, is present in your “now”, and has distinct and lovely plans for your future. Whatever that may look like, it is set to bring greatest glory to His name through your life and through the worship you bring to Him. Keep holding firm to Him. He has never stopped, nor will He ever, holding you with His right hand.

      Let’s keep traveling this path together. Learning how to follow His way in all situations. :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Super great thoughts, Elaina.

      And yes- one of my PET PEEVES is when people say “it will happen” because I’m like, “What do YOU know that I don’t know about my life????” :)

      Praying for you.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      agree agree agree!

      as for “defending” adoption, I’ve got an amazing friend who not only adopted as a single woman, she did it twice, and BOTH of her girls are special needs to boot! She inspired me to write a novel about it. It’s not quite finished, but about 3/4 of the way there. It may have nuggets for you if and when the time comes.

      One thought if you do decide to pursue it, flat out tell people that God commands us to care for the orphans and that there is no contingency on that command that it only applies to married couples. :)

  • Shay

    I am single. I would LOVE to hear from some single men on this topic! There are several single woman at church that I can talk with, but I am always curious to hear from the men. Do they feel the same way we do? Do they pray for girl that God has chosen for them? How do they “search” for that girl?

    • http://bahava.wordpress.com katy

      Great idea! It would definitely be interesting to hear from single men–sometimes I wonder if they really are out there ;)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      That’s a great idea. Thank you, Shay!

  • http://kerrisblogofrandomness.blogspot.com Kerri

    Well.
    I just want to say thank you, for bringing it up.
    I know *exactly* how you feel, though I have a little more experience and have logged more years in this particular camp. But I know. And I appreciate your candor. And I’m grateful that you put into words exactly how I feel lots of the time.
    Just wanted to put my arm on your shoulder and say, I’m with ‘ya.
    And thanks.
    And, PS. Go Dawgs. :)

    • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda @TripleBraided

      Kerri, I saw “Go Dawgs” and had to say it back! “Go Dawgs”!! I’m a Bulldawg, too!!

      :-)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      GO DAWGS! :)

      Thanks, Kerri. We’re definitely getting a conversation started. Glad you’re a part.

  • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

    Annie, you don’t know how happy I am to see singles addressed in this way. So often, we’re not. I have to filter blog posts, articles, sermons, and so on to see how they apply to me as a single, as the application points seem primarily directed toward the married and parenting folks. Sometimes I don’t want to do all the work. I want people to address the singles, even if they’re not sure what to say. And I don’t want people to assume that everyone who is single will one day get married. I know too many fabulous single women for that to be true- we don’t understand why we haven’t been snapped up by Mr. Right yet but we are not incomplete in spite of not having a spouse. The fact that (in)courage is intentionally reaching out means so much.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Love to you, friend. Glad you’re on this journey with us.

  • Sandi from South Carolina

    Yes, I am single … again, a widow and single, But I have resigned to the fact that I will be that way until God wants to change things. I get a little down sometimes when I do my service at my church .. music director.. and everyone is paired off except me and everything we do I go it alone, but that is the way He wants it right now. My drive is all for Him and not for an earthly one. He’s worth it all, wouldn’t you say?

    • http://dailyrefined.blogspot.com Leigh Kay

      Sandi, I had to comment. What beautiful faith and words of a devoted daughter to a King who loves you and knows your desires. Your heart is His and He will continue to handle it with precious care! I just felt the urge to exhort you and encourage your open heart. Thank you for modeling this faith. I feel honored you’ve come to share it here.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      He is worth it all. Yes ma’am.

  • http://dailyrefined.blogspot.com Leigh Kay

    Hi Annie! Hi sisters! :) Roll call in progress? Count me as “present” please. I’m 29, single, never married, can count my “suitors” (if you can call them that anyway) on one hand, and by the grace of God & contrary to the opinions of most everyone I know who isn’t single – I’m not curled up in a ball, lamenting every day. I’m not shaking my fist heavenward asking “Why?”, nor do I feel incomplete by filing tax returns for one or cooking small meals.
    Honest? Do I want a marriage and a family? Do I want a full home others can come to for holidays and warmth? Absolutely!! I’ll eagerly admit that truth of my heart. It’s always been a dream of mine, among other aspects of that life. But it isn’t my life yet. And I can’t argue with God’s timing. I mean, I could, but where would that get me other than discontented?

    I’ve learned His compelte provision, despite how different my life may look on any given day. different than what I imagined, years ago, it would be by this age. I don’t have every answer. And I still am human and have days where the yearning is stronger than my understanding of His plans and timing. But I am content. I am not running wild trying to force a hand (whatever that means anyway). And that is my Father’s doing — His Spirit within me — filling those places. I cannot claim maturity outside of Him!

    I love that incourage is a community for all women, at varying stages of life. I love that we, as a body, are meeting the needs of one another in encouragement. It is as He will us to be. How wonderful! Thank you Annie. Thank you for your vulnerability and willingness to walk onto the porch and into the open spaces of realness with us all. I am excited to see where this leads. Let’s talk ladies!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Beautiful stuff, Leigh Kay.

  • Shannon M

    Love that incourage is doing this. I’m 35, never dated, single and would like to marry . Right now, been just working on the Lord and myself while attempting to not look and to not get emotionally involved more than I should. I’ve gone down the “emotional” affair route one too many times.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Amen, sister. Hang in there, Shannon.

  • Elizabeth Holmes

    Will there be stuff for married women too in 2012?

    • http://www.thegypsymama.com Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama

      You know it!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I hope so! I wanna glean all the info I can from these wise wives in our midst!

  • http://www.worthyoftheprize.com Erin Franklin

    This is fabulous! I am going to share it on my ministry page, Worthy of the Prize. I really love the part about uniting single and married women. It is so important for us to remember that we share the same goal of making His name famous and that we need to encourage one another on our journeys. Thanks!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Totally. I LOVE our married (in)courage girls and they are some of my very best friends. Can’t wait to see how God uses our differences to make us better supporters for each other.

  • http://www.tothinkistocreate.com Arianne

    Love you, Annie. This is an amazing post. I, too, am listening closely and want to learn how to support my single sisters well. <3

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thank you, friend. Love you too.

  • http://bahava.wordpress.com katy

    Thank you. Seriously. for writing this and for acknowledging our presence here…I’ve wrestled before with even showing up here because of fighting the feeling of lacking a place amongst all the adorable wives and mommies that grace this place. But, yes, I’m still here. =)

    As for questions and thoughts, I’m blown away by all the amazing comments above and by just even the sheer number of women who have gathered around. I echo many of their responses. So thankful to be able to read through them and glean wisdom and soak up that even in the hard and the lonely that there are others out battling it too.

    • http://www.thegypsymama.com Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama

      Thank you for sticking with us, Katy. The Lord was pretty clear that this was a topic He wanted (in)courage to start talking about more and a community of his daughters that He loves dearly. We’re sorry it’s taken us a while, but so glad to be able to hang out on the porch with you now and just listen and offer you cookies and learn how to love you better!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Love you, Katy.

  • http://www.kirstenslife.wordpress.com Kirsten

    Thank-you! I was beginning to feel like I was the only single lady left! Not true, I know, but all of my friends are married and about half have kids. I’m fast approaching 30 and nothing on the horizon. So, thanks, I think I needed to hear this today :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Not true at all, Kirsten. We’re all in this together… cue High School Musical. :)

  • heidi

    I spent my entire season of being single (a VERY long one!) stressing and worrying that I would never find someone and would die alone. Eventually, I did find that special someone, and now I look back on my season of singleness and regret that I did not cherish it. Even though it felt waaaay too long for my own impatient timing, it was still a magical season and I definitely didn’t appreciate it or be present to it in the way I should have…. I was too busy trying to rush ahead.

    In retrospect, of course, God’s timing was perfect!

    So cherish this season of being single girls, it will be a memory all too soon

    • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda @TripleBraided

      Heidi, I did the same thing. Oh, all I could have done!! But you are right, God’s timing and plan is perfect!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I’m working SO HARD not to do that, Heidi. Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://www.leafbyjana.com Jana

    Annie, I love the “Turducken” of fear. :-). I am 32, never married, and no prospects. My darling younger sister met the love of her life this year and will likely be married by year’s end, and I’m afraid…we have helped each other through our single years, and though many close friends have married, we have always stuck it out together. I fear this year. I am afraid I will not be strong enough.

    Like many of you, my life preassumed marriage, homemaking, children…and now I am facing the narrowing years and new world of singlehood. I never wanted to be a full-time corporate worker…I am nearing five years at an office job, and trying to figure out if there is a possibility of change for me to ever work in a field that I love and feel made for as much as hospitality, homemaking, and caring for children.

    It’s so easy to feel lost, trapped, and disappointed with the life that I have, and yet it is not a bad life.

    Thanks for reaching out. I will be listening!

    Jana

    • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com Brenda @TripleBraided

      Jana, this was my story! (and in some ways still is – no children and desire more than anything to be a homemaker full-time). I wish I had the “perfect answer”, but for now know that I understand where you are!!

      :-) Brenda

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Glad you along with us, Jana.

  • http://rvharrison.wordpress.com rach

    20 years old and single as charged :)

    I’ve got to that point where lots of my friends are getting together and others are looking towards marriage when we graduate in a year and a half. One of the first questions I often get asked when returning to my home town at holidays is whether or not I’ve found a boyfriend yet – not helpful!
    While there are times when it is difficult to be single and there is a part of me that wants a husband and family, it’s often even more difficult to explain to people and have them accept that I am happy to be single at this time, that I believe it is God’s plan for me just now, and that I am content to wait on Him to give me a husband – or not!
    I’ve never been on a date, I’ve never been kissed, and the world tells me there’s something wrong with this. It often feels that the church is telling me there’s something wrong with this too. But I’m convinced that this time, and the years ahead (admitting this isn’t temporary is particularly difficult), are about God moulding me and teaching my who I am in Him. I know that if there was a guy in the picture, my eyes and heart would be taken from God and fixed on him and there is nothing I want less. So I’ll wait for God to do His thing, I’ll follow Him on this beautiful adventure He is paving, and I’ll wait until He says I am ready, in the knowledge that that day may never quite arrive.
    As for your questions Annie, I think asking them is one of the most important things you could have done for us! It so often feels like you’re the only single left so bringing us out of the woodwork is a beautiful thing. I think I’d find it most helpful to talk about holding the tension of finding identity in God and using the blessing that is the single life while still wanting marriage and preparing for that – the now and the not yet. Also love the idea of the finding out how single men deal with all this!
    Thank you Annie!

    • http://rcspcss8.blogspot.com Reese

      You’re awesome, Rach! : )

    • Beth Williams

      Rach,

      You are soo wise beyond your years! I was single & unkissed for 39 years–didn’t even date for 36 years. Wanted a truly Godly man & all I saw out there were “unGodly, worldly” men who cared about nothing but themselves–NO THANKS!

      Praying that you can grow in Him and find your true identity! If anyone asks you can say that right now you’re “Married to the King of Kings” and doing His work!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Great thoughts, Rach. And yes- we have come out of the woodwork like roaches. :) And for that, I am grateful.

  • http://stacijbrown.blogspot.com Staci Brown

    I feel like I couldn’t have written most of the comments left here. I’m 35 and never married. Oh, I’ve been on puh-lenty of first dates. Done the whole internet dating thing, been set up by a “friend of a friend”…all with less than desirable outcomes :)

    For the last year, I’ve been on a dating sabbatical. I didn’t really do anything super religious, it was just a chance that I gave myself permission to NOT feel like I had to “be on” all the time or feel like I had to always be on the look out for “him”. And honestly, it was such a nice break! Now my year is up and I’m back to square one…knowing that I still have the intense desire to be a WIFE but no prospects on the horizon.

    Ideally, I want God to bring “him” to my front door :) But, surprisingly, that hasn’t happened yet! Go figure. And if I’m being real honest, I’ve kinda gotten tired about praying about it. Mainly because praying about the same thing with no results is exhausting. It makes me wonder if this is something God has just chosen not to bless me with? (Please say no, please say no!)

    Whew…thanks for letting me vent :) Can’t wait to read more about this!!

    • http://stacijbrown.blogspot.com Staci Brown

      That first sentence was supposed to say COULD HAVE!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I think we’d be good friends, Staci.

      • http://stacijbrown.blogspot.com Staci Brown

        That’d be great!! I need more single girl friends :)

  • Beth Williams

    I was single for 39–yes 39 years. I just kept praying hard for God to lead someone to me. I wanted a Christian man who would be there for me in the good, bad & ugly–like when my parents got sick & mom died.

    A friend led me to Yahoo Personals, I know I know, online dating can be dangerous. I looked at some the got brave and put up a moniker. Had some dates, nothing serious. Changed my moniker to “Old Fashioned Girl Seeks Pearl”. Worked like a charm. My now hubby wrote me for 3 weeks then we met. Long story short 10 weeks later we married and have been happily married going on 8 years now.

    Being single has its advantages. You have more time to devote to God and His activities. My advice is to pray and ask God for His will in your life. Enjoy your singleness while you have it–Don’t get to impatient!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I LOVE your story, Beth. Way to be brave!

      Thank you for sharing.

  • Savannah

    This is so great! I love hearing that people in their 20s have never dated becasue I’m 26 and haven’t either, no ones asked. I wonder what’s wrong with me?
    I want to fall in love, I want to get married but when no one is trying to date you what’s a girl to do?
    I live in a rural area and there isn’t a lot of dudes. 
    I’m prone to crushes and they do just that CRUSH.there’s a certain Christian celebrity right now that WOW is impressive and I have to keep telling  “girl, you don’t know him and most likely never will, get over it!” 
    I’m interested in reading any advice in courage will talk about :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Oh, Savannah. We’re gonna talk about it. :)

  • http://girlplusgrace.com Mari

    Just turned 30 and very much single.

    I am so glad to read all the other commenters who are also single b/c reading christian women’s blogs can leave me feeling as if I am alone in my singleness. Looking forward to see more articles on singleness at (in)Courage, which I love!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thank you, Mari.

  • Catherine

    I haven’t read all 200+ comments, so forgive me if I am repeating what others have shared. I’m 57, single, and content. Some would read that last part as accepting that I’m not married, but that’s not it at all. I mean that I am content, happy and actually enjoying being single. I can’t take credit for it because I never had to make a decision or accept or settle for singleness. It is not the absence of a desire fulfilled. I’ve never had any desire to marry or have children. Too often singleness is presented as something you endure until you are able to find a marriage partner.

    I’ve found that the needs of single women aren’t all that different from those of married women. We all long for meaning and intimacy and relationship – we just find those things in different ways. I have single friends, widowed friends, divorced friends and married friends. My friends are all amazing – warm, caring, faithful, consistent, transparent and loving. God uses us in each other’s lives to be light, to help carry burdens and to share our journey in God together.

    I always find encouragement and insight in the posts from (in)courage. Keep doing what you’re doing because it seems to be working!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thank you for your honest thoughts, Catherine. I love hearing from women who are CONTENT…. something we all- married or single- need to grasp I think.

  • Tiffany

    What a great post Annie! It totally encouraged me and lifted my spirit today! I am 26 and single, and I recently moved states away from my family and friends for a great job at a church…out in the country! I love being in full time ministry, but reading these comments helped me realize that there is so much MORE that I could be adding to my adventure with the King of the Universe :)

    Most of my friends that are my age are married and busy with their lives, which leaves me with a lot of recently graduated college students who always want to hang out, but I really miss having relationships with girls my own age.

    I am really looking forward to seeing more for the single gals on (in)courage! Thanks for reserving the porch for us today :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Tiffany, the porch is ours whenever we want it. :)

      • Tiffany

        So excited about that! :)

  • http://www.getbusyliving.org Jess

    Oh man- I LOVE this!!! Does anyone else ever get the feeling that to be single (or widowed, in my case), Christian, and over say…25…is like having something terrible wrong with you? Or that you’re so far behind in life? Most of the Christian women I know who are my age (30) have several kids and have been stay-at-home moms for years now. It’s kind of a bizarre feeling…but at the same time, i don’t really FEEL 30 – but hey, 30 is the new 20, right?

    • http://reb2911.blogspot.com Rebekah

      so sorry for your loss, jess. and yes. i totally get the “there has to be something wrong with you.” feeling a lot.

      that’s when it’s a struggle to remember there is nothing wrong with me. i count because i’m His.

      thanks for sharing :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Jess, thanks for your honesty. And yes- I totally know that feeling.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you. :)

  • Becca

    So thankful for this today. It’s hard going through tough times alone. I am so blessed that I have good friends and family but we just found out my dad has esophageal cancer and I so desperately want someone to go home to at night. Clinging to His promises…

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Keep clinging, Becca.

      Praying for your dad.

  • Morgan

    Hey, all,
    I just wanted to throw a couple things out there, as I got married @ 30 so I was single for a long while, too..
    Also, I keep seeing here a few people put that they’re waiting to live their lives. While I know for me or anyone to say, “just live your life!,” is easier said than done.. Let me tell you a little something about how I’m currentling “living my life” with a husband and two young kids under 4. (boys, I might add)..

    This is certainly not a message to complain or kavetch, by the way, but just as a statement that, with marriage and kids come a gigantic, gargantuan slew of responsibilities. I think any mom can agree w/ me that if you have any kids under 4, you have no life. Baking? barely. showering? if I’m lucky. Make-up? … huh? what’s that? (and I used to be known as ‘the make-up queen’. dates? NON-EXISTENT. And there simply aren’t hours in the day to do all the things I need to do in the house.

    The point I’m trying to make is that I’m trying to ‘start my life’, too. And I promise you, not being married isn’t stopping your life. I, for a time, thought my issues w/ my husband were stopping my life. Then it was my kids. Then it was my weight. I honestly don’t think anyone is truly happy (namely me) unless we are in close relationship with God, – meaning spending good time w/ Him every day and reading the Bible. I am #1 guilty of this.

    But at around 28 or so, I finally started saying.. you know hopefully I’ll be married someday, but in the meantime, I’m going to try and do the things I won’t be able to do when I’m married.
    Also, I read a book that was simply fabulous. It was a Christian-based book, but I’m not sure of the name. The basic premise was .. that people don’t meet and date and marry, largely because they’re just not meeting enough people on a weekly basis. I think the goal the author set was for the reader to meet at least 5 new people a week, and by the time the meeting is over, they should know 3 things about you: You Name, One Thing that is Interesting about You, and a Way to Contact You.

    I started meeting people and being a little more bold. (not overly flirtatious, not rude, not inappropriate, but BOLD). I am a huge fan of the man pursuing, too, and let me tell you something else girls..
    I dated a LOT of people and yes, I knew my husband was the one pretty much as soon as we started dating (met online by the way at loveandseek.com) – but if a guy leaves you room to question if he’s completely interested in a serious relationship, I’m telling you, he’s not interested in a serious relationship. That’s the way guys are. I really think God kind of puts it in them to search out a wife and they know beyond the shadow of a doubt, at any given time, whether they want to be with that person or not.

    The reason a lot of them seem confused and maybe not all that into you…. is that they’re not. There is just one man, typically, that is. I’m not going to get much into the whole, is there just one person for me thing.. I do think that God provides for us though, and at 28 or so I figured that if God had given me a desire to be married and have kids, there was likely a reason for that.

    But I’m just here to tell you, your life pretty much seems to stop at many places in your life – infidelity, horrible c-sections, onset of autoimmune diseases, having an autistic child, (which btw makes things extremely difficult in a marriage, often ending in divorce – more often than not), I can promise you that when you’re married, more often than not, you’re not thinking about how you’re actually sharing your life w/ someone. And many times when you do, you just wish you weren’t – because you have to share their problems as well as their benefits. And their problems seem to weigh a lot more. Emotional imbalance, (which is rampant now), anxiety, depression, travelling for his job, major in-law problems, not having friends in your area, judgement by other moms, being in snobby area, being in the backwoods where people just stare @ you, .. not being near family, not having help w/ the kids, money disagreements, working through past baggage, (parental baggage and previous relationship or marriage baggage).

    Oh yea, and not having anything for yourself. Women have a tendency to take care of everyone else before themselves. It’s very easy to just simply not take care of yourself. And very difficult to counteract that and actually start learning to take care of yourself. (if you can find the time)

    I read a bunch of the posts on here and I tried to read all, but… frankly, I need to get three different dinners ready.:)

    I don’t at all mean to appear as an negative, unthankful person. But at the very least, this will give you a few things to pray about pre-marriage.
    And by all means, start living your life now, because you’re a whole person. When you get married, you feel extremely cramped (or at least you do in a year or two) and you simply CANNOT do the things you wanted to.

    No one’s saying anyone’s life is better or worse, I’m just saying, I still think to myself, “okay, when can I start living??”
    Just food for thought.

    • Drey

      You have been quite real to me. I really enjoyed this comment.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Great comment!

      I’m actually reading that book now- How To Get A Date Worth Keeping. It is AMAZING.

      Really great thoughts, Morgan. Thank you!

  • http://reb2911.blogspot.com Rebekah

    wowsa, there are a lot of us singletons, aren’t there? i’m 28, never been on a date. ever. and used to have a REAL problem with being single.

    i heard todd agnew comment one time at a concert that every unmarried Christian wants Christ to come back. just let them get married first. HA!! i used to give a hearty amen to that, but since doing kelly minter’s ‘no other gods’ study last year, i’ve come to a more accepting place that right now i’m supposed to be single. i had made marriage into an idol and worshipped in its temple for FAR too long. {basically the idea that a husband will solve all my problems. or, once i have kids, there goes all my problems, or the right job, etc.} i do have a desire in my heart to be married and have kids, but who knows…some day He may change that desire.

    while i’ve been unusually fine with being single the past year and a half or so, i still have moments of throwing a huge “i want a husband, why hasn’t he shown up yet’ pity party. particularly the past two weeks when 10 people in my social circle have become engaged. one being my little sister. (even though, YEAH MY LITTLE SISTER IS ENGAGED!!!!)

    as others have mentioned, when married friends include us, that goes SO FAR. when i lived in dallas, i had married couples that involved me just like i was their family. it was AWESOME. since moving back to mississippi, not so much. i have theories that are too advanced to go into right here, but i feel like i’m seen as defective sometimes by my friends and the Church. like, just because i’m single, i can’t tell girls how to live a life that honors God {or something}.

    thanks for opening the door to the beach house even wider. i feel like (in)courage was great before but has now taken (or is taking) some steps that will make it even more inviting for every woman :)

    kudos annie. you (and all these other ladies that have commented) are the awesome sauce :)

    p.s. i’m not sure i answered a single question…apart from “are there any single gals out there?” :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      You’re awesome, Rebekah. But you know that already.

  • MNF

    Wow, what a conversation! For those women who want to be a support to single women, I have found that I feel the most loved and most a PART OF SOMETHING when my couple friends invite me to whatever it is they’re doing. Asking me to be a part of their family functions, meet them for dinner, whatever. One of the most hurtful things is when you only see your married friends when there’s a “girl’s night”. Every night is a girls night for me and those nights are wonderful, but I want to be a part of my friends’ everyday lives. I want to hear about their ups and downs and be their friend in all areas. I want to do life with my friends….not just coffee and dinner dates as “girlfriends”. Ask me to do things with your family. Don’t do couples only things. It may seem more natural and comfortable, but it’s wounding and isolating to those you care for but leave out.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      You’re so right. Great point. Thanks, MNF.

  • http://laurenjeanstm.blogspot.com Lauren Jean

    So glad to have just found this site, and all you ladies! I’m 23 and have never been in any relationship. So I could certainly use all the help and support in this area! Can’t wait to get to know all of you better!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Welcome, Lauren Jean! Love that you are here.

  • http://4disposablewomen.blogspot.com/ Caryn

    Wow! Wow! Wow!. My marital status is single, a never married mom. I’m 51 and I still believe that there is someone for me. However, my marital status does not define me, and believe me, I could not have said that a few years ago. I know God has a plan for me, an amazing plan, and whether or not that plan includes a husband, I still want his plan. Recently, as I was praying for that long awaited husband, God laid it on my heart to instead of praying for a husband to love, to just pray for someone to love. No clue what that could mean.
    I am looking forward (in)courage to what ever you are cooking up for us single gals. Sooo nice to be noticed. :)
    Caryn

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Oh, girl. I love when God takes our prayers and shifts them in the direction of His heart. Can’t wait to hear what this means for you, Caryn.

  • http://www.jbryantwrites.com Jennifer Bryant

    I’m pretty excited that (in)courage is reaching out to the single ladies. It’s nice to know we have a place on that porch too. Can’t wait to see what is in store for 2012.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      You are welcome here, Jennifer.

  • http://accordingtocarey.com Carey

    Thanks for opening up this discussion because it is talked of so seldom, it almost feels taboo. It is the *one thing* that I feel gets overlooked in women’s groups.

    I’m 40 years old, never married and no kids. I have moments when I am so grateful for my singleness, the opportunities it has afforded and at times I can even see God’s wisdom in it all.

    There are other moments when I wonder…. why? when? how? Am I really that unlovable? Am I doing something wrong? But I always come back to the same answers: God is sovereign, He knows best. I know for some that is a tough pill to swallow, but for me it is a comfort that I wrap around myself and I can rest at night knowing that He is in control, not me.

    So to answer your questions: What do I need to hear more of? Conversations that apply, no matter what your walk of life. Topics that apply to all women.

    And more sharing and honesty, like the single brave souls that have commented on this post. It’s so encouraging to read others’ stories, their struggles and their wisdom. We single gals are not the most outspoken group, maybe we need to get past that, and opportunities like this can help change that.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Reading all these stories today has been unbearably beautiful. You are so right.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you, Carey!

  • Liza

    Absolutely a single girl (5 years running). I think a great way to be supported would be to feature other girls; I mean I would love just to see the pictures, jobs and favorite movies of other single girls…something to connect to if you will. I think you are similar to me in this that I would love to talk about the difficulty of being a sucessful, career driven woman who still wants to be married and have children. Sometimes, I fear my independence pushes guys away who are looking for a more submissive girl if that makes sense. I almost feel guilty that I’m so driven for my successes and comfortable (most days) in my single life, that I don’t “need” a boyfriend. I’d like to know how courtship looks for an older woman (25-35); how long did you date, before engagement and marriage as I struggle with not seeing myself dating someone for 3 years, being engaged for 2 and then getting married. I suppose I need someone to tell me it’s okay…that never gets old and to stop comparing myself to other women. God created me in his divine imagine and he also created a man who’s divine image of a woman is me. Trust in that. Looking forward to all you do, thanks for your honesty!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Hey Liza. It’s okay. Stop comparing yourself to other women. God created you in His divine image and He also created a man who’s divine image of a woman is you. Trust in that.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      ooohhhh the other girls thing would be fantastic!!

      Annie, perhaps a list of questions could be generated and you/we could highlight one single gal a week or month and find ways to continue the conversations on more specific topics. hmmmmmmm.

  • Anonymous

    Can we have a honesty conversation about online dating? How does that look in the content of a Christian life…does it, if at all? Does it become an issue of me not trusting God and taking things into my own hands or broading my horizon in my city? I feel like I’ve never received a frank answer to that question. It’s something most Christians are afraid to speak of unfortunately.

    • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy June

      Abraham trust Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac. I think if you trust the source, online dating is a viable option. My thoughts would be to consider you own needs, your own ability to trust and take it from screen-time to face-time so that there is no dilemma created with a false sense of reality.

      I know two couples, godly and well discipled who met and married through online matching services.

      This is just my two cents!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Great questions, Anonymous.

      I’m reading a book right now called How To Get A Date Worth Keeping and he has a whole chapter on online dating. Worth a read.

      And yes- we’ll talk more about this in the future for sure.

  • http://stregerlady.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Hello. My name is Jennifer, and I’m a 38 year old single.
    Yes, I’m trying to make a joke, but the truth is, being single often feels like something to be ashamed of, we need a support group like AA to help carry us through.
    I am encouraged to see this post today and all the comments, proof that I am not alone; that in and of itself is a great help.
    To sort of answer your questions, I would like to brain-storm ideas of how we can help the church to stop alienating us. No, we don’t fit a neat and tidy demographic, but that isn’t a reason to ignore the singles, especially those of us in the 28+ crowd.
    There is power in numbers and knowing you are not alone; we can spur each other on to live fully regardless of the circumstances. Another gal commented that she ‘got on with her life.’ I’d like to hear how others are doing just that. While I think I am a good portion of the time, I’d love to be inspired by others.
    I wrote a blog post a couple months ago that really hit home with people:
    http://stregerlady.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-profound-thought-for-year.html
    I have friends who struggle with the questions of “what if…” and “If only…”
    I struggle more with being tired – tired of being resilient, self-reliant, the only decision maker, etc. How do we balance it all? Working full-time, home maintenance, laundry, cooking, participating in church, having a social life and hobbies?
    And I find myself in a new phase of life where several of my single gal pals in town have gotten married and started families in the past five years, my other single friends live around the world – literally. I need to make some new friends, and at 38, I don’t know how to do it anymore. I can’t go out to the playground and walk up to the other girl in pigtails and ask “Wanna be friends?” And so I cram more things into my already busy life hoping to meet other single gals, who can relate, who can stay out past bedtimes and see a movie, who can say – “I’m with ya, sister!” It would be lovely if {in}courage could be part of that community of sisters cheering each other on in this crazy adventure of life.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      We’re here for you, Jennifer. I get that feeling of being tired…. I really do.

  • Jennifer

    This is so encouraging to me. I’m 30 and single and struggle to trust God’s plan for my life in this area specifically. It doesn’t help that I’m home for the holidays and am surrounded by couples and wedding planning for a family member. I want more than anything to be content with where I am currently and happy for all the people in my life getting married, but it seems to be getting more and more difficult. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here and just say thank you for writing. Thank you for letting those of us single Christian women out there know that we’re not alone in the range of emotions that we go through. :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Oh the range. Tis a wide range. :)

      Hang in there, Jennifer.

  • Glennis Boyd

    Hi There.
    My heart goes out to you all! I WAS single for 42 years!!!
    I had prophecies saying I would marry later on in life! I had sisters saying don’t you think you should settle down and get a unit….It’s never going to happen!
    I always felt the third wheel at church functions or that all the loser guys were the ones for me and my ideals were too high….BUT I kept hangin on and trusting….THEN my Mother died and I injured my back nursing ( I had ‘filled in’ my time being invleved in Leadreship in church, longing for love, longing to see God answer my prayers….Dip Ministry, YWAM, Youth for Christ >>>>>>>

    I had prayed God would protect and keep my husband to be all through those years…..He answered my prayers….and Got me to a point where I was will ing accept HIS man for me, not the image I decided would suit…….
    My husbadn was non- churched and gave his life to the Lord the day I shared my testimony with him…..4 mths later I was mariied, ayear later I had a son.
    It is now our tenth year of marriage and we have an eight year old son .We attend a local church and my blokes love Jesus……..

    Things I hated in my singleness….long times on my own, ….I now wish I had…..But MOST of all, what has got me through the adjustment of being a married wife and MUM and the transition of going from Single to married…….alone to constant company…..is the relationship I developed in my singleness with others and JESUS , who is still my best friend and source of unconditional love and confort!!!

    Trust HIM, Let His love fill your hearts, I SO identify , I know I have now entered into the ‘well she’s married and couldn’t understand camp’…..But I do!
    Cherish what you have…….Your time to get to know others, to pick and choose ( with Gods’ help) Let His love and peace rule your hearts and minds in all your decisions and friendships because that doesn’t ever change …the format just does……….
    and most of all Let HIM pick and His Holy Spirit lead you in ALL your relationships and love………
    God encourage and bless each one of you! Oh and bye- the – way…..He’s 7 years younger than me and has never been married before..( only One previous short- term relationship and understands bad backs cos he’s had one….how specific is THAT)……..God does things well…….let Him change the perameters in your mind and give you HIS best………
    Much Much love in Jesus
    Glennis Boyd ( nee McCallum)

    • http://rcspcss8.blogspot.com Reese

      Love this, Glennis. Thanks for sharing your story. You Rock! (and, Congrats!!)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Beautiful story of God’s faithfulness. Thank you, Glennis.

  • Glennis Boyd

    P.S. One post said they so desired to be kissed ….how normal those desires are and God given…..a book I found really awesome is by James Dobson The Keys to a lifelong Love…..it has been enormaously helpful in my realtionships……..

  • Elizabeth

    So grateful this topic has been put on (in)courage’s heart!!! I can’t wait to see what will happen as the conversation continues. I’m 29 and single and it has been a really, really hard road for me the past few years. Something that has been put on my heart is to pray that God would raise up awesome godly men who desire to be married. It takes two to make a marriage and our brothers are also dealing with their own challenges when it comes to pursuing a woman and walking with the Lord. As we (or loved ones) wait for “the one”, we can also be praying that God would really move in them and grow them to be the godly husbands and fathers we so desire. I’ve also been praying that married men would speak into single men’s lives and give them a push. My hairdresser was telling me that her husband confronted a guy about a girl in his life and basically said, “Hey, she’s great and if you don’t man up, you’re going to lose her.” We all need each others prayers!!! This is something I’m so ashamed to ask prayer for, but I really think the prayers of others are powerful. Looking forward to trusting the Lord BOLDLY with you ladies!!!

    • Elizabeth

      I forget this…my hairdresser said that guy and that girl are now engaged!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Yes yes yes, Elizabeth. I love this.

  • http://RVTourist.com/blog Elsi

    You know, not all single women are hoping to be married. I’ve been married. It was abusive, and it was terrible. Single—for me—is by far better. Lonely, yes … but safe. What I want is friends, not a man. Friends, of either gender. And the Lord provides some of those … and I’m grateful!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I’m sorry that was your experience, Elsi. And I totally hear where you are coming from. Thank you for showing us that being content is possible! :)

  • http://margomohney.blogspot.com Margo

    I’m in the list of a few of the gals who are 50+ and never married. I think that is a different “single” than someone who is “single again”. Never married is, well, never been there done that. I have come into my own – finally – with accepting me without anyone. I had a boyfriend for 8 years in my 40’s, and the companionship was great and then it was not and then it was great and then it was not. There are times when I wish I had someone, but those are fewer and fewer as time goes by. I’d love to see a community for single women. I know that everyone woman has something special to offer us and the world, but I don’t feel as comforted or understood when I hear stories or encouragement from married women who compare their troubled lives to mine…because those troubles often come from husband or children…hence….not relative to the troubles of someone who doesn’t have those things. Or they tell me I’m lucky (I am blessed, I know that) because I don’t have to deal with the husband, the kids, ect. It just isn’t the same. Look at almost every blog of a married woman….it includes an “awesome” husband and “wonderful” kids…and that’s great for them. But I think we singles need a place for just us…where it is easy to relate and encourage and connect.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      I hear ya, Margo. I do.

      What we want here at (in)courage is exactly that- a place where single women can gather and chat, BUT also partner with our married friends and talk about all the similarities too.

      I hope you’re planning on attending (in)RL in April. I think it will be a great time to connect with other women and hear some encouraging stories.

  • http://swfathome.blogspot.com/ SWF

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!

    I’m 29 and single, and I’m very content being so. I don’t feel a great desire to be married or have children (though I am open to God possibly placing that desire in me at some point…it’s just not there right now!).

    I struggle most not with the being-single part, but by others’ reactions to it. I grew up in and went to college in an area where it’s very common and even expected to marry early and have children early. (Going to college to obtain your “Mrs. degree” is talked about jokingly around here, but it’s a reality more often than you’d expect.) All but one of my college friends are married, and most of them have children. My only single friends are a small handful of work acquaintances. I get the impression – and hear the opinion quite explicitly, sometimes – that non-single people view singleness as something to mourn. As if there’s something inherently wrong with being single. As if there’s something wrong with me, that I’m actually content being single! I honestly don’t think people believe me when I say my singleness is okay with me, which is frustrating, to say the least. (Married people – please do not presume to set up your single friends on dates without checking first. Some of us do not want to be dating right now!!)

    I feel loneliness, being single, but not for lack of a life partner – rather, for lack of close relationships with people who are in a similar life situation. I have a lot of married and dating friends, and I’d love to find a small group of single gals to hang out with – and not have it be all about finding a man. I have been struggling with this at my church lately, too. For a single woman of my age, it’s difficult to find a niche. Small groups are set up for college students (not me – they are much younger), “singles” (usually meet-other-singles-in-order-to-find-a-mate groups), and then we jump to the “young families” groups (also not me). I value my involvement in other areas in my church – intergenerational Bible studies, teaching Sunday school, etc., but I think churches would do well to create social/community/encouragement groups for singles in their 20s and 30s and beyond that have nothing to do with dating and/or raising children! We’re out there!

    Thanks again for this post. I’m so looking forward to some more dialogue about singleness in the year to come.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Great thoughts, SWF. I think so many churches deeply desire to honor our needs as singles, but it is so challenging.

      You should definitely attend (in)RL in April and meet some other (in)courage sisters in your area. I think that would be really awesome for you.

  • Anonymous

    I will be saying a prayer for all the single ladies tonight. Just let me tell you that even in a marriage with kids, you can still feel intensly lonely. God is the only one that can fill that void single or married. He uses these struggles to bring us closer to him. Faith is believing that he will work all for good for those according to his purpose. Place your hope in the only one who never disappoints, never changes, and is always faithful & merciful. God bless you all (hugs)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thank you, friend.

  • http://datingtwilightyears.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    I am single. and also 31. I have an awesome group of girlfriends that make being single wonderful. One of them sent me a link to this page. I just wanted to say, “Hi, I’m here!” I just want to say I spent 12 years of my life horrified that if I got here I would fall off the end somehow. It would be over and I would just have to give up. I spent years waiting for someone to ask me out, and hardly anyone did. After 30 I relaxed, I didn’t have a meltdown, I just decided that I wanted to make the most of what I had. I stopped going to things to meet guys and started going to find friends. And I am so much happier this way. I find it annoying when people say , “Oh it’ll happen for you, just give it time. ” They don’t know that, only God does. I’ve learned that it is really a huge blessing to be able to say whatever state I am in, I am content.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Ruth Ann, you are singing my song, sister. I know the feeling- once I crossed into 30 and single, I was like, “Oh, I survived that. Cool.” :)

    • http://www.leafbyjana.com jana

      Yes! I am so there with you on this. The best gift a mentor ever gave me was the truth that marriage was never a guarant.

  • Eunice

    I’m 30 and single and have never dated once in my whole life. Like so many have posted, I have dreams of a home, children and a husband. I have tried online dating to no avail, put myself in groups at church where I felt uncomfortable just so I would not be seen as unfriendly or proud, tried to make friends but I still come up blank. It doesn’t help that I live in Singapore and there seems to be no one else reading (in)courage and I feel like I’m so alone. I would like to know if this dream and desire is something I should hang on to or just get on with life, though I’ve tried to distract myself but the dream and desires just don’t go away. I don’t know what else I should do or can do. I know the answer is to wait but how do I know the answer is wait and not no?

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      That is such a valid question, Eunice.

      I say, don’t give up. Keep living- seek God for what an abundant life is for you, and then trust that He is FOR you and that He adores you.

      I don’t know how you know the answer is “wait” vs. the answer being “no.” I think you just have to live with hope. Whatever that looks like for you….

      Thanks for your comment. Hope some other Singapore (in)courage girls pop out of the woodwork for you. :)

  • kat

    Wow. So many posts. Very encouraging. I got married at 31. I hated people telling me how they understood how I felt. That they too had been so discouraged and thought they would never find “the one”, until they met “him” and were married at 21, or 25. I would think, “try thinking of it plus 10 years”. I know for a fact that God brought me and my husband together. There are days when I wonder what God was thinking. I have two beautiful boys. Many of the people I went to school with have kids in high school and college (some are even grandparents!) and my kids are in 1 and 2nd grade. Nothing in my life has turned out how I imagined it or planned it, but I can see God in it. There is a plan for you. God loves you and wants you to feel loved and He knows just how to do it.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      “God loves you and wants you to feel loved and He knows just how to do it.”….. that is a seriously good sentence. Thank you, Kat.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      Add to your response of “try thinking of it plus 10 years” the fact that our culture and society has changed DRASTICALLY in the last 10 years or even 5 years!

  • Carmen

    Annie and lovely ladies,

    I love this idea. I am 27 still single, and I don’t know if I’m meant to/want to get married. But I think this might be a self-esteem issue. But I DO know I need emotional intimacy and I LOVE feeling part of something instead of on the outside looking in. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

    Love,

    Carmen.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Praying for you, Carmen, that you would see yourself through the eyes of Jesus, the lover of your whole self.

  • Lisa Marie

    Wow, this has really struck a chord with so many of us judging by the number of comments. It is so hard to be a single, add being a Christian single and wowza. It surprises me how many Christian men I have met, that are all too willing to conveniently by pass that whole, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” commandment. It is distressing to me how difficult it is even among “Christian” singles to not be expected to hop in bed by the third or fourth date. When I stand firm on my commitment to have a God pleasing relationship the men seem to be quite willing to move on to an easier conquest. Do any of the rest of you find this to be true?

    • http://datingtwilightyears.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

      Yep. I see this all the time.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Sadly, I think it is true for men and women. Temptation is real and hard to defeat… so is hopelessness. And sometimes they are best friends.

  • http://www.LifeAfterCaregiving.WordPress.com Linda Brendle

    I was married at 19 and divorced 23 years later. Then I was single again for 10 years before God brought David into my life. During those 10 years, I was made to feel that I was somehow “less than” because I didn’t have a man. I wanted someone to reassure me I was okay and a complete person and to show me how to do life on my own. But because of all the incorrect messages I received, I made some bad choices during that time. When I finally turned it all over to God, asking Him to either bring me the man He wanted me to marry or to give me the grace to live alone, I met David. My prayer for all the single ladies out there is that you will realize how special you are – just you all by yourself. And my advice is to leave the choice up to God. He will choose a much better mate for you than you will do on your own.
    Blessings,
    Linda

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Amen, Linda. I’ll take that prayer that you are offering up! :)

  • Emi

    For all the single beautiful ladies out there,

    Hi! I’m just dropping by to read all your posts. I’ve been there, (now 28) struggled so much with being single but now I’m married for a year with the sweetest man of my dreams. For those of you who’s never dated, never had a boyfriend, GOOD FOR YOU! Two of my best friends married their first boyfriend, and they’re so happy right now. Less experience means less baggage, and more to give to your future husband. I got married and finally knew what it meant when they say “it was worth waiting”. I thought I was missing out but no, it kept me from being reminded of someone else that I would’ve been involved with, with the most intimate part of life. Like when you go out to eat at some restaurant, or go to a coffee shop with your husband, you WILL be reminded of your last boyfriend if you’ve been there before. So…keeping yourself pure is the BEST gift you can give to your future hubby. Hold on to it, ladies!

    Also, about knowing the ‘one’ to marry, I actually didn’t have any ‘attraction’ or those movie moments to fall in love. But by reading the Word daily and listening intently, I knew this was it. My husband asked me out on a first date and told me he wanted to court me (this is important! you can’t waste time on guys who just want to fool around) with marriage in mind. Although I wanted to, I told him to wait three days because I need to pray and hear from God. So I did. Pushing aside your feelings is the hardest but it’s so worth it. Because God is the initiator of the relationship, you can feel safe that this love is from him. It’s like God is sending love to you through this guy. We set our boundaries to keep purity from then: driving separate cars, no dates at night, sharing our devotional daily over the phone and praying for each other. I’ve known him for two years but never dated him until then. 9 months later, we were married.

    Previously, I was involved with a very selfish, mean guy who shredded my self esteem to pieces. I thought I had to prove that I’m worth something to keep the guy, by looks, talents, skills, etc. But then I realized that God says I’m worth it, worth dying for on the cross. So I broke up with him, started serving at youth group and that’s where I met my hubby. He said I didn’t need to prove anything, that he loves me just the way I am, including my weakness and failures. If the guy makes you feel bad for being who you are, don’t stay with him because you’re worth so much more ;)

    God has blessed us so much with his Word and we simply listened. Wait patiently and the payback is HUGE! :) God bless you, beautiful ladies!!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Thank you for sharing, Emi! :)

    • Tiffany

      Hi Emi, Thank you for sharing this! I needed to hear it!

  • http://www.jenniferroth.me/ Jenn

    When I saw this post, I was stunned. Absolutely STUNNED. Why? Because this is the very thing God has put on my heart to begin writing about. I’ve been wrestling with the topic for a few months and know that I need to simply obey God and write about it. So, in the new year (which is about 2 minutes away), this is the theme that I plan to tackle. Reading this post was confirmation for me that it’s time.

    I’m 33 years old and am “single again” as Annie put it – divorced for 5 years. I have never really written about it on my blog and I feel that it’s time to go there because it’s time for the conversation to take place. There are many scenarios that fall under the umbrella of singleness – as we’ve read in the comments above. All ages, all walks of life, all circumstances. And God has something special to do in and through each life.

    Next week is when the singleness theme comes out on my blog and I am so comforted (and excited) by the responses here to know that I’m not alone in this and that I’m hearing correctly. I look forward to what God will do.

    Annie, this post was so timely – not just for me but for so many. Thank you for being obedient to the Lord and for showing support by simply writing the words that He has put on your heart.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Can’t wait to read it, Jenn. And thanks for the encouraging words. Really means a lot.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      do you realize you’re the first 33 year old to comment that she’s still single? I’ve been watching! :)

  • Gena Rene Kelley

    Hi Annie, I have been single since I was 28. I am now 60. I have to agree with Angeline aka Angie….Let go and let God….but oh how hard that is. I also agree with Linda Brendle.
    I am divorced, kicking and screaming all the way….I did not want that. Never planned on it ever happening. But just like life happens when we are not looking so did that.
    I have never even met another man that I thought I might like to have a relationship with. None in all these past 32 years. So, I worked. I took care of my mom, now she is dancing with Jesus…and I still have just me. So I am trying to be the best ME that I can be. I have a long way to go.
    I love my cats. All 3 of them. I am trying to love myself by decluttering my house.
    I am meeting other females online that are around my age.
    So we are forming friendships.
    So now my journey through life continures. I bought 36 acres of undeveloped land in Arizona…my dream spot. Oh how very exciting that was! I did that all by myself…I did not need a man to help me. But now that I have the realities of hoping to move there (it’s 1200 Miles from where I do live)..to getting something put in place to live in and all the other “man-type” jobs….they are all up to just me. And it is a scary thing..The Unknown. It would be so much easier with a partner….but I don’t really want one. I have lived all these years alone…and will continue unless God throws a man in my path-and I am not to afraid to actually see him for what he is there for….It would be easier for the physical labor and the muscle that is needed to move a household 1200 miles….but after that, would I still want a man around? Pretty doubtful.
    The Bible tells us that it is okay to be single…so I am content with that.
    Not every woman has to be married. Maybe that is not God’s plan for you.
    Just listen for that Still Small Voice, and Know that HE is God. I have found that OUR wants are not usually HIS wants….and that is sometimes a hard thing to swallow.

    We just need to learn to live fully and gracefully singly with God’s help.
    A yearning to walk in His footsteps….we are NEVER alone, we are always holding hands with Jesus. We may feel lonely at times but we are never, never alone as long as we have Jesus.
    Gena

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Gena, I love that we are never alone. Thank you for that reminder.

  • Kylene W

    This just blessed me, here I thought a 33 year old lady and still single also, I didn’t know that there were other ladies single too. Lately I have been thinking, yes I want to have a godly man in my life, that truly loves God and is a follower of Jesus Christ. Sometimes its like a piece of my heart is missing (hope that makes sense). But one thing is though that I want to stay pure until wedding night, to honor God and also honor the man that will become my husband. That is just so very important to me. I actually made a vow to myself and God when I was about 11 years old to remain a virgin until that special night.

    I think the support we need is to lift each other up, to continue to pray for each other and just encourage one another, I think that’s what we need to do.

    For myself I struggle with when that time comes when the special man comes along to open up and not be shy. I tend to be shy and quiet. Do guys have a problem with this ?

    Sometimes I feel alone, but I know I am not because God is always with me. But the Bible talks about “its not good for man to be alone” I long for the intimacy being one with one man and God being the center of our relationship.

    Kylene

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Kylene, you are wise, my friend.

  • Amanda

    Wow. I can’t believe how many comments are on this post…I could spend hours reading them (and maybe I will). I love how many people came out and wrote from their heart here. It is great knowing that I’m not alone and I may even “book mark” this page for times when I feel like I am. I’m 32 years old and single…but I kind of feel like maybe I have been called to the single vocation…while still trusting that God has a plan for me and open to dating/marriage too (sort of ;) ). I am a foster mom who had two foster daughters for 16 months. They are now 17 and 4 and went home 3 months ago. So, for the past 19 months, I have really been in some kind of “weird” place where I was single, but a mom, but not “really” a mom in some people’s eyes because they were/are someone else’s kids, and “dated” for a little while when I was being a mom to someone else’s kids…it is/was kind of a crazy life, but I have been blessed beyond what I ever thought possible.

    So, for those of you “singles” who want to be a mom, they are always looking for foster parents…even single ones. It is definitely challenging, but incredibly rewarding as well. I still have contact with the girls (we went out today actually) and knowing that I can continue to make a difference in their lives (I gave the teenager Annie’s book for Christmas last year…I wonder if she read it…ha!) I’m a person who as a younger person definitely thought I’d be married with kids by now, but in later years, I have seen myself as a “mom” but not necessarily as a wife…time will tell I guess :)

    Prayers to all of you.
    Amanda
    iloveblogs44 (at) gmail (dot) com if you have ?s about being a single foster mom :)

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Such a sweet comment, Amanda. You are serving well in your season of singleness.

      (And thanks for giving my book as a gift… that means a ton.)

  • http://www.thepinkpixi.com amber

    this has come at the perfect time for me. i’m 33, still single. never married. the holidays this year were super hard. harder than all the single years before. in a conversation with my mother about my loneliness i confessed that every year at this time i hope and believe next year will be different. and every year, well…its not. today i’m struggling with balancing hope for the future with contentment and joy in my current situation.
    the loneliness feels suffocating. like the waves are crashing over. i’m trying desperately to fill the hole with Jesus, but i need mercy and grace for each day.

    as it applies to married women-i’ve had a lot of married friends struggle with infertility. words cannot express the pain that comes from hearing them express the hurt of wanting something so badly that they can’t obtain. and all the while they don’t realize that i know EXACTLY how that feels.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Amber, the holiday thing? I do it EVERY.YEAR. Literally. So I get that x a million. Or 31, as the case may be. :)

    • http://rcspcss8.blogspot.com Reese

      Amber, i totally get the Holiday thing. : ) Thanks for bringing it up.

  • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy June

    I’m single … again after a divorce. It’s heart-breaking and certainly not the plan I had for myself. Mostly, what I love is knowing that I more in common with my sisters in Christ than I am different. Being a single mother does not define me, though it is part of who I am. I am still a woman, seeking to know and love God, raise my children to do the same and live in community it a way that will draw others to His glory.

    Thanks for acknowledging us! BTW – I’m nearing 40 and raising three children alone in a town with no family. I’m living proof that it takes a village and the church must be the hands and feet of Christ!

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      That’s right, Missy! Great point. Your relationship status is just a piece of the puzzle of you. Thanks for reminding us of that.

  • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

    hey annie.

    i just got a text from leigh who asked me if i had been over here today. i hadn’t.

    and i only got through maybe the first quarter of comments, so i’m sure there’s nothing i can add that would be new or different from what everyone else has said.

    one thing that especially irritates me is when my friends who got married when they were, you know, TWELVE, try to give me advice on how to be single gracefully. or how to wait patiently.

    seriously? i don’t dole out advice on being married because i’ve never been married. same with parenting. (even though i’ve had A LOT of experience observing and feel like i could, but i don’t.)

    if you’ve actually never been single at 34? just don’t. really? just. don’t. don’t pretend to understand and don’t give out advice.

    i ESPECIALLY LOVE when they say that god is just preparing me.

    REALLY!? BECAUSE YOU WERE READY WHEN YOU WERE 21 AND I WAS NOT!?

    also, because, really? i’m not prepared enough at 34 since i’ve been making my own way and having my own life and paying my own bills actively and independently since i was in college? because i’m pretty certain that he’s going to have to now prepare me to become more dependent and learn how to share space and be less selfish when i have someone to do that with.

    and aren’t we – as in, all of us – always being prepared or in some season of our lives for something?

    another frustrating thing is, at this point, most of my friends are married, some with and some without children. and it’s my own issue, but i feel silly talking to them about dating advice – or any advice, to that end, that i’m only experiencing because i’m, in fact, single. also? just because i’m single and i do love your kids doesn’t mean i want to babysit them all the time.

    it also bothers me when folks suggest i’m missing something or not walking closely enough with jesus just because there’s still a quiet longing in my heart for companionship. i don’t feel like i’m missing out on life because i’m not married. i actually really love my single life. i’d rather be single the rest of my life than to be with the wrong person. i’m just kinda tired of being alone is all.

    and, yes. i know, in jesus, i’m never alone.

    blah.

    anyway.

    i don’t want to be felt sorry for or treated differently or looked upon with sad eyes when i express a desire to be married. and in the meantime, married friends, invite us to come with you and the rest of our married friends when y’all do fun things. just because i don’t have a ‘plus one’ doesn’t mean i’m not fun or can’t contribute or wouldn’t enjoy learning from you as we go about life.

    i’m never more reminded of the downside of singleness than during the holidays. i go along and accommodate just because i can and i still celebrate my mother’s christmas just because what else am i going to do and with whom will i do it? i don’t want to do anything else, though. i just would like to not have to be the one who fits into everyone else’s plans is all.

    someone else in an earlier comment talked about how she was supposed to have her children at 30 – i surely thought i would and was groomed to be married the day after i graduated from (a women’s) college and have all five – yes, five – of my babies by the time i was 30. if that had been so, i would be a twice-divorced single mother of 5 children by now. (at 30, i would have only been divorced once. as i’ve aged, i now say twice. my picker was very broken.)

    the only thing i do know about all of this business of who gets married and who doesn’t and the grass is or is not greener no matter which side of the fence you’re standing is that i know absolutely nothing at all. some of us are, some of us are not. but we are not less than or better than. in any case, we all have a life to live and a plan and a purpose to fulfill. some of us just do it on our own, others do it better with a partner. neither is more or less important.

    i know i sound pissy. i’m sorry.

    you want to know the truth?

    the honest-to-goodness truth?

    i’ve been waiting for someone to call all week and he hasn’t.

    i’ve intentionally been single for over two years and he is the first person my heart has gotten excited about and here i am cranky because it’s thursday and i saw him on monday and i haven’t heard.

    oh, matters of my tangled, crazy heart.

    well, i feel better for saying it, even if i sound like a crazy person now.

    all i really wanted to say was thank you, annie. thanks for addressing this in all the right and best ways.

    xo

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Um, dear Mary Kathryn, can we be friends? Because I like your style.

      • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

        oh my word, annie. i seriously almost came back to delete this at 5 a.m. and then saw your tweet. thank you so much. yes, i do think we’re meant to be friends. :)

        you know – one other thought i had (of many) is that singleness for me looked much different at 21 when i thought i was just waiting on a prince to 28 when i was in a panic that i would be an old crazy cat lady (even though i’m allergic) and then now that i’m 34 – when i’ve resigned myself to the fact that i’m just doomed to be single for the rest of my life.

        :)

        i’m just kidding. (obv.)

        (i hope.)

        but now i can laugh about it and it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it was when i was in my twenties and desperately seeking around every corner.

        so, anyway – something to consider, too, as y’all do this thing.

        also, i’m sure the ‘single agains’ and singles who are older than i am and single mom’s like my sister would appreciate that it’s different for them, too.

        okay, i’m done.

        until i’m not.

        xo

        • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

          YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          You actually put all my exact same feelings into words before I had the chance!!! And we’re the same age! I think we too should be friends.

          agree
          agree
          agree

        • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

          oh, and about the crazy cat lady thing. I’ve decided to either become a crazy fish lady, because I saw The Coolest Aquarium Condo Setup Thingy EVER

          or

          a Crazy Plant Lady. I don’t know what is *better* than a green thumb, but I have that. I have 3 plans from 2 funerals (one of which was my Dad’s just last year) and 2 very VERY happy African Violets that have bloomed repeatedly.

    • http://reb2911.blogspot.com Rebekah

      i love this. i mean, i hate it because, obviously, it sucks. but i love the honesty and forthrightness that you expressed it with. i vacillate between there and contentment often.

      thanks for sharing mary kathryn. you made me laugh because i knew exactly what you meant. and boy that was super interested (or seemed it) hasn’t text me in a week. blah.

      anyway, seriously, thanks for sharing. :)

      • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

        WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM!? i don’t get it, rebekah. i’ve deleted him from my phonebook about 17 times since the first time he called me…not three weeks ago.

        (and i wonder why he hasn’t put a ring on my finger yet.)

        (don’t answer that.)

        thanks, rebekah. i’ll be thinking of you as i wait/don’t wait. :)

        xo

        • http://reb2911.blogspot.com Rebekah

          maybe i just need talk trash about him. he sent me a text last night and i’m like…WAIT JUST A SECOND. what’s happening.

          boys. sigh.

          • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

            yes. definitely talk trash about him. :)

            i’m just kidding. let’s not do that.

            i ended sending a text today when i thought the reason i hadn’t heard from him was because there was a family crisis. told him i was praying for him. and then he said it wasn’t a big deal (but now we’re chatting and bantering, so…)

            GOOD GRIEF.

            who even knows, rebekah.

            WHO EVEN KNOWS.

            ENJOY your NYE, girl. i will, too.

            xo

    • Katherine

      “We are not less or better than” I love the truth in your words and your honest humor here. Thanks for posting!
      God uses each of us…wether single or married. We are not waiting, we are each traveling on a journey with Him and God holds the road map.

      • Danielle M.

        Mary Kathryn, I think I love you. You put it SO beautifully. You seriously summed up things I did not even realize I wanted to say, but that should be said. Preach it, girl. Preach.

        • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

          aw, thank you so much, danielle. i’m glad i could be a voice (one of many) for the single girl. i’m pretty hot on the topic and, quite frankly, i get tired of hearing some of the same things over and over again. when i was younger, i was far more ‘stars in my eyes, someday my prince will come’. today i’m just jaded and going on with my life with or without someone by my side. :)

          xo

      • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

        SO well said, katherine. yes, we’re ALL on a journey with God, some with and some without partner. and those of us without get to pick up friends and strays and learn differently what we might not be able to learn if we had someone next to us the whole time. sometimes it sucks but, in general, i’m okay with it.

        unless i’m not.

        xo

        • http://rcspcss8.blogspot.com Reese

          Sorry, totally off topic, but, can I call you Mary Katherine Gallagher (from SNL)? : ) …because you are a “Superstar!!!”

          • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

            aw, yes. if that is your reason behind it then you can call me whatever you want. :)

    • http://accordingtocarey.com Carey

      MK, that was the perfect blend of what I think most of us feel at any given time: hopeful, frustrated, resigned and, well, just plain losing it! So glad you shared it because, girl, you are not alone.

      My best friend got married at 21 ( I was 30 at the time) and I had to listen to her “sage advise” about being single for years. She recently got divorced and now I have to listen to her “sage advise” on being single with a brand new spin. I won’t horrify you with the details but it goes something like this: “God understands that I used to be married and used to being sexually active so it’s ok for me to fool around even though the Bible says not to. But since you (Carey) are a 40 year old virgin it’s easier for you to live by the rules, so you should.”

      Really?!

      I’m just trying to walk through this with as much grace and dignity as possible, knowing that I served my Father in Heaven with a life of worship. But when people (people I love and trust in so many other areas) impose that kind of nonsense on me I feel that I might just lose it.

      Oh Jesus help me.

      • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

        Oh, Lord, save us from that kind of nonsense! Praying for you, Carey.

      • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

        um…that?? IS HILARIOUS.

        i’m not sure i could be bff with someone like that, though i’m sure the journey of your friendship is more than your road(s) of singleness.

        most all of my friends, by the way, who got married at 12 are also divorced now.

        it cracks me up the idea that she can be sexually active since she once was. uh…i was sexually active, too, as a NON-married person (ie, single) and am choosing a life of celibacy now, so…WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT, CAREY’S BFF?? :)

        glad you shared, carey. sounds like we could laugh about a lot together. :)

        xo

    • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

      Oh, friend, I’m so glad you read and added your two cents. (And I’m so glad I finally remembered to find your comment! You are so not pissy. You’re honest and real.) I agree and resonate with every single thing you wrote. Glad we’re in this together.

      • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

        me. too.

        thank you for your encouragement (and for walking so closely with me over the last week).

        love you so much.

        xo

    • http://www.magnoliagrace.blogspot.com Brooke

      Mary Kathryn, thank you so much for your honesty in your comments! Loved this sentence: “I don’t want to be felt sorry for or treated differently or looked upon with sad eyes when i express a desire to be married.” Amen!

    • http://kristywes.blogspot.com Kristy

      Mary Kathryn,

      I KNOW, RIGHT!??!?!

      So. Frustrating.

      I hear what you’re saying. Thank you for saying it. I like your style, too :)

  • http://enlightenedeyesoftheheart.blogspot.com Larissa S

    I am 25 and single and this is a topic that I am frustrated with. I have never been on a date, never kissed anyone, and often felt that I would never find anyone. As I watched my best friends fall in love and get married after college, I had this paralyzing fear that I was being left behind, everyone else was living life and I was left out of this.

    After leaving school, moving to a big city, getting my first teaching job and find a home church, I began to realize that I could live a life that was full of fun, passion, and success that has nothing to do with being married. I haven’t completely been successful at this always, but it is what I am striving for. I have my good days and bad days, but I also realize that I have a choice in this, there are some things that are in my control. I control whether I am living healthy, spending time with friends, and in fellowship with God and his people.

    Sometimes the loneliness and quiet is so loud I want to scream, but I think sometimes the enemy wants me to be distracted by my discontentness that I won’t be any use to God. I can be so busy having a pity party for myself that I don’t think about what I could be doing with my time instead.

    I also like to think about the opportunities that are available for me in my singleness and the kind of time I am able to devote to my job (teaching 7th graders) and to my friends.

    Another thing that I have been thinking about lately is that who am I as a woman. Am I someone that a man would want to marry? Am I so in love with Jesus that I could not be strayed from that by a relationship? I think in many ways, God is still working on my heart and preparing me for that someday!

    I think no matter what it is good to know that I am not the only one, because it can seem like that sometimes. I need that porch to sit on with friends and just cry and vent about life sometimes, to have those friends that will speak truth into the lies that you are believing about your life and yourself.

    Thanks for the invite :) I will be bring the hot chocolate and the snuggies

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      We’ll tell you truth on the porch. I promise.

    • http://www.leafbyjana.com Jana

      Larissa, I taught 7th grade right out of college, too! (they’d hardly notice if you screamed a bit just to let off some steam.) Glad you’re here :-)

  • http://mirandagehrke.wordpress.com Miranda

    Thanks for bringing this up Annie. I totally started following you a couple months ago because you were single and I was looking for other women in a similar state as myself. :) I’m excited to see where this conversation leads.

    I’m single. I relate to many of the questions already asked and I guess my biggest struggle is trying to figure out the balance between trusting God to provide my heart’s desires and living in reality when it comes to planning my life and moving forward when things haven’t turned out like I thought they would.

    • http://annieblogs.com/ Annie Downs

      Sweet Miranda, thanks for the encouraging words. I hear you. I don’t know how to do that totally yet…. I’m thinking it through, asking God to point my eyes towards the path of my abundant life. But yes, still working it out.

  • http://www.faithbarista.com Bonnie Gray

    Hi Annie! I was single in my 30’s and I actually thought I had the gift of singleness. — and started a ministry for 30 something singles. I figured if I was going to be single for the rest of my life, I needed my brothers and sisters — friends to keep me company on the journey. I thought I had the gift of singleness, not because I chose to be single, but I thought logically that was the case — since I had not met anyone I wanted to marry, even though I was a missionary, serving God in ministries — out there mingling with lots of people. I never fell in love. Until I met my husband. So, eventhough I’m married now, I have been single way longer than married — and because most of my grown up years were single, I will always carry that single part of me — even into my married life. So, that single 30-something woman is sitting right with you on the porch tonight too, Annie — along with all my beautiful sisters here. And I love talking at the ocean together side by side.

  • http://justabitofsilliness.blogspot.com/ Sillydoodah (Dawn)

    I don’t know if my comment counts, because I am married, but thank you for doing this.

    I am 40. I met my man at 38, and married him at 39. (It has been a miracle. Only God could do this.) Even in our fresh, new, shiny marriage, my husband and I both remember vividly the confusion, pain, and loneliness of our long single years.

    It is good to gather together and encourage one another. I would not have made it without my Jesus and my girlfriends.

    And, Single Ladies – you are beautiful. And you are seen. And you are valuable. And you are loved.

    • Katherine

      we need your post… posts like yours brings hope and encouragement!

      • Danielle M.

        Amen.

  • http://amblessedbeyondmeasure.com April

    I am a single mom of a wonderful 10 year old boy. I don’t even have prospects for dating at this time in my life. A few years ago, that would have been great because I needed to really focus on myself and my son but now that I have my life back on track, working on my Spiritual life daily, my finances are (mostly) in order, and I’m ready for a relationship, there’s no one to even consider dating. I don’t go anywhere but work and home and my church only has a handful of single guys, all of them over 70 and though I’m looking for an older man, that’s a little bit of a stretch (I’m in my 30’s). I do good most days but the nights can be hard and when my son is at his dad’s for more than a few days, it’s difficult and lonely. Unfortunately a lot of the blogs I read are from married women and though I love them and their blogs, it’s hard to relate to a lot of what they discuss when it comes to their husbands, etc. I just want to feel like I have friends who get it, I guess. I write about being single from time to time on my blog but it’s not always easy to write about.

  • Danielle M.

    Ok, first of all, I’m glad there are 375 comments already. That’s a really, really good thing.

    Secondly, Annie? You crack me the heck up. I follow you on f/b and had fun seeing some of what you wrote about Edinburgh. Hilarious, girl. You’re just hilarious.

    Third: (da-da-duuuuuuummmmm) My name is Danielle, and I’m single. At 35. Still. Oh yeah, baby. I’m that woman at church that is like the Pied Piper of the kids…they all flock to me, and undoubtedly about once every month or two, I get the “Miss Danielle, why aren’t you married??” question. Sometimes it is a total blessing and platform for a woman they love and respect to speak truth into their tiny hearts about where our value really comes from. Other times? Other times I want to curl up in a ball and scream “I. DON’T. KNOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!” I try really hard to choose option A. :)

    So here is my reality: my whole life, all that I have ever known I wanted to do was be a wife and mom. Period. So I struggle with knowing what to do with it when I feel forced into having to choose a career, when I don’t care about career! Also, I struggle with understanding what Godly singleness looks like. The foundation that was laid for me in youth group was a very good one, and it served me quite well through my teens and early twenties. However, the older I get, the more I need something…I don’t know…deeper?

    I mean, if we’re going to really go at this with truth, then let’s just DO IT. What about sex? I choose a life of abstinence, but find that I am definitely in the minority…among my single Christian friends. And for that matter, the way I approach dating is different. I am looking for a potential spouse, not companionship for a Friday night. That said, it is so hard to live these choices and not feel like a prude. And in my worst moments, it is hard to walk out these choices and not feel like I am missing out.

    So here is why I, a single Christian woman, come back to (in)courage over and over again: I believe that the common denominator of the daily blogs is the heart of women. That hits home whether it’s a single woman in her fifties, a twenty-something married mother of two, a divorcee, a widow, an empty-nester. There is a commanlity we share in that we have the hearts of women.

    I *love* reading the posts written by mamas. I am learning from you guys! I need that wisdom! Additionally, a number of my friends read this blog, too, and it gives us a point for discussion. If God ever sees fit to bless me with wife-dom and motherhood, I feel like I have a better foundation because of the time I spend here. I mean that!

    I *love* the posts on the home! I have learned so much from Nester, Inspired Room, and through Nester the Reluctant Entertainer. All fuel for when God brings dreams to flame, and some of the things I have learned I am using now.

    So. On my wishlist for us to discuss here (especially for the single ladies) is this:
    WHAT do we do with broken or deferred dreams? I mean it! I am thirsty for truth that will help me make peace with the plan my God has chosen, that will help me look at it and say what HE would…that it is GOOD. And the beauty of that request is that mamas who have not yet been able to have babies will be able to relate. Wives who have had to wait for…ev…er for a change in their man or a wayward child to see the light will also be able to relate.

    I want to know how to do this single life well. In a way that honors God, but is REAL about the difficulty of the struggle. How do we as single women date well? What do we do with our hearts when they are broken by a relationship that was not meant for the long haul?

    And now I will close, because I feel like I have rambled. But these are all the real things on my heart.

    • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

      danielle?

      get out of my head, girl.

      xo

      • Danielle M.

        Ok, after having read yours, for you to say that makes me feel ten shades of affirmed! I told you that you said things I didn’t even realize I wanted to say. Little did you know I said A LOT! Lol. : ) I hope the girls at (in)courage are seeing that there are a LOT of us!

    • http://accordingtocarey.com carey

      Danielle, I think we just may be the same person! I soooo know what you mean about a personal stand on abstienence. It seems so logical to me, I mean, that’s what the Bible says, right? And yet most of my single Christian friends have some very loose interpretations on what that means and kinda give themselves permission to skip those rules because it’s just too hard. It’s very discouraging for me because you would think the ONE group you could relate to are the other singles but not always so. And I’m really trying to remain gracious with them, because they have their own journey, but it makes me feel even more isolated and well, weird.
      But less so now that you’ve shared!

      • Danielle M.

        Lol, Carey. Nice to meet you, other me! :)

        Press on, girl. Press on. The hardest part of that for me has been feeling like I get excluded sometimes because of my stand. And that’s ok. It is. I mean, it doesn’t feel like it at the time, but ultimately it ends up being for my good to be passed up for invitations to engage in relationships that won’t ultimately meet my goals and fill the true desires of my heart.

        I have had to do some SERIOUS soul searching on this topic. I didn’t start dating until I was in my late 20’s (I know, I know….I’m weird. Whatever). The church answers were great for me…until I started dating and felt the fire of desire. Then, it needed to be way deeper than “because someone said so.” It is by the sheer grace of God that abstinence is still in my vocabulary, and I have to continue to work that out with God. I know you’re not asking for advice with your group of other single girls, but can I just leave you with this? As one girl practicing abstinence to another? There but by the grace of God go we. Seriously. It. Is. Easier. Than. We. Want. To. Believe. For realz, yo!

        You’re not weird. You’re seeking your God and doing the best you can with what the Bible says. And you aren’t alone. :)

    • http://www.leafbyjana.com Jana

      Danielle, so with you on needing content on how to deal with broken or deferred dreams about what life would/should look like…how to live “Plan B” well without feeling that it IS Plan B. (I expect that most people at times, even those who look like they have the life we would have wanted, still feel that they are living plan B at times!)

      I don’t spend a lot of time reading books on singleness, but this one caught my attention several years ago and I have found it to be one of the best things I could have ever read as a single woman and your post made me think of it. Connally Gilliam’s Revelations of a Single Woman: Loving the Life I Didn’t Expect.

      I struggle with the same thing in trusting that God’s plan is not only ok, but it is the BEST for me. God isn’t feeding me on a diet of cabbage soup while everyone else gets pizza.

      • Danielle M.

        Jana,

        Thanks for commenting. Believe it or not, I have read Connally’s book. I really enjoyed the first third to half of it, but then lost steam with it, and I’m not entirely sure why. Regardless, I’ll keep reading, praying and hoping. :)

        • http://www.leafbyjana.com jana

          Thanks for sharing your heart, Danielle. :)

    • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

      I would love more discussion about sex and singleness. It’s hard and frustrating to practice abstinence and not feel like you’re missing out or like finally getting married will be the ultimate reward. I wrote a post about it for The Good Women Project (http://goodwomenproject.com/sex/the-church-needs-a-different-view-of-sex-singleness) which generated good discussion but we need to keep it up.

      So much of your comment resonates, Danielle. How do we do the single life well? How do we date well? What do we do with our deferred dreams? There may not be any clear answers but it helps to hear from others in the same situation.

    • http://www.magnoliagrace.blogspot.com Brooke

      Danielle,
      Just had to let you know I identify so much with your comments, especially the paragraph about wanting to be a wife and a mom your whole life and now feeling forced into choosing a career. That’s the exact spot I’m at right now! I’m in a career where I’m supposed to be passionate about what I’m doing and I’m just not. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sarah

      The chastity part is tough. I got married a few months before I turned 30, and found this book to be an inspiration while I waited. Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity by Lauren Winner. I can’t recommend this book enough. She is honest, biblically grounded, and a great writer.

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      I’m apparently a commenting fool tonight. Hopefully these are getting read ….. since it’s over a week since it’s original post and most of these comments original postings.

      Just wanted to share a thought I had when you posted about deferred dreams. Have you ever seen Under the Tuscan Sun? With Diane Lane (Right?) She says at one point that she wants “a family and a wedding and a home” or some combination of things like that and she realizes that she does have a family, in her best friend and best friend’s newborn daughter who have come to live with her. She does have a wedding for the very young couple she has gotten to be very good friends with. Whatever the home one was she has to, but none of it was how she expected. For me, this scene has always made me get VERY specific about my prayers. But seeing your comment made me wonder if there are ways to reframe our dreams so they can be realized without a husband. Just a thought.

  • Emily

    Annie, I want to sincerely thank you! This incourage was waiting for me like a beautiful jewel in my inbox. It was just last night that I shed some tears regarding being 31 and single, and just how difficult the search for a Godly man is. I, like many who have posted, am finding myself surrounded by family and friends who are all married and starting to have children – something my heart truly desires. And like Danielle M. I too seek to know, and ask God to help me to see, how to do this single thing well…how to honor God through these difficult times. I am truly comforted to find women who understand what I am feeling and what I’m going through. Thank you for your devotional, for speaking for God to let me know I am not alone in this, and for letting me know that although I am single I have a wonderful community of women who will sit beside me throughout the journey. Many thanks. God Bless~

  • http://friendbrooke.blogspot.com brooke

    Annie and all the single ladies :)

    Just had a chance to pop over here and read this post and what a blessing it is on this December morning. I am 33 and currently single and so much of what you said in your post and throughout the comments ring true in my own heart.

    Being single really stinks sometime, I know that it provides more time for me to deepen my relationship with the Lord, I know that a man does not make me complete, and I know that the Lord has great and perfect plans for me. I just find it really difficult, especially at the holidays, to hold on to those truths. I long for a family to share the Christmas season with. My hearts desire is to be a mom and wife. I am excited to see how this community of women can support each other in this journey. I am praying even this morning that God would bring the desire of my heart or bring a new desire that is stronger than this!

    Thanks Annie for sharing your heart and being willing to open up this conversation!

    xo
    Brooke

  • cbed

    Just wow. You think God wanted you to talk about being single?

  • http://www.lovetransformsu.com janice

    This is a great idea! As a single mom myself, I need this opportunity to chat about what life is like being single, financially unstable, but with a lot going for me…except I would like so much to be remarried.
    My son would like a new dad. I would love someone to hug and talk to at night. Or when things are joyful or rough.
    I pray for great things in 2012 for all single women!
    If you are recovering from divorce and/or domestic violence, check out my website: http://www.lovetransformsu.com. God bless you!

  • Patti

    I feel a little odd to post as I am 60 and single. I have been married twice as an unbeliver. I two amazing children such pearls in my life. My grand babygirl a shining star! But I have been alone for 14yrs. I have trusted Jesus with my heart and life for 23yrs. now. I’m lonely for companionship. I am with my daughter one day a week and it’s absolutely a gift from God! I play with my grand babygirl, I eat dinner with them. Then I get in my car and come home. It’s so quiet. I’ve given every fiber of my being to raising my children. I would not change that! My son, away at college now, often thanks me for not dating as he was a young boy growing up. I have prayed for years for God to bring the “man He has for me”, or to please please please fill this space with His love if I’m to be alone the rest of my life. Oh He does so often! I’m blessed by Him! He is the love of my life…….but I’m lonely. The holidays are so hard. I hope there might be some other older women that read this website. I do love everything you all write. How awesome that you are reaching out to single women!

    • Tiffany

      Hi Patti! Welcome to the porch, we are so glad you are here with us! Thank you for sharing, it encouraged me!

  • http://mydevotionalthoughts.com/ Ruth Hill

    Well, I am a single lady–single again, you might say. I married the man I thought was God’s choice for my lifelong partner. We were married for nearly 10 years, and it was certainly tough at times. Especially as he became increasingly controlling and mentally ill. We even had a child–my 8-year-old daughter who is the joy of my life. I had to leave the marriage due to potentially dangerous conditions. I often tell people that I got out before I could become a statistic.

    So I am a single mother, and sometimes I feel very isolated. I have virtually no friends. I moved back “home” to live with my parents a few years ago, and I now live out in the country with them. While I have finally found a church I really like, I still feel very isolated. I gave up my full-time teaching job to move here, so now I am a very busy substitute teacher, but I just feel so detached.

    The joy of my life is my blog. It has grown a lot, and I have worked hard to build it into the great blog it is. And God has allowed me to build a lot of relationships through this.

    That is my story! Thanks!

  • http://missprissygraceann.blogspot.com Stephanie

    Definitely still single and 26 here! I live in a rural community, which I completely love, but it makes it hard to date due to a slim selection to choose from. I, too, completely feel that I am supposed to be married and have children; having a family that loves and glorifies our God is the single biggest desire of my heart. But can I just say that it’s simply just plain hard to not understand what God’s up to, and why these crazy desires are there without an outlet for them?

    I’d also like to be really honest about purity. While it’s what I strive for, it’s hard. It’s also doubly hard to be at the age I am and to find a guy that is willing to respect those boundaries. And if I’m really honest, I have a hard time respecting them myself. By this point in our lives, we all know the cliches about waiting, but in practicality, it just sucks. An open and completely authentic conversation about this would be really beneficial to the girls of our generation right now.

    And lastly, I’m the oldest of three. Both of my siblings are close to being married and it’s hard being the oldest in that situation knowing that it is going to be awhile before that opportunity arises for me. I love both of them and their significant others dearly, but it still hurts and makes me more than a little jealous.

    Thanks for starting this conversation. It’s definitely good to know we’re all not alone in this matter!

    • grace

      your second paragraph = amen.

  • http://betty-wiseheartedwomen.blogspot.com Betty Draper

    After reading 387 replies to your post Annie “thank you” is the best words I can come up with to express all I have read.

    Thank you for the honesty that brought conviction to my heart as my mind recalled too many times saying to a single woman and men “so is there somenone in your life, are you dating, ets?” ( I will be writing an I’m sorry email or two). The questions were never meant to hurt.

    Thank you for the courage that poured out of hearts released by your courageous wisehearted questions Annie. I had to stop several times to let what was said sink in deeper…such wisdom and insight from some so young.

    “Thank you married ladies for your courage too….jumping right in there with well thought out comments. I know I will be more swift to hear and slow to speak after reading all the replies.

    Thank you God for not using our married or single statis as a measuring stick for our maturity or usefullness. Like the women in Exodus 35-36 who helped build the tabernacle God just calls them “wisehearted or willing hearted” (KJV)…not even their age is given. He measures our love for Him by our hearts and orders our steps according to His gifting.

    Thank you for tons of ideas for working with singles that I will store by marking this post and replies as a “favorite”. My husband and I are part of the member care team with our mission and have worked along side some pretty incredible single gals and guys. For years we have done this on the far side of the sea, in couple months we will minister out of southern California. I can say from experience without our singles missions would not be where it is today. I will be 65 in 13 days with more then I ever wanted of heartaches, pain, frustrations, being misunderstood and without them I would not be able to say with boldness…..life is in Christ.

    Annie… I have so enjoy so many of your post…easy to see God all over your writing, it’s not self driven but other driven…Thank you.

  • Rena Marr

    Hello Ladies,

    May I give a perspective from a married ‘late’ (31) , widowed after 2 1/2 years and single since woman? Marriage, when it is right, is a true blessing. Hard work, difficult at times, but a blessing. Having said that, no one should feel the need or an obligation to get married because ‘everyone else’ or society tells them they are supposed to (I was asked regularly by my family when I was getting married…). If it feels right to you and you find the right guy – jump in and hang on with both hands, you never know how long it will last. If you do not find the right guy for you, please, for your own peace of mind, do not ‘settle’ for someone that comes along. It isn’t fair to you, to him or to any kids that may come along. Consider this, perhaps your life is meant to take a different road than the traditional married with kids route. It can still be just as fulfilling and magnificent as being a wife/mother.

    To the single mothers, for whatever reason you are single – bless you. I hope God gives you strength in the most important job of your life.

    To all of you, thank you for the insights from both married and single. The strength of women never ceases to amaze me. Blessings to you all.

  • http://simplycreatedbycole.blogspot.com Nicole

    Dear Annie and {In}Courage,
    Thank You for posting about this and asking these questions. Just asking and listening has warmed my heart. This has been something on my heart as well. At Relevant this year, several people kept encouraging me to step out and share my journey. I am a child of God who happens to be at this moment in life, single and 31. I do/have always had the strong desire/hope to be a help-mate to a husband, serving together, and raising children for the Lord! At one point, I believe God had myself and another at that point, but life changed unexpectedly, and we are on different paths. God is still breathing HOPE through it and that HIS perfect plan for me is there. Is my walk in this area perfect? No, but it’s covered in Grace and Hope. Is being single a struggle and hard at times? Oh, Yes. Has it brought me to tears? You bet!

    Ask us our story…we want to share it with you, I want to share it with you. We want to hear yours. We love spending time with you, your children, your families. Invite us to do life with you.

    Since Relevant, God has been laying on my heart this……”It is not single, nor married which defines us. We are all women who yearn for relationships, kindred friends, family. Instead of looking at one another as “single” or “married”? Might we begin to look at one another through God’s eyes? Chosen, Redeemed, Loved. We are sisters in Christ, kindred souls. All of us experience death, loss, work to make a living and have a roof over our heads, Church, the same Holidays, paying taxes, etc. The only difference…some have a help-mate and others do not. There is so much we can learn from one another, grow with one another.”

    I am so excited to see where this will head, where the prayers will lead! How God might work in this and bridge the gap and stigmas….bringing women, sisters-in-Christ, closer together. How might I join in and help?

  • Jessi Lawson

    Thanks for starting this conversation! I am 30 & single and am one of 3 single ladies who write for “One SINGLE Voice”. This is a blog for the single ladies out there, to give hope and comfort. We use the blog as a personal
    Journal in a lot of ways…I would love for y’all to check it out. A few weeks ago I wrote one called “I will wait…” in it I openly talk about my journey and give a challenge to WAIT!!! God is faithful! Thanks!!!
    http://onesinglevoice.blogspot.com/2011/12/look-back.html

  • http://www.life-edited.blogspot.com Amanda Williams

    Whoa at the sea of comments! I love it.

    I love your post, Annie. I adore the beach-house-porch-at-night-conversation metaphor. I am inspired by the honesty and bravery in the comments above. I don’t have anything to add except to say — I am 33, married for 8 years, and have 3 children 4 and under, and I want to be a part of this conversation. I want to understand more fully the struggles of my single sisters, of whom I have many and I love them so dearly. I want to know how to encourage them, how to love them well and give them the freedom to explore their hopes and disappointments and questions openly in my presence, the same way that they allow me to explore mine. And mostly, I just want to be on the porch with you guys. I may not be able to speak directly to your fears and hurts, but I can listen and I can love. And I really, really want that privilege.

    [p.s. I love you, friend.]

    • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

      Amanda, I think you do a wonderful job of encouraging, loving, and listening. I always feel free to share whatever is on my mind with you and I’m so glad for that!

  • http://candidkarina.worpress.com Karina

    I am 36 and single. No kids. Never married. Have been single for the better part of my adult life. I point out the word “better”…because I have truly loved my single life.

    Like everything else, it has its pros and cons, There are days when being single is hard, lonely, isolating. There are days when I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    And now, at 36, I’m dating again…or I’m trying to. In this world where where sex and love are interpreted by most as the same word, I’m just not sure I fit into it. Where does a Christian woman who has learned to fully depend on herself for everything go to find love, and how does she learn to let go of some of her “I take care of me” habits?

    It is a struggle…so I’m definitely looking forward to this series. :)

    P.S. I’m new to incourage…my first comment ever, I think. ;-)

  • Lisa

    I’m 48, right there in the boat with you all and not really sure where God is taking me. I’ve been single by choice and happy for many years but recently things have changed slightly and I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with the change. I really appreciate this blog right now because it’s New Year’s Eve and I am suddenly feeling very single–so thank you for being there!

  • http://www.everydaysurrender.weebly.com Tina

    I am also new to incourage and this is my first comment as well. I am 30 and never been married. It is difficult as I always imagined being married and starting a family by 25ish. Both my younger sister and brother are married and have children so on top of seeing what I feel like I am missing out on, I also have extended family members who bring it up at every opportunity. God has moved mightily in my life in the last year, growing my faith and leading me to reliance on Him. I know that He knows me better than I know myself and knows what makes me happier better than I do. I also feel I am called to adopt so right now I am in wait mode and working on actively waiting and seeking Him and His direction. Thank you for this outlet!

  • http://www.everydaysurrender.weebly.com Tina

    I am also new to incourage and this is my first comment as well. I am 30 and never been married. It is difficult as I always imagined being married and starting a family by 25ish. Both my younger sister and brother are married and have children so on top of seeing what I feel like I am missing out on, I also have extended family members who bring it up at every opportunity. God has moved mightily in my life in the last year, growing my faith and leading me to reliance on Him. I know that He knows me better than I know myself and knows what makes me happier better than I do. I also feel I am called to adopt so right now I am in wait mode and working on actively waiting and seeking Him and His direction. Thank you!

  • JD

    Hi, I’m 31 and single. My story is a little bit different – I live in a large metropolis area where it’s acceptable to single at any age. While it may sound great, it has not made the road I am walking down any easier.

    On the surface, I look like I’m loving the single life. Sometimes I do, but it’s not the full truth. I’m involved in a ton of stuff, but I have done all (okay, most) of these activities specifically to meet men. You would never believe the things I have gotten involved in to meet people over the years. I met the last guy I was involved with at a clean energy discussion group, a topic I know absolutely nothing about! My only game now is the chess club, because I’ve already tried softball, kickball, church, volunteering, marathon training, and my personal favorite – sitting on the side of the road with an actual flat bike tire waiting for someone (a man) to help me fix it. Actually the tire thing is a long, funny story.

    I still have the tire, and I have every intention of using it when the weather gets warmer. I’m shameless, I’m strategic, and the words “just stop looking” don’t exist in my Type-A, driven world. I’ve never been in a committed relationship, and I’m starting to feel like I’ve got some serious flaws that I’m just not seeing because I’ve been searching for so long and have come up with nothing.

    Actually, that’s not true. When I join all of these groups and activities (I forgot to mention golf lessons) do you know what happens? I meet these fantastic women who have become wonderful, lifelong friends. Which is great, but still not……well, you know.

    Look, when my friends get engaged, married, or pregnant, they are DTM—> Dead To Me. It’s probably the reverse of what a lot of women here have felt! It sounds awful, but I really just can’t take being around them as they are enjoying their life experiences – as shallow as it may sound, it’s incredibly painful for me. I’m jealous, and also uncomfortable about all the things that we no longer have in common. And also sad that there are less people like me, and that I’m that much more isolated. Some of my married friends who became parents are far more lonely than I am, but I can’t bring myself to hang out with them or include them in my fun adventures. I’m not proud of that, and I’ve noticed that over the last couple of years I have systematically surrounded myself with people exactly like me, and that’s not good. I refuse to let anyone else into my world, and the only thing I’m desperate for is the time when I was blissfully single! I miss my friends, and I hate how this issue has come to define me and control the way that I spend my time.

    I’m very thankful that you’ve started this discussion, and I’ll be visiting this blog again. Thank you….thank you.

  • Annette

    I’m fairly new to incourage and this is the first article I’ve felt compelled to comment on—which is weird, because I’ve been married 21 years. But I WAS single, and I really struggled with almost all of the emotions and situations you all have talked about. I wish I had had a group like you to encourage me! I want to encourage all of you to grow in your walk with Jesus. Even married, He still is the strength of my life—not my husband! Bad things happen when I forget that! I also know that I’m one heartbeat away from singleness again, should the Lord take my husband to Himself.

    I have read most, but not all of the 300+ comments, and have seen quite a few book suggestions , but I did not see this one: With One Voice: Singleness, Dating and Marriage to the Glory of God by Alex Chediak. My daughters and I went through this book in their late teens and I have to say it is THE best book I’ve ever read about Christian dating, etc. (and I’ve read a bunch!) I can’t recommend it highly enough.
    My daughters are now starting to struggle with the same emotions regarding their singleness, faith, walk with God and I’m so excited to be able to steer them here for encouragement.
    I would also recommend Boundaries in Dating by Cloud/Townsend. I read it recently for the first time and wished I had known about it before I ever started dating. It is also one I’m sharing with my daughters, in the hopes that they don’t repeat the same mistakes I made while dating!
    May God bless you all as you lean on the author and perfector of your faith.

  • http://www.pinklaundryroom.blogspot.com Kat

    I’m 44 and single. I was married when I was 20 and divorced when I was 28. I have a 20 year old son who is away at college most of the time. I always assumed I would meet someone and remarry but I’ve been alone many, many years now. It has forced me to be independent and someone I didn’t plan on becoming. My hope is that I’ve had to go through this period alone so that I would become the person God wants me to be. And I will find the man God intends me to be with. It is hard to have faith after so many years.

  • http://www.ConfessionsOfARecoveringChocoholic.com Laura Jane

    I just wanted to say that I think this a wonderful topic to address here! I am currently married but I remember a time in my life when I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen and had no idea what to do with my life. (Such as when I was 25 and had never so much been on a real official date, much less been in a relationship.) I would have so appreciated something like this.

  • Kristy

    I am 33 and single. Over the last few years, by God’s grace, I’ve become more content with being single and am amazed by the ways God has provided for me to embrace life to the fullest when I was stuck on waiting to be married to do so. While I would say the majority of the time I am content with where God has me, I also still desire to be a wife and mother.

    I often struggle with the idea of if I am praying for the desires of my heart to be a wife and mother, does that mean that I am not content? If I pray to be content where God has me, does that mean I should not have those desires? Is it possible to be content and yet continue to pray for God to move in a mighty way?

  • http://bindubalan.wordpress.com Bindu

    Annie,

    Ok I def teared up while reading this post and then while reading the comments others have left.

    Single is not a place I thought I would be at 32 years old. I think most of the time I try to be content and remember that I’ve been able to do and see some pretty amazing things in my life. But there are so many days where I wish I had a partner in this life, someone to grow with. I know God has a plan with all of this, but I would be lying if I said that always brought me comfort.

    Its tough to be a single Christian woman, big city or small town..so I’m thankful for a place that we can share about our thoughts

    thanks friend.. :)

  • http://www.magnoliagrace.blogspot.com Brooke

    Annie, thank you for opening up this topic. It is so encouraging to read these comments and know that there are others out there who totally get it-the loneliness, the frustration, the ups and downs of emotions when you think the right guy might have come along only to realize he hasn’t.

    Thank you to all the women who have shared on this post. I’m 32, always single and can count the number of dates I’ve had on one hand. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a wife and a mommy. Instead, I find myself living the life of a career woman while I watch almost everyone around me marry and have children. I often wonder “God, what is it You truly want me to be doing? Why do I have the desire for marriage and kids if it’s not what You want for me?”

    I’m looking forward to see what comes out of this discussion!

  • http://carolineg.bigcartel.com Carrie

    Annie, thank you SO much for opening up this conversation. I came into the blog world about a year ago, and I felt utterly and totally alone in my singleness. I felt like almost every blog I came across had this cute little family posted and this lovely love story. Even in the blogging conferences I attended, I felt like an outsider for being single (only because I made myself feel that way, not anything due to the conferences). It was SO encouraging reading all the comments.

    While I thought I’d be married by now and maybe even have a kid, its incredibly comforting knowing that I am not alone in this. This finally gives me a sense of community, so thank you!

  • http://wawa326.blogspot.com/ Cate

    Yay! I’m so thankful! I am 30, I am single. I have days where I’m totally content, and days that I’m not. I am learning to walk with God and trust Him for my future, and allow Him to determine what that looks like.
    I have blogged about it some, here is the best one.
    http://wawa326.blogspot.com/2011/04/unpacking.html
    I think the thing that I have struggled with most as I aged out of the mid 20s is that it’s really hard to find a place in the church. Most women my age are married with small children, and they really struggle to know how to include the single working girl or have conversations that involve things other than family and child rearing.

    • JD

      I loved this post, and I literally have similar boxes to unpack. Of gorgeous teacups from my aunt. And, I have some adventures that have been on the backburner for too long. Thank you for sharing!

  • Kim

    I didn’t read all the comments (so many!), so I’m sure this has been said already…but I struggle with how I’m supposed to be fully satisfied in Jesus yet still have desires. I don’t believe it’s wrong to have those desires (love in my life, for in this case)–but is that me not being completely content in Jesus? I just don’t know the balance!

  • Ina

    Thanks for being brave enough to address this topic, Annie! As a never married 42 year old, I identify with many of the comments here! Dealing with being lonely much of the time, wanting to share your life with someone, not fitting in at church, feeling “less than” and forgotten by God. It is a constant mental and spiritual battle to speak the truth against the enemy’s lies.
    The biggest issue for me right now is how to reconcile my crushed dreams of marriage and family with God’s goodness. Somehow to come to a place of surrendered contentment and still hold onto hope – that is so challenging!

  • Rachel

    Hi, I loved reading this blog post!
    I’m 38 and still single, all my friends are married and have children and its so hard!
    I feel lonely at times, I even feel lonely in my church as I dont fit in the categorise, I’m not married, i dont have children, im not old, im not divorced and so on.
    I can feel like I’ve been forgotten by God, I so want to be married, to be a wife. But thank you for remembering US SINGLE girls out here.

    Rachel xx

  • http://jessicadickson.blogspot.com Jessica Denise

    I’m glad you posted this. I’ve been thinking a lot about being single lately. I’m 26, haven’t dated anyone in 8 years, and have chosen to not have random sex. And honestly, most of the time I’m really okay being single. But I would REALLY like to be married. And I miss sex (before I knew the Lord, I was sexually active in high school). A lot. And sometimes I get frustrated with God for giving me the sex drive He did without giving me anybody to use it up with. (And I understand the whole, it’s my fault because I awakened love too soon consequence.) I would love to hear from some of you ladies who’ve been (not) doing it for awhile on how that’s going and how to continue to manage it as I do get older. I don’t feel like it has gotten easier over the years. I’m almost to a point where I want to just say, “I’m grown, I’ll make my own decisions,” but I also know that there’s a Godly way and I want to glorify Him with my sexuality. It’s hard when it doesn’t feel like anybody is really benefiting from it. I guess that’s on my mind right now. :-) I guess being the last single one of your best friends is really getting to me. I was supposed to be the one who got married first in their eyes. And when I was home in the summer my mom said, “the next time you come down, you’ll be engaged!” No, I wasn’t dating anyone or being pursued at the time. No pressure! Well, thank you for listening. I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my mind about what God wants from me as a single. One of my favorite books is “Soul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality.” (Guess I’ll go read that again now, huh?)

    • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

      oh honey, I hear ya. I “messed around” with every guy I’ve dated, total of 5, two of whom were Christians! And when I say “messed around” i mean everything *except* actual intercourse. So I COMPLETELY understand the frustration. I am 33 now and the only advice or thought I can give you is something God spoke to my heart last year. I can take care of that desire myself (yes the M word), or I can use it as another point to rely on God. I often, and I mean *often* pray before laying down at night that God protect me from myself and from the enemy and that HE get me through the night without giving in to temptation. When I pray this it works. When I don’t pray, sometimes I’m fine. Sometimes not so much.

      All of this to say YOU ARE NOT ALONE! MWAH!

  • http://dianeshiffer.com/ Diane

    I’m single… well kinda. And I guess I’m kinda married… I’ve been separated from my husband for almost twelve years. We’ll never get back together and I’ll never be able to remarry. I’ve accepted that and for the most part I’m okay with it, but still… it’s lonely and difficult and scary at times. I would love love love to see the subject of single-ness addressed more, and addressed in a real way. There’s a lot out there about waiting for your prince, but for some of us there is no prince… and since I’m 55yo, he’d probably be too young for me even if he did show up, lol. I’d relish articles and discussions on singleness and aging, singleness and community, and of course there’s always the terribly difficult subject of sexuality. Looking forward to sharing in the discussions ahead♥

  • http://www.brokengirl.org Keri

    I’m newly single after 19 years of marriage. We met when I was 16, so I have never been a single adult. I feel like I’m in such uncharted territory I don’t even know which way to go.

    All of my friends are married. They are amazing. And have carried me through this last very ugly season of being abandoned. But there are some things, some emotions, they just can’t understand.

    I’m not looking for prince charming. I’m just looking for me. Who am I all alone? Who am I as a single woman? A single mom? Who am I as the Bride of Christ? God has been so sweet and so faithful to answer all of those questions and more. And I’ve never felt so loved.

    What do I need? Stories from other single moms who are surviving. I need to know that I am not alone. I need encouragement on those days when nothing goes right. I need an occasional “hang in there” and an often “we’re praying” I need a beach chair and friends for the journey.

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  • http://eggthoughts.wordpress.com Frances

    True story from this past fall:

    On a trip to visit family, I got pulled over and given a warning for following too closely (oops?). The second I saw the lights behind me, all I was focused nervously on what I could have done wrong, and also on the hurried struggle of my dad struggling to put his seat belt on in the back seat (he had been napping). I showed my license, got the warning, ok, we drive on.

    “That policeman was pretty handsome! Did you see if he was wearing a ring???” says my Dad.

    Basically, yes, I am 25, single, and nowhere near as desperate as my dad appears to be on my behalf! :) And I’m excited that you wrote this, Annie, and for whatever it is that is upcoming! Thank you!

  • http://kristywes.blogspot.com Kristy

    Thanks, Annie, for addressing this! And thanks to all you commentors for helping me feel a little less alone in this!

    I’m single and 34. I struggle with hope – people love to tell me to “have hope.” But hope in what exactly? I look at dismal divorce statistics (even within the church) – can’t put hope in the institution of marriage itself. I listen to the dating horror stories of my girlfriends and contribute my own – these add to discouragement, not hope.

    And hope in God? Sure, of course, but……how, exactly? Because He hasn’t promised me a husband. I can’t claim a promise that hasn’t been made to me. How do I hope in God, knowing full well that the deepest desire of my heart may never be met? (here on earth, that is)

    And how do I live my life – come up with a “Plan B” – while I ‘wait’ for what I really want?

    Waiting makes one heart-sick. How do I stop feeling like I’m in a holding pattern and live well, right now?

    • Maria T

      Understand you completly!!!!

      Im 34 and I been waiting and waiting and waiting…

      My heart ache for the desire of a husband and kids!!!

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  • http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com LaughingMouse

    Okay, so I actually took the time to read (or skim) every one of the comments. Took me over an hour I think. Holy Wow!

    I am Kristine or Mouse as many friends call me. I am 33 years old and 10+ years single. I was dating a guy when I graduated college and we broke up New Year’s Eve day of 2001. I started 2002 as a Single Woman. Never dreamt I would still be single 10 years later. I am sooooo encouraged and excited to see what this becomes!! This is exactly the conversation that we need. For Such A Time As This, as they say!

    How can you support me? What all of the above said.
    What questions would you like answered? Again, What all of the above said. And yes, let’s talk about sex and be real? please?!

    What do you need from the (in)courage sisters? If you mean the bloggers that are posting sometimes just an acknowledgement of our existence is enough. Certainly posts directed at us or directed at our married counterparts but regarding our status in life would be great. In my opinion, (in) courage does a really good job of not being a “Mommy Blog.” Yes most of the posters (i think?) are moms but most of the posts aren’t about parenting or housekeeping or homeschooling. The point of reference might be from a mom’s point of view, but often times the spiritual revelation applies pretty universally. So, kudos on that!!

    What do we need to talk about to make this a life-giving community for you?
    Like a number of other ladies said, be honest. Let’s agree to be honest with each other about where we’re at.
    I think one person hinted at this, but please, for the love of charlie stop with the bumper sticker cliches!! I don’t need to hear “let Go and let God” or any of the other nonsense and trash that masquerades as advice. Is it true? Yes, probably. But, if you are saying that to me it is because A) you don’t truly care all that deeply about me personally and are just looking to make yourself feel better and B) you have not walked any of this very very hard road with me or just don’t want to. My Nearest and Dearest, the ones who have walked this 10+ years of unwilling singleness with me would never say something like that to me. That kind of cliche is not helpful when you’re “in the thick of it.”

    so much else I could say and so much else I thought of as I was reading comments. But now it is 9 pm and my brain has apparently overloaded for the night.

    Oh, I have blogged a fair amount about singleness too. But be fair warned my Dad died unexpectedly in April, so there is a LOT about grief in the posts since then. And, yes, many of them are kinda dark.

    Can’t wait to see what becomes of this!!!

  • Jennifer

    I’m 41 and single; I’ve never been on a date. I think that one of the hardest places to be single is in the church environment. That has been my biggest struggle these last few years. It seems like if you’re a wife or mother that there are opportunities for support and ways to connect all around. It’s difficult being the one who is different.

  • Tatiana

    Angeline’s comment helped me a lot. I am 45, had a few dates but never so much as even one decent kiss in my whole life. To say that I feel unwanted, overlooked and ignored is an understatement. I feel like the most undesirable woman on earth. The desire for a husband never goes away – in fact it seems to get stronger – but my reality would indicate that dream coming true seems impossible. I get frustrated because what my heart wants and what my actual reality is, day after day, decade after decade, are completely polar opposites. This “season of life” seems to be one unending one-way street. And to Kristy, I totally struggle with feeling like, while so many people I know get their heart’s desires, I’m stuck in my Plan B life. I know I need more faith and less feeling. I know God has a plan and a purpose, but what is it?

  • Agnes

    Can I just say THANK YOU to all the ‘got-married-older’ ladies who’ve shared their stories? More please!!! I’m 39 and single, yes I’ve been kissed well and truly, but sometimes wish I hadn’t been :/ but past is past. All to say I DO believe God has told me I’ll be married, so I’m waiting on His timing now, and His provision. God is never late! Can’t wait to read more! Thanks Annie! :))) x

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  • Gretchen

    Wow.

    I’m nearly speechless after reading through almost all the comments. So often I feel like I am the only one like me. I have a huge group of incredible friends who are almost all married and working on their second child. I’m Aunt G to dozens of kids and sister to their parents. They are my beautiful family. But I am still the odd one out.

    God has blessed me immensely through my singleness and given me grace and hope and life and joy and freedom that I never imagined as a 31-year-old single lady having never seriously dated. But even so, I hate being single. I was supposed to be married with two kids by now. I was supposed to travel the world with the love of my life.

    I thought I was all alone in this wearying, lonely, questioning, infuriating state. But reading through all your comments was like reading my own heart. Tears sprang time and time again as I realized I am not alone in this… Thank you.

    I can’t wait to read more!!!

  • Lea

    So glad to have found this through Chatting at the Sky. I’m 33 and single and praying. Anything I could say has probably already been said in these lovely comments, which are a gift! Thank you.

  • http://www.lightbreaksforth.wordpress.com Kim

    Firstly, I just discovered this site and I love it! What a blessing to come together with sisters from all over! I haven’t had a chance to read through every comment (all 485!) so perhaps someone has addressed this. I’m not sure how many are still reading this comment thread since it is an older post but just thought I’d throw my two cents in!
    I would like to see an article that addresses/opens conversation about what to do when you have feelings for someone (but are not dating and have no idea if he is interested in you). I have a history/struggle with developing feelings for a guy and thus far in my track record nothing ever comes out of it. I currently am going through one that will have been going on for a year at the end of this month. I’m curious what other girls do when you start having feelings for a guy. I’ve prayed about it, asked the Lord to take them away, asked him to show me more about this guy to give me discernment, etc. The only response I feel I’ve gotten is “wait” (but that could be my bias not willing to move on!) I pray everyday for the Lord to not let my heart deceive me, if this guy is not right for me I don’t want to hang onto it. And yet I’m still here, so I try to be open to just learning from the experience but it’s so hard! I have a friend who says she doesn’t believe the Lord would want us to spend our feelings on someone who is not in His plan for us so she believes if we ask He will take the feelings away. I want to agree with her but not sure where that leaves me! It would be great to be able to talk to other ladies about this who understand and/or have some insight! Blessings to all!

  • http://eccedominus.wordpress.com Subiksha

    I don’t think it is just women who need to hear this – I’ve had conversations with some of the young people I work with, guys and girls.

    I’ve been so tempted to write about this too lately. I used to always imagine I could do it better ‘if/when’ I found someone – but that was a ridiculous idea. Annie, thank you for writing :)

  • Anne A

    Sisters, your honest sharing of stories & testimonies & struggles & God-gifts is such a blessing!

    I’m writing as a 59-year-old who had given up even praying about the possibility of a husband. My strengths had scared off the few potentials, & I hadn’t been kissed in 30 years. I didn’t want to expend the tremendous energy or endure the emotional yo-yo only to be dropped into a ditch again. So I turned away from hope, & stuffed the pain.

    A year ago in spring (as I was preparing to change countries yet again) God empowered me to open my Pandora’s box & weep through the losses of the years. It was a wet spring, believe me! But as I raised my head, the sun came out, & a double rainbow arched over new growth. In some mysterious way, acknowledging & facing the pain allowed joy & energy & hope to irrigate long-dormant seeds. I felt as if I’d just entered university again, & actually bought a pattern & material for a dress like the one I’d made & loved then.

    Lessons of the fall were about living in the moment, & cherishing beauty & relationship wherever God provides. At one of several workshops I attended, a tall Texan shared his testimony on his 40th spiritual birthday. God shone through the brambles & scars, & through his heart to see it all used for God’s glory. Later our long-distance conversations became daily. Though we’re giving God a year to clarify His will, it looks like we’ll be sharing a path & ministry in the future. Only God could have brought 2 people like us together from so far/so long with all the shared interests, skills, personality traits, passions & hopes that we have. I hope for 20 years together, if God allows. But even if He doesn’t, or we never get married, I thank God for the experience of learning to love, dream, hope & serve together. He really DOES cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him….

    Despite my fears (& they are many), & despite my avoidance of pain (by refusing to acknowledge or grieve it), God has broken through. May I encourage you to check and see if there’s something you’ve been afraid to face that may be clogging the mouth of the spring of joy in your life? Once that fountain is allowed to dance in the sunlight, you’ll see rainbows all around. And perhaps you’ll be able to see & ready to accept God’s surprising & wonderful will for your future. I pray He will delight you as He has me.

    Blessings & joy to you all!

  • Kirsten

    I just stumbled upon this blog. 29, single, and after a long, stubborn, summer of pulling away from God due to selfish frustrations in my life (including being single), this morning I couldn’t ignore Him anymore. And there I was sobbing on my bedroom floor pouring my heart out.

    Reading a blog by Emily Freeman, somehow linked me to here and this amazing, honest blog. I loved reading all the comments and relating to so many. I find time and again the pain in holding these heart cries inside, and the joy and restoration of sharing with others. I thank you, brave women.

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  • http://cafe.themarker.com/post/2994374/ לחץ כאן

    לכן, אם הם אחרי צבא היה טס למזרח, לדרום אמריקה או כל דבר בחיים – הנאה מצריכה כסף. מסוימת זה המשכורת של עבודה זו הן דינאמיות והכרת מקומות חדשים. קנדה מעודדת הגירה קרוב למאה חברות המפרסמות בעיתונים ובאינטרנט דוגמת לוחות דרושים בקנדה, אתרי עבודה בחו”ל. הנחיות כלליותאדם הטוען כי נפגע בעבודתו או שארעה לו תאונת עבודה.

  • Elisabeth Allen

    Thank you so much for starting this conversation, Annie, I’ve been so blessed today reading your words and the words of others and realising that I’m not alone in this single place. Thank you!

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