About the Author

Annie F. Downs is a bestselling author and nationally known speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her most recent books include 100 Days to Brave, Looking for Lovely and Let’s All Be Brave. Read more at anniefdowns.com and follow her at @anniefdowns.

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  1. I usually end up having to speak with the person about what they said or their words just end up eating away at me. Once I’ve shared how the words have hurt, it releases me to go on.

  2. annie,

    I am one of those women trying to get pregnant that you just mentioned….and, yes, I’m reacting to those comments in just the same way. Thank you for sharing this today. I really needed a reminder to respond in grace.

  3. I think we all have those topics that are just a little more delicate for us then others… I like the advice your pastor gives; looking at the heart of those who are speaking rather than just their words or actions can really help to keep the right perspective. Ultimately, I would love to be so free in my identity in Christ that I wouldn’t be easily hurt or offended no matter what topic is brought up… a big goal, I know, but one I hope for. πŸ™‚

  4. My hubby and I have been trying to get pregnant for the past 3 and half years so I can relate to those questions, especially when so many others couples that got married after us have been blessed with babies. They don’t intentionally try to hurt you with their words. But they do hurt none the same.

  5. I’m single and have been for 54 years. I really like that you changed a comment to God has plans for me. Getting married is not the aim in life being who God calls you to be is. Now, I still long for companionship. It seems to be written on my heart. So I believe there remains hope. But I love serving God single.

  6. Wow. Yeah when my mom died, people would say “well, at least she’s in heaven.” I knew that of course but it wasn’t helpful at all. They meant well, I know. But people just don’t know what to say. But I learned something through it. Now I know, really know, what IS helpful. Not to say anything at all, sit with them, give a big hug, cry with them.
    I think it is a good idea, mentioned above, to humbly and honestly just let the person know about their words. I liked the way she put it, that it releases her and also it can be helpful to the other person saying the (unhelpful) words. An example of the verse in Ephesians where it talks of edifying speech, etc.

  7. I love your perspective on this – on seeing the heart of the person speaking. I know personally that sometimes you so want to say the right thing, something to encourage a person and it can come out sounding so flippant or just not right! As I’ve gotten older and worked through some challenges I’ve realised people don’t expect us to have all the answers, they just want to be heard, for their feelings/hardship to be acknowledged. One of the best things somebody said to me in a current season, was “that must be really hard for you.” I felt so supported by the simple acknowledgment. We over-complicate what we think people want us to say so it’s good to let grace cover some things. Bless you and the plans God has for you!

  8. I wrote a post about this not too long ago. In dealing with an eating disorder, infertility and then a miscarriage I heard LOTS of “helpful” comments from others (that just hurt more than helped). It was so easy for me to get offended by these words that hurt, despite the commenter meaning well. Their hearts were truly in the right place…. I think that is what we must focus on… their true intentions.

  9. I totally agree about people’s well-meaning comments hurting…I really struggle to talk to people, so while telling me it just means I’m a good listener feels like you’re saying you don’t care what I really want to tell you but can’t. Telling me I’m quiet isn’t a compliment, nor is pointing out how selfless I must be since I don’t speak up about my needs (I barely say hi; ‘no’ is almost not in my vocabulary). I know people are trying too be helpful, but it seems if you aren’t living it you won’t know the way the person will re-interpret what you said.

    • That’s exactly right- we can’t control the filter through which other people hear us just like they can’t control the filter through which we hear them. All the more reason we should trust their intentions. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your thoughts, friend. Love hearing from you.

  10. I can relate. I love the idea of trusting their intentions, not just their actions. I’m learning to do that–not by design, but because if my friends didn’t extend grace to me, I would have no friends by now!

    I’m dealing with clinical depression, which is complicated by some other stuff. Even with help from several highly qualified professionals, I haven’t found the right combination of meds. This has been going on for several years, and is wide open for uninformed comments: “Just think positively!” “Try not to worry about anything.”

    I know my friends mean well, so I try not to respond in a negative way. I listen to their advice, thank them for praying, and change the subject.

    • Melissa – thank you for sharing. I am wondering what you have found helpful & supportive (words, actions) from your friends in dealing with clinical depression? Thanks! Praying that God leads you to the best meds for you soon.

      • Thanks, Janna. Most encouraging have been the friends who just listen, who stay in touch to see how I’m doing, who keep on praying, and who remember that my husband and son need prayers for strength, too.

        In practical terms, what would be most helpful are meals and a little help around the house when I’m having an especially bad time. It’s hard to admit that sometimes I just can’t do these basic things.

    • Oh, Melissa, how I understand what you are saying!

      I struggle with an anxiety disorder and at times severe PMS. The resulting depression can be over-powering. The anxiety in and of itself is disabling at times (although, thank God, with counseling and medication, I have found some relief!), but often what can hurt the worst is the insensitivity of the words. “Take control of your mind.” “Choose to think positive thoughts.” “Just quit worrying.” And then the OCD jokes…it is hard not to take such things personally, but in reality, I know these people wouldn’t *try* to hurt me. It is just the carelessness and a lack of understanding…not a lack of love.

      I’m so glad I saw your comment!! I needed this reminder – be gracious and change the subject.

      • Thank you, Annie, for this post. I think that no matter where we are in life, this is a great reminder! I love your pastor’s thoughts. As to Melissa and Dawn, my daughter is struggling with anxiety and OCD thoughts. She has been most helped by speaking with people who have been where she is. I advise her to thank people for their care and concern for her, but to guard herself from those fellow believers who think she can just handle it with “prayer and belief”. I tell her that she can ask them to wait until she is in a better place to be able to talk with them about it. I know they mean well, but it only brings condemnation to her at this point of her journey. Through Biblical counseling, and yes, medication, she is healing! Praise God!

  11. Recently one of my closest friends threw the “I know there’s someone out there for you” line at me and I reacted so strongly that it took several conversations for me to convey exactly why it was I was so upset…to her and perhaps more so to myself. I knew (as you said) that all her intentions were good, but somehow I just couldn’t hear that empty promise one more time. I was totally humbled however when after I was able to convey my frustrations my friend asked me how she could better love me in the moments when I am talking about my singleness. Her intentions were loving…it was my heart that was not prepared to receive them.

    • Isn’t it funny how sometimes when we process things with others it is also meant to help us process for ourselves? πŸ™‚ Thanks for your thoughts- really agree with you.

  12. not ALL are to wed … there is no Bible evidence of a husband for Lydia, one of the first converts mentioned in Acts … yet she was of much assistance to Paul in the new Church, one must wonder how a husband may or may not impact one’s personal ministry.

    I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
    1 Corinthians 7:34-36

  13. “Trust people’s intentions, not their actions/words.” GREAT reminder. A number of years ago I read a similar quote that helped me SOOOO much. “Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by carelessness!” (author unknown)

  14. I love this! So often we don’t even see the truth because we get wrapped up in the lies. I’m so proud of you for holding onto the truth AND seeing that sometimes lies are spoken with the BEST of intentions.

  15. Need to be reminder today that its the intentions not the words that people say. My friends love me and generally want to see me happy (this means married to some of them) so when they make comments that seems intentionally hurtfully I need to be reminded they love me and may not realize that that comment was hurtful. Thanks!!!

  16. Thanks for writing this. I think people walk away with a lot of hurt from comments that weren’t meant to hurt. And we’ve all done it in one form or another. Someone is dealing with a tough situation and we just want it to be okay, but we don’t know what to say…so we offer some false hope or positivity. I have dear friends that say similar things to me being single, so I’ve learned to trust their heart, and weigh what they say to what is true. “The only truth that is Truth is the Word of God.” So often we put more weight on what our friends and families say. Thanks for the reminder to always search for God’s word on the matter.

    • Absolutely. And I have served up my share of hurtful comments too. I’m working to not only hear people’s words through their intentions, but make sure my words are spoken carefully.

  17. Thank you for this post.
    I totally understand.
    There people in my faith circle who have meant well but their words haven’t been gentle and it has been hard for me to reingage with them though I was able to follow thru on the words of advice they gave. They meant well, but heart feels sensitive and kind of need to be around folks who can walk with me gently. But, I am thankful for all the gifts God brings and I pray that he helps me receive well and also be a gentle giver too. Thank you for the advice for applying the Word of God to everything coming our way and in our way of responding, that helps me engage in these weird conversations or spaces. I appreciate it!

    • Love that, Angie – “engage in these weird conversations” – that’s exactly right! πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind words- glad you enjoyed the post.

  18. Thank you Annie!
    You’re right I know I need to change my ears, but what about them changing their words too? Is it ok to ask people not to make comments like that?
    Even though their intent isn’t to hurt sometimes it still does.

    • Honestly, if I were continually saying things to a close friend of mine that were stinging, even if my intentions are right, I would want her to tell me that they hit a sensitive spot so I can be aware. It may be a little uncomfortable, but in my mind, good, close friendships are supposed to be a little uncomfortable every once in a while.

    • I agree with Dougherty- you should absolutely tell your friends if they are repeatedly hurting you with their words. Real friendship is built on honesty. Speaking your hurt is part of deepening those friendships.

    • Hi Leanna, I’ve been trying to conceive for 4 years. In the last 2 years I’ve started to (as gently as possible) tell people when their words are unhelpful. Mostly, people have responded well. Unfortunately, it’s become a bit “too hard” for a few people to enagage in an honest discussion without their glib cliches to fall back on…so those friendships have become a bit distanced (which is ok – they’ve got their own stuff to deal with and, quite frankly, if I could avoid the emotional labour of this, I would). Along the way, I’ve made a few new friends who have had their own sensitive areas and I’ve been able to connect with them in a way I would never have been able to do before…and made a few cherished friends in the process. It won’t always be easy or resolved the way you want (sorry)- but definitely worth the risk. Good luck x

  19. Thank you for the reminder! I know I have said hurtful things before… my heart was in the right place, but it was still hurtful. I know in my case I tend to say the wrong thing when I should be just listening… not speaking!

  20. Annie, this quote ,”Trust people’s intentions, not their actions/words”, is going on my mirror. Just this weekend I struggled with some things that were said to me. But I didn’t trust the person’s intentions, only what I heard. I also want to be more aware of the things I say to people.

    • I can’t tell you how many times I have repeated that quote in my head since our pastor first said it a few months ago.

      Thanks for your comment, Jennifer!

  21. I like this awareness of intentions: the words that were meant to build up, encourage, in love or understanding even if they fell off track and used to be so good at that, at staying happy, positive, forgiving – was called the “encourager” by friends and family.
    …but I am so admiring Debbie’s ability to be released from her hurt by sharing and honesty! Is that allowed or as a Christian are we to turn the other cheek to hurts or innapropriatenesses that might then destroy a relationship, rather that bring them out into the open and so be in a place of restoration where both hearts feelings and needs are recognized?
    None of my encouraged have ever encouraged back and in fact have taken advantage and take out bad moods and distresses on my body and soul… I long for strong, loving, positive, respectful relationships that respect feelings and boundaries and perhaps I’ve found some…
    Will take this day to praise God for those and build those up!

  22. That was a rockin’ post – good words, hang in there. You taught me something today – I wasn’t even looking for a lesson, but I learned one!

  23. Sometimes it is my mother who says hurtful things, and I know she never means it the way it comes out. I have learned to focus on what I know the intent of her heart is. I think that is what you need to do, too. Focus on the intent of the hearts of your dear friend. She says she just “Knows there is someone out there for you” because she is hoping, having faith and trying to buoy you up. Don’t take offense…Be grateful you have such loving and supportive and caring friends. You are so blessed.

    • Mamas can do that. I often think of the mother in Pride and Prejudice… Elizabeth Bennett, talking about marriage with her mother, says “Is that really all you think about?” and Mrs. Bennett says, “When you have five daughters, Lizzie, tell me what else will occupy your thoughts, and then perhaps you will understand.” πŸ™‚

  24. Annie,

    People at work say things to me and I know they don’t realize it, but they hurt–make me feel stupid, dumb, not smart, etc. I, like you, have to be in the word & know that God has plans for me–bigger than I could ever imagine!

    As for the being single–who knows God may have plans for you maybe to go on a mission trip or something. One way to find “the right guy” is on-line dating & tons of prayers. I was single until 39–everyone, it seemed, was getting married even my nieces and nephews. I was discouraged. Went on Yahoo Personals and put up a moniker and ad. Did tons & tons of praying. Nothing was working so I finally threw down a pencil and said “ok God if I’m to get married you’re gonna have to make it happen.” Lo and behold shortly thereafter he sent me a most wonderful, loving, caring man.

    Praying for you in this season of singleness.

  25. I get lots of ‘helpful’ comments from people in my church, about that there is a man out there for me!!
    It frustrates me so much as you just dont need those comments. Its hard enough being single in church when most people are married and have children. I find being single hard as ALL my friends are married, and I am nearly 40 years old and still single!

  26. Oh Anne! Thank you *so* much for this reminder. I know I accidentally stick my foot waayyy down my throat with my single friend (who happens to be my best friend) too often and I want to be sensitive but also encouraging. After 4 years of me being married and her single I think I’m just starting to *get* how to encourage without saying those kind of things. If you have any insights on ways to encourage single ladies without zero-ing in on their single-ness, I would love to hear them!

  27. How have you dealt with words that accidentally [or purposefully] hurt you?…..
    I will enjoy reading every answer to that question here over the next days!
    Six Ways to find Unforgiveness and remove it on Joyce Meyer’s web page is wonderful!
    She was a path to grace for me in finding my way back to faith in God’s love.

    In the years since my family disowned me after I had a child I went through terrible grief and loneliness. We had had a busy and sometimes very happy family. But I asked that my father’s intentions and actions and words that my siblings and I had lived with not be repeated with my little sister’s and my children. Father’s are supposed to meet your needs with love, “Abba, Father” is one who hears our hearts and loves us – appropriately!

    Daily I met with Joyce Meyer, my coffee, my bible every single morning. If I worked we ‘met’ later through the computer video, if not, before I started my day. It has taken three years of this wonderful and wise woman’s wisdom and faith for me to see and accept things as they are, to not gloss over them for his and my mother’s sake except through loving and forgiving eyes, but not in order to allow dissapointments to continue. It was a holy hell, excuse me but I truly do not mean to offend, but this kind of grief eats at one’s heart! But the holiness is in the persistence to find strength in faith and God in everything, it is a holy journey and so, so difficult.

    Forgiveness is a huge order and Jesus commands it! Joyce showed how she did it while yet accepting the realities and that it was not her ‘job’ to heal and ‘make things up’ that other people did but that her father and mother were in God’s hands as she was. All through my life I read every book that Jewish, Christian and other authors wrote on forgivenesss that I could find. Yet I struggled and something was missing as I went about my life. When I lost my known place in life had to seek how to truly have peace inside my heart and not despair!

    God restores peace to your heart as you journey through the most difficult time, the Word of God is the best guide there is in the world for seeking God and wholeness in your spirit! Many blessings!

      • Your blog is a blessing as is Joyce, something from her videos/the Word this week:
        “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ”
        1 John 4:18 NIV
        – You’re welcome!

  28. So I have the same problem, only, *backwards*.

    It’s like at my age (30) everyone has given up on me and the idea that I too could get married and have kids one day.
    Case in point: The other day I was at my mom’s house sorting baby stuff (toys, crib, etc) that my nieces are way to old for now. My mom said something non-chalant about just giving everything away, including the crib. I asked if maybe she thought we night need this stuff again some day (*hint*cough*hint*) and she just shook her head and say, “No, I don’t think we will”.

    That wrecked me.

    Where do you go from there?

    • Oh man, G. I bet that did hurt.

      I think you tell her- you know, it is that fine balance of “don’t always talk about me getting married but don’t give up hope for me either.” It’s all about talking with your mom and how to talk about this.

      Praying for you as you journey through this.

    • This comment broke my heart. I hope you will tell your mom how that comment made you feel and ask that she not give up on you. I prayed for you just now.

  29. You know, I wish I could read something like this and not be flooded with memories of careless words. I choose to remember that my loved ones have good intentions when they say such things- that they speak from a good place and don’t understand the implications of their words. Or they simply want to make it “better” and this is the result. With my closest friends, I’ll try to head off certain comments by laying my cards on the table- I’ll talk about what’s helpful to hear and what isn’t before they have a chance to say anything. This is true when I’m talking about being single or grieving and a few other topics. And no matter how triggering their words are, I try to speak from a place of grace and understanding. They don’t mean to upset me.

    • That’s great- giving them warning before hand that a topic is feeling particularly sensitive or what the right words are. Good word, Leigh!

  30. This literally happened to me yesterday. I live with 2 girls who are in very serious relationships. They have both been with their boyfriends for over a year and at least one of them is looking to get married. soon. Its wonderful and I couldn’t be happier for them. But what they don’t understand is that talking weddings and relationships, while fun, takes a stab at my hope. It makes me feel like i’ll never get there. I joke a lot about most aspects of my life and my friends sometimes think its ok to joke about my chronic singleness. It kills me. And as i sit and try to think through it alone, the enemy speaks lies and twists things they’ve said to hurt me even more. I really had to take time and soak in truth and the promise God has for me, that He knows. He has plans, and those plans are perfect. I’m praying the Lord will take that hurt and help me to learn from it. And that ultimately I will find a man who speaks truth over me every day. Thanks for sharing, Annie.

    • I deal with that a lot too, Laura- when I joke about something, it gives other people permission to joke about it too. Or so they think. I have had to start really evaluating what I joke about- because a lot of times I make self-deprecating jokes as a self-defense mechanism- when really it ends up hurting me more than helping. So everything you are saying, I TOTALLY GET IT!

      Thanks for your comment. I love your perspective!

  31. Just love this perspective and needed this reminder. As we struggle to have kids of our own after 12 years of marriage, and as I struggle to lose weight – I’ve been hurt in both cases: marriage/infertility and weight loss. I know my friends mean well and I try so hard to take it with a grain of salt. I dearly love my friends. It’s the family members or the ones who speak without really knowing the truth about what’s going on in my heart where it hurts the most, despite their well intentions. So I love how you say to wash their words in God’s Word – and what your pastor said too! Love this.

  32. What I love about this is that we do KNOW some things. We KNOW God is good and has good plans for us — we just don’t know what that looks like or what we go through to either “get to the good” or “realize we have the good”. We KNOW God is good, has good for us, loves us beyond measure, and will never change. I need that reminder so often. Thank you!

    • That’s right. And for folks who are braver than me, there is so much excitement in that unknown. To me? Not quite. πŸ™‚ But I’m trying.

  33. I, too, like the words “wash them in the Word”. We all say things that we don’t mean to hurt and it is so good not to wear our hearts on our sleeves.
    Blessings. I am a TN girl too at heart, raised in Knoxville. Enjoy!

  34. We went through similar circumstances (g!) and found that all the baby stuff was gone and people were not always positive but usually they were and advice was well intended. That was such a strengthening experience for me, to see that they were not all-wise and all-knowing but I could only take my hope from God. When I could later laugh at some of the things that were said (privately with my husband), it also showed me that I was not the only one human and sometimes left feeling inept/helpless or who says stupid things! After 7 years of infertility we had a miracle and now love a wonderful sixteen year old boy with loads of character and laughter to share with us! Plus we were blessed with all new baby things! …. and everyone saw a miracle.

  35. I remember someone saying, “Are you guys EVER going to have kids?” not having any idea that my husband and I had been trying for over a year. It was hard to talk about but I just let her know we were waiting on God’s timing. You’re right, His timing could have been never. None of us has any specific guarantees, just the general one that He is working all things together for good for those who love Him. (As I side note, I also laughed many times after I delivered my two kids that people would say, “You look great for just being pregnant.” Couldn’t get a “you look great” without the qualifier. Ha!)

  36. I read this and was reminded of the many times I have wounded another woman by trying to be supportive. It is so hard to just be still and quiet when everything in us as Christians just wants to fix the hurt and make it better. For me I remind myself to listen and not to speak unless I have actual life experience on the situation. And I am very, very thankful for lovely friends who gave me an abundance of grace when my words wounded.

    • Lori, that is my struggle too. I am far more often the one inflicting pain vs. experiencing it. Praying for growth in that area for me!!

  37. Yes, women who are trying to have kids get the same sorts of questions. Oh, and if you have a miscarriage you get things like “you can always have more children”. Really? It took over 12 years for the one pregnancy? How can you know that? (I thankfully read an article shortly beforehand that mentioned all the things you should NOT say to a woman who miscarried, so I was prepared)

    I think there are times people need to just keep their noses out and not say anything. Or just sympathize and shut up πŸ™‚

  38. Although I’m currently engaged to be married, at 30, I’ve only spent about a year and a half being a “we” and a whole lot longer being a “me”. I tried really hard to focus on the love behind the comments that came all too often, and most days I could shake them off, but every once and a while the sting lingered. A father of one of my closest friends pulled me aside at a wedding and told me that since I was the “last one”, our focus now needed to be on finding a man. I honestly hadn’t realized I was the “last one” in our friends until that moment, and no matter how I tried to shake it, it really cast a damper on the great evening that I, up until then, was enjoying. I’ll never forget it, and I go out of my way to make sure that I don’t say those type of things to friends that are single. It’s so hard, though, because when you are happy and in love, you want so desperately for the other people you love to feel the same thing. It really is out of love and desire for them to be happy. I just try to focus that on prayers for them rather than comments that might cause hurt or inadequacy.

  39. Right there with you. My 88-year-old (89 in a few days) grandfather makes a comment regarding my singledom each time I see him, and it’s often one of only a few things he says to me. Sometimes it does hurt. I put it in perspective – he’s 88 and a banker, so his concern is that I’m taken care of. In fact, he says that first you should learn the guy’s name, and then ask to see his financial portfolio. Most of the time we make a game out of it, as he picks on me about this random Scotsman I got a picture with when I visited there, and gave Grandpa a framed copy. He wants to know if I kept in touch with the stranger (the guy was older and playing bagpipes for money).

    So while my singleness kills me much of the time, I put some people’s comments – like those of Grandpa – in that category of “I mean well, but I don’t know you are hurting.” I hurt more by watching others and hearing them talk about families, spouses, etc.

  40. Thank you Annie for your encouraging scriptures. They enlightened me. I have one for you too. Psalm 37:4

    Blessings πŸ™‚

  41. Thanks for so gently weaving this beautiful picture of the power and significance of our words and how they are delivered. You touched on something that really resonates in my heart daily, multiple times daily more accurately. Bless you and again thank you.

    Will look forward to reading more from you in the months ahead,

  42. I think every single female over a certain age has similar stories to tell. “Just quit trying and it will happen.” “There is someone for everyone.” “You have to kiss a lot of frogs.” Etc, etc, etc!
    The worst for me was when I was on a missions trip and someone asked me, “Never? You are never going to get married?” Yeah, I don’t know how to answer that in English, much less a foreign language.
    I head a cancer survivor once say that people never know what to say to the terminally ill but the most important thing is to still say something. The show of concern is more important than the actual words.
    So when our friends say “I know there is someone out there for you” maybe what they are really trying to say is that they know it is hard for us to be single and they long for us to have someone and maybe someday we will but in the meantime they are just trying to show us that they care. It just doesn’t quite sound like that when it comes out of their mouth. But if we listen with our hearts, the concern is there.

  43. Thanks for sharing your heart. I got it. I’m sure I’ve been guilty many times by responding to someone that was hurting only to pour salt on their wound. I didn’t mean to. I’d love some coaching on how to handle some of these issues. Should I just be silent and give someone a hug? Is it better to ask… instead of making a comment “how do you feel about that”?
    Feedback would be great!

    • Hi Rita! I’m with you- I tend to be on the giving end of accidentally hurtful comments more than I’m on the receiving end.

      The best coaching I can give you is to have open and honest conversations with your friends and ask them what THEY need. That’s how you’ll know.

  44. Beautifully written, Annie. I never really had put much thought nit why I felt weird when people said things like this to me. It makes total sense though. Thanks for always being so open and honest about all this.

  45. Lovely post Annie, touches the tender nerve that aches. I await the joy of motherhood and yes, I took I’m tired of all the questions – “So when are you planning for a baby? Are you’ll on family planning? Do you guys have a problem? Visit a doctor!!!. Well, from today, my motto will be to hold my implusive reckless tounge and answer in love to all these questions which probably are full of concern but perceived differentlyby me in all my humaness. God had a beautifull plan foe me and I am holding on to it.

  46. Hang in there, sweet sister. I’m another one who’s over 30 and unmarried. Sadly, I get way more flack from my married Christian friends than my married unChristian friends. Instead of trying to build me up in Christ (with words like, “you’re complete in Jesus, regardless of your marital state”) I, too, often get the same words and phrases.

    You are wonderful and enough, regardless of whether your left hand holds a ring or not. πŸ™‚

    Please know your posts always offer some kind of insight. Thanks for being a role model. πŸ™‚

  47. I am so thankful for this post and your blog and others I have read by single women. I have been married almost 5 years now, and I confess that I have not prayed for my single friends like I should. God has reminded me of that time and time again of late, and I’ve been seeking ways to actively encourage those women and let them know that I’m still fighting for them. I’ve not been married so long that I’ve forgotten how challenging and yet rewarding being single is.

    It’s so hard not to let words like that wound. My mom used to say that I needed to hurry up and get married because my eggs wouldn’t last forever, and while she would laugh after she said it, it always hurt me because it was as though she assumed I was choosing to be unmarried. And even now as I’ve lost weight, I’ve had people say things to me like, “You look so good I hardly recognized you,” which of course makes me think I looked downright hideous before! I love the idea of looking at people’s intentions and not just their actions.

    Thanks for this, Annie. I am praying for you.

  48. I left the cult I was brought up in at the age of 23, leaving my family behind. Since then, I’ve gotten married and had 4 kids, and I love my life. But right now I’m having one of those times when the scar over the loss of my family has, for some reason, been ripped open again. I’ve never really had an adult relationship with my parents or siblings, I haven’t seen most of them for 14yrs, and I have lots of neices and nephews that don’t know me at all. I’ll never really get to be an aunty, and my kids are missing out on the grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins they should be in relationship with.
    And as I’ve been dealing with all of this again, it seems like everyone else in my life has backed right off as well. Nobody rings, nobody asks my kids to play, when I ring them they’re busy, etc etc. It’s been crazy! I rang a good friend to ask if my kids could play with her kids, and she told me all about the family and friends they’d been seeing, and how busy they were, and how her kids couldn’t play with mine that week because they were going to stay at grannies with their cousins. Some thing that my kids have never, and will never be able to do. Aaaarghhhhh!
    That really, really hurt. I knew that under normal circumstances, I would just brush it off and it wouldn’t bother me. But because this area of hurt has been re-opened, it seems like the salt-shaker of life has been pouring in the salt as fast as it can…
    Yes, words HURT! But often it’s because of the hurt we already carry within us. And when that’s the case, it’s really hard to be gracious to those unintentional hurters. As I’ve proved over the last little while!

  49. wow. can’t tell you how much this spoke to me today. thank you, annie. thank you for “going before” in sharing about your singleness. i’ve been silently single…well, for almost all of my life (am 33 now). it’s not the life i imagined (although my life isn’t bad at all…just not what i thought it would be). and people care and people want the best for me. and sometimes they say such helpful, true things. and sometimes they say or ask things that hurt. what you shared is SO true. the truth of God’s Word is the truth i must bathe myself in, hold fast to, believe, and confess with all my heart. i don’t know if i’ll ever be married, either. but my God will be faithful to me come what may. regardless of what my job is, who i live with, whether or not i’m single, etc, etc, etc. and He just adores me, right here…today. and annie, He adores you, too. (and every other reader, too.) bless you and thank you so much for sharing your heart and journey with us here. you have blessed me.