About the Author

Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith through following Jesus Christ. As president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa has lead thousands over the past 15 years to help make their walk with God an invigorating journey. Not...

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  1. Thank you, Lysa! I felt like you were speaking straight to my heart… I feel exactly the same way on Sundays. Great to be able to put things back into perspective!

  2. Thankyou for writing this post Lysa!! While I *know* with my head a lot of this, I definitely needed the reminder again 🙂 I’ve been single for 13 years, though a momentary stumble gifted me with my daughter, that’s also almost 7 years of single parenthood within those 13, and loneliness is most definitely my biggest and most present struggle. I love reading your words – it’s like you’ve momentarily blessed us with a peek inside your heart, your bruised, yet God-loving heart. THANK YOU for that!! And THANKYOU for your words sweet sister x

  3. Lysa,
    One of the loneliest nights of my life was when I sat in a packed stadium with 60,000 people surrounding me. My husband, and kids, and I were there to see a concert. The whole evening, not a word passed between my husband and me. Two weeks later he left. To outsiders we probably “looked” like the perfect family. Seeking perfection as a means to happiness is a dead end. Thank you for sharing some wonderful truths we can all take to heart whether we are old, young, single, married, etc. Thank you!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  4. Great post. My fave quote “All those people I was watching those Sunday afternoons weren’t living perfect lives. They were having a moment of perfection in the midst of very imperfect relationships.” Could have used this when I was younger! Thank you.

  5. “What are those things you truly love spending time doing, creating, or researching? Invest your lonely moments there. Create life-giving experiences around your unique passions. After all, people are attracted to others who are full of life.” Reading these words triggers some unrest: I would not consider myself “lonely” but, at the age of 76, when I read about “unique passions” and “what I truly love to do” I’m stumped and somewhat saddened. I’ve had a full, active life, surrounded by family, a loving husband and five wonderful daughters and their families. But I can’t honestly pinpoint ANYTHING I love to do and I think it’s high time this should change!! Oh! there are plenty of “activities” to keep me busy – we’re active in our church, I knit, cook, travel—but I’m often puzzled as to why the Joy seems elusive and hard to get hold of. Thx for an inspiring blog entry today—I’ll keep praying and asking God to fill me with His love—

    • Mary, I am 45 and living the same life as you. I love my life but can’t seem to find that special ‘spark’. Praying is the only thing that brings me peace about it, and that God has His own reasons for my lack of a passion. Maybe we are just mildly passionate about everything. Maybe that’s not so bad! I will add you to my prayers!

      • I really appreciate your comments, Lynn – and Paige’s and Mema’s (below) I like “mildly passionate about everything”! and “praying that God will give us a glimpse of what He sees when He looks at us today”! Will keep on keeping on! And perhaps join Reading thru the Word, altho I’m currently involved in 2 local Bible studies and always come away lifted up in the Spirit. Thanks for your support and encouragement—

    • Wow, Mary. I feel a little less lonely going through these same feelings at 36 years old. Thanks for sharing your heart. My life is very full. But I haven’t the foggiest of anything I love to do. No wonder I don’t have much to share with others! Praying God give us a glimpse of what He sees when He looks at us today!

      • Mary, Lynn, and Paige, ya’ll can join me and about 3000 other women in a chronological Bible study with Wendy Pope, also of Proverbs 31, which is titled “Reading Through the Word.” I started this reading 6 years ago after my moma died; I am not 64 yrs. old, a retired public school teacher, who feels that my purpose in life is to share Jesus with my 3 small grandchildren. The one constant in my last 6 yrs of life has been being in God’s Word-it is my passion!!! I’d love to have you ladies join us!!!

    • Hi Mary,
      How about thinking…”What gets you excited…what do you start talking about and is hard to stop? What do people say about you when you leave the room or you’re not there? Ask them. It’s in there. God has given each of us a purpose. I am blessed by reading that you are looking for it. You WILL find your passion! God has given it to you my sister. And because you are seeking, you will find. Enjoy your journey!

      • Thank you, Kathy, for your words of love!! I have to say that what gets me excited these days is thoughts of upcoming trips – we live in the North, but like to go South in the springtime, to welcome the season – and to the state of ME in the summer—we’re very happy to be outdoors, walking the trails and watching for spring and fall migrant birds. But is this my “passion”? I always think in terms of God’s will for me – His purpose for my life—not just traveling with my husband, I’m pretty sure! I’ll keep seeking – and thanking you for your kind words and prayers!

    • Mary,
      We are women & we’ve given the bulk of our lives to others…time to write your bucket list. Ask God why the joy is missing…& do what fills you with joy. Have you squirrel away a little time for yourself? What’s missing? For me, it is leading in my community, volunteering to mentor in a school or art. Take the time to find out. Holy dissatisfaction can be God nudging you to a new ministry too!

      • Thank you, Robin, for your thoughtful reply. I keep coming back here and reading the posts and will follow your suggestions. I know that God has answers for me. I just need to figure out how to really listen to Him.

    • Hello Mary,
      Maybe teach a class on knitting, cook in a soup kitchen, volunteer to share your traveling wisdom with your local public school geography or history classes. Share your wisdom and knowledge, there are many who will embrace what’s “locked” inside of you, I think you will be pleasantly surprised….

  6. This sounds just like me same things I think but now I hear see and read the truth now I will think differently. Thank you Lisa and God bless you.

  7. Newly widowed after a 39-year marriage, and far from family, I so relate to the after-church blues. But I have found our precious Savior’s companionship to be incredibly sweet and fulfilling! Just found this site & you ladies are one more gift from a loving God!

  8. Thank you Lysa!!! I’m a busy single Mom and I sometimes struggle with these things. I am getting better and I do love my life, but having you talk about these three things is a wonderful reminder for me!! Thanks so much!!!

    ~Johanna

  9. thank you for remembering us singles ladies=) try so hard to live the life, be grateful and gracious, hang in there and keep our hopes and dreams alive. God bless you, please write more when you are able, hugs Dee

  10. After my husband’s death and I was suddenly ‘alone’ for the first time in my life, I quickly began to dread Friday evenings and going home Sunday’s after church. I knew why but it still didn’t help the loneliness I felt. After three years, it’s not quite as bad but if at all possible I try to plan something ahead of time to avoid the loneliness.

  11. I totally relate to your experience as a single woman, and the discovery that marriage isn’t an automatic cure for loneliness. I still think it helps, though, to have built in companionship and fellowship, particularly after church (I know you acknowledged this in your reflection).

  12. You’re such a great writer and speaker, Lysa. I’m currently single, and am perfectly content. I hope God is using this time of my life to really help me learn about myself, so I can bless, rather than curse people I know in the future.

  13. Lysa,
    Thank You so much for your wise words and this reminder, just wanted I need to hear today

  14. Good thoughts and a good message….for ALL women no matter your relationship status. Read the three points again but with married women in mind….the same message(s) ring true for them in their married lives. I’m sure this is not your intention, but this post alludes to the message that it’s the fault of single women that they are, indeed, single. That it’s what they’ve expected, wanted, hoped for, looked for, and prayed for that is wrong and out-of-line. That how they are waiting is causing the actual waiting. Yes, we all make choices Yes, we all have done many things to get to where we are today. But my singleness is no less ordained than your marriage (a fact that I grapple with everyday). It is NOT because of who I am looking for, how I live my day-to-day life, my desires for marriage, etc. that I am single. As much as it pains me to say it, I am single because this is God’s best for me. In that pain, I am the FIRST to say that I need help–but as a daughter of God, not as a single woman. I do not say any of this lightly–I am 40, single since birth, and oh so weary of hearing that it’s my expectations that might be holding me back. That I need to get more things “right” and in line so God can change my single status. The God I know is bigger than that.

  15. “I had to learn to enjoy life without being dependent on someone else to create the fun for me. That way I could bring the fun. I could bring the interesting conversation starters. And I could start to better discern the kinds of people who would get me.” ~ yep that’s for me, alright. I just had a girls night last night where I felt completely ordinary and uninteresting and extremely unworthy and uncomfortable in my own skin. And I HATE that about me. I didn’t used to be this way. What happened? I used to be the funny, and bring the party. And then I guess life just kept happening and laundry doesn’t talk back, or dishes, or an unfulfilling job that God wants me in right now, or broken dreams, and who wants to talk about Autoimmune disease, or the family salvation needs that consume life right now? Maybe I need to better discern who gets me? Or maybe I need to get to living and figure out what makes me tick. Maybe my husband and boys will want to do some things I like if I just go and do them and share my joy? What I want more than anything is to know exactly who I am in God and be completely confident in that, not caring about pleasing others or being liked. If he would only share his mission for me. How I can be so high school at 36 years old is beyond me. Yikes. I’ve got to figure this out.

    • Paige–I’m 37…last year, I felt the whole “who am I and what am I doing and what should I be doing and what am I possibly good at that matters?!?!?!?!” (I think mine had to do with my kids finally all being in school and me being able to do something else, but not knowing what it should be), kind of like a mini mid-life crisis. Maybe it is good for us to be thrown into that to be able to figure out stuff and make directional changes. Anyway, you aren’t alone!

  16. Lysa – thank you so much for your words today. God is definitely speaking to this heart of mine about my single, middle-age, empty nester season. I battle with loneliness and my expectations of what this life should be that I feel like I don’t live – I exist. I appreciate you writing to these areas of struggle in all of us regardless of marital status.

  17. “and working to not interpret everything with way more emotion than necessary.”

    HA! That’s the best! Oh my, got some work to do. Thank you for sharing your inner most self so that we can all become better.

  18. Although I appreciate a lot of what you say, and what I read that you write, Lysa, Sundays/weekends/nights can still be very hard for me and I’m sure others. I have been single most of my adult years, I am almost 40 – never married with no kids, although I try not to make it an idol, these are and have always been the deepest desires of my heart. I am pretty social/involved and close to/clinging to Jesus, but those lonely times inbetween can sometimes be very painful. I am not looking for/envious of/expecting perfection. I understand that married people can be lonely too. I guess I just didn’t feel this article empathized with my feelings/experiences that much and appreciate a little more humility and sensitivity that everyone’s state of mind/emotional state/single situations don’t quite fit into cookie cutter solutions/conclusions. 🙁 Thank you for all you do for God and His people! God bless you, Sue

    • I agree. I appreciate that Lysa is trying to post an encouraging word to us singles, but to me as a woman who has been single and never married, this post comes across as another set of platitudes about appreciating singleness. We hear a lot of messages on that and while it’s true, it comes across as condescending. You wouldn’t tell a childless woman to just appreciate being childless; likewise, it’s not the most sensitive thing to say to a single woman, “Oh if only you knew..”

      Every stage of life has its challenges, and Christians would do better to just realize that and come alongside each other with a word from Scripture of encouragement, instead of trying to make a single woman feel that this time of possible sadness in her life is not legitimate.

  19. This is what I needed to read today. Thank you. I’ve been struggling with loneliness even though I’m never alone. I’m always surrounded by people. You’re right. These are good things to remember.

  20. Lysa, what I appreciate most about you is that those of use who see your perfect moments and don’t know about the imperfection of your life are blessed with your transparency in your writings both in your books and online. You are willing to let your imperfections be known that others may find encouragement and strength and you direct them to the only source of perfection: our God who does not demand us to be perfect without Him!
    Thank you again. You are such a blessing. I’m very thankful to have met you at WOF Portland this past December. You gave me strength in that small moment that I’m not messing up my three girls, and I can relate to many of your stories. We are kindred spirits.
    Please know how much God is continuing to make a difference through you!

  21. Lysa, what a beautiful post, filled with truth. I love your tips for women who are single. Sundays were the hardest days for me too. That, and holidays when I didn’t go home to be with my family. I think sometimes God lets us walk through loneliness so we learn to turn to Him for companionship. I think that was the biggest lesson I learned in my singleness.

    Thanks for the reminder to not idealize the situations I see others living out. What you said about glimpsing a moment of perfection is such a great perspective.

    Thank you!

  22. Lysa,
    these are true. I learned not to look around at others too much. I was divorced with a son. I started being invited to baby showers, birthday parties, etc from married couples at church. Before long the wives were asking me questions about my singleness. I allowed that to make me feel like something was wrong with me for being single. What a mistake! I married my second husband quickly and ended up with a daughter and divorced again. I am now so happy to be single. I realized that being single is a state if mind. I am not sure I want to be married again. I enjoy the time I share with my children, their friends and my new friends. My married friends go thru so much I just don’t know if that’s what I want to deal with. I like being with God, myself and others. A friend once told me to fall in love with what I do. I did and i.m content. If God sends someone fine if not i.m still fine. I learned singleness is just as important as marriage. I learned so much being married. I.m just so glad to be single again. For the single ladies it’s better to be single than in marriages that God didn’t intend or that one gives up on and you are left holding it together by yourself. Either way it doesn’t work. Enjoy your singleness marriage is WORK! AugustRose

      • Good morning eh05,
        I just received your reply. Singleness is work as well but what I like most about singleness is my focus being about God and pleasing Him. I get to rely on a God who is sovereign and always there for me. He is committed to me for life. It’s not always easy because there are children who were wounded in my divorces that have real hurts due to that. But God still loves us and sees us through. The work in being single is mainly waiting on God for whatever my needs are spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I can sometimes get ahead of God which is not good. Be blessed!

  23. I’m 43 and “single never married” (as they say in the South) and Sundays are hard. For me it’s not looking around and seeing that others have someone to sit with or go to lunch with. I see that as my responsibility to initiate with others. My struggle comes with feeling like I have the plague. If you are sitting alone, others just don’t sit by you. My church just switched out the pews to theater style seats and it’s only gotten worse. Since the switch, there has been an empty seat on either side of me every single Sunday. I don’t have cooties. I don’t want your husband. I don’t smell. I love and am committed to church but it speaks volumes to me when someone risks sitting beside me and actually talks to me.

    • Kristin – I feel your pain! I am 50 and “single never married”. Six months ago I changed churches. I can go in and out and no one speak to me. I do try and get involved and know it takes time but I feel if I were married with a family people would be more open. They just seem to not know what to do with us. Sadly, church is the loneliest place I go. People are “nice” and smile and speak but don’t go out of their way to go beyond surface talk.

      • Dannah & Kristin,
        I wish you both could attend my little church. When someone new comes in most people go over and say hi! We are all like family and we want you to feel loved and appreciated.
        Sorry you have had such bad experiences at your churches. Praying for you both!

      • Church is absolutely the lonlinest place I go, but I have also experienced the opposite in a church that didn’t emphasize relationship status as identity. I was trying to “put myself out there” and go to a church with more people my age, but have found its not worth the oppressive feeling that comes with it – at least not right now. I hope to be married one day, but I am not today, and I feel like a lot of what im learning is how to protect my heart in places that trigger feeling stigmatized or like something is wrong or incomplete with me. God is so good as is teaching me a lot, and part of it is learning that if trying to participate in certain Christian circles leads to shame, then it’s not the right fit. He has a place for all of us.

  24. One time my 2 young boys, husband, and I rode our bikes to church. I cannot tell you how many people commented on how sweet it was. You could see in their eyes it was such an ideal family moment for them. I just laughed to myself. There had been wailing and gnashing of teeth for 2/3 of our ride as my boys whined, complained, and forgot to watch where they were going. But here these people got a glimpse of a moment when we weren’t all scowling, and they stamped “perfect” on it. I know I do the same to others all the time. We don’t know their story so we make assumptions and then feel bad for ourselves. Such an unhealthy thought process. I suppose I’d do better to focus on the great moments of my life and stop imagining perfection in others. Thanks for your post today, Lysa!

  25. What a great perspective. I am a single Mother of a 3 year old. Sundays seem lonely to me. I am working very hard of changing the way I see my life. I should and will be proud. Thank you. Your posts are very valuable and inspiring ♡ God Bless

  26. Oh if I could go back to the married, childless me, I would have similar conversations! Watching mamas stroll along with children always brought tears and longing– with similar assumptions “my life will be perfect when…” Therein lies the issue– desperately craving something that will never fill us fully. Good things, as marriage is good and so is multiplying. Yet, neither will ever give complete satisfaction. Loneliness enters in no matter where we are. Oh how I pray I could be content in all things. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  27. There is no such thing as a perfect life, be it as a single person or as a married person. You have to make your own happiness in this life. A person can’t depend on someone else to make them happy. I stopped expecting things from people because people disappoint me so I don’t like to put trust in individuals anymore because people are fickle. One day they are gun-hoe on something, then they change their mind and go after someone or something else. I decided to just do my own thing and if God has planned for someone to come into my life to share and enhance it, then I will see how it works out. Otherwise, I don’t expect much from anyone anymore.

  28. Thank you! I’m that single woman looking at every other couple. I will be working on myself, strengthening my relationship with God & looking for His timing in all things…

  29. I want to feel like this, but I still long for a companion and a family. I still get the moments of, “Why can’t I be blessed with that too?” My moments of imperfections are constantly accompanied by loneliness as well. I want so badly to give someone grace in their imperfections but it seems like no man wants to give me grace in mine. And I want to want only God. But I don’t understand why God would want me to want a husband and family so badly if I’m supposed to only want God. These types of articles like yours make me only further envious…instead of being envious of those who have a family, I become envious of the single women who are ok being single. I don’t say this at all to discount your wonderful story or truths, because I do think it helps people. But it’s still a continual struggle to try not to want something that your heart does in fact seek.

    • Amanda,
      Prayers for you sweetie. It can be so hard being single–especially if you want the family life. Pray to God about it and see if He brings someone into your life.
      Like I said above, join groups and get involved in a few activities. That may help you meet the right person.
      Blessings 🙂

  30. Thanks for posting. I’ve been struggling and not sure where or what to do. Now this gentle nudge has given me hope. Thank you again.

  31. I love the way you drove the points home with so much humour, Last. And Im grateful that I am still single and learning so much on how to live with people. But Lisa just told me how not to “interpret everything with way more emotion than necessary “.Im guilty of that and must stop from this very moment. Most Times we do that cos we’re not considerate of the other person anespecd that translates to selfshness.

    I pray every single person, especially ladies will learn to appreciate that their single state is not a time of doom but a great privilege to learn.

  32. Lysa,
    Thank you for such an insightful post. Loneliness can’t be fixed by being around people. It does help to have a circle of friends to do things with occasionally. When I was single our church had a single women’s group-they were mostly older widowed, but I joined them on occasion.
    No one this side of Heaven is perfect. You have to take the good and the bad. Once you find friends or that special someone–learn to love them “warts” and all. One thing to remember is to never be jealous of others. You don’t know what they are going through or dealing with. It may look all pretty on the outside, but inside there may be turmoil.
    Singles I have one more piece of advice. Get out and enjoy life to the full. Join groups, go on hikes, do short term mission trips, take classes in stuff you like–cooking, dancing, etc. just learn to have fun!

  33. Thank you for sharing this, Lysa. I am married and I am very alone. I wish I had not married him but it is too late now. I am in health decline. I am glad you are sharing things like this so that others will not fall into the same trap I found myself in when I was single and 30 years old and had not ever been married yet and thought there was something wrong with me. That comes through society as well as church.

  34. Thank you for this perspective. I recently started to think on what i waa paasionate about – but wws leaning toward career but can see how it applies to being a joyful and complete single person.

  35. Lysa, I am still single but I also believe in these things. I always look forward to the day that I will finally reach another milestone and change my status but for now I fill my life with self-love. Yes, Sundays are difficult many many times. Your friends are either with their own family or dating while you’re left with a vacant schedule. Thanks to posts like this though, I am given hope.

    It can only get better.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. Thanks for being so honest with it.

  36. Thank you for this lovely article..I can so relate to this right now in my present situation…more so havin lost my mother a lil over a year..lonliness at its best is what i’ve been feeling. your points are so helpful…gives me insight to what i am and the cause of my feeling what i’m going through…am in a relationship but unhappy …got a lot of introspection to do..however yes, i have found my passion in writing and sharing what i’ve gained, with others..have begun to work towards it with more zest..thank you Lysa!! Need prayer support.

  37. Blessings Lysa: I really can relate with this post. I’m single and waiting on the Lord, and I know about those Sundays after church. Thank you, for your advices and now being able to see it from another perspective.

  38. As a “single” these things are true & what God has been teaching me over the last few years but feeling the sting of loneliness & seeing God in it is possible. Not everyone who feels this has unrealistic expectations of marriage.

  39. I thought I was the only person that felt those exact things. It was like you are telling my story. The guilt I feel as a Christian for thinking and wanting for me what I see others having, makes me feel bad. Im happy for them but trying to figure out why I don’t deserve the same things. Everyone says I’m a great person and my time will come but I wish it wouls be my time before um too old to enjoy, im 55

  40. Thank you Lysa! I feel like i have been falling deeper and deeper into what felt like a black whole of negative emotions/thoughts. I’m just starting to see the light again and this is a great reminder and push for me. I needed this. God bless you and your ministry!

  41. I so resonate to this message….being with the right partner is being able to give and receive grace…..and also looking to oneself to create the fun…..before marriage I was firmly in that place but after many years of being a stay-at-home mother I lost those inner urges……as I walk through a divorce which has been going on for 6 years I have reconnected with my younger self and have allowed her to get back on board with her own life…..having a marriage end is a heavy cost for the lack of emotional maturity on both our parts. A wonderful message that came in yesterday via this site was “what’s it like to be on the other side of me”….something my therapist brought up with us….to ponder what it’s like to walk in the other person’s shoes and live their experience for a short time.

  42. I so relate to what you have shared here……being alone in a sea of many……as my 25 year marriage has been ending it’s realizing we can strive towards “wholeness” but perfection no….we will leave that to Martha Stewart won’t we!

  43. Finding that inner contentment is a journey isn’t it Mary……being at peace with who one is….realizing who one is….now there’s a big step…….trying on life again after my 25 year marriage ended with the help of many resources the last two years building my bucket list from A to Z to determine where my interests were at mid-life after being a stay-at-home mother….I found a joy of music….pursuing the flute which had eluded me way back in high school……so whenever I feel a bit empty I pick it up if only to play a few notes….I find the music seems to settle my inner soul…..I even keep it on the bed so I can reach out for it in those moments…….I also returned to ballet after a 40+ year absence….I found I enjoyed moving to music…..also found I enjoyed line dancing….energizes me but I really enjoy the “flow” of ballet….and yes it’s just for adult women! So I wish you all the best on your journey to finding that inner contentment….something women tend to struggle with as they normally receive their contentment from giving to others

  44. I and many other women of all ages will relate to this Paige…..as I have walked through the ending of my 25 year marriage over the past 6 years I discovered that I didn’t really know me….not really…..the outward girl I thought was all I was….but as I explored the inner world I learned a lot more about myself…it is hard to share with others I discovered when I didn’t know who I was. God has to smile down on all of us….we are quite the motley crew……Take care

  45. God does indeed have a purpose for each of us which is why he made us all unique with different gifts…..beyond our gifts of personality however I discovered are the gifts of the soul that keep nudging to be heard…..helping and loving others I feel is the highest calling for any of us in this world….I found volunteering at a local hospice a few times a month very rewarding and returning to the workforce after my 25 year marriage ended supportive…..being a receptionist where I get to interct with so many people…….sharing thoughts…..I call it my “guru desk”….so yes keep seeking as it will be revealed since you are searching.

  46. I have to agree with Jacquie’s message here……sharing your gifts with others is a wonderful gift….as women we have so much wisdom and knowledge locked inside us…..pursuing a bucket list from A to Z can be a start but also spending time in self reflection reading a wide array of literature….but certainly I found self help a big support….providing thoughts to ponder….to discover at the end of my 25 year marriage who was I beyond my marriage and my role as mother…..studying psychology and spiritually revealed much to me and added dimension.