Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How To:

So many times I have tried to write this blog. I have given up every time because I refuse to be the woman who writes about prolonged singleness. I think somehow if I write about singleness it will keep me in a forever state of singleness, I will become the woman no man wants to date because they fear I would get serious too fast due to my candid blogposts about not wanting to be single, and then, I would be known as that woman you refer your single friends to, "You should read Merea's blog, she is single." NOOOO, I don't want to know how you feel, I want to be married. HA HA HA. and then my greatest fear of writing about singleness is perhaps the fear that God will actually use what I say in other women's lives. You say, "Wait, isn't that what you want Merea??" Yes, I do. But I would rather God use me in other ways. Why can't He use me in Married women's lives, mother's lives? Well......you see my point. =)

Now that I have admitted, confessed and repented. Here I am. Ready to write about it. and I TRULY hope this will encourage some of you out there. Whoever you are in the world wide web.

I decided I would write a 'How To' article that applies to Christian women who are 25 or older and have a desire to get married. Similar to the popular magazines out there, maybe they will publish this?? lol, jk, but seriously. Here's hopin.

How NOT to be encouraging:
So many people are well meaning when they say these things, and they make a single gal's heart just burst in two. I just thought I would let you know.
1. "When you finally reach contentment, God will bring Him along." OR "Stop looking, that's when it always happens." NOT ENCOURAGING. and I really want you to examine that faulty statement. Do you actually mean what you are saying? That I need to achieve something (contentment) to get a blessing from God? So those married are content and singles are not? You have achieved something that I have not achieved yet? I don't think that is true.
2. "Just enjoy being single right now." NOT ENCOURAGING. Just because it is hard occasionally, and we actually still have that deep longing to be married with children of our own, does not mean that we do not enjoy life. Sheesh. Now, I realize some women REALLY need to do this and stop moping around. However, I would venture to ask. Would you say that to a barren woman? What you are really telling a single woman(who wants to be married), is "just enjoy being unable to live out your deepest longing, just enjoy it." I don't think so. Not encouraging.
3. "Are you putting yourself out there?" NOT ENCOURAGING. What does that even mean in a Biblical context? I am very active, have a lot of guy friends, and am involved in a ton of activities. I still would like to be the woman that has a man pursue her. "If you chase a man, you will be chasing him the rest of your life." -Mark Driscoll
4. "You have all the time in the world." NOT ENCOURAGING. I might have time at home, but I don't have a family to come home to every night, I don't get to debrief the day with a spouse, and I am alone. Besides, single women have to work, they don't have all the time in the world.
5. Being afraid to talk about it. NOT ENCOURAGING. Single girls want to be asked about their lives.

How TO encourage your over 25 Christian girlfriends:

1. "You will have so much to offer your husband one day." That is the single most important and encouraging thing you can say to someone like me. I get teary eyed just typing it, some of us feel like we are old and not as fresh as we should be for a man. Hearing that we still have a lot to offer and have the potential to be great wives and mothers one day is really, SO ENCOURAGING!
2. Invite us to your family gatherings. Children's birthday parties, etc. I have heard so often "I am sure you don't want to hear about all of this boring baby stuff." yes, we do. Well, I do. and I am almost positive the rest of us do.
3. Tell us you are praying that God will grant us our heart's desire. SO ENCOURAGING.
4. Tell us that you understand why we are discouraged. SO ENCOURAGING. Having someone say to me "I don't understand either," is nice. Don't know why, but it is.
5. Point us to Christ. That is ALWAYS ENCOURAGING.

Now, I hope this does not have any hint of bitterness in it. That is not my heart at all. I just thought it would be nice to know how to encourage one another. NOW, I am going to task my friend Stephanie Rogers to write a "How to Encourage your married mothering friends." Because I know I fall short in that area. =) She is the greatest person to write this. I respect her so much.

For all the single ladies out there,
Merea (can't believe I just posted that, ahhhhhhhh)

35 comments:

travis and hayley said...

your vulnerability and authenticity is like a big fresh glass of cold water. you really are an amazing women and i can't wait to meet your husband one day. because well, he is going to have to be REALLY amazing in order to win your heart! love you merea!

Melissa said...

Thank you Merea!
I WANT to be encouraging to my single friends, but I am guilty of all the NOT ENCOURAGING statements!
So thank you for writing this and I truly am praying that God grants you the desire of your heart and you ABSOLUTELY have SOO much to offer a husband someday... I can't wait to see it :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this, Merea.
I realize that I am only 25 (young to the world, old maid in the Christian community...wow, there could be a whole other blog on how the church has failed to encourage singles...) but I have whole-heartedly felt every single one of these statements. Especially since my sister had been married and pregnant 3 times by my age. There is an unspoken voice in our heads that gets us down about this enough, we don't need it from others as well (especially well-intentioned friends!)
I laughed out loud at all of the statements, because they resonated with me so much. Especially the "enjoy being single right now"...Ha! Oh I am! I sometimes think I will mourn the loss of my 'single life' one day once I'm a wife and mother.

Anyways, we should get coffee one day soon...or perhaps coffee AND a movie? Yes?
Love you Playa.
~Robin

Nicole said...

I seriously love this post. You have written out all of the things I thought about in my single years but just never took the time to try to communicate to others. =)

Thanks for the very REAL post. Love you, friend!

...And, yes, I will tell you for the millionth time - you should move to New York. =)

Dana said...

Merea, my wonderful girlfriend Melissa sent me to your blog and knew your words would be perfect for me, a single girl on the homestretch to 30 (yikes!). Thank you for saying everything I needed to hear this very second. Take care and know that God is using you now and He will use you always. I have had some not-so-fantastic life experiences that have made me eh... "useful" to people who have been in my shoes. As tough as it was to go through the struggle, I am thankful for the gift of who I am now. Thanks again and I am praying for your desire (and mine)at this very second.

Merea said...

Thank you so much for reading everyone! and your comments make me think I should write more, so thanks for taking the time to comment on this. SO ENCOURAGING! =)

Alex and Marcella said...

Thank you for being real. Thank you for being a true friend to me. You know I am praying for this desire. I love you so much! Oh and Andrew misses you! Let's see you soon!

Kevin and Keri Sheckler said...

Merea, A beautiful lady who is treasured by many (I've met some this week in IL):
I get the "things to say and not say" but I believe it goes beyond words.
My prayer for ALL, whether someone be over 25 and single, young married, or busy middle-aged mama with three kids, is that our hope and our focus is on Christ and Him alone. Words from others should not triumph over GOD's purpose for each of us.
God created us for His glory. Remember that Scripture states He will give us the desires of our hearts but first we are to be still and know that He is God.
Reminding someone to accept today's purpose of singlehood may not be "encouraging" but it is biblical.
~Keri (single until age 34)

Merea said...

Keri,
SURELY you understand that your words are not in disagreement with this post. If you would notice that NONE of the things listed not to say are "accept today's purpose of singlehood." The only one remotely close to that would be the one where people say to "become content and then God will send you a man." My disagreement is with that statement, not with the "accept God's purpose for your life statement." I believe that I should become content, because God says to be content in Him and not in hopes to get a man out of it.
You should know more than most that singles who want to be married someday are not necessarily discontent with God's purpose, but rather fighting for that daily.
I hope you read my post clearly enough to see that I would say first and most important thing to do is focus on Christ and Him alone. He is the ONLY, the ONLY one that will truly satisfy us. But Keri, there is nothing wrong Biblically with wanting to be married. Nothing. There is something wrong with discontentment, as Paul says to be content in whatever circumstance. Every Christian battles this in different ways. Just because I desire marriage and long for it, doesn't mean I am not content with God's plan for me now.
Along with that the Bible commands us often to encourage one another. This post is simple in its attempt for people to be able to encourage instead of discourage. I am asking my close friends often how I can encourage them better because the things that we say can be discouraging, even sometimes when we are unaware.
And most of all I hope you saw the last way to encourage, point us to Christ.
Merea

Merea said...

Keri,
Also. God promised to give us the desires of our hearts. We do not have to do something to get that. Biblically, in salvation He has made us righteous, forgiven us, and given us every good thing. and we don't do anything to deserve that.
I believe to say that "He will give us the desires of our hearts, but first we need to be still and Know that He is God," is untrue. God's promises are true and faithful, not conditional upon our behavior. PRAISE HIM for that.
However, it is very true that we need to be still and Know Him and rest in contentment, in any circumstance. So thanks for that reminder.
Thanks for reading,
Merea

The Hofschroer's said...

This is a great reminder to all of us to be cautious of our words. I know I experienced some harsh words from those around me in regards to my desire to start a family and the struggles that went with that. I don't think the words were meant to be harsh or discouraging but they were said carelessly. Often times we speak without thinking...
ps... you are definitely a hofschroer favorite!

Anonymous said...

Merea
Thanks for your blog. How to encourage
single women. I have a single
Grand- daughter 31 . I want to encourage her and you gave me great
ideals.I pray she will desire God's
good and perfect will.I have been praying for the husband God has for her since she was a baby. I will pray for you. I know you from Fulton MS (ask your mom)
May God Bless you,
Doris mobley

Stef said...

I followed a link to your blog from a friend of a friend on facebook who was writing about being single. Im not at the 25 year old mark yet (almost) but show no promises of my singledom being changed anytime soon (trust me lol). This is such a good post. I get it ALL THE TIME, and always from people who are older & married odd enough, and sometimes you just want to kind of scream (in a very loving way of course)

I want your post as a bumper sticker or shirt or magnent...something like that!

Rita said...

Hi Merea,

I found your blog and just wanted to say hello to you. I think that just about every time I see you I remind you that I have been praying for a husband for you. Well I still am and I know that God is preparing someone special for you even as I write this. Many guys your age are still immature and have some growing up to do before they become husband material. Let God mature the man first and then introduce him to you. Always thinking of you with fond thoughts!
Rita Shaw

Melany said...

Hi Merea,

24, going on 25. :) I think your thoughts are right on. I especially like the one where you encourage people to involve single women in their family life. This has been one of the things that is HUGELY ENCOURAGING to me.

I moved far from my family in Wisconsin to teach on the Reservation in South Dakota. Leaving behind a family of 8 to live on my own was a big adjustment. There are things about it I really enjoy, but I really missed having my family members around.

My pastor and his wife have often welcomed me into their home, and building the relationship with them has made a huge difference in my perspective and feeling of connectedness. Two girls from the church, one married, the other not, have become good friends as well.

That is precisely the way God designed the family of God to encourage each other. These people have filled parent and sister roles that are so vital. (I already had "brothers" in my team mates who came out here.)

So what I wanted to say is, THANK YOU for encouraging others to fill the role for other single women that these have filled for me. It has been a huge blessing. It has enabled me to remain here and serve the Lord with joy. And readers, please consider how God would have you follow up on Merea's encouragement! Even we single girls can do a lot to encourage each other, or to feed negative attitudes.

chelsea said...

Your blog is so great.It's very encouraging as well.

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A certain man said...

Like what they said, singleness is oft an unwanted gift. Many cringed at it,few understood it, much more would not touch it with a 10 feet pole.

I see many of them in church and sometimes wonder what would help them best.

After years of pondering, I felt that to share with them the need for purpose in life and a true knowledge of God's workings in your life would be key. This is speaking from one who have lived as a single for a great part of his life.

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