My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad

« Break-ups, Selfishness, and Friendlationships | Main | Thoughts on Singleness, Sacrifice and Celebrating: a follow up to "Contentment in Singleness" »

April 15, 2009

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Sarah

This really blessed me. I'm in a place where I care very much about marriage and feel the same way, "Self, don't care any more!!" But... I struggle instead.

I actually don't go to the Mill - was there about 4 years ago when I visited CO Springs. I actually live in Ohio and feel like I'm hidden away from the world somehow. God is good though, and I guess I need to just keep being faithful. But my soul is restless at this point. "When does MY life start?" Sigh. Very encouraging.

web op

I am happy for being single.

Whittney

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have to admit, the only reason I found out about your article is because I was listening to Aaron's podcast which made me curious. God is so good and He knows the right timing for every woman! This is such a conformation to what I believe God has been telling me, so thank you and I thank God for such peace!

April Suits

Noelle, I am so so sorry to see so many people attack your beautiful expression of what God took years to teach me! I appreciate this article, with no ifs, ands, or buts. I think many young people- both men and women- can benefit from learning that they are not in some kind of sin or distraction from God by desiring what God intended us for- relationship. God made us because He desired relationshiop with us. We are made in His image, and as such, that desire for relationship and intimacy burns within His children. We are the work of His hands, and the beautiful union between man and wife is an intentional and God-given example of the type of relationship He wants with us. Not freelancers.
By the way, my own soccer mom has done more for the Kingdom of God by being the soccer mom that she is than I can ever say. Thank God for the soccer moms that follow God's will by passing the truth of what the Lord has done to the next generation, like the Word of God commands us to do.

Chris Hoffman

Great article, Noelle. Anonymous, I don't know what New Life or Mill you go to but I have never seen the women there "run around with signs on their forehead that say I'll marry the first guy that gives me a compliment." In fact its quite the opposite. So much so that Aaron had to encourage the ladies to give the guys that asked them out a chance and go on a date with them. The majority of the ladies I know at the Mill are some of the most solid, well grounded people I've ever known in my life. You might want to check your facts there. They are friends and sisters and they deserve to be spoken about more respectfully than the way you did in your post.

kathy Walton

HI Noelle, I truly appreciated the wisdom, insight and vulnerability you expresed in your article. It was timely and relevant to so many issues that especially single woman can struggle with. As an older woman teaching younger woman, I have a slightly different perspective. I wasn't looking for marriage when the Lord brought my husband to me. I wanted to remain single, at least for some length of time, so to wrestle with all of that and come to a place of surrender, and sheer joy in trusting that whatever the Lord had for me was His best brought incredible peace. The scriptures are clear on both the benefits of singleness in serving the Lord, and the benefits of marriage.
After being married for 27 years, I understand that some of the purposes of marriage for those who are called, is to provide a helpmate, to produce Godly offspring, to find delight in oneanother, but most importantly to reflect Christ's love for the church to the world. It is a covenant relationship, that models the covenant relationship between Christ and His Church. Both singleness and marriage have a strong mandate. I applaud and celebrate both!
May we all choose contentment, and trust, and Lord may our deepest longings be satisfied in Christ alone whether single or married. kathy walton

Carol Prentiss

The last thing we want in the body of Christ is for married people and single people to be working against each other. God calls some to singleness and some to being married. Neither is a greater calling. God has purpose in both. Joining together in spreading His love rather than judging others is the way to go. We each stand before our Master. I say this a lot, but if God can work through a donkey, He can work through a married person, a single person and yes, even soccer moms.

Terra Fisk

One quick thought that comes to mind in rebuttal to those who think that having a family is "selling" out to a western Christian mentality and not really all that helpful in advancing God's kingdom..... God instituted marriage and the family in the Garden of Eden i.e. it is a part of his perfect plan for us... the church wasn't instituted until much later. PAUL preferred being single, but specifically mentioned that that was his opinion and not a God given mandate.

Calandrarochelle

First I apologize to all for using the post at hand to vent about a lot of frustrations I have that weren’t necessarily well thought out or relevant to this discussion.
Noelle, I love your thoughts and I am sure you could address everyone’s frustrations in time and with good humor and wisdom.

However, the topic of singleness is largely under addressed in the context of how we should best spend our lives, regardless of what we want comes true or not. I think those who are obedient are most effective for the cause of Christ, whether they have families or not.
Surrender and trust are huge components of our relationship with God and He has wired us to desire certain things but ultimately He must be our end-all desire. Good thoughts too, Hannah.

I can get what I want and still not be content. I have learned that the more we are concerned about knowing Him and fulfilling his purposes on the earth, the less committed we are to what we think we want/need.

I often see people interpret the fulfillment of their desires as the fulfillment of their life calling; this is where the “soccer-mom syndrome” comes in. I am not attacking soccermoms---just the fact that a lot of people fall into a mentality of living a certain lifestyle that reflects a cultural norm rather than a lifestyle that reflects a distinct vision and a purpose.
I don’t see a lot of Christians who are really willing to not have an expected lifestyle. These are the same people that don’t have a comprehensive understanding of scripture but rather pick and choose verses that justify their personal decisions.

How many of you have ever really prayed “Lord, your will be done in my relationships, even if that means that I do not get married or have my own children. If you want me to go and build a foundation in Africa that takes in child soldiers, I’ll do it. Lord, you know I want to be a mom, but what that looks like is up to you.”
Not saying everyone is called to do something like that but I bet there are a lot more people who are called and simply don’t do it.

I applaud those soccer moms that do live for more than minivans and diapers but then I couldn’t really call them soccer moms. Brenna, no doubt you have really thought about what it means to be a Christian no matter what you are doing or what your lifestyle looks like. Your value obviously transcends what you do and I know that you are a woman of who will raise a family that loves God.
Perhaps my end thought to myself is “come what may, whether I am married or not, am I living a life that seeks to further the Kingdom of God, not just the desires of my heart?”

Brenna

If I may address some of Calandra's thoughts... I suppose I could qualify for the 'soccer mom category' if you will, although I'd like to think my purpose is deeper than minivans and dirty diapers. Our time here on Earth really centers around eternity, does it not? That said, I believe it fully possible to be married, have children, AND propel and operate towards the Great Commission. Does every married couple with children do that? Well, we'd like to hope so. But God will be the Judge of that, it's not for me to spend my time worrying or being disheartened over.

So, let's say someone has a desire to sing... should this person automatically be entitled to be a "singer"? Well, I think that's a subjective thing. Just because there is a desire, it does not always mean it will be fulfilled. My child may want candy first thing in the morning. Will they receive that candy, even with much pestering and begging? No. I know it is not practical, smart, or healthy for my child to have that candy, regardless of desire. My point being, I do not believe desire and entitlement go hand in hand. I do not think that's what Noelle is communicating either. I think there are some God-given desires and I think there are human derived motives. Finding the difference between the two is where I believe seeking God and discernment are involved.

I do think Noelle is speaking to... perhaps, a more narrowed group of people. People that can benefit and be encouraged in their desire to be married, but not 'chasing' in a way that detracts from what God has for them in the day-to-day approach of life.

That said, perhaps there should be a more balanced discussion regarding the choice or desire of singleness and it not being a "poor" decision or a place of waiting for "What's next" in terms of relationship.

We have to remember, great evangelists, missionaries, and the like [often single], all came from a family. A mom, a dad, a community of people interested in seeing that individual do well in life. It just so happens God used those people to create world-changing ministers of the Gospel through marriage, and through a family. Some choose a life of single-hood while others choose marriage. Is either the “wrong” choice? No. I think that would be too presumptuous to say God will use one more than the other.

I think we have to be careful not to discount ANY source of the "body [of Christ]" because all parts play a valuable role.
Bottom line question: can one be single and content? I say, yes.

Hannah Hancock

With all due respect, I would have to agree with 'anonymous' on a couple points. While I'm sure Noelle has good intentions, the point of life is not to get married, and I was deceived into thinking it was, and I think a lot of Christian women fail to see that this 'longing' they have is misdirected at marriage. And I also think (as anonymous said) that longing for something we don't have, marriage, is really no different than lust. We long for romance, however this longing can ONLY be fulfilled in Christ Himself! He is the Bridegroom, He is pursuing us, and we totally miss it. So it's impossible to communicate effectively on the 'marriage' point without realizing who we long for. We will not find who we are in the arms of a man, only in the arms of our loving Creator who loves us more fully and completely than any man can. It took me 4 years of marriage to realize the reason I wasn't satisfied with being married was that I was looking for my own identity and affirmation from my husband instead of God. I'm not saying that every woman is the same as I am, but I think we all need to take an inventory of where we are spiritually, how high a priority in our lives this 'marriage' thing is, and what we're doing to build our relationship with God vs. our relationships with men. What are we really looking for?

Brooks Peppin

Good article Noelle! I can really see your heart and all that God did in your life through the words you wrote. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all of the teachings/perspectives Christians have toward dating/marriage/family, but your article was very encouraging. Way to be vulnerable yet very wise!

Laura Caldwell

Great article Noelle! It reminded me of a comment I heard someone make one time. They said that contrary to what our culture seems to believe, marriage wasn't so much intended to make us happy as it was to make us holy. In order to succeed at marriage, we have to learn to die to ourselves and our basic selfishness and live for another's good. When we do succeed there is a deep happiness to be found there, but not unless we first let it take us through the often painful process of becoming more like Christ. Your article reminded me that the same is true about the pre-marriage time as well. As you said, God is most interested that we learn to trust and relate to him while he works patience, contentment, steadiness, and other character traits into our hearts. I think for single women in our twenties the who-am-I-going-to-marry issue hits on a lot of underlying insecurities. Like Jossie said last night, so often we just want the answer, the thing that will end the wait. But taking advantage of those issues having been brought to the surface can bring a lot of growth in our lives. The "in-the-meantime" time is an opportunity to honestly wrestle with trust, identity, worth, purpose, fear of rejection, fear of failure, bitterness, unforgiveness, even anger at God. You nailed it when you said, "Life seems full of these deeply placed longings and subsequent vulnerabilities which push us to greater points of surrender and letting go. That is where the growth is and, for that reason, I am thankful for the process."

Calandra

So are you saying that singleness is'nt possible because the desire for marriage will produce marriage?

Calandra

Great thoughts Noelle!

However, I would really like more encouragement given to people who are single and want to stay this way.

So what if you get married....then what?
Yes God has put desires in our heart but in light of the Gospel, dont you think more Christians should be passionately desiring the expansion of God's kingdom, not just a family?

I am really disheartened when all i see is Christian families falling subject to the "soccer mom syndrome". Dad goes to work, mom raises the kids, and before you know it the cycle begins again. So much for all of us being sold out for Jesus and fulfilling the Great Commission.

Ok, so its God's will for you to be married. But should the rest of us assume thats what we should want too?
Is it God's will for all Christians to live a predictable life in regards to love and marriage?
What about adoption? What about not getting married and pursuing a different lifestyle that forsakes the American dream for the cause of Christ?

It would be soooo wonderful if the Mill encouraged more than the predictable cycle of "boy meets girl now were married praise God cycle."

Healthy relationships and expectations are important too but i dont plan to center my life around marriage and children either.

Not that you cant have a family and serve God but i wonder if God ever hopes that more people will step out of the old testament "be fruitful and multiply" thinking and into "i forsake all things for the sake of the Gospel so that men might be saved" or "whoever leaves his home and family for the sake of Christ will inherit a hundred times more in the life to come".

Aaron Stern

Anonymous - You totally missed the point. The key is what you do with the desire that God gives you. Do you lust, be discontented and get bitter or will you bring it to God, be content where you are and grow?

On another note, I don't appreciate your tone towards Noelle. And to say what you did and post your comment anonymously communicates a great lack of courage.

anonymous

That's a cute article Noelle. As a guy, I do not relate to this 'epidemic' but here's the problem. A girl pressuring a guy into getting married is the exact same as a guy pressuring a girl into having sex. But guys are labelled as the bad guys because we're always going to far physically and trying to get girls to have sex and whatnot. So, its totally shameful for guys to act like this, but these broads you see running around New Life with signs posted on their forehead that say 'I'll marry the first guy that gives me a compliment' are ridiculous. They all need to get a life. You call it 'healthy' and a 'god-given desires' but you call the exact same thing in guy an 'addiction' and a 'lust problem'. This 'god given' desire to get married that we teach around the mill causes the all the girls to work at starbucks, read US Weekly and sit around and wait for a husband. Its sad.

Carol Prentiss

Great, great article from Noelle. Especially liked the part about the desire to be married is a God-given desire. Of course, the desire to have children is also a God-given desire. God is our provider and wants to give us good gifts, including a spouse and children. The desires not to be stirred up are ones which can't currently be fulfilled. It's choosing not to go to the next level of intimacy in a relationship but to be content in the level you're at. In other words, if you're not ready for a baby, you're probably not ready for marriage.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Become a Fan