[NOTE: This is a guest post from Noelle Goodlin. She is theMILL Women's Pastor. She has a Masters in Counseling, a B.A. in Psychology & Literature and a husband named Jacob.]
It seems that I may have struck a chord! Aaron was gracious enough to give me the floor one more time to offer a response to some of the ideas raised by my post "Contentment in Singleness: is it possible?".
First, let me begin by acknowledging that the issues of marriage and singleness are complex and not easily addressed within one blog. This subject is one that has been covered so many times that it can be difficult to separate out what the Bible has to say with the hundreds of other voices weighing in on the subject. Many of us may have painful memories, emotions, insecurities, failures and successes attached to these topics. As with everything that engages our hearts, this subject is deeply personal and I would never presume to speak as if I have all the answers – I do not. With that said, here are a few follow-up responses:
Sacrifice Marriage for Christ. Should we be willing to be single for the cause of Christ? Yes. To give one’s life to Christ is to live completely surrendered to Him. Any desire takes second to the desire for God’s lordship. However, marriage is not an American or a man-made idea. It is God’s idea. For thousands of years, families have created an environment where God’s ways of love, truth, forgiveness and faithfulness can be witnessed day in, day out. I believe both marriage and singleness can advance the kingdom of God and both can be, and are, sacrificial if lived correctly.
Are All Our Desires Fulfilled? No…at least not in this life. I do believe it is possible to desire marriage and not know when or if it will be fulfilled. As I said originally, living with that unknown in any area of life propels us to deeper places of trust and surrender to God in which our heart’s cry becomes, “I want You, God, most of all.”
Is the Desire for Marriage Simply Lust in Disguise? No! I believe any desire allowed to run rampant in our hearts can become lustful. That was my precise reason for writing the blog – I experienced a longing for marriage that threatened to rule me. My journey was one of letting that desire find its proper place through trusting God. Are some people lusting for marriage? Probably. Does that mean the desire for marriage is the same as lust? I don’t think so.
Celebrating Singleness. I do believe that singleness should be more celebrated within the church than it is. There is a temptation to believe that marriage equals arrival within Christian culture. A person’s relationship status does not indicate something about their value or worth to the body of Christ. A few of my best friends are single and I can’t imagine my life without them. It is who they are – not their marriage status – that makes them invaluable to me.
Finally, I have spent the last several years pastoring MILL girls and I find them to be full of purpose, willing to grow, servant-oriented and in love with God. I love them very much and believe that Christ is at work in them.