If you’re reading this, it means you survived the holidays. That’s no small feat—weathering the forced family photos, uncomfortable political debates, and being asked on twenty-six different occasions why you aren’t married. Good times.
But seriously, from one single woman to another, the holidays can be tough. From engagement announcements to winter weddings to New Year kisses…it’s easy to get swept away by these superficial displays of love and use them to measure our own worth.
You may even begin to question your role in God’s Kingdom. After all, the real work of faith in a woman’s life begins after marriage, right? Submitting to our husbands, having children, and taking care of our households…
No one says this outright, of course, but while much is said in the church about womanhood within marriage, little is said of womanhood within singleness. It’s often treated as simply a waiting period until God finally blesses us with a husband—as if being single can’t be God’s best for our lives.
Single woman, whoever you are—being single in Christ is NOT falling short of God’s best. Your role in the Body is no less important than that of the married woman.
We as a church have fallen prey to the romanticization of marriage to the point that the temporary physical aspects have usurped the eternal relationship to which it points: Christ and his church (Matthew 22:30). It’s because of this unbiblical re-ordering that Christian marriages often look no different than worldly marriages.
When the physical aspects of marriage are put into their proper place and Christ reigns supreme, we not only see better marriages, we realize that in the same way that the life of a faithful married woman displays eternal truths and bears eternal fruit, so too does the life of a faithful single woman.
To understand this better, let’s look briefly at how God uses marriage throughout redemptive history.
Before the coming of Christ, procreation was God’s primary method of building his covenantal people. We see this in the garden with God’s first command to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth.” (Genesis 1:28). And again, with Abraham when God says that his descendants will be like the stars in the sky, (Genesis 15:5). Marriage and childbearing were crucial during this time to preserving God’s covenantal people.
This preservation culminated in the birth of Christ—the true seed of Abraham—who during his earthly mission made clear that the true people of God are produced by spiritual regeneration, not physical reproduction. This shook the Jewish people who boasted of their ethnicity and not their faith and obedience to God’s Word. Paul explains this further in Galatians:
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. . . In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”Galatians 3:7, 26
When God regenerates a person’s heart, they become a part of the Body of Christ—an eternal family of brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers who are far better than any temporary earthly union. Even marriage. That’s why God can say to the barren woman in Isaiah:
“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married.”Isaiah 54:1
It’s why Paul, who never married, can say that he became a father in Christ Jesus to many through the gospel (1 Corinthians 4:15).
And it’s why being single is not falling short of God’s best. Singleness declares to the world that God’s family is the better family—propagated not through procreation but through faith in Christ. It’s this family, comprised of brothers and sisters in Christ, that will extend into eternity where there will be no more need for marriage (Matthew 22:30).
Now, lest I be misunderstood, I’m not saying singleness is superior to marriage or vice versa. Marriage is a beautiful, precious, Christ-exalting institution, and as such, a worthy pursuit. What I am saying is that singleness is just as beautiful, precious, and Christ-exalting–of no lesser value.
So, dear sister, in those moments when singleness feels like a knife in your gut, when your desire to be married clouds your vision and makes you doubt your role or purpose, remember to whom you belong.
Be faithful, share the gospel, be a mother and sister to many.
And when his own mother and brothers asked to see him, Jesus said, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!”Matthew 12:48-49