#5 of 2011: The Single Christian Woman: Blessed or Doomed

Today’s post on the 2011 countdown is one that I am personally very passionate about. I have always wondered why the Church, as a whole, tends to elevate marriage meanwhile leaving many unmarried people, especially woman, feeling forgotten.

I started to wonder, can you be a woman in love with Jesus and never be married? Will you live a fulfilled life? Today’s post attempted to answer those questions. I have since had countless woman comment and email me regarding this post, pouring their hearts out in confession and frustration at either the way the Church treats singles, the fact that they are still single, or both.


The Single Christian Woman: Blessed or Doomed?

I did not grow up in the Church. I mean, I went to church occasionally, but I was not surrounded by a community of believers. I was, therefore, not exposed to the Christian phenomena of the “Proverbs 31 woman” until much later.

It seems that, for many young Christian women, the ideal placed before them is a woman who looks like this: She is Godly, yes, but perhaps more importantly she is married, with 3.4 children, stays home to tend to the needs of her family, and bakes loaves of bread and apple pies for kicks.

This is a nice picture–a lovely one, in fact–but is this God’s only picture of a Jesus-loving woman? Can a Christian woman be seen as Godly without having children or without <gasp!> being married? Is the single Christian woman blessed or doomed?

There are quite a few singleton women in the Bible. It’s enough having to defend the position that Christ was, in fact, a feminist in a very real sense of the word. He loved (and loves) women, I am convinced.

One thing is clear, however: women are not men and often serve very different roles, as a result. Many of the most notable single women in scripture were the women who helped fund and support Christ’s very own ministry. There are also a few women recognized for helping to support Paul and the early Church movement in The Book of Acts. Here is a pretty good list, if you’re interested.

Take, for example, the rather famous Mary Magdalene. She is mentioned in Matthew 27, Mark 16, and John 19, among a few other references. It is believed that she was the woman from whom Jesus cast out demons. She then became a devoted Christ-follower and began financially supporting His ministry.

However, the key piece of information about Mary Magdalene, in my opinion, was the fact that she was the first person Christ revealed Himself to following His resurrection. He could have shown Himself to Peter, or James, or John, but He didn’t. He chose Mary.

He gave her an exceedingly important task: entrusting her with the message that the Messiah was indeed risen! I don’t think this can be overstated. Christ chose a single woman, unmarried, who had no children (that we know of) to tell His disciples that would forever revolutionize the world–Jesus had risen!

The reality is, God does value family and marriage, but nowhere in scripture does He make it a command to marry (except to the rare few like Hosea). On the flip side, we also know from the Apostle Paul that, at least in his opinion (which, um, ain’t a bad opinion), the single life affords individuals many more opportunities to serve Christ.

Christian women are taught to idealize and admire the Proverbs 31 woman and, hey, I get it. She is pretty awesome. She is not, however, the only example of a Godly woman in the Bible. A single Christian woman can have just as much impact in God’s Kingdom. We don’t view single Christian men as less-than, so why do we sometimes treat our sisters as such?

Likewise, women can marry and choose to not have children. I know in some circles this idea is sacrilegious, but again, while children are seen as a blessing in scripture, they are not a command or requirement. You can be a “good Christian wife” and not have children. You are not doomed.

Instead, we should be offering our sisters grace, not condemnation, for choosing to be single or choosing to not have children. We should have a right understanding of scripture, too, knowing that marriage is not the ultimate goal, nor children the ultimate prize. A life devoted unto Christ, loving Him and loving others–that is the prize–Him and Him alone.

Today’s post was inspired by the comments from last week’s Questions for God (yup, you Kristin). You can read them here.

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4 thoughts on “#5 of 2011: The Single Christian Woman: Blessed or Doomed”

  1. Thank you so incredibly much for addressing this issue. As a single, Christian woman who feels left out, this is great. I have already settled it between me and God that I have work he has called me to do now before I can get married. For all those believer who think I am not quite a proper adult or just short of God’s best plan, (which is not the same for everyone, despite what many say) then they are missing out on something great from God. Their loss.

  2. Christmas is the hardest time of year to be a single person. Even my non-christian family treat me more as a child than my married brother and cousin. Honestly,sometimes life for me takes more courage because the life decisions fall solely to me (not to mention all the second-guessing by those who think I’m immature because I am still single). I don’t know if I will get married. The desire is there even if I must acknowledge that all my motivations for being married are not 100% pure. Yes, I am broken. No, it is not the reason that I am not married. If I do marry, I’ll still be a messy, broken woman who loves Jesus, and the man will also be broken, messy and a man who loves Jesus. I’m not useless. I get to love children at one of my jobs and found the second job so that I could continue the first. My heart is broken for the things that break God’s heart, so I pray for God to show me where He is working to bring the kingdom and push back the darkness.

    I know God said to care for the orphans and widows, but what about the modern version of a widow? The single, never married woman. Where is the church to ease her burdens that come from having to support herself? Cry with her when loneliness knocks her to her knees? Pull her in as family? Embrace her as a powerful warrior in the church?

  3. I would submit one major exception to the idea that single men aren’t seen as “less than” as women are: single men in the ministry, particularly pastors, face great discrimination in hiring, particularly in conservative parts of the country. I know several young singles in the ministry, godly men with great capabilities and callings from God who cannot find work. I will have things monumentally easier as a single woman than these dear friends of mine who long to serve God in a pastorate.

  4. I am so glad to have just discovered your blog. As a single woman it is a constant struggle to maintain a Christian heart in a world so broken. I am grateful (sometimes) that I am single and free to do His work as I work for a Christian organization and can do that on a daily basis. But it is a constant struggle to see other couples and not have many single friends. God has given me the desire to be married and I am willing to go wherever to do His work and stay within His will. But I also trust that God will give me the desires of my heart. After all he is my maker and he knows my heart.

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