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With Love from Your Single Friend in the Church

October 3, 2019 5 min read

This feels like a really delicate thing to write about. These words let you see inside the world of Kate in a way that feels exposing and scary and deeply vulnerable. But I don’t think I’m alone here, so, dear friend, if you’ll give me the space, I’ll try to tell my story with courage. 

Here goes.

I’m single. 

Whew. There. I said it. 

If you know me or follow me on social media, this isn’t a surprise. People tend to know if someone is in a relationship, because our culture is obsessed with relationships.

And dear Church, you are obsessed with relationships and dating and marriage. So as a woman who has had to navigate singleness in the Body of Christ, would you allow me to say a few truths that the Church desperately needs to grab ahold of? 

I feel the crushing weight of this label called single.

I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. I’m tired of the jokes about putting me on some obscure dating site. I’m tired of yet another sermon on marriage. I’m tired of hearing, “So, I know this guy who’s single.” And I’m tired of all of these things coming from the Church. 

It’s hard to describe the crushing weight of this label called single. My town and home church are perfect for couples and families. Both are beautiful places, and I’m grateful for the ways they taught and shaped my family and me. But as a single woman trying to find a place and a community to belong in, this reality is painful, challenging, and crushing—especially when it is paired with incessant comments about relationships. 

So, before you start another conversation with your single friend about relationships, pause. Please, for the love of our sweet Father, just pause. Remember that the person sitting across from you is so much more than this label called single, but at the same time, she just might feel like she could die from the crushing weight of it.

There’s nothing wrong with me.

To be fair, no one actually asks, “You’re still single? What’s wrong with you?”

Very few people in this world are that blunt and cruel. Most comments are subtle, and people don’t even realize what they’re communicating. Friend, when you ask me if I’m dating someone every time you see me, you tell me something is wrong with me. When you try to set me up with someone yet again without me asking you to, you tell me something is wrong with me. When you joke around about how I’m too strong, independent, and confident for most men, you tell me something is wrong with me. When you teach another message on marriage, plan another marriage retreat, start another small group for married people without doing anything for singles, you tell me something is wrong with me. 

On my very best days, I can remember the truth—there’s nothing wrong with me. I am not the rejected. I am not too much or not enough. I don’t need to change my personality to find a date for a Friday night. I contribute value and help the Church see a different side of the Father that marriage can’t. 

So, please, sweet Body of Christ, remember this: Every time you mention that you just want to help your single friends find that person they can spend the rest of their life with, think about what they’re hearing. Their life is beautiful right now. They’re single, and that’s ok. 

Singleness is not a problem to solve.

Wouldn’t it be super weird if the Church acted like marriage was a problem to solve? I mean, half end in divorce, so with odds like that, shouldn’t we avoid it? 

YIKES! 

Marriage is beautiful. I certainly hope I get to experience all the wonderful, complicated, messy, incredible parts of it someday. But for now, I’m in this place called single, and I don’t need rescued.

Singleness is not a problem to solve. It’s not a place to save me from just like marriage isn’t a place to save you from. 

Sweet Body of Christ, what if we celebrated singleness—really celebrated it? What if we celebrated it for more than what we can get from single people who seem to have more time and energy than couples or those with kids? What if we celebrated the ways singleness shows us the Father in extravagant ways? 

What if we celebrated single people’s accomplishments? What if we encouraged them to pursue their dreams instead of waiting for their life to start when the “right one” comes along. History would miss so many beautiful, kingdom-building people if they had waited for their spouse before radically following Jesus.

So, friend, remember that singleness is not a problem to solve or a place to rescue people from in the same way that marriage isn’t a problem or a place people need saved from.

Better Together

Now hear this: I love the beautiful, imperfect Church, and I value marriage. I’m not holding grudges against those who have overstepped boundaries in their attempts to cure my singleness. I’m not angry. I’m not bitter.

Honestly, I’m just tired, because somedays, it takes all my energy to remember that I’m ok. I’m not a problem to be solved, a brokenness to be fixed, or a woman in need of rescuing. I’m just single.

Body of Christ, you need families and couples, retirees and people in that mid-life crisis zone, kiddos and awkward teenagers. And you need me—just me in all my glorious singleness. We are better together—not trying to fix one another or conform one another to our own ideal of perfect. So, would you create space for me, for my questions and struggles, for my party of one? 

I’ll make space for you if you’ll make space for me. 

4 Comments

  • Jack Lengacher, Jr. October 3, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    What a powerful message Kate. I often hear the same kind of message from people who are divorced, recovering from addictions, don’t have the right clothes or heaven forbid, tattoos! We , as the body of Christ need to see people as God sees them, right where he wants them to be. Doing exactly what he has called them to be doing, for as long as he wants and not try to “fix” everyone into what we think they need. You are doing an amazing work that God has called you to do and I am so proud of your courage, commitment, and fearlessness! We need more people like you to be an example of being the hands and feet of Jesus! Praying for you always!

    • kateberkey October 3, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you so much, Jack! I am so so so grateful for you and for the ways you always support and encourage me!

      And you’re right! I think sometimes we get caught up in the fantasy of what the ideal or perfect story is so much that we don’t know how to make space for people that don’t fit into that mold. But when I look at Jesus, I see a guy who seemed to prefer to spend His time with the people on the margins. I think the Body of Christ has to figure out ways to practically do this in our churches too.

  • Adelle Dickie October 3, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Kate,
    Thank you for this beautifully stated truth. Bruce and I were single in our thirties and early forties. Due to our experiences we have been intentional about including singles and we are blessed by their friendship. We all need to be better at extending the compassionate arm of Christ to everyone, no matter their “status”.
    May God richly bless you as you continue to serve Him :).

    • kateberkey October 3, 2019 at 10:58 pm

      That is so beautiful, Adelle! I love that you and Bruce are so intentional. And you are so right. We have to be full of compassion, empathy, and grace for everyone in the Body.

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