I suppose there have been many articles out there about being single on the field. But I want to add my two cents.
First off, I am a strong proponent of using your singleness for the Lord.
…the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I Corinthians 7: 34
I hate to hear my single friends pine away, just waiting for a husband, or complain that they are doing all the work in a local church. Let it be a privilege!!! There are too many examples of those who end up “settling” for someone less than what God has for them because they are so desperate for sex and marriage. Shame on them!!!!
That being said, I struggle. I was never that girl who wanted to be a stay at home mom and have a ton of kids. Not that that is bad, in fact if I ever am married I would love to be a stay at home mom. But I was always an adventurer. I followed God’s path which has brought me here to Africa into the current ministry I am doing. I am thankful for how God has arranged things so that I can be doing what I am doing for Him.
But it gets lonely, sometimes I go for weeks without another person to speak English to, other than online. Yes, I have sexual desires that are unfulfilled. But I love my job and know that I could never do what I do if I were married. I am free to travel and spend hours away from home so that I can serve.
Many have told me that I need to decide to get married and then God will bring a man. How do they know I haven’t decided to get married? I have decided to surrender my life to God no matter what. I have had nationals tell me that it is a sin not to marry. I have had others think that I have a “man” on the side who fulfills my physical desires. When I teach things like abstinence to young people, they tell me that because I am white I can do that, but they were designed with more of a sexual drive than I was. I have family members asking me why I don’t lower my standards. I have old ladies in churches that I visit ask me why I am not married. I’ve had people ask me if I’m a Nun!!! I’ve had people try to set me up with any single young man they know. I’ve had others say I should quit missions so that I can find a husband. I’ve had many questions on whether or not I believe in inter-cultural marriage. And the list goes on…
Singleness would be much easier without all the comments from the sidelines! Yet it is still hard, mostly because I am lonely. I have no one with whom I can share my struggles, no one to hold me accountable spiritually, I have no one to hold me when I want to cry.
So I am happy to be single, thriving in the ministry which God has given me, but there is always a part of me that wants a husband. I have this discussion with some national friends and they always think I should find a man each time I go home on furlough. I explain that if I do, it means I can’t do the current ministry I have and that I may not be able to return to their country. It makes them start to think that maybe I should stay single – me too.
I recently found a great book that expresses much of my views on single womanhood. It also has encouraged me in that I am not alone in my singleness in ministry. I will recommend it (though I haven’t finished reading it yet): Did I Kiss Marriage Good-bye? McCulley