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I am so excited to have Brenda from Triple Braided: life surrendered through every season, with us today! Please help me welcome Brenda to Sweet Blessings!
How Not To Encourage a Single Woman
For more years than I desired the status box I checked was "single woman". Even though my deepest desire was to check the married one.
One night in my late twenties I found myself at a Bunko party with women from my church. They were all nice women, but they were all married, so immediately I felt like the token outsider with their eyebrows raised and minds asking, "I wonder what's her story", "What could she be doing wrong?", "I'm so glad I'm not her".
As we sat around rolling dice and matching numbers the conversation turned to married things. You know the married things I'm referring to without saying them, don't you?
So I just sat there and listened.
And then it came. From the one who wore her married status proudly and her identity wrapped up with it. "We really shouldn't be talking about these things with Brenda here. She shouldn't be hearing these things."
Suddenly their thoughts were no longer just in their minds. They were there. Out in the open. For all to hear and for all to see - me. I could no longer pretend in secret like I was one of them. And they could no longer pretend either.
My face turned bright red as the secret escaped. The label across my head read, "Yes, I am different from you when really all I want is to be you."
Now, please know that I understand what the married woman was trying to say, and I agree with her. It is not wise to talk about certain married things around single women in order to guard their hearts and help them in their diligence of purity.
However, in that moment I was confident her words were not words out of love. Or if they were, I did not feel them. I felt isolated, alone, and even scorned.
It is so easy in each stage of our life to forget what it's like on the other side of our grassy, green lawns. It's easy to forget what a young woman may feel who wants so badly to be married or an older woman who has watched her dreams of marriage and family fade away in time.
But highlighting these circumstances is not a way to encourage her.
She really just wants to fit in. To be your friend. To know she's at least a little like you.
We all have single women in our lives even if we don't immediately think of them. It might be the woman who comes into the sanctuary every Sunday and sits alone. You see her, but you don't think to sit beside her. Maybe it's your sister or cousin or niece. Maybe it's the woman at the Bunko game.
Reach out to this woman, wherever she is, and encourage her.Let her know: ~ that you're more similar than different ~ that you, too, have struggles and heartaches and worries ~ that she is worthy just as she is ~ that God, her Creator, has a marvelous plan for her life
Don't remind her that she's different from you. That's not the way to encourage her.
Instead, show her how much you are alike.
Who is the single woman in your life (or maybe not in your life yet) who you could encourage? How could you reach out to her as someone one is different and yet at the same time so much the same? Share with us in the comments!
Brenda considers herself a "recovering single" after years as a single woman chasing her dreams instead of God's dreams for her. Now she lives with her two miracles: her husband who God physically saved from Cardiomyopathy after a dramatic heart transplant and her baby girl who will be born this month from those three hearts. Brenda encourages women to live a life surrendered to Jesus in every season on her blog, Triple Braided, and she recently published her first eBook, Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Into The Beautiful