Guest Articles
Comments 13

SAVED, SANCTIFIED and SINGLE: When God’s Plan Excludes Marriage

Bookmark and Share

“His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.” ~ Matthew 19: 10-11

Once upon a time, I had real difficulty with verses like this. I was your typical American girl, raised on stories of fairy tale princes who would someday sweep me off my feet and carry me to their castle far, far away to live happily ever after. Armed with a bevy of movies and books on the subject, I knew that no matter what happened to me in life I wanted to be in on this falling-in-love thing. I promised God anything He wanted, as long as it involved a good-looking guy with perfect manners and a stunning diamond ring just waiting in his back pocket for me and only me.

I was homeschooled through high school, so once college came around it was on. While outwardly I rolled my eyes at the girls who were working hard for their MRS Degree and plugged away in proper feminist-age zeal at my chosen field of study, inwardly, I wanted nothing to do with a career and everything to do with a guy who would let me stay home and be the wife. There really wasn’t much to stand in the way that I could see – I was young, I was cute, I was a darn good cook. In no time The Guy would find me and our lives of wedded bliss would ensue.

When I left college, it was with a nursing a degree and without a ring. Sure, there had been a couple of Mr. Wrongs in there, and several Never-Gonna-Happen-So-Don’t-Even-Asks, but The Guy had somehow not surfaced. I came home feeling like a failure instead of a success. College was where the guys were; how was I supposed to find Mr Right now? Or rather, how was he supposed to find me? I quelled the nervous quivers of doubt and moved into my career and my local church, determined not to be dismayed. After all, there were singles at church. I just had to have faith.

So when a single man at church (finally!) noticed me, in my eyes he was practically perfect: good-looking, hard-working, a Christian ‘good ole boy’ with a savings account and a nice car. OK, so he lived with his parents: but he had good reasons for that. Alright, he was 30 and had never married or really had a long-term relationship: that’s because he’d been waiting for me. Convinced I was on the verge of being rewarded for my patience, I shut my eyes and dove in heart first. Way too late I realized that his heart had stayed in the kiddie pool while I was paddling in the deep end, and I finally had to face something I had avoided my whole life:

I was never going to get married. No amount of wanting it on my end would make it happen, no amount of trying could undo this truth. I was simply not ever going to get married.

Maybe it sounds like I gave up to soon, but to be brutally honest, I saw it coming. I turned the radio up in my head to drown out the hints along the way that I was destined for something different: that sense of relief every time a relationship ended, those Scriptures that talk about dying to your own plans in life and not trying to make bargains with the God of the Universe. And mostly, that quiet but distinct voice I remembered from childhood, every time I presented my demands to God. Like clockwork, every time my head said “When I get married…” my heart whispered “Not married… Not alone, but not married.”

Funny thing is, once I embraced God’s plan for my life, I couldn’t figure out why I’d fought it for so long. Even amidst the pain of loss, I was so happy: contented, at peace, relieved. The pressure to go against what was best for me was gone, and my entire soul rejoiced. I was never going to get married. Thank God.

Suddenly, those verses about remaining unmarried became sweet love notes from a God I had run from for far too long. There was a place for me, a blessed place.

Sing, O barren, thou [that] didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou [that] didst not travail with child: for more [are] the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. ~ Isaiah 54:1

Yes, I would never taste the benefits of married life; but the kindest and gentlest of Husbands would be my provider. I was to be all for God, and He would be all for me.

My life started that day I died to my own demands. I have since watched God be true to every promise He ever made. He truly is the best Husband I could ever ask, and more than I could have dreamed. Sure, some days I still dream, but it’s not with desperation; it’s with the quiet knowledge that marriage is a beautiful and desirable thing, even if I know it will never be for me. Since that day, my life has been an incredible adventure, so different from the sedate life I had planned – and so well suited to my personality and tastes that I often sit back and just marvel at where I am, and thank God for not letting me mess things up.

Christian singlehood is not something that a lot of people talk about. Most Christian singles groups start off right, only to eventually dissolve as members of the fellowship pair off and join the Young Couples group down the hall. And that’s perfectly alright; marriage is a blessed institution, and God’s will for many people. But, there are also a lot of people like me: people ordained by God to be preserved for him alone, free from the burdens of a spouse and children. If you’re one of those people, then rest assured that even if you never marry, you are far from alone!

So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. ~ 1 Corinthians 7:38

Contributed by Joelle Heilemann

Bookmark and Share

13 Comments

  1. Pingback: Q&A: Where can a 40 something single mom and Christian go to meet 40 something Christian guys?

  2. Joelle,
    This is beautifully written, and so moving.
    All the same, I hope you are wrong, and God does include marriage in your future.
    Till then, be blessed and continue to be happy,
    Anita

    • Angelique says

      Thank you for writing this blog. I have also been sanctified ,single with my Ishi my Yah, God and i am very grateful toward him and happy. I feel his love all in and around me. I trust in him and I am never alone. I never desired marriage and kids for my own life. I was under bondage of Bi/lesbian life. Straight Parents, who are still together after 41 years{i am 40} had a problem with Bi/lesbian, they loved me enough to give their fears and worries about it up to God. I realized that i was with Women because I didn’t have a good relationship with my Mom. She was closer to my Sister growing up. I think it is because i made her lose her figure being i am her first born and i kept my figure through the years and i was closer to my Dad growing up. I came to know God as a loving Father who chastise his kids but fill me with love and know that i am loved because my earthly Father is similar to this.Even though i had long term relationships with women {and a couple of fly by nights and a couple Boy friends}The relationships would end because i kept abandoning them to spend all my time reading scripture and praying for clarity. Finally my very last Partner said “You have left me by the waist side and abandoned me for God so I’m going to marry another'(female)’. I was sooo relieved! I said to myself Now i truly am free commit to God. So i picked up all his gifts for me, and haven’t looked back to my old life since. My faith is strengthened since i been purified and made whole again. The distractions a relationship with Man /or Women is far behind me. That has left me with more room to focus on what God wants for my life and he leads me in Jesus name daily for Man doesn’t live by bread alone but in the word. I died to the old life. My friends always ask me to go to the night clubs with them to dance and check out gurls and i tell them that i am dead to my old life so we will have to do something different such as bike riding or something healthy that will strengthen God’s temple{my body} instead. a couple of years of life through commitment to Jesus and my ex- Boy friend called to wish me a happy Birthday. I told him how i responded to Gods call & accepted Jesus as my lord and Savior and he said he knew he saw a change in me that last year that we hung out. He said he been on his spiritual readings and wanted to teach me the ancient text of Kemet. I agreed for their writings are similar until he said”I know you are celibate and not masturbating;”I have many friends who are celibate and do masturbate but when you want sex again then watch gone do?”Then from this i knew his true intentions. i have been committed to Jesus for three years now and with faith in God nothing will change that and glad that it won’t. I asked God to take my carnal lust away and he did so to answer his question, for i have worked it out with God. It is faith in God that is key and God is true to his word. Marriage is not what God wants for me , especially not to this guy for his house is not in order{messy house bad hygiene sloppy has emphysema and diabetes and still smokes and drinks& 300 pounds} I have enough love in my heart to attempt to envite him to go on walks with me and try to get him to give up the smoking to no avail. So i pray for him to find good health in the lord just as i did for my Mom. My Mom sloven and overwieght when i was growing up. The only difference from him is her only vice was coffee. I prayed that God would lead her to a healthy lifestyle and guess what? It was only after we all left the nest, and both my Parents retired that she took up lime dancing. . She lost more than half here weight and everything has went into remission and she is now a lime dance teacher with 20 classes under her belt wile still married to my Dad.GOD IS Good I am the happiest i ever been as a Woman single and sanctified in Christ.So Why is it so hard for people to see that there is great gifts of joy in Nunning up for Christ?

  3. Joelle says

    Thank you, Anita! I am sure that if God decided to make marriage a part of His plan for me, He would make it a joy and a blessing; but the real joy in my life is knowing that God goes with me, wherever His will takes me.

    May God bless you too!

    Joelle

  4. Bob says

    I have a feeling what you wrote about it being right staying single applies to me as well, thank you Joelle. May God bless you.

    • joellern372@yahoo.com says

      You’re welcome, Bob. Be confident in God’s promises; He will not let you down, and He’s the best Companion in the world.

  5. Nana Chway Akua says

    Needed this, although God has not clearly spoken about being married or not, am also sensing the inevitable- single for life. God is our encouragement and because He is in it, its going to be a joyride. I have watched my friends, who I think have the same destination, kissing many frogs yet have comeout with no prince.

    • Joelle says

      Whatever you do, trust in Him! He always has your best interests at heart, and if that “best” is singlehood, I can promise you from my own experience that it will be a wonderful life. I have gone through hard times as well as good, but always I marvel at how blessed I am; He truly is an amazing provider, full of love and compassion.

      I understand why people pursue love so aggressively; but real Love is pursuing us, if we would only embrace Him! He is so very, very good, to both His married and single children. You have nothing to fear in His care, ever.

  6. Janet says

    Hi Joelle,
    I just wanted to comment to thank you for this post. I’m a 19 year old (female) university student, and while I’m not certain, I believe I’m being called to the single life as well. Its hard, because like you, I grew up with a fairy-tale image of love and what my life would be like. I see all my friends dating and some even getting engaged (19 seems young to me but its up to them), and I feel like I’ll be alone all my life. I don’t want to speak too soon, because I’ve only really had one date. The thing is, for some reason, I just feel like I’m meant to be single. When I was asked out, I was surprised at first (I hadn’t realized he was interested), then excited, and then… I wasn’t sure what to feel. Some feeling came over me and I just knew it wasn’t right. I’m not lesbian because I’m attracted to guys, but something was telling me that I wasn’t meant to be with this guy–in fact, I wasn’t meant to be with anyone. Its been something that has crept up on me over the years as well, and I’m not sure how to describe it but that moment was very revealing to me. I will be single until the day I die.
    Its awkward when people ask me about guys, because I have next to no experience and never will. Admittedly, I worry about suffering from loneliness and (even worse) growing old alone. Alzheimer’s runs in my family, and who will take care of me if I get it (not a husband or child, that’s for sure). I’m scared, but determined. That’s why I googled “its not in God’s plan for me to be married.” I wanted encouragement, and that’s what I found here, so thank you. Other sites (especially Christian sites) I went to merely talked about single women needing to wait patiently for the right guy. That didn’t really help, because I know there IS no right guy. But this blog, when I came across it, was everything I was hoping it would be. It encouraged me, reminded me I”m not alone, and solidified my belief that I’m meant to be single forever. I would love to get married, but its not going to happen. I need to come to grips with that. And I hope that this situation will get me focused less on guys and more on God. Already I’ve dedicated more time to devotions and can see the difference in my life. So thank you again, the single life will not be easy likely for either one of us, and its daunting to look ahead at the future and know that you won’t have a special someone to face it with you. But its okay, because God–who is much more reliable, powerful, and comforting–is there, and we don’t need anything or anyone else.
    We’ll both have lonely days and (probably more commonly) nights, but God will give us the strength we need to get through the hardest times, and we’ll be closer to Him for having willingly obeyed His will and given up a large part of life’s experience. I’m rambling, so I probably made a few mistakes in this, but again, I just want to say thanks and God bless,
    Janet

    • Janet, thank you for writing this. I am happy and wonderfully blessed in my single life, but it always warms my heart to hear from another like me.

      I too know that feeling of “wrongness” when it comes to dating; it was the same for me, and no, it does not mean we are lesbians! I love men, I think marriage is a wonderful thing, and I still sometimes daydream what it would be like to be married and have children. The difference is, I know it is nothing more than a dream; when I come back to myself, I am overwhemled once more with the privilege it is to be single, and grateful all over again that He chose this for me.

      I know that not having children raises all sorts of questions and concerns about who cares for you in later life; and to that all I can say is, God is my caretaker, at any age! He is more than capable of providing me with the people I need as I get older; or providing me with the grace to endure need if that’s His chosen path for me. The Bible says God watches over orphans and widows; I’m sure the unmarried spinsters don’t miss His notice. I choose not to worry about that time of life; God alone knows how long I will live and what I will need, and He invariably provides for me more thoroughly and imginatively than I could possibly manage. No matter what, I am in good hands.

      Be strong in Him; He is absolutely worthy of your trust. You’re not alone! You’ve encouraged me, and I’m glad I’ve been able to encourage you. I’d love to keep in touch with you, if you’d like! You’re right, there aren’t a lot of Christian resources out there for those who feel called to a single life, so we gotta stick together. 😉

      My email is joellern372@yahoo.com. (Anyone else reading this is welcome to contact me as well.)

    • joellern372 says

      Janet, thank you for writing this. I am happy and wonderfully blessed in my single life, but it always warms my heart to hear from another like me.

      I too know that feeling of “wrongness” when it comes to dating; it was the same for me, and no, it does not mean we are lesbians! I love men, I think marriage is a wonderful thing, and I still sometimes daydream what it would be like to be married and have children. The difference is, I know it is nothing more than a dream; when I come back to myself, I am overwhemled once more with the privilege it is to be single, and grateful all over again that He chose this for me.

      I know that not having children raises all sorts of questions and concerns about who cares for you in later life; and to that all I can say is, God is my caretaker, at any age! He is more than capable of providing me with the people I need as I get older; or providing me with the grace to endure need if that’s His chosen path for me. The Bible says God watches over orphans and widows; I’m sure the unmarried spinsters don’t miss His notice. I choose not to worry about that time of life; God alone knows how long I will live and what I will need, and He invariably provides for me more thoroughly and imginatively than I could possibly manage. No matter what, I am in good hands.

      Be strong in Him; He is absolutely worthy of your trust. You’re not alone! You’ve encouraged me, and I’m glad I’ve been able to encourage you. I’d love to keep in touch with you, if you’d like! You’re right, there aren’t a lot of Christian resources out there for those who feel called to a single life, so we gotta stick together. 😉

      My email is joellern372@yahoo.com. (Anyone else reading this is welcome to contact me as well.)

  7. ms single says

    Thank you for writing this article, although I am not sure if marriage is or not for me, I was thinking today about the pros and cons of being with someone. When I was a kid, I used to think so negative about marriage. I used to think that all men were evil and liars, but now I do not think like that. I love men and believe that there are good men in the world. However, as the years go by I am learning the benefits of being single, so I am grateful to read about people who are happy being single.

    • Joelle says

      I’m sorry you’ve had difficulty thinking of marriage as positive; I know a lot of factors can lead to that, and the rocky state of many marriages today doesn’t offer much encouragement. I trust that God will help you to know if marriage is for you or not. Singlehood certainly has many advantages, the best of which is having fewer distractions in life, leaving more time to devote to God. And if He does call you to marriage, I trust He will lead you to a good Godly man; marriage is a wonderful thing when done with the blessing and guidance of God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s