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Singleness

Some Mail I Can’t Keep to Myself

Some Mail I Can’t Keep to Myself

Dear Single Woman,

Years ago, when I was still single, a married woman emailed me this letter. I want to share it with you, in the hopes that it encourages you to “carpe diem” sieze this day and the gift of singleness God has given you today.

Read on to hear what one young mom has to say as she looks back on her own singleness from the other side of marriage and motherhood. Then, would you post a comment below thanking God for one tangible gift of singleness today?

Can’t wait to read what you share,

paula

PS: As a little extra credit, is there a young, sleep-deprived mom you could offer to help today?

 

I write this to you while it is still dark out because it is my only time of the day when the house is quiet and I have time to myself. I see so clearly now how sweet and precious those years of singleness were. I found myself thinking of my own life as well and wondering what I would classify as my “golden years,” my years of “rest and preparation.” I think I can honestly say they would be my single years.

Please don’t misunderstand. I absolutely love being married to my husband and raising my precious children. I would not trade this time in my life for anything. And yet, I see so clearly now how sweet and precious those years of singleness were.

Today I don’t know that I will use my Keurig to brew a single cup of coffee. Today I will probably pull out the old coffee pot and brew a full pot. I have been up most of the night with a toddler who has a croupy cough and was struggling to breathe in the middle of the night.

By the time I finally got him to sleep my baby woke up and refused to go back down. Ten minutes before my alarm was to go off at five in the morning, I rolled into bed beside my husband and asked him to do whatever it took to get our baby to sleep so I could just sleep for ten more minutes before I had to get up for the day.

These are days that are hard, and I find myself looking back on those single years realizing I did not savor those moments as much as I should have: uninterrupted sleep, awakening truly refreshed and eager to serve the Lord, enjoying an uninterrupted cup of hot coffee while reading God’s Word without distraction. There was nothing wrong with longing for a husband and family of my own, and my God so generously blessed me with them. However, I was foolish not to fully embrace my singleness at that time and treasure it for the sweet gift from God that it was.

Savor this. You will not always be alone in a quiet house. One day you will miss this.

Sometimes in the middle of the night when the moon is out and I am rocking my baby while everyone else sleeps, I can see a shadow of myself on the nursery wall holding and rocking my sweet Ellie. In those moments I am reminded, “Savor this. You will not always be rocking babies in the middle of the night, and one day you will miss this.” Oh, how I wish I would have remembered similar words as a single person. “Savor this. You will not always be alone in a quiet house. One day you will miss this.”

Like I said, please do not misunderstand how much I love my husband and children and our little life together. It is so sweet and precious. But like singleness, it has its moments where it can be rough. However, that does not mean it should not be cherished as God’s perfect gift for me in this moment, just as I should have cherished more God’s gift of singleness to me as His perfect will for my life at that time.

This was heavy on my heart to share with you this morning, and I pray it encourages/reminds you of how perfect and precious God’s will is for our lives.

We don’t want to miss out on enjoying His perfect gift for each of us today, because today will not last. Tomorrow is coming, filled with new gifts of its own for us to enjoy. But we can never get back today.

Some Mail I Can’t Keep to Myself” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

A Lighthearted Interview on Singleness

Enjoy this lighthearted interview that Brenda from Triple Braided Life did with me. 

Brenda: First, tell us a little about yourself – your name, age, where you live, and where you grew up.

Paula: Hey there! I’m Paula Hendricks. If you’d told me as a teen that I’d be 31 and single someday, I think I would’ve said, “Shoot me now!” What a journey it’s been . . .

I live in Michigan (you should too; it’s lovely!). I grew up in the Midwest, surrounded by cornfields (not a fan).

Brenda: Where do you work, and how did you get started in your job?

Paula: I serve as Writing & Editorial Manager at Revive Our Hearts, a women’s ministry calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. I’ve practically grown up here, as I started working at ROH over nine years ago, fresh out of college. It’s a real God-story how He led me here, but unfortunately too lengthy for this post. Ask me about it sometime if we ever meet!

Brenda: Tell us one thing you LOVE about being single and one thing you hate (or your biggest struggle) about being single.

Paula: I love the quiet. “Silence is golden.” It really is.

It’s also nice not to have to wear makeup everyday or worry that my armpits stink or . . . ut-oh. You just asked for one thing. Oh well, that was getting pretty personal anyway.

What I hate: going to church solo on Sundays.

Brenda: Do you ever get mad at God because you are single? When bitterness, discontentment, confusion, and even jealousy creep into your mind, how to you deal with it? Do you have a go-to person or scripture verse or something else that helps?

Paula: When I’m tempted to think wrong thoughts about God, I talk to myself and pray. It usually starts out something like this: “Thank You, God, that You’re not capricious. You aren’t cruel; You’re not trying to tease me. . . .”

Brenda: What is your biggest pet peeve about the way single women are perceived?

Paula: There’s this lie Christians have bought into that if a single woman will just relinquish her strong desire for marriage, then . . . poof! God will give her the gift of marriage. As if we’ve ever earned His gifts . . .

Brenda: Do you struggle with finding community in your local church? How do you find community in a world that seems coupled up?

Paula: If I’m looking for people who are just like me, yes, I struggle. There aren’t many older single females my age left. But if I’m open to God providing community through people who aren’t necessarily in my stage of life, then I realize how incredibly rich I am.

Brenda: Our perception of you is that you are living a fulfilled, purposeful life as a single woman. You’re not waiting around for marriage, but fulfilling God’s call on your life now. What would you say is your secret to doing this?

Paula: Actually, if I weren’t involved in meaningful kingdom work right now, I’d probably be pining away on my couch with a romance novel and a big bag of candy. I’m so grateful God allows us to play a part in advancing His kingdom here on earth. Not only is it crazy adventurous; it’s an awesome antidote to self-pity. You don’t need a public position to do this: volunteer at your church, rake that widow’s leaves, babysit for your neighbors . . . the opportunities are endless.

 

Brenda: What words of advice do you have for other single women who want to live with purpose now and not wait for marriage to start their lives?

Paula: It’s not original to me, but if you’re not content single, you really won’t be content married. Begin to live fully in the moment. It may seem God isn’t answering your prayers, but He’s not just answering them the way you want. Ask Him to help you see the incredible ways He takes care of and loves you each day!

Brenda: And some fun stuff!

Brenda: Which do you like best – Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest (or all of it!)?

Paula: None of them. I honestly think I belong on the prarie making homemade soap and fighting off wild bears. But since people are on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve caved and joined them. You can find me @PaulaWrites678 and Facebook.com/PaulaWrites678. (The “678” is reminiscent of Romans 6–8 as the truths in those chapters changed everything about me several years ago.)

Brenda: What’s your favorite drink?

Paula: That’s tough. Right now apples are in season, and I have some mean fresh apple cider in my fridge. Yum!

Brenda: Where would you want to live the rest of your life – beach or mountains?

Paula: Beach. I have a dream of owning a house made of sand—well, at least having a bed of sand with sand floors so I’d never need to sweep the sand off my floors.

Brenda: Do you read more fiction or nonfiction?

Paula: Probably more nonfiction, but my true love is fiction. I’m working my way through the classics now; the last one I read was The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Brenda: Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Paula: 50/50, according to the tests.

Brenda: What’s something quirky about you?

Paula: I “pluck” (a.k.a. demolish) my bread. I really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house . . .

Brenda: What else do we need to know about you? Where can we connect with you online?

Paula: You can connect with me at PaulaWrites.com to learn more about my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, to read my blog posts, and more.

Excuse Me? How We’ve Gotten the Motivation for Purity All Wrong

Excuse Me? How We’ve Gotten the Motivation for Purity All Wrong

There’s a “truth” I hear tossed around Christian circles that makes my stomach churn. It goes something like this: Marriage is the ultimate reward for living a life of purity right now.

Come again? Marriage is a great gift, but it is not the ultimate reward. It can be hard to believe, but God really is the ultimate reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage. More

Will I Ever Be Loved Like Peeta Loves Katniss?

 

Will I Ever Be Loved Like Peeta Loves Katniss?

 

 

Whether you caught The Hunger Games opening weekend, or whether you have no idea who Peeta and Katniss are, I’m guessing you can relate to this girl’s bottom-line question: “I finished The Hunger Games series, and I am so envying Katniss. I mean, I know they are just fictional characters, but seriously! Peeta loves her so much and so unconditionally. This guy is SO perfect. I know I have God and all, but is there gonna be a guy that really loves me THAT much??” More

The Best Valentine’s Day Ever

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day memory? Mine took place on a snowy Saturday night in 2012 when five teen girls piled into my home with their pajamas, pillows, and Chi hair straighteners.

We did the typical things girls do at slumber parties (ate a lot of sugar, did each other’s hair, posed for a photo shoot) but the main reason we got together—and the highlight of the party—was sitting on the living room floor cutting and gluing and writing and praying.

Card Making

We’d asked the church secretary for a list of the names and addresses of the widows in our church, and then we made them each a homemade Valentine’s Day card and included a picture so they could put faces to our names.

Why did we spend our evening reaching out to a bunch of older women we hardly even knew rather than watching a couple of chick flicks? Because we wanted to love the same people God loves. Did you know widows have a very special place in God’s heart? He protects them and provides for them and urges us to do the same:

“You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child” (Ex. 22:22).

“He [God] executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deut. 10:18).

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation (Ps. 68:5).

The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin (Ps. 146:9).

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:27).

The next morning we hand-delivered one of our cards to a woman in a nursing home and stayed to visit, sing, hug, and pray for her. We dropped the other cards in the mail and were delightfully surprised when we received a couple letters back from widows warmly inviting us into their homes!

card

I wonder what widows you know. Would you make a list and send at least one of them a Valentine’s Day card this year? (You might want to send one to a single mom, as well.) After you’ve done that, I’d love to know your thoughts. Why do you think God cares so deeply for widows and wants us to do the same?

The Best Valentine’s Ever” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.