The Good Gift

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I used to think that marriage was the culmination of life. The best gift, ever. Once you got married, your fairy tale complete as you rode off into the sunset with your true love. (Thank you, Disney.) 

I’ve always been a sucker for a romantic comedy. I watch Hallmark movies all throughout the Christmas season because I love their neatly packaged happy endings. I’d love to have that happy ever after for myself. Alas, I have remained the side character in the romantic comedy; the girl who makes everyone laugh and helps her best friends find their true love.

Now I’m in my thirties, and instead of wondering “How long must I wait?,” I’ve asked a new question.

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IS GOD TRUSTWORTHY?

And that question is, “Do I trust that God is always good and only gives me good gifts, as His Word promises?”

As I wrestled with this, I came to this revelation: My singleness isn’t a bad thing, because God always gives me what is best. I must emphasize that this realization did not come to me overnight, nor in a burning bush. It came through years of struggle, heart ache, tears, and prayers about being single.


Here are the things I know to be true about God: He is ALWAYS Good. He gives GOOD gifts to His children. He is ALWAYS loyal, faithful, loving, and kind toward us.


Scripture declares these promises:

Psalm 32:11: “So celebrate the goodness of God! He shows this kindness to everyone who is His.”

Nehemiah 9:20: “You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.”

Psalm 100:5: “For the Lord is always good and ready to receive you. He’s so loving that it will amaze you, so kind that it will astound you! And He is famous for his faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for he keeps his promises to every generation.”

If these verses are all true (Spoiler, they are), then it means my good, loyal, loving, and kind Heavenly Father has deemed that a husband is NOT a good gift for me right now. So it’s okay that I’m single! I know that sounds crazy coming from a girl who cries at happy endings.


But the more I walk with Jesus, the more I want His best for me. I trust that God will bring me a spouse if and when it is HIS good gift for me. Right now; however, He has given me a beautiful gift of singleness.


THE PRESSURE TO CONFORM

Another thing I’ve realized: people don’t know know how to respond to adult singles. Not our families, friends, and co-workers, and not the Church.

The Church is used to the cultural norm in which people marry in their twenties and start having babies. So, when someone doesn’t fit into the norm, the Church isn’t quite sure where to place them. Young adults ministry is too young, and the older singles are too old.  It’s not for lack of care or love for its people. They recognize the problem, but they just don’t know what the solution is.

The Church has taught me to wait on the Lord and as I have wrestled with how to wait well, I’ve come to this revelation: STOP WAITING and START LIVING LIFE in the abundance God gives freely.

Pastors aren’t the only ones stumped with what to do with older singles. I recognize that people, in general, have the best of intentions when they say things to me like, “It will happen when you least expect it!” and “Have you tried online dating?” It’s 2020, people! Of course I’ve tried online dating…


Their comments, while meant in love, are void of the power of God. It’s uncomfortable for them to think that God might be writing a different, unique story for me.


THE ULTIMATE HAPPY ENDING

We all must remember that our best gift and happy ending is not in gaining a spouse. It’s in one day meeting Jesus face-to-face, and staying in perfect relationship with Him for eternity! That’s the ultimate happy ending!

Scripture reminds us that:

James 1:17: “Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change.”

1 Corinthians 7:17: “Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.”


Our season of being single is simply God’s gift to us to experience deep intimacy and fulfillment in Him.


RECEIVE THE GOOD GIFT

Ashley Reed gift of singlenessI still live with the expectant hope of a spouse, as God has not removed my desire. If it remains your desire as well, I encourage you to keep praying and believing for a spouse.

Sometimes, I forget how blessed I am where God has me and wish He would bring me a husband. But the reality is that Scripture does NOT PROMISE marriage. So I have to stop waiting around for it and live in the abundance God has for me.

I’m going to daily lay my desires at the feet of Jesus, praying with faith that He will provide me with all the good gifts He has for me. But I am not going to let life pass me by. I will never give up on living an adventure with the Lord. I will LIVE in full abundance every day, whether my singleness lasts for months, years, or until my last breath.

I hope you will, too. Let us press into the presence of God, abiding with Him as we  live in the fullness His Word promises. Whatever season we’re in, single or not, God wants us to live life to the fullest. It is our current leading role. Let’s do it well.


LIVING IN ABUNDANCE

Here are a few ways to help you LIVE the abundant life God has for you:

    •   Get HEALTHY: Spend some time with the Lord and ask Him to reveal areas in your life where old hurts and unhealthy habits are keeping you from freedom. Sometimes we find ourselves walking around so wounded that we wouldn’t recognize a gift from the Lord if it hit us between the eyes. Perhaps we need to seek counseling? Or find a trustworthy mentor in our church that will speak God’s truth into our lives?
    •   Set BOUNDARIES: As a single person in the church, I can tell you from personal experience that boundaries are critical! The church has a habit of confusing the gift of singleness with the gift of volunteering. If you’re not careful, your church will suck the life right out of you because they assume you have a lot of time to give. Don’t make yourself available for every volunteer need in your church, or you’ll burn out.
    •   Do THE THINGS!: Each year, I ask the Lord for a word. He recently whispered to my spirit, “Do the things.” If we live in a “waiting” mindset, we run the risk of stalling out. So get moving! Choose ONE thing on your bucket list, and GO DO IT! Maybe it’s buying a house, starting your own business, following your dream of ministry, or traveling (Yes, please!). Time is too precious to wait on another person to go do things.
    •   OPEN the Gifts: It’s like Christmas time has come and gone, and you’ve left beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree. Open them to see what God has for you in your singleness. Spend time with the Lord in His Word to discover where He might be guiding you to spend your energy and time.

NEXT STEPS:

>>I’d love to know your thoughts on singleness. Share your comments below!


ASHLEY IS PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM AT JOSH MCDOWELL MINISTRY.

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4 Responses to “The Good Gift”

  1. Sheri Bell

    This is truth. We absolutely need to see our singleness as a sweet period of opportunity, rather than a waiting period — despite the lonely moments. I was talking to a pastor about this last night, in fact. I asked where all the single men are, because I’m not seeing them in church. He replied that the average attendee rate is 1 single man to every 4 single women in the U.S. church. ;-(

    Reply
    • Ashley Reed

      Yes, Sheri!! We need to live in the opportunity God puts before us, definitely! I don’t think that it’s that single men aren’t at church. I think it’s that adult singles don’t usually have a place, and lots of us live in isolation when we go to church. We show up for service, then duck out either because life is busy or we don’t want to sit in that uncomfortable awkwardness of not knowing people or not having that place that we fit. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Cristol Patterson

    Ashley, the honesty in your message is so refreshing to me. I have known you a long time and in all that time I have seen a loving and vibrant young woman whose talents are so impressive. Thank you for sharing this, especially on Valentine’s Day, when many singles feel lonely. Love you, sweet one.

    Reply
    • Ashley Reed

      Thank you Cristol! You have definitely walked alongside me in this crazy journey in some of my most difficult and most joyful times. For that, I am so grateful.

      Reply

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