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August 25, 2010

Comments

Jen

Carolyn, my goodness, you are a Godsend in the most literal sense of the word. As is Fabienne. Thank you so much for reposting this. Only my Father and I know exactly how much I needed this encouragement today. Thank you a million times over and Praise Him!

julie

so good! so needed!

CalLadyQED

Thanx for posting, Carolyn.

lb

thank you. yes. thank you.
[thought to self: "someone understands."]

April

Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I am always so encouraged by your blog!

slk

wow, how i wish i had written this. it speaks so directly to my heart's desires but i did not have the words. thank you for reminding me that i am not alone; there are other women out there feeling the same longings and trusting god to be there.

Julia

Thank you for this. I hope to be able to read the entire post later on.

I am having a tough week single-wise. I've had 2 married men express interest. Then, if that wasn't enough, I found out the nice, Christian, divorced man sitting closest to me at work is now dating a gal who works clear on the other side of the building. The equivalent of Siberia, and yet, they're dating. They have no reason to interact! I couldn't catch an eligible man with a steak tied around my neck.

It's not so much that I wanted him, it's more the unfairness of it all.

I just keep telling myself that no one has taken anything that belonged to me, but I can't help but feel as though I jump through twice as many hoops and come out with half as much as anyone else. It's good to hear that someone else is yearning too.

Kristin

Quite possibly the best phrased and best perspective I've ever read in this area. I've been on a mini-tirade since turning 30 (9 years ago) about this area. 100% content yet 100% desire. Carolyn, thanks for posting this excerpt.

Maria

I am not even sure if this comment will reach you . . .

Thank you for writing this. You cannot possibly understand how a woman who has endured a long 25 years of bondage (marriage) and over 10 of fasting could benefit from this. Because what you wrote is the bottom line truth it applies to anyone, married or single.

Please allow me to tell you that while being single and desperately craving to be married is painful, being married and subjected to a decade-long fast is not only painful but also humiliating.
I don't mean to minimize your pain - I understand it only too well. But the pain for some of us comes with an unutterable sense of rejection as well. And yet, I know that nothing else could have driven me to the arms of my eternal lover the way this has. The union I have come to experience with my beautiful Savior goes beyond what human words can express. There are times when I enjoy such intimacy with Him as to surpass the exhilaration of physical ecstasy. Someone once said that you will never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. I have found that He is enough.

There are still times when I wish with every fiber of my being that things were different and I could have what I have been denied. However, in rare moments of unclouded clarity I am allowed to understand that this is the very path that led me to a total identity with my eternal lover. One day I will behold Him face to face and be forever satisfied. I am convinced that my unending intimacy with Him will far exceed anything I can imagine. Even now He somehow is able to communicate affirmation to my soul of a caliber that no human being ever could.

I suppose what I want to tell you is that in your loneliness you can find unspeakable joy, that which comes from knowing that you are wholly His and He is yours forever.

J

Wow, that is such an encouraging, godly perspective on God withholding a good gift in order to give us more of him. I wish I had been able to read this several months ago. Although I am not single (I've been married for 3 years) my husband has been gone a lot on various deployments. It has been hard at times to understand why God allows us to be apart when physical intimacy is a gift he has given us in marriage. But God is faithful. He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. He is able to be our husband whether our husband is away or we are still waiting for a husband. We serve a very good God.

Claire

I have a feeling my post will ruffle some feathers.

I read all of her series on the blessings on singleness. Mostly, I liked them and I related to them. And, I dont disagree that God can use things that seem paintful to us -- lack of intimacy, loneliness-- to bless us. But, to be honest, I am tired of Christian articles, sermons, etc. that lecture me. Yes, point me to Christ, yes remind me He is in control and to have Him meet my needs. But, sometimes I just want understanding from my mother, married friends, the church. I don't want to dwell on what I don't have, but I would like someone to recognize how painful what I don't have is--to say wow, its hard being single. You don't have a family, you don't have physical intimacy, you are unsure if you will ever have kids, you feel rejected and alone. I wish someone -- an author or friend or whomever-- would just honestly say, "wow thats hard. I see why this hurts. I'll be praying for you."

When my friends go through infertility, job loss, divorce, marital problems, family problems, illness, etc, yes, I try to encourage them to trust the Lord. But, I don't immediately tell them that their very painful experiance is really a blessing and to Trust God.(It would be cruel to immediately tell my friend with cancer that this is a blessing. First thing I did was love on her) First thing I do is hug them, pray with them, try to understand their pain. That's what I want-- I want my very real pain to be validated as real pain. Then, point me to Christ.

All in All, I agree with this article. I agree with the pain she expresses and I do think with any struggle, we have the unique opportunity to grow. But, I wish it was 2 seperate articles-- one that related and one that offered a solution...because I really would have loved someone just saying "I understand"

Laura Droege

Just went and read the full article. Thanks for reposting this.

I've often felt, even as a married woman, that the church doesn't do a great job of addressing this issue for single women. I've noticed that when celibacy/sexual desire in singles is addressed, it's usually aimed at the teenage/young adult crowd and the emphasis is on "waiting"; the presumption is that yes, you will get married. But dealing with physical desire when you're beyond that stage of life must be different--and very difficult.

To Claire and all the other single ladies reading--I can't say that I understand; I'm married. But you are obviously dealing with real pain, and I wish I could hug you and try to understand what you are dealing with.

Thank you to everyone who has commented, to Carolyn, and to Fabs...your honesty touches me. Now I know how to better pray for my single friends.

Emily Jansen

Such a lively conversation going here!

After chewing on this article for a while, (and everyone's comments), a few things came to mind in regards to this issue/topic/struggle. These thoughts are coming from the perspective of one who just moved back to the States after living abroad in Kenya for a year doing volunteer work and witnessing firsthand the womanly sorrows and heart-breaking lives of others from another culture.

I make these comments in no way to criticize anyone's perspectives, feelings, experiences, sorrows, ( as if I were holding up my index finger, hissing, "Tsk, tsk" to the crowd). Rather, as the borders of MY own perspective on singleness and the desire for physical intimacy have been influenced after being away for a year, so too, am I simply broadening the general discussion to extend beyond our American mindset, our Western perspective, and our incredibly rich Christian heritage as women in this land of great freedom, protection and opportunity.

Throughout my year abroad in Africa, I came across/met/befriended various women who were victims of various sexual injustices, including: AIDS, sex trafficking, physical/verbal/sexual abuse, rape, painful divorces that left them to single parent, and much more. These women ranged from the ages of 13 to 40-something's. They were mostly African, but a few also happened to be 'Americans' who grew up in Africa at various points in their childhood b/c their parents were working/serving there abroad.

And, let's face it. The question for them is not, "Oh, God, will I ever "be known"?! Their question is, "Oh, God, why was I unjustly "known" by someone who shouldn't have "known" me?" OR, "Oh, God, why can't I erase the past and become "unknown" again?" They have faced the cruel injustice of men who longed for satisfaction in an empty oasis of poverty, drugs, disease, war, tribal conflicts, corrupt governments, and the awful, hopeless reality of dying young. And, these women not only have to live with the horrific experience engraved upon their minds and hearts, (to survive mentally) but they also have to KEEP living in a physical survival mode.

For example, I know a single Kenyan mother with two daughters who divorced her husband 10+ years ago, b/c he was abusive towards her. When they first got married, she was incredibly young and subjected to his domineering authority and rule in their marriage and life and intimacy. Now, she is happy to be freed out of a bad marriage, but works HOURS a week to provide for her daughters' education and food and water and health...(and I'm talking 50 shillings an hour, which is less than $1 per hour). And b/c her parents are elderly, she has to give them portions of her money, too. You can only imagine the hopelessness of this lifestyle...and this is just one story of many.

How does this story relate to the primary topic at hand? Well, I would argue that sometimes as singles, we are so focused on what God hasn't given us, that we forget how good we really have it. Yes, I want to be married. Yes, it's painful to have just come home after being gone a year, only to see countless girlfriends in relationships, falling in love, getting engaged, enjoying a new, youthful marriage, and bearing children. Yes, I cry alone, and ask God "Why?" and long for physical intimacy, and pray with faith that someday God provides me with a tender, endearing, intimate relationship with a man. Yes, my heart aches in those quiet, lonely moments when no one is around, and no one is calling me, and no one seems to really understand...(even my Mom and Sister who know me best).

BUT, at the end of the day, I can truly say that I give THANKS that I have only been "KNOWN" by the One I was created to know - the living God in heaven. I have not been "known" by force, I have not been "known" as a result of sinful, corrupt, lustful craving. And, that is something to praise God for, no matter how discontent and discouraged I am feeling.

You know, if I/we opened our eyes to see the bigger picture, the wider scope of women throughout the world, throughout the Bible, throughout history, who have experienced this longing for physical intimacy in one degree or another, and/or have experienced the devastating effects of sin (such as the women in Africa), I wonder if we wouldn't be more at rest in Jesus as Christian singles living in the richest, most privileged nation in the world.

We DO have intimacy. We have complete, regular, everlasting intimacy with the One who gave up His intimacy with his heavenly Father to save us. And, that, my friends is a beautiful thing, indeed.

1Cor 13: 12 "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been FULLY KNOWN."

anony mouse

Claire, you are so right. Being single is so incredibly painful. And it seems like people are much more apt to offer sympathy for those struggling with infertility. AT least they have a mate!

I so resonate with this article. Wow wow wow, I certainly do.

I don't have any words of wisdom, really, but I just wanted to encourage you ladies--I'm 32 years old and recently starting dating my first-ever boyfriend :) And we're looking toward getting married! I thought nobody would ever find me; I thought my high sex drive would go to waste. Now it looks like God isn't going to let that happen. ;) And I weigh more than 200 pounds!

God can do miracles. He truly can!

Michelle

This is beautiful and I trust that it was the Lord's will that I read this right now. Thank you for posting. What a struggle it is, but what an encouragement this has been...

Yong

I agree with Claire's posting about giving sympathy 1st. So much of healing comes with identifying and acknowledging how truly difficult it is.

blessedbabe

I can relate. This just negates the myth that Christian women are not "sexually tempted." We are. The first step is just like any kind of repentance -- we acknowledge it. There's a reason we do. But we must go on and do what's right.

EM

Life's hard. Grieve with those who grieve. For those in Christ, the reward of patient suffering is great and eternity will be sweet - but that doesn't mean that we, along with the saints around the throne are amiss for crying out: "how long, O Lord."

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