This is NOT a normal blog for me…so beware !
But I feel that it is necessary to write, not only for me, but for many others out there who are like me (insert sarcastic comment: “Kelly, there is no one out there like you”) haha. Ok, true. Like me= Single missionary for this context. Anyways……
I want to address a VERY COMMON conversation I have with people when they find out I am and will-be a long-term missionary in Africa. It goes something like this:
Me: “Actually, I live in West Africa.”
Person: “ You LIVE there?! Like forever?”
Me: “Well, at least until I feel the Lord asking me to live somewhere else”
Person: “Wow. Well, are you married?”
Person: “Oh, so I guess you don’t want to get married.”
OR (version 2)
Person: “well how are you ever going to get married if you live in Africa?!
Insert my triple take, furrowed brows and look of confusion… followed by my sarcastic remark of:
“Oh yes of course, because there aren’t any men if Africa!”
Now, this isn’t a blog about whether or not I want to ever get married; On the contrary. It’s about obedience. I believe that there is a passion given to each of us that comes from the Lord. Not just the passion we have for the Lord, but a desire to use a particular talent, idea, or ability to further the kingdom of God. I believe we can be most in line with the “mysterious will of God” when we honor the Lord through these things and give Him all the glory for what happens as a result.
So, when an opportunity comes to live out this God-given passion and gift, and it happens to take you to a difficult place, what is the correct response? GO!! When Jesus said to the disciples, “Come follow me,” they were expected to drop their fishing nets and follow him. For the disciples to have responded, “I’ll be right there, I just need to finish building my house,”or “I’m coming! I just want to do one more……”
I have met too many women (and men) who passionately want to reach the Nations for the Lord, who refuse to go because they won’t until they are married. This mindset is troubling to me, and yet at the same time I have been there. For me, at least, it came down to trust.
Do I trust the Lord?
Do I trust Him to take care of me if I’m alone?
Do I trust him to bring me a spouse anywhere I am in the world?
Do I trust him if He NEVER brings me a spouse?
The conversation at the beginning is a problem because it’s extremely discouraging for someone who is hoping to get married while trying to trust in the Lord by moving overseas as a single. It’s also showing our small view of God to think he is limited by country borders or location when it comes to his sovereign will on who will be married. It’s also assuming that everyone’s goal in life is to be married.
Maybe a better conversation would be:
Person: “Are you married?”
Person: “Well how can I help encourage you while you are overseas”
OR “Well tell me more about your ministry and the people you will be serving”
OR even “Are you nervous moving/living overseas as a single person?”
I think marriage is a amazing thing, created by God, to mirror Christ and His church. And if two people desire to marry, and are passionately serving God in a way that is honoring to him, YAY! But if getting married, or wanting to get married, ends up keeping you from fulfilling the passion for Serving Him that He has placed in your life, you need to ask yourself if you trust Him.
In all honesty, I do hope to be married one day. But, if I am single for the rest of my days, then I will trust that God had His purpose for it. And maybe I was better able to serve Him as a single woman than I would have as a married one. Because I KNOW I am in the right place. And I’d rather die a single woman in Africa than live as a married woman anywhere else. But thanks be to our God that those aren’t the only two choices! J
So if you know a single missionary, ask how you can encourage them or be a listener. If you know a single person considering missions, don’t discourage them from going based on their marital status. If you are already married, invite your single friends to hang out and not just to babysit your kids (although I don’t mind babysitting your kids, too!) Let’s all find out how we can push one-another to be the active hands and feet of Jesus, and passionately serve Him in all the Nations!