I’m not one for recommending books on singleness, but ladies, gentlemen, single or not, bring out your highlighters.
In my younger years – when I thought I’d be married by 27 and have three years to settle down with my husband (plenty of time to confirm that children were not in our future) before we decide to travel the world, living off my best-sellers, giving humanitarian aid to people in need – I read lots of singleness books. And married books. And dating books. And waiting books. And what to do while you’re waiting books. And getting ready to be a good wife books. And being in love with God so you don’t have to worry about finding a husband because that’s how he’ll find you books. And oh you’re still single books. And how to serve your church since you’re still single books. And… And… And… Then no more books. I wouldn’t even walk by that aisle in a Christian book store. I rolled my eyes and cut off all attention at the mere mention of one of “those” books. And when friends and well-meaning loved ones would recommend the latest wonderful, enlightening, eye-opening relationship book that I should read, I outwardly smiled politely but inwardly growled at their audacity. If my unsuspecting mental victim was single, I would cynically think, “how about you get back to me when you have proof?” Oh, but heaven forbid that well-meaning individual was married! The verbal boxing gloves came off as I mentally ranted off reasons why s/he had no “right” to talk to me about singleness.
So, what happened a few weeks ago? Perhaps a combination of things: God had steadily been working on my heart, time had humbled me, love had genuinely grown for my unsuspecting victim. To be perfectly honest, when my beautiful, younger, married-to-a-loving-husband-and-has-an-adorable-child friend brought a book along with her to lunch, I inwardly smirked. My first thought, “Very funny Lord! What would I do without that wonderful sense of humor of yours?” And in that dry amusement, I agreed to give the book a try – out of respect for my friend, of course. She had lovingly dog-eared some pages, which for me meant that I only had to read those sections to fulfill my obligations. But God, indeed, does have a sense of humor!
Carolyn McCulley‘s Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? is the best book I’ve read on the topic of singleness. But even that statement is inaccurate. Because singleness it’s not why I’m loving this book! Singleness is not why I look forward to spending time with it every morning. Its God-centered biblical truths are wonderful challenges, gracious reminders, and supportive encouragements for living! Period. The only reason I put the book down is to meditate on what I’ve read, consider the application in my life, and then go back to reread it. Life is hard enough. Life as a single woman in a Christian culture that quietly screams how incomplete you are as a woman without a husband and children, is callously tortuous. And when you juxtapose that with a secular culture that glorifies all the wrong ways to be single, life becomes painfully lonely. But this book reminds me of why I LOVE this life God has given me. It challenges my views of and feelings towards this (perhaps temporary, perhaps life-long) gift of singleness. It encourages me during those times when the “single” life seems too hard to bear.
Were all the books that I read before bad? No. But in retrospect, many offered nothing more than momentary distractions and secret formulas to understanding myself, so that I could be a better me for someone else. A frustrating waste of my time and mental energy plagued by the lingering question, “what if there isn’t someone else?” But this book offers guidance to being a godly-er, holy-er, lovely-er, happy-er me (who happens to be single). And compared to the others, none have espoused me to live so completely, single.
To my sweet friend, thank you for having the “audacity”. I am so grateful and so much better that you did 😉