Monday, August 4, 2014

Single Ministry vs. Married Ministry

Being single and being married are totally different and both wonderful, but it took me quite a few years as a single lady to appreciate my singleness. The grass is always greener on the other side, right? Over time, however, God brought relationships into my life and taught me lessons that helped me to become truly joyful as a single person. A key part of the transition to joy for me was participating in various church ministries and activities.

Married people have this tendency to think of single people as "not busy." This couldn't be farther from the truth in my life. I was VERY busy as a single person. I was rarely ever home, always spending time with people in groups or just getting coffee or volunteering for something. "Ministry" as a single person was so easy! Excepting my work schedule, I could sign up for what I wanted, invest in the people I chose to invest in, throw myself into studies and prayer groups.

Then I met David, got married, started a family. Now I often find myself struggling. The reality is that single people can have fewer distractions from serving God. My life before was 1) God, 2) Church/Friends. The end. Pretty simple! Now I have 1) God, 2) Husband, 3) Kiddos, 4) Church/Friends. I feel like I never even get to number 4 anymore. I am reminded of Paul's writings on marriage:

"I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible." (1 Corinthians 7:32-35 NLT)

Y'all, I miss feeling wholly connected to God's plan. I miss the late prayer nights, the long discussions at coffee shops about life and love and mystery, the youthful dreams of what God would do next and the hopes to be part of it. The distractions now are many.

So I wrestle with new questions: what does it look like to be reaching out to others and serving God when you have a wee one on your breast and a toddler tugging at your pants? What does it look like to maintain a relationship with God when all you really want more than anything is 8 solid hours of uninterrupted sleep? What does it look like to move in power with the Holy Spirit when you don't want to move at all?

David and I have been discussing this a lot this week. I don't have solid answers at this point, but I am feeling encouraged. Unlike in my single days, I have a partner in this new confusion. He admitted that he has felt the same questions arise since getting married. And so, we will be embarking together on trying to understand what it looks like to love God, love each other, love our kiddos, and still have love to pour out on others. I am actually starting to get excited about it! If only I could get that 8 hours of sleep first...