Thursday, January 12, 2006

Still Single

I was reading an article on ChristianityToday.com when I came across the following quote from a message delivered to a group of singles at a Joshua Harris New Attitude Conference in 2004:

I'm going to speak of the sin that I think besets this generation. It is the sin of delaying marriage as a lifestyle option among those who intend someday to get married, but they just haven't yet. … In heaven, is the crucible of our saint-making going to have been through our jobs? I don't think so. The Scripture makes clear that it will be done largely through our marriages. The longer you wait to get married, the more habits and lifestyle patterns you will have that will be difficult to handle in marriage. … If you're seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, or in your early twenties—what are you waiting for? -- Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

He went on to say that some are delaying marriage so that they can put their careers first or so sow their oats. As the author of the article eloquentlytly put it, "I don't know if I even have oats!"

To quote Bridget Jones when asked why their are so many single, working women these days, "I guess it doesn't help that under our clothes are entire bodies are covered in scales."

And this seems to be the attitude that our seminaries, other learning institutions, churches, and society in general take to explaining the emerging phenomenon of singledom. There must be something wrong with them. Though I have to admit that I believe society in general is doing a much better job at embracing singles than the church is doing. Hollywood and the publishing industry have done a great job at celebrating the single life through such TV shows, films and books as Friends, Sex and the City and Bridget Jones' Diary. It seems that society loves the idea and "freedom" of the single life.

However, while I appreciate and applaud the efforts to embrace singledom by society, I am left questioning and yearning for guidance of how I, someone with values and faith, live out the single life. The freedom of casual dating and sex, the materialism, tflagrantadisregardard for most things sacred, is not something that I can readily catch hold of. I long for the Church to step forward and take an active role in shaping me as a woman of God and a single. But instead I often run into walls like Dr. Mohler who seem to believe that sin or something just being wrong with me is the reason that I am not living the full life I was meant to live in God, i.e. marriage and family.

During a recent perusal of a well noted seminary's catalogue, I came across a class entitled "Ministry to Singles and Senior Adults." I hardly need tell you how offended I was. Really to honestly say that the lives of singles and senior adults are so similar that they should be lumped into one class? Or is the more subtle meaning "We haven't really figured out what to do with these two populations in the church so we're just going to through them together in one class"? I guess they couldn't really title it "Ministry to Outcast Populations in the Church" or "Ministry to the 'It's not so important to minister to' Populations".

Do I necessarily want to be single? Well, my answer is both yes and no. I look forward to what may lie ahead for me through marriage and a family. I want to understand Christ's love for the Church more clearly by understanding my husband's love for me. I want to understand God's love for me more clearly by knowing the intimate love of a husband and wife. BUT right now God is using my singleness to His glory, increasing the ministry He's given me, blessing me to know and understand myself better, and leading me to new and exciting paths in life. All of these things make me thank God that I am single and only have to deal with my own issues let alone someone else's.

I fear for the singledom crowd as more and more leave the Church because they cannot find a niche, because they feel isolated, because they continue in pressured expectations to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, etc. It's time that the Church truly begins to embrace singles and let aside old feelings that there must be something wrong with you if you are 24, 28, 34, etc. and still single.
We need the love, the hope, and the family!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday, January 6, 2006

12:40am:
Phone call from Alasha. "Steve's having tightness in his chest. We're going to the emergency room. Will you come watch Jonah?"

1:00am:
Steve and Alasha leave for the hospital. Crash on their bed to snooze until Jonah wakes up or until Alasha calls.

4:30am:
Alasha calls. Completely incoherent; only catch every other word Alasha says. Their not sure what's wrong with Steve and are admitting him to the hospital for observation and to run tests. Try to go back to sleep. Can't sleep. What's wrong with Steve? His acid reflux? His sleep apnea? Heat attack? Something else? Should I be calling people to ask for prayer? No, it's still to early to call even people in Central Time Zone? What if he's really sick? How do we let the Graul's know? Their in Africa. Must occupy mind. Will find caffeine and mess around on the computer.

5:30am:
Alasha is home. Nurse told her to go home and get sleep. Reports on Steve's condition. He is doing better. His heart is stressed. Their not sure why and are going to hold him for 24 hours for tests and observation. She's exhausted. She's goes to sleep I go home to sleep a little while. She'll call when she wakes up.

6:30am:
Still awake...

8:30am:
Must have finally dozed off. Alasha called. She's fixing coffee. Pull self together. Drive back to their house. Jonah is awake. Has far too much energy. He slept all night. ummm...coffee...

9:00am:
Pack-up Steve's breathing machine for his sleep apnea to take to the hospital. Jonah is going with me so Alasha can sleep. Make phone calls on the way to the hospital. Can't think of who all to call. Hope I called all the right people. Crap. Just passed the turn for the hospital. Must turn around and go back.

9:20am:
Arrive at hospital. I've only been in this hospital once. What room number did Alasha say? 5315? 3511? 5511? Yeah, that's it 5511? How do I get to 5511? Meet Kerry Lowery in the hallway. We find 5511 together. Steve is doing well. In good spirits, but really tired. Was happy to see his son. Does not see worried.

10:30am:
Back at the house. Alasha is asleep on the couch. Passed out. Dropping everything. Making lots of noise. Still not waking up. Good. But Jonah down for a nap. Should take nap myself. Can't sleep.

11:00am:
Alasha's phone rings. She works on changing clothes and getting ready to go back to the hospital. I go get food. Jonah is still asleep.

12:15pm:
Steve calls. They are releasing him. Couldn't find anything wrong accept what we already know. Prescription rest. Alasha goes pick him up. I entertain Jonah as he is now awake. Thank goodness for Baby Einstein.

2:15pm:
Jonah goes down for second nap. Alasha and Steve still not home. I fall asleep on the couch.

4:00pm:
Steve and Alasha arrive home. End of long day. Thank you, God, that everything was okay and my friend is alright! Thank you that I was able to be here to help them out!

Note: All times are approximated. I actually have no idea what time any of it happened.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Just Showed Up
by Sara Groves and Joel Hanson

Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take by working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface repairing the holes in the shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I'm going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that's honest and real until I'm truly amazed
I'm going to feel all my emotions
I'm going to look you in the eyes
I'm going to listen and hear until it's finally clear and it changes our lives

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Oh the glory of God is man fully alive
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright