How Does a Single Woman Plan Her Future?

single woman

Beginning Note-

Dear Readers,

I hesitated to share this because of the brute honesty of the subject.  However, I wish I had been able to read something like this when I was eighteen; so that is why I bare my thoughts and soul to you.  It is hard for single women because we face so many unknowns, and although I strongly disapprove of feminism, I do believe that single women should be wise about their future.  I write this not to encourage solo independence or to make us feel as if we do not need or want marriage, but to make us stop and think about our plans and choices.  We do not have a husband to provide for us, and our parents may very well be nearing the age where we can no longer rely upon them but they rely upon us.  There’s a lot of harsh judgments passed about single women that say it is our fault in some way or another that we are single, but sometimes God just has different plans and timing for certain individuals.  May you be encouraged by this article.  Don’t forget- I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

How Does A Single Woman Plan Her Future?

“God, the joke’s over now, haha, very funny.  I mean, being single is great and all, but You do have a husband for me- right?”

So you are nearing your thirties, and quite possibly is this is how your prayers sound.  Reality is starting to hit that you really are single and by the looks of things, your relationship status will probably not be changing anytime in the near future.  The job that helped get you through college at 18 was fine for a while, but it has lost its appeal and holds no incentive.  Surely, you figured that by now marriage would have taken care of the future for you because a husband would have been responsible for the main income and provision…but there is no husband.

So, as singles, we’re left with three choices.  Choice One- Drop all our standards and grab the first guy we meet on the street (which isn’t recommended due to the probable outcome).  Choice Two- Complain about our situation and sit at home near our phone, door, computer, or wherever we think a guy may approach from to ask for our hand in marriage.  Or, Choice Three- Realize that if God is amazing enough to create a universe full of dancing galaxies, He is plenty capable of bringing someone in His own time but for now He has called us to singlehood for a special purpose.  I’ll admit, Choice Three really hit me hard when I knew I needed to break off a dating relationship last year, knowing fully that I probably wouldn’t be getting asked again very soon.  I mean, if it took twenty-five years for one guy to come along, another twenty-five years would put me at fifty.  That can be a little disheartening, and that’s a lot of life during which I have to make decisions and support myself.  Of course, I could get married next year, but then again, God may never have marriage in His plans for my life.  Once I am at peace with that, I can then move on and handle life and the future.

So what can we, single women, do to help take care of our future?

  • Face the facts.  It may startle you to realize that singlehood is wearing your name, but brute honesty is the best wake-up call.  I know some young ladies who are still living in denial of the fact that they are single and very well may continue that way for a while.  Thus, they really have no dreams, goals, or plans and simply exist from day to day.
  • Don’t let singlehood scare you.  I’ve heard many 16-18 year old girls talk about singlehood like it was a dreaded disease.  I like to think of it as an adventure, and I do dearly love adventures.  Instead of it being me, a husband, and God on this journey, right now it is just God and I.  That may seem a little daunting at first, especially when I can get lost in stores, have zero map-reading abilities, hate spiders, have a fear of elevators, start talking to myself when I get lonely, and get nervous when calling in a pizza for delivery.  But I try not to focus on what seems like limitations during this journey of singlehood, I focus on the blessings God has in store for me- things like a deepening faith, trust, and love because I only have Him to rely upon.  As Corrie ten Boom once said, “If God sends us on stony paths, He provides strong shoes.”
  • Find a career, path, mission opportunity, or avenue you would enjoy pursuing for the next thirty-forty years.  Make sure it will be something you love and enjoy (but something that pays well too!).  Yes, I know, I didn’t make a very profitable choice when I pursued writing and teaching elementary music, but it truly is my love.  So find something that motivates you to get up in the morning.  Check into the job’s benefits and insurance/ retirement plans.  For a single woman, these are an excellent boost in her provisions.  If special education is needed, get started right away before you lose more time.  Find grants and scholarships that will help with costs.  Perhaps God has laid a certain dream or calling on your heart; start pursuing that.  If going into missions, draw out a plan for means to cover expenses while you are away and then also a plan for means of provision if and when you decide to return.
  • Be okay with changes to a nicely-arranged future.  God may decide to open some doors and shut others.  Ask Him to lead your life, and then keep your plans held out to Him with an open hand.
  • Find a nest.  At some point and time, you will probably feel a desire to create your own home and move your glass dishes out of Mom and Dad’s attic to use and display in your own space.  Don’t be scared to start looking at buying a home or renting an apartment.  Costs will vary, depending on your area, but a single woman doesn’t need a huge space.  The usual rule is- the smaller the place, the more affordable it is.  Try to find something close to the places that you commute to the most (work, church, parents, college….).  Finding responsible young ladies to rent a room or two in your house will also help cover costs.  If your parents need assistance or you don’t want to move right now, keep living with them; but be sure to pay “rent” and don’t be afraid to carve out your own spot.  When buying a home, keep in mind that there will be costs which may include property taxes and insurance; repairs and maintenance; utilities that could include sewer, water, heating, and electricity; lawn care; and pest control.  Regardless of whether you rent or own a home, there will be appliances and basics you need for daily living.  Those who get married are blessed with wedding gifts, but we will have to budget and supply our own “homey items” unless the apartment is already furnished.  Decide what is absolutely necessary to buy now and then get the convenience appliances later when your budget is prepared for it.  Some appliances to keep in mind are a washing machine and dryer (unless you decide to go to a laundromat), stove, refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, blender, mixer, iron, vacuum cleaner….  Go ahead and write down any others you think of.  Take into consideration the common things we take for granted but often use like linens, towels, silverware, plates….  Furniture is not an emergency category, but it’s still nice to have a bedroom set, table with chairs, sofas, and storage cabinets once the budget allows (shopping at thrift stores and community aids is a great way to pick up cheap but nice items.  Don’t be afraid to mix and match and do your own design.  A little bit of paint, stain, and Pinterest ideas can turn a seemingly drab piece into a show item.).
  • Budget!  Set room in your budget for food and groceries; vehicle and health insurance; fuel; vehicle repairs and licensing; home mortgage or apartment rent; vehicle loan (if your car is not paid off); health money to be used for dentist, prescription medications, doctor, orthodontist, and chiropractor costs that may not be covered by insurance; clothing and personal essentials; phone and internet; pet food, care, and vet bills; gifts; home items; home costs; and tithe.  I also keep some set aside for travel money since that is dear to my heart.  Some of the above may or may not apply, and there may be things that you need to add in, but get it down on paper or find a good app and start budgeting.  However, no matter who you are, keep a nice amount of room in your budget for savings which can be used in cases of emergencies and then applied to retirement.
  • Surround yourself with mentors.  Keep people around who can give you advice and wisdom with decisions, plans, and finances.  Their older wisdom can be a true beacon of light as you navigate the overwhelming waters of independent adulthood.
  • Involve yourself in others.  When singles are only focused on themselves, they become bitter and selfish.  Help out at kids’ clubs, go on short mission projects, babysit your best friend’s children so she and her husband can have a date night, visit retirement homes and do activities with the residents, or volunteer at a hospital.  The opportunities are endless.  I don’t have a husband and children right now like my heart desires, but I do have family all around me in the hundreds of students and young ladies I teach and direct.  Make every day and every situation your mission field.  Savings is definitely not a bad thing, but it really has no value once life here is over.  The investments that truly matter will be the ones we made in others.

Questions?  Sure you do! 

Like- what if an interested guy sees I have a career and home and thinks I’m not interested in marriage?  Excellent point.  Your attitude and demeanor will be the biggest benefit or hindrance to your independence.  I have two very opposite single girlfriends.  They both are working women who have to provide for themselves but handle themselves and situations a lot differently.  Let me explain….Susy allows men to assist her in decision-making and tough tasks, while Jessica tackles it solo.  Susy stays gentle and doesn’t dominate every conversation and group decision, while Jessica is the first to call the crowd to action and conclusion.  Susy has time for teaching VBS, helping at the local soup kitchen, and babysitting the nieces and nephews, while Jessica is too busy creating her career and future to have any time for Kingdom Work and loving others.  Susy still up-builds the men around her and realizes that there are gentlemen in this world yet, while Jessica harbors bitterness at seemingly being rejected by the male gender and treats all men with disdain.  Jessica is determined to show the world that she can do it on her own and does not need help, while Susy is simply living fully where God has placed her. See the difference?  Some guys may still be intimidated by a woman’s attempts to provide for herself, but a true man will appreciate that she is not simply wasting time waiting around but is putting energy and heart into making the best of her life and blooming where God has planted her.

By going into full-time mission work, will I have eliminated any possibility of marriage?  No!  God can bring the man He has for you to the planet Jupiter if that is where you are at.  He is not limited by what we think are hindrances, especially when He is working with men and women whose hearts are fully focused upon Him.  Plus, a Christian man will know that by being involved in missions, you have developed patience, sacrificial love, flexibility, hard work, responsibility, and teamwork, which is exactly what a wife needs to make marriage a success.

Does owning a home and being financially independent make me bad “wife material”?  Having a good job or owning a home doesn’t disqualify us for marriage; in fact, it actually improves us.  Just like the Proverbs 31 woman, we can bring something profitable into marriage and have a savings account instead of only a shoe collection.  Remember that marriage and raising a family is quite costly!

Isn’t it pointless to go through college and build a career if I will be getting married and having kids eventually?  A lot of women have used their career experiences to bring in extra money while still being a stay-at-home mom.  Some moms have done that by using the teaching degree to tutor students over the summer, utilizing the photography experience by setting up a photo studio in the shed behind the house for photo sessions, applying the craft-store job experience to a personal Etsy shop, or putting to use the secretary skills by doing a company’s paperwork from a home computer.  As a writer and music teacher, I can continue writing and giving private music lessons if I would ever get married and have children.  With creativity and a little flexibility, most careers can be still beneficial to a stay-at-home mom.  Even if the career experience isn’t used during marriage, it will have benefited in other ways by teaching us responsibility, hard work, dedication, loyalty, and commitment…all things that we want to pass on to our children!

It is important to look ahead with the honest understanding that God may not bring marriage into our lives for a while.  But don’t let all the costs and decisions frighten and alarm you about the future.  And definitely, don’t let it sidetrack you from the real reason you were put on earth- to glorify the King.  God is our Guide, Provider, and Bridegroom, and He wants the very best for each one of His lovely brides.

 

Blessings my dear single ladies as you truly live the journey!  (Isaiah 30:21)

Miss MarJanita L. G.

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Our Sons and Daughters

mother

Do you ever have those days when you start dissecting your life and your future?  You know, those kinds of days when you feel as if you have your own personal thundercloud hanging over your head?

Well, that was me.

I was contemplating my value to this world and started to become melancholy at the results.  And after the pinch of melancholyness (yup, that’s not actually a word), came a twinge of envy.  I was just a little bit jealous of friends my age who have cuddly babies and mischievous toddlers.  And yes, the mother dealing with postpartum depression, wailing infants, and crayon marks on walls is thinking, “You’re completely insane.  Come take my place for a day and you’ll learn what it’s really like!”  No, I was not envious of the messy diapers and sleepless nights, but I was thinking about those tiny feet, little giggles, and sticky kisses.  I was feeling a bit worthless and like I hadn’t achieved to some greater maturity and specialness because I’m single and am not raising, teaching, and loving a child with the same last name as me.  I was comparing myself to that ever-perfect Proverbs woman whose children arise and call her blessed.  Here I am, just plain me, who at this point will have no one to call my own or pass my legacy on to when I am eighty years old.  I feel embarrassed saying this because we, singles, don’t like to admit our feelings on this subject.  I feel really embarrassed admitting this because I am not very old, a lot of things can change in my future, I truly love every minute of my singleness (I’ve been able to do amazing things that I couldn’t have done otherwise), and being vulnerable with my feelings is plain down embarrassing because not everyone will understand.  But I share this to encourage others who may be facing the same thoughts in this stage of their lives.  Motherhood is a usual desire amongst most single females (despite the pain, selflessness, commitment, and frustrations that we realize go along with having and raising children) because it’s a maternal longing that God gave us.

Then God stopped me right there in the middle of my negativity.  God had to do this for Elijah and he still has to do it for us humans today.  Anyways, He brought to my attention the verse, Isaiah 56:3-5 (KJV) “Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.   For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.”

The eunuchs could not have children and were one of the lowest on the social scale.  Because they had no offspring, they could not leave a name or heritage behind, but God hadn’t neglected them.  First, notice the conditions in the verse- keep the Sabbath, choose the things that please God, and take hold of the Lord’s Covenant.  Then notice the promises- being given a place and name better than of sons and daughters within God’s house and walls and being given a name which will not be cut off.  Isn’t that beautiful!  Perhaps I shouldn’t pull out this solitary set of verses and try to apply it to singles, but I think it fits well and can hold a lot of meaning for us.

But that Still Small Voice wasn’t finished talking yet and began to awake me to the fact that I do have children and I will leave a heritage behind when earth’s departure flight comes for me.

Let me explain- My children are the hundreds of little lives which have entwined themselves around my heart through camps, choirs, classes, etc…  To them I have given tears, love, lessons, and prayers.   Every time we hold a Sunday-School Class, become a counselor at camps, teach a classroom of students, hang out with the nieces and nephews, help with VBS’s, support and sponsor orphans, and take the time to impact the life of a child, God has given us sons and daughters.

I was recently at the Meadows of Hope Banquet, and this thought kept coming to my mind as I watched the single young ladies with the girls they are mentoring and helping.  Those girls may not have the same last name or physical resemblances as the women who care for them, but that won’t make any difference when they are walking streets of gold.  Those women may not have physically birthed them, but they have birthed hope, courage, faith, and trust in the girls’ lives.  Because those young ladies are single and childless, they won’t be celebrated on Mother’s Day; but nevertheless, they do have “children” who arise and call them blessed.  Their heritage left behind will tell of countless lives who loved them and viewed them as a second mother.

We, singles, have many opportunities to help “raise” the children around us.  Don’t view your babysitting job or weekly kids’ clubs as unimportant, but use the “parenthood” God has given you to dry tears, apply band-aids, feed hungry tummies, break-up quarrels, teach valuable lessons, and impact little lives for eternity– which really is no different than any actual mother or father would do for their children.  And one day when we look across Heaven and see the faces of our “sons and daughters”- the children we taught and loved, we will realize that we truly do have an everlasting name and heritage!

Special Purpose or Special Man

Special Purpose or Special Man

 

Daily Prompt: BFFs

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from the person you’re the closest to?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us FRIENDS
 
When I read this I had to stop and think.  I can’t quite say who I am absolutely closest to, but I do know that I revere my father and honor his advice very much- and he is one of my best friends!
 
I also can’t say that this is the most important lesson I have ever learned from him, but it is one of the more recent ones that has meant a lot to me.  I thought I would share it, because I’m not the only girl out there that wonders at times about her single status.
 
I’m about to have another birthday which makes me another year older, and occasionally I whine to my parents about how overlooked I am by the opposite gender.  It isn’t that I am intent on marriage as an ultimate goal (truth of the matter is that I’ll be just as happy single and fulfilling all the many things I dream of doing as I would be sharing the rest of my life with that special someone and raising a beautiful family), but sometimes I have to wonder what is wrong with me that I am still single while a lot of my friends have had Prince Charming sweep them off their feet.  I mean is it my looks?  Is it my personality?  Is it because I like studying and wearing funky clothing?  Is it because I’m not like most of the other girls in thought and personality? 
 
I’m being honest here because I know that I have single friends that ask the same questions.
 
But this is what my father said to me-
 
“Daughter, God is either saving you for a Special Purpose or a Special Man.  He doesn’t want you getting all distracted by guys that will sidetrack you from what He has in store for you.”
 
Pretty powerful stuff right there, isn’t it?  It kind of put things in perspective for me.  I should not feel like I don’t meet society’s expectations if I don’t have a boyfriend or three guys falling for me like all the romance stories portray.  God thinks I’m pretty awesome, so awesome in fact that He is keeping me for something very special.  It just excites me to think about it.  Either I’m single for a special purpose, which only being dedicated to God would allow me the freedom to do or else I’m single and saved for the man that God picked just for me and will bring in His own timing. 
 
Anyways, this wasn’t going to be another long post, just short and to the point for the daily prompt; but here I am going on and on about singleness and romance and all that gushy stuff.  So I’ll stop and tell you to have a wonderful day and think about how God truly does care about you.  Remember not to base your value on other people, but on what the Father thinks of you!