May 1, 2014

Marriage or Ministry: Do I Have to Give Up my Dream to Serve God in Scotland?

Many of the single women interested in working with 20schemes have had ‘the marriage’ conversation with me at some point in the process. They often feel like saying yes to us and entering into the mission field of Scotland means giving up their chance of marriage. My response, as a single mother, is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other. We don’t know God’s plan for our lives and so, in the end, we have to trust him because he knows best. In all of our affairs (of the heart or otherwise) we simply have to trust and obey.

However, we’re not saying that this isn’t a legitimate question for single women considering service with 20schemes. The problem is that far too many women equate Female Gospel Worker’with‘single cat lady giving up on marriage and children.’ Dearie me, some of us girlies have a flair for the dramatics and are prone to head straight for the worse-case scenario. If I do this I’m going to be on spinsters row for ever. Somehow, single women have got it into their heads that they are far likelier to find ‘Mr Right’ in their current situation than if they step out in faith to serve the Lord full-time. Of course, the desire to be married and have children is a good one. Of course, it would be a wonderful blessing from the Lord. Marriage is a gift from God, but if being married has become an idol in our heart, then we need to take stock. If the fear of not realising our ultimate desire leads to not stepping out in faithful obedience to God ,then our decision making becomes tainted by self-obsession rather than godly obedience.

This isn’t a one or the other deal!

As a single woman, it's very easy to go all ‘Bridget Jones’ and sink into a depressive state, lying in a heap on the floor, hair stuck to our face, yesterday's clothes on and with some really cheesy love song playing in the background on repeat! Let’s cheer ourselves up by going the whole hog and watch the last episode of Pride and Prejudice 207 times! OK, so I exaggerate (I’ve only ever made it through the whole of the Pride and Prejudice series once and I couldn’t be bothered lying on the floor because I’m not convinced I’d be able to get back up again with my dodgy legs!). BUT, I’ve made my point. Less drama queen ladies and more reality check please. We too easily forget God is all-powerful, all knowing, and sovereign. He can be trusted to have HIS best interests at heart for our lives 100% of the time. There are lots of benefits to being single, and we should enjoy the blessing. I do think we need to recognise our identity in Christ far more than focusing on our lack of marital status. Being married is a good thing, but if it’s not on God’s agenda for us then that needs to be dealt with in a right manner. Singleness should not be an excuse for a lack of godly service in our generation.

Ask yourself

Is my relationship status mostly what I pray about? Are relationships all I tend to think about? Am I constantly daydreaming about finding a soul mate or the right man? Am I guilty of idolatry? If so, then we need to repent and put God firmly back where he belongs at the centre of our lives. Be a woman of godly integrity. We must preach, preach, preach the gospel to ourselves daily. We must pray and ask him to help us to be content. We must trust him. We mustn’t let our idols paralyse us when it comes to service in the kingdom of God.

God is using this time to prepare us. He is working on our character. He wants us to grow in perseverance and faith. He wants us to trust him with all aspects of our lives. So back to my question of marriage or ministry. Do we have to choose? NO—the only thing we have to choose is to follow God in faithful, humble, trusting obedience. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Oh, and stick your application form in.

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