I’ve just finished reading Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred by Carolyn McCulley. I think this is a book that every Christian single woman should read. And if you are married and have friends who are single, you should read it too, particularly if your friends are struggling with their singleness.
McCulley writes very honestly about her own feelings about being a 40-something single woman. As she writes about her experience she tells a story about the useless token presents that her and her sister gave to their mother when they were children, then she writes this –
This is how I can think about guts when I consider the biblical passage that calls singleness a gift (1 Cor 7). Calling marriage a gift doesn’t surprise me. I understand that. Over the years, I’ve tried to beg, bribe, borrow, and buy that gift. It simply can’t be done! I am now convinced I must wait to receive it. But how and when did I get this gift of singleness? I don’t recall putting it on my “wish list” or asking anyone to give it to me. I don’t remember opening it up and saying, “Ooohh, thank you! Singleness! How did you know? It’s perfect!” No, this is how I view singleness: While others walk down the wedding aisle to receive the golden gift of marriage, I’m standing to the side, sullenly holding my useless thingy-do of singleness.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that this is something that I can really identify with. McCulley then goes on to write about context, definition, purpose and timing of the gift, as well as who assigns the gift. She writes
Ultimately, we are single because that’s God’s will for us right now. That’s it. It’s not because we are too old, too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too quiet, too loud, too smart, too simple, too demanding, or too anything else. It’s not wholly because of past failures or sin tendencies. It’s not because we’re of one race when many of the men around us are of another. It’s not because the men we know lean toward passive temperaments. It’s not because there are more women than men in our singles group. It’s not because our church doesn’t even have a singles group. Though perhaps these things seem like valid reasons, they don’t trump God’s will. One look at the marriages we know or the ones announced in the newspaper will assure us that these factors are present in many people’s lives, and they still got married. We are single today because God apportioned us this gift today.
Over the rest of the book McCulley uses the Proverbs 31 woman as a guide for how we should live as single woman. Surprised?
When I considered this for the first time, I laughed out loud. The very passage I often skipped because it was about an excellent wife was the key to understanding my singleness! Here was the guide I needed to show me how to invest my gift of singleness in the church. As I studied this woman, the priorities for my life came into focus. The role described in this passage is that of a wife, but her godly, noble character is what all woman should desire. It will serve us in every season of our lives.
I think this is a well written and very helpful book and I can’t recommend it enough.
I’d love to hear what you think about it.