You've found yourself in a hard place. You are looking for a way out, a purpose, hope through this experience. You are not alone. Others are in hard places too. Others have been in your shoes and have come out the other side. Here are their stories of how they found The Rock in their hard place.
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Don't Leave Us Behind: A Letter From a Single Friend
By Jan Heindel
PC: Freddy Castro, Unsplash
Side note: This is a somewhat vulnerable topic to share about,
but it's reality, and I think sometimes we're too afraid to talk about those
sensitive areas because of the fear of coming across as insensitive. But isn't
ignoring it just as bad?
Here's the thing
about now being an "older" single woman: though singleness has its
advantages, it can also be an incredibly isolating place (compounded as a
single female expat).
I don't deny that those in marriages also experience
loneliness and isolation, and I grieve with those of you in that. As a younger
single woman, I had more friends who also shared this single stage of life with
me, and I have often reflected that when I was surrounded by good friends who
were also single, who could relate, who had the freedom to be spontaneous on a
Friday night or the availability to go on vacation with me, I was fairly
content. I felt understood and like I had a place.
As I get older and have
fewer and fewer friends (especially close friends) in this stage of life, it
becomes increasingly harder to find that place, especially in a culture that,
in some ways similar to the US, is fairly independent and not as open to
sharing life with others. I could live in a place of self-pity, orI can find myself
begrudging those who have someone to help them: carry bags of grocerieshome (especially
when you are carrying it all by hand... no auto transportation here!). Or
putting together furniture. Or having help figuring out all the legalities of
visa and managing appointments. Of not having the company and social life I'd
like. I don't want to live in that place of dwelling on what I don't have. But
I DO still need community.
Yes, I'm reflecting on this after the wedding of a dear friend,
but it's highlighting a piece for me that I've often thought about in the past.
Couples, families... don't leave out the single people in your life because
you're married, because you share the same stage of life with other couples and
families. Yes, those relationships are important. But you need more than couple
You also need me as a single person in your life—to remind you
of how to interact with those who aren't going through the same things. To find
ways to relate outside of house or babies or couple issues. To be vulnerable in
some of these things even if I can't completely relate. But I'm honored by you
bringing me in and yes, I care about those things with you. Neither is it the
whole of who you are. You are not your husband (or wife) or kids or home. That's
not your identity.
You need me to bring another perspective into your life. I
have a place at your table as well. I have something to offer—important
pieces to offer without a spouse, and as a woman, without a husband. A man does
not suddenly validate me or validate my ministry; it does not make me more
worthwhile or usable or acceptable.
And we singles need you. I need you. I need community, and
community outside of other singles (and this peer group is less and less the
older I get). I need places where I am welcomed in and given space and treated
as equal and worthwhile IN my singleness—where I feel like I have a place and
am not less than without a partner. I need the company and friendship of both
of the partners in a marriage, even of the opposite sex (and sometimes especially, since more of my
life is relating to the same gender). I need to learn to
relate to families as a whole and celebrate with you in stages of life that I'm
Some more practical pieces that I've experienced or heard:
Please don't assume that I'm too busy; sometimes I create busyness
BECAUSE I don't have other places to spend it.
Please don't assume that I don't want to spend time with your
crazy family. Yes, sometimes that's true, and I need my space and peace. But I
am honored to be thought of and invited in. Please don't assume that a refusal
means I'm not interested. Hopefully I communicate that.
Please don't assume that it will be awkward. It will be awkward if
you think it will be awkward (3rd or 5th wheel, anyone?). I want to be secure
enough to enjoy you and your family and company no matter my state. If I'm not
secure (and it definitely happens at times!), that's mine to work through in my
identity with God.
Please don't hold back because it might cause pain. Granted,
sometimes it is hard for me. But the tension and feelings of isolation increase
when communication becomes guarded for fear of hurt. Let's be authentic and
support each other in the rawness of all of it. I learn to honor and serve
others well when I take the pain to God and receive the strength to truly be
with you in your joy and pain. I honor you by sharing my heart and the place
I'm at without placing expectation or guilt on you. And we both feel seen and
understood when we can be in it together without giving or taking offense.
(side note: not every single or disappointed person is in a place to handle
this. I get that. Be sensitive to your friend.)
At the same time, please don't flaunt your "success" by
demanding I celebrate or be offended with you... this occasionally happens by
gushing about your joys and pride or lamenting how demanding your life is
because of the children or responsibilities. You can help me by not letting
me do the same about my singleness. We've all got our stuff. Let's find a
Please DO invite me to join you. Make space for me—sometimes
into your family time or time with other families. A dinner. A walk. A
playground trip. I'm happy to be thought of.
Please DO ask or initiate conversation about life and stages of
life. I want to know I'm seen and heard in that area, even if you can't
specifically relate. I want to do the same with you. Don't let it be an awkward
or shameful thing.
Please DO notice the single people around you: keep your eyes open
and notice where they may or may not have community.
Please DO let us make community together. The young, the old. The
single, the married. The childless, the overflowing family. The hurting, the
healthy. The giver, the receiver. We all need each other; different ways in
different seasons. We all have seasons to give and to receive. But let's find
community and do it well.
experience - as a single person or as a married individual or couple relating
to someone who is single? I'd love to hear your thoughts and how we can do/be
the Body of Christ better.
Jan is living and serving in Prague, Czech Republic, sharing Jesus through teaching English and working with youth. Her passions include people living in the freedom that Jesus offers and a lifestyle of worship. She finds joy in mountains and forest, quality time with family and friends and her puppy, and adventures of many kinds.
This site is a collection of real stories by real people about The Rock in their hard places.
It is curated and edited by Kara Ranck, who is a wife and mother of two children living in Pennsylvania. Kara herself has traveled some hard places in life and knows there is hope and power when we tell our personal stories about The Rock, which brings us through. Thank you for joining us here!
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