I'm an Old Maid -- Now what?!
So, I'm 24 years old and unmarried. In fact I'm not dating. Not courting, not in a relationship - notta.
I actually had some people in my life come to me on my 24th birthday and try to "console" me. Apparently I've reached hopeless "old maid" status. And I didn't even know it! Here's the thing --
I think a lot of Christian girls of my generation grew up with the thought that they would prepare to be a wife, graduate, and meet Prince Charming. And then what? Life! We'd follow our husbands, have children, reign as housewife and serve God.
But for many of us, we turned 19 and Prince Charming browned on us. So we decided we mustn't be ready yet. There must be more to learn in Virtuous Womanhood 101.
Twenty...um, still no Prince.
Twenty one... no sign of him.
Twenty two... okay, you'd think we'd have a hint...maybe a guy on a white charger on the horizon...
Twenty three -- believe me! I've learned everything there is to know about cooking, cleaning, serving, parenting and housekeeping. I'm ready, God!
Twenty four -- Signing my name under Martyr of Old Maid Status
(For some of us the years continue...)
I actually understand why "older" single women turn to their singleness as a form of identity and therefore find it their consolation and security. We women can yearn so long for male companionship and fulfillment that when "he" won't come, we go overboard in embracing "what we are" instead of "what we don't have". It can be tempting. And it sounds "good". Obviously there is nothing wrong with embracing our single-hood, In fact it really ought to be embraced. But our identity is who we are in Christ, not our marital status. (Or lack thereof!). We don't have to flaunt our single-hood in order to accept and embrace it.
My dear maidens, I want to encourage you that marriage is not the hallmark of life. It is not when life begins. And though we were created to be a man's helpmeet, and live with this natural yearning to fulfill that -- there is more to womanhood than marriage.
I've seen girls treat the cultivation of their character/skills as preparation to be " a good wife". Or in shallower more accurate words -- they were working on being a good catch.
Our pursuit of godly womanhood has nothing to do with becoming "eligible". Culinary skills and character building have more purpose than ensuring we're noticed.
So what is our purpose?
I know that God gives individuals specific purposes. But what is our purpose as women in general?
We were created to be helpers, to meet needs, to compliment men. We can still fulfill this purpose without being married.
Who are the men God has placed in your life? If you have a father, a brother(s), Pastor, or even brothers in Christ -- God has placed you in a position to be a helper. Of course we are not under submission or subject to these men in the way we are to our husbands. (Eph. 5:22, Titus 2:5, 1 Pet. 3:1-5).
But we can look to heroines of faith and history to realize that many unmarried women fulfilled their purpose as helper without first being married.
Through Miriam, Moses' sister, a nation was saved. She ministered to her brother and her steadfastness, her obedience, her quick intellect saved Israel.
Mary, an unmarried women was chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ, our Messiah.
Sophie Scholl, a German Nazi resister, was not only an inspiration to her country -- but she was a faithful companion and confidant to her brother Hans.
Katharine Wright, Orville and Wilbur's little sister is also a good example. "Kate" used every opportunity to encourage her brothers to greatness. Eventually she became their executive secretary and social manager. She watched over their bicycle shop, paid bills, answered queries for scientific information, corresponded with newspapers and magazines and eventually became secretary of the Wright company.
These are a handful of the many unmarried women God has used. We as women have the opportunity to be an encourager and helper to the men God has placed in our lives. Just as we can also be selfish and ignore our opportunities.
Whether we marry or not, we can learn willingness and availability like Mary, we can learn courage and can stretch our intellect like Miriam. We can learn to be trustworthy and faithful like Sophie, and serve and encourage like Katharine. If we never marry these things will not be a waste.
There are Godly men in our generation. I personally am surrounded by them. Two examples:
My father is raising his children in the admonition of the Lord. This godly pursuit is not easy in our age. He and his helpmeet (mom) can use all the encouragement and service I have to offer.
My brother Chris is on the forefront battle against abortion. He is part of a grassroots movement to abolish our nation's child sacrifice, (AHA). He is attacked not only by the world but by many Christians.
The men who desire to be godly in this generation need women who have backbone, convictions, intellect, compassion and femininity. The world hates masculinity and godly leaders. The world will constantly chip away at their integrity.
Though it is prudent to know how to keep a house, godly womanhood involves more than that. It behooves us to have a grasp on current affairs, to have a worldview, to be interested in more than beauty tips and fashion buzz.
As daughters, sisters and wives we are ambassadors of those who care for us. How we dress, act and serve does matter. We represent our heavenly and earthly father. Men who can count on their counterparts are able to go father, reach more and stand stronger.
We are persuading voices. We are guardians of purity. We are feminine strength. We are a safe friend. We are prayer warriors. We are faithful counselors. We are listeners. We are encouragers.
And this does not come about naturally. We have to invest ourselves. This involves sweat equity, time, prayer. It means embracing our status as non-conformists. We are a peculiar people -- even among the peculiar.
Virtuous womanhood is more than becoming marriage materiel. With Christ we are to walk worthy of the Lord, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Col 1:10).
Are you ready to engage the world through the spheres and people God has placed in your life? I am. Marriage or not, here I come.