Thirty is an arbitrary number. There’s no telling what year the tide changes for the Christian single woman—that moment when you wake up and no longer feel the rush of being a swinging single but rather profound loneliness as you eye what seems a desolate future. It happened to me when I was 26.
When I was 24, I moved to South Korea for a year. I was dating a guy seriously at the time, and we planned to marry when I got back to the States. I developed diabetes while I was in Korea. When I got home, I just didn’t have peace about marrying this guy.
I couldn’t talk myself into it, so I broke up with him. I spent a year trying to regain my health; then I moved to a new city to start a new life with a new job. Almost immediately after moving and starting the new job, I fell into pretty serious depression. I slept a lot.
I cried when I was awake. I laid prostrate on the floor of my bedroom waiting for lonely hours to pass. I finally called the guy that I had broken up with to see where he was and put out feelers about getting back together. But he had already started dating someone else seriously.
They got married soon after. I was devastated—I thought I had lost my last chance at happiness. I had a warped view of the sovereignty of God and had no confidence that He was going to work my circumstances for good.
Weekdays were hard, but weekends were unbearable. Sundays were the worst day of all. I hated trying to find a church home by myself.
Everyone else seemed to have a family. Walking in all alone to a service filled with unknown people was almost more than I could bear.
I remember visiting one church in particular. I was interested in the topic at one of their Sunday school classes but felt distinct pressure to go to their singles’ Sunday school class. So I gave in and went to the singles class, after which the entire class walked out single file to what apparently was the singles row in the church sanctuary. I was funneled right down to the singles row in the church—to have gotten out of line and sat somewhere else would have been obvious and rude. I never went back to that church.
I hated my singleness too much to allow myself to be pigeon-holed with what I perceived at the time as other hopeless singles. In my depressed state, I ended up choosing my church that year not based on doctrine or theology or ministry philosophy or anything of value. I chose my church because I had married friends there that invited me to sit on their row and would have me over for lunch every week afterward. That church allowed me some family companionship. I didn’t care what they taught—having a family to eat Sunday dinner with was worth it to me.
Fast-forward a couple years. I got married and moved to Seattle. It came time to focus on having kids. I miscarried and entered a season of struggling to get pregnant. I was in a very small community group at the time—just three couples. And both of the other wives had never miscarried, nor had either had problems getting pregnant.
Each had a young child, and one was expecting her second. But both of these women were encouragements to me during that season. Even though they hadn’t experienced what I was going through, they were very concerned and willing to listen.