Tag Archive: singleness

cilnetteI think it was during one of my road-trips through the country in 2012, somewhere in a backpackers close to Kimberley (of all places), where this verse became one of my favorite passages in the Bible: Song of Songs 7: 11 & 12 – “Come, my beloved, let us go forth to the field, let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards, let us see if the vine has budded, whether the grape blossoms are open, and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.” 

There is just something in that scripture that speaks so profoundly to me of freedom. Maybe it was, back then, the whispered hope that a shared adventure could actually be in the will of God for my life.

The Shulamite chick is just like: “WAAAAAAKE UUUUUUP!! I wanna go places and discover stuff with you …!”. She is just perhaps slightly more poetic and subtle about it.

There have been times where I wished I could just say the things she has the freedom to say. But as a result of religious stuck-ness, or self-discipline (depending on how you angle it …), the bravest attempts I’ve ever made still came out as something that ends with “… old buddy, old pal, brother, friend …”, accompanied by a side-hug or a shoulder-slap. I SERIOUSLY suck at being in love. I’m really good at hiding it, though. And that is not a conducive state for poetry to flourish in.

Be that as it may.

I sometimes get asked if I think I’ll get married someday. And then I also get asked why I’m not married yet.

My responses to these questions have evolved throughout the years.

My honest answer to the first question, at age 32, is still: I truly hope so. Because of Song of Songs 7:11 & 12. Marriage still seems to me like the shared Kingdom-ordained adventure that my heart has always known to be worth surrendering independence for. Which is becoming a more costly consideration by the year, might I add. So, in short: yes. I really hope the Lord has a plan for marriage in my life. I don’t know who my husband is, and I’ve asked the Lord to not show me first. So, I wait to see who sees what he has always hoped to see. Then I’ll decide if I agree with his vision :).

My reflective answer to the second answer depends on the emotional state I find myself in… When I apply sober judgment, my answer is: I think my expectations of marriage were detrimentally idealistic in my twenties. I am a poetically inclined, emotionally inspired, raging romantic, and I would have been desperately unhappy in my unrealistic, verging on idolized, expectation of what marriage “needed” to bring to my life … protection, provision, direction, security, comfort … Not that I don’t think that these are still part of the deal … but I think my insecurities would have been a too heavy burden to carry for even the humblest of men. So Jesus took those shots on my future husband’s behalf, and spared him the brunt of that war. Not that there aren’t more battles to fight for my heart, but I think many of my claws have been, in most instances, partially, retracted. Or a bit blunted, at least … :).

So, there you have it. I have just not been mature, humble or brave enough yet for the responsibility of trusting another person so fully.

Am I ready now?

That’s not my question to answer, thankfully. And there has not been much spare time to ponder about it, actually …

So, point of this indulging post being …

Some desires only mature through dying.

Without being overly dramatic, the reality is that I have actually had enough disappointments in this life to put me off romantic relationships for the rest of my time here on earth. I know from experience that Paul had a good point when he wrote in 1 Cor. 7 that singleness is by far the simpler option … (my paraphrase). But yet, poetry seems to persist.

My lifestyle is currently pretty much a chronicle of how significant any season can be when you surrender to God. Many of my desires have been expressed in some form or another over the past few years. My life really is full of so many amazing opportunities that would not have been possible if I had to be home in the evenings to care for a family – which I believe to be one of the noblest and fun ways to spend one’s time, by the way. It’s not that I don’t want to do that, or that I think that the rest of my life will stop once I get married. I have enough evidence in my married friends to see how many of them are now actually fully living out their destinies, because they have someone to encourage them to do so.

I am so blessed by the witnesses of the marriages that I see around me. I see in so many of them a testimony of shared adventure and combined strength for serving. That’s what I want. It’s just that I’m currently using the time I have not having that, to not sit around and wait for the time that I will have that too.

Fact is … my story has always been a bit off-beat. My marriage will probably have a slightly different rhythm as well. And that’s ok. I’ve never seen the point of white picket fences, actually … :).

But until such a time as that … I shall be traversing through villages, occasionally checking for pomegranate flowers … laying up all manner of fruit, new and old.

Marriage gets its significance from the Desire that it reflects.

And for the fullness of that Desire to be met, all of Creation is waiting.


[For more from Cilnette, take a look at her blog titled ‘Tapesty of Thought’ which you can find over here]

[For another great post on Singleness by my friend Dani Scoville, click here]


There’s always a fine line between helping/supporting your single friends, and trying to ‘fix’ your single friends. Too often, what is well meant on the part of the marrieds, is sometimes interpreted as them trying to fix their single friends as if they’re broken or unfulfilled. This is not to say that single people don’t need or want any help from you, because we very much need your support. Being single does not make me broken or incomplete, but yes, sometimes it is hard. So, here are a few ways that I feel you can support your single friends. [It’s worth mentioning that this is a personal account, and don’t speak necessarily on the behalf of all singles. But I do know/hope that some of my single friends can relate to me in this.]

I’ve often heard people say that being single brings freedom, but i don’t know if thats completely true. There is freedom only with regard to oneself – i can come and go as i like & i can make decisions that concern only me etc – but one cannot, and does not, live in isolation, even in being single. Other people (in our lives) are always a factor, no matter what kind of relationship you have with them, and so freedom is still limited, and its supposed to be a good thing i think. To be honest though, I’ve often felt that its been the other way around, in that there is less freedom in being single (and older), precisely because it becomes so much harder to involve the ones we want in our lives, because they have lives of their own with new and different priorities (not that these priorities are wrong). Honestly, i don’t think there is any married person who would exchange what they have for this ‘freedom.’

One of the hardest things about being single at this age (late twenties onwards), is that most of your friends in your friendship groups have now gotten married, and some even have kids already. It feels a bit like everyone’s lives naturally progressed on to the ‘next stage’, while you were left behind. I really love hanging out with all my married friends and their families, but these days we can’t always just hang out as it were. Marriage, I suspect, has much room for spontaneity with each other, but with others it now requires a bit of planning. And we do make plans, but these days everyone’s schedule seems to be so full that it becomes even harder. It can get a bit lonely sometimes when you can’t just do stuff with friends anymore, like go for coffee, or a movie, or just hang out, especially in those times you feel you need some company or friends, or to just get out the house. There have been many a lonely Saturday night, which has honestly become the worst day of the week for me. Its the day I often feel the most alone – because everyone else has their weekend plans. This is not because I have a non-existent social life, or because I choose to stay home to pity in my sorrows. Its just seems to be easier for a married couple to decide on coffee and movies spur of the moment, if they feel they need to get out or do something different, but it becomes a bit harder for the single to make spontaneous plans with others. As it is, its hard to make normal plans when everyone is so busy.

There are days that you can’t really plan… days where you just feel the need to get out, or when you just really need a friend to be there. These are usually days in which we feel particularly alone. I’ve often tried to solve this by sending out several messages to a number of friends on the day, or even a few days ahead, and the response is often one i find hard to swallow (which is why I don’t often send such requests out.)  The responses that i find particularly hard, are the ones in which a person responds by saying they can’t do something with me because they’ve promised to do it with their spouse/significant other; as well as the ones which end with “…but enjoy it.”  What is often unknown to the married friend, is that my request is more than not, a desperate plea for some company. What I’m often really saying is that, “I’m feeling lonely, and i’m asking you, and chosen you, to be a friend to me, to just come be with me” without trying to sound completely desperate.

Now I do understand that couples have things they want to do together, and i’m a big believer in date nights and spending alone time together, and i would never want to encroach on that; but often when one says they can’t do something because they want to do it with their partner, is often a response i feel very hurt over, probably because of the deep dark space from where the request comes. I don’t expect that i be more important to you than your significant other, as they are and should be the most important person in your life; but its still hurtful when one is rejected in favor for another. My personal feelings may be selfish, but i’ve sometimes thought that if its not something thats going to break your relationship over, then should it stop you from spending time from a friend in need. I don’t mean to come across as selfish or insensitive. Its more about the time spent together, than it is about the actual activity suggested. If it really is important to do the suggested activity with your partner, then suggest something else to do (if you’re free at the time), or suggest another day on which we can schedule a hang out (instead of leaving me with “…but enjoy it.”) Its fine if its another day, as it gives me something to look forward to. This is something really small, but can make a really big difference to someone in their struggle with being alone.

Another thing i’ve found difficult is that i’ve often noticed how other couples get invited over for dinner or arrange to do stuff together. I understand the need for couples to do ‘couple stuff’ together, but i’ve often felt like i haven’t been invited or included is because i have no partner to join in. This may be a completely false assumption, i know. But if you don’t mind having a third or fifth person around, you’d have no idea how much they’d actually appreciate it. I think people are often afraid that that person would end up being a third or fifth wheel, which no one likes, but this will only happen if you make them feel like a third of fifth wheel. Most of the time, we’re just happy to spend some quality time with good company.

And then there’s just the simple stuff, that’d i’d like to remind you to never take for granted. These are things I desire for, and long for to become a reality one day. To be able to come home and receive a hug, and to have someone to just talk about my day. To just have someone who is there to witness your life. I appreciate those people who have sometimes created a space for me to just share about my week or to talk about silly non-important stuff. Its those little gaps that help me deal with day to day life. And I struggle when those gaps aren’t found. I appreciate it when someone asks a simple “How are you doing?” and means it, or “How was your day/week/trip/thing you said you were going to do etc?” giving me a chance to get anything on my heart out. Sometimes the hardest thing is not having someone to talk to about the little stuff.

Let me end with saying how much i’ve really appreciated, both my married and unmarried friends, who have cared for me along the way. Despite the lonely days, and the hard times, I also don’t take for granted the love and care that i have received from friends. It can be difficult for marrieds to understand where singles are at, and vice versa, when we aren’t in the same space, and so I do hope that this provides some insight and understanding, and a few helpful guides on how to support us, but not fix us.

[To read some more thoughts on what Single people wished Married people would know, by Busisiwe Ledibane, click here]


i was 35 when i got married and so i still feel like i have some kind of grasp and authority when it comes to speaking for/with the single community and definitely have a huge heart for them, especially those who are a little older and wanting to be married [as not all of them are – marriage is definitely not the end point finishing line of you-have-made-it’ness although it has too often been presented that way… don’t worry, for me that was quickly replaced with having-children-is-the-end-point-of-having-arrived which can be as awkward and much fun if you are not specifically intending to have children] so i get it [at least a little bit] is what i am saying…

when i put together a Taboo Topic on Singleness, it immediately became the most popular theme of that series which took me a little by surprise but just goes to show that this is a relevant issue for a lot of people, and some of my good friends have written some amazing stories over there.

and so i try to be conscious of you, especially when i post quite a lot of stuff on my blog about marriage and relationships [which i also have a super huge heart for] and as i’ve been preparing for what is going to be a fairly long series [and facebook onslaught] i thought i should try do something for the singles audience as well and the idea of ‘Things I wish my Married Friends knew or did’ came to mind.

when someone gets married, the dynamic between them and their single friends always changes, sometimes more than others. especially when it is the friendship between a guy and a girl [yes, those platonic ones can and do exist]. and while it is a change for both people, the married person gets to be with another person, while the single person often is a little more by themselves [or a lot]. so it really seems like the single person loses more when that happens.

and often the dynamic gets a little weird. the married person is trying to figure out how much time they can spend with the single person while still honouring their marriage and partner and the single person is trying not to intrude on the marriage but still wanting to be friends.

sometimes there is hurt. sometimes there is awkwardness. sometimes there is confusion. and often there are words that need to be said or advice to be given and maybe it doesn’t always feel like there is a good opportunity to say those things to those who need to hear.

so i am hoping that giving some of my single friends a platform will help them be really honest and open and real and just share some thoughts and ideas they have for their married friends and maybe just married people in general. if you are a single person reading these and feel like you have something to add, please drop me a line.

Hear from Craig Botha

Hear from Chantelle Finaughty

Hear from Busisiwe Ledibane

Hear from Kate Sherry

Hear some positive vibes from Sammi Taylor

Hear from Chris Jacobs

BV134WordPress informs me this is my 1000th blog post on Irresistibly Fish. It feels like i should be doing something special.

for anyone who follows this blog, or maybe stumbled upon it today, and who doesn’t understand the title, let me explain…

my nickname is Fish – has been for a very long time – stands for Faithful In Serving Him and i try to see it as something i am aiming towards as opposed to something i feel like i’ve arrived at… there is always room for me to be more faithful. the Bible tells is that even when we are unfaithful God is faithful and so it’s a good example to follow.

and then just taking it a step further, i want to be Irresistibly Fish – i want to be faithful in serving God in a way that is enticing to others – that is really the heartbeat of what i want this blog to be about.

sure, it tends to be a bit of a mixed stew because i am also a great appreciator of humour [yes, Americans, with a U!!!] tending more towards the dry british monty pythonesque and the random misdirection’ness of a good Jack Handey:

‘Before criticizing someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away and have their shoes.’ [Jack Handey]

‘Of all my uncles I think I liked Uncle Cave man the best. After school we’d go and play in his cave and every now and then he’d eat one of us. Later we found out he was a bear.’ [Jack Handey]

so how to celebrate a 1000th blog post? i guess by sharing somethings i wish for you to know:


Often when i get a chance to preach, i throw in a kind of bonus pre-preach intro along the lines of ‘If you only walk away with two things today, let it be these two things’ and so this would be a good place to share those as well and they apply to you whoever you are:


You might be someone who doesn’t believe in God or is struggling to hold on to a belief in God. You might be someone who has turned away from God or stopped believing in Him. You might be someone who is really angry with God at the moment, or disappointed or confused because of ‘something God did’ or maybe even something God didn’t do [that you really believed or were hoping that he would] – Know this – God loves you more. It doesn’t take your believing it for it to be true.

On the other hand, you might be someone who feels completely loved by God at the moment. You feel completely close to Him. You hear Him speaking to you through scripture and through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. You feel absolutely connected to Him in worship. You and God are pretty tight right now. Well hear this – God loves you more. No matter how big you can grasp His love for you to be right now, it is bigger.

God loves you more. And if you don’t believe it, then take at least a moment to consider ‘What if it is true?’ Ask Him if He does? He’s certainly big enough to confirm it to you.


I’ve been known to make churches or whole camps of people sing this little mantra i came up with years ago. The only problem is that although i have a kindof tune in my head it is really hard to communicate that tune and so the whole singing part for the most part ends up being me singing and everyone staring at me with a kind of WHATTHEFLIPISGOINGONHERE kind of look… it goes like this:

God is bigger than my box…

He’s bigger than my theology…

He’s bigger than my understanding…

He’s bigger than me.

With some kind of weird fast five clap thing after the ‘understanding’ that no one [including me most of the time] ever gets right.

But it’s true. You may not like to think this but you have a box in terms of how big you think God is, what you actually believe He is capable of, where you think He can and will get involved, how He can speak to people, what He looks like, who He speaks to and so on. It might be a really huge box. It might be the tiniest of boxes, or a box that confidently displays ‘There is no God’ which is its own little picture of God. But you have one.

Each of us do – the idea of just how big God is and the limitations that we place on Him. We each have a theology [study of God] and we each have an understanding. And it’s a little bit of tautologous redundancy on the one hand as the three things mean largely the same thing, or connected things. But the point is that in some way each of us reduce God to a smaller thing or being than He actually is.

One verse that helps bring this home to me is Ephesians 3.20 which informs us that God is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN ALL WE HOPE OR IMAGINE which basically says that however large we are able to hope or imagine, God can do even more, even bigger than that. But it’s these verses that come before that which help back up my statement song as well:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. [17b-19]

How wide and long and high and deep…

God is bigger than your box, than your theology and your understanding.

Plus the one we forget way too often: He’s bigger than me.


there are so many things i could say and so this list will not be exhaustive by any means, but as i hit this milestone on the blog there are some definite things i want people to take hold of and engage with;

# going back to the above verse, God is able to do immeasurably more than all we hope or imagine – i do say this a lot but i think often our hopings and imagings are so small that we aren’t all that impressed when God does them. i suspect God might be wanting us to HOPE and IMAGINE bigger so that when He does show up and do the things we are hoping and imaging for, we are super impressed and give Him the glory and praise He deserves…

 – i think of the story of Gideon in the Bible facing this huge unbeatable enemy army and how God stripped his army down from thousands to just three hundred and then ‘armed’ them with musical instruments and torches and sent them into battle [so it was obvious that the victory was God’s]

 – i think of the story of Joshua and the whole of Israel marching around the impenetrable city of Jericho for seven days and then on the last day breaking into shouts and musical instrument noise and the city walls collapse and they gain a huge victory [all attributed to God]

 – but i also think of my friend Dale who was praying with a bunch of friends from church before hitting the streets and one person got ‘a ‘download’ from the Holy Spirit that there is an elderly man, who’s name is Henry who used to be a painter, but is now out of work and financially vulnerable and suffering from pain in his knees.’

they went out on to the streets to pray for people and didn’t meet up with Henry the whole day. Until right towards the end, when they came across this old man walking with his four year old grandson:

‘We asked if we could pray for him… he declined and was walking away. I asked him ‘Is your name Henry?’ He turned and said yes. I did a double take. I asked him if he used to be a painter. He said yes, but he was laid-off and is now working odd jobs and money is tight. I asked him if he had pain in his knees. He said the arthritis was so bad in his knees that he often could not fall asleep at night!! So I called over everyone and asked them to repeat what we had spoken of that morning. They confirmed all this to him. Boom!’

– i also think of a talk i preached at a Simply Worship gathering where [against my initial will and ‘better thought’] i invited people to step forward into the impossible thing God was calling them to [much like Peter walking on the water] and a young guy called Brendon felt like God had told him to take his inheritance money and put it as a down payment on a place of safety for children at risk and how a group gathered with him and started praying regularly [because God had told them they were not allowed to as for money or fund raise] and how God used an atheist having an encounter with a presence on the property they had found to hand over 2.1 million South African Rands to but that property, which more than 5 years later is continuing to function as a place of safety for children at risk.

so i would like you to ASK and IMAGINE bigger – and i would like to start doing the same more often.

# those of you who claim to be followers of Jesus [whatever you choose to call yourselves] i would like for you to follow Jesus. 

this ‘christian’ thing is not a decision you make once so that you can ‘make it into heaven’ – it is a life-transforming decision that needs to be made again every day as we choose to put Jesus on the throne of our lives and submit to His will and be involved in bringing about His kingdom. i just wish for you to live that stuff you say you believe. i wish to see you living it in the way you spend your money, i would love to see you living it in the way you use your energy and time and the resources you have at your disposal. i wish to see you following Jesus in the way you forgive anyone and everyone who may have wronged you in any large or small way. i wish to see you involved in some way with those who are considered ‘the least of these’ whether they love Jesus or not.

i wish to see you combining these two – so asking and imagining bigger in the things of Jesus. Thinking of your community, of your neighborhood, of your country even. Thinking along the lines of education and healthcare, of human trafficking. taking on the ‘What ifs’ of even daring to consider the idea of ending poverty, or lack of access to clean drinking water or an end to the violence that plagues the streets around you.

# i deeply desire that we [as followers of Jesus and even just as people in general] will be known more for WHAT WE ARE FOR than for WHAT WE ARE AGAINST. even as we wrestle with scripture and trying to hold on to Truth in times that test the very fabric of it, may we completely be removed from the mantle of ‘you will be known by your hatred of the gay’ as one example within a myriad of examples.

# i hope that we can move past trite ‘answers’ such as ‘abortion is wrong’ to what may sometimes be difficult or inconvenient solutions such as offering to adopt the child of a young single mother whose only option seems to her to be abortion… or better yet, inviting the woman and child to live with us. because surely as the church that is the next logical step right? providing viable solutions rather than just picking on the scabs of what is broken and messed up?

# i love my wife. i know, i know, doesn’t seem to fit in with the run of where i was going there but i can’t write a 1000th blog post and not mention tbV [aka The Beautiful Val] but yes, we have not had the easiest of contexts since we have been married, but we are still running strong and we had the most excellent date night last night. i do completely love her and am grateful for the journey we have walked and run [and occasionally crawled] together thus far, and for everything that is ahead of us.

# i long to see relationships flourish, which is why so much of what happens on this blog has to do with relationships. From those in the lives of people who are single right now, to those who are in dating or engaged relationships, to those who are married and then beyond that to any who have children. God just has such a huge heart for relationships, and so do i. i want to see the 50% of marriages end in divorce statistic plundered. i want to see fresh life and hope and people who will fight for their relationships and not just in them. i want to see people honouring promises made in front of family and friends and God instead of jumping ship when the waters get rough or when someone messes up. i want to see people owning up to their own crap first before trying to fix their partners. i want to be doing that too.

# i long to see Taboo Topics spoken about and stories shared that encourage others to seek transformation in their own lives or simply encourage those who may be struggling through a particular experience or stage. This has been the most successful aspect of this blog and i love how powerful some of the stories that have been shared have been for other people – i think particularly of Singleness, Losing a Child, Infertility, Parents of young children [when it hasn’t been particularly easy] and Pornography/Masturbation. Topics rarely spoken about in church [and even general life often] where a bunch of my good friends have come forward and bravely shared a glimpse into their story/struggle/experience with amazing results. May these continue to grow.

and so much more… but i will have the next 1000 posts to do all of that.

thank you to those of you who made it this far down. thank you to those who journey on Irresistibly Fish, whether you read each post religiously or whether you head back every now and then and dip your feet into the waters [that was a metaphor, no actual water was involved in the writing of this blog post] – i really appreciate you, even those who disagree with me from time to time. maybe especially those who disagree with me from time to time [especially when you fight nice]

# i think largely i would say if i had a wish for this blog it would be more engagement! More comments and interaction, more sharing of similiar stories or equally funny cartoon strip links or your opinion on the thing i’m currently opinioning on or your Facetablet offer

Alexa O S Russell

Lex: Being single in a world and a community where relationships are celebrated and held up in high regard can be incredibly difficult…particularly when your single status is not a conscious choice, but rather a default at this point in life! People chuckle (and relate!) when you refer to your self as having a Bridget Jones kind of moment – the moment where you want to eat yourself silly on chocolate, or drink too much wine, or sit and belt out songs re: your loneliness and cry your way through a box of tissues because you have had too much chocolate, only to realise its not about the chocolate, but actually about the fact that there was no one to share the chocolate with.

Admitting to this seems so easy and natural and yet, can be a moment of intense vulnerability. No one wants to be perceived as being desperate and yet, we do want our feelings acknowledged! Acknowledging our feelings makes our sense of being single – both the pros and the cons – more real; which also means that at times we wish there were answers to this issue – simple, straight forward answers and the reality is that everyone has a different understanding and revelation of what relationships and being single means as an individual and as a Christian.

This writing is not about saying marriage is better than singleness or vice versa; it’s simply an honest expose of the fact that being single is not easy, that there are no simple answers and that what is true for one person may not be true for all! Both Karen and I have wrestled, shouted, cried, laughed, giggled and celebrated both our single and attached status. In discussions though, despite being in different countries, common themes have emerged as a part of our discussions in dealing with our singleness….. Karen has emerged as one of my married friends who is sensitive to the single issues – mostly as she has had the same roller coaster as the rest of us!

Our worlds as women…

• Fears and frustrations: single, courting/ dating & married

Lex: Oi vey – how to voice this without sounding horribly sad!

I am writing this because I am a firm believer that regardless of whether we are single, in a relationship or married, women have all had moments of issues of where we have had to wrestle with our relationships, our spirituality, the men in our worlds as well as the women around us. We fear that our dreams may never be realised, we get frustrated that the fact that men we love never seem to love us back; competition emerges between women who see each other not as support and allies but as competition for the pool of men. Frustrations grow when for some reason the men you are most attracted to are not Christians, are seemingly oblivious to interest in them, or play the push-pull game – come closer and the moment a woman dares hope that this might be a potential relationship, they get pushed away – only to be pulled back once the woman then walks away again. Nothing is more annoying than the dating/courtship game being masked by the “brother/sister” in Christ thing throw into the mix. How on earth are you ever supposed to figure anything out? Oh – and then there are all the “myths” that get thrown at you when you dare to mention feeling lonely, sad, annoyed or confused in this!

• Single v. married – how do we support each other

Lex: Regardless of what box you tick on forms regarding your marital status, the truth is that we all actually do need each other! So as a singleton how do I support my married friends and what is it that I need from my married friends?

I know my girlfriends are still my girlfriends regardless of their marital state! However the demands on my married friends in terms of their time are different to the demands on my single friends! Do we all need a little space at times? YES! Do we all need some girly time at times? Yes…..
I believe that I need to encourage time with my girlfriends on their own, but also with their partners. I believe that I need to be praying for righteousness and protection in their marriages and relationships. I need to recognise that as much as they have something I desire in being married, that this is not always the dream state we believe it to be.

The Myths we live with….

• You need to be so in love with Jesus before you will meet THE ONE or you need to look to God to fulfil you until you meet THE ONE!

Lex: At face value there is truth in this statement – however on reflection it struck me that God looked at Adam in his single state and stated:

“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him” Genesis 2:18.

People attempting to address dating, courtship, spirituality and singleness will often say that only God can truly fulfil all your needs. Yes, God is the Alpha and Omega, but I have to say that one of the most liberating comments I have ever heard as a singleton sitting in church was when the pastor mentioned as an aside, that if you are yearning for a relationship, that is a desire that is within you and that it is a desire that another person fills. At no point did the pastor turn this around and suggest that Jesus could do this – it’s a desire for relationship with another person in the flesh! Adam shared relationship with God, the creator, the biggest being in the known and unknown universe and yet Adam had a longing to be with another. It is something that is in our make up, and God, who made us this way, knows this.

• Only once you are truly content being single will you be in the space to meet THE ONE

Lex: My gut reaction to this is: What a load of decomposed brown stuff! If you are truly content in being single, then there really isn’t space for another. I honestly believe that this needs to be rephrased as:

Another person can not be the source of you feeling ok about you. Apart from which speak to any of the fabulous singletons you know who desire to be in a relationship, and they will tell you that life is sweet, but that they do and often wonder if they will meet the person that they will get to share life with! The only people I know who are truly content in being single are people who have consciously chosen this: A woman I work with who decided she is not interested in getting married ever, my Ouma who was married, and widowed for 24 yrs (She had “admirers”) – but once told me she did not want to meet another as she had had enough love from my Oupa to last her a lifetime…and um… hmmm…..actually I can’t think of anyone else! So, then if I follow that initial thought through, then there must be a) a lot of really content people out there or b) people wrestling to be truly content in God but not quiet there yet, so they can’t meet THE ONE! Neither of this makes sense, nor does it add up when I consider that God in His amazing generosity gave us the gift of intimacy on a variety of different levels – not just that of sex. Furthermore we are all works in progress and working things out as we go and live. I sometimes think we do ourselves a disservice by assuming that we need to be in “some” place – when the reality is this: I can be content in knowing God loves me, and passionate about Jesus, secure in the fact that I am created to have worth and a future which is more than I can dream of…and still be ok saying to God that I would like to share this journey with another.

• THE ONE needs to be quantified in a list in order for him to be realised

Lex: So on paper this makes sense – and I have friends who will tell you that their partner matched a list that they presented to God. Do I believe that it is wrong to do this?


Do I believe that it is always helpful to do this?


I have met guys who meet the criteria on my so called list and apparently the stuff that you can’t put on paper, like the sense of connection that happens in person was missing – and then I have met guys who mostly matched the list, who I connected with who never connected with me, or who matched the list, connected with me but I never connected with….or any of the above confused examples! Yes, God says we need to be specific in our prayers, but I think that part of the adventure of discovering others is going in with a clear idea of who God is in my life & who I am, and seeing if we fit from there. I have also realised that what I think I need is sometimes not really what I need….and who better to trust than the one who came up with the whole concept of relationship? So, a coffee needs to be a coffee….not an opportunity to cross-check a list! I do know that there need to be certain non-negotiable things before hand, like are you both serving God – the same one I mean? But there may be other things that are more optional than we think. The key here after lots of conversation with my married friends and friends in healthy long term relationships is that we need to learn to be open, without being desperate.

• THE ONE will only be available/ seen to you when you have it altogether

Lex: Get real! Show me one person who has it all together!!?! And if we have to have it altogether, why are relationships and marriage a described as a more than a little work then. I love that God is a God who surprises us and works through others to help heal our hearts

• Think about all the amazing things you get to do without having to consider another aka THE ONE

• THE ONE is one whom will share your identical passion and ministry

• THE ONE will know sexually what you want, need and desire…..

• There is a THE ONE out there and you will meet him

• Looks won’t matter to THE ONE

• Evaluating each man you meet – is he THE ONE?

• Your wedding day will be the happiest day of your life

So – in the MEANTIME…the challenges remain…

• Keeping your heart open to meeting someone , but living your life fully and in the confidence that you are loved, attractive and worthy

• Loving and supporting your single friends/ your married friends: Truth is that women need women…..so what does this mean?

Why put more thoughts on singleness or relationships down when the market is flooded?

Alexa: if I have to listen to any more of how singleness is a gift, or that there is a 3 point plan to deal with the yearnings of wanting someone in my space I will not be held liable for my reactions! Not true, I know people mean well, love me and what to see me happy….or perhaps are thinking – poor girl! She is way past it – at 34 in some communities I probably am. And yes at times I do lie in the bath with Vaya Con Dios, lots of bubbles and an accompanying beverage wondering about whether I will ever get to tick the box that says married. I wonder if I will ever get to put a MR “the one” down in the next of kin, or in case of emergency box….I have cried my eyes out in loneliness, and at other times celebrated the freedom I have in wearing bad clothes, not brushing my hair and eating cereal for supper for the 3rd night in a row!

Ultimately though I believe that I am created to be a wife and a mother – whether to biological children of my own or to children who enter my world so I can love them -but motherhood and a mother heart is not to be confused with the heart of a woman longing to love and be loved by the heart of a man, to be a princess and make someone a king, to have someone to yell at about his socks and the laundry basket never seeming to find each other. A friend who is not at all spiritual once said to me he does not know how or why it is, but he knows for a fact that people function best when we are in relationship; when we are with another. I have seen it before my eyes….have seen the truth in this statement.

I want to be the one who invests and believes and rejoices in bringing out the best in another and who can be softened and strengthened and grown by the presence of another.

Are there any guarantees that this is going to happen? No….

Do I believe that God knows, sees and hears the desires of my heart and has a plan for me? Yes…

Have I been angry and mad and disappointed in myself and in the men and women around me in the waiting for this to happen? Hell YES!

So what has and does help bring freedom in this?

Ironically a little common sense!

Knowing that I can trust God in this; knowing that once I am able to see the promises of God for what they are and trust that even though I can’t see the bigger picture and put limits on things, God can, does and will release things as and when He chooses; knowing that God also knows the people in my world, and I am guessing looks down and prompts people, but also know that people have free will…knowing that we choose potential partners for stuff that is unseen (and at times about us) more so than simply what is seen.

Freedom in a big way has come from allowing the wisdom of my women friends to be heard loud and clear. The single and the married ones – my mother, my heart sisters and sometimes those younger than me too…..

SO my freedom has come from figuring out who people are, opening and closing my walls so that good, safe people in my world stay and I learn to keep the others in a safer space….. ultimately, my freedom has come from saying to God and my friends, this is me, this is who I am – prepare my heart and life for the person I am meant to be, so that I can be the person who is able, open and wanting to love the people you put in my world.

Until then….i will have Bridget Jones’ moments….and that’s ok!

[you can read more of Alexa O S Russell’s writing on her ‘the outrageous introvert’ blog here]

[For the Intro page with the rest of the stories on Singleness, click here]

[For an inspirational post titled ‘I don’t wait anymore’ click here]

Married? Single? Other?

My friend Jess is a beautiful, single blonde girl who has been a missionary in Italy for 10 years and is the same age as me. One day, an Italian woman, let’s call her Mamma Carmen, came up to her with a little charm necklace that had a picture of a saint on it.

“What’s this?” asked Jess.
(Cue in accent of Italian mama who doesn’t speak much English)
“A necklace for you. A picture of Saint Anthony. “
“Who is Saint Anthony?”
“Is-a- the patron saint of lost-a things.”
“And what have I lost, Mama Carmen?”
“Oh, you know sveetie. “
“No I don’t know. What is that I have lost?”
“You lost-a your husband.”
“Mama Carmen, isn’t that usually the saint you pray to for a lost sock or car keys-things like that?”
“Yes, but not for you. For you, pray to him for husband. More important than sock.”

Mama Carmen’s Formula:

“Lost Husband + Praying to Patron Saint of Lost Things + Ten Hail Marys= 1 wedding, 5 socks, 2 spoons, and 1 bracelet you thought you gave to your friend Jill.”

I had my own formula concocting conversation with a ministry leader of mine a few years back. Let’s call her Emily. The conversation looked like this:

“Kate, do you remember our babysitter Joann? Well, she went through a season of really struggling with being single like you are going through. She cried and battled and finally brought her burden to the Lord. She let go.

Two weeks later, she met her husband. And he looks just like Ryan Gosling. “

I said,”Emily, I am really happy for Joann. But she is twenty freaking years old.”

“So? What does that have to do with anything?”

I respected and loved this leader, but I just couldn’t brush the comment off this time.

I said “I have had a decade longer than her of wrestling with God over this issue. In all my wrestling, I have had several seasons where I have been content as a single person, embracing the thought of God as my husband. But often, those seasons fade, and I’m struggling again. It is a cycle that happens. I don’t think God laughs at my cycles of frustration. I think he understands. I think He wants to meet me there. “

Emily continued to argue with me, saying that I just needed to let go, insinuating that it was my own fault that I was still single.

I said, “Em, please understand me here. If you had a friend who was not getting pregnant or who was having multiple miscarriages, someone who had been struggling with barrenness for fifteen years, would you say to her ‘If you just trusted the Lord more with your barrenness, he would give you a baby?’ You would never say that! You recognize how much she is mourning that loss, and so you careful with her words. You don’t want to hurt her even more by making her feel like it might be her own fault.

Well at times, I feel barren. Not only barren in my childbearing, but barren as a lover as well. I don’t have children or a husband, and so I really have no immediate blood family. Please, please, be sensitive to this barrenness in me. Please don’t tell me that I have done something wrong in not letting go, and the result of that shortcoming is my barrenness.”

I know that sounds pretty heavy, but it is how many of us feel at times.

In the very thick book of popular theology that is not actually in the Bible, a book I like to call “First Assumptions” , we have this formula:

“Not letting go=being single.
Letting go= being married. “

Most singles I have talked to have had this formula given to them in one way or another. Many of them dozens of times. Almost every time I mention writing my book on singleness, single people give me some kind of version of this story.

Most of us, when we first heard this formula as a young person, grabbed our journal and bible and went to a quiet place. We turned our sweet young faces to heaven with tears in our eyes and said “Lord, I let go. I give my husband to you.”

Do you know why we were saying this? Because we wanted a husband. And according to the formula, if you wanted a husband, you had to let go of him first. So we were letting go of him in order to get him.

Quite ironic, isn’t it?

But as years passed, when that formula didn’t work, we started cringing when someone told us we just needed to let go. We couldn’t put our finger on why it irked something deep inside of us, but it did.

I have a theory about why it frustrates us so much. At the root of this formula is the idea that all single people have done something wrong and all married people have done something right. Married people, I know you probably never meant to make us feel that way, but it is the nature of that formula.

It kind of reminds me of the story of Job. Here is the formula we can get out of his story.

“Tragically losing everything+wife that is pissed+hideous boils all over your body+annoying friends telling you that you must have done something wrong to deserve this+being totally frustrated and not getting why you’re going through this+God’s booming voice telling us humans that we don’t know nothing and He doesn’t fit in our formulas and boxes+ praising God even through horrible circumstances and singing “Blessed Be Your Name” = even more stuff than you had before.”

Sound familiar? (Except for the boils part, hopefully.) That story is one of the oldest in the bible. One of it’s lessons? Don’t make formulas. Meet Him, wrestle with Him, praise Him even when you don’t understand, but never, ever, put Him in a box.

As Donald Miller said, “As much as we want to believe we can fix out lives in about as many steps as it takes to make a peanut-butter sandwich, I don’t believe we can.”

My married friend Becca, who is incredibly dear to me, explained to me that married people don’t often have bad motives in their formula making. She said that when human beings don’t understand something, they make formulas. They want to feel like they are giving their friend some control over the situation. They even make their own life journeys into formulas. Sometimes we singles cling to the formulas given to us because we want some control over the situation as well.

I really appreciate that we had this conversation because it reminded me that married people are not the enemy. They love us.

But out of love, I want our married friends to understand why these formulas are so hard for us to hear.

These formulas makes us feel like our being single has nothing to do with God’s will or our choices or the enemy or any other theory you have on why hard things happen.

It has to do with our lack.

We already struggle with feeling like we lack when we wonder why we haven’t been chosen. Please don’t cut that wound deeper.

This formula also makes us feel like our not being married has to do with our relationship with the Lord, which evidently is wanting.

For most of us, our relationship with the Lord is the most sacred one that we have. Please, please, don’t criticize that relationship as well. Don’t tear down the one relationship where we feel loved and accepted. Even if you mean well, just don’t do it.

I think a good rule of thumb for both parties is to do less formula making and pat- answering and do more listening. Listening to what the Lord has to say, and listening to each others journeys with compassion.

Restrain yourselves from formulas. But don’t restrain yourselves from giving each other a hug. We probably both need one.

Be encouraged that we all have our own journey, and that all of our journeys our valid.

[Kate Hurley writes a blog called ‘The Sexy Celibate’ which you can read here. Among other things she is a singer, songwriter, worship leader, writer, and teacher and has contributed worship to Enter the Worship Circle. I also encourage you to head over to her website and sample some of her music.]

[To read the Singleness story of my friend Kate Sherry, click here]


Some of you might already be trying to work out what my title really means; but it is as it says it is, my journey to singleness. I have a reached a point in my life where I am pretty happy about being single. This has not been an overnight destination and I must admit that there are times that I wish I could be married, but for most of the time I am happy as to where I am.

My name is Dale Nunes and this is my story and I hope it will be an encouragement to many of you reading this.

Growing up I was rather scared of the opposite sex and often avoided them, especially during my school life. I went to an all-boys school and I remember the first time I asked a girl out and she said yes. Man I was excited and very much afraid all at the same time. Well our relationship lasted about 6 months and in that time we went to the movies once, she came to my place once, and I went to her place once. What I had back then was more of a status than a relationship. Wow, that sounds a lot like Facebook, many people have a status but do they have a relationship?

Well, I was about to embark on a journey which would lead to more status changes, than any real relationship. After that first break-up I thought I would never get another girlfriend again. You guessed it, I did, I had a few very short lived relationships, ranging from 24hours (Ya, one lasted that short) to about 3 months. Again, looking back these were more of a status than a real relationship. I wanted to ‘have a girlfriend’. Over a number of years I had various status changes, but no real relationship. Looking back, none of these people would have been a suitable partner for me, don’t get me wrong, they were great people, but not right for me. Then there came a time in my life where I remained single for a few years, but was really longing for a new girlfriend.

I then moved to Cape Town and was still single for a while longer, having one more short relationship which now really frustrated me. I was getting fed up with these short lived relationships, I wanted a girlfriend – which was fast becoming – I want a wife. Again a new status which I was after. I started internet dating, hoping to find someone in this way. I did, we went out for a good while and I was really enjoying this new status of having a long term relationship, the only problem was that our relationship was not deepening or going anywhere and ended. Again fed up with the status of being single turned once more to internet dating to see if anyone else was out there. Well, this one girl whom I had made friends with about 2 years Earlier was also looking for someone. (We had met each other over the internet). We started chatting more and more and eventually met up and decided that we would date.

Things were really starting to look up, we were very comfortable with each other and felt that we were the right people to be with. I then decided after a short time (about 3 months) that it was time to move our relationship on, to ask her to marry me. I spoke to her about it and she was extremely excited, I then said I would speak to her parents about it before buying a ring – we still went to look at some anyway. Then came the day of asking the parents. And well, I am not go into the details, but things did not go as I was hoping. I asked the dad who said yes, but the mom was not happy and was pretty much against me from then on. My girlfriend at the time also became more distant. It ended.

So, I was once again on the status of being single. Actually this status is not bad at all, I am enjoying not having someone around. In fact the next status that I have must be a permanent one, and so I am no longer living the status of being single, but rather living the single life, putting God in front of it all and trusting Him to help me find the right one, not the next status. Let me finish with this little bit of advice to anyone reading this; mainly to all the single people – don’t go out looking to find a girlfriend/boyfriend just so that you have a new status. Don’t get a new girlfriend/boyfriend just so that you can be ‘cool’ like everyone else. My advice is to wait until you meet the right person and then go for it. Now, I just want to clear up something here – I am not saying stay single until you meet the right person. In my opinion, the way you find out if a person is suited to you or not is to date them, just make sure you are not dating them just to have a status update.

Well, that is about it from me, stay connected and remember that above all singleness is not a bad status to have.

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