We don’t have to wait until we’re married with children to start nurturing others. We can nurture children, youth, peers, and the elderly in both the spiritual and physical sense.
Titus 2 says that older women should train younger women. Look for ways to “spiritually mother” younger women in the faith. They may be your peers, they may be older women who are new Christians, or they may be girls in your church’s youth group. Get together to read God’s word, pray and seek His will. Offer to be a chaperone on youth trips and get to know the teenage girls in your church; they probably would feel very special if you offered to take a couple of them out to lunch after church.
Sometimes it’s easy to only hang out with your peers, but we can learn so much from people in other stages of life. Teach Sunday school to kids or offer to baby-sit free for a couple that needs a night out alone. Develop relationships with elderly folks; they have such wisdom to share! Visit someone who used to attend your church, but now has to be in a nursing home and can no longer attend services. Offer to do yard work for someone who has a hard time getting around anymore. Send encouraging notes with Scripture to those in hospitals, nursing homes, or someone you know has been having a tough time lately. If you don’t know where to start, contact your pastor or church office, they’d probably be more than happy to let you know of people who need to be visited. What better way to spread God’s love than to give of our time to someone who needs it?
Scripture teaches that women should learn to be homemakers (Titus 2). I live at home with my parents and sometimes I wish I had my own place to entertain in and decorate the way I want. However, that shouldn’t hold me back from learning the art of homemaking. Edith Schaeffer put it this way in her book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking:
“It seems to me that some of the frustration of not being married, on the part of some men and women, is caused not only by the lack of sexual fulfillment, but also by the lack of any sense of making a ‘home’ with a continuity of things, right now. You dream of the kind of interior decoration you would choose to use as a background for your dreamed-of ‘home’ which is a far off future thing involving an imaginary person. Stop dreaming! Make the place where you live a place where you are expressing your own taste right now.”
Whether you live in a dorm with your family, in an apartment with other girls or alone, we can be homemakers. Decorate and collect things that you like, you don’t have to wait until you’re married to start collecting dishes or buying that throw rug you liked on sale at Pier 1. I’m collecting a set of antique dishes and my dad looks for them at auctions, and now that my grandmother and aunts know I’m collecting, every birthday and Christmas I get a few more. I don’t pack them away in a box for the future, but use them now. For Christmas I received bamboo placemats and chopsticks and even though I don’t have my own kitchen, I can still retrieve them from their box under the bed when I want to entertain and decorate the table in my own style.
Cooking is another skill we as single women can learn to cultivate and use to God’s glory. Make dinner for your family once a week if you’re still at home. Learn how to make bread with a lady from church or your grandmother. Invite all the girls on your dormitory floor to spend a Saturday afternoon making cookies and brownies if you have access to a kitchen, that way you can all share the cost of flour, sugar and other ingredients. If you are single and live alone, don’t sit around wishing people would invite you over to their house, but invite singles, couples, or a family over to your place for a Sunday afternoon lunch. Sharing food is a kind of communication itself. Again, Edith Schaeffer writes that “the very sharing of a short break to drink a cup of tea, a glass of juice or a cup of coffee together is in itself a kind of communication.” She goes on to explain that Christ Himself promises that. “If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Fantastic! Christ says that He will come in and sit down at our table, whether it is that table of someone eating alone or a table crowded with people. He, Jesus, will come in and sup with anyone who hears his voice and opens the door. So even if you eat alone every night, share your meal with Christ, he is our bridegroom, the one we seek to please.
Will there still be days when we wistfully watch couples walking past us on the street? Yes. But we don’t have to be overcome by discontentment. Ortlund writes:
“Discontentment touches everyone, whether single or married. Whether it concerns money or children or relationships or vocation, dissatisfaction springs from the evil in our hearts that puts self on the throne and tries to tell God how to run things. God calls that kind of arrogance idolatry (1 Samuel 15:22-23) … Our call is to trust Him, to follow Him totally, to lay our human designs and schemes of self-made joy at the foot of the cross and learn to find our all in him.”
If we don’t learn to be content now, during this season in our lives, will we be content within marriage? Probably not. Ortlund describes contentment as “allow[ing] us to abandon our will and cheerfully embrac[ing] God’s will.” We can redeem this season God has given us by offering it to God as a sacrifice, along with our bodies, so that it becomes a pleasing and fragrant act of worship.
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