Special Feature

Single Creek

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Chris Lang


Series Code: SF

Program Code: SF000044A

00:10 It's been years since my divorce.
00:13 I'll be honest,
00:15 making peace with my second time singlehood
00:18 sometimes feels like
00:19 making friends with a big alligator
00:21 out here on this creek.
00:24 This is not been easy
00:26 and it's sometimes awkward
00:28 especially, in the church.
00:33 Single adults now represent
00:35 almost half of all US households.
00:39 And given its emphasis on the traditional family,
00:42 the Christian Church can seem disconnected
00:45 from this growing group.
00:47 So I asked other Christian singles
00:49 and pastors to share their stories and perceptions
00:54 and I found that potential for compassion
00:57 and service is wider and deeper than ever.
01:17 At first, people were always asking me
01:20 why aren't you married and they have stopped asking
01:23 and I don't know if that's a bad sign or what but...
01:27 It was very, very hard because I was young,
01:29 I had her at 18 and I was shocked.
01:33 I got the "labeled" of the single mom,
01:36 the young girl that has a child out of wedlock
01:39 and so I guess I looked--
01:42 appeared to the church members as loose.
01:45 When I would come home,
01:46 or we would go in family things,
01:48 there were times where
01:49 because of my husband's addictions and things
01:51 that the devil worked on him very hard.
01:53 It made it very difficult.
01:54 There was this cloud hanging over.
01:56 So we would live very different, you know, lives.
01:57 We would live and no one would know.
01:59 I would go to events, I would go places,
02:02 I would do things and they saw us as,
02:05 you know, this family of musicians
02:09 that sang and were connected, you know, with the church.
02:13 I was a gay identified man.
02:15 I was out and proud and I paid the price for that.
02:18 You know, I was beaten up several times,
02:20 thrown out of my house at the age of 19 for being gay.
02:23 So I know what it's like to be accountable
02:25 in wearing a gay label or a gay identity.
02:28 I didn't become a Christian to reject that.
02:31 As a matter of fact, when I first became a Christian,
02:33 I thought that I would eventually reconcile it too
02:37 and I couldn't.
02:38 I said something about and I paused a moment
02:41 because I didn't know what I should say.
02:44 And I used finally the term my former wife.
02:50 To use that terminology is painful for me,
02:54 it really is.
02:56 I guess if I hated her
02:59 or was angry with her, I could refer to her
03:04 in those terms and not feel anything.
03:07 About 11 months ago my husband took his life,
03:09 I mean, commit suicide and I was thrusting to being
03:14 a single parent all of a suddnen
03:15 being a widow, being a victim of suicide.
03:20 Marriage in the decrease, singleness is on the increase,
03:23 cohabitations is on the increase,
03:24 divorce is about the same.
03:26 We have more single adults now than we did.
03:29 Higher percentage, you know.
03:31 In the 1950s, it was about 26 percent.
03:34 Now it's 45 percent and cities,
03:37 big cities have 50 percent or more.
03:40 I sat down with Wendy Widder,
03:41 Randy Thomas, and Terry Hershey
03:44 who described the awkwardness
03:46 of falling outside the churches is norm of marriage and family.
03:51 Do you think they don't know who their single adults are?
03:53 Of course, not and they look at you and say
03:55 what does I have to do with the question, you know.
03:59 I want you to tell about this class I'm supposed to have.
04:05 There is a main stream and we even call it the "Norm."
04:09 Right. Right.
04:11 Whether it's family
04:12 or however you are supposed to be in the church,
04:14 the kind of faith you have, the kind of look you have,
04:17 there is a norm.
04:18 And anybody who doesn't fit in the norm--
04:21 well, who did Jesus hangout with?
04:23 He hungout with those people.
04:25 And so as a church, you got to ask
04:27 how are we telling stories for the least of these,
04:31 for the people who don't feel like they fit.
04:34 And I don't think the church intentional excludes them
04:38 but because this focus in the church has been
04:40 so much on families
04:42 if the church doesn't intentionally include them,
04:46 this demographic, they are being excluded.
04:48 And so it's difficult
04:50 to walk into the church as a single person
04:51 and really feel like you fit.
04:53 Yeah, there is the feeling of talking to a group of people
04:56 that I know does not want to become me.
05:00 They want to get married and have this better life
05:03 and so I'm trying to convince them.
05:04 "The better life." Yeah, exactly "better life."
05:07 I've been celibate for the last 18 years.
05:09 So I've really wrestled with singleness
05:12 and what does it mean for a single person
05:15 to live out faithfully in Christ,
05:17 in the body of Christ.
05:19 I just don't think it's healthy for any person to be isolated,
05:25 you know, in the body of Christ by any kind of label.
05:28 And singleness is the biggest label there is.
05:32 We labeled singles and put them apart
05:35 and what about our needs,
05:38 you know, as part of family of God
05:41 and to fellowship with other people?
05:44 We know they are there
05:45 but I don't think that it's on anybody's priority list.
05:50 I feel pressured sometimes,
05:51 like I should be dating may be its because I'm 28,
05:53 almost getting 30 but, you know,
05:56 may be I'm gonna pass my time or I should be,
05:59 you know, focusing on a family and stuff like right now.
06:02 Sometimes with adults from the church or relatives
06:06 just are asking me, "So when is your turn?
06:08 When are you going to hold your little one?"
06:10 And I'm thinking "Please don't ask me that question."
06:14 I had a dear saintly woman tell me one day
06:18 as I was getting ready to move somewhere.
06:20 She said, "I just want you to know I'm praying for you."
06:22 Thank you.
06:24 Absolutely please, keep doing that, I need that.
06:26 And she said, "I'm praying for a man for you."
06:30 Thank you.
06:31 And I didn't take that personally in a bad way
06:34 because I know that she was
06:37 a happily married woman
06:38 who wanted me to experience
06:40 the same kind of happiness she had known for a lifetime.
06:43 So, okay, I've leaned to get used to that.
06:45 But her next statement
06:47 is the one that just makes me cringe.
06:49 She said, "I'm praying for a man for you,
06:51 you are too good to waste."
06:55 For mother's day, my son was invited to a beach activity.
07:01 The people that were doing the activity
07:04 were good friends of mine.
07:05 When I was married and we used to eat together.
07:09 I wanted to be in that beach party,
07:11 I loved to be, I wasn't invited.
07:14 I felt so hurt
07:16 that they look at me like you pertain to singles
07:19 and you don't belong here anymore.
07:22 People appreciate a direct, honest answer than--
07:25 instead of beating around the bush.
07:26 So if they said, you know, "What's your testimony like?
07:29 I'm gonna go ahead predominantly
07:30 deals with homosexuality."
07:33 "Oh." I'm like, "Don't freak out.
07:35 You know, if you have any questions
07:37 feel free to ask me."
07:38 So hopefully I'm a little more gracious now
07:40 but back then it was
07:42 Father for sitcom scripting.
07:47 Everybody just trying to find a silver lining for you always.
07:53 It just like that's just human nature when,
07:57 when any number of other circumstances
07:59 occur in someone's life, that's just
08:01 "Oh, well, what can we do to help?
08:03 What can we say?"
08:05 So, you know, that it's good to not be tied down to anyone
08:09 and think of all the opportunities
08:11 that you've had and it's better than being divorced
08:15 and any number of things that could be true in a way,
08:21 but are not the complete truth.
08:23 So in the end it's kind of like,
08:25 "Really? Thanks. I'll give that some thought."
08:30 I had a guy ask me other day
08:32 that I've been friends with for a long time,
08:34 and he is older and he is married
08:37 and we've just-- I've been friends with his family,
08:38 he goes "So are you gonna be an old spinster?"
08:42 I'm like... Oh.
08:46 How do you answer that? Yes, I am.
08:49 Thanks.
08:50 Yeah, how're you going through that?
08:52 How do you answer that?
08:54 During this prayer meeting
08:55 I poured my heart out to my church family
08:58 and told them that, you know,
09:00 I'd had a breakthrough that I felt that God
09:03 was really getting through and teaching me to rely on Him
09:06 and that I could have peace in being single.
09:09 And right after the meeting,
09:11 an elderly lady came up and sat right next to me and said,
09:14 "Honey, it's gonna be okay. You are going to find somebody.
09:18 I know God has somebody planned for you."
09:21 And it was just like...
09:23 I saw a magnet advertising a church ladies ministry,
09:28 cute refrigerator magnet.
09:29 And the picture on the magnet was a baby,
09:34 "fearfully and wonderfully made" from Psalm 139.
09:38 Appropriate for ladies' ministry,
09:40 yes, except they told me
09:42 that it was really a ministry for mothers
09:44 and I probably wouldn't belong there.
09:46 Some people could say, well, you know, what's--
09:48 you could have a single women's retreat
09:51 with issues that are pertinent to you.
09:57 No, because they are not shoving us over
09:59 into this corner and making, illuminating the fact that,
10:03 yes, we are singles and we have special needs
10:06 and we are like relationally remedial, you know.
10:11 So please remind us of that.
10:13 Since I've heard this said across the country in churches,
10:16 "Men, talk to your wives about going to the men's retreat."
10:19 You just knocked out 45 percent of the men.
10:23 "Women, talk to your husbands like,
10:24 how about going to the women's retreat next month."
10:26 You just knocked out 45 percent of women.
10:29 Because they are sitting there single, they are not married.
10:32 And say, "Whether you're married or single,
10:34 please we want you in the retreat.
10:36 We have fellowship and learning in growth."
10:39 You know, they have all these sexual windows and,
10:42 you know, for all of us out there
10:44 it's like we even either look stupid
10:46 because, you know, by trying to laugh at well,
10:48 we don't know what they are talking about.
10:49 I mean, we do,
10:51 but we don't in some deeper ways.
10:53 And so, you know, people if we are laughing
10:56 trying to look like we are fitting in
10:58 then I would be like, "Well, what are you laughing at?
11:00 You know, how do you know about that?"
11:03 So it makes us feel-- Awkward.
11:05 It's very awkward and like,
11:07 I'm a 31-year-old adult
11:10 and someone else is 31 and an adult as well,
11:14 but in that situation I'm made to feel like,
11:18 you know, like I'm 13
11:19 because that's what big girls know about, you know.
11:23 I was part of a church where we had--
11:24 you signed to do dinner with age
11:26 or whatever, a dinner group and you had to sign up.
11:28 And the announcement sheet
11:29 said that singles should sign up in pairs.
11:33 Well, I'm not a pair. How can I sign up in a pair?
11:39 Discounts for couples.
11:41 We like to say, if you buy one ticket $10,
11:43 if you come as a couple, it's $15.
11:46 I had another friend called me up and insist that,
11:48 he and his wife knew somebody
11:50 that I need to take noticed to and the more the conversation
11:53 went on I found out that the guy
11:55 that they were having in mind for me
11:57 is the same age as my parents
11:58 and I kept saying, no, I think that's a bit older.
12:02 No, but I think--
12:03 "but he is a very young, you know, 60 something."
12:07 I'm like, oh.
12:08 "No, you don't understand he is my parent's age."
12:10 "Oh."
12:11 A visiting pastor came to our church
12:13 and he was teaching us how to do Bible studies
12:16 and it was geared for couples
12:20 or at least two people doing these studies and he--
12:22 the whole time that he talked, it was in reference to couples.
12:26 And so I raised my hand and I said, "Well,
12:28 what do you if you are single, you know,
12:31 and you still want to give Bible studies?"
12:33 And he said, "Well,"
12:35 it took him kind of a back a little bit and he said,
12:39 "You will need to find a partner,
12:40 somebody else that's single I guess,
12:43 that is willing to do that with you."
12:45 And then he said "And plus, you know,
12:47 you may fall in love with your partner."
12:49 And I was just like good grief.
12:57 I want to be peaceful at whatever stage I'm at
13:03 but I would never, I wouldn't say that
13:06 I'm happy to be single at this point.
13:10 I wanted us to be together but I knew that
13:14 that we couldn't be unless he loved the Lord
13:17 and he was going to be able to be the spiritual leader
13:20 of me and our potential family.
13:24 I couldn't, I couldn't give that up and I--
13:28 I mean, God had to come first.
13:30 And he knew that
13:32 and so the relationship ended and it was really, really hard.
13:37 Yeah, there's been quite a few people
13:41 that have come into my life
13:43 and I think well, may be this is a good thing
13:45 and I said, "Oh, wait a minute.
13:46 He is not meeting this one part that I need."
13:49 He is everything that, you know,
13:51 everything but one thing and he is not
13:53 the same denomination and that would be like, okay,
13:56 whose church are we going to,
13:57 yours, mine, what are we gonna do?
14:00 Being single and overcoming so many temptations
14:05 or so many negative things, it's not easy.
14:10 But I remember the most painful days of my life.
14:17 I would be confused where I turn, you know.
14:20 I even felt insecure opening up to a person,
14:23 even a family member
14:25 because I didn't want their sympathy.
14:27 And maybe that's just part of us
14:29 wanting to be strong all the time.
14:36 There was this one prayer that I said, "I said, Lord,
14:39 I'm so tired of hurting.
14:42 I know you want me to be happy,
14:45 so please give it to me," you know.
14:48 And I begged Him and I begged and I just felt flat on my bed.
14:54 "Listen, Lord, please hear me now
14:55 because I'm giving You my heart.
14:59 If it means, if it means having,
15:02 you know, being involved in ministry whatever it is
15:04 I want to heal but I want to heal in Your way."
15:07 I mean, I had this whole life figured out
15:09 that that was my only option
15:11 and so to pursue Christ meant that that was all gone now,
15:15 and what is it mean to be a Christian?
15:18 What are my goals now?
15:20 And I call my first years a Christian,
15:22 my year of grieving because everything I had ever known
15:26 and been comfortable in, my identity and community,
15:29 was gone.
15:30 So with each passing relationship
15:33 I have more of a sense of panic
15:36 because I think, you know, I'm in my 30s now,
15:39 was that my last chance.
15:42 Am I now going to be single forever, was that it?
15:46 And was I just too picky?
15:49 You know, what if that was the guy?
15:52 I'm finding that the closer I come to Christ,
15:55 I get to be me
15:57 and I'm realizing that me is okay
15:59 and if a single person doesn't know that me is okay,
16:03 a single person needs to find out that me is okay.
16:06 I may not have a child out of wedlock
16:09 or I may not be divorced.
16:11 If you are, you need to know
16:13 that you are not different than I am
16:14 and I'm not whole because
16:16 I don't have a single child out of wedlock
16:18 or because I've never been divorced.
16:20 I still am broken.
16:22 We are all a part of this sin sick world.
16:25 I can't clear the Grand Canyon anymore than Carl Lewis.
16:28 I can't save myself anymore than you can.
16:31 We need Jesus. We all need Jesus.
16:34 I've had some people say, "Well, you get over it."
16:37 Those are the wrong words to use, folks,
16:39 I don't care who you are if you are listening to this,
16:41 you don't use those words with anybody.
16:44 Whether it's a death, it's a divorce or what it is,
16:49 you never get over anything.
16:51 You grow through it, that's God's wish,
16:54 is it we grow through our problems.
16:57 I mean, I thought through,
16:59 you know, what crisis could come my way
17:01 and how am I gonna respond the next time?
17:03 You know what, would I be responding the same way?
17:06 Would I be as scared?
17:09 I know, there's blessings on the other side of this
17:11 so I feel like I would see it differently
17:13 and I would encourage other to see crisis differently,
17:17 to use it and not run from it.
17:19 I don't want to ever see someone,
17:22 if I can help it go through situation
17:25 that I went through that doesn't feel safe,
17:28 I want them to know that I'm at safe place.
17:32 If I believe that He is my heavenly Father,
17:37 He has, He has a plan for my life,
17:43 He is my Creator, He formed my being,
17:50 it's gonna have to be okay for right now.
17:52 If He thinks it's okay,
17:53 it's gonna have to be okay with me.
17:59 There is no secret
18:01 To a life full of laughter
18:05 But remember There is no such thing
18:08 As happy ever after
18:11 You might as well stop wishing And hoping
18:14 It isn't always Greener on the other side
18:19 Take it from me
18:20 Life is good
18:22 God is on your side
18:26 Take it from me
18:27 Life is good
18:29 God is on your side
18:37 Life is good
18:43 What is the first thought that comes to mind
18:45 when we hear Singles' Ministry?
18:48 Convention, 60, 80 percent females,
18:52 five males, I don't know.
18:55 A ratio of about 100 women to 1 man,
19:01 women who are always there
19:03 and one single man who is just there.
19:07 I gave a conference a chance one time
19:11 and went attended and there was a huge room
19:14 and they said we are gonna do speed dating and I thought,
19:17 "Okay, I have never done this before.
19:18 We will see what happens here."
19:20 And they had all rows of tables and like, you know,
19:22 it's not hard to catch on how this is supposed to work.
19:24 Well, I happened to be wearing this animal print top
19:29 and I went to go sit down in front of this gentleman
19:32 that must have been 75 and all of a sudden
19:37 before I even sat all the way down he--
19:39 I heard him saying,
19:40 "Ooh, you are prettier than a zebra."
19:44 And I...
19:45 A meet market.
19:47 Oh, you know, I tried going in several times
19:53 with an open mind, with an open spirit
19:56 and maybe the problem was not with the singles at all.
20:00 Maybe the problem was within my mind
20:02 and as everybody looking at me, "Do they want to date me?
20:06 Suppose she is kind cute?"
20:09 It's a meet market. A meat market?
20:11 M-E-E-T.
20:13 Meet markets, dating services.
20:16 You got to decide what you want here
20:17 because we say a lot of singles adults will also say,
20:19 "Uh, it's just a meet market."
20:21 But then of course, if they meet somebody,
20:23 then they say, "No, this is God's will."
20:26 I think, oh, hope they don't call me, you know.
20:32 Singles' ministry, I think
20:35 is, it mainly gonna be a lot of old people in the church.
20:39 I think it's a good cause.
20:41 I hope that more people will get involved.
20:43 What's the first thing you think of
20:45 when you hear the term Singles' Ministry?
20:51 Go ahead, take your time.
20:53 I probably shouldn't shut each other
20:55 because there are good singles' ministries out there
20:57 but the ones that actually do good work
20:59 probably don't call themselves Singles' ministry.
21:03 And they integrate more fully into the body of Christ.
21:07 Now with Singles' ministry it's just all about
21:09 who you are going to meet
21:10 and who are gonna end up going out
21:12 and it was just always this awkward,
21:14 awkward ministry that was out there and,
21:17 boy, when the humor
21:19 and being thrust into that after having all of that
21:22 my own personal baggage related to Singles' ministry.
21:25 It's very different.
21:27 I feel very different about it now
21:28 and that the opportunity to minister to that group
21:32 and be part of that group
21:34 has been a huge part of this journey.
21:36 And, you know what,
21:38 we are only one heartbeat away from singles.
21:41 One heartbeat away.
21:44 I may not need the single adult ministry today
21:46 but I may need it by Thursday.
21:49 People who are single need support in other ways
21:52 than people who are married.
21:53 And I think it's very important that people have that channel.
21:57 They have something that they can feel a part of
21:59 and can, you know, be in community
22:01 as a single person and understand
22:03 what singlehood means, you know, biblically
22:05 and what it means to them personally.
22:07 So I think it's very important.
22:08 I got wonderful single friends, especially when my husband died
22:13 and I went to potluck and told the whole story uh,
22:18 it was wonderful that they were there for my support.
22:21 Not for dating and everything,
22:22 this has been a support system for me.
22:25 Singles' ministry is something that should always exist.
22:29 The only thing that changes iwith Singles' ministry
22:31 is may be the leadership.
22:32 What happens in leadership?
22:34 Sometimes our leaders get married,
22:36 sometimes our leaders get unfortunately burned out,
22:40 sometimes our leaders have so many other ministries
22:42 that they have to move on.
22:44 But no matter who was the leader,
22:46 Singles' ministry should always be a part of the local church.
22:50 The pastor actually mentioned it to me several years ago
22:55 and when he asked me that I was actually kind of insulted
22:59 because I thought,
23:01 "What, I don't want to be the representative of singles',
23:03 because I don't want to be single
23:05 and I'm not gonna accept it and I'm not gonna settle."
23:08 And so I just poo-pooed his suggestion
23:12 and moved on with my pursuit of finding a spouse.
23:16 And,
23:19 God has taken me through this journey of being single,
23:24 trying to teach me many things,
23:26 one of which is be content with having Me only.
23:33 So through that path, being single,
23:38 even though I still want to be married someday,
23:40 being single lost its ugliness for me.
23:45 It wasn't offensive to me anymore,
23:48 the thought of starting a singles' group.
23:52 And then I happened to mention in a prayer meeting once
23:55 what I was going through and some of the stuff
23:59 and a couple other people said,
24:00 "Oh, we are going through the same thing
24:04 and we don't have any, you know,
24:05 where to go or any support or anything."
24:09 And that just kind of got the wheels turning
24:11 and I thought, man, may be I'm not alone in,
24:14 you know, these struggles and...
24:17 So that's kind of where it started.
24:19 I don't feel one bit equipped,
24:21 I don't feel that I have all the answers.
24:24 I mean, I struggle
24:26 and there are days that, you know,
24:29 I drowned my sorrows in ice cream
24:33 and eat a pound of chocolate but I just,
24:38 I don't think that anybody has all the answers
24:40 and if we waited for a leader that did,
24:44 we would be waiting a very long time.
24:47 I'm estimating now.
24:48 I can't speak for other denomination.
24:50 I've traveled in many of them,
24:52 I've read some-- talked to the leaders.
24:54 Probably a good guess would be about 20 percent
24:58 of the churches in those denominations
25:01 would have some form of single adult ministry.
25:05 Now that could be a single parent
25:06 fellowship group with teaching curriculum and discussion,
25:09 that could be a divorce recovery,
25:12 that could be a widowed group,
25:13 that could be an age fellowship group
25:15 with teaching and discussion and activities and retreats.
25:18 So young adult group or single adult group any type--
25:21 you know, this is a vast animal we are talking about here.
25:23 Single adult ministry is a big, big issue
25:27 from age 19 to the oldest we've had is 85
25:32 because single adults come in all ages
25:34 just like married adults.
25:35 All these individuals have a different worldview
25:38 because of the experience.
25:39 You know, you have someone in their 60s
25:41 who perhaps lost their husband or wife,
25:44 you know, for whatever reason.
25:47 Their worldview, and their needs,
25:49 and their expectations are totally different
25:52 than a sophomore in college, you know.
25:54 So to bring those two individuals
25:58 to one place and talk about singleness,
26:03 it's gonna be a huge disconnect for someone.
26:06 God wants us to relate to other types of people
26:11 but yet, on the other hand, of course,
26:13 there is a need for single adults to be taught
26:17 some of these issues and discussed
26:19 from a single adult perspective.
26:21 Just because we have a class or single people go,
26:25 it doesn't mean we are doing ministry with singles.
26:27 Now any church I go to I ask this question,
26:30 "How many single people are on your church staff?
26:33 How many single people are key lay leaders in your church?
26:36 How many single people
26:37 are part of the mission board in your church?
26:39 How many single people are part of the worship team
26:42 or the music ministry in your church?
26:44 How many single people are teachers
26:46 in your Christian education in your church?"
26:47 In other words, if they answer that question is slim or none,
26:50 then it doesn't really matter how many classes you have.
26:53 Part of the function of a singles' ministry,
26:55 if you are going to have one,
26:57 is helping singles
27:03 grow to the point
27:06 where they accept who they are in Christ in the body.
27:13 Now that's not just a statement about a singles' class,
27:16 that's a statement about the young married class.
27:18 What should be the purpose of any Bible class,
27:22 gathering of believers meeting together to grow?
27:25 What should be the purpose?
27:26 Well, understanding who you are in Christ
27:30 and who you are in His body
27:33 and what your role is in that body.
27:36 If pastors and leaders cannot start a single adult ministry,
27:38 some churches can't, I know that.
27:40 They can at least be sensitive
27:42 to the needs and issues of single adults,
27:45 "inclusive in their language."
27:47 Don't just give married examples and family examples.
27:50 Give biblical examples of people
27:52 like Jeremiah who never married.
27:55 The Lord told him to never marry.
27:56 Biblical examples like Ezekiel who was widowed
27:59 and wrote the whole Book of Ezekiel.
28:01 Biblical examples of Hosea who was divorced.
28:04 I know my God is strong enough to get me through this.
28:08 But I would say to the pastors of our church, to any church,
28:14 love your people, I don't care what they do.
28:18 Let them know you love them.
28:20 And you don't have to tell them this.
28:22 Its way we treat people.
28:25 They know whether they are loved and accepted or not.
28:28 And they know if it's just a facade
28:30 or down deep in your heart you really love them.
28:34 They know, they read us like a book.
28:38 So if I can't really love my members genuinely,
28:47 I better just pray to the Lord
28:49 will send somebody else who can love them.
28:57 Like the easiest thing that you can do is, you know,
29:01 put a mail together, invite some single people
29:02 to your house and just hangout.
29:05 Let's just hangout, come to the house and hangout.
29:07 You know, you cater to them, you are their host, you know,
29:10 just invite them to your house.
29:11 You know, allow them also to see hopefully,
29:16 a healthy working relationship in your home, okay.
29:19 So maybe provide some inspiration.
29:21 Provide some inspiration.
29:22 Now if you're in a really bad relationship, don't do this.
29:26 You don't want to bring people and model, you know,
29:29 "what not to do," okay.
29:31 So... It's a basic...
29:33 Perhaps it will be a good thing. I don't know.
29:35 Perhaps single people will be like,
29:36 "Yeah, I don't want to be married."
29:38 No, I'm just saying.
29:39 Now don't be afraid to invite single people
29:42 along with if you are inviting a bunch of married couples
29:45 because we are used to being around everybody,
29:47 no matter if you are single or married
29:49 it's kind of nice to--
29:51 when you do get invitation to go somewhere--
29:53 But she need an option.
29:54 To have--
29:56 to be able to bring somebody with you if you would like.
29:58 I actually belong to a fellowship group
30:01 where I'm the only single person.
30:03 But the great thing about that is,
30:05 is that nobody really notices.
30:08 You know, I have a lot of friends who are,
30:10 friends who are married and friends who are single.
30:11 It's-- I think it's very healthy dinner
30:13 because if you hangout with only married couples
30:15 it's kind of like, oh, man.
30:17 If you are like you're third-- what you call a third wheeling
30:19 it's like a old time all the times,
30:21 it's like, oh, man, you know, this is kind of annoying.
30:24 But you have like single friends too,
30:27 this is like, yeah, you know, okay, I'm hanging out
30:29 with married people that are cool,
30:30 kind of get away from that little bit hangout
30:32 with single people.
30:34 So you need to have that balance.
30:36 It's just kind of gives you better perspective.
30:41 There you go, bro.
30:44 Oh, man.
30:45 I have found that it's helpful
30:48 to have a wide variety of friends
30:51 because if anyone give important time
30:53 there is gonna be multiple ones of you
30:55 that are going through something.
30:57 So you can help support the other ones
30:59 when you are not going through
31:00 and then you can have somebody help you out
31:02 when you are going through something.
31:04 Yeah, when everybody has a tough time
31:05 you just going to cruise.
31:08 Holidays are tough times for single adults.
31:11 Don't just fellowship with other married people.
31:13 We tend to hangout with people like ourselves.
31:16 When is the last time you married couples
31:17 invited a single adult out with you?
31:20 When is the last time you had them
31:21 over a Thanksgiving dinner?
31:22 When is the last time you took them off
31:24 for Easter dinner?
31:25 Especially these single parents
31:27 they are struggling financially.
31:29 They don't have the wherewithal.
31:31 And after my husband passed away,
31:32 we were circled with--
31:34 I mean, I mean it we had about 12 people in my home
31:36 that night that were there.
31:38 I had someone spent the night with me.
31:40 I had people the next day
31:41 to come to the house and spend,
31:43 and just spend time and they just kept coming.
31:46 Even till this day the Facebook posts,
31:48 the cards and all of that were manifestation of God's love.
31:54 If you stop and think about
31:55 the things your church celebrates,
31:59 my guess is, is that once people
32:02 pass high school or college graduation,
32:04 the things that you celebrate are either
32:06 40th birthday or retirement,
32:09 but between those things,
32:12 you celebrate people getting married
32:14 and having children.
32:16 And if you are a never married single with no children
32:21 that leaves you waiting for your 40th birthday
32:24 or retirement before anyone in the church.
32:26 And the black balloons and all of that.
32:27 Before anybody in the church realizes that,
32:30 you know, there's something to celebrate here.
32:32 And I just think it's a simple shift in thinking
32:35 that we are not so much celebrating
32:37 the rights of passage and these special events
32:40 as we are celebrating life.
32:43 So what's worth celebrating?
32:47 There's a lot worth celebrating.
32:48 There I guess-- Celebrate all of those years?
32:49 Yes, inviting everybody I know,
32:51 to come to my place and give me gifts, this is I am.
32:55 Because we love to go to baby showers
32:57 and we love wedding showers.
33:00 I don't even know what that would be.
33:02 Would it be just, you know,
33:03 here's a party let's celebrate the fact we're single.
33:05 I don't know.
33:07 Lot of people have their big closets full
33:10 of bridesmaid dresses that they'll of course,
33:12 never wear again the typical--
33:15 "when am I gonna ever wear this?"
33:18 So we should all like have a giant party
33:21 and wear all of our bridesmaid dresses
33:23 so that we can say, "Yes, I wore this again."
33:26 Maybe it could be as bridesmaid dresses pageant.
33:29 Yes.
33:31 A bridesmaid dresses pageant, very yes.
33:34 What could be more festive than that.
33:36 I could think of few things.
33:39 I've talked to several of my single lady friends
33:42 and it's usually at the same time in the wedding
33:45 where we have these certain thoughts.
33:47 When you see the bride marching towards the groom,
33:51 you start thinking
33:53 and you picture yourself there as the bride
33:56 with the veil on the dress and you are walking up.
33:58 And then start thinking,
34:00 "I'm not really sure whose face I'm seeing yet."
34:04 You are not sure
34:05 but you may see, think about your future.
34:07 To be honest, yeah, it can help to think about your future.
34:11 But the thing that the church doesn't realize
34:13 that there will be people who won't marry,
34:16 who may choose...
34:17 By choice? By choice.
34:19 And who may not marry for different reasons
34:22 and they should be celebrated as much as marriage
34:26 and I'm not trying to lift myself up
34:28 and, okay, give me a party.
34:30 You know, I don't want that.
34:31 But I wanted to ask you
34:33 if there is gonna be Randy Thomas,
34:34 you know, so you know, annual events.
34:36 Celibacy parade.
34:38 Celebrate "celibacy.com" No.
34:42 Life is not a cookie cutter.
34:44 Man, woman, the 2.5 kids, you know,
34:48 there's different forms of families
34:50 and I'm a different form of a family.
34:52 My daughter and I are--
34:53 its always been her and I and so therefore,
34:55 I think I have a different take on life,
34:58 a different perception on life.
34:59 And so therefore,
35:01 I think that it's a positive thing for the younger kids.
35:03 I do a lot of more of the teenager, younger kids
35:06 and I'm able to give them guidance
35:07 from the experiences that I've had in life.
35:10 And she'll come in, "Markiya, why is your room not clean?"
35:12 I cleaned it this morning, I promise,
35:15 Chloe did it. "Quit blaming the dog.
35:21 Quit blaming my baby, she just didn't no any better."
35:25 She knows what she is doing
35:26 because when she sees me, she's runs.
35:30 How is the church body built up because, because I'm single?
35:36 What do I contribute that other people can't?
35:40 And there are different ways to answer that question
35:42 and you will be unique to the family that you are in.
35:46 But as far as my married friends go,
35:49 Ahh, sometimes I can give them the gift of a night out.
35:52 I watch their kids, okay.
35:54 Finding babysitters is hard and it's expensive but
35:58 "I'm your friend, I'm in the church,
35:59 I'll help you.
36:00 You go have a date and I'll watch your kids."
36:03 And they don't mean that flippantly actually
36:06 because to spend time with their kids
36:09 is important to me
36:10 and I want their kids to see a single adult
36:16 who isn't sad and pathetic and miserable.
36:19 It's not--to the body of Christ
36:21 to make me happy, you know.
36:23 I have to be-- Intentional.
36:24 Intentional and playing myself
36:26 into the body of Christ,
36:28 Pressing through the hard stuff
36:29 and rejoicing in the good stuff.
36:31 If I don't know what to do ask myself what do I have?
36:34 Anything, anything.
36:36 What do I have, what do I do well?
36:39 And then come to your pastor and say to him or her,
36:42 what can I do to help you?
36:44 Where are their needs in the church?
36:47 I love to play the piano.
36:49 I have a passion for writing
36:51 and God is giving me the opportunity
36:53 to use all of those in the church.
36:55 I play at church, I sing
36:57 and I'm the editor for the newsletter.
36:59 So I get to do all of those things
37:01 for the church and for God.
37:04 And I love that because He gave the talents to me.
37:08 He didn't want me to use them just to glorify myself.
37:11 I use them to bless others and it just gives me deep peace
37:18 knowing that I didn't toss those talents aside
37:21 or use them for selfish gain.
37:23 Being in these different ministries,
37:25 you are meeting so many different people
37:27 and you just go to church and you are like,
37:29 "Oh, hey, Monica, how are you now?"
37:31 And, you know, I've met all these people
37:32 through other CHIP program is another thing
37:34 I'm involved with but anyway
37:36 that's a Coronary Health Improvement Project.
37:37 So all these people from the community come in
37:39 and some people from the church
37:41 and so they see me every Sabbath
37:42 and we know each other through,
37:44 you know, these different ministries.
37:46 So what other opportunities
37:48 does that make available that only I can fulfill?
37:51 And when I'm looking at it that way
37:53 from serving, from, you know, being the one
37:55 that's, helping other people sit down,
37:57 from being the one
37:58 when everyone is fanning themselves in the church,
38:00 being the one that getting up and go figuring out
38:02 what just happened to the AC.
38:04 You know, from seeing,
38:05 you know, the other day
38:07 seeing a young mother with three kids, dad not there,
38:11 you know, finding an umbrella to take her to the car,
38:15 I have these opportunities to do that.
38:17 Single adults in the Christian church
38:18 are filled with gifts, talents the church needs.
38:25 God needs everyone's gifts, everyone's talents.
38:29 Another singer invited me to come
38:33 and I attended, I want to see how it was.
38:37 On a Friday I went to a rehearsal
38:39 and they had a need and I hate to say this
38:41 but a tenor so I ended up singing
38:44 the tenor portion of it and I really enjoy it
38:46 because it's a ministry
38:49 that not everybody wants to be involved in.
38:51 And so when you are there,
38:53 you are singing in front of a couple hundred people,
38:54 it is very intimidating standing up there.
38:57 But getting it-- with ones who brought me in,
39:01 I truly enjoyed the camaraderie,
39:03 I enjoyed the fellowship
39:05 and the friendship that we got as a group.
39:07 And so it just has become such a part of my life
39:10 On Friday to Saturdays that I don't miss it for the world.
39:13 You really should only take on the ministry things
39:18 that God has placed on your hearts specifically,
39:21 because there was a time in my life
39:23 where every need I saw,
39:26 I was gonna fulfill it
39:28 and I was gonna take care of it.
39:29 I tend to over commit myself,
39:32 So, yes, I go through complete panic modes
39:36 of trying to get it all done
39:38 and then, okay,everything is okay,
39:39 and then try to get it all done and then it's okay.
39:42 And I don't think I can blame anyone else for that.
39:46 to sum up my the benefits and some of the positives
39:50 of being able to be a volunteer coach at the YMCA
39:53 Ahha, coaching for new water polo
39:56 is the direct impact you have on young lives,
39:59 to be able to share Christ with them
40:02 through that of skill training, through character development.
40:08 That will go like the...
40:16 Down here in Downtown, Orlando,
40:19 they feed the homeless here in the park
40:22 on the second Saturday of every month
40:24 so I've gone and joined that for a couple times
40:26 and then there's also lots of retirement buildings
40:29 that are down here too.
40:30 So I go do music program sometimes there.
40:32 So, you know, it's not work its something that you enjoy
40:38 if its something that's naturally part of you
40:40 that can match up really well, with the need that's out there.
40:43 You may think you don't have anything to offer
40:45 but the little that you have,
40:47 if you place it in the Master's hands,
40:52 You can change the world.
40:57 It's hard being a Christian and living,
40:59 you know, in our day and age now
41:01 with what's being portrayed,
41:03 you know, what love is
41:05 or what the world says love is.
41:06 And what media says marriage should be.
41:08 As a single person when at Saturday night
41:10 and you are watching a movie by yourself
41:12 and eating popcorn and you can't help
41:15 but feel after watching a movie like that
41:18 like "Oh, I wish I had that in my life,
41:24 that would be really nice and so romantic.
41:26 He is so cute."
41:28 When was the last time you turned to something off
41:31 or got up and left?
41:33 Because the values were so contrary to kingdom values.
41:39 That you just-- you don't want to fight that battle anymore.
41:42 We watch sex on TV,
41:44 and in movies like nobody's business.
41:49 and okay, well, first of all if you are single
41:51 and you are watching this it,
41:54 you know, feels this desire just a little bit.
41:56 I make this analogy in my book
41:58 but it's a little bit like taking
41:59 somebody through asmorgasbord and filling their plate
42:02 and then getting to the end and taking their plate away.
42:05 because that's not something
42:07 that's in the books for us to have at this point.
42:10 Certainly, I hear of things and see things on Yahoo news
42:14 and, you know, on TVs, when I'm in the gym.
42:17 I'm just saying I don't make a point at that.
42:20 You know, I choose what I look at.
42:22 And my mother always said, "Choose your friends,
42:24 don't let your friends choose you.
42:26 So I don't just let things happen by happenstance.
42:29 I just don't let media
42:31 just happen to filtrate into my brain.
42:33 I choose what I watch. I choose what I eat.
42:35 I'm very intentional and when I coach water polo
42:38 I tell the kids, "Move with intention."
42:40 I'm very intentional about everything I do.
42:46 This Facebook, you know, you don't tell it
42:48 to just report to you, it just boom.
42:51 You - like newsfeed,
42:52 this person is in a relationship,
42:54 this person is, this and this and you see pictures.
42:57 And slowly you start thinking, "Oh, man,
43:01 you have this that I don't or,
43:03 you know, that's something fun I should check that out.
43:05 What is this?"
43:07 And you keep clicking away and you don't know
43:09 but it's actually influencing you.
43:12 You know, you have to go out, you have to dress
43:13 with your dress a little shorter,
43:15 you have to, you know,
43:17 dress a little bit more provocative to attract somebody
43:19 and that isn't necessarily always the case.
43:22 I feel like you still can be modest
43:24 and still can be beautiful,
43:25 you still can meet men at church,
43:27 even though I haven't,
43:28 but you still can meet men in church,
43:29 you still can be in more positive atmosphere
43:32 and still mingle and meet
43:34 the type of people that you want to meet
43:36 and have your life.
43:37 Now knowing that music is my passion
43:39 and that it's something that I listen to a lot,
43:43 you know, I felt led by the Holy Spirit
43:45 to be careful about the songs that I choose to listen to.
43:49 It has you slowly thinking
43:50 that happiness depends on other people.
43:53 Happiness depends on your relationships
43:55 or material things.
43:57 I know for myself that temptation is,
43:59 "Oh, yeah, I'm single I can watch cable news
44:02 without interruption.
44:03 You know, and I can go on vacation."
44:05 That's not what singleness is about.
44:07 Now, if you know that your singleness
44:09 is a lifelong call.
44:11 or you know that this is the season in your life,
44:13 there is a very real purpose.
44:16 I don't believe anyway
44:17 this is the world according to-
44:19 I don't believe you will ever be able to be a useful,
44:21 amazing partner with someone else
44:23 unless you work on who you are inside.
44:25 And until you do that you are not gonna be ready.
44:30 God helped me bake the cake.
44:32 If you want to put icing on it
44:34 that relates to having me find a spouse, great.
44:39 The most important thing in a potential partner
44:42 to me now is,
44:44 are they fulfilled and who they are currently.
44:49 Are they living a 110 percent fulfilled life
44:52 in Christ and who they are?
44:55 When you reach that level
44:56 only then can you be happly married or otherwise.
45:01 You know, I'm slowly learning
45:03 that you can't, you can't be happy
45:08 with the thought of a life.
45:11 I mean, you have to be happy with the life
45:12 you actually are in.
45:14 and this is the life and I'm actually in.
45:17 It mighty not have been the one I planned
45:19 but this is the one I'm in,
45:21 And I have to choose to be happy in it.
45:24 You think sometimes as singles,
45:27 we're so much waiting for life to happen to us,
45:30 we are waiting to get married,
45:32 we are waiting to find that next thing
45:34 that we missed in life.
45:36 And life is what happens
45:37 while you're waiting for it to happen.
45:39 And so singleness might look like the storm,
45:42 this horrible thing that's abusing you
45:44 and mistreating you.
45:46 Well, you know, Peter is the one
45:47 that got out of the boat and he walked on that water
45:50 and what an amazing experience he had.
45:52 Yeah, at this point I'm really content
45:55 with the understanding that I may live the rest of my days
45:59 as a celibate man.
46:00 And I'm good with that.
46:02 Colossians 2:10 says, "You are complete in Him."
46:06 Marriage don't complete me.
46:08 Jesus complete me.
46:09 Marriage does not complete me.
46:11 Marriage is only an amplification
46:14 of who I am.
46:15 and marriage will not solve a single adults' problems,
46:18 it will amplify their problems.
46:21 There's been a push for a lot of people
46:22 who are single to have to find somebody right now
46:26 or have to be in a relationship right now,
46:27 have to date somebody or look somewhere for someone,
46:30 you know, but I'm learning that there is beauty
46:34 and there's joy in being content
46:36 with who you are and the relationship
46:38 that you have with God.
46:40 You know, I was thinking about this
46:42 that the outside is only so much
46:45 but inner beauty is so much more
46:46 and that's what you are gonna take with you as you age.
46:49 And so I really started focusing on that,
46:50 the inner beauty and then I was realizing it the more,
46:53 the more closer you become with Christ, with Jesus,
46:58 the Holy Spirit, you know, continues to fill you
47:01 and you actually become more beautiful.
47:03 It doesn't matter what you look like
47:04 but you are naturally with The Holy Spirit,
47:07 you are gonna be more confident,
47:08 more bold, more secure.
47:10 And that's why I think a lot of people are turned off by
47:13 as the insecurity in other people.
47:15 So when they see somebody that secure and confident
47:18 and, you know, and are secure with Christ
47:21 they are gonna be naturally drawn to you
47:23 if they are healthy,
47:24 if they are in Christ themselves,
47:25 they will be drawn to you as well.
47:27 I don't think that the new age people
47:28 and that the world as it is now with all the self help books,
47:32 they shouldn't have a monopoly on how to figure it out
47:35 and how to figure out life and how to live it right
47:37 and to enjoy yourself.
47:39 I think we've had that information
47:40 for 2,000 years plus.
47:43 And in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament
47:45 as well as just being logical.
47:50 I think that the world thinks that when you are a Christian
47:53 you become very illogical.
47:54 And I don't agree with that at all
47:57 and the only reason they think that is
47:58 because they haven't tasted and seen that the Lord is good.
48:06 I decided one weekend to get away
48:08 and just spend some time with God.
48:10 I stayed in this really neat river cottage
48:13 and there was a guest book in the bedroom
48:15 and couples has had made little notes in there
48:20 about how they stayed there on their honeymoon
48:22 and all these little romantic little notes
48:25 and I remember that I had this thought,
48:28 and I thought, man, that's so romantic.
48:31 I wish I was here with my husband,
48:34 you know,
48:35 and through that weekend, in lots of different ways
48:41 God was speaking to my heart
48:43 and one big moment was I was studying
48:46 and I heard this voice almost audibly,
48:49 it was very clear in my mind and it said simply,
48:52 "I adore you."
48:54 And I pushed it away, I kept studying
48:57 and I heard it again.
48:59 And I even said out loud,
49:01 "Lord, don't bother me. I'm trying to study."
49:05 And again, I heard it
49:08 and then I realized that it was God
49:11 and He was trying to tell me "I adore you"
49:14 and I burst into tears.
49:18 It was such a gigantic moment for me
49:21 and I knew that God was telling me,
49:25 "Look, though you are not married you are here.
49:29 You don't have a husband like the other women
49:32 that were here that stayed here
49:34 but you have Me and am I not enough."
49:37 And it was, it was the cry of a jealous and a loving God
49:45 and it broke me,
49:48 it just broke me.
49:52 And I knew that He wanted to be enough for me.
49:58 I know it was a pivotal moment for me.
50:04 That was huge
50:07 and I just started to see the beauty of Him
50:10 and I started to see that He was enough.
50:14 And that's, that's what He has taught me
50:20 that He is enough.
50:22 He is more than enough.
50:30 In my journey to healing from divorce,
50:33 I have learned that my scars are not ugly.
50:36 In fact,
50:38 those scars became a platform for sharing my faith.
50:42 I sometimes wonder
50:44 if I'll ever get married again
50:47 but at the same time
50:49 I've chose not believe
50:50 that my life must not be defined
50:53 by my marital status.
50:56 Is it easy?
50:58 Not in this life.
51:00 But I find courage
51:01 in knowing that God can give even single adults
51:05 spiritual offspring that live forever.
51:10 Now that's a legacy worth fighting for.
51:14 And God's peace grows inside
51:17 as I run in His will.
51:29 I got it all
51:31 The best in everything
51:36 I'm not alone
51:39 He's more than enough for me
51:45 He calms my pounding heart
51:47 He gives me a brand new start
51:51 God meets all my needs
51:56 He is more than enough
52:00 More than enough for me
52:05 Jesus, You are more than enough
52:11 You are more than enough for me
52:26 Savior, You are more than enough
53:27 I have never seen the dead come back to life
53:40 I was not among the thousands that were fed
53:45 But I wish that I could see
53:47 The two little fish and the loafs of bread
53:53 Let me take the time and tell you what I've seen
53:59 I've seen prayers being answered immediately
54:05 Then there are times when the waiting seems
54:09 Infinitely long
54:12 And weak and fainting hearts receive
54:15 Strength to be strong
54:18 That's a miracle It's a miracle
54:24 The kind that happens everyday In a personal and special way
54:31 It's a miracle I say it's a miracle
54:37 It's the kind that is too obvious for everyone to see
54:43 And the greatest miracle of all
54:48 Is happening to me
55:02 There aren't many things of which we can be sure
55:08 But let me give you evidence you can't ignore
55:16 I was up a prisoner to my former life of sin
55:21 But freedom came my way one day
55:25 And now one more to get
55:27 And that's a miracle It's a miracle
55:34 That kind that happens everyday
55:37 In a personal and special way
55:41 It's a miracle I say it's a miracle
55:46 It's the kind that is too obvious for everyone to see
55:53 And the greatest miracle of all is happening to me
56:01 I can't explain it
56:05 but it's not beyond belief
56:10 No
56:14 The holy God of heaven
56:18 Has placed Himself within our reach
56:24 How can broken hearts learn to trust again?
56:31 How can a God you cannot see be your best friend?
56:38 And when things didn't go the way you thought they should
56:43 God gave you faith to still believe
56:46 When you didn't think you could not
56:49 That's a miracle It's a miracle
56:56 That kind that happens everyday In a personal and special way
57:02 It's a miracle I say it's a miracle
57:09 It's the kind that is too obvious for everyone to see
57:15 And the greatest miracle
57:17 Of all is happening to me
57:32 It's happening to me
57:45 You think I'll get hired on the cooking channel, man?
57:51 I'm pretty sure.
57:53 Pretty sure you got what it takes, bro.


Revised 2016-01-14