To All the Single Ladies, What If It Isn’t Just a Season?

All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies
….. Now put your hands up! Oh, oh, oh!

Anyone else sick of this song? Shoutout to Beyonce for topping the charts, honestly. But getting up from my table at every wedding reception for the bouquet toss for this is just getting old. I can feel the pity-filled stares from other guests as they wonder why I am still single or assure me that someone is out there for me.

But is there? And can you even promise that?

I have written SO many blogs about being single. Mostly because that is the area of my life that God has done the most redemptive work. If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be one full year out of college and actually content with being single, I would have honestly laughed in your face. But here we are. And even though I make jokes about being single in group settings, I really am content with it.

What if it isn’t just a season?

I am here to address an issue that I believe is plaguing all single women: what if I stay single forever? This is a thought that used to haunt me. I lived in such denial of this being a possibility. At weddings when well-meaning women would say “there’s someone out there for you too” I would nod my head in eager anticipation. But I have a bit of a different perspective on that now. 

What if I stay single forever? I don’t think you actually need to figure that out. And as badly as I used to want to know, I am learning now that it’s better that I don’t know. It’s something I’ve learned from the story of Ruth.

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What if It Isn’t Just a Love Story?

A lot of times when I heard the story of Ruth, it was presented as a story of romance. The focus was either on how Ruth kind of pursued Boaz (that is actually debatable but that’s another blog for another time) or how God led Ruth to Boaz after her husband had died. Technically both of these things are true, but I think they’re also conclusions taken out of context. 

With Biblical stories like these, it is helpful to approach them without trying to read anything into the text. I know this is hard, but I want to visit Ruth chapter 1 and pretend for a moment we have never heard the story. I want us to pretend we don’t know how it ends. And if you have never read the story of Ruth, please please PLEASE take a moment to read it. And know that I am genuinely grateful that you don’t have any preconceived notions.

Ruth 1:3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Yikes, kind of a sad passage to pick for a blog post, right? I think this is important to the story. In biblical times, a woman’s identity was tied to their husband. Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth just lost their entire key to the kingdom. They were no longer virgins and could not be remarried, and Naomi did not have any family to move back in with. To put it bluntly, they were worth nothing and would potentially be beggars for the rest of their lives. 

Naomi told Ruth and Orpah to return to their birth families, and pray that they would accept them back into the home. Orpah did. But Ruth did something really bold. She chose to go with Naomi.

Here is where I believe the story gets stuck. We know the end of the story. We know that Ruth ends up with Boaz. Consequently, we accidentally assume that Ruth knew God would have her back and set her up with a hot farmer if she followed Naomi. 

That isn’t true. 

Naomi chose to stay with Ruth, but it wasn’t for any surface level benefits. 

16“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 

Ruth didn’t follow God knowing that Boaz was around the corner. She followed God for who He was, no strings attached. 

Being present in every season

God had good things in store for Ruth around the corner of choosing to follow Him. And I believe God has good things in store for us. But I also believe that if we spend a whole season of winter looking for spring flowers, we miss the beauty of the snowflakes, the icicles on the trees, the sun shining off the ice, and the stillness of the snow. 

When we choose to follow God, we don’t get to decide what the path looks like. We don’t always get to know if there is a husband and 3 kids and a picket fence around the corner. There very well might be, but singleness might be longer than a season. God calls us to follow where He leads, and He calls us to be present there. 

If you are struggling to learn to be present in a season of singleness, take this verse as comfort. God gives us what we need for each day. You don’t need the strength, joy, contentment, and optimism to be single for the week, the month, the year, or even the rest of your life. God will provide those things each day. 

Philippians 4:19  And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

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