February 14, 2019

When the Sermon Is About True Love, and You’re Single

By Kelley Reinoehl

In the past year, I took two trips to visit some other friends who work in church ministry. Although 4 months apart and in different states, both sermons at both churches were about marriage.

I am not married.

I had been excited to hear new teachers and experience new church styles, only to find out the sermon was focused on the biggest gaping hole in my life. Then, when I got home from the most recent trip. I connected the dots that Grace would be starting a 10-week sermon series on True Love. A big neon warning sign went off in my head, flashing “marriage series.”

I let out a loud sigh of disgust. But when I complained to my friend about all these marriage messages, she kindly pointed out the possibility that God was trying to speak to me.

I told her absolutely not. God has nothing to say to me about marriage right now except that it’s not happening for me.

To be completely honest with you, this is something I don’t like talking about. It’s personal. It sparks emotions I prefer to keep tucked deep inside. But worst of all, it brings up my discontentment with God.

But my friends words lingered with me, until I finally decided to ask God if this was all just a coincidence, or if He was really trying to get my attention.

Speaking to other singles as someone in the trenches with you, I know being single in the church often stinks. You are allowed to feel like this season — possibly the longest season you’ve ever experienced — hurts big and takes courage and faith, because it does. I know having a different plan for your life than the one you envisioned can be the most heart-wrenching thing in the world. I know it feels like God is not listening, that God does not care, that God has forgotten your hopes, dreams and desires.

But those are lies of our enemy. God knows you. He knows your deepest desires. He knows them better than you do. He has not abandoned you. His plan is just better.

I have recently been going through one of the more difficult stages of my single life. The overwhelming feeling that God had played some kind of cruel joke on me creeps into every thought I have. It took a graceKIDS! lesson to pull me out of this pit.

I was reminded of the Israelites wandering through the desert, grumbling and complaining all the time. As they wandered through the desert, they would cry out to God for food, He would provide. Then they would eat, and start complaining again.

I am just like them, grumbling and complain to God regularly, especially about being single. I give him ultimatums. I forget how he has already blessed me. I forget the promises he has already fulfilled for me. Why do I think he won’t do it again?

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 says, “Remember that for 40 years the Lord your God led you on your journey in the desert. He did this in order to humble you and test you. He wanted to know whether or not you would wholeheartedly obey his commands. So he made you suffer from hunger and then fed you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had seen before. He did this to teach you that a person cannot live on bread alone but on every word that the Lord speaks.”

Even if God was to give me every one of my heart’s desires — a husband, kids, grandkids, 100 puppies (fingers crossed on that one) — they will never fill the Jesus-shaped hole in my heart. None of those things can bring me true happiness. Those things can still leave me feeling lonely, abandoned, unloved. God is giving both you and me this time now to cling to him so tightly so that when the time does come for our desires to be fulfilled the way God sees fit, our hope remains in him. The One who has yet to fail us and never will.

I pray that through this sermon series you work up the courage to show up each week and listen to what God is trying to teach you. I pray that you build up enough faith to truly trust that God’s plan for your life is far better than any plan you could imagine for yourself. I pray that you see His hand working in your life, even though it might look different than you anticipated at this stage.

But most of all, I pray that you are reminded that Jesus’ love for you is the greatest love of all. No husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend will ever compare to the love Jesus has for you. No earthly relationship will ever fulfill you like a relationship with Christ. God’s truth about you is far stronger than any loneliness or abandonment that the enemy creeps into your thoughts. God has written a banner over you that is love (Song of Soloman 2:4) and he will not let you forget it.

Some of God’s promises:

1 Chronicles 29:11
God is in control

Philippians 4:19
God will give me everything i need

Joshua 1:9
God will always be with me

Isaiah 41:10
God will comfort me

John 14:27
God will give me peace

9 Responses

  1. Beautifully written by a beautiful young women that is my greatest gift from God. I was told I could not have children but God had other plans. I am blessed and thankful.

  2. Great article, Kelley. Thanks for being brave enough to write this one. It’s a great reminder of the hope we have in Christ and the diversity within the church. Thank you!

  3. This reminded me of my mother who lost her first husband and THOUGHTZ God didn’t want her to be married. She went to Bible College study His word and prepared for the mission field But God had other plans and gave her a roommate that had an older brother. My mother fought the idea of going out with him and wanted to do God’s will….or so she thought. She married my father late in life and found out beyond all odds she was going to have a baby…me. Though this I was blessed with my 2 Favorites.
    God listens watches and always knows what’s best for us. I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished….you are an amazing woman and I believe Everything Happens for a Reason

  4. Kelley-Thank you so much for your vulnerability and openness! There is so much truth here. Praying that God will bring you and other singles great delight as you wait and that singles and marrieds alike would grasp the truth that you have: Jesus’ love must satisfy us before any other love can delight us.

  5. Kelley, your gut-wrenching honesty was beautifully written. I wish I could promise you everything you are praying for, but I can’t. Only God can. God twice (or probably more) answered my fervent prayers with “no”. Each of those times, it devastated me. But in God’s timing, I received His answers for me that were far more than I ever dreamed of.
    He loves you more than you know. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for you.

  6. One of the reasons God has you single right now was to write this great article from that perspective! Another is to devote the incredible time and love and excellence you do to GraceKids and the Grace families!! I remember feeling and thinking many of these same things when I was single, and for longer than most of my friends. But, as Pastor Mike has said a number of times, marriage is HARD, even seconds into it! I had such warm-and-fuzzy expectations, that were seriously challenged on the first day of our honeymoon. I wish I had paid more attention to wise, biblical teaching on marriage beforehand, and put my hope and trust solely (and souly) in God Himself. He has graciously given us 40 years together now, though the road has been rough at times, and each year is more special than the one before ;). Thanks to the Grace pastors who are teaching and transforming ALL of us in this series through God’s living and active Word of truth!!

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