This article has been excerpted from our new resource, Navigating Singleness in Ministry.
If you are a single woman in ministry, you have probably asked yourself the question, “Am I enough?” at least once―or a hundred times if you’re anything like me. The short answer is yes―you are enough just the way you are. You are called and equipped by God to lead.
Now I wish we could just stop here, but the reality is every day we walk out into the world. The days bring numerous ministry challenges and subtle messaging that make us question if we really are enough. We run into situations that push us to believe being single is just a placeholder for something better. These messages are lies, but when we encounter them day after day, we can begin to internalize them. Before we know it, we start to believe something might actually be wrong with us.
Being a single woman leading in the church can be isolating. As a single woman in my mid-thirties―who has spent over seven years in ministry―I know the struggle intimately. Some of the most encouraging times to me are the opportunities when I am with other single women, and we begin to talk about our experiences. To me, one of the most beautiful phrases is “me, too!” I hear those words and immediately feel validated and encouraged. We need these spaces to remind ourselves we are not alone and that our presence matters. I hope to create this kind of space by sharing with you some of the situations I have experienced that caused me to question if I really am enough and how I have tried to navigate them. By no means do I have all of the answers, but I do believe the more we speak the truth, the more we can step out of the shadows and let our God-given stories shine.
So…are you married?
Almost every time I meet someone new at a church event, I can predict what one of the first questions will be: “So … are you married?” This is followed by an awkward silence after I say “no,” and then the conversation fizzles. I walk away feeling as if I have done something wrong. I admit, this one is hard for me. I want to say to them, “But wait, there is so much more to me! I have worth! I have great friends and an amazing niece and nephew! I love what I do for a living! Keep talking to me!” Sometimes I wonder if I missed the commandment in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt get married,” or the passage that talks about Jesus being married with 2.5 kids, and how we should all follow in the way of Jesus and be married, too.