Single women can also be an example of choosing to live with contentment even if life doesn’t look like we’d hoped—whether we’d hoped for a spouse, child, different career, or something else. Dorothy Haire was commissioned at age 50 to plant a church with her husband. Then, just 30 days into the church plant, her husband had a heart attack and passed away. Committed to following God’s call on her life, she soldiered on, navigating ministry and her new singleness—a giant feat after being in a relationship with her husband since the age of 12. Haire’s story of living fully for God is powerful.
Fowler notes that this will require preaching a robust theology of singleness. “There’s biblical support for the value of being single, yet that value is never talked about. It’s always talked about as a defect or a temporary status that everyone is trying to get out of. It’s treated as less-than, like you’ve not reached your full potential, and that it’s not God’s ideal for life. It should be given some dignity.” Okwu echoes her statements: “I’m not less-than because I’m single. Just because we’re not as visible in church leadership doesn’t mean we can’t do that. We can bring so much to the table. Our voices are needed because there are so many people like us in the world and in our churches. To be the functioning body of Christ, we can’t ignore certain pieces. I wish the church knew how much the church needs us and how much we need the church as well.”
This will only happen when others—both single and married—begin seeing and advocating for single women in ministry. Christine Lee, the student worship pastor of Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, says, “It’s a human need to be seen, to truly be known for who we are, and to have space to be that. It’s difficult, in general, for churches to make space for that. Not just for single people. Not just for women. I hope that the church would become—no matter what life stage you’re in, no matter your gender, no matter what you’re going through—a place for you to bring it all to the table.”