Single, yet called! It is a dilemma for many women working cross culturally. It would be nice to say, “God has a husband for each one so they can be safer and less lonely.” But that fits our romantic ideas more than it does reality. Over the centuries many single women have been among the pioneers in many hard places. We know that God sets the solitary in families, but it isn’t always with a husband, but rather a family of His choosing. Single women serving God model commitment, obedience, hard work, and contentment. They encourage all of us.
Shanna, one single-minded servant of God, wrote her story to share this month.
Before making the decision to become a single cross cultural worker, I first gave up my belief that I had to get married. I even went so far as to say that I’d never marry a national, and the Lord must want me to remain single, as He was sending me to a far-away country with no husband. I decided to let the Lord be enough for me. And He is.
But after I learned the rudiments of the language and moved into the village where I was to work, the Lord introduced me to the one He’d created me to complete. He was none other than the pastor’s son in the church I was attending! I had come to his village to teach English in a local high school. I assumed that he was very young and thought nothing of encouraging him as he took over leadership of the youth group in the church. However, it was that encouragement (which he badly needed) that attracted him to me, along with my modest dress and quiet spirit. We became friends as he helped me improve my language abilities, then good friends as he taught me how to plant a garden, and eventually best friends as the Lord knit our hearts together.
Finally, after more than a year as friends and three years of dating, we were married. He is five years my junior, but you wouldn’t know it now, not with the gray he’s sprouting in his black hair! We can’t help but marvel at how the Lord brought us together, and how He prepared us for one another as we grew up on opposite sides of the Atlantic. He’s so proud to have me as his wife; not because I’m an American, but because the Lord gave me to Him.
In case you’re wondering, neither was my husband seeking to marry. He actually had no intention of marrying anytime soon, (we met when he was just turning 20), nor was he looking for a girlfriend. He was just trying to serve the Lord as best he could, dreaming of someday becoming a church planter. He had decided to offer the Lord his open hand and let Him place a wife there. As a result, we knew that HE was the one leading us in what was a rather difficult-to-be-accepted, bi-cultural courtship. The doubters were eventually convinced, and we sensed the Lord’s hand guiding us into marriage. We knew He was the One who had bound our hearts together and strengthened our relationship in the midst of storms.
My advice to single missionary ladies is to let the Lord be enough, because He is. Should He have someone in plan for you to complete, let Him lead you and guide you in such a way that what follows is only the natural fruit of what He has planted in your heart. And should He intend that you live your days in single service to Him, do so with great joy, because He is your Father, your Bridegroom, and the Lover of your soul. He really is enough, and any special treats He lavishes on you are just dessert.
Shanna is serving in Moldova. She and her husband have been married for two years, have twins in heaven and a 4 month old daughter who is the icing on their cake!