TenThings Every Single Woman in Ministry Wants You to Know About Her

 Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to a sweet friend of mine- Donya Dunlap {click on her name to visit her blog}. We went to college together and then lost contact until Facebook entered the world. Then this past fall we both attended a blogging conference and reconnected through some long chats. Ya’ll, her heart is so precious. She has a passion for God and He is using her in some pretty amazing ways! She’s even authored a book entitled “Forgetting the Fairy Tale.” And what else? She’s single. And she has some things that she really wants you to understand about herself, and about the many single women like her. I know you’ll be blessed by her words as she shares 10 things every single woman in ministry wants you to know about her:

 1) I am not after your husband

Being single does not equal being desperate for a man, or being an adulterous woman on the prowl. I am not a home-wrecker. I understand other women have placed this fear in your heart by their wrong actions. I’m sorry about that. I also recognize that as a ministry leader, there may be days that I see your pastoral husband more than you do, and that is understandably hard for you. Please know that I do everything in my power to maintain appropriate boundaries. That being said, if I do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, please talk to me about it. The last thing I want to do is cause strife in your marriage.

 2) I am not broken

I’m single, not contagious. I might not have a dog, three kids, and a mortgage payment, but I am still a woman that can relate to other women, regardless of their marital status. I live a very full and satisfying life and experience many things that married women often are unable to. I am also fully capable of carrying on an adult conversation, as long as diapers and runny noses aren’t main topics. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your role as a wife and mother. I do. I just want you to relate to me as a person, not as a woman in a particular role. Honestly, don’t you want to be seen that way too?

3) I have unfulfilled desires

This is something I don’t like to talk about, but I need for you to understand. I am a woman with the same innate desires as nearly every other woman. I long to be loved, to be a homemaker, to raise a child, to be held close after a trying day. These are things that I struggle with, especially around the holidays and special occasions. Please don’t feel sorry for me, but do remember I might get a little misty eyed on Mother’s Day, and that’s okay.

4) I don’t need a matchmaker

God has not tasked me with “gettin’ myself a man.” Finding a husband is not a solution to all my problems. My role as a single women is to be fully committed to Christ as my head until He sees fit to provide a human leader in my home. That doesn’t mean that I’m against online dating, or meeting your single neighbor. It simply means that I have other priorities in life. And while we are on the subject, just because there is a single man in my church, we aren’t necessarily soul mates. It is also not my place to ask him out. If you think I would be perfect for So-and-so, go talk to him about it, not me.

5) I miss my mom

I miss my dad and my siblings too. I have close friends in other parts of the world that I rarely, if ever, get to see. Being in ministry often means going far from home and living a life of leadership, which in itself is a lonely road. There are days when I would do just about anything to give my mom a hug or to sit with my dad after a medical procedure. I hate missing my nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays, graduations, school plays, basketball games, and other important events. I have accepted that it is a sacrifice well worth walking with Jesus on the path He has for me, but understand that it leaves a hole in my heart.

6) I long to be truly understood

While in the secular world, singles now comprise nearly half of the population, in the Christian world, I am a freak of nature. Ministry is a man dominated vocation. As a woman ministry leader, I am in a very complicated and isolated position. Add to that my single status and I might as well have a third eye. After a particularly difficult day of pouring out to others, most pastors go home to their supportive wives. I don’t even have a dog. I can barely keep a plant alive. While it is true that Jesus is enough for every circumstance, I long for someone to come alongside me that truly understands what I’m going through.

7) I have heard it all

If the thought comes to your mind that I might be encouraged by the reminder that Jesus was single and the Apostle Paul considered singleness to be a blessing—please keep it to yourself. I am very sure that you mean well, but Christian clichés and jokes about finding Mr. Right are not at all helpful, and can be hurtful.

8) I love to entertain

I might not have the space to host dinner parties in my studio apartment, but I believe in hospitality. I might really enjoy helping you organize a block party. Invite me to co-host a Sunday dinner with you, or invite me and a friend to your game night. You might be surprised at how much fun I can be and how well I can cook.

9) I have heavy responsibilities

Being single does not mean being footloose and fancy-free. I have to pay for housing, utilities, insurance, a vehicle, and groceries, just like you. Renting a small apartment is far more expensive than owning a home. Keeping a car running when I don’t know the difference between a spark plug and a carburetor can be tricky. I have a job, I volunteer, and occasionally, I even have a social life. As a ministry leader, I also have deeply emotional days of helping others and making difficult decisions. I’m not just sitting at home waiting for you to ask me to babysit your kids.

10) I have God-given passions

I may not ever be married, but I am still an invaluable part of the kingdom of God. He has planted in me dreams and goals that would be difficult for a married person to accomplish. Encourage me as I strive to accomplish His will for my life. Assist me in my dreams. It can be frightening to step into the unknown on your own. Pray for me. Likewise, I have been granted spiritual gifts and talents that uniquely fit with my singleness in the church. I want to use them. I don’t want to be viewed as a fill-in or an afterthought. I want to make a difference for Christ. Allow me that privilege.

Let’s Chat: As a single woman, can you relate to this list?  Feel free to leave Donya some love in the comment section! As a married person, does the list help you understand and know how to minister to and with singles more effectively?

*NEW* There is now a support forum right here at embracingrace.com!  The forum is specifically for women in  ministry, so whether you are single or married, there is a group for you. I’m pleased to have Donya as the moderator for the group for single women. To join, click on “forum” up in my menu bar, and register as a user. It’s password protected and is a safe place to meet and share with others like yourself!

10ThingsSingleWomanInMinistry

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About Leah {Embracing Grace}

Leah Highfill accepted Christ as her Saviour and became a child of God at the age of 18. Originally from the USA, she and her husband moved to the mission field of Canada in 2005, where she served in full time ministry as a pastor's wife for 10 years. During their tenure there, they became dual citizens. Leah and her family recently returned to NC and are currently enjoying a much needed sabbatical for the year of 2015. She homeschools her children {Small Son is 9 and Tiny Daughter is 7} and teaches private piano lessons on the side. She can be found reading, writing/blogging, playing the piano and violin, or ice skating. A friend to ministry wives everywhere, Leah has a passion to inspire hope and to encourage women in their walk with God. Her first book, Expecting Grace, was published in 2013. Expecting Grace is the story of Leah's experience and survival of a life threatening pregnancy, and of many medical and financial miracles along the way. Her second book is currently in process. Join her grace-filled journey right here at Embracing Grace!

18 thoughts on “TenThings Every Single Woman in Ministry Wants You to Know About Her

  1. This post is exactly what I needed on this Monday morning!! So encouraging after a weekend when everything was focused on people’s relationships…or lack of! Can I add a #11 – I need to know I’m not alone. Donya, you’ve reminded me today that I am NOT alone in this, and I thank you for it!! I will be reading through this again and again to give myself courage to face the week.
    Nicole recently posted..Hello Snow and Monday! February 17, 2014My Profile

    1. Nicole,
      I am so glad that this was an encouragement to you today! I know how difficult “singles awareness day” can be. You are not alone! There are many single women doing wonderful things for Jesus in this world. Be encouraged!

      Jesus, please infuse yourself into Nicole’s week and bring to her awareness the many times that you are reaching out in love to her. Help her to see your hand at work in her life. Bring a special friend alongside her today to speak words of appreciation into her heart.

      Donya
      Donya recently posted..The Practice of WorshipMy Profile

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, Donya! Thanks to Leah for getting this out there. When I read your Pastor’s wives article I wanted to cry out, “Don’t forget about us singles in the ministry!” I was thankful for your heart to share with Pastor’s wives but I feel there is a great need in our churches to understand more about singles and what they face. I’m thankful that my Heavenly Father gave me this time of singleness in the ministry. I have been given many invaluable opportunites and experiences that I would not have dreamed possible. There is much more I could say but I will save it for the forum. You were both a blessing to me today!

    1. Alicia,

      I believe God has a very special place in His ministry for singles. There are so many things that we can do to be a blessing to our church families and others in our communities. I’m so glad that you have discovered that already. Thank you for stopping by to read the post today.

      Sweet Jesus, thank you that you love us for who we are and not for our marital status. Please encourage Alicia today as she endeavors to serve you with a pure heart. Touch her spirit with an awareness of your presence today.

      Donya
      Donya recently posted..Human Trafficking: What Is It?My Profile

  3. Well said! I was older when I got married so was the single lady in a church for quite a while. We do have some single ladies in our ministry, and I do appreicate the reminders. God bless you for your faithful service!!!

    1. Alicemarie,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment! It’s always nice to know that others understand what you are going through. Thank you for your kind words.

      Dear Lord, please bless Alicemarie as she seeks to be a blessing to others. Allow all that she has learned in her times of singleness to overflow into the lives of those she touches, in Jesus name.

      PS – You have a beautiful name!
      Donya recently posted..My Grown Up Christmas ListMy Profile

  4. This is really great. I’m not single and never really had an opportunity to be single in ministry because I married so very young, but there are a lot of single people, older singles (and by older I mean not exclusively college-aged) in our church and some of them have become surprisingly good friends! I actually recently wrote a post about this subject from my perspective as a married woman – I would love to have you read and share it! http://beautifulinhistime.com/2014/01/25/friendships-between-single-and-married-women-some-practical-advice/

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