When I graduated from college, I took a job at my alma mater teaching language arts at the Christian high school. My days were consumed with lesson plans, stacks of papers to be graded, and lots of adolescent drama. I loved working with the teens, but my real desire was to be a stay at home mom. I envisioned reading bed time stories and tucking in little ones with a kiss and a prayer. The problem was that I was not married. In fact, I was not even dating. I was a single gal with lots of free time on my hands.
Early on, I had to make a decision to be fully present in the season that God had laid out for me. Sure, I still prayed about getting married, but I determined to not let that dream cloud my focus on the calling to be a spiritual mom to the young people God had placed in my circle of influence. Like Paul, I wanted them to follow me as I followed Christ. So, I attended basketball games and sweet 16 birthdays. I spent weekends picking up kids and carting them to church. For close to two decades, I listened to stories of teenage angst and tried to point them to Jesus. I prayed for “my kids” to fall in love with Jesus.
In my early 40’s, God decided to shake things up a bit. I met a nice fella who loved Jesus, and
we got married. It didn’t take long to realize that serving in the teenage trenches had really helped prepare me to be a better wife to Bruce. I was a better me because I’d loved those kids and let Jesus do a work in me through them.
4 Seeds Sown through Serving:
Serving as a single enlarged my heart and increased my capacity to love more fully.
“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8-10, ESV
Serving as a single fostered greater perseverance and patience in me.
"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” Romans 5:3-5
Serving as a single taught me that I needed to let go of my agenda and yield expectations to Him.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
Serving as a single helped me to become less prideful and more pliable.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:3-5
As a single, I hope you will consider that the season that you are in right now is God’s preparation ground for you. As you give your heart fully to serving now, He is sowing seeds in your heart that will blossom into greater fruitfulness for the next season.
God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:10-12, NIV
Lyli Dunbar loves teaching. For 17 years, she mentored teenagers in the Christian school setting, and now she has serves as Associate Director of Curriculum at Trinity International University Florida. Lyli married her Prince Charming in her 40’s and has a heart for encouraging young couples and singles in God’s waiting room. She enjoys road trips with her husband, connecting with women through Bible study, and reading way too many books. Lyli writes about life lessons and faith on herpersonal blog. You may also connect with her on Facebook,Twitter, and Pinterest.
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