Single – for those that are and those that aren’t

There are two types of people in this world – single people and not-single people.

Too simple? Ridiculous, I know.

The other day my friend and roommate sent a couple articles about singleness in the church:

Then there are these others articles which speak to the truth about singleness and using this “status” as a way to glorify God:

There are so, so many more. What I’ve found since my college years, is that no matter my relationship status, I have always been single, as in unmarried. And while we unmarried folk need you married folk just like we need older and younger folk, we need each other, too. I think there is great growth that can come from those unlike us but also from those in similar seasons as our own.

I think my church overlooks the young single in our church and I think that is unfortunate. I went to an event recently where the speaker talked about the great opportunity single people have, and I agree. There are so many less obligations – your schedule is your own and you can form it to be whatever you’d like. That might not always be the case.

This season of being unmarried is nothing new – maybe it’s a season, maybe it’s my life forever, I have no idea. But I do believe those unmarried need to rethink how they view singles and treat them, especially in the church. I also think those of us who are unmarried need to embrace this time and relish it in.

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This is the Church.

I told you about the time I spent in the hospital and how I started having a lot of doubts and fears, how I didn’t know what God was up to.

Here is where the good news comes in! I finally learned what is meant by being the body of Christ, by being the Church rather than going to church.

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Oh friends, hear this.

I came home from the hospital still full of doubts and fears and unsure what God was up to. I spent the next days in a chair, watching TV and sleeping, not eating and then finally giving up on praying, as well.

I remember either stating out loud or maybe just in my head, “I can’t do this anymore.” I couldn’t pray anymore to a God I felt was gone, and when my body was failing miserably and I was full of confusion. Now, I know people have it much worse than myself, I lived with some who had been through worse and made it out stronger. But, this was the first time I personally had gone through this type of trial. I didn’t know what to do or expect. And out of fear, doubt, and frustration I gave up. I still believed in God but I didn’t want to pray anymore and I stopped reading the Bible.

And then, I got a card from someone who knew my mother but I had never met. She told me she was praying for me.

This is the church, this is the body. One part will fight for the other because all parts are needed. 

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[d] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?20 As it is, there are many parts,[e] yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, thengifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)

Who needs your gift right now? What I realized during my time of weakness was that one purpose of the body of Christ is to carry each other when they are unable to fight on their own. I couldn’t keep on praying so someone picked me up and carried me, by praying on my behalf.

What is a spiritual gift you have? How can you use it to help someone else?

This is the Church. This is the body of Christ.

Before I knew what it meant to “be the Church”

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Here’s the back story:

A few years ago I got really sick. Like, crawling-on-the-floor-near-passing-out-in-pain fluish sick. I thought I had the flu or something but it turned out to be a lot worse. At the time I was living with my parent’s and working full time at the nearby Air Force Base while in my first year of my master’s program. It was a busy time, I wasn’t prepared to get sick. I went to work not feeling well and by the time we had our 9 am staff meeting, my boss sent me home, knowing full-well I wasn’t leaving on my own. I got sick in my car during the 10 minute drive home. This was a Wednesday. I stayed home from work the rest of the week but refused to go to the doctor because I just thought it was some kind of bug I had caught and it’d be gone soon.

Saturday, I remember waking up feeling pretty okay. I was determined to leave the house since I hadn’t been out since Wednesday, and decided I’d go walk around the grocery store or Target – anywhere just to get out. I started to run a bath and remember replying to a friend’s text that I was feeling pretty well. Then, I’m not sure what happened but the pain got i n t e n s e. I laid outside the bathroom on the carpet reeling in pain. I crawled to my parent’s bedside table to use their phone to find out where they were. This was it, I couldn’t stay how I was, I needed medical help. My parents didn’t answer and I had no idea where they were. I rolled around the floor in what I only could assume was the pain one feels during childbirth contractions (honestly, I have no idea, I’ve never had a baby). In perfect timing, my parents walked through the front door down the hallway to see me lying on the floor like a crazy person. My mom called my doctor who told her to take me to the hospital.

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To the ER I went, not sure how I’d be able to sit even remotely normal for any extended amount of time. Luckily, when I walked through the door the nurses were frightened by my ghostly pale body and new I needed immediate help. I began to have fluids pumped through my body and warm blanket upon warm blanket put on top of me. They did some tests or something but weren’t sure what was wrong. Soon they were telling me I needed surgery. I cried and panicked and then had some more tests and they told me I’d have to wait, no surgery right now. They thought my appendix may have burst; and then they didn’t; and then I think they had no idea what was wrong. I spent the night without being allowed to eat or drink. My family came back in the morning and then were sent home in the afternoon after no promise of any surgery or any real change in my state.

About 5 minutes after they left they were called back because I was indeed having surgery. I remember laying on the pre-op table doing my best not to cry in fear. The nurse was not apathetic, I don’t think she cared how scared I was.I remember it seeming so cold and so white. Typically cold and white (as in snow) seems peaceful and pure. Not at this time. At this time cold and white seemed frightening and even mocking, laughing at my fear of the unknown.

When surgery was over what I remember most was the people I was told had come to visit. It was dark and I was in and out of sleep/consciousness. But my parents told me such-and-such was here to see me, and so-and-so had stopped by while I was in surgery.

And then I spent a day or two in my hospital room before going home.

Friends, the people who sent flowers, cards, gifts and those who came to see me broke my heart in appreciation. It was beautiful.

But, I was not feeling beautiful. My body felt so weird, so unlike myself. I had these wounds I didn’t know, my body was tired and confused from the anesthesia and the air that had been in my body for the laparoscopic tools to do their job. I was in a strange room, in a hospital gown, unable to do much for myself. I’ll spare you other details. I remember one night, in the late hours I wasn’t able to sleep, I sent a text to a friend who himself was fighting cancer, a friend only a year older than me.

I asked him how he did it. He had it so much worse, but from what I saw he was so positive.

I have no idea how he responded, all I remember was I was giving up. I didn’t feel like myself and was so lost and confused. They took part of my body but didn’t know what caused the problem. I kept praying for peace, strength, and health but felt instead confusion, weakness and more ill than ever before.

 

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My health had definitely failed. My spirit was at it’s weakest.

I’ll tell you more how I learned to keep God the strength of my heart.