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Do you feel out of place as a single woman in your church?

Are you frustrated by the comments and suggestions spoken to you by well-meaning friends and church family:

  • about how God is preparing your husband for you.
  • about how if you stop focusing on your singlehood, "It will happen for you."
  • that Jesus is your husband ... and more?

I get it, I really do.

I never envisioned myself being single and in my 30s. The only thing I ever wanted to be was a wife and mom. I had no great aspirations beyond that (well, maybe I dreamed about being a famous singer a time or two).

But there I was, in my 30s with no boyfriend, no husband and no one I'd even consider to be either of those.

I will admit, I was a little devastated.

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Both of my siblings were married and had kids; most of my friends were married and had kids; and I'd heard every comment, ever so-called prophecy, and ever comment disguised as a prayer that you can imagine.

It was so bad that at one point I commented to a well-meaning friend, "If God has to take this long to prepare my husband, what's wrong with him? I am not sure I even want him at this point!"

I was being facetious, of course, but what I was really trying to say was, "Please stop.

"Please stop making the comments.

I would have said that in those words if I had understood at the time that it was what I was truly feeling.

Marriage did eventually happen for me at 34.

In all my desire to be married, eventually getting married, and being a wife for a decade now, I've learned some things that I'd like to share with all my single friends.

I hope this will encourage your hearts.

3 Things Single Women Need to Hear

I wish I had understood these three things much earlier before I got married.

Five years before I met my husband, I went on a dating hiatus. I didn't set out for it to last five years, I simply knew that there was something broken in me that God needed to fix because I had a long string of failed relationships behind me with guys I had no business dating in the first place.

My heart was broke, my self-worth was shattered, I had been in an abusive situation that I had only narrowly escaped, and I knew that before going into a new relationship, I needed Jesus to heal whatever it was in me that kept me going from bad to worse.

Because at that point, I didn't even want to imagine what could be worse than what I'd just been freed from.

It was during these five years that I learned these three things.

1. Singleness is not a disease.

I know in the church, we would never admit that we think this way, but unconsciously, we do.

The older a single person grows, the more desperate married people become to rescue them from singlehood, as if their singleness is somehow negative.

Even worse, many single people are left with the impression that their singleness is somehow not pleasing to God.

In fact, I've read books written to married women that imply—or outright state—that women are created for marriage.

This is not true at all.

We are created to glorify God, whether it be as a single woman, married woman, mom, empty-nester or widow. We can fulfill the purpose for which God created us no matter our station in life.

Though the Bible speaks a lot about the importance of marriage, it also speaks to the importance of being single.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul encourages those who are single that they are able to devote themselves to the Lord in a greater capacity because they do not have the added responsibilities married people do.

The conclusion is: Singleness is not a disease to be rescued from; it is not a displeasing status in life; but it is a season of life—or even a lifestyle—in which you can fully devote your life to serving the Lord with a passion that will bring you tremendous fulfillment.

2. Marriage will not fulfill you.

I think at one point or another, most single people fall into this trap. Thankfully, I do believe many realize the trap for what it is and come to the correct conclusion that marriage will not solve their problems.

Before I met my husband, I was engaged to someone else.

What should have been one of the most exciting and happy times of my life was a living nightmare. My fiance was manipulative and abusive, and every day, I lived in terror that something I said or unconsciously did would set him off.

Thankfully, only a few months before our wedding, I walked away from him for the third and final time.

But I learned a very important lesson through that: Marriage won't solve your problems. It can, in fact, create new ones, or at the very least, exacerbate the ones that are already there.

While I wasn't married yet, the closer we got to our wedding, the worse our problems became, and I began to imagine living with that man as my husband 24/7, unable to escape his silent treatments, destructive words and out-of-control anger.

It was then that I realized that while as a single person I'd felt lonely and longed for that deep human connection with someone, marriage wouldn't solve it.

The fulfillment and satisfaction—the sense of belonging—wouldn't happen for me in marriage.

I needed to find those things apart from marriage, because it is entirely possible to be married and lonely, unfulfilled and dissatisfied.

God didn't create humans to be the source of happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction for other humans. That burden is far too great for someone to carry.

He created us to find our joy, fulfillment and satisfaction in Him—and when we do, we release those around us to be who they were created to be: companions.

3. Know your purpose.

If you think your purpose is tied to being married then you don't understand your purpose at all.

Women were not created solely to be wives and mothers. Yes, biologically we are created with that function, but there have been many women throughout history who have accomplished great things for the kingdom of God and were never married and were never mothers.

I think of Amy Carmichael and Gladys Aylward—two amazing missionaries through whom many, many people came to Christ, and whose impact and legacy live on today. They never married.

But they knew their purpose, and it had nothing at all to do with marriage.

They were just as able to fulfill that purpose as single women as they could have if God had sent them a husband. Their purpose didn't depend on them being married. Nor did it depend on them being single.

If you know your true purpose, whether or not you get married, you will be able to live a life of joy, fulfillment and great satisfaction in Christ while serving and glorifying Him with your life.

The single greatest purpose we have as humans is to glorify God.

That is why we were created. How we accomplish that purpose varies depending on our gifting and calling.

If you don't know your calling, I encourage you to get alone with God in prayer—and possibly fasting—and ask Him to reveal that calling to you.

Then, I encourage you find a mentor, someone whom you trust, who you know is discerning and wise, and who clearly and consistently hears the voice of God, and allow them to confirm what God spoke to you in prayer.

In 2003, I felt God call me to Croatia as a missionary.

I had no reason at all to believe I'd meet my husband here. All I knew was that I could either sit around and wait for something that might never happen, or I could roll up my sleeves and go about the Father's business.

I found my purpose, and I heard my calling.

My dear single friend, you are not a second-class citizen in the body of Christ.

You are not incomplete because you are not married. You are complete in Christ just as you are.

Your singleness is not a disease that you need to be healed of or rescued from.

Find your joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, purpose and calling in Christ, so that regardless of whether or not God sends you a husband, your life glorifies Him and blesses those around you.

You are complete now.

You can have complete joy now.

You can be fulfilled now.

You can walk in your purpose and calling now.

Let God use you for His kingdom to fulfill your purpose and calling today.

Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their two active boys, where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an associate degree in practical theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of "A Little R & R," where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You may follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.

This article originally appeared at rosilindjukic.com.

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