Joan Reynolds

Real Faith, Real Life & Real Joy

A Column For Older Christian Singles?


I am remembering Dear Abby, and all the others who gave us their take on this or that social dilemma growing up, where there seemed to be a correct answer to handling a social situation between people. Today there is so much information available, it is mind boggling, and yet it seems we still struggle with how to be appropriate, how to handle social interactions, how to heal without hurting others.

I am struck at this point in my life at how differently I look at the dating scene than I did the last time I tentatively passed through. Perhaps this has to do with having fully surrendered my life to Christ, not just in word, but in deed. I can quickly process through inquiries on a website, because if they don’t list a relationship with God, or attendance at a church and/or Bible study as important to them, I know that they would not be the people God would be bringing into my life for any long term purpose. Even ten years ago, this would not have been a problem or even a part of my sorting process. I would have thought that I could bring that spiritual dimension into someone’s life. No longer do I feel that way.

I am too far gone to go backward, even for the sake of someone else and their journey. Not that I am not supportive; I will do anything to offer God’s love and encouragement to another on their path to knowing Him intimately. It is just that once you have known Him as brother, friend, Father, provider, and husband in your own life, it would seem worse than divorce or death to leave Him out. Fortunately, for the way He presents Himself in our lives, He can and is an important third party in any relationship going forward. To have Him in common brings an instant knowing and sense of family to people who have just met, who  may have very little else they would normally share as like interests.

I was struck today by two friends my age asking for my help in their relationships with the opposite sex. How to address people in their dating lives in words and yet not say anything hurtful or misleading. I think that as Christians, it is even more difficult to navigate the dating waters, because we are so conscious of acting in His name, and wanting to represent Him well. I have a few concerns about the church and its approach to older singles. I feel they often ignore them. I feel they are missing a golden opportunity to provide a safe and comfortable arena for older singles to meet each other on non-dating terms, without the fear that they may find someone who is actually leading them away from Christ rather than toward Him.

I believe, and have for twenty years, that there are ways to facilitate this process and keep the hearts and mind of those precious people safe. I believe they are just as important to Christ as are His youngsters stepping out for the first time into the arena of love and relationship. In some ways, it is even more critical that we do not get hurt or lose our way, as we have already found what is most important. I do not believe that God only wants for us a life of serving and showing up to fill the many volunteer capacities that a church always needs filled, for which  older singles  always seem available.

I believe that God wants to partner some of them and use them even more effectively as couples, people who have testimony to share, to offer hope for how God heals and provides and blesses, even after tragedies have separated them from the path their lives were originally taking. I am confident that He is beginning a new work, where the churches will begin to step forward into an incredible opportunity to minister to those who already occupy their pews every Sunday, who for the most part would never think of asking anything of their church for themselves. It is just the way we were brought up, and it is something we would probably see as a selfish request. If asked we would answer, “I’m OK, God is good, He is taking good care of me, I am fine”. But my question is, is that really God’s Best for that person? Would  even some of them find a more complete healing and wholeness and ability to serve Him if they had a supportive partner for this unique time in their lives. It is a time they have so much wisdom to offer, and yet are so often burdened by just accomplishing the everyday tasks and finances alone, having no one to share that journey with, yet never wanting to burden their children or their church with their happiness and health issues.

Is it possible for me to eat alone almost every meal of my life and be grateful? Absolutely. Is it God’s best for me? I won’t believe so until He personally informs me. As of yet, I have not heard that still small voice saying anything of the kind. I am listening, however, and I hope He will give me direction for something that weighs heavily on my heart, because I know that I am not alone in this feeling. It is the burden of the others that He has placed on my heart that makes me speak up where I would normally push my own feelings aside.

I have some ideas for ways to address this within our churches, how about you?

2 Comments to

“A Column For Older Christian Singles?”

  1. Avatar January 11th, 2011 at 11:38 am Carole Says:

    I have, in the past, attended churches that have adult singles groups. Just tell your pastor that you want one to be started in your church. As far as the dating websites, aren’t there any Christian ones?

    If God is the focal point in your life then be assured He has the right person already picked out for you. Sounds to me as though you’re still working through some things.

    Acknowledge that you are a complete Idea of God. You know the old saying about finding someone when you’re not looking. That’s what happened to me.

    Keep treckkin’

  2. Avatar January 11th, 2011 at 4:46 pm Joan Says:

    You are correct, many have them, unfortunately often not enough in any one church to make a great group. I think my ideas were more in the way of identifying the singles visually while they were doing the things they already do…helping out in various capacities, or even sitting alone in church. There are lots of men in our large church serving everywhere, but i have no idea if any of them are single, in the choir, in the parking lot, in coffee room. I have often said the man I would want wouldn’t be on a singles site with nothing to do but click on the pictures of available women. And it is the same for women who are already serving Him. My ideas form along the lines of wearing green armbands or something while at church, because the last person most divorced single women want to start a conversation with is someone else’s husband, (whereas a married Christian woman could start up a conversation with a single man and probably not think a whole lot about it) I am just thinking there may be ways to identify those around us who might be approachable, even for conversation. Singles groups imply “looking” and I agree with you that that is not what most of us are doing. But as you near 65, then 70, it is more and more difficult to realize that there isn’t a ton more time, and if it isn’t even on your list of important possibilities it probably isn’t going to happen without some effort on someone’s part. The Christian singles websites are just as meat-markety as the other ones, they just cost more and have fewer people in them. It’s all good, I am just allowing God to open my mind and heart to the possibility, and that is a huge change from anywhere I have been in the past. I am noticing that at this point in my life it is THE most important thing I want to have in common with someone, male or female, and that got my attention as being very different from say, ten years ago; definitely a deal breaker now, where I would possibly have let ‘spiritual, not religious” suffice in the past. Just thoughts on an interesting subject. If you were in your fifties or forties when God crossed your paths, you would find it a great deal different today, and you would have missed so much of your life together!

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