You’re serving in rural Africa without a husband!? Can you be a single missionary? Really?
Yes! I sure am.
Some people just come out and ask why I’m serving here single. Others dance around the subject in conversation to gauge how I really feel about living in rural Africa without a husband. These are all great questions, and they are questions I have asked others in the past. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ask myself, occasionally, why I’m doing this single. And here is how the conversation goes between God and me …
Me: Um, not sure if you realized this, but P.S. I’m single.
God: I’m aware. Go.
Me: But does this mean I’ll never get married or have a family?
God: Not necessarily. But even if it did, would you still go?
Me: Uhhhhhh …
I found myself stopping there, unable to answer that question for a while. And I want to encourage you in something … that is an okay place to pause and pray for direction. It is not an okay place to stop.
I am confident that the Lord will usher anyone, whether single or not, to a place of clarity if they only ask. “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2b, ESV). During the process of moving to Africa, I met with countless women who felt the same way about moving overseas during a season of singleness. We all had pictures in our minds that we would be wives, building our families by a certain age. It can be confusing when that is not the case. Here are lies the enemy has thrown at me in this process:
Enemy of my soul: You live in the middle of nowhere, Africa. Do you really think God is going to provide, or even has the ability to provide you a husband there?
Me: I’m pretty sure He made Adam a wife out of close to nothing. Do I believe God is all-powerful? If so, then this lie has no ground to stand on. But “Our God is in the Heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3).
Enemy of my soul: Do you really want to sit in sadness or loneliness?
Me: I feel freedom to grieve for the family I don’t have. I don’t grieve as if God hasn’t given me what I’ve wanted. I grieve as a woman who desires a husband and children, yet does not have them. If I believe that He is all-powerful, that “everything is appropriate in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and He is sovereign, then I grieve as one with hope. Not a hope that He will give me what I want, but a hope that says He will give me what I need to make His name famous.
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). His ways are perfect. And although I am daily walking forward into many unknowns, I know those unknowns are showered in His love, grace and mercy. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!’” (Psalm 91:1-2).
Enemy of my soul: Shouldn’t you just stay in the U.S. until He gives you a husband? That would be much safer!!
Me: Ha! Whose definition of “safe”? “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4). I’m pretty sure if God can create every nation and people group from nothing, then He can provide a husband for me regardless of my location.
These are all relatively easy things to believe and say, but they are hard to actually walk forward in.
I want to emphasize this: It is only through God changing my heart that I can claim these truths without wavering. It is not something ‘I worked through on my own strength.’ Two years ago, I honestly said, “There is no way I would ever move overseas still single … Who would kill all the bugs and baboons?” Today I can truly say that I am blessed to be where I am, and I couldn’t be more excited for the ministry God is creating through my circumstances and singleness. I’m still not excited about the bugs, but I’m dealing with it … slowly.
And who says a girl can’t learn to use a crossbow to kill a baboon?
So, yes, you can be a single missionary. You can be all that God has created you to be!