There are people who will live by faith until it costs them something. Then, there are others who live by faith knowing the cost and yet choose to go the distance anyway. That’s how I’d sum up the founder of Single Matters, Jill Monaco, in a few short words.
Jill is “all in.” She’s chosen to give all of her life (her time, her skills, her passions) to serve Jesus and minister to His people. She’s got a great big heart for people and desires that all people would know and experience the love of Father God … as I’ve experienced God’s love through Jill’s ministry firsthand in my own life. As a contributing writer for Single Matters, I find it an honor to serve Jesus alongside of Jill and have truly been blessed by the opportunity.
My hope is that in reading this interview you would be encouraged and uplifted; but more than that, I pray you’d see that God is continuing to write a beautiful story for your life. If you’ll let Him, He’ll use you (and even your singleness) to do amazing things for Him. Just like He has used Jill.
Holly Hrywnak: Your story is amazingly inspiring. Can you share the condensed version with us?
Jill Monaco: I do need to write a book about what God has done in the last three years alone.
I was laid off in 2012 from a job that I dearly loved and had given my life to. My heart was broken. I took that year to rest, heal and hear God. At the end of that time, my unemployment was ending and consulting was drying up. So I pressed deeper and took two weeks away with God to fast from all media and social activities to seek His plans and purposes for me.
That’s when He started showing me His heart for singles. Even though I was single, I hadn’t thought about it much. I wanted to be married, but felt like my life was full as a single woman. God gave me a vision for an online magazine for Christian singles. God brought together a team of people to build it. The amazing part was that I was totally out of income, and God kept providing through volunteers to accomplish this vision. We launched Single Matters in June 2013.
By August of that same year, I was challenged again. I kept waking up with an idea that sounded crazy. Finally, I asked God if it was Him. After some wresting and prayer, I knew I was to do what I called the Kingdom Expression Experiment. In Luke 9, Jesus tells His disciples that He gave them power and authority to cast out demons and to heal. He told them to go share the Good News. Everywhere they went, they preached the Gospel and people were healed. I wondered if that would happen if I did the same thing. Crazy idea, right?
So after some God-style confirmation, I put everything I owned into storage and traveled across country by myself in my car — from Dallas to New York to LA — over the course of seven months in 2013-2014. I wanted to do whatever God prompted me to do. I stopped and prayed for strangers, saw people miraculously healed and even led some homeless men from Skid Row to salvation in Jesus Christ. I stayed with friends and strangers (friends of friends), and had some amazing experiences. Then I did it again on the West Coast from February until June of this year.
I wanted to do things I couldn’t do if I were married. And I’m still doing that. People often ask how I did that financially … there is always provision for the vision God gives. It’s too much to share here, but maybe someday I’ll slow down long enough to write a book. But I honestly think singles need to be focused on what we can do for the Kingdom out of our love for God. We may be the only ones who can do certain things.
Somewhere in the midst of this, I started helping people meet with God to find inner healing through Freedom Life Coaching. It started by volunteering at my church and then kind of took a life of its own while I was on the road. Freedom Coaching is like Life Coaching but with a focus on encountering God through prayer in your circumstances so you can be all that God created you to be — because it’s the presence of Someone, not the absence of some “thing” that makes you free.
I’ve seen people set free from eating disorders, depression, anxiety and fear. I work with folks who just need someone to walk them through a difficult season or help them deal with past pain. One client came to me because he knew he needed God. So in the first session I had the privilege of introducing him to Jesus! Most of my clients are single adults, although I do sometimes coach married people and teenagers.
Holly: Your ministry publishes Single Matters — tell us what you love about it.
Jill: What I love about Single Matters is the community that has formed out of it. There are singles from all across the United States and around the world! We publish articles for singles on the matters of faith, relationships, singleness and life several times a week. We have a lot of discussions going at our Facebook page. We ask a question a day and encourage singles to engage and let us know what they are thinking.
I love finding new writers and promoting what God is doing in people. I feel blessed to lead this group of amazing writers who share their transparent stories with our readers. I feel like Single Matters is a place I’m supposed to manage so other awesome people can be promoted and heard. We are currently interviewing new writers to join our team.
One of the main goals is to help singles be healthy and whole so when they get married its for life. (I guess that’s the Freedom Life Coaching passion speaking there.) I sensed God telling me we’d have an impact on marriages this way — meaning that if we did this, the divorce rate would decrease. It’s so fun partnering with God and finding out how we can work together to make a difference in the Kingdom.
Holly: What are several of the greatest challenges for single people?
Jill: There are so many different demographics of singles — never married, divorced, widowed, single parents …. They’ve come from various backgrounds, have faced different circumstances and they have completely different needs. So what may be hard for one single is a blessing to another.
The delay of marriage is a huge problem today. There are more “never-been-married” singles over 30 than ever before.
Many divorced people are happy to be single again. Which is code for “need inner healing.” But they often don’t know they need help, or where to get it outside of traditional counseling.
Some churches offer another “service” for singles. But singles are often so busy trying to work a full-time job, run a household, etc., they can’t make time for another thing at church — even though that may be the best place to meet people. A lot of churches don’t offer anything for singles.
But most often, I hear loneliness. They want to find people they can connect with and have fun. They find their spiritual needs being met by serving or attending church, but they don’t have a lot of options for fun. Or necessary physical touch, for that matter.
Holly: What is the one thing you want married people to know about single people?
Jill: Well, that is the title of one of my most popular blog posts, so I’ll let folks head over there if they want to hear my thoughts on that.
Holly: What is one thing you want singles to know?
Jill: You have a unique opportunity to not only ask God but to follow through on what He wants you to do with your time. I never thought I’d be a risk-taker. But saying yes to God has opened doors for me to start a non-profit, run a worldwide magazine, speak at conferences and events, and begin writing a book. I don’t have a husband to provide for me. But God has opened every door and provided for every need. Your story may not look like mine, but God has a story He wants to tell through you. And I’m not lightly saying to just enjoy your singleness, because I know there is often a lot of heartbreak in it … but I am saying to use it for God’s glory!
And I’d want to say one more important thing to singles. If you desire to get married, I think God desires that for you too. He loves marriage! He designed it. God was the one who said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. And that was before the Fall even happened! Not enough people will say that. They tend to put all the focus on Paul’s contentment.
I say spend time with God, press in and pray for your spouse. Seek God for what He wants you to add to or get rid of in your life, what He wants to heal you from, and the person He wants you to be, right now. So when the spouse God has for you does come along … you are ready!