This post is primarily for the gents.
Some of my favorite women in the world are not married and would very much like to be. Most of them also long to be mothers, but with every next year’s “Happy Birthday!” a dread chill grows, pregnant and heavy with unanswered questions.
Yes, these women trust in God’s goodness and timing, but they can’t help but wonder if they’ve drawn the divine short straw. What is it God has for them to do in his kingdom? Must they always do it alone? Is this their lot?
As a man – and as a brother – you can be a balm to your sisters who are not single or childless by choice. You can buoy the spirits of those who feel bereft of the significant relationships so many others enjoy.
How? Hug them if you’re a hugger. Greet them warmly and with interest if you’re not. Find something about their person to commend. Invite them over for dinner, the movies, or to watch the big game with your family or friends. Invite yourself over to be there, as any good brother would, when the plumber comes by to fix her disposal.
Every Sunday morning the alarm sounds and your sisters rise and ready themselves for the difficult work that is being in a church filled with couples and families. It would be so easy to stay home. Would anyone even notice? Be the brother who notices.
But they don’t stay home, these women of valor. They rise and go to the house of God, alone, many times out of sheer obedience.
They rise and go to church because they believe in holy community and the kingdom of God.
They rise and go to pray with Christ’s family, bending themselves towards the will of a Good Father who has seemingly withheld the most precious desires of their hearts.
Be the brother who can sit patiently with a tired and doubting sister in this painful paradox.
Your sisters come to church; they sit down in the pew; they look around the sanctuary at all those who appear to have lives brimming over – so very full! – with the joys and cares of family life.
“Pray for us please, as we are being pulled a thousand different directions with all the kid’s things! Who knew this season of life would be such an incredible challenge to our marriage? Do you ever babysit?” (Please don’t be this brother.)
And a quick word for a moment to the wives: Support your husband in his efforts to be a good brother. Encourage him to know and care for his single sisters – your sisters – in the unique way God directs him.
You’d not believe the wounds of my single friends who are virtually ignored by certain men in their church. Why? There are many possible reasons – but all of them hurt the same.
Perhaps our husbands can be one of the few brothers who offer shalom instead of suspicion? What kind of brother would we hope for if we found ourselves in our single sister’s position?
Shalom to you and yours today. For we have a good Brother who has drawn near in compassion and done far more than we could ever ask or imagine in our most vulnerable and state.
And as His family, as His brothers and sisters, may we move out into his world – into his kingdom still heavy with unanswered questions – and with His help, do the same.