By Kelly Carr
Today we start a series about families. Family can mean a lot of different things, as we will explore. And discussing family can bring up a variety of feelings, depending on whether you grew up in a happy or tough household and depending on whether your current family situation was always your dream or if you are a bit disappointed.
One segment of family that holds many emotions is marital status. Should we feel better or worse about ourselves when we say we are single, married, divorced, remarried, or widowed? Does that piece of information determine our success in life? It’s one part of our identity, yet sometimes we are made to feel like we are defined by our answer.
Push Past Awkward
The church is not immune to this phenomenon. How often is marriage discussed in the church? How often is singleness brought up? How many times are programs created that target “married with children” but make others feel left out?
One would hope that the words we use and the way our congregations are set up provide encouragement and inclusivity to all, regardless of status. But we might be surprised by what connects people and what alienates.
Let’s ask one another.
What are you doing to make sure that all types of people have the chance to grow deeper, to serve, to mentor and teach in your church? How are you stepping up to use your abilities and gifts to serve all people in your congregation?
Do you feel awkward getting to know people who are at a different place in life than you? Good. Those other people feel awkward too. You have that in common. Someone has to make the first move. Push past the awkwardness and let it be you.
Let’s ask one another.
Make a Move
The Lookout has three articles this week from different single people. There are females and males. They are across the age spectrum. Some have never married. A few share the perspective of widowed singles. They share their hearts, their concerns, and their joys.
I am not single, but I have many good friends who are. In our friendships I’ve discovered that there are days they feel freedom being single and days when they feel alone. Sometimes they feel as if they are the ones taking the initiative to call and invite others to hang out but don’t feel the offers are reciprocated. Some friends feel the stress of raising children without a spouse. Some friends have lost a spouse to death or divorce and have pain that I can’t imagine.
Just as I said in my last editorial, though I have not lived through their experiences, I can learn from their points of view. You can too. Again I say: let’s ask one another.
If you are married, ask single people to join you for outings, for lunch, for holiday gatherings. If you are single, ask a married person to join a Bible study, go to a movie, or run errands together. Let’s text and call each other and check in just to say hi.
Though life gets busy and we all have our own responsibilities to take care of, let’s take time to look around and find new friendships or deepen existing ones with people of all statuses.