Being a single woman in this day and time has its oddities.  Truly it has always been that way, even in Jesus’ day.  Look at the women that supported his ministry.  Glance at the one who broke a vial of lavish perfume over his feet, wiping the dirt away with her tears and long locks. While onlookers judged her unrighteousness, Jesus bid her to come (Luke 7).  This is a very intimate and sacred moment of the heart that Jesus didn’t stop from happening because he was in fear of what others may think.

I must confess that as a single woman it is refreshing how Jesus didn’t succumb to fear of man when relating to us.  After all, as the Son of God he surely could fast forward time and see the Di Vinci Code and all the rigmarole they came up with about he and Mary Magdalene.

So, here I am as a single woman in my JustBe journey.  There are things I love about this time in my life, but it can also be coupled with loneliness.  I don’t feel bitter in the least, I am just aware that something I read in John Eldredge’s book, The Utter Relief of Holiness, is true and really has me contemplating the topic.  First, let me say that I know some people really like John and others don’t.  So, whether you like him or not, consider what he has to say and how it resonated deeply.

It’s about Jesus and his resurrection – the most important event in the history of mankind and no one is around to witness it at all.  Jesus, not being the fan-fare kind of man, does this most astounding thing without the approval of anyone but his Father.  Amidst all the glory of that morn, there is a woman by herself found weeping at his tomb.  She is heart broken that they’ve taken her master and placed him somewhere else.  Overcome by it all, she engages in a conversation with a man she thought was the gardener.

“Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”  Jesus said, “Mary.” (John 20:16). 

You may know the rest of the story – she bear hugs him, overwhelmed by pure and ecstatic joy.  What struck me today as a single woman is the awkward place in the Christian subculture of living life unmarried.

“There must have been something particularly sweet and deep in their relationship for Jesus to have chosen her as the first person he wanted to speak to after coming back to life.  And it is this – Jesus’ ability to have intimate relationships with single women – that is really striking.  His capacity to engage the opposite sex with absolute integrity and utter fearlessness is incredible.  We’ve had presidents who couldn’t be trusted on this front for two minutes; it has been the snare of many a pastor as well.  As a result, there is a good deal of fear and awkwardness between men and women who are not married to each other.  Especially in the Church.  But Jesus is showing that it needn’t even be an issue.  Wow!”  John Eldredge, Utter Relief of Holiness, Chapter 2, page 28

I am sure I am not the only single woman out there who has felt the sting of this reality in the church.  You can’t have a normal conversation with a married man without feeling like you need to cut it short before someone thinks something weird.  In fact, I’m not even going to go there but rather allow you to go there yourself, even if you are married.  Surely you remember.  Singleness carries a stigma that bleeds over into so many areas and you end up actually living your life controlled by an isolating cancerous lie.

Singles were never meant to live life alone especially in the church, and yet somehow that is exactly what happens.  The lie is that singles are safe if they are isolated in a group with each other, and as Jesus demonstrated, oh how contraire.  Women need men.  Men need women.  Married couples need singles, and singles need married couples.  We all need children!  Segregation has never worked on any level.  Most profoundly I love that Jesus, as a single man, allows a scandalously single woman to embrace him with a fury of love that he obviously desired as he said her name right there in the garden.

As a single woman in today’s world I can’t help but believe that we need more “Gardeners” in the church, but even more so, I am deeply thankful that when Jesus got everything right, he didn’t leave anything out.