Hello, all! My name is Kirsten Owings.
Growing up, I always imagined I would marry right out high school and have a kid or two by now. But here I am… almost 23 years old, approaching my five-year high school reunion and single. Single with no sign of that changing any time soon. Sound frustrating? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. I have been single for three years. I know what a lot of you are thinking. “You’re so young. There’s no rush. Just trust God and He will bring your husband to you. You have plenty of time to fall in love.” But I can tell you first hand, those comments don’t always cure a lonely day and a longing heart after seeing everyone around you falling in love and marrying off.
Single has been a label on my life that I can’t seem to shake. I am a youth leader for the Edge, Freedom Valley’s youth group. I had never felt any different than the other leaders until one day Jason, the youth pastor, introduced me to new students and the students’ parents as one of the only female, SINGLE, adult leaders. He also mentioned how much I love Jesus, how much I love the students and that I lead prayer team for the Edge, but I got caught up on the “single” label he had placed on my life. Let me just tell you all how wonderful Jason is as a friend, a mentor and a youth pastor. Hear my heart. I was NOT mad at Jason. I was surprised. And confused. I knew then and I still know now that Jason does not see me as less because I am a single leader. But I just could not understand why my relationship status would be important to people who were just meeting me (and I was just meeting) for the first time.
In the days, and probably weeks following this bizarre meeting, I began asking God what made people view my singleness as one of the defining factors of my life. What God revealed to me changed everything. He showed me that in a youth group full of teenage girls (and boys. I just can’t reach the males the way I can reach the females), the girls need to see boundaries, standards, and purity being lived out. It’s hard for students to trust “waiting is worth the wait” from couples who are married. Our automatic response becomes, “Yeah, easy for you to say... You have someone who loves you. You’re having sex. You’re not being tempted anymore because you’re married.” How silly. Temptation doesn’t go away once two people are married. There’s new temptation and new challenges.
The Lord also has me in this season of life to teach young girls how to get an attitude about their worth, their value in the eyes of Christ, protecting their purity, and guarding their hearts. I have been single for three years by choice. I’ve been asked out more times than I can count or care to remember since I’ve stopped dating... I’m sure that sounds awful. But the truth is, when you set a standard and you begin to live differently than the world does, people NOTICE. And they’re attracted to it. I’ve had several guys tell me that I’m not the kind of girl they usually go after, but they’re attracted to me and they can’t figure out why. I know why. Because I am living my life for Jesus, Jesus is the light, light attracts. They don’t understand that. But that’s the reason why. I am valuable and I am worthy to be served. I am valuable and I am worthy to be served. I am valuable and I am worthy to be served.
Coming from a background filled with self-harm, basically no self-worth or self-respect, bitterness, lying, sneaking around, sex before marriage, unfaithfulness, etc. It took a LONG time and a lot of healing before I believed that God saw me as valuable. When I realized that God is protective of me, of my heart, of my future… I WANTED to protect it too. I’ve listened to more relationship podcasts than you could ever imagine. I’ve read books on relationships. On marriage. On raising a family. I’ve talked to people in the church. And I’ve WATCHED married people. I’ve watched the people who have the type of marriage I want one day. I learned that in order to be a good wife and a good mother one day, I had to learn to be a person of character. That’s what I desperately want to show and to teach the next generation of girls!
I created a vision for relationships. I decided to use this time of waiting for my husband as a time to become a woman of character and integrity. I made up my mind that no matter how hard things got or how much it hurt I WOULD NOT settle. Sounds pretty simple. But what happens in the times when it does hurt? How does someone get through those times? I stopped lying to God. He knew my thoughts that I was attempting to hide from Him anyway. Who was I fooling? I stopped telling Him that it was easy to be single when the world was telling me I wasn’t worth much without a man by my side. I started to tell the Lord when it sucked, when I feel consumed by loneliness. I started to tell Him when everything in me hurt because I want to be a wife and a mommy more than anything and it hasn’t happened yet. And you know what He always tells me? “I know it hurts. I know. But wait. I’ve made you a promise, and I’m going to keep that promise. So hold on a little longer, there’s still more that I have for you to do. I will keep my promise. Just keep fighting.”
About Kirsten: A Strong+Sweet Contributor
Kirsten is a college student who works to help families in the inner city. She is passionate about caring for kids, youth, and also about world missions. Currently, she is learning Spanish to prepare for future missions work in the Dominican Republic, after a life-changing trip there this Winter.
This is Kirsten's first contributor post on Strong+Sweet, but you can expect to see much more from her here in the future! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story here, Kirsten! Love, Bonnie