I feel like the Tulips
I heard a pastor once say that “if you are single, there is no reason you shouldn’t be serving in the church”.
I was 15 years old when I started serving in my church. I taught Sunday school every single Sunday of the year, minus the weekends I was away in New York or Maryland. During the summers, I would volunteer with Vacation Bible School and I loved every minute it. When I turned 18 I started my first job and volunteering every Sunday turned into all the Sundays I didn’t have to work. I graduated Nursing School when I was 23, I started serving Wednesday in children ministries in the mornings in addition until I started taking Bible study classes with my friends. When I turned 31, I started leading my Bible Study group. All these things, inside the church.
During the week, with my time off I volunteered in a teens’ shelter, a women’s shelter, I painted people’s houses, cleaned their bathrooms and refrigerators, I sat down with an elderly man to listen to his stories about the war, and served food in homeless shelters. I never thought about all the things I was doing through the years until the moment I heard these words. Of course I have read Paul’s letter in Corinthians addressing singles. And his words are true, I had the time to spare to do all the things, to meet with and talk to strangers.
But when I turned 30, I stopped serving in Children’s ministries at church and started blogging and volunteered with victims of sex trafficking. I was doing a lot less significantly than I had been. Lately, my writing is all I have time for.
I won’t lie, I questioned the past 17 years of my life as I heard those words “if you are single, there is no reason you shouldn’t be serving in the church”. I had a desire to help people with whatever I was capable of offering, changing with every season of my life. I questioned God, is this why I fail at every relationship? Did I go through all these heartbreaks because I am supposed to teach other people’s children? Does my work outside the church not count for anything? I feel ashamed that those questions came to mind.
My heart feels like the dying tulips, I have to say it, this man may be a pastor but he is wrong. I struggled for months feeling guilt for not serving more, guilt for not serving inside the church anymore, guilt for saying “no I can’t” if I was too tired or if it didn’t work with my schedule, I felt guilt just for being me, and guilt that I am not good enough. I don’t recall any day I did these things because I was single but rather because I wanted to live a bold life for Jesus. I hope that there are married men and women who serve God in and outside the church because God gave them a heart to and don’t live with the mentality that “oh that’s what singles are for”. Or maybe I am wrong and that’s all I’m here for. I am like the tulips, my petals have fallen off.