Monday, August 20, 2012

What My Friends Are Doing Right

Being single isn’t easy.

Call it whatever you want—single, single-again, unmarried—my life now seems to be branded by what it’s NOT, rather than what it IS.

As if I’m no longer a whole person.

As if single somehow equals incomplete.

Case in point: the dictionary I use for work defines single as “not married” or “unaccompanied by others.” (So according to Merriam-Webster, singleness is, ipso facto, something “un-” or “not.”)
True, my former pastor-husband left me, but I beg to differ with Mr. Webster and the Merriam brothers regarding the rest of their definition of single.

I am NOT “unaccompanied by others.”
I am, in fact, surrounded by friends.

Fabulous friends.

Friends who are doing a lot of things RIGHT.

May I take a moment to brag on my girlfriends?

(By the way, if you know people who are single for whatever reason—never married, single-again, widowed, with a military spouse deployed, etc.—some of this might help you be a good friend to them.)

·         They give great hugs.

A single person doesn’t have the kind of physical touch that spouses take for granted in marriage. (No, no… not THAT!) I mean the simple things, like a hug or pat on the arm. You don’t realize how much you need these little nudges of affection until they’re snatched away from you. And my girlfriends wrap me up in great, big, love-you-lots bear hugs. I need those.

·         They include me.

I wondered if my friends would shun me when I was branded with the scarlet D. But the opposite has been true! Our friendship has been even stronger these past few months. My girlfriends keep inviting me to their get-togethers. They don’t stand protectively closer to their husbands when I’m around. They don’t invite single men to “even out the numbers” when I come. They just include me. They treat me as their friend Jen (not their "single" friend Jen). When I’m with them, I don’t feel like I’m wearing a label. I just feel like myself. That's a huge blessing.

 ·         They offer to help—and follow through.

My girlfriends understand that being a work-at-home single mom can be overwhelming. So they’ll text me: “Going to the grocery store—what do you need?” or “At the pool—want to bring your kids?” or “My son wants a friend to play with—bring yours over?” Just today, my neighbor brought me a Route 44 Coke Zero because I couldn’t go to Sonic while my three kids were napping. I can’t tell you how much I love these specific offers to help! Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate the general “let me know if you need anything” offers too. But it's hard to ask for help sometimes. That's why I’m especially grateful when my girlfriends take the initiative to ask if they can help with specific things.

 ·         They let me bounce ideas off them.

With three kids ages ten and under, I often encounter parenting-related issues that I want to discuss with someone. In two-parent families, one spouse tends to even out the other when it comes to parenting—or anything else, for that matter. But what if you’re spouse-less? If you have wonderful girlfriends like I do, you call your friends! Remember, an unmarried person doesn't have a companion to discuss things with, so it's a huge blessing to have friends who are willing to be a sounding board.
·         They hold me accountable.

I know, the word accountable sends up all kinds of negative red flags—much like the word single. But accountability is a good thing. (Well, for me anyway. I can’t speak for every unmarried person, of course!) I have a few close girlfriends who pray for me regularly and hold me accountable for several specific things, ranging from spending time with God to maintaining my work schedule to keeping a pure heart. They ask me the hard questions. They check on me. They have the freedom to correct me. With no one else at home to notice if I sleep in or slack off or stumble into sin, I desperately need their fierce friendship.

I could go on and on... but then I'd get a text from one of my girlfriends wondering why I'm blogging so late at night and why haven't I gone to bed yet? :-)

For those of you who actually made it all the way to this paragraph, thanks so much for indulging me on this post. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed and am tempted to tunnel-vision on my struggles, it helps to step back and choose to be thankful for what God has given me.

And tonight, I'm especially thankful for my girlfriends.

I love you gals!


  1. That is worded beautifully, Jen. Being a single mom of three children, also, I agree with every word. ~Jennifer

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Jennifer. I'm so encouraged by your kind words! Hugs to you and your sweet kids!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, swseetheart. Love you! I don't know how on earth I would have survived this year without your support, help, and fierce friendship. You are one of God's greatest blessings to the kids and me! XOXOXOXOXOXO

  3. Replies
    1. And I love having you in my life, too, Karen! How blessed I am for God to have sent me such wonderful, godly, prayerful, amazing friends. Love and great big hugs to you and your precious family!