I have always felt like hiking is a lot like life. There are ups and downs, there are times when there seems to be nothing but an uphill climb, there are times when you need to rest, there are times when you feel you aren’t going to make it; but if it’s a long hike you should always walk it with other people.
Many churches talk about marriage, have marriage conferences, constantly talk about how to have a healthy marriage, and so on. Which is good, and we shouldn’t stop talking about it, but if that takes up most of the sermons and focus it leaves single people, single moms, and single mom widows like myself feeling very left out.
Ben was my “hiking” partner in life and it was devastating to grieve and to lose him when he died.
Hike Reflections That Transfer to Life:
- The actual hike I recently went on helped me feel less like a single mom but more like mom with a child and a great community of people who were there to lighten my load when I couldn’t hold my son any longer. Losing Ben made me feel overwhelmed and alone but “hiking” life with community helped me see that my family is more than just me and Zeke, it also includes the family of God. Being in community certainly doesn’t ever replace or feel equal to having a husband but it does lighten my load and it does give me encouragement when I am tired and feel like I can’t keep going.
- It helped me realize that raising my son will look different from the rest of my friends who have husbands. But my son is well cared for by other dads and other men who love him too. Maybe not the same as Ben, but these men still love him and that is something all kids need and deserve.
- We are all on this life hike together. God did call us to be “fruitful and multiply” but the over arching thing I think God wants for all of us is to be in community with people of all relationship statuses. Being married isn’t the best relationship status we can strive for, it is just ONE relationship status that we can be in. Whatever relationship status we are in, God wants us to love everyone; to seek after His heart; to care for one another.
- We should strive to not only strengthen our marriages but to be aware and be alert on how to care and to include people of all walks of life and relationship statuses. I am going to keep this in mind if I ever do get married again. If I get married I want to intentional in how to include all kinds of single people: single moms, widows, divorced, people with no family, and so on. Being intentional means that I will have to think of things and activities that anyone can enjoy no matter what relationship status or walk of life they are in.
A Few Activities Everyone Can Enjoy Together:
- Hiking of course!
- After church, or just because, pack a lunch and have picnics outside together
- Having game nights
- Playing sports after church or during the week together
- Craft or sewing sessions together
- Building projects for families in need
- Raise funds for people in the church or a cause and coordinate garage sales together where people can offer things to contribute to the garage sale and ways to help on the day of
- Cooking and/or having meals together
Note: Doing activities together must also take into consideration realistic times things start and end. Single people without kids have the ability to have events that start at 10pm or go on spontaneous trips. Single moms, single widows, and married people can go to these events but most the time it takes planning ahead of time of who can take care of the kids, if places are kid friendly, and nap/ feeding times.
And people with kids (myself included) when hanging out with people who don’t have kids make sure the majority of the conversations don’t revolve around just topics on kids. We need to make sure we talk about things everyone can contribute and add to.
Some Topics Everyone Can Talk About
- Good movies/TV shows and why we like them
- Favorite travel places and stories
- How work is going
- Dream Job/worst job
- How to pray for one another
- Where do you feel stuck in life and walk with God?
All Relationship Statuses Matter
I felt very validated at my church when one of our pastors actually said that single people are just as complete as married couples and have a lot to offer the church community.
Ultimately we all need each other. We cannot “hike” life alone. For the all the different kinds of single people, may we be people who recognize that we have a lot to offer our communities beyond babysitting. We have resources, talents, and gifts that bless married and unmarried people. And for people who are married, be people who not only focus on strengthening your marriages but being good friends to others and loving people who are married and unmarried and include them in activities and events.
May we strive to be people who appreciate and affirm people of all relationship statuses no matter what relationship status we are in. And may we all strive to be intentional in how to include one another in each others lives. We exist to carry one another’s loads, to encourage those in marriage and not in marriage, to care for our children, to care for the world around us, and to reflect Christ in how we love and live our everyday lives. When we are in the family of God together we all have a lot to offer one another and are ALL COMPLETE relationships in Christ.