I have to be honest! When I got the WhatsApp message inviting the Kingdom Community to a three-day retreat that they were having in Oxfordshire at the end of April, my first impression was: “Errrrrr… how can I go? I don’t know anyone? I joined in December 2015 and got the invite in February. How can I go away for the weekend with people I don’t know? That’s crazy! Who does that?!”
But I know my God and know that he presents us with blessings in the form opportunities and it’s up to us if we utilize it. I perceived that it was a God given opportunity to fellowship with a bunch of other single Christians and learn something new. So, I went for it and signed up!!! At that point, I had no idea who else was going and what would be involved. But for me, that was part of the excitement. I originally signed up for two nights (Friday to Sunday) but decided to upgrade and go for an extra night to make the most of the unique opportunity.
I drove up on Thursday afternoon with David, Abena, Jenny and Esther and it was really nice to get to know them on the road trip up to Oxfordshire. After a two and a half hour drive we finally arrived at the countryside manor estate. The house and its grounds were impressive and it was so nice to be in the countryside and to look out of the window and see sheep chilling in the fields, it’s not something you see every day. I loved getting to know the early bird arrivals but I was also looking forward to other people who were going to join us on Friday and Saturday. After a delicious full English breakfast cooked by the team, we all congregated in the living room as one big family and started with an amazing time of Praise & Worship. Friday’s session kicked off at 9am with Pastor Bayo and his wife Pastor Bola.
So, what did we learn?
We were asked us to discuss the challenges of being single. We all had an opportunity to express our views and be open and honest with no judgement!! The KC men and women were able to share their challenges and we could all learn from each other. We soon realised that we’re not in this on our own. The general consensus was that the five biggest challenges of being single are:
- Comparison with friends/family who are already married
- Sexual Frustration
- Family and friends who think there is ‘something wrong’ with you or say your ‘too picky’
- Setting goals to be married by at certain age and that goal has not been met
Social media is a big problem that makes us question God’s timing. I know what you’re thinking! If you see ONE MORE couple declaring their love for each other on Facebook or one more ‘happy couple’ shot with their two kids, it will push you over the edge. I get it; but there is no reason to compare ourselves to married friends or family members who appear to have the ‘perfect life’. Marriage will not define or fulfil us; only having a relationship with God will do this. We were reminded that God (the King of King’s and the Lord of Lord’s) has a GOOD plan for our lives.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,” Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,”
During this season of singleness our focus should be on God and not on ‘getting a MAN’ before we’re 30 or 35 or 40. We should be living for an audience of one….. JESUS……who is more than enough!! When we seek God first all other things will be added to us (Matthew 6:33). We are sons and daughters of God and he delights in giving good gifts to his children so that HIS GLORY can be revealed (Matthew 7:11). We need to change the way we think about ourselves and the way God sees us by renewing our minds and spending time with God in his word (The Bible) and in prayer DAILY.
Errrr, but i’ve got needs?
I HEAR YOU!!! All of this sounds great, but it’s easier said than done. Sexual frustration and loneliness as a single person is no joke. IT’S HARD!! When sexually related thoughts come into our heads at 3am, Pastor Bayo suggested that we sing praise and worship songs and those thoughts will soon go. Those that are courting should love the person enough to say NO to avoid sexual sin. Loneliness can be dealt with by having genuine friendships with other men and women who love Jesus, which can be found though being connected to Kingdom Connections monthly meet-ups.
The waiting process is preparation. So, ask yourself are you really ready? The Holy Spirit once said to me: “I need to make sure that you can be trusted with one of my sons.”……WOW. God is protective and loves us too much to give us a wonderful thing too soon.
What are the skills you will need to learn that will prepare you for marriage?
- Knowing your purpose
- Spiritual development (Knowing how to Pray/How to study the Word)
- Leadership (Men) Submission (Women
- Homemaking ie (Keeping a home/cooking/cleaning)
- Handing other relationships ie friends, extended family, church family
- Bedroom Activities (When married)
During this waiting period it’s a great opportunity to develop and cultivate the above skills before marriage with the help of the Holy Spirit. If you know who you are in Christ then you can know your purpose and then have a vision. Ask yourself the question: What is my Purpose? What is the thing that God has created me to do among the Saints? Knowing your purpose will help you choose a life partner who lines up with your God given purpose.
I was grateful for the abundance of knowledge that I received and it’s made me view my season of singleness differently. I now see it as a fantastic opportunity to have more time to prepare for my husband, so it will be worth the wait. Apart from the amazing teaching that we received. One of the best things about the KC Retreat was hanging out with like minded people who love the Lord and developing Christ Authored relationships. We played games, talked for hours about EVERYTHING, cooked together, cleaned together, ate good food together, drank loads of tea and laughed ALOT to the point of tears (for me anyway).
Did I make the right decision to go to the retreat? YES. It was one of the best weekends of my life. I got to know the men and women at the retreat on a deeper level and I loved the transparency. The KC Men were happy to answer any and every question we had, which was nice. All the questions that I had were answered and it was great to hear the male perspective. I now have a better understanding of how they see things. Ladies, if they ask you for your number, it means they like what they see and they want to get to know you better. They don’t know yet if there is something there, so don’t read too much into it or get emotionally invested. If there is something more there they will communicate that to you!
Seeds of knowledge and wisdom were sown into our spirits and it’s my prayer that they will fall on good soil and reap a bountiful harvest in our relationships and future marriages. I look forward to the day that we can dance at each other’s weddings and laugh at the days to come knowing that those seeds of wisdom have been planted clearly evidenced by good fruit.
By Stacy Irish