By: Rukiyat Gilbert
Twenty-four years ago, if I was asked to describe what my life would look like in my early forties, I would have said, “I will be happily married with a few children, a successful and stable career, have a nice home in the city, and contributing to a stable society.” Those goals were not too lofty, right? Well, here we are, 24 years later and that first goal has still not been realized. So, how does a single Christian woman, interested in dating and marrying a Christian man navigate life? Fervently and Relentlessly!
I determined two decades ago that I would squeeze every drop of goodness out of the life that God has blessed me with. In both my professional and social life, I foster genuine connections with people, allowing opportunities to learn the background and interests of those I come in contact with. This enables me to enjoy robust connections and develop relationships that are more than surface deep. It not only fuels my heart and warms my soul; it creates space for me to share the Gospel of Christ and encourage others to develop a relationship with Him.
Being single with no children has afforded me the time to be a missionary, going on five mission trips in the U.S. and abroad, to serve as a discipleship ministry leader for 80 plus women, become a Sunday School teacher, and complete numerous spiritual and personal development classes and discipleship ministries. Not to mention traveling for fun, living an active social life, and starting my own business and ministry. My life as a single woman does not stop!
While taking my first discipleship class almost ten years ago I finally learned the meaning of a phrase my mother always told me. She would say “You can’t serve two masters.” While in the Queen Esther Ministry I learned that I could not be one way at church and another way in the street. I could not serve God and also serve my flesh; my patterns and behaviors needed to model God’s guidance all the time, not just some of the time. That was the catalyst for me blending my two lives. I gave up a lot of behaviors and practices that were not in alignment with the way God wanted me to live my life. I started practicing abstinence as a dating and lifestyle habit, which has allowed me to make better dating choices and remove men from my life who were not God’s best for me. I also stopped bartending, which facilitated a pattern of excessive drinking in others. I began filling my time with reading and understanding scripture, challenging the societal norms I had become accustomed to, learning how to discern the voice of God and taking action steps to walk the path that He has for me. This journey has allowed me to host in-home Bible studies, speak to hundreds of women and young girls about presenting their best selves to the world for God’s glory and to our benefit, and minister to women as a facilitator in the discipleship ministry that changed my life—with so much more on the horizon.
While I am not Jesus-level perfect, I recognize that my mistakes are not failures, but new opportunities to grow and improve. Trust me, the dating pool of Christian men that are actively aligning with God’s purpose for their lives is not huge, but the pool is open. And the way our God works, there could be no one at the pool but the lifeguard and that could be the one God sent there for me! What I have come to know for sure is that God is “…able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). So, that short list of dreams that I had for my life in my forties, God is blowing all of that out of the water! He’s making moves that I cannot keep up with, but I am fervent in my actions and relentless in my pursuit while I try to keep pace with where He is leading me!