Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cinderella Goes to the White House: Seeking God's Heart in Singleness

{by Beth Pedison Gibson}

My first day of work at the White House turned out to be the annual staff Christmas party.  It was a magical evening.

Because I had spent the preceding few days “dressed in rags” unpacking what seemed like hundreds of boxes after moving into a tiny two-room apartment on Capitol Hill, I truly felt like Cinderella going to the ball. 

On that evening, the White House sparkled.  The President’s own Marine band played Christmas tunes.  The State Dining Room table overflowed with every delicacy imaginable.  Waiters served eggnog on silver trays. 
A line formed for guests to greet the President and Mrs. Bush. When it was my turn, I stepped forward. Before the military officers could announce me, Mrs. Bush said, "Beth, you’re here!”  She introduced me to President Bush saying, "She’s one of my new writers—no, she’s one of your new writers." 

I said, "This is my first day at work." 

The President joked, "Oh, this is just a typical day at the White House."  We chatted for another minute, and then the President and Mrs. Bush both said, "Well, we’re glad to have you here, Beth."

The photographer took our picture and I moved on, completely aglow.  Later, as I took a taxi home, I tried to re-live every moment of an almost perfect day. 

But I do remember thinking, “This was an amazing day, but it would be nice to share it with someone.”

I have thought about what I most want to share with you.  Because many of you reading this are single, and because I didn’t marry until my mid-30s, I decided I wanted to share some of my thoughts on being a single Christian woman in today’s world.  

It’s hard!  While people today – inside and outside the church – seem to be more accepting of singles than ever before, being single can still be lonely. 

God did say, “It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)  While I don’t interpret this as a promise that God will make a mate for every person, it does acknowledge what many of us feel so deeply. 

However, Paul wrote in the New Testament, “Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” (1 Corinthians 7:27-28)  
How do we reconcile these statements?  I believe both are true.  It’s difficult to be alone, but we shouldn’t marry for the sake of being married because marriage does bring a new set of challenges. And we certainly should not seek a marriage when it’s clearly outside of God’s will for us. 

I have noticed another seeming disparity in what many Christian leaders teach about how (or if) Christians should go about seeking a mate.  Many whom I respect say we should pray, have faith, and then take a completely passive role, waiting for God to bring the person He has to us.  And many can share personal stories of how God has done this.

Other Christians whom I also respect have expressed a different philosophy that goes something like this:  “If you wanted a job, you would pray and have faith about it.  But you would also send out resumes, network, and use resources available to find a job.  So why would we treat dating differently?”  They tell us that if you want to find a mate, pray and seek God’s will.  But also consider becoming involved with Christian singles ministries, websites, and other networking.

I could never decide which camp I was in.  So at different times, I alternated between the two.  But when I finally met my prince, Ken, I realized that you do first and foremost have to pray without ceasing and believe.  You can take some reasonable steps to put yourself in situations where you could meet someone God has for you.   But ultimately, it is a miracle when you find someone you fall in love with and want to marry, and he feels the same way about you, and it is clearly God’s will.  

What I’ve learned since being single is that this time (however long or short it is) does help prepare you for what’s ahead – marriage, children, and later, even the loss of loved ones.    All of these difficult “times of transition” require heavy doses of prayer, faith, seeking God’s will, and acting accordingly.  

While many people (Christians and others) may share helpful insights and advice, only God knows every detail and nuance of your circumstance and what His perfect will is for you.   If we learn to seek Him with all our hearts and listen to His still small voice while being single, we will be better prepared to see and embrace all God has in store for us

I encourage you -- whatever your circumstance – with God’s words:  “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

Much Love, 

((read more of Beth's story here and here))


  1. Hi, I don't think I have commented before but this one really hit home for me! What a great reminder! Thanks for sharing about your time being single, it was really encouraging. Blessings!

  2. Wow, great article. Might be my favorite on here. Thank you, Beth Gibson and all the best!

  3. This is such an amazing story! And as another person who can't decide what "camp" she's in, I am grateful for your perspective. Thank you so much!

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