Kimberly N. Alleyne
The Harvest Magazine, Publisher and Editor
Finding Sanctity through Service and Obedience
Memphis, Tenn., is a unique place. The city of good abode has an estimated population of 671,000 and is situated in the southwest corner of the state near Mississippi and Arkansas. Each year, thousands of people from around the globe trot to the county seat of Shelby to pay homage to Elvis Presley at his last and famous residence named Graceland. Even more fame is bestowed upon the culturally diverse southern hotspot because of its foot hold in the three Bs: barbecue, blues and the Bible. Memphis is famous for its barbecue, no matter the style. Many music historians says the blues were born in Memphis and with more than 2,000 churches of varying beliefs and denominations in its lay, it is truly a big notch in the nation’s bible-belt region. Perhaps not so unique about Memphis is its number of single adult residents.
There are an estimated 95.7 million unmarried and single Americans — more than half of them, 54 percent, are women. It is no surprise that single women outnumber single men in many of the country’s large cities and metropolitan areas. In fact, according to a 2006 survey by the American Community Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 20,000 more single women than men in Memphis.
Perhaps when these numbers are analyzed among single Christian adults, the results are more staggering and sobering. So in these treacherous times, what is a Christian single lady to do? We spoke with Rev. Keisha Earnest of Memphis, Tenn., about how she finds sanctity in her life as Christian soldier and daughter of God.
Explain your thoughts about living as a single, Christian woman. Growing up and most of my adult life, there are two things that I always thought I would be for sure. One was a wife, and the other was a mother. At various points in my life I had even gone so far as to choose names for the son and daughter I knew I would have.
As I passed age 27, my thirties seemed to be rapidly rushing by, I began to question God about what was taking so long. “Where was my husband?” I would ask, “And God, how do you expect me to raise children when I get old?” I would pray, and pray, and pray. Then one day, I threw up my hands and said with an open heart, “Thy will be done.” And that day, for the first time, it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, singleness was actually God’s plan for me. And so, I then began to look at the advantages of being single.
What challenges do you face as a single who is striving to live for the Lord? My biggest challenge is convincing other people that it’s not the end of the world to be single. I agree that, by design, the woman is physically weaker than the man. And that we need a man to provide and protect. The difference between a married woman and a single woman is that the married woman depends on her husband to provide and protect. The single woman depends directly on the Lord — the One who will never leave us or forsake us.
What do you enjoy most about being single? The freedom to enjoy life as I choose. Whether it’s going to church, hanging out with my friends, or taking an impromptu vacation, I have the freedom to do so. Now, some call that being selfish. But, I call it a blessing from God. What are your hobbies? Mostly I’m a computer geek. But I also like to create things. I love to hand make gifts and cards for my family. I am also a tv/movie/reality show queen. I am intrigued by watching drama unfold!
How do you combat loneliness or fears that you may not marry? Loneliness is not really a factor for me. I’m an only child so, being alone is where I find my sanctity. My work keeps me incredibly busy so I don’t have a lot of “downtime.” But in those times where I feel a need to be around someone, I do just that; I call my family and friends. And at the end of a long day, it feels good to go home to peace. I honestly don’t have any fears that I may not marry. I have put it in the hands of God. If He wants me to be a wife; then I will be a wife. But if He chooses for me to remain single; then I will remain single. See, I’m not in a battle with God about that anymore. I was, constantly, but I finally came to understand, accept, and appreciate that I am who He says I am. And I will become who He says I will become. And that I wouldn’t ever be happy until “Thy will be done.”
How has your status as a single Christian inspired other aspects of your life? Being single is teaching me discipline. It has allowed me to live out my dream of being an entrepreneur. If I had gotten married and had children, I’m pretty sure that I would have made different career choices. My focus would have been in another direction. And I love what I do. So, I’m not so sure that I would have wanted it any other way.
How do you respond to society’s pressures (sex and non-Christian activities)? I am learning not to respond to society’s pressures. And I say that “I am learning” in the present because it’s a daily decision to do what’s right. I will be the first one to admit that I’ve messed up before; messed up big. I’ve certainly had to pray, and cry, and beg myself out of a situation or two. But I always go back to, and hold true to, the call that God placed on my life. I told myself that either I could please Him, or please myself. Until one day I realized that I could do both. But the key is, I had to line myself up with His will. I have to want what He wants for me. Desire what He desires for me. And God only wants the very best for us. When you realize that, you also realize that all that the world can offer is second best. And why settle?
How do you respond to society’s tendency to label unmarried women in a negative light? (i.e. spinster, old-maid) Well, they labeled Jesus so, at least I’m in good company! But seriously though, we have to realize that people will always try to define you; keep you in a box. But we are not all cookie-cutter images of each other. And so we should not try to follow in the footsteps of others. Instead, take notice of their footsteps, yet all the while creating your own footsteps that fit your feet and follow your path perfectly.
My advice to other singles who are feeling the pressures of not being married? Pray about it. But don’t pray for a mate, pray that God’s will be done in your life. Pray for clarity in direction. And accept His will. Make a conscience decision to enjoy your life; married or single you are blessed. Sometimes the grass may seem greener on the other side. But once you get over there and turn around, you realize it wasn’t greener at all, it was simply the angle at which you were standing.