I didn’t really want to write on this topic, yet here I am. The fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about it is an indication that I needed to speak on it.
About a month ago someone made a statement that generated a lot of opinions all over social media, and even traditional media. Who spoke these words is inconsequential; what’s most important is how many others believe these words as truth.
“If you have made it to 35 and you are unmarried, you are a leftover woman. You are what is left. Men know that there is likely something wrong with you.”
I was listening to a radio show one day and I heard the audio clip of this statement followed by the opinions of both men and women chiming in on its validity. Let me be clear, I was not shocked when I heard the words from the audio clip. I was used to these types of statements from this individual, which is why I chose not to follow him. What I was most taken aback by were the women’s voices I heard sounding off in agreement with him.
I heard many opinions, all of which I took with a grain of salt, yet I attempted to hear each one with an open mind. But then I heard the voice of a mother of a 35-year-old daughter who agreed that her daughter was one of those leftover women. In fact, she had shared with her daughter that she was essentially a lost cause to be a wife because she hadn’t married yet. Her words stopped me in my tracks.
As a woman who is over the age of 35 and unmarried, of course, I have my own opinion on this statement. And while my blog would be a great place to share this opinion, I’m choosing to offer something a little different. Because I am not just an unmarried woman over the age of 35, I’d like to offer some truth as a child of God. I speak as someone who believes in and follows the only perfect man who walked this Earth, and I believe this perspective is missing from the conversation.
Romans 3:23 says that we have all sinned and we all fall short of the glory of God. Let’s be clear, there is something “wrong” with all of us, even those who have been chosen by a spouse. That’s why we all need Jesus, married or not.
Imperfect as we are, we are also fearfully and wonderfully made masterpieces of the Lord, our Creator. Each of us has a unique journey and plan that God knows and orchestrates from the beginning to the end. And whether that journey includes a spouse or several spouses or no spouse over the course of one’s life, it has no bearing on someone’s value.
Lastly, we have free will and we can make our own plans, but God has the final say. He determines our steps. Not everyone has the same journey, timetable, or plans for their life. And only God knows the when, the why, and the how. That means that it is not up to us to judge or condemn people based on where they are at any single moment in life.
While I know who and whose I am, it doesn’t make controversial statements Iike the one shared above any easier for me to digest. I can only imagine what it must have felt like for someone to hear this statement and trust it as a truth about themselves.
The truth is our words have power. They can bring life or death, build up or tear down, create or destroy. That’s why we must be careful what we choose to speak over the lives of others and also what we choose to believe as the truth about our own. It matters.