About a week after Husband asked me out my parents gave me a book for my birthday called Fine China is for Single Women Too. Now, they got it for me before I was asked out but they went ahead and gave it to me anyway. Mainly for laughs. Anyway, I read it a few weeks ago. I figured if I was going to read it I had better do it while I could still vaguely remember being single.
I really wish I had read this book while I really was single. I thought it was outstanding. Now, I'm a little biased since I'm a big Lydia Brownback fan ever since I read A Woman's Wisdom. I think the biggest thing this book has going for it is that it's extremely Christ-centered, but the second biggest thing is that Ms. Brownback is actually a single woman. I do remember reading books about being single from married women and thinking, “well, this is easy for you to say...”
The title is actually very clever. She's not talking about entertaining, though one could see how entertaining would be encompassed in her message. She's talking about not putting your life on hold until marriage. She encourages women to find their contentment in whatever state they are in. Maybe you are considering being a missionary, or getting a Masters degree, or just buying yourself your own set of fine china. Ms. Brownback would endorse your pursuit of any and all of these things. If God has someone for you, that person and you will find each other no matter what you are doing, and if He doesn't, you will already have found contentment.
According to Ms. Brownback, God's ultimate goal for all of our lives is to make us holy. “It is his top priority” she says. Our marital status is merely a way He goes about sanctifying us. Married or single only means God has chosen that for us, for now, to make us holy. When a single woman (or man) is tempted to feel as if something is wrong with her she can think of what God is doing in her life. He didn't forget about her. He has a perfect plan for her which involves singlehood right now. It might even involve singlehood long term, but if so, it's only because that is the way God feels will be the most sanctifying.
Ms. Brownback also gives a new way of thinking about your singlehood. One of my favorite parts was when she brought in the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism “Q: What is the chief end of man? A: Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” If one is single, “God has determined that you will most glorify him and come to enjoy him most fully as a single woman.”1 That's an interesting way of thinking. It's not just about the contentment of the woman, but it's about God ordering our lives so that we can glorify him the most. God has chosen singlehood for you right now because that is how you are most effective to the kingdom. What a wonderful thought!
Much of what Ms. Brownback says in this book can be found in most books written for single women, but again, it helps that Ms. Brownback practices what she preaches. You get a feeling reading her book that if she can do it, you can do it too. Also, she just doesn't hold back from getting right to the heart of the matter and completely backs up all her statements with scripture. She not only encourages those struggling with being single, but she also chastises those complaining against the lot God has given them. I think if I was a single woman I would have been challenged and encouraged by this book. I will be recommending this book to all of my single female friends.
I want to end quoting something beautiful Ms. Brownback says about God's work in us. God is doing something with our lives, “Weaving something beautiful out of the tangle yarn of our sins, our frailty and our disappointments. We cannot see what he is making, but we can be sure the end result will make us beautiful...Isn't that reason for thankfulness? We can rejoice and be thankful even before we see the finished work.”2
1Brownback, Lydia. Fine China Is for Single Women Too. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub., 2003, pg. 16
2Ibid., pg. 62