You almost missed this moment, I sensed God speak to my heart as I watched my friend's two little boys, Ben and Zach, dashing excitedly through my sprinkler one lazy summer day. Amidst their squeals of delight, I was overcome with emotion as I grasped God's implication about the power of my choices.
I'm blessed to have close friendships with several families. That might not seem unusual, except that I'm a never-married 50-year-old with no kids. My lifestyle differs greatly from my married friends', so relationships across the marital aisle don't come naturally.
While this social divide is understandable, it certainly isn't biblical. In the early church, believers didn't distinguish between marrieds and singles; they simply lived in community and "gave to anyone as he had need" (Acts 2:45). God intends his church to unite despite the many cultural differences separating it: There "should be no division in the body, but … its parts should have equal concern for each other" (1 Corinthians 12:25).
To follow this biblical pattern, my married friends and I had to push through obstacles that would have robbed us of treasured relationships. While I wanted to draw close to these dear souls, at the same time I wanted to withdraw from them to avoid facing what I didn't have: a husband, children, and a seemingly endless social circle. I wrestled with an internal tug-of-war between opposing inclinations: I want to be with you—I can't bear to be with you. I loved the friends, but hated the painful reminders. So I had to make intentional choices not to run away from married friends.1