Life's busy, read it when you're ready!

Create a free account to save articles for later, keep track of past articles you’ve read, and receive exclusive access to all RP resources.

Search thousands of RP articles

Articles, news, and reviews that celebrate God's truth.

Get Articles Delivered!

Articles, news, and reviews that celebrate God's truth. delivered direct to your Inbox!


Advice for young women … from A to Z

The late teens and early twenties are an exciting time for young women, but with so many opportunities to be considered, and big decisions to be made, they can also be unsettling. How can young women live wisely now? How can they best prepare for their future when that future may feel very unknown?

As I discussed these questions with family members one Sunday afternoon, I was intrigued by my relatives’ different thoughts and perspectives. And I wondered what kinds of responses I’d get if I extended the same questions to a wider group of Reformed women.

So I asked for thoughts from the women in my own congregation, and also reached out to colleagues, friends, and extended family members near and far, some of whom then shared or discussed these questions with others. I asked things like, If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Are there things you’re glad you did at that age, or wish you’d done differently?

In the end I received responses from a broad cross-section of Reformed women of different ages and life experiences – and on a wonderful variety of topics. What came through beautifully, again and again, was the reality of God’s Fatherly hand in their lives – guiding, teaching, sustaining – and the wisdom they’d gleaned from lifetimes of studying and applying God’s Word.

What follows is an A-to-Z collection of advice and encouragement that these women wanted to share with their young sisters in Christ, on everything from inner beauty to good habits, relationships to prayer.


“Choose your occupation with your heart in mind. A job may pay well but may not be what you are looking for. Family businesses are great, but may not be where you want to be.”

“Now I look back and wish I had thought more about what I would love to do as a job and getting paid for what I love to do.”


“Measure your beauty not in pounds or compliments (which fluctuate, fade and are false) but through small acts like smiles and joyful eyes, through kind words and becoming humble and quiet in spirit. These are what make a woman beautiful, for beauty is found within.”

“A beautiful heart rooted in God is more beautiful and lasting than a beautiful body.”


“Have courage to do difficult things and to grow as an adult – such as moving away from your parents. It is incredible what growth awaits – and how much you realize the extent of love and care your parents provided!”

“Be open-minded. Go explore and travel and make friends instead of always doing what’s easy or comfortable.”

“Needing to do things out of your comfort zone is a life-long reality, so start practicing now. At middle age, I still often need to take a deep breath before I make that phone call or strike up that conversation. Difficult things are often necessary and also worthwhile, so be brave!”


“When looking for a boyfriend/husband, keep doing the things you love to do and keep running the race for Jesus. As you are running this race, you will (hopefully) look beside you and see that someone is also running the same race and has the same priorities and goals.”

“I was once told about a father who said this to his children: ‘When entering the dating scene and seeking a life partner, find someone who loves Jesus more than he/she loves you.’ Very wise words for generations to come.”

“Romance is exciting but one cannot be hopelessly in love and also wise. So become wise first in knowing who you are through God’s eyes, how He loves and cares for you, before you enter into any relationship. If you have a solid relationship with the Lord, a beautiful relationship can be nourished with another human being.”

“Be obedient to and focused on God first before ‘looking for’ a husband, and make sure the potential Mr. Right is doing the same.”

“It’s far better to be single than to be with the wrong person (especially someone who isn’t truly a spiritual ‘soulmate’). Don’t settle!”

“There is not a perfect age to get married. Don’t set an age goal to be married by. Be content with God’s timing. If you are waiting to meet that special person in your life, perhaps to settle down with and hopefully start a family together, remember that should not be your main goal in life. Some marry in their 30s, 40s, 50s and even for the first time in their 60s. Some missed the opportunity to have children because they married later in life; some were not blessed with children no matter what age they married at. But their marriages are still blessed with the love they have for each other and the time they can devote to extended family, church family, community and kingdom opportunities. Some never marry and are quite content with their single life which gives them other opportunities to serve. (Think of the Apostle Paul). Seek God’s will for your life. Pray for God’s guidance. Be content.”


“Develop the talents that God has given – you have them for a reason. Getting some training now will give you options down the road. Whether it’s an academic degree or practical training, if you have the opportunity, take it!”

“Some people love to learn and continue to do so. There are so many expectations around this now, though. If you find a job you love, it’s not always about continuing your education. You can learn as you go! On the flip side, with the cost of living now, we highly encourage our girls to seek jobs that may allow them to work from home or have flexible hours as they may need to help support their family.”

“If you have college plans, try to avoid student debt! Apply for bursaries; work part-time (consider taking fewer courses per semester, even if it takes you an extra year to finish); and commit to living frugally. (That can be hard when all your friends are working and have money to go out, but think long-term!)”

“When I was heading into my twenties, part of the reason I chose the nursing program was that while I hoped to get married and have a family, I didn’t actually know if and when that would happen, so I wanted to prepare for the possibility of being single for a long time or for life. It seemed like an interesting and worthwhile career, and I knew I would earn enough to support myself. Even though I didn’t actually do that career for very long, I don’t feel it was wasted or have any regrets. The years I spent at university and the four years I spent as an RN were valuable ones for me, helping me grow in many ways. I was also able to be a blessing for numerous people in those years through that job. I think I would follow the same line of thinking if I had to do it again.”

“I didn’t know if my degree (English and creative writing) would lead to a career, but I was prepared to do something else for my job and do my writing on the side if needed, so it still seemed worthwhile. I was able to live at home during college, work part-time, and avoid debt, which was also a factor; it wouldn’t have felt responsible or stewardly to go deeply into debt for an uncertain outcome. You have to think all these things through, and find that right balance of being practical while still pursuing what’s important to you. So be wise, but don’t be too quick to dismiss a dream either!”

“Even if you are in a serious relationship, I would recommend still getting some education as you will never regret it. I never did finish my degree, and always wish I had as it’s so much harder to do when you are older.”

“If at all possible, I’d encourage women to get a post-secondary education, whether that be a degree, diploma or a trade. There may come a time you will need to supplement your husband’s income or you may not get married or you may marry much later in life. An education often gives you an opportunity to work in a field that you love and enjoy before, after or during the child-rearing stage in life.”


“Maintain a good relationship with your parents, as they are the ones who love you, and want what is best for you. They have the wisdom of life experience. They are not ‘old-fashioned.’”

“Spend time with your grandparents. Ask them questions about their younger lives.”

“If God blesses you with children, plan to make the job of nurturing and teaching your children a priority. From personal experience, I have no regrets being a stay-at-home mom. When we had our first child, we considered the cost of me going back to work (childcare, transportation, clothes, convenient meals) and concluded it really wasn’t financially worth the added stress and busyness it would add to our lives. Plus, I wanted to be the main influencer in our children’s upbringing.”


“Eat breakfast!”

“Be at home by 10:30. Asleep by 11.”

“Cultivate the habits that will keep you healthy – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Moving toward independence means you (not your parents) are responsible for you not skipping breakfast… or Bible study.”


“It is ok to not be ok. Seek help, accept offered help, and take it to the Lord in prayer.”
“‘Keeping up appearances’ – We’re all tempted to do it, and there’s even a British sitcom with that title! Be real! Be genuine! Be honest. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Ask for help and guidance if you need it.”

“Life is hard. Accept this and work through the challenges. Ask for help when you need it (so many struggle in silence). And remember, God will carry you through.”

“What comes easy to one, may not to another. Help out where you can. It’s okay to say NO to things now and then, you don’t have to do everything.”


“Consider your identity! First and foremost you are a child of God! Your identity is in Christ. So often we are introduced as so-and-so’s wife, the daughter of _____ & _____, or so-and-so’s mom. Growing spiritually and closer to God in every season of our life is key to all our other relationships. Focus on the vertical relationship with God first and then horizontally with all other relationships.”


“The world promises happiness and pleasure and excitement without God, but don’t be fooled. True joy comes in living with Him and for Him.”


“Be thoughtful, be kind. Don’t just focus on yourself. Everyone you meet is struggling with something; everyone could use a smile or a kind word.”


“Don’t wait for your life to ‘really start’ once you graduate, or start working, or get married, or have children. Those are all exciting prospects. But our God is sovereign and has a purpose for our lives exactly where He has placed us in this moment. Consider how you can live as a daughter of God right here and now. Don’t put your life on pause until everything is perfect. It never will be until the New Creation. But God does great work with us, despite our imperfection and our imperfect circumstances. And in so doing, all the more glory goes to Him.”

“Pray continually for God to guide your steps and then do the work He has before you, in whatever capacity that is, whether you are busy developing a career, a relationship, or raising children. The Lord is shaping your heart, your character, and the talents you have. Honor Him by not continually looking at the future, but instead put your hand to the task at hand and trust that God will answer your prayer and guide and direct your life.”

“Work on your character, and daily habits. Continually seek God in prayer. He loves you, and you are very worthy to Him, and He will grant you all things you need.”


“Give joyfully what is rightfully the Lord’s when it comes to tithing.”

“Make relationships, not stuff your priority. Don’t bemoan what you can’t afford; take pleasure and be content with what the Lord has blessed you with.”

“Save your money when you are young, and don’t waste it on frivolous things. Don’t focus on materialistic things, or things that don’t really matter.”

“Simply put, live within your means. Never look at the ‘minimum balance’ on a credit card; always pay it in full. If you can’t pay your credit card then you can’t afford what you put on there.”

“With finances, I used to make sure bills were paid before I would write my check for church (giving back to God), and there was always a shortfall. Only when the first fruits were given to the Lord, followed by bill payments, groceries, etc., it was then that there seemed to be a little extra at the end of the month.”

“Practice good stewardship with finances but also with your time, talents, possessions…. All belong to Him. It’s good to re-evaluate how we are doing as stewards.”


“Be deliberate about the media (music, movies, books, online content) you ingest; these things affect you more than you realize. Choose options that are good for your mind and soul. Philippians 4:8: ‘Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.’”

“One thing I wished I had done differently was pursued sports or a hobby or done something more often with friends. After I married, my husband’s job entailed many long hours, often leaving me at home to deal with children on my own for breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime. Even more time was spent away when he served as an elder. In hindsight, we should have discussed how we could have carved out some time for me to exercise and socialize.”


“Now is the time in your life when you have energy, you are generally not too ‘tied down’ by commitments – so take advantage of this time! It’s a season with its own unique blessings from God, so accept and use these blessings to His glory. When you look back, you won’t regret taking the chance to go on that mission trip, explore/develop a talent He’s given you, or take opportunities to stretch yourself and grow!”

“I did not always have the job I loved. I would have put some more thought to it, now looking back. I did learn that eventually when I would be looking for work and all the ads would want experience, during interviews I would say that I would never get any experience if no employer would take a chance on me, and ask them to allow me to learn the job and guarantee them that I was eager, willing, trustworthy, and would rarely take a day off. You have to learn to communicate the attributes of your personality and strong will to learn to achieve the goal of getting the job. It has worked for me for getting a number of jobs over the years.”


“Pray, pray, pray. I started praying in the car when driving and I found it remarkable how much I would be able to pray about in that 15-20 minute time of quiet in the car, just me and the Lord. I still do it!”

“After profession of faith, your faith will be tested. Be on your guard. Stand firm, read your Bible daily, make prayer your first point of action in the day, and your last at night. Go to Him in everything.”

“Ask for the Holy Spirit to work in your heart, and to direct your steps. He will open and close doors throughout your young adult life, so don’t be too distracted by non-stop outside entertainment, such as movies, scrolling on social media, etc.”

“Do your devotions earlier in the day, even when you’re busy. It’s a way of trustingly giving God the ‘first fruits’ of your time. I struggle with this, especially when I have a lot to do, but it’s a much better way to start my day.”


“As you mature, you should be finding yourself asking fewer ‘How can I get…” questions, and more ‘How can I give/help/serve’ ones.”

“You don’t have to have everything for your life figured out – you have more time than you think and things tend to fall into place.”


“Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable and challenge you. There was a (thankfully very short) time in my life where my group of friends and I went to bars/clubs. It took a good friend to call me out on this, and I’m so thankful she did.”

“When you are having a girls’ night, challenge yourselves to not gossip. Make a pact before the evening starts that no one will gossip, and call each other out if someone does.”

“Spend time alone, as well as with your friends/family, and talk about deep and meaningful things sometimes too, not only shallow talk, or gossip.”

“Your spouse (if you marry) should be your friend, but not your only friend. Christian friends, for both you and your spouse, are treasures along life’s journey. Some will be in your life for only a season; others may be lifelong friends. Take time to nurture friendships, whether you are single or in a romantic relationship.”


“A super helpful thing for me during the middle of the day or during a stressful moment is to take three deep, slow breaths and thank God for something(s). It helps me relax, acknowledge I’m not alone in anything, and that while my ‘problem’ may be important it’s not the most important thing in the grand scheme of it all.”

“Don’t add stress by expecting perfection from yourself. Not everything has to be done absolutely perfectly every time. You are not God who alone makes all things perfect.”

“Give yourself grace as you would others.”


“As I reflect at this age, I realize that in my journey with all of its highs and lows, God was leading me. My God sought to strengthen me in my faith and trust Him in all things, whether that be hardship, sorrow, happiness or joy.”

“Times of waiting and uncertainty are hard, but God can use them to build patience and trust. Don’t get discouraged!”

“We don’t always see the tougher roads on life’s journey as a lesson from the Lord until much later in life, as age brings with it reflection on one’s life. I wish I would have had the strong faith I now have as an 18-year-old. But then I think of how all the mountains and valleys traversed throughout my life strengthened my trust and faith in the Lord.”

“Be content and enjoy each stage that you are in! Doors open to new roles and opportunities throughout life! When I was at home with my young kiddos I was busy – with being a mom and volunteering for church/school. I enjoyed it (most days! 🙂 ). I didn’t have much education so didn’t know what would come ‘next.’ I could never have predicted the wonderful new tasks that the Lord has opened up for me for the stage I am in now. Looking back I see that many of the skills I have now are from my role as a stay-at-home mom. I am now called to tasks that would not have been right for me years ago. Trust God and His calling, timing and leading in your life!”

“Above all, always trust the Lord. He has your life in His hands and will not lead you astray. You will be tested over and over on your life’s journey; the devil works overtime seeking the souls of those committed to God. Be wary of the pitfalls. Always ‘let go and let God.’”

“Our Oma would often say, ‘What the Lord does is good.’ She would say that in good times and hard times, and I still find myself saying it as well no matter the situation.”

“Be confident in the Lord. I went through a period in my dating years where I was just so unsure. I did pray a lot but didn’t quite trust the ways in which the Lord was leading me. It took a few years to be filled with that certainty. But those years, as well, ended up being so beneficial. Think of what the Lord wants for His children, who He is and how He wants to be served. It can be easy to focus on ourselves so much that we forget the big picture.”


“Base your self-esteem on your worth in God’s eyes. The world prizes certain traits over others, and sometimes we wish we were more outgoing or capable or attractive, but God didn’t make a mistake when He made unique you! He will use you and work for your good and the good of others, even through your weaknesses.”


“Don’t undervalue the role of wife and mother! Society tells us that we should focus on personal fulfillment, and that children are a burden that stop us from doing more ‘important’ things, but God tells us the opposite.”


“Spend time in the Word every day.”

“Think more eternally. Remember Who you belong to, and act with the promise and call of your baptism in mind.”

“Always continue to read and learn, especially your Bible, and be devoted to a close relationship with God, as He directs your life.”

“Pray always, sing praises all day long. Never be reserved about being a Christian and sharing the message of salvation.”


“As someone wiser than me has said, ‘Remember your Creator in the days of your youth’!”


“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.”

Enjoyed this article?

Get the best of RP delivered to your inbox every Saturday for free.


Singleness: on being active and included in the body of Christ

Singleness. I often think there should be some kind of thunderclap after that word. This word and what it entails has caused unnumbered tears from the people of God. But while there are prayers and sermons for children, mothers, fathers, seniors, spouses, and young people, I have yet to hear a sermon on singleness. It is very possibly the most forgotten aspect of Christian living within the Church. Christ and the Church When we talk about singleness, as in everything, we need to start with Jesus and what He has done for us. Christ’s death removed our sin, ended our separation from God, and changed forever our status to one another. This is one of the first things that Nancy Wilson touches on in her book, Why isn't a Pretty Girl like You Married?…and other helpful comments. Because of Christ reconciling work, singles are not on their own: "Our individualistic culture wants to label unmarried people as singles, but in the covenant community of God, there are no singles. God calls us family." Family. Our Trinitarian God is not individualistic. God does not save us and then declare "every man for himself." We are family. Just as every family contains members of differing ages and abilities and is not complete when someone is missing, so it is with the family of God. You need the Church and the Church needs you. You do not become a member of the Church after marriage vows, you become a member at your baptism – married and single we are all parts of the body, which is something we would all do well to remember. With that thought in mind, I would like to discuss some of the struggles in singleness and how singles and the rest of the Church can face these things together. When one member of Christ's body hurts we all hurt (1 Corinthians 12:26), so this is important for all of us. Feeling Incomplete Singles can struggle with not meeting their own and others’ expectations. People in our churches typically get married in their early twenties so this is the expectation we place on ourselves and others. Then, when marriage isn't part of the picture, we wonder what's wrong with us, and start to realize that others are probably wondering the same thing. With this combination of our own and others’ disappointment means that some questions and statements can impact us quite painfully. "How can it be that a nice young man like you still hasn't found a wife?" "This will be good practice for when you're a mom." "Maybe if you weren't so picky you wouldn't be alone." For a long time I felt (and sometimes still feel) like I wasn't meeting everyone's expectations for my life, that I was not on par with the rest of the world. It wasn't until I realized that I didn't need to meet the expectations of others – my only requirement is to live before God as He commands – that I started developing a gracious attitude towards things some said that used to bother me. (I still have a long way to go.) Jesus' blood makes us complete – through Him, we now measure up to God's standards. And since this is so, then why does it matter what requirements others place on you? This is why we need to forgive other’s thoughtless comments. Some people are sincerely clueless and don't realize that questions like "why are you still single?" hurt. Pray for a gracious spirit every morning when you get up, smile, and respond with kindness. And tell your hurt to God. The rest of the Church can do better here. Comments like “why isn’t a nice man like you married?” rarely come across as a compliment, but rather a reminder to your single friend of what is not there. He would probably like to be married, but God has written his story a different way. We get it that you want us to be happy. Thank you. But reminding us of what we are missing is not helpful. Rather than say such things please encourage singles where they are at now. Did a single someone bring you a meal after your baby was born? Instead of saying how lucky her future husband will be, express your thankfulness and compliment her cooking. Loneliness Singles struggle with loneliness, which is partly their own fault and partly everyone else's. "How is it my fault? I can't help being alone!" you ask. Well, you are part of a church family, so go fellowship with them! Not just with the other single people around your age but with the widows, children, older people, married couples – all of them. As a member of the Church, you are responsible for its edification and wellbeing. Don’t be self-centered. Don’t presume others need to reach out to you first. Be hospitable by inviting people into your home (yes, single people can invite entire families over for Sunday lunch) and by being willing to go to their homes, even if it means going by yourself. Be brave. But what about the rest of the Church? Remember, a single person cannot be his or her own companion. Being on their own all the time is not healthy or wise (no lone rangers), so the Church body needs to embrace singles. Embrace them in your hearts, conversations, homes, and families. This means being interested in each other and not envying each other. The single person may need to ask a young mother if her new baby is sleeping through the night and the young mother may need to ask what the single person did on the weekend. One thing that has greatly endeared my pastor's family to me is that when my brother (who I lived with for almost two years) got married, my pastor told me that I should feel free to come over, whenever. Some times during the week can be more lonesome than others. Ask. Maybe Friday nights are hard – try to get together and do something. Being known Now, being lonely as a single person is not just about sitting at home alone on a Saturday night with a bowl of popcorn, a Hallmark flick, and a box of tissues (though that can be part of it). It's also about no one knowing you. This is something we tend to forget. God gave Eve to Adam as a helpmate because he was alone (Genesis 2:18) and she not only helped him physically but also spiritually and emotionally. Single people don't have that. Our souls get lonely. This is a struggle that I don't believe will leave us until we reach Heaven, which is actually a good thing. My soul's loneliness has caused me to reach out to God more than any other reason. God understands your heart and He is closer than you can imagine – so bring all the sorrows and struggles to Him. He is the only One who can fill up the lonely hole in your heart to overflowing. Preach His promises to yourself even when the emotions don't agree. I understand that everyone has this kind of loneliness to one degree or another, but with singles it can be a bit different. If you are married, you have your spouse to relate to in a deep way. With single people, it’s the feeling that no one has your back. Not every day is a lonely one, of course, so don't assume the singles you know are in dire need of a heart to heart chat over a cup of cocoa. Just be aware that the struggle is there. Please pray that Jesus will be the One who fulfills us and that we would be content in Him. Grace is key It doesn’t matter what church you attend, it’s going to be full of sinners. That means there will be people who annoy you and hurt your feelings, and you will do the same to others. So before you jump into the mix after the service, take a deep breath and pray for grace. Then decide to be interested in others. Rejoice in their joys and try to understand their struggles. Ask questions. Care about their lives. While on the subject of fellowship, let me put in a quick plug for hospitality. The commands of the Bible are given to the Church, and so hospitality is a requirement for single and married persons alike. This is where singles need to be brave. Inviting people into your home is intimidating. I recommend that you have more than one family over at a time. I know, that's more people to seat and feed – but the more people there are, the more they can talk amongst themselves while you prepare the food or do whatever you have to do. Going to someone else's home also requires you to be brave. Since I moved out of my parents' home, I have done a lot of things by myself, from sitting in church to going to weddings, and these things can be very daunting. Something I do is remember that Jesus is with me and I am not alone. I talk to Him in the middle of an awkward conversation and smile with Him at a young family's craziness. Where we end One day the entire Church – made up of countless generations and people of differing age, mental ability, race, and marital status – will comprise the Bride of Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Church, this wonderful thing we call family, our Lord calls His Bride. As we look forward to His return may He grant us the grace to live together in unity and love. And may He bless us with joy as we seek to serve each other and our King....