I’m so happy to introduce you to Laura Moninger! Laura says:
There’s been a painful but fruitful pruning in my heart and life these years, and I can honestly say one of the fruits has been learning contentment and experiencing the joy and peace that surpasses understanding—and circumstances. I’m grateful (did I really just say that I’m grateful for these years of pruning??!) because I trust these lessons on true joy and contentment will not only help me now as a single woman but in the future when marriage and family life hand out their own unique challenges.
When I read Laura’s interview, I could relate to it so much. Like Laura, I wanted to be a wife and mother over all else. I saw that as my life calling and my vocation. When it didn’t happen as soon as I expected, I felt very lost. Laura has such a sweet, mature heart for the Lord. Maturity I wish I had as a single woman. Her interview is packed full of wisdom. Read more about Laura below.
Brenda: First, tell us a little about yourself – your name, age, where you live, and where you grew up.
Laura: Hello, new friends! I’m Laura, a 27-year-old Midwest girl from Ohio. Though I absolutely love traveling to new places, I’ve actually lived in the same town all my life—which has its unique blessings and challenges as a single young woman (more on that later!).
Brenda: Where do you work, and how did you get started in your job?
Laura: I’ve been a registered nurse for 7 years now, mostly working in Cardiology. I also volunteer once a week at a crisis pregnancy center doing pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and educating and counseling young women in need. ..
The volunteer position has been one of the greatest gifts from God. I could not have foreseen what a perfect fit this area of ministry would be for me. I’m a single woman desiring a husband and babies, and I also have a condition that may (or may not) pose a challenge to my fertility someday (not to mention I was going through a painful breakup when the job presented itself!). Did I really want to work with other single women who had little or no regard for God’s plans for sex, relationships, and the gift of children? It turns out I do! It combines my passion for women’s ministry, precious babies, and building up a culture of life in our country. And as I get to know these women one on one and learn their unique stories, it bridges the gap of our different lives and I realize we’re all just young women searching for truth and love and happiness—yet I can share with them how Christ is the answer to our every question.
Brenda: Do you feel like your job is God’s calling on your life or do you hope it leads to something else one day?
Laura: Though my greatest dream in life is to be a wife and mother, I totally believe God led me to nursing and I’ve seen Him use it time and time again—not only working through me to reach out and serve others…but also to humble and teach me as well. I love people. They are resilient and funny and challenging and just simply beautiful. It’s a gift to work with them in their vulnerability, to be the hands and heart of Jehovah Rapha—the God-Who-Heals. In some ways, it’s a ministry as well as a job to me (though trust me, I’m thankful it pays the bills!). It’s also a way for me as a single woman to live out those maternal qualities of our womanly hearts—nurturing and caring for others.
Brenda: When you envisioned your life as a young girl, did you hope to have a career when you grew up or was your desire more for marriage and children or did you want both for your life?
Laura: I was one of those girls who was quite set on getting married by age 20, being a stay at home wife and mom, baking bread, homeschooling my kids, homesteading in the country, and all that. I was going to be the modern-day Laura Ingalls Wilder. Everything about hearth and home called my name and captured my heart. I was excited about the idea of being a nurse, of course, but that was only a temporary endeavor in my mind.
But our lives don’t always go according to (our) plan, do they?
I’m still enamored by home life and the idea of being a wife and mom. It stirs my heart like nothing else and I trust that deep desires such as those are planted by a loving Father who plans to fulfill them. Yet in these single years I’ve found such joy and grace working outside my home, volunteering in ministries and organizations, forming meaningful relationships with other women of all ages. I hope and believe that these experiences will only make me a better wife and mom someday, one who instead of living in her childhood dream ‘bubble’ will raise her children to look outside of themselves in service and love to others.
Brenda: What fires you up? What are you most passionate about in your life and in the world?
Laura: This is a great question! In my own life, I’m passionate about relationships. I think it’s so important for single women to find and form community and even ‘second’ families. It can be lonely and difficult to be in this demographic when so much in our church and communities revolve around family life or having kids. One of the greatest blessings of my single years would be the relationships I’ve formed with other women. Through them, I find support, encouragement, inspiration, and definitely laughter!
Within relationships, I’m also passionate about authenticity and personal growth. How can we form meaningful friendships if we have the masks on? Let’s be real. Life is beautiful but it’s hard. God is good but sometimes He feels far away. And unless we’re willing to admit truths like that, we can’t open up and share and form lasting bonds. Women are awful about playing the comparison game, pretending perfection, gossiping, and so on. BUT we’re also amazing at loving others, being loyal, and choosing joy and strength in difficult circumstances. Why not choose the second set of qualities to emulate and allow our friendships to deepen in ways we’ve never dreamed…just by being the first one to be real. And by being real with ourselves, with others, and with God, we allow true personal growth to begin.
Brenda: Are you involved in serving in your community or church? What, if any, ministries or organizations are you a part of?
Laura: In my post-college years of being single, I’ve had years of being involved in multiple (probably too many) service/volunteer commitments and I’ve also had years of quitting every single one of them to pause and allow much-need spiritual renewal after experiencing burnout (or a breakup!). These days, I’m volunteering as an ultrasound nurse at the crisis pregnancy center, a member on our pastoral council at church, and the leader of our women’s monthly share group. I love that one of counseling and mentoring those in need outside the church, one is a vision team for the building up the church, and one is for my own personal support and encouragement. Each one is such a blessing and the time commitment feels just right…but who know what opportunities God might be getting ready to present!
Brenda: Tell us one thing you LOVE about being single and one thing you hate (or your biggest struggle) about being single.
Laura: Hmm…just one struggle, huh? Haha. Actually though, God is so good in the way He transforms us and molds us over the years as we learn to surrender to Him and His amazing love. I feel like I struggled more with being single in my early twenties than I do now. I think it was the control freak in me—I had planned on getting married in that time and it just didn’t happen (despite lots of dates and even a broken engagement). As I learned to let go of my perfectionism and instead grow in intimacy with a perfect God, I found more peace, more trust, more contentment in the present moment as well as with His timing for the future.
Which is not to say I don’t still have my struggles, let me tell you! When I mow the yard or shovel snow in my driveway, I definitely think, “It would be nice to have a man around here!!”
So—loves and hates. I LOVE the freedom of being single. My own schedule for meals, activities, friends, prayer time, and so on. It’s convenient and it’s fun. What I STRUGGLE with most would be my deep desires to raise children and to be a helpmate to a man—but to feel powerless at making that happen or to be afraid it never will. Even though it’s great to be the queen of your own schedule, my heart’s desire is to be serving and loving a husband and a houseful of kids, even if that means sacrifice. I enjoy life as much as I can, but something deep inside wants more…more purpose, more people in my home and heart.
Brenda: I imagine there are times when you feel content in your singleness and other times when you want to throw something across the room because of it, but overall, how do you feel about being a single woman? Is there more contentment and peace or more of the opposite?
Laura: Wellll, yes, I’ve been guilty of occasionally throwing stuff across the room, although more often I just throw a pity party. But as I mentioned above, there’s been a painful but fruitful pruning in my heart and life these years, and I can honestly say one of the fruits has been learning contentment and experiencing the joy and peace that surpasses understanding—and circumstances. I’m grateful (did I really just say that I’m grateful for these years of pruning??!) because I trust these lessons on true joy and contentment will not only help me now as a single woman but in the future when marriage and family life hand out their own unique challenges.
Brenda: Do you ever get mad at God because you are single? When bitterness, discontentment, confusion, and even jealousy creep into your mind, how to you deal with it? Do you have a go-to person or scripture verse or something else that helps?
Laura: I definitely have had moments of anger with God. Spiritually, I’m in a good place right now and I trust who God is. That makes it easier to trust Him in the tough times (and what He allows to happen—or not happen—in my life) because though there’s so much I don’t understand I can hold on to the fact that He is still good, still in control, still loves me, and still sees way more than I ever can. Am I still susceptible to getting angry with Him? Absolutely. Especially after a breakup of a relationship I thought was going somewhere. Or when I’m tired or hungry or lonely. I have to pause in those times to be intentional in prayer with some honest and raw heart-sharing, but always ending with the choice to trust Him, to believe He is who He says He is and that He is at work in my life for my good and His glory.
Bitterness and jealousy are poison and I hate when I find those creeping into my life. They rob me of joy and peace and contentment. But they’re subtle little creepers. Sometimes it takes my mom or sister to help me see the negative road I’m walking. My women’s share group at the coffee shop is also helpful. They allow me to vent if I’m having a bad day but they also help me see other perspectives or get back into a positive frame of mind. My biggest advice for dealing with the negative emotions/thoughts that inevitably come would be 1) talk it out but 2) not too much. Haha. Some venting can help you let it out without allowing it to grow silently within you. But if you get in a habit of complaining or saying negative things all the time, then it’s time to create a new habit of positive thinking and speaking.
Brenda: How do you deal with loneliness?
Laura: I really enjoy hobbies and activities that help me enjoy life and feel purposeful. I feel less lonely when I’m purposeful. So I spend a lot of my free time baking or cooking, making greeting cards or scrapbooking, gardening, and writing or reading (a good book can be like a good friend on a lonely night!). I also try to be intentional about connecting with friends and family. A simple text or phone call on a lonely night can remind me that I am loved by many even though I’m not married and have no children (and you know, my married friends say you still get lonely when you’re married!). One of my favorite sayings is that loneliness is God’s cry for friendship time with you. I don’t always recognize this, but when I do, I try to carve out some time for quiet, intimate prayer. Maybe light a candle and curl up in a chair as I pour out my heart to God…or simply sit with Him if I have no words. Prayer is raising your mind and heart to God—just meditating on His love for me as His daughter can re-ground me and melt away the loneliness—or at least keep it from spiraling into a pity party.
Brenda: What is your biggest pet peeve about the way single women are perceived?
Laura: My biggest pet peeve would be when single women are perceived as “lower on the totem pole” than married couples or parents. That we have less to say about life or less wisdom and experiences because we aren’t parents or spouses. It’s tough when I meet someone and the first few questions they ask are if I’m married or if I have kids. When the answers are no, it’s as though they’re at a loss of what to talk about. What about “how do you like to spend your free time?” or “What has God been showing you this year?” We are more than our roles or circumstances. Maybe it’s my pride, but I don’t like when people feel sorry for me as a single woman. I would rather they look at me with the same respect they would show a married woman and that we would find commonalities beyond our marital status.
Brenda: Do you struggle with finding community in your local church? How do you find community in a world that seems coupled up?
Laura: Somehow I’ve been so blessed by having a fairly large circle of single friends. I also have several close women friends who are married, but who value friendships enough to make getting together and nurturing our relationship a priority. My church itself does not have a large group of singles, so that can be challenging, but I’ve met a few single women there and have enjoyed being a part of ministries or choir with them.
Brenda: Are more of your girlfriends married or single? How do you find authentic friendships as a single woman?
Laura: As above, I have some really great friendships with women who are married, single, and seriously dating. I used to gravitate towards only single women but in the past couple years I’ve developed some deep friendships with married women and have really benefited from their insight and mentoring. I think to have authentic friendships, you have to be authentic. You have to be willing to be vulnerable yet also have a strong sense of self. You can’t look for your identity in another person and be too needy or clingy, yet you have to be open, honest, and reach out even when you might be rejected. When I first moved out on my own, I began hosting “Girls Nights” at my duplex once a month. I would invite 20-30 women that I knew from church, work, childhood, etc. via email and come up with a theme for a Friday night (cookie baking, clothing swap, movie night). About half of them would come and it was a great way for us to casually mingle and for the ladies I knew to meet each other. Some of the women continue to simply be acquaintances, but some of us were able to go deeper and became close friends from these casual parties. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You never know if the quiet girl at work is looking for a friend unless you invite her to coffee. Or if the girl who sits alone at church just went through a breakup and needs support from women in her life. Ask God to send you godly, supportive women and the eyes to see opportunities for friendships to blossom.
Brenda: Our perception of you is that you are living a fulfilled, purposeful life as a single woman. You’re not waiting around for marriage, but fulfilling God’s call on your life now. What would you say is your secret to doing this?
Laura: A lot of tears, time, and grace. Fighting through some moments, enduring patiently through others. Learning to surrender day by day to a God who LOVES us. Not a God who withholds good things like marriage, but a God who sees beyond what we see, a God who is Goodness and Love, Father and Friend, Savior and Healer…a God with a beautiful plan that goes beyond our marital status. There’s an indescribable joy and peace that comes from knowing God more and more and allowing yourself to be known and loved by Him. It makes it easier to be single, because you trust Him. You trust Him. That even if you never get married, He is still good and He still loves you. And there’s more than this life. Heaven is our goal, girls. This life is short—but beautiful. It has helped me immensely to find God and joy in the present moment. To enjoy the good things of today…definitely hoping for a husband and children tomorrow, but not letting that intense desire overshadow the gifts of today.
Brenda: What words of advice do you have for other single women who want to live with purpose now and not wait for marriage to start their lives?
Laura: I’m not sure I have the perfect advice or formula…I just want you to know you are loved. You are not alone. You are beautiful and worthy without a man. Don’t let the devil or the world bring you down. Find community. Treasure family and friends. Treat yourself and take care of yourself. Care for others, though, too—look outside of yourself and the needs around you. There’s nothing like a mission trip to a third-world country or even a trip to a cancer unit at the hospital to remind us that being single is not the worst cross in the world. Allow your suffering to soften your heart to the suffering of others. Allow the pain of waiting to mold you into a woman who is tender, gentle, loving, patient, holy. One who will make an amazing wife and mother someday, God willing, because of this time.
And for the little, fun, superficial things? That’s okay, too! Take a bubble bath. Bake cookies. Paint your nails or curl your hair. Sometimes the little things can help boost your confidence and joy and God knows that! Enjoy life as much as you can. A smile is attractive. Don’t save everything for marriage. If you want to buy new dishes or bedsheets or furniture, go ahead! Use this time to become the woman you want to be—intellectually, emotionally, spiritually.
Brenda: And some fun stuff!
Brenda: Which do you like best – Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest (or all of it!)?
Laura: I am such a Pinterest junkie, it’s not even funny. I. Am. Addicted. It’s just way too fun…all the recipes and DIY projects and outfit ideas…
Brenda: What’s your favorite drink?
Laura: Milk. Is that weird? But I also love a glass of wine at night in bed…
Brenda: Where would you want to live the rest of your life – beach or mountains?
Laura: Such a tough one! I’m crazy about the ocean, although not as much of a fan of the all the touristy stuff or the materialism of the beach (not to mention the immodesty!). I went on a girlfriends’ trip to Gatlinburg, TN this summer and fell in love with the mountains…can I just say both?
Brenda: Do you read more fiction or nonfiction?
Laura: Again, both. I like to have one or two spiritual/theology/devotional books in my stack but I’m also a big fan of Christian/inspirational fiction. I love Karen Kingsbury and Mandy Starns Clark.
Brenda: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Laura: Most people think extrovert because I’m pretty outgoing and social, but I’m actually an introvert! I need my alone time and I think a lot.
Brenda: What’s something quirky about you?
Laura: Um, I really like to rearrange furniture. I think it’s perfectly normal and fun to change it up every few months by moving around the furniture in my bedroom or living room. And I do it all by myself, shoving around beds or dressers or couches like it’s nobody’s business (we single women are stronger than people think!).
Brenda: What else do we need to know about you? Where can we connect with you online?
Laura: I would LOVE for you to connect with me! I really have a heart for connecting single women to let each other know you’re not alone! Please feel free to email me anytime! It’s email@example.com. I blog on my personal blog Life is Beautiful (only-annegirl.blogspot.com) and I am a contributor at The Catholic Young Woman (catholicyoungwoman.blogspot.com). Oh, and since you asked, my Pinterest page is http://www.pinterest.com/laurarene05.
I don’t have any books I’ve written, but hopefully someday! It’s on the bucket list!
Oh, and here’s a great community of single young women on Facebook. They also have a blogging link-up series called Not Alone Series, where they blog on living a godly life as a single woman while preparing for God’s future plans for you! I’ve enjoyed their honesty, energy, and encouragement and I hope you will, too!
God bless you, my sweet new friends! He has a beautiful plan for you, and He is always, always working things for our good, making everything beautiful in His time. Nothing is ever wasted, not even this season. Sending you my love, prayers, and a hug!