It’s an identity that so many of us have, but it comes with a little bit of a stigma after a certain age. Some websites claim they know the 10 lies you’re telling yourself if you’re single and over 40 and try to explain what you’re doing wrong if you’re still single.
But if I’ve learned anything from the many single women over 40 I know, it’s that God has a different path for each of us, and He’s going to use whatever situation we’re in—even our singleness.
I first met Sharyn Kopf at last year’s Broken Beautiful BOLD live event. And the first thing I realized is that she is funny. Hilarious, actually. She started by telling us that high school dodgeball was really like the Hunger Games. (Think about it, though.) And then she talked to us about her journey, her calling and her ministry…and being single over 40. I had a chance to sit down and talk with her face to face that day, and today I’m happy to bring her ministry and her life to our Ministry Spotlight here at Broken Beautiful BOLD Ministries. So grab a cup of coffee, and hear what God has put on Sharyn’s heart.
What inspired you to start your ministry?
It all began when I was in my 40s. I was at a friend’s house, telling her about my broken heart in discovering the man I’d fallen for didn’t return my feelings.
“Why can’t I get over this?” I said. “Why can’t I just be happy single?”
She replied, “Sharyn, you’re grieving something you’ve lost. It’s okay to be sad.”
For the first time, I realized I was going through a grief process. And I knew I wasn’t the only single woman who felt this way. So I started working on a book — Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40. That led to a novel, also titled Spinstered, and the pursuit of a speaking ministry. I’m currently writing the sequel, Inconceived, which I hope to finish by the end of summer.
What has been the greatest encouragement for you while serving in your ministry?
Just being able to talk to other women about their single journey has been such an encouragement … and a blessing! Though our struggles are different, they’re also similar in many ways. It’s truly an amazing thing when you realize you’re not the only one, and someone really understands what you’re going through.
What has been your biggest challenge in your ministry?
Well, honestly, I have to say believing in myself enough to keep moving forward has been not only a big challenge but a continuous one. My self-doubt gets in my way. It keeps me from writing, from taking chances, from pursuing new opportunities. Worst of all, it’s a sign that I’m not trusting God.
What is your vision for your ministry?
To keep writing and speaking to women in a way that brings them hope. Any time God gives me an opportunity to encourage women, I want to take it!
What advice would you have for others in ministry?
In the words of Peter Quincy Taggart from Galaxy Quest, “Never give up; never surrender!” Because if you’re doing what God has called you to do, you will face struggles. You’ll want to quit. This isn’t new information, but it’s something I need to remember regularly.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. If you’re not sure what God is calling you to do, it’s probably the one thing you’re sure He would never ask of you. The thing you don’t want to think about, let alone talk about. Because I guarantee there are people out there who feel exactly the same way … and they need you to be honest and vulnerable so they know they’re not alone.
Sharyn, thank you so much for following God’s calling and stepping out in faith and vulnerability. Your humor, your encouragement and your faith are an inspiration to so many. Be sure to check out Spinstered: The Novel and Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40 as well as Sharyn’s blog, Girls Night In.
This Ministry Spotlight is brought to you by Kristen Entwistle.
Kristen Entwistle is the blog manager for Broken Beautiful BOLD and is a graduate student pursuing her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. She helps to lead worship at her church on Sunday mornings and leads a women’s Bible study on Saturday mornings. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was three months old, and has seen God work through the ups and downs of life and through her disease. In response to God’s calling, Kristen started All For Him Life, a ministry seeking to encourage and challenge women of all ages in Christ with FREE Bible studies offered throughout the year.
Connect with Kristen online: