For several years until last year, my wife and I—together known as Granola; that’s our mash-up for our names—had the privilege of helping to shepherd the singles ministry in the New York City Church’s New Jersey Region, and one of the things that I quickly identified when we started that role was the need for the singles to have allies, advocates and admirers among the marrieds.

Of course singles in the church are fully capable of speaking for themselves, organizing themselves and charting their prayer- and Spirit-guided path, but I wasn’t sure that they all always felt that they had that space. So I sought to be an ally, reminding the singles and the marrieds of the place of the singles right at the heart of God’s mind, ministry, message, and mission.

Apart from Granola being totally head over heels in love with the singles when I wrote my book, Go In The Strength You Have: Looking Beyond Your Weaknesses To See The Difference Your Life Can Make, it was an opportunity to boast and brag about the amazing New Jersey singles and other incredible single women and men of God elsewhere who we’ve been honored to do life with.

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter of Go In The Strength You Have that is titled “Every Day God Empowers—Sparkling Singles”:

Every day God empowers singles to live stellar stand-out Christian lives because “the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) Singles, like all others in God’s family, excel in their discipleship, connect to God in worship and provide the church with leadership.

It’s been enjoyable to see the singles use their talents and give their hearts. They are brilliant and resilient. They support each other and serve the church. They share their faith and spread the love. They are faithful and fruitful. They were already wonderful before Granola got there, and they simply continue to blaze and amaze.

Singles are incredible pacesetters. Everywhere, though, singles can sometimes feel or can be made to feel like they don’t measure up because of their marital status. Pressure from peers and parents doesn’t help the situation any, especially if you’ve long held marriage as your dream, desire and destiny. You’ve hoped to start a family of your own but it hasn’t yet turned out that way. You see others younger than you walking down the aisle. You’ve had relationships but none has yet worked out. Couples around you are a picture of parental paradise.

But guess what—your civil status is not your spiritual standing. Marriage is not a measure of completeness and being single is not an indication of irrelevance. Single status doesn’t mean secondary importance. Don’t get down over being unmarried. “Easy for you to say,” you might suggest. True, it is much easier to say than to live. But it’s true.

Like Gideon, God has called you to shine and has equipped you to win.

David didn’t need to be married in order to bring down Goliath. The apostle Paul didn’t rely on having a romantic partner in order to be a dynamic minister. The poor widow in Mark 12 didn’t need to have a husband in order to be so stunningly exemplary that Jesus called his disciples over to him to use her act of selflessness as a teaching moment to the church’s future leaders.

Jesus was the single most powerful person who ever lived, the most powerful single person who ever lived, and the most powerful person who ever lived single.

The list goes on and on. God values unmarried people, he upholds unmarried people, and he works through unmarried people who go in the strength they have.

Toun Kazeem was living in Lagos, Nigeria when she started studying the Bible with members of the church and around the same time found out that she was pregnant. Her boyfriend advised her to terminate the pregnancy. She decided not to get rid of the pregnancy but instead get right with God. She committed to Christ and got baptized.

Toun spoke French and a few months after her baptism she became aware that the Lagos church was welcoming volunteers to form a team to plant a church in the French- speaking West African country of Benin.

Toun’s little girl was 10 months old.

What to do in this scenario—sign up or stay put? Take the safe option or the faith option? Remain where she was, where she had the security and support of siblings and extended family in looking after her baby, or answer the call and head out to a foreign mission field?

She packed her bags and crossed borders with a Bible, a baby and bold dreams to make a big difference. Single mother with a single-minded commitment to making Christ known.

Toun wasn’t waiting for marriage in order to dream big and do good. She understood that you don’t need a wedding, a spouse or a ring to give you validity, credibility or ability. All you need is God because, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

The 10-month-old infant, Ayo, is now a college graduate, a nurse and a baptized disciple of Christ!

I wrote the book to remind myself and people like me, who can easily get mired in doubt and discouragement, to always bring yourself back to God’s bold and bright vision for you. Go In The Strength You Have: Looking Beyond Your Weaknesses To See The Difference Your Life Can Make is available from the DT Media Store and Amazon.

Rayola provides operations and finance support at the United Nations in New York City and is an adjunct professor at New Jersey City University School of Business. Born in Manhattan and baptized in Brooklyn, New York, he previously served at HOPE worldwide in Kenya, on church-planting mission teams across East Africa, and in the full-time ministry. Rayola, his wife Georgeanne, and their son Paul are members of the New York City Church of Christ’s New Jersey Region. Rayola is excited to hear back from readers via email at rayola95@gmail.com.