Allie Pohlmeier (Director of middle and high school girls at a church in Georgia) has been a dear friend and encourager to me since I met her about 2 years ago. Her wisdom, passion and desire to serve the Lord and know His Word is both challenging and refreshing. Allie has been a truth speaker in my life when I needed it the most and at times when I didn’t ask for it…hey that’s a real friend right there! May her story and her wisdom from the Lord encourage your heart like it does mine every day!
1. Give us a brief introduction to who you are and what season of life you are in.
Hey there, I am Allie Pohlmeier, a work in progress, entirely beloved, and a lover and grateful follower of Christ Jesus. I find myself right now in what I label the “season of softness”. I have come to realize that I made areas of my heart just plain hard. For instance, I lived in a place called Kibera, Kenya it is a massive slum outside of Nairobi for a year and half. I have been on mission trips before, but never had I, and never have I yet, seen poverty like I lived in. It’s hard to even explain what I saw, and some things that I wish I could erase from my memory. Sewage everywhere, only 20% of the slum dwellers had working electricity, one toilet/hole in the ground was often shared by 50 people, some women prostitute themselves to have enough money to purchase a loaf of bread in order to feed their children, sickness abounded, starving people, hurt people, children with swollen bellies from malnutrition, desperation, shame, hopelessness and YET in the middle of such abject poverty I saw the Lord’s presence made manifest. When the people of Kibera asked the Lord for their daily bread, they meant it. Though I lived right in the muck of it, I lived in a house with concrete walls on all sides and not the wood and mud shacks that were all around me, I was fed and I had a toilet. We had hired guards for protection because of an incident that happened right when we settled in. I didn’t even come close to living like the people who filled Kibera, but I breathed their same polluted air and stepped over the same puddles of sewage and over time, in order to deal with what I saw on a daily basis, now looking back, I shut down parts of my heart.
I tell you that because in just a few days I head to Guatemala City with my church to work with the people group that lives in the landfill. As I have been praying for our trip and reading Nehemiah and realizing that it took brokenness to repair a wall, I find myself crying out to the Lord for softness. I made my heart hard to poverty; to such a degree that it doesn’t bother me; instead my heart is rather numb. I call that a heart that is half living and I long for a heart that is fully, abundantly living. And so I began to press deeper asking the Lord, “God what areas of my life need softening and please soften my heart like only you can?” Singleness is another area where my heart has become hard. I am now 32. Single. No man pursuing me. Just me and Jesus. At times I have avoided some places, married friends, or Facebook updates, because it hurts. Avoidance is not the answer, avoidance blocks freedom. So this season of softness has made me press deep into what the Lord’s heart and desires for me are and to embrace His grace. In that process I have discovered freedom abounding and a sense of wholeness that is quite overwhelmingly refreshing.
2. What is God currently teaching you about being single?
I recently got an email from one of my closest friends. I had been sharing with her some of the hurt that goes along with being single, that sometimes only your single friends can understand…
This is what she wrote:
“Delight yourself in the Lord. Remember Hannah from the Bible and she is praying and crying out to the Lord for a son…and God isn’t answering.
And you can hear her crying, “I want a son.”
And you can almost hear God crying back, “I want a prophet.”
And then she cries, “I want to change my life.”
You can imagine God saying, “I want to change a nation.”
Finally her heart’s desire lined up with God’s heart desires when she cries out and says, “I want my son to be dedicated to You.”
I just pray that God’s heart desires would line up with your heart’s desires. And that He will put His desires for you in your heart and that He will bless you beyond your imagination.”
And I wept.
If you haven’t read Hannah’s story, check out 1 Samuel 1 and 2. Elkanah, Hannah’s husband would go to the city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:5 says, “But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because He loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.” Elkanah realized that the Lord closed her womb, maybe Hannah realized it also, but her heart was still sad. That desire for a child was deep. But that desire drove her to her knees in submission to our tender God.
I’ve been driving around asking the Lord to overwhelm me with His desires and to shift my desires to line up with His. And I don’t have this magically concrete answer to give about desires and the shifting that I sense is taking place. But I have noticed that my heart feels a whole lot freer and a whole lot lighter. And God’s presence has ushered in peace and joy, even in my singleness.
3. How has God used your singleness to teach you more about Him and ya’lls relationship? What is the BIGGEST lesson you have learned as a single woman?
Psalms 119:32 says, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.” All the Lord’s ways are gracious…EVEN SINGLENESS. All means all! If I really believe that God is who He says He is. That He is kind, loving, compassionate, trustworthy, almighty, powerful and gracious, then even this journey of singleness, even this hurt, even those twinges of loneliness, even these unmet desires, whatever your even is…HE IS GRACIOUS. I am going to go with what the Lord is doing instead of trying to force doors open that were never meant to be opened in the first place.
4. In your opinion, what do you think the biggest trap singles fall into and how do you think they can guard against it? What is the BIGGEST lesson you have learned as a single woman?
The enemy knows our weakness, instead of seeing singleness as a gift from the Lord or Him being gracious to us, sometimes I think that we think it’s our fault that we’re single or we start to believe satan’s lying whisper that we need to do this, be better, be thinner, must go here, act this way, be presentable at all times to ensure love at first sight in case our husband walks in the doors, you know what your lie is…. And we fail to realize that God cares more about our oneness with Him than our marital status. It’s not our marital status or what we do that defines us, it IS Christ in us. Christ in us is our most accurate identity.
So I had this vision once. In this vision, I came up out of my bed and was almost hovering over it. There was the most amazing white light shining out of every pour of my body, it was beautiful and quite honestly unexplainable. I heard the Lord say, “This is what beauty is. This is how I see you.” And the vision ended. And that is a moment I will never forget and will always cherish. Because we can spend our lives, our money, and our time trying to get ourselves ready for marriage, instead of being fully present in the here and now; living out a heart that rests in the Lord and His timing and His presence.
Jeremiah 29:11. A verse many of us memorized as children. A verse you see plastered on Christian art and mugs and cards. . “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I began to really think about this verse one day. I said to myself over and over again, “Prosper you and not harm you. Prosper you and not harm you. Prosper you and not harm you.” And just came to the realization that failed relationships with men, singleness and all that comes with it, and a dream still waiting to be fulfilled, is part of God prospering me and not at all meant for harm.
5. Is there any other encouragement, wisdom, advice or jokes you want to share for our readers?
I thought I would leave you with some of my favorite thoughts about singleness. May you be just as encouraged as I was and may a breakthrough into radically loving others result from a heart that trust fully and recklessly in a God who is wild about you. May God be the spring in your step and the light in your eyes!
“When a woman courageously stares into the eyes of her desperation, she need not collapse in shame or cover up with pretense. The yearning for relationship is not an indication that something is wrong with her, but that something is profoundly right. When the desperation of God is appropriated to our own desperate hearts, a breakthrough into extravagantly loving others occurs.” ~ Sharon Hersh
As you bring your heart to God, He will place His desire in you to such an extent that your desire becomes His for you. So when you pray about longing and the desire remains, you can trust that God has left that in place for a reason. ~Paula Reinhardt
Robin Norwood said, “If you have ever found yourself to be obsessed with a man, you may have suspected that the root of that obsession was not love, but fear. Fear of being unlovable and unworthy, fear of being ignored or abandoned or destroyed.”
When you can look at a man and know that he can’t give you what you most long for—worth, love, and a sense of identity—than you are free to be loved by him. The most he can ever do (Which in himself, is no small thing) is to give witness to the worth of God already invested in you. But you must claim it first for yourself. Paula Rinehart
If you add the regrets of your past to your fears of the future, you will end up paralyzed in the present. And feeling very alone. ~ Paula Rinehart
By all laws of both logic and simple arithmetic, to give yourself away in love to another would seem to mean that you end up with less of yourself, less than you had to begin with. But the miracle is that just the reverse is true, logic and arithmetic go hand in hand. To give yourself away in love to somebody else…is to become for the first time yourself fully. To live not just for yourself alone anymore but for another self to whom you swear to be true—plight your truth to—is a new way to come fully alive. That is the great conversion in our life: to recognize and believe that the many unexpected events are not just disturbing interruptions of our projects, but that the way in which God molds our hearts and prospers us for His return. ~ Henri Nouwen