In June 2017, Jill Khan entered a season of loneliness, unlike anything she’d ever experienced.
Her marriage of 26 years had come to an end.
“I never imagined I’d be in that position,” she recalls. “I was heartbroken. It was an entirely different world.”
Although she’d attended Christ Presbyterian Church for 15 years, she realized after her divorce how isolating it can feel to participate in congregational life as a single, especially when someone is no longer part of the ‘young adult’ age group. Whether a woman has always been single—or has recently divorced or lost a spouse—Jill discovered a significant number of ladies who could greatly benefit from community and care.
Seeing the need for connectedness and encouragement among single women both at church and throughout Nashville, Jill worked with Christ Presbyterian to launch a new Missional Community last fall called Single Women Celebrating Life Together.
Jill joined with two other single women who attend different congregations—Christi Wilson from Church of the City and Kristi Mcintyre from Christ Community Church in Franklin—to create a group aimed at connecting single women from a myriad of churches in the area and those who don’t currently attend church.
“The group exists to empower and encourage single women of all ages who are living on their own by getting together a few times each month for celebrations, social outings, monthly meals and learning opportunities that provide fellowship and an avenue for building meaningful friendships,” Jill explains.
In the past eight months, the group has drawn interest from more than 75 women, ranging in age from those in their 30s to their 70s and geographically spanning from ladies who live in the West Nashville/Kingston Springs area to those in south Williamson County/Spring Hill. So far, the group is comprised of women from seven different area churches, as well as many ladies looking for a home church. Interest and growth of the group has occurred organically, often just through word of mouth. At least one woman became connected through discovering the group’s Facebook page, Jill says.
A few recent activities included meeting for brunch at First Watch and a fun after-church Mexican lunch at Uncle Julio’s in Brentwood. Some members also participated in the Christ Presbyterian women’s spring overnight retreat. In past months, the group attended Handel’s Messiah together and organized Christmas and New Year’s parties. They also painted pottery and gathered at Maggiano’s Italian restaurant for Valentine’s Day dinner. In April, the group is planning to have brunch and see the spring blooms at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. The May outing will include a meal at the Loveless Cafe and hike on the Natchez Trace.
Group participants range from women who’ve always been single and are happily unmarried to those who are praying and waiting on God to provide a spouse. Others are widowed or divorced. “Some of the women have been through serious trauma,” Jill says. “They’re dealing with brokenness from their past, while also working full-time and managing their homes and children. Everything is on their shoulders, and it can be exhausting. The opportunity for them to relax and be rejuvenated with others walking the same road is a blessing. We’re here to support, love and pray for these women.”
In the future, the group desires to continue planning social gatherings while also offering education and practical learning opportunities that can empower single women, such as career development, financial planning, caring for aging parents and learning how to complete small home and auto repairs (Jill says she needs to take on the project of sealing her deck this summer.)
Reflecting over the last year, Jill is grateful to see how God used her own painful, unexpected journey of becoming single to meet the needs of other women in the same position.
“In the past, I never would have imagined myself leading a group for single women,” she says. “Throughout my life, I’ve known a few singles, but I never really thought about their daily walk. I’d be sad when I heard of people getting divorced or becoming widowed. While I prayed for them, I never really gave much thought as to how their circumstances had truly impacted their life.”
Yet her perspective changed when Jill’s own marriage ended. “I felt great sadness and fear of being alone,” she says. “Yet I also felt amazing joy as Christ lifted me up, made his presence known and gave me hope amid chaos.”
Single Women Celebrating Life Together exists to serve as a place where Christians and non-Christians alike can prayerfully find fellowship with women who are ready to embrace them, love them unconditionally and share with them the message of Colossians 2
—that as women come to know the Lord, they’re complete in Christ, Jill explains.
“We encourage women to view their singleness as an opportunity and privilege that God will use for his glory.”