This isn’t a typical blog post for me. I try to write about love and grace and mercy because those are the precious aspects of faith I cling to, the things that bring me joy. But I woke up this morning feeling I needed to re-post an old piece after hearing about a wound on the heart of an amazing young man.
The wound he carries is for his mom. His beautiful mom, who at the age of 16 chose life for her son, and then felt the sting of rejection from the Christians who should have been showing her the grace each and every one of us so desperately needs and that has been shown to us by Christ.
The horror of stoning a sinner is no longer acceptable, but are we crushing spirits instead when we hurl looks of judgement and accusation? I know too many single parents who have felt abandoned by God because they were judged by people who wear his name. It can’t continue, we can and must grow to be more like Jesus.
There has only been one time I have considered leaving the church and that is when I went through my divorce and became a single mom. It was the only experience I have had when I felt “the world” was more understanding and compassionate about what I was going through than “the church.” Divorce is a very public failure and in the church, along with that sense of failure, there is also a layer of shame. Sometimes the shame is self-imposed but there has been more than one occasion when I have felt it from a brother or sister in Christ. So what can the church do for the divorced or the never-married single mom?
- Love our children. Talk to them, engage in their lives. Do this especially with our sons because one thing a single mom can’t do is teach a boy to be a godly man.
- Never preach or teach that children of single parent homes are at a terrible disadvantage without also reminding listeners that God has promised to be a Father to the fatherless. Children need hope that the God they are learning about really can work ALL things for good. Not to mention the pain this kind of talk rubs into an already wounded mother’s heart.
- Please don’t judge the never married single mom. You can’t stand against abortion and look down on the single mother simultaneously.
- Pray for the single mom because fear is her constant companion. Fear for her children, fear of not being a good enough parent, and fear of financial disaster. Most of all fear of being alone. Carry us to the throne of God, to the only One capable of banishing all fear.
And what can the church expect from single moms?
- You can expect us to honor your marriages and celebrate with you the gift God has given in them. We will be glad that there are marriage retreats and special Sunday school sessions. We will be grateful that you are showing our children that marriages can last.
- You can expect us to use the gifts God has given us to serve the body of Christ. Everyone is busy and being a single parent doesn’t exempt us from service.
- You can expect us to pray for you. We will realize you have the same fears we do about your children, your parenting and your finances.
There you have it. I apologize if this post has caused any offense. My prayer is that it sheds some light on how we- as the living, breathing, moving Body of Christ- can better love and support each other.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14