It was early December a few years ago. Tim and I were riding down the road. I was in the passenger’s seat with pen and paper as we discussed what we wanted to buy our people for Christmas that year. The issue we were having was that our loved ones basically have everything they need and most of what they want. We were straining our brains trying to come up with things to spend our money on that may or may not be wanted or even appreciated.
In that moment, something came over me. It was as if God was cracking open the door, ever so slightly, and giving me a glimpse into the life of a single parent. For just a brief moment in time, my feelings shifted from strain and frustration to desperation and worry. I saw a flash of faces, all of the single parents in my life. Like a dream that only lasts about 30 seconds but would take 30 minutes to describe. It drove me to tears.
That moment was life changing for me. I began asking myself what I could do to come alongside single parents to encourage them. Little did I know that God was going to blow the doors off of my small minded thinking. Not because I’m someone special, but because these parents are.
”The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 NIV
Unfortunately, the perfect world He originally intended is no longer in existence.
Does it matter why they are a single parent? Only to God. It’s not our business.
God is looking for people who are willing to leave the comfort of their own friendship circles and embrace these single parents. I am sure of it.
Those who are reading this and are married, take a journey with me for just a moment…What if you were suddenly left alone to care for your home and children?
- Who would help you clean house, buy groceries and shuffle kids to the ball park on a typical Saturday…after putting in a 40+ hour work week?
- Who would share yard work with you?
- Who would help you pay your bills and save for a vacation?
- Who would pick up your kids from school when you’ve been in bed with a fever all day?
- Who would let you get a little sleep when you’ve been rocking a sick baby for 2 days?
- Who would tag team parent with you when your teenager starts to rebel?
- Who would help you on Sunday mornings to get the kids up, fed and ready for church–on time?
- Who would you sit with in church on Sunday morning while your children were in their own classes?
- Who would you tell about the day you’ve had at work after you’ve finally gotten the kids to do their homework, shower and get to bed?
I’ve never been a single parent but I’ve had the privilege to come alongside many and observe and participate in life with them. They are strong. They are over-comers. They inspire me.
I’ve personally been asked, and told, by single parents…
- Can I sit with you in church so I’m not sitting alone?
- Can you go to court with me? I don’t want to face my ex husband alone.
- Can you arrange a time for me to meet other single moms in my area? I don’t really know any.
- My car is in the shop, can you pick me up Sunday for church?
- I don’t feel comfortable in Sunday school with all of the married couples; can you help me study my Bible?
- I’ve been sick for 3 days and my kids are living off of microwave popcorn and Capri sun!
- I’m looking for a second job so that I can afford to buy Christmas for my kids this year.
“Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”
Mark 9:41 NIV
- Yes you can sit with me; I’ll save you a seat!
- When is that date? I’ll do whatever I can to support you.
- Let’s put something on the calendar. I’ll gather some help and provide some childcare and we will make it a girl’s night!
- I’ll be there at 10:30.
- Yes! What do you want to learn about? I’ll pick us up a study guide and we’ll get started.
- I’ll bring you dinner tomorrow night, while I’m there, I’ll help you fold clothes too.
- I know people who have more money than they know what to do with. Let me see what we can do to help. Do NOT take time away from your kids to buy them STUFF! We’ll work this out, that’s what the church is for, and I’ll be in touch.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.”
Psalm 68:5 NIV
Can we make the effort to reach out? Single parent families can benefit greatly from spending time with families where both parents are present. Their kids can see what a two parent household looks like. Single moms and dads can ask for advice and even give it to two parent homes. They’ve had to be creative in ways that two parent homes don’t have to be. They have a lot to offer. We can learn from each other. They don’t want pity. They need us. We need them.
Let’s step from our comfort zones.
Especially at this time of year.
Who can you ask to sit with you this Sunday? Start there.