Hey, friends! I have something very special in store for you today! One of my regular readers, Abby, has written a very special post for me. She shares her heart and tackles a topic that I don’t have experience in. But it is one that desperately needs to be shared! I have gained insight and understanding on how to help those in my church who have some of the greatest needs. I am so thankful that she chose LIFE – in more ways than one. And I am so thankful that she found a church home that loves her and her son the way the Church should. Please welcome Abby here and leave her an encouraging comment at the end of her post! Here are 5 Practical Ways The Church Can Help The Single Parent.
One topic that I see is relatively untouched in Christian circles is the single parent. I personally know the struggle of being both a Christian and a single parent as well as having seen others struggle with this. There are many types of parents in this situation including those never married, divorced, or those who are widowed or choose to adopt while they do not have a spouse. I am going to mainly be addressing single parents like me that have never been married. However, all of this can be applied to any single parent within the church.
When my son was conceived, I was engaged, but that relationship did not last. I share that as my background so that you understand everything I share next. Often single parents are starting over in multiple ways one of which can be with God. The church can be instrumental in showing God’s love to them and in building them and their children up. These are the 5 Practical Ways The Church Can Help The Single Parent. I learned these truths through firsthand experience in my own church.
Remember, if this is the case, someone else’s sin does not change how we are supposed to treat them. If Jesus has forgiven them after they have repented do what He commanded in Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (NIV). Also, Romans 14:13 states, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”
In my case, I started coming to my church two days after finding out I was expecting and already knowing I would be a single, unwed mother. I knew my old church would not accept me back. I had repented of my selfishness and my sinful nature. When I sought membership at my new church, my pastor simply asked if I had confessed and repented. I told the truth and he said there would never be a problem in our church, and there has been nothing but love.
2. Encourage Them To Get Involved
Do not assume that they are too busy to be an active member of God’s body. Come alongside them and let them help. After I became a member I started helping with Vacation Bible School in a minor role. My son and I were in church the day after we were released from the hospital, even after a very traumatic birth. I wanted and needed to be with my church family. I dedicated my son a few months later.
They also helped me successfully complete an internship through them to become a Christian counselor. I am still involved in the children’s program as well. My church has never once made me feel excluded from being involved or forced me to be. They invite me to do numerous things both in and outside the church, and in doing so they attach my heart and my son’s more and more to them and our church home.
3. Give Generously Of Time, Prayer, And Means
If you have the resources and you see the single parent struggling please help them, even with just prayers. I sincerely believe the only reason my son and I survived his birth is that my church family was praying for us. During my labor people in the church woke up and not seeing an announcement of birth yet on Facebook, they prayed. At 3 am when they could have ignored the call and went back to bed they hit their knees. That’s love! In the beginning of that pregnancy and all throughout it there were numerous complications.
On top of that, these children of God have given us a tote full of food and clothes, two love offerings, and gave my mom a temporary nursery job because I was still unable to go back to work from the complications I had. They often ask if we have holiday plans, if we need anything, ask me how we are, and bake for us as well. Hebrews 13:16 says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Another great passage is 1 John 3:17, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”
4. Shower Them With Love
Love them and their child! This one should be easy! If you show these single parents and their children the love of God, they will never leave the church. Children with single parents struggle enough, they need to know that God loves them. Most children view God as an abstract thought. If they see people come in His name with love that child will connect that God is love.
Proverbs 22:6 states: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
For my son’s first birthday nearly everyone from our church came. We had more church family than our biological family or our friends there! My church sister and two of my best friends did not let me lift a finger during the party. They took over and refilled supplies. These wonderful friends did all the “behind the scenes” work that most moms get stuck doing. I was free to celebrate my son. They will never realize what that help meant to my soul. These wonderful church people do not see my son as any less than the son of a two-parent family and they love me also.
5. Build Each Other Up
Encourage each other! Not just the single parent but all your church family! I cannot tell you how good it feels deep in my heart and soul when an amazing mother (honestly she is my Christian mom goal) tells me I am a good momma. Ephesians 4:29 sums this up perfectly, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 also encourages us to build one another up. Let’s face it, this world will beat us up enough. If our family, our church family, stands as one, builds with one another, and loves each other nothing can stop us!
Above All, Point To Jesus
Always know that you never anticipate who is starting their walk with God over or who is stumbling. If the single parent comes to your church welcome them as you would anyone else. Involve them as much as they want to be involved. Love them and their child and build a relationship based on that love. Remember, the church members are to encourage one another and never be a stumbling block to each other. Be God’s trampoline that propels them to go higher in their relationship with Jesus instead of the boulder in front of them!
Thank you, Abby, for writing this wonderful and helpful post on how we can nurture, encourage, and support single-parent families. Readers, is there anything else that you would add to this list? If you are or were a single parent, what things did you find most helpful?
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