5 Practical Ways The Church Can Help The Single Parent

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.

Are you unsure of how to minster to the single parent families in your church? Or just in your circle? Sharing the love of Christ is so much simpler than we tend to think – we just make everything so complicated! 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.

1. Accept

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?  

Are you unsure of how to minster to the single parent families in your church? Or just in your circle? Sharing the love of Christ is so much simpler than we tend to think – we just make everything so complicated! Here are 5 Practical Ways The Church Can Help The Single Parent

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4 Essential Steps To Become One Flesh in Marriage ~ Guest Post

My youngest daughter has a knitted circular blanket she’s had since she was a baby.  This blanket is well-loved and well-used.  Last year, I noticed it unraveling in several places.  If I didn’t do something about it right away, that blanket would soon be a pile of crinkled yarn.  As I repaired each hole, I was reminded of becoming one Flesh in marriage.

Each stitch in the blanket is dependent upon the stitches surrounding it.  

If one unravels, it sets off a ‘run’ or a hole in the piece.  The knitter has to deal with that unstitched stitch right away…or have a bigger problem on her hands.  Knitting takes a lot of time…and even more patience.  This is also true in marriage.

4 Essential Steps To Become One Flesh in Marriage

Have you ever wondered what it means to be one flesh with your spouse? Or how to become one flesh? What does that even look like? In this post, I share 4 Essential Steps To Become One Flesh in Marriage.

I am guest posting over at Hope & Joy in Christ.  Head on over to Tiffany’s site to read the rest of this post.  You can also enter the giveaway for my Valiant & Biblical 5-Day Bible study for wives.

Have you ever wondered what it means to be one flesh with your spouse? Or how to become one flesh? What does that even look like? In this post, I share 4 Essential Steps To Become One Flesh in Marriage.

 

 

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Having An Attitude of Gratitude As A Homeschool Mom

I’ve heard this heartbreaking threat many times over in my journey as a homeschooler…mostly coming from my own mouth.  I hated saying it.  And I know my kids hated hearing it.  My ominous warning in a raised voice would frustrate my husband.  You have said it, too, I am sure.  Or thought about it at the very least.  When my kids get on my nerves after telling them to get ‘back to work’, I would threaten to send them to school.  After trying this tactic for a number of years, I have come to realize that it simply does not work – at least not in the long term.  So then I tried a different approach.  I tried intentionally expressing my thankfulness to homeschool – to my kids and to my husband.  While it hasn’t solved every single problem (my son continues to be the ‘class clown’), it sure has made a difference in my home.  I am sharing this post over at A Little R & R.  Here is how you can begin Cultivating Thankfulness in Your Homeschool.

In this culture, it can be so easy to get caught up in ungratefulness...the idea that the grass is greener anywhere but where you are...including the choice to home educate. I want to encourage you to begin cultivating thankfulness in your homeschool.

Can I be completely honest here?  If I may?

It seems that when we are in the “trenches”, we tend to view the other side as greener pastures.  But the truth is that sending the kids to school will not magically solve our problems.  It just doesn’t work that way.  If we are struggling in our parenting, that challenge will still exist if our kids are at school – it may lessen somewhat because they are away from us for most of the day.  But the root remains.

thankful-notes-collageAnd when we fail to get rid of the root, then we fail to get rid of the problem.

To read more of this post, head on over to A Little R & R.

PS…there is a FREE printable at the end of the post to help foster thankfulness and gratitude in your home.
In this culture, it can be so easy to get caught up in ungratefulness...the idea that the grass is greener anywhere but where you are...including the choice to home educate. I want to encourage you to begin cultivating thankfulness in your homeschool.

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3 Habits Of A Confident Mother

I am sharing over at my friend, Kaylene’s site today!  I am so excited to be a guest on her blog!  Her blog is full of encouraging and inspiring posts, truths that will challenge you as a wife, mother and a woman.  My guest post is about some of the parenting truths that I have been holding on to as my kids grow up and enter the last stages of childhood.

Sometimes I feel anxious when I think about my kids growing up in this world. Have I prepared them enough? And then I remember the 3 Habits of a Confident Mother and I sense God's peace surround my heart.Here is an excerpt:

It seems like the years are passing by so fast.  When I realize that I have just three years left with my oldest child, I get a mix between panic and joy.  I wonder if I did my job as a mother well enough.  Am I teaching her all she needs to know to survive in this harsh world?  Is she too naïve?  Will she fall for anything?  Or will she seek the wisdom of God every single day?  As I reflect on the years that have whizzed by so fast, I am reminded of these 3 Habits Of A Confident Mother and I know that she will be just fine…and most importantly, so will I.

Nix The Naysayers

My son is quiet and reserved.  He feels comfortable just keeping a few steps back in a new environment and observing the dynamics.  When he feels more comfortable, he decides in what manner he will join in.  I remember explaining my son’s nature to a client once and her husband piped up, “But you aren’t going to just let him be like that, are you?”  I looked at him as though I had been caught in headlights. 

To continue reading, head on over to Kaylene’s blog!

Sometimes I feel anxious when I think about my kids growing up in this world. Have I prepared them enough? And then I remember the 3 Habits of a Confident Mother and I sense God's peace surround my heart.

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Parenting and Relationships

Today is a super busy day of guest posts for me!  2 of my guest posts have been published today!!

It is always an honor to guest post for a friend...but two in one day is an extra blessing!

Strong Family Project

I have a parenting post over on Sarah Ann’s blog, Faith Along The Way.  4 Reasons to Challenge Our Kids With Spiritual Truths.  Sometimes we don’t think our precious children will be able to understand the deep spiritual truths of God’s word.  When we believe that, we tend to not discuss these truths with them.  However, I have come to believe that our kids are capable of understanding so much more that what we think they can…even, dare I say it, understand truths better than we can!

Let’s Talk Relationships

My second guest post is over on Alison’s site, A Life Of Scoop.  This one comes from a much more raw place in my heart.  It is something that I don’t mention often on my own blog…but a topic that does need to be addressed.  When Alison approached me to write for her Let’s Talk Relationship series, I prayed about what relationship I ought to write about.  I felt the Lord press upon my heart to write about the most difficult relationship I have ever had.  A relationship with someone who exhibits mental illness tendencies.  So, here it is…When Mental Illness Overwhelms Your Relationships.  I say ‘relationships’ because the relationship that is affected by mental illness is not just with the person with the problem.  It has affected every relationship I’ve ever had with anyone, especially with my husband and my children.  

It is always an honor to guest post for a friend...but two in one day is an extra blessing!

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Have You Lost Your Homeschool Joy?

I am guest posting over at A Little R & R today!  This is my monthly contributor post!  This one will be a 2-part series of getting that Joy back in your homeschool.  Here is an excerpt:

It felt like a constant fight to get my kids to do their school work – almost every single day.  I would find myself becoming increasingly frustrated to the point of yelling at my kids to get back to work.  Then the feelings of guilt would wash in…I blew it again.  My kids were left feeling discouraged and like failures.  Actually, we all felt that way.  This isn’t what I wanted my homeschool to look like.  This wasn’t what I had dreamed of.  And I am sure it isn’t what they wanted either.  So, why are we fighting this?  How did it become so…joyless?  We had lost joy in homeschool.  Well, I learned a few things along the way…important things I want to share with you.  This post is for when you need joy in your homeschool.

Sometimes it can be so hard to homeschool. We start to yell and beg our kids to get their work done. Here are a couple of reasons why this might be. Have You Lost Your Homeschool Joy?

To read more, head over to A Little R & R.

Sometimes it can be so hard to homeschool. We start to yell and beg our kids to get their work done. Here are a couple of reasons why this might be. Have You Lost Your Homeschool Joy?

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4 Important Truths For The Failing Homeschool Mom

I am blogging over at A Little R & R with an encouraging blog post!

The moment I stepped into her home, I knew she was struggling.  The look in her eyes…defeat.  The slump of her shoulders.  The exhausted look on her face.  Her gait, slow and shuffled.  I knew I was here more for encouraging support than checking off learning goals for report cards.  I asked how things were going.  She gave me a deep sigh and I could see she was fighting tears.  She said she felt like she was failing at teaching her kids.  She was overwhelmed and not sure if she was doing ‘enough’.  In all of my years as a support teacher for homeschool families, this has been one of the biggest hindrances for so many moms.  I want to remind you all of some important truths here.  Are you ready?  4 Important Truths For The Failing Homeschool Mom.

4-Important-Truths-For-The-Failing-Homeschool-Mom

You feel like you are failing at this homeschool thing, hey?  I know…been there, done that.  More than once…AND I am a certified teacher!  However, over my 11 years of home educating and being a support teacher, I have come to realize some truths about this whole failing at homeschool LIE.

Read more over at a Little R & R

 

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How To Have An Imperfectly Perfect Marriage

I am sharing over at Busy Being Blessed today in Jenn’s wonderful marriage series “The Imperfect Wife”.  In this guest post, I share about how my marriage appears ‘perfect’ to the outsider, but the truth is something different.  I explain what we have done and How To Have An Imperfectly Perfect Marriage.

Have you ever looked at a marriage and believed it was 'perfect'? Like nothing bad ever happens, the couple never fights - they adoringly and longingly gaze into each others eyes ALL. THE. TIME? I have a marriage that appears that way and I share HOW we have the imperfectly perfect marriage. I hope this encourages your Christian marriage.

Several years ago, my neighbor was having a difficult time in her marriage. Her husband was leaving her and she could not stop crying. I remember finding her scrunched up in the corner of her sofa. My heart broke for her. I sat with her and I cried alongside her. I tried to offer some encouragement, but much of the time I just didn’t know exactly what to say. What are the right words? And then I began sharing with her about the struggles I’ve had in my marriage. She looked at me with surprise and said, “Wait. I thought you had the perfect marriage.” She could not have been more wrong about that. She needed to know that what I have is the imperfectly perfect marriage.  And I want to share with you How To Have An Imperfectly Perfect Marriage.

To finish reading this post, head on over to Busy Being Blessed.

Have you ever looked at a marriage and believed it was 'perfect'? Like nothing bad ever happens, the couple never fights - they adoringly and longingly gaze into each others eyes ALL. THE. TIME? I have a marriage that appears that way and I share HOW we have the imperfectly perfect marriage. I hope this encourages your Christian marriage.

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He Is My Children’s Heavenly Father

Have you ever felt that you just don’t measure up as a mom?  Like you just keep failing?  Or maybe that incident that happened – you go through those “what if” questions – what if it had been worse?  What if I had been more careful?  Then the next barrage of guilt-laden questions come.  “How could I have been so careless?”  “How could I let that happen?”  Are you familiar with this?  If so, then head on over to Busy Being Blessed to read my post in Jenn’s series The Imperfect Mom Confessional.  I share my story of how I went through the “what ifs” and then God showed me truth about the situation.  He is My Children’s Heavenly Father.

I will be sharing the posts from this series on my Facebook page, so be sure to like my page to keep up on this wonderful and encouraging series.

My Children's Heavenly Father

 

 

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Sitting At Jesus’ Feet

I love the story of Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet!  I am guest posting over at Searching For Moments this week!

Do you struggle with sitting at the feet of Jesus?  In this guest post, I take the story of Mary at Jesus' feet and discover the benefits of just resting in His presence.

Please join me over at Lori Schumaker’s website, Searching For Moments, and read about what I’ve learned from the story of Mary sitting at the feet of her Saviour.  I take a look at what Martha has found in her busyness as well…not nearly as wonderful as what Mary found!

Do you struggle with sitting at the feet of Jesus?  In this guest post, I take the story of Mary at Jesus' feet and discover the benefits of just resting in His presence.

 

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