The Misfits…Single Mothers
She walks into the church with her son following closely behind her. She hesitantly makes her way to the back of the church, and sits down quietly. Cautiously she begins to look around, feeling as though she is an outsider looking in, like she and her son don’t fit in. “Should we even be here? Do we really belong?”
Suddenly, a younger woman comes and sits down beside her, and begins to make conversation with her son. She is almost certain that the woman has noticed her empty ring finger. She hangs her head in shame, while desperately tries to fight back the tears.
She begins to realize that, that in all the months they have been attending services here, most people have treated us as if we have leprosy, like we are aliens of some kind. Tragically, it hasn’t been just one church, but many churches over the years!
The woman, in this story is me. I can recall at the beginning of my divorce, that all I hoped for was for my son and I to feel is if we belong. To feel celebrated not tolerated! Just to have someone come by our side and say; “You both belong here. You matter to us!”
Sadly in our society today, the single mom is one of the fastest-growing sects in our population. The single moms in our churches often find themselves ostracized and rejected by their church families, because they don't fit the mold of the perfect Christian family. Why has the church ignored them for so long? Where are the resources for single moms? Where can they go?
Sure, there are government programs to put food in the mouths to feed her hungry children, but what about her emotional state? Where does she go for friendship? How does she achieve financial success? Does she know that there are resources that are available to her, other than government assistance?
It is sincerely not my intention to come across as critical or judgmental of others, or the church in any way. I am very grateful and fully support all of our churches today. Not to mention the godly friends and mentors that my son and I currently have in our life. I am only trying to bring awareness to a great need I have come to see in our society today!
Because, there are too many times we can all get into our own little church groups of what I call “people like me group.” And within this safe environment where we feel secure, we can easily hesitate to reach out to others. Instead of accepting and caring for others, we end up avoiding or turning away from the people who are hurting the most, causing them more harm!
In an article titled “Churches Helping Single Mothers,” stated:
“One of the consequences for no-fault divorce laws is what has been termed the "feminization of poverty." This term means that the welfare rolls have largely become populated by families headed by a single parent, often a single mother. According to Fortune magazine, there are 65 million Americans under the age of 18; of these children, 22% live in single parent homes. The parents of nearly 2,750 children separate or divorce every day. According to the Family Research Council, the poverty rate for children of single parents is five times the rate for children living with two parents. It is therefore safe to assume that the majority of children of single parents in your church have financial needs. How can your church reach out to these single parents and their children? Why not set up a panel of CPA's and bookkeepers from your church who volunteer their services to help single parents with budgeting and preparation of tax returns? Perhaps your church could offer free or low-cost child care to single parents so they could look for work or attend classes in order to improve their skills. Your church could establish a food bank or connect single parents with one which is already established”
(The Rocky Mountain Family Council, qtd.).
“Studies also suggest that as many as 67% of single moms currently do not attend church. Many of them state that the fear of being judged is the reason.” Yes the churches offer them food when they are hungry, and may occasionally perform a home repair or provide toys at Christmas. But why is it that most churches seem to stop there?
Single moms need parenting advice, financial instruction, networking, spiritual growth opportunities, Godly male leaders as roles models to her children, and help for her and her families emotional needs. Not to mention the single moms whose children are fatherless! They often receive no child support or help.
Throughout the entire Bible God repeatedly tells us how much “He cares for the widows and orphans” (Psalm 146:9). “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,” (NASB95 Bible, Psalm 38:5).
The widows and the orphans include the single moms and her children! Most of them are the oppressed and the poor! If God cares and is concerned, shouldn’t we care and be concerned as well? As Christians, we are to be His hands and feet. How shallow are our words, if we don’t reflect the same message revealed every day in the life of Jesus Christ!
“The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to them, ‘What are you going through?’” (qtd. Simon W.).
The word compassion according to the Webster’-Collegiate Dictionary is synonymous to the word pity. It is defined as: “Sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy. Compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare showing mercy” (qtd.).
Of all the lessons Jesus gave, His words of acceptance of the “least of these” and His kindness to those who others chose to reject, leaves a lesson for all of us Christian’s today. The “misfit single mothers,” is stated the best in the words of Jesus Himself:
“Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?” Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders” (The Message, Matt. 9:10-13).
I encourage all of us Christians here today, to apply this real-life lesson to our own spiritual lives. Where it is just as easy to turn away from those others who don’t act like we do or believe as we do and then, before we know it we have already treated others like outsiders. Labeling them as misfits as a person who doesn’t fit into the distinct boundaries of our world.
Teresa of Avila I believe can open our eyes through the way we as Christians today, can touch everyone we come in contact with.
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours; yours are the only hands with which He can do His work; yours are the only feet with which He can go about the world; yours are the only eyes through which His compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world, Christ has no body now on earth but yours” (qtd.).
Will you reach out and give these women the most priceless gift anyone could receive?
The Gift of Compassion!
Barker, Kenneth L. New International Version Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008. Print. Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary., Eleventh ed.
(Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003). Print.
The Rocky Mountain Family Council. “Churches Helping Single Moms.” “Things Eternal
Life Strategies Discover the Truth.” 29 November 2010. Web.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation,
Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado
Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2002. Print.
Teresa of Avila, qtd.
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