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Jennifer Maggio Christian Blog and Commentary

Jennifer Maggio

The Life of a Single Mom

How can we, as loving, compassionate, members of the global body of Christ, reach out and show love to single parents? Maybe the single parents in your life seem like they have it all together. There are some amazingly, strong single parents today, and many are achieving success parentally and emotionally, while finding great freedom in their walk with the Lord. But even those strong, amazing single parents, could use an occasional helping hand.

Here are a few practical ways to brighten a single parent's day:

Babysit for free and do it often. Single mothers often work many hours per week and do not want to ask for help. They may even work a second or third job, or be attending a local college, too. Babysitting can be expensive. Encourage single mothers in your life to take the night off. They need it.

Offer to grocery shop for them. Shopping is a simple task, but shop alone with three children hanging from the buggy and you'll see the challenge many single parents face weekly.

Give her some girl time. Sometimes the best way to serve a single mom is to invite her for coffee for some adult conversation.

Start a single parent support group in your church. What a way to be the body of Christ! Start a Bible study or Sunday School Class just for single parents. Give them a place to feel comfortable and welcomed inside your church walls.

Other Ways to Serve Single Parents:

  • Wash & fold clothes.
  • Offer a word of encouragement.
  • Buy them a free car wash & oil change.
  • Create a homemade inspirational book of Scriptures.
  • Rent a movie & provide popcorn for a movie night.
  • Yard work.
  • Perform carpentry, home repairs, and odd & end jobs.
  • Provide gas money or groceries.
  • Save your travel-sized toiletries from hotel rooms and donate them.
  • Clean house.
  • Cook a meal, or even help plan meals for the week.
  • Buy her lunch.
  • Write a handwritten, personal note.
  • Start a run/walk group where single moms can bring their kids for exercise & girl-time.
  • Give a single mom a rose.
  • Bring cookies & baked goods.
  • Bring a gift basket full of goodies.
  • Offer cleaning supplies. (They are expensive!)
  • Offer a day of window shopping, coffee, and a ride through town.
  • Visit them!
  • Offer tutoring service for her children.
  • Cut her grass.
  • Pray for her.
  • Play dress up with makeup, hair, & clothes.

 

Author/speaker, Jennifer Maggio, is one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents and women’s issues. She is an award-winning author and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She currently oversees one of the nation’s largest single moms support groups and has helped to launch more than 1500 others in churches around the globe. She is a regular on radio and television. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com

 

1. Have fun with your kids. Get crazy. Relax. Giggle. Dance. Sing karaoke.  Enjoy time together. If you are such a rigid, unyielding, disciplinarian, your kids probably hate to see you coming! Enjoy your kiddos.

2. Mean what you say. Don't be fickle. Kids crave stability. Give it to them. If they know you can be easily manipulated into changing your mind, they will definitely pursue it!

3. Have expectations for your children. Even toddlers can put away toys. Teens can clean their room, vacuum, take out trash, etc. Chores are only part of your expectations. Line out what you expect from them in their academics. Push them to achieve their very best -- whatever that may be. Challenge them. Stretch them.

4. Hug them. This is such an easy one, when we have precious toddlers. They are cute and cuddly. But what about when our toddlers turn into sassy-mouthed teens? How often do we hug them? How often do we tell them that we love them, that we're proud of them? Your kids need no less "atta boys" when they become pre-teens and teens. They need words of affirmation.

5. Write them letters. Whether you choose to give them to your kids now or simply store them for later in life, document their growing pains, accomplishments, and your thoughts. My kids have thoroughly enjoyed going back and reading some of my thoughts of their early years. It tells them you care enough to take the time to do it. Sometimes, it is just easier to write those special thoughts on paper.

 

With an estimated 15 million single mothers in the United States and numbers increasing daily, it is imperative that the local church have a thriving single mothers program. And no, a one-time Mother's Day Banquet or annual Single Moms Oil Change isn't enough. Those are great programs and we love that churches around the country do them, but single moms desire long-term Bible studies, discipleship, and support groups.

It is estimated that 67% of single mothers do not actively attend church.  As the church – the body of Christ – this should pain us. It should keep us up at night. Many single mothers do not feel they belong in the house of God. The fear that they will be judged. They are concerned that others will not understand their journey.

It is important that we understand that single mothers, like all of us, desire genuine connection and fellowship with those who best understand our situation. We all want to know that someone has walked the path we are currently on, and not only survived, but thrived.

So, why should we formalize a single moms' ministry within the walls of our church?

The Bible tells us so. We have been commissioned with certain duties by the Lord. Psalms 146:9 informs us “He cares for the widows and orphans.” Luke 14:13 challenges us to “invite the poor.”  1 Timothy 5:3 advises us to “take care of the widow.” The widow, many times, is the single mom. The orphans are left by a single mom. The poor are often single moms.

Single parents are one of the fastest-growing sects of our population. What better way for our local churches to grow than to conect with the 9 million unchurched single mothers in the country? This respresents more than 20 million women and children and they are in our neighborhoods, grocery stores, and schools.

Single moms need more than just a Christimas toy drive once per year for her children. They appreciate that sort of thing, but she desires sustained connection with the house of God. She longs to learn more about financial stewardship and parenting effectively. She needs long-term fellowship with other single mothers in similar seasons of life. She wants to know that she is not alone.

A single moms' ministry is not the same thing as a singles ministry. I love singles ministries. I have great friends who run singles ministry. But singles ministries are typically co-ed environments. Many single mothers are recently divorced or vulnerable and need a private support group for women only. This allows the freedom to express concerns and hardships sans the added pressure of the opposite sex. Additionally singles ministries, at least in most churches, tend to be for 40s and up. Single moms in their 20s and 30s can often be missed when a church only conducts a singles ministry.

And perhaps the most important point – single moms ministries do not condone unwed pregnancy or divorce no more than addictions' ministry condones drug use. We know God's word calls us to live in sexual purity and that marriage was intended to last forever. We know that and embrace that, as believers. However, we cannot ignore that there are millions of single parent families that exist today. We must address the needs of those within our community who find themselves parenting alone.

Our mission on this earth, as Christians, is to populate Heaven and plunder Hell. We are to seek out the marginalized, hurting, broken, and poor. We are looking for those who do not know the love of the Father that we know. They do not know the Jesus that forgives all sin, erases all record of wrong, and loves unconditionally.

Jennifer Maggio is critically-acclaimed author and speaker who is also  founder The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. TLSM was founded from Maggio's own journey and resolve to not be just another statistic. Maggio has appeared on more than 100 radio and television shows and writes articles for dozens of magazines. Her products are endorsed by LifeWay Christian Stores, Focus on the Family, The 700 Club, and many more. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com

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