Finally, know that you are going to grow up, and you will be able to get out of this situation.  Along the way, just forgive them, know who you are in the Lord so that you're not making mistakes, and you're not acting out, and you're not rebelling, because the decisions that you make today will follow you into your adulthood.  I do promise you, you will grow up.  So, keep hanging onto the Lord in the meantime. 

CW:  What are some ways you think the church can better reach out to single parents? 

SA:  The church can reach out to single parents by understanding that this is not a situation that we have dreamed about being in ever since we were 6 years old.  It is something that happens.  First of all, I want to say, whether we have come into single parenting through widowhood, as I did, through divorce, as my sister and several friends have, or through never having been married, we are all in the same boat.  Before I go on, I want to thank those single mothers who have never married.  Thank you for not aborting that child!  God is not finished with any of us yet. 

Since we are on the same boat, then we need to not get into a them-versus-us situation.  So many times, the widows are saying, "Well, I'm so glad I'm not divorced."  The divorced then look at us and think we've been left tons of insurance money.  Believe me, that's not true either.  The single mother who never married is feeling ostracized by both groups.  Let's stop judging each other and band together and say, all right, what can we do to help the church know that while we have a great many needs, we are not needy?  We have strengths that we can offer.

As we come together and socialize together, as we have a Sunday school class that is just for us, as we are finding out who we are in the Lord, that's when good things happen.  That's when our children see us hanging onto hope instead of fear.  If we are hanging onto fear, we are looking to be rescued.  So many times, it breaks my heart to see single mothers who are so desperate for a rescue that they wind up in a worse situation than before.  So, we need each other's strength.  We need each other's friendship.  As we find out that truly we are all in the same boat, that's when good things happen within the church. 

What the church members can do is pray for us.  Please don't judge us. Once you pray for us, then listen.  Sometimes the Lord will want you to give us a call and say, "Hey, why don't I take the girls to get their hair trimmed Saturday afternoon?"  Other times it will be, "I'd like to take your son to the football game this Friday night."  Just whatever the Lord tells you to do, please reach out. 

Please don't say, "If there's anything I can do, give me a call."  We won't call, because we have so many needs, we don't know where to begin. 

CW:  The last question. You mentioned not being a mother and a father, and I was wondering if you could share a few ways that single mothers can find a father role for their children, because they can't fill that role. 

 

SA:  You start this search with prayer, but understand that everyone is busy today.  So, you can't just expect that the men of the church are going to step up because, sadly, they don't have enough time to spend with their own children.

What I did is I kept my children in church.  When we lived in New York, Jay loved going to church there, because there was a gentleman who understood chemistry, and I do not.  That was my son's favorite subject in school.  So, every week, Jay would look forward to that 2-minute conversation that he would have with him.  The man would come to pat him on the shoulder, and say, "Hey, what [did you] learn in chemistry this week?  Are you still doing logarithms?  That's what we did all the time when I was in school way back when."  I don't know what logarithms are, but Jay did, and they could talk.  Jay would look forward to those conversations. 

I am not asking you to raise my children.  That's my job, but I am asking that you pray for me, that you listen, and that you be available.  If there is something new and different and exciting coming up that you include my children because, again, this was not the life that I had planned, but suddenly I [had] to deal with all of this and juggle all of these balls. 

 

The folks who came alongside of my children and me for even a few moments at a time were God's messengers, and they were instrumental in keeping our little boat afloat. 

CW:  Thanks, Sandra! For  more information about Sandra Aldrich and her books and ministry, visit here.