Anyone who has known me for more than about 30 seconds knows my passion for serving the single-parent family and my desire to see the church body rally around these precious families to serve them. The desire to see no single parent walking alone – to see the body of Christ working fervently to reach single parents for Christ’s cause – keeps me up at night. I have big dreams of seeing every church, regardless of size, start a single parent ministry and outreach program. Having said all that, I think it is extremely important that single moms learn to serve others, too. Servanthood is a great privilege we all have, regardless of our season of life. It allows us to show the love of Christ to others, teach our children valuable life lessons, and removes the focus from ourselves and our own problems.
I have often said that I do not believe that your work saves you, the Word is clear on this point. But I do believe that those who are saved, work! When we have accepted the Lord as our Savior, not because of anything we could ever do, but because of everything He’s done, our life is forever changed. Our heart has been transformed from the inside out. That change should prompt us to think of others first and self last. It should motivate us to serve others, thereby showing others the love of Christ through selfless acts. I do not think single parents are any exception.
Through my years of ministry, people have said some pretty crazy things to me, many of which don’t bear repeating. But one of the things I have heard more than once is that nonprofits that cater to single-parent families may foster a victim mentality or create some sense of entitlement. My response is to smile and politely explain that our organization is passionate about just the opposite! Make no mistake. We are passionate about serving single mothers, but also teaching them to serve others. We are passionate about eradicating any victim mentality and teaching that a Christ-follower is no victim, but rather a victor. We are passionate about fostering a sense of responsibility, hard work, and strong work ethic.
I know there may be a single mom reading now who is discouraged as she reads this article. Maybe she has been hurt by a devastating divorce or a church member that said something hurtful. Single mom, hear me. I know how hard this season is and how lonely it can be. I know that the journey of healing can be long and seem unending. But service to others may be the very thing that God can use to mend your broken heart. It may be the very spark that shifts your perspective. And it could very well be the thing that gives your children hope, when hope seems to be lacking.
So, what are some things that single moms can do to serve others? Maybe you are reading and you are a single mom who really has a heart to serve, but you are financially strapped and limited on time, so feel there is little you can do. Here are a few ideas:
1.Throw a meal in the Crockpot for a family in need. (There are many dishes you can make for under $10).
2.Bake a dozen cookies for a local fire department. Two dozen cookies cost under $3 at most grocery stores and bake in 8 minutes. What a great way to get your kids involved.
3.Write “thank you” cards to our military or service personnel.
4.Call a fellow single mom and invite her over for dinner.
5.Babysit a friend’s children one weekend.
6.Pool resources with other single moms in the area and host a pot-luck meal.
7.Commit to calling one fellow single parent, per week, to check on them and pray for them.
8.Take the time to mail a handwritten letter to a family member, old friend, or former teacher who has meant a lot to you. Take time to share fond memories you have about them.
The list is endless. When we become servant-minded, God floods us with creativity on how to serve others. One of my favorite service projects was when we took a group of single moms and their children to a local nursing home and had a morning-of-fun with the residents. We sang songs, painted fingernails, served donuts, and made crafts. It was more than a year ago now and I still smile every time I think of it.
Jennifer Maggio is the happily married mother of three who has a passion for the single parent family. The founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine, Maggio spends many of her days praying for and counseling with single mothers nationwide.