I’ve been contemplating over the June 30th Women’s Ministry Council meeting, and some of the words shared by our guest speaker Willow Sanders. One particular nugget that really stands out was her guidance that we need not be focused on why a woman is a single mother but instead we need to focused on how we can love her and serve her well.
These words brought to mind an article from several years ago, about how we view babies born out of wedlock in the church. Too often we have viewed the sin as “having a baby before marriage” vs. “having sex before marriage”. In other words, we tie the child in with the sin because it was a result of that relationship. This has caused women and teens to feel guilt and shame over an unexpected pregnancy.
What does the Word say about babies and children? The Word tells us that babies are a blessing, a gift, an inheritance. In fact, I can’t think of a single piece of scripture that every identifies a baby as sinful. The article went on to encourage people to stop viewing these babies as a consequence of sin and instead flip the narrative to viewing them as a blessing inspite of sin. Imagine if we embraced these pregnancies and babies as blessings? How many girls would never even walk into the abortion clinic? How many struggling mothers would walk through the church doors to seek help and guidance? If they did not fear having to face judgement, shame, and ridicule … how many more women and children could the church reach and serve?
To our single mothers, the circumstances of how you became a single mother are between you and God. I am sorry for any occasion where you have been made to feel less than by the church. I am sorry for any occasion where you felt your child was bearing the weight of judgement and criticism. I am praying for you, your family, and that the Lord will be a light in your darkness, a provider when you need provision, and that you can put your heart into the Father’s hands. I pray that the church would open our eyes to the blessings that these children are, and the embrace the courage it takes to make the decision to choose life when the world is telling you that there is an easier way. I pray that we do not let you walk alone. I ask for your forgiveness. Help us learn how to serve you better.
To our churches, I ask you to be honest with yourselves in how you have viewed and served the single mothers in your church. Take inventory of how you serve these families currently, and ask the Lord to show you how we can do a better job. Encourage your women’s ministries to make provisions and concessions to ensure your single mothers can be included in activities. Encourage your men’s ministries to share their gifts and talents for cars, home repairs, and sports with these families. Encourage your small groups leaders to find ways to provide childcare. Encourage your finance committees to create funds to help single parents with Bible Study curriculum, expenses for youth trips, and whatever other church related activities they and their children are a part of. Pray that the Lord opens up new avenues to serve in your community beyond your church walls.