Whenever I speak at women’s events, I love people watching. The joy in the room is contagious. Women are giddy to be away from home and work and kids and laundry …and did I say laundry?
I always wonder who the single moms are. Which mom in the audience carries the heaviest burden alone? Who is missing because she’s working overtime or couldn’t find a babysitter?
I rarely leave an event without publicly recognizing those who parent single-handedly. When I look into a sea of faces, words of encouragement come from the very place I experienced being a single mom of two– it’s the same three words that bubble up and out of me; love one another.
Afterwards, single moms find me. “Thank you for talking about being single. Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in at mom groups or even at church.”
Some give me a big hug and a few have even wept. “I’m so overwhelmed.” Or, “I’m so tired.” And a few are burdened with guilt. “I’m cranky with the kids most of the time.”
It’s easy to think that every mom who belongs to a church or MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group is married, but that’s not the case. As a mom, you have a long reach into the community. Pray and ask God to put a mom on your heart, someone you can help by sharing a meal, including in your carpool, or even anonymously giving in a financial way.
3 Ways to Encourage a Single Mom
•Don’t judge. It’s easy to assume a single mom is divorced or on her own because of poor choices. God doesn’t tell us “love one another only if they haven’t made mistakes.” Beware of judging single moms. This kind of thinking will trip you up. Jesus tells us to love one another, and if you judge be ready to be judged by Him.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2
•Diapers and Doodads. The next time you’re at the store, pick up a few extra things for the single mommy in your neighborhood. Put together a basket with bath salts, a colorful loofah sponge and a delicious smelling candle. Stuff a colorful bag with a gift card for a Starbucks coffee and a chick flick. Send a gift card for a haircut or pedicure or a homemade coupon for a marathon telephone call.
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40
•Time. Take the kids off of her hands for a few hours. Offer to pick up her son or daughter after school. If your children are on the same soccer team, baseball team or dance class, why don’t you bless her and carpool for a week or two?
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
Want to know a FOURTH way to bless a single mom? Try seeking her out. The next time you attend church, or a women’s event or mom conference please don’t sit with your same girlfriends–that’s so high school. Please do what Jesus would do and come alongside the single mom who moved hell and high water to be there.
And, if I just happen to be at your next event –you can find me sitting on her other side.
Enjoy your Saturday morning vanilla latte with Joanne. A weekly resource of amazing links to mom-stuff around the web. If you’re one of those adorable-younger-blog-savvy-moms who take artsy-fartsy pictures of your feet you’ll want to connect with her on Bloglovin & Feedly, too.