According to a recent article in the New York Times, “41 percent of births in the United States occur outside marriage, up sharply from 17 percent three decades ago.” Research further suggests, these moms experience higher rates of poverty and depression. That’s a staggering number of women with children, minus a husband, out there trying to make it on their own.
Single moms impress me. They work twice as hard with half the kudos. It’s tough to be two parents rolled in one. Sadly, I believe they’re overlooked in our communities and churches and judged too harshly by a lot of us.
They’re unsung heroes, if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe God created a family to function at its most blessed and best with both a father and a mother—I also understand this isn’t always how it is.
When I see or hear of a successful child in a home influenced by a single mom, I’m overwhelmingly proud. Why do I feel so passionately about the plight of the single mom?
Because I’ve been a single mom.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
When I teach Sunday school class, I love to go around the room and ask the kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Over the years, hundreds of children have giggled their way to an answer.
“I want to be a fireman!”
“I want to be a teacher!”
“I want to be a movie star!”
“I want to be an Army man!”
“I want to bake cupcakes!”
I was caught off guard one morning when a little boy’s hand shot up, “I want to be Tim Tebow when I grow up!”
I pinched my lips together to keep from laughing, “Well, son, I think that one might be taken. But, God can do anything.”
I love to see the sparkle of hope in a child’s eyes as they think for a moment about what their future might hold. I’ve asked this question hundreds and hundreds of times. Yet, there is one response I’ve never heard spoken.
“I want to be a single mom when I grow up.”
How Can You Help?
Open your eyes. Look around you. There’s sure to be a single mom within a stone’s throw. Here’s a few ways you can bless one:
•Don’t Judge. It’s easy to assume a single mom is divorced or on her own because of poor choices. That isn’t always the case. I have a favorite quote, “We can heal their broken bodies and restore their fallen hearts if only we would stop judging them for how they fell apart in the first place.”J.C. Ryle
God doesn’t tell us “love one another only if you haven’t made mistakes.” Goodness, sometimes the only mistake they made is believing in the man they once loved. Beware of judging single moms. This kind of thinking will trip you up. Jesus tells us to love one another, not judge one another.
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
Single moms are everywhere. If you don’t see one you’re not looking hard enough. Do you want to raise great kids? Then let your kids watch you love on someone who doesn’t look just like you. Great kids want to see you being great.