Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taken Seriously...An article on the Christian's calling to support single parents

God blessed me through the generosity of his followers during the first two years of my single mom life. Although I sometimes wondered how I would put food on the table or buy Jackson new shoes, a generous gift would come through just in time. But--to be totally, embarrassingly honest--when I wasn't struggling anymore and I looked back on the situation, I wondered why some of my very closest friends who were quite comfortable financially never offered to help. I definitely don't hold it against them, but it helped me to see that single moms need to have the courage to talk about their fears and their needs...as this article tells us.

A Single Parent’s Call to Outrageous Faith
by Janet Whitley

October 18,1988 is a day that will be etched in my brain until the day I die. It's the day the judge pronounced that my marriage was irretrievably broken. I walked out of that courthouse a divorced single mom with five sons—ages nine, eight, six, five, and two. I was devastated. Although shattered, I didn't have to worry about finances because a settlement had been reached, maintenance and child support amounts had been determined. The financial agreement was generous enough to support us, and I would even be able to open a savings account and wouldn't have to work until my baby went to kindergarten. The first check arrived right on schedule and all was well.

All continued to be well until two years later when all maintenance and child support came to a screeching halt. What would I do now? My salary was $11,000 a year, and rent took $9,300 of that. I was a Christian and a member of a local church, but this began the scariest faith walk I had ever been on. Many times I had prayed for God to strengthen my faith, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect this outrageous faith journey.

There just was no money. I had to close the savings account and use all that money for food and utilities. Where would the money come from to meet the monthly deficit? I prayed. I cried. I screamed at God. I asked Him, Why? I was so scared. In my head I knew God would provide because I believed Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” However, my emotions couldn't understand that God would provide and that I could rest in Him.

In spite of my weak faith, God was working exceedingly abundantly above anything I had ever seen in my life as a Christian. In Bible study and Sunday school classes I was always requesting prayer for my financial situation, and my closest friends knew how really dire it was.

One night at Bible study one of the men handed me an envelope. I peeked in and counted five one-hundred-dollar bills. My sons attended a Christian school, and that year at Christmas the principal called, asking for the boys' Christmas lists. A church member and a local business owner called to ask for a list of the boys' sizes. With five boys, one of my biggest expenses was the grocery bill. Our pastor called to tell us that one of the church families was giving us grocery gift certificates for the entire year to provide food for us. God did Christmas 1990 at our house.

In each of these situations, God heard and answered by using people in the church to accomplish His plans. Single parents need Christians to surround and befriend them so that if their refrigerator is empty someone in the church already knows and has taken the initiative to get it restocked. It is incredibly difficult for single parents to ask for financial help. What an opportunity for the church to minister by providing single parent ministries to help in the emotional, spiritual, financial, and social recovery from the wreckage of divorce. This truly is the ministry that God intended when He said, “Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

3 comments:

Shandra Gray said...

I really enjoy your honest and eye opening perspective. It takes a lot of courage.

Dena said...

i always get the exact thing i need when i come read!!!

Erin said...

Shandra, thank you for this comment. It's not easy being honest about hard stuff but over the last 4 years, it has always proved rewarding.

Dena, that is awesome! God's so good like that!!!