GOD Loves the Children of the Single Parent Equally!

God Loves the Children of the Single Parent Equally!

Statistics tell us that the children of Single Parent homes suffer in many ways:

*Higher incidence of depression

*Higher use of drugs and alcohol

*Higher rate of teenage pregnancy

*Higher drop out rate and/or lower grades

*Lower college attendance rate

I could simplify matters and state that it is simply a case of less parental supervision. I could villianize the parents, both the custodial and the absent parent. I could state that money and time is better spent on the “sure thing”, the kids with two interested parents. Ahh! So simple. Of course, if I did this I would have to admit that I would have done better if I had a stable upbringing. I would have to discount many wonderful and awesome successful men and women who were raised in single family homes. My oldest daughter suffered through the divorce of her parents (yes, I am half of that).

What is needed is equal access to finances when churches plan events for kids and their single parents. Also, needed are men and women who are willing to mentor these kids and who are willing to give the single parent support, encouragement or maybe a break in their busy schedule. Single parents and their children do not get enough attention from church leadership (or at the workplace). Take the plight of a single woman working as an RN at the local hospital.

*The single parent RN will spend almost twice as much money on child care as the married counterpart

*The single parent will miss twice as many days for illness of the children

*The single parent of a teenager will leave the child home alone at night more often because of work  responsibility. This will result in increased opportunity for involvement in pornography, drug and alcohol use and will increase the opportunity for sexual activity.

GOD loves these children too! Does the church?

 

The Effects of Substance Abuse on Marriage

By Karen Kleinschmidt

author imageKaren Kleinschmidt
Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in “Grandma’s Choice,” “Treasure Box” and “Simple Joy.” She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.
The Effects of Substance Abuse on Marriage
Substance abuse can cause physical, emotional and financial strain on a marriage.Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Substance abuse has detrimental effects on a marriage, any children involved, extended family, friends and colleagues. Fighting and stress, caused by financial and emotional issues due to the substance abuse, can set the couple up for a vicious cycle in which substance abuse increases to reduce tension created by the conflict, according to American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Domestic violence may also occur when the partner under the influence grows uncontrollably angry. If the substance abuser admits there is a problem, treatment is an option.

The Bridge Between Us

While the substance abusing spouse needs help to control the illness, the sober spouse needs help in dealing with strong emotions that continue to arise due to the drug abuse, according to “Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy,” available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The sober partner may feel depressed based on an inability to express disappointment, anger, stress and anxiety. This partner may neglect personal needs while attempting to keep the peace with the substance-abusing spouse. The sober spouse may live in fear of a failed marriage or others discovering the problem. Financial issues may arise if substance-abusing party loses a job or spends money frivolously, or if the family’s insurance is unable to cover needed treatment.

Behind the Mask

At some point, the sober partner in the marriage often begins to cover up the problem to prevent friends, family and colleagues from noticing that anything is amiss, according to Dr. Harry Croft in the article “Effects of Substance Abuse on Family Members” on the Healthy Place website. In some instances, the sober parent may try to be everything for the children in an effort to ensure their comfort, according to the NCBI book. This parent may hide the other’s substance abuse from the children, which may cause emotional damage as the children’s reality is denied.

Shame plays a big part in the sober spouse’s desire to cover up any mistakes the other spouse might make or to deny that there is a problem in the marriage. For example, a wife may call her husband’s boss and say he has a stomach virus when, in reality, he is passed out and hung over from the night before. The sober spouse may feel helpless, and this may lead to secrecy and withdrawal from the outside world in an attempt to project the image that all is well, according to Dr. Croft. The more a sober partner enables the addicted spouse, the more co-dependency develops, reports the NCBI publication.

No Longer Hiding

The sober spouse has likely heard many broken promises that the other partner will “stop using” or “get sober.” Maybe the substance abuser has stopped, only to start up again. Substance abuse is an ongoing, chronic problem, and relapses are common in the early stages of treatment, according to Dr. Croft. While the non-abusing spouse may feel hopeful, that hope can turn to anger with each repeated relapse or broken promise. Substance abuse treatment programs can assist both the substance abuser as well as the spouse. Family therapy, with extended family members and children, as well as 12-step programs can help assist in recovery for everyone involved.

About DAD!

We have a weak nation, because of weak churches,

because of weak families, because of weak fathers……..

” Pistol” Pete Maravich

Father’s day is coming (in June) ! A day to (possibly) receive a bad tie or cheap cologne. A day to be the #1 DAD and wear the T-shirt. So dads, I challenge you to speak out and share what we (men) can do to change the profound truth in the Pistol’s statement. My contibution:

  • Be a patriot- Serve your country by serving your community and be a great example to others who may not have a dad.
  • Be a Saint- Strengthen the church by leading, implementing and serving. Don’t wait for permission to do the right thing.
  • Be a Patriarch- Lead your family. Provide, nurture and encourage.
  • Be a Papa- Teach, empower, and mature your children through a balance of tender love and discipline. Raise respectful, reverent, hard working children.

So, what does this mean to the single father or the never been a father. If you are a father, pay your support dutifully and cherish your visitation. Don’t talk bad about the mother (if she’s bad, they know). Take them to church and Bible School. Teach them to pray.

Mentor kids who don’t have a dad. Volunteer in the community or church. Spend time with the kids. Substitute teach at Sunday school and tell them why GOD lead you to your profession. Pray for kids and other fathers who struggle.

I hven’t forgotten the widower fathers. As you glorify GOD, remind them why you loved their mother. And be a tender “mom” as best you can.

Your turn! Talk to us! What did your dad do right and what can we do better???

GOD loves the widowed (of all ages)

I can’t imagine a greater loss and pain than the death of the love of your life. I have known people who have been married for over 60 years. One dear couple  that I had the privelege of spending time with last year had been married for (DRUM ROLL PLEASE………………….)  ***  75  *** (yes, that is correct)  ***75 *** years!!!!!  Sylvia and Arthur were a sweet Jewish couple who lived in the Ritz apartments (yes, The second Ritz Carlton of all time and the building where Boardwalk Empire both occurred and was filmed. Too cool (for all you trivia buffs)! Arthur sold men’s belts and suspenders in his business in Manhatten and Sylvia was an Executive Secretary for NBC in the pioneer days of television. They went to brunch and they loved ball room dancing htough their 95th birthdays. Sadly, Sylvia succombed to pneumonia. Their son called me while the family was “sitting Sheva” as they mourned her death and requested that I attend her funeral. It occurred on a frigid, drizzling November day in New Jersey. Arthur wanted “their” new friend, the nurse, to be there. So, I was.

A Jewish funeral is different. A celebration and reflection on a brilliant life. Sadly, no talk of an afterlife. No expectation of meeting Jesus (remember, as Jews, Jesus wasn’t in their beliefs though they certainly were aware of Him). Just a 45 minute activity of closure.

Arthur told me when I walked him to the car that he didn’t want to live anymore. His love was gone. He had climbed out of bed for 75 years anticipating seeing Sylvia! And she was gone. “What’s the point?” he asked.

Arthur’s son called me two weeks later…..

Here’s my point! God loves the widows and widowers. Some are in their 80’s or 90’s and have benn married “forever”. Others are much younger. All have had their heart broken. So, we must remind them that God does love them and understands how they feel. But we also have a lasting responsibility to help fill the tremendous void that is left behind. Take a meal. Do an errand. Send a card. Make a call. Be a friend….long term….because it is needed and it is the right thing to do.

God loves those who mourn for they will be comforted………………

Who are the Single Parents at your Church?

Who are the Single Parents at your Church?

When I visit a new congregation for the first time, I always ask about who the singles are. Frequently, the minister or elders say, “we don’t really have singles here”. This statement perplexes me as I know research shows that 51% of the U. S. population is not married. When I push for answers, I sometimes hear the following, “well, Mrs. Jones is a widow and has 3 kids but they are in high school and don’t attend regularly.” “We have a divorced man and his kids come when he has visitation”. “We have 4 or 5 college kids but they are dating”. “Barbara has two kids but she isn’t living the single life”. So, the conclusion is that you have some singles that you don’t do much for and don’t go out of your way to get others into the flock. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Except that it is a true statement. So, who are those single parents?

  • The divorced lady with the unruly son
  • The never married young lady who made a “mistake”.
  • The YOUNG widow and widower who make everyone else uncomfortable.
  • The older widow who just wants to get out of the house.
  • The military spouse (yes, married but alone) who needs extra involvement.
  • The parent of the special needs child.

James wrote that pure religion is taking care of the widows and orphans….time to start!

17 Ways to Reach Out to Single Parents

17 Ways to Reach Out to Single Parents- from Pinterest (Tricia)

A little over forty years ago, a single, young woman was about to give birth. She didn’t know how to afford a child without her parents’ help. She hadn’t talked to her former boyfriend in months. She couldn’t reach him, didn’t know how to tell him she was having his child.

This young woman attended church some, yet her dialogue with God was stilted. How could God let this happen to her? What would her life be like now?

A baby girl was born, and upon holding her child this young lady knew things would be OK. Perhaps this baby was a gift, not a burden as she supposed.

This woman raised her daughter the best she could, and while she wanted to give her child more than she had . . . history has a way of repeating itself. When the daughter became a young woman, she found herself in the same situation — living at home, pregnant and scared.

The daughter knew she could raise this child. After all, her mom had done it. But what would her life be like? How could God let this happen to her?

If you haven’t guessed already, I was the daughter born to a single mom and as a teenager became a single mom myself. At age 17, God gave me a son. My boyfriend was out of the picture, and I faced raising a child alone with little education, no money and, maybe according to the world, little hope for my future. I know what it’s like to be a young, simple mom and what made a huge difference in my life. Here are some ways you can reach out to single parent:

1. Free childcare.

A Moms’ Day out is greatly needed! You should know that these moms, especially teen moms, may have a hard time leaving their children. Outline for them as clear as possible who will be watching their kids, what type of childcare experience they have, and what activities will be done. Many young moms have been hurt in the past in numerous ways and they are very sensitive when it comes to their kids.

2. Guy Events.

Many children of single parents don’t have positive male role models in their lives. Activities for guys to do with kids–fishing, an obstacle course, Lego building, etc. would be a huge blessing for these moms. They understand this need in their kids and feel bad because of it.

3. Car clinics.

Many single moms don’t have someone to help with maintenance stuff like checking the oil, checking the tires, checking the windshield wipers, etc. And cleaning out/detailing the car would be a huge blessing, too.

4. Expert advice.

Do you have experts who could help them with advice?

  • Legal (custody stuff)
  • Resume building or job training
  • Parenting tips or help
  • Cooking simple meals
  • Reading the Bible

Pass out a questionnaire ahead of time and find out their needs.

5. Necessity kits.

Many moms struggle with money. Kits you can put together.

  • First aid kits
  • Cleaning kids
  • Spice cabinet basics
  • Toiletry kits
  • Home “office” kit: calendar, stamps, pens, tape, stapler, etc.
  • Kitchen towels and potholders

6. Christian books and resources.

Again these are “splurge” items they’re not able to buy for themselves.

7. Craft time!

Single moms often don’t have time to sit down and have fun. Create a craft event where they can sit, make something cool, and chat with others.

8. Gift cards

Give them a gift card for dinner out at someplace other than McDonalds.

9. Gas cards.

They often get stuck at home because they don’t have enough money for gas.

10. Christian music.

They often don’t know it exists, but find it uplifting.

11. Toys-R-Us or Walmart gift cards.

So they can buy something nice for their child’s birthday or a holiday.

12. Home improvement projects.

Mowing the yard of a single mom, or putting together a set of bunk beds is a huge help.

13. Offer a mini-vacation.

This takes more work, but moms often don’t get a change to get away. Does someone you know work at a hotel chain where you can get a discount on a hotel room? Or does someone have a vacation home or time share nearby?

14. Invite her to your house for dinner.

She’ll be happy and shocked!

15. Free haircut, manicure or massage.

… from a professional! Being pampered is something they usually don’t have the time or money for.

16. Kids haircuts.

This is a huge help to her, too!

17. Birthday cakes.

Do you have someone who can bake a birthday cake for her birthday or her child’s?

Download the FREE printable of how you can reach out to single parents today!

God FORGIVES the Single too!

Forgiveness is a much misunderstood concept as well as one that is not practiced regularly. Forgiveness is not… ignoring the peerson or the grievances by not thinking about them. Forgiveness is not forgetting, which isn’t reasonable. Forgiveness is not letting that person off the hook for their wrongs committed against you and you can’t expect wrongs to be made right before you forgive a person. Forgiveness is the decision to accept the reality of the situation and absorb the pain of the wrong acts committed. Then a person can let go of the past in order to live freely in the present and the future.

You may have strong objections to forgiving someone of the crimes committed against you. You will feel that justice was not done and the perpetrator should be punished. You might be right but you are not responsible for metting out punishment. What about “don’t get mad, get even”? Revenge! Problem with revenge is that it lowers you to the standard of the offender. It confirms opinions of others who may feel that you deserved your fate. And it usually is the start of reprisals and retaliations.

What if you hate them? Hatred will turn a likable person into a sour cynic. It will lead to power struggles with people who should not be enemies. It can lead to physical ailments such as hypertension, ulcers, indigestion, heart disease and emotional instability.  You could transfer your feelings to new relationships and alienate potential friends and relationships.

How to forgive. Write down all your grievances. Write a letter asking the person to acknowledge wrong doing. See what the response is. You will either lead them to a change of heart or they will blow you off. Regardless of the response, pray for their health, success and relationship with God. Then move on with your future and your faith walk.

Remember that Jesus Christ died on that cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Let them go!