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!

 

 

God Loves the Single Person (equally)…..

     It is interesting how churches attract different people.

     For example,  the Saddleback Church in California actively ***markets*** to middle class Caucasian families (Dad, Mom and the kids) ages 25-45. There are no apologies. Here are the lessons. Here is the focus. Here is who is expected to attend. Is that wrong?

     The Toms River Christian church has grown AFTER realizing that the local families and younger people were not attracted to the conservative message preached. They instituted an outreach to senior citizens and have grown with with it.

     Some (musical) churches have “rock and roll” praise or hip hop church.

     Even accapella churches are either “old school” or “new school” when it comes to what songs are sung.

     So….here is some info to stuff in your hat and keep your brain warm. Use it as you like.

  • 37% of Americans claim to attend church regularly (weekly). Probably about half of that number actually do. More elderly attend church than do younger adults. More women attend church than do men but the attendance of men especially fathers has a greater influence. So, Dads, go to church! (see below- borrowed from Barna)

If a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshiper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). If a father goes but irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s devotion, between half and two-thirds of their offspring will attend church regularly or occasionally.

A non-practicing mother with a regular father will see a minimum of two-thirds of her children ending up at church. In contrast, a non-practicing father with a regular mother will see two-thirds of his children not attending church. If his wife is similarly irregular that figure rises to 80 percent.

An American study found similar results on the impact of fathers:

  • When both parents attend Sunday school, 72% of the children attend Sunday school when grown.
  • When only the father attends Sunday school, 55% of the children attend when grown.
  • When only the mother attends Sunday school, 15% of the children attend when grown.
  • When neither parent attends Sunday school, only 6% of the children attend when grown.

 

  • Church attendees are happier, more content, healthier and tend to be 5 pounds *heavier* than non attendees. Maybe it is the pot lucks…..
  • 48% of the church attendees are MARRIED.
  • 29% are divorced and 31% are never married.
  • In churches of Christ, about 15% of attendees are not married: widows, divorced and never married….

So, one would think that God favored the married. It isn’t true. Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus and Paul all had their greatest successes as single men as did Esther as a single woman.

Paul warned in 1 Corinthians 7:32   that the single will not be distracted from the Lord…..the married person is responsible for family.

God loves the Christian equally, whether married or single. I hope your church does also.

 

God Loves the Single (person) Who Loves Himself….

   I have observed that many believers, both single and married exude an aura of misery. So many believers seem so unhappy. Gloom, despair and agony in high amounts. Why? We have the gift of eternal life, the good news, new beginnings, forgiveness of sins…..we are princes and princesses, the adopted children of the King of kings!

The Greatest Commandment

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I see several teaching points in these verses. Don’t dismiss the two worlds “as yourself”. Do you “love yourself”?

Maybe we need a little practice. Can I suggeste the following advice:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Phillippians 2:14-16

How attractive is the person who wears joy like a jewel, who finds good in all! Who can resist a person who loves God, themselves and others openly and with all their heart!

 

    

    

God Loves the Single Too!

excerpts from “God Loves the Single, Too” written by Gary Beauchamp (approx. 1974).

Many Singles feel like outsiders in the church. Yet Jesus was single as was Paul. Three major themes can be very helpful to the single.

First, you are a person of great value! God appreciates  and loves you as you use your talents as a 20 year old nursing student who pays her bills waitressing at the pizza joint or as a welder at the ship yard. Singles in the church are medical doctors, psychologists, salesmen, managers, ministers, plumbers, techies, truck drivers, rocket scientists, lawyers and dental hygienists. You might be a college kid or a senior citizen. You are the single parents, the never married, the widowed, the divorced. Many of you are surprised to still be single, shocked to be single again or devastated after losing a spouse after a fifty year marriage. God sees and knows your situation. He purchased your life at great expense with the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.

Secondly, there are answers to all the traumas and challenges of the single Christian from the all time best seller, the Bible. Your problems in life are unique but God has seen it all.

Lastly, satisfaction and security comes with a relationship with God the Father, Jesus the son and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Take god at his word. Trust him, follow him and commit to him.

If you desire to live as a Christian single and overcome the major problems in a world turned upside down by changes in morals, values and expectations then you must know that answers are available. The single can expect a richer life, be a better person, find true joy and happiness and have a lasting relationship with their Saviour, Jesus Christ.

So, buckle up. Expect new thoughts about every two weeks. Comments welcome! Guest authors coveted! Upcoming events (managed by awesome Carol B.) are opportunities to fellowship and worship. Enjoy!