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*The Answer for the Single Parent Who Cannot Miss Work

The answer for the single parent who can't miss work.

A widow who has used all three sick days tending to her youngest wakes up to find her oldest with a fever.

An unwed mother with no family needs someone to watch her baby because the daycare has a sick child policy.

A single dad needs a sitter for a snow day.

In a perfect world we’d say simply, stay home with your children.

Sick kids happen. Snow days happen. Parents need to miss work. This shouldn’t be complicated.

But here in the real world it is complicated.

Understandable, corporations need their employees to show up to work otherwise production and sales suffer. I worked in corporate America for 13 years, even being responsible for setting and enforcing attendance policies. I sympathized with the single women who were trying hard to work and care for children yet only so much grace was able to be extended. Whether we like it or not, there are times when a choice must be made between losing your job and caring for your children. I don’t want it to be that way. I shouldn’t have to be that way.

“That’s why women shouldn’t have children before they’re married,” you scoff.

In a perfect world, that would be great. But here in this fallen world women have children before their married.

Happily married women with 3.5 children and white picket fences fall hard when Daddy cheats and leaves.

Devoted fathers never step off the plane after duty calls.

Mothers get cancer and die way too young.

 

Single parenthood is not a reason for the church to turn it’s back and scoff at the unholy. It’s a chance for the church to rise to the occasion. You see, the answer for the single parent who cannot miss work is simply The Church.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
~ Philippians  2:4

At our last homeschool co-op of the semester our president shared this story during devotions.

An email went out two days before Thanksgiving; at the height of an early snow storm. “Baby sitter needed” for two young boys. Their single father not able to take off for their snow day. The church put out the call for help for this single, working father. “But I’m so busy,” this mom reasoned. And rightly so. Just days before the holiday, young children of her own and a To Do list a mile long.

After 12 hours of reasoning herself out offering to help she offered. To her surprise not only did the extra children cause no extra work, she even kept them longer than necessary because they were having such a good time with her children.

In denying herself, this mother was able to bless a single father and do what the church is meant to do; be the body of Christ.

What should single parents do when the have sick children and can't miss work?

We had a single mom in our church not too long ago. In fact, she still occasionally reaches out to me with homeschool stuff for Wyatt. I regret that while she was knee-deep in working and homeschooling as a single mom I never asked how I could help her. Selfishness clouded my vision and I could not see how much I had to offer her. A meal, a free night of baby sitting so she could just be a woman (take a long bath, read a book, watch a movie). We always chatted and even prayed for each other but could have done so much more.

My pastor recently ended our service with a statement that went something like this; The building is not the church. We are the church who meets in this building. We’d meet under a tree but it would be a bit cold in January.

You don’t need to have a brand new facility with a dedicated day care, coffee shop and a bookstore to help people and minister to those in need. What you need is a selfless love that puts aside your interest and thinks of the interest of others.

Single parenthood, no matter how it comes, isn’t easy. The church (that would be you and I) needs to stop looking down or nose in judgement of the “how” behind their singleness and begin meeting the needs of single moms and dads. Love them, help them, heal them. Our job is to love and help. God’s job is to heal.

Do you know a single parent in your church, your neighborhood….your family? What can you do to bless them?

 

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Comments

  1. Awesome post and sure does hit home with us, the church. WE ARE the church and should and can be the answer! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I am on the Board of a small, local nonprofit called Maia Moms (MaiaMoms.org) that provides single mothers support in getting on a path to independence. A crucial part of that support is helping them find the time and resources to be a parent to their children as they work and further their education. Each mom is matched with a team of 2 or 3 mom coaches that are invaluable in providing practical and emotional support for the mom. Unfortunately we can only accept a small number in our program, and it is heartbreaking to have to turn away so many. What a lot of people don’t realize is that even a small token of caring can mean so much to the single parent, letting them know that they are not alone. Yes, churches by their very nature should be the first to reach out, with no regard for how the situation came about – we can’t change the past, only look forward to doing better in the future.

  3. Very true. Thank you for a beautiful message and an important reminder.

  4. What a great idea! I know it can be hard to ask for help and ask someone to watch your child for you. You reminded me that I could do a better job at reaching out to neighbors who may be in that situation because I can help them out by simply watching their children along with my own children.

  5. Wonderful story and idea. It is so hard to step outside of our own struggles sometimes to minister to others but every time I do I learn I’m the one actually being ministered to.

  6. What a beautiful idea! I will be on the lookout for single moms to bless like this.

  7. Agreed! I don’t think I know any single mothers? I do need to be more proactive about helping another pregnant woman I know. I keep meaning too, but never getting around to it.

  8. This is a wonderful example of “church outside the box.” I often think how much social good would get done if the church would get to work. An excellent post.

    • Danielle says:

      Thank you Traci. Church outside the box is what we need! We’ve sat in pews in a box far too long.

  9. Love this post! I am sharing this on fb. A message all need to hear! I am a big proponent of helping out the working or single moms. Sometimes I can get in over my head and not get a break myself, but I look at it as the good deed that it is and God gives me what I need to get through the day and I usually fit in a bubble bath at the end of the day! Thank you Jesus, hehe!

  10. As a single parent, I love this. I often helped other parents (single or otherwise) at former churches when they needed a break, but often never had the favor returned.I think some of the parents figured I had nothing better to do and was accustomed to just hanging out with my child all the time. I know what it’s like to have to choose between work and a child, perhaps that’s why I’m so willing to serve others. I’m always grateful for the times when others offer to help me. God bless those of you who are stepping up and blessing others in this way!

  11. Christin says:

    This is a great article and advise for the church but I have to say I don’t think this should be entitled for just single parents. I am married, a full time student and my husband works a lot. He is a supervisor at his company and cant miss work. I am in the Occupational Therapy program and I cant miss but 2 days or they will kick you out. With that being said, I am like a single parent. When it comes to the parenting part of things it can be tuff not having anyone to help but yet people don’t understand because you go to school or your married how you need help. I don’t go to school just for myself but for my family and our future and I have to treat my school just like a job. A job with overtime that is. So, being a single parent or married I think it would be a blessing in disguise for people to step up and help others. That’s what being a Christian is all about.

    • Danielle says:

      When I originally wrote this my heart was stirred by the nasty comments I read on a post about single parents but I agree. This is more than just singles. It’s also a shame when there’s a church function for couples and no one will step up to do childcare. What a shame!

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  1. […] sin in public school but they do not have to. Truth is truth even without the Christian language. We must be the church. Some parents desperately want to homeschool but it isn’t possible. Single parents, dual […]

  2. […] We must be the church. Some parents desperately want to homeschool but it isn’t possible. Single parents, dual income homes or  parents who want to utilize the public school system need to know what is being taught and need to understand what their children are hearing in the classroom. We can support them by supporting truthful sexual education models in the public school. […]

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