I am so beyond excited for the latest endeavor in the area of ministry involving single adults. I have started a Divorce Care Program though my amazing church as a Connect Group & community-wide outreach. When I divorced 19 years ago this type of support group was probably not unheard of, but just not available in my area. Falling in love with reading & being hungry to learn as much as possible about relationships, dating, etc., has helped me tremendously. The #1 asset has been counseling other singles. I learned to minister through my own pain, rejection, & inferiority. You’ve probably heard the statement that if we wrote our problems on a piece of paper, put them in a stack to trade with others, we would happily take ours back. Each story I hear reminds me of the redemptive grace of God & makes me realize just how far I’ve come in the season of singleness! I’ve branded the name of the group journE³y focusing on the goals to encourage, empower & equip single parents.
Recently I sat with a friend who’s in the process of divorce. It’s fresh, painful, overwhelming & just downright not fair. I am a well-adjusted, single woman, yet I have a personal vendetta against divorce. While listening (key factor here!), I realized it doesn’t matter how educated, christianated (yes, I know that isn’t a word, but….you get the gist), successful or strong-willed someone is, when the heart & soul (mind, will, emotions) are involved we become vulnerable.
We daily live our lives unconsciously. There are actions we do & never realize they’re being done until it’s totally our responsibility to perform them all. Trash, clogged drains, yard maintenance, pool upkeep, & the simplest thing of all, replacing light bulbs. When a parent has to factor everything that was done as a team to now being done solely by them, the slightest infraction can be the straw that breaks the camels back. I picture a child afraid of the dark who is lying in their bed envisioning each bedroom accessory coming to life with monstrous teeth & claws hovering to consume the frightened child. The fear of the unknown is gripping & can paralyze. One day everything is manageable & the next it brings a flood of tears to our eyes imagining how we will fit this into our schedule.
The maintenance issues can’t even begin to compare to the psychological impairment divorce brings to a child. Rejection, confusion, insecurity, separation anxiety, uncertainty, & more. Children are resilient, yet these emotions can scar a child & affect future relationships.
If you’re a single parent, I applaud you with tremendous respect & affirmation. If you’re a married couple who have single parent friends, step up & offer assistance. A note of warning, don’t let their stubborn facade of “everything’s fine” stop you. Our church practices & encourages performing ARK’s. Acts of Random Kindness have secured new, tremendous friends for me since we’ve promoted it. Examples could be from something small like changing light bulbs to making sure you invite them to dinner with your family. I will not regress at the numbers of times I prayed someone, anyone would just invite my son & I to dinner after church that never happened. I finally stopped praying & began inviting other singles to join me. While this is awesome to form community, it also creates isolation. A single parent was once a family unit & sometimes, it just feels good being surrounded by family. One of our connect groups is family game night. This was the one I chose to attend last semester & I can’t tell you how much I gained from those amazing weeks of association. Besides becoming obsessed over the game, Taboo, the relationships are priceless.
Life isn’t merely a destination, but who you become in the….