I believe God brings us to certain places and experiences in our lives to develop more of His nature in us. One of the aspects of God’s nature is His empathy. That word literally means to be in suffering with someone. Throughout all of history, God continually tells humanity, “I feel what you feel. When you suffer, I suffer too.” The Bible also tells us that Jesus experienced everything we will ever experience, and knows just how we feel.
So this week I’m experiencing what it’s like to be a single parent. Betsy is visiting her family in California, so I’m home with our kids. Granted this is not even close to what true single parents have to cope with. They do it for years, and I’m struggling with just a week. But my week-long experience is developing greater empathy in me.
I’ve got my usual slate of activity for this week, and then I come home to a crying child who is dealing with a rough relationship issue at school. And then I’m trading texts with a coach, trying to work out details for a practice schedule for another child. And then I’m juggling how to get my kids to three different activities, which all start at almost the same time. And then I’m trying to figure out the family meals, and squeezing in a trip to the grocery store. And then I’m having a discussion with my kids about a housekeeping issue. And then … and then … and then …
God’s design was for our kids to have two parents: a Mom and a Dad. When one parent is missing, I believe God gives extra grace to the remaining parent to operate in both roles. But that isn’t God’s ideal. Into this void, Christians are supposed to step in.
- Support organizations that assist single parents.
- Better yet: volunteer at one of these organization.
- Invite a single-parent family over to dinner at your house.
- Be a mentor.
- If your kids are going somewhere a single parent’s kids are, offer to help carpool.
- Guys, be a father-figure to fatherless kids.
- Ladies, be a mother-figure to motherless kids.
- Let a single parent drop off his/her kids at your house so that parent can have some alone time.
- Take a single parent out for coffee and let them vent.
- Provide a scholarship to a camp for single-parent kids.
The cliché said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I think it’s even better this way: It takes a loving Church to raise a healthy, well-balance FAMILY.
It’s time for Christians to be that Church!