What we as single parents need that will translate God’s love the loudest, keep us coming back to your church and have maximum transformational impact in our lives is:
1. Recognize us as Real Families: Acknowledge single parent families from the podium, cast vision to your church about God’s heart for the fatherless and widows, make sure pictures and references to family do not only feature two-parent families, and help us feel honored and valued instead of excluded or “second class.”
2. Prayer: We need intercession and would love to have a leader pray over us and our kids on a regular basis. This will also teach us how to pray at home.
3. Words of Affirmation: We need to hear specific, one-on-one affirmation and encouragement. Trust me, we don’t get this anywhere else. Every other voice and circumstance tells us we’re falling short.
4. Stories of Hope: We need to hear stories from other single parents or kids of single parents. This helps us not feel so alone in our struggles and gives us hope that our kids can become victorious, God-honoring adults.
5. Adult Community: We need time to relax without an agenda and socialize with other adults—other single parents as well as those who aren’t single parents. We need to have an identity apart from our kids and a break from being responsible for them.
6. Free Counseling: We need Christian counselors who could be available to help us navigate issues like domestic violence, addiction, co-parenting conflicts, at-risk kids, etc., as well as lead us through forgiveness or other freedom steps. Many of us can’t afford counseling and often there’s no other trustworthy adult in our life to advise us.
7. Free Meals: If you want to speak our love language, provide us and our kids with a hot, healthy meal. We are tired of dollar menus and feel guilty that we can’t afford healthier options for our kids. Cook it and we will come!
8. Mentoring For Our Kids: Show our kids that they are not forgotten or “less than.” Spend time listening to them, affirming them one-on-one about their strengths and gifts, and help them work through the hurt, anger, fear and rejection they’re dealing with.
9. Financial Assistance: Sometimes we need help paying a bill, sometimes we need creative ideas for how to live on less, sometimes we need a major budget overhaul, and sometimes we just need to be reminded that our bank balance is not a reflection of our value to God.
10. Household Assistance: We simply cannot work two jobs, be two parents and be full-time homemakers. Something has to give and it’s usually our home. We always need help with our cars, repairing appliances, mowing our yards, doing laundry, housecleaning, grocery shopping, you name it.