Parenting Essentials #5 – Fighting Single Parent Stigma!

Single Parent Stigma and the Church!

1/3 of all households are led by a single parent. (34%) Today’s single parents are struggling to engage with the church and with their faith. Being ‘alone’ and unsupported by the Christian culture is something solo parents often ‘feel’, no matter what a local community of faith might project.

The battle for single parents is real. It’s hard enough to raise our children to be responsible and well-balanced citizens, to provide for their well-being, and keep up with the all the myriad of demands that life throws at us. The challenge to do that without a spouse is nearly impossible. Single parents are overwhelmed by it all in the best of circumstances, and they need our help.

The role of church in coming along side of single parents has largely been a question. Many single parents feel abandoned or judged by the church and lack the confidence to enter the doors of a church to ask for help.

As parents, the demands of doing both a father and mother’s job with their kids is intimidating and discouraging. We as Christ-followers are challenged to help the “widows and orphans” as a manifestation of our ‘true religion”. (James 1:27)

What role should the church play in supporting a single parent? Why?

The growing needs and complex issues surrounding single parent families are not going away, and as our culture continues to shift… the role of family will obviously continue to grow and stretch. The church will need to stretch and grow with those changes and reach to meet the needs of parents in crisis.  A big part of that change within the church will be the priority of creating ministries specifically focused on the needs of the single parent family.

Our interview today explores some of the ‘stigma’s associated with Single parent living, and how to engage with your local church in a way that will help and not hurt you! We invite you to listen in as Nikki tells her story of redemption and renewal!

 About Nikki Leonti Edgar:

Nikki Leonti started her music career as a successful teen gospel singer. She went on to lend her vocals as a backing singer for artists such as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, CeeLo Green, Demi Lovato & Amy Grant to name a few. As a sought-after vocalist in Los Angeles she contributes her talent to Fox’s hit show “Glee” as well as “American Idol”, “The Voice”, CW’s “Oh Sit” and many others!

Author of “All things Beautiful” 31 Devotionals for single moms!

Interview Links:

Podcast Interview Link:

YouTube Link of interview:

Solo Parent Society Link:

Brilliantly Brave Parenting Website Link:

“All things beautiful” Devotional Link:

Notable Quotes:

Fact: 34% of parents are single parent families.

“In the middle of struggling… that’s where the GOOD stuff happens” – Nikki Leonti Edgar

“Single parents struggle with feeling like a ‘failure’ when dealing with the issues single parents face in raising a family.”

“It’s difficult for Single Parents (SP) to know how to ask for help when you feel isolated and alone”

“SP’s need lifelines. Take the time to throw a lifeline to a single parent you know.”

“Ways to help SP’s in your life or church. – Babysitting – handyman services – errands – meals at home!”

The intimacy of Suffering.

Contrary to the “American Gospel” of life, being married and having a family is an exercise in true suffering as often as it’s a joy or profound pleasure.

It’s an issue in many “Christian” lives to think that their God would allow or even “prescribe” for us seasons of suffering. We’re looking for God to “ease” our pain, to make the hurting stop and for our uncomfortable life relationships & difficult circumstances be removed. Bottom line, we’re approaching God on our terms. Looking up to Him as a divine dose of Advil for all our life aches & pains. advil

The truth strikes us hard when we take the time to really read scripture and listen to what the Apostle Paul writes…what Jesus taught.

Philippians 3:10 (NASB) “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”

Matthew 5:10-12 (NASB) “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Source link)

Tragic, unjust and just downright painful experiences for a modern believer  can become “deal breakers” for our emerging Faith in Christ. Our Christianese has taught many of us to just assume that God wants us to be HAPPY.

We “believe” for immediate favor and blessing from God to flood our lives upon every request…. removing difficulties as if by magic and releasing us from suffering further. IF that doesn’t happen…. we have a serious problem with God, our faith and life in general.

The “reality check” that suffering offers can cause major confusion and deep doubt in a parent’s heart and mind…. especially if we’re not able to separate the “truth” of Christianity from the myth. 

The marketing of the church has spoon fed many of us with  a happy-go-lucky version of the gospel that fits our Americanized ideal of what we want Christianity to be….A personal fire insurance plan with morphine drip.

If we’re not able to separate fact from fiction, we can get dangerously close to loosing our fragile faith in the bitter aftermath of disappointment.

“Cultural” Christians are leaving the local church today in droves, in part because the God they wanted has turned out to be a myth.

He seems to remain silent to our regular requests for “more” stuff … and we get sullen & angry because we did it all like we were taught… in the name of Jesus. But we still don’t get what we want and like spoiled children we pout and run away.

As parents, we can get easily discouraged if we lose the perspective of what’s REAL vs. what is HYPE. When we start to think God simply exists to supply my needs and fix my problems… we’ve left scripture for pop – culture.

The truth is… He works in the pain and the sorrow and tragedies of our lives as much or more than he does in the triumphs and successes.

When we seek to avoid discomfort at all costs, we’re skipping a critical step in our transformation and lose out on the intimacy we can only gain in our suffering.

Parents… don’t just seek to get out of the heat, ask God if and when and how you’re to respond to your troubles. Include your kids in the process of listening, asking and seeking to find God’s will for your family. Living out our faith in the midst of suffering is ultimately the highest honor a believer in Christ can experience. It becomes the evidence of something “authentic” and believable to those who know us best. Our Kids!

that as they say… is kinda the point : )

Peace to you – Pastor B.