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Are You A Single Parent?

If you’re parenting solo, most likely your happily ever after didn’t turn out as you had imagined

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

“He’s gone.” Those were the words that launched my life as a single parent.

Returning from church, as I steered our fifteen-passenger van onto our long gravel lane, I could see our home was strangely dark.

Sitting forward, my daughter peered out the window and searched the empty driveway. “Where’s Dad’s car?”

On the bench seats in the back, the chatter of the other six children abruptly went quiet. Once inside the house, the children quickly discovered their father’s clothes were gone and his toothbrush was not in the bathroom cabinet. He had left.

Pam Farrel’s mother became a single mom when Pam’s two younger siblings were teens. Pam’s father struggled with alcohol and with each passing year, his anger and depression grew, leading to increased episodes of domestic violence and physical abuse until Pam’s mom took the children to safety.

One In Four Navigate Family Life As A Single Parent

Our stories are not unusual. Today, one in four homes is single-parent led and most solo parents are single moms. While some single mothers have been widowed because their husband took an early journey his heavenly home, some singles adopted, and some chose to parent without a partner, the majority of single parents began in a committed relationship and never anticipated, expected, or intended to raise children alone.

Reality for single moms is you

  • represent a wide range of ages and seasons of life 
  • wonder where you fit in society and the church
  • sometimes feel isolated, judged, and alone

Yet, you are far from alone.

  • Approximately 15 million people are solo parenting 22 million children in single-parent families
  • 85 percent of single-parent families are led by single moms with primary custody of their children
  • Some 40 percent of single mothers are over forty years old
  • More than three-fourths have full-time careers
  • One-third of single-parent families live at, or below, the poverty level
  • Less than half receive child support
  • The average yearly child support to single moms is $6,000
  • Less than half of single moms receive government assistance. Of the single moms who do receive government assistance, most do so only until they can survive on their own

Questions run on an internal loop. Is my life ruined? Will my child be permanently damaged? Does my child need more love than I’m able to give? Can I provide all that my family needs? 

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5 Bible Verses for the Single Parent

Like all parents, the solo parent works hard and loves her child. She longs for someone to love her, be strong for her, and care for her as she cares for her children. And Someone does. God sees, loves, and shepherds the single mom and her family.

You are cherished, exactly where you are and as you are, by Jesus

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:17–19

When you feel weak, he is strong

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold ” Psalm 18:2

Before you knew him, he loved you.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” Psalm 139:13

He gives gentle guidance to single parents

“The Lord tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; and he gently leads those that have young,” Isaiah 40:11

No Surprise To God

At the start of my single parent journey, I felt certain that I was a disappointment to God. What else could I have done to preserve the marriage relationship?

With the help of mentors and counselors, I realized that none of my outcomes are a surprise to God. God promises to work all things for good, and He equipped us with direction through Scripture, prayer, and the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Often, because circumstances appear on my life script that I would not put there, I interpret that to mean God doesn’t keep me safe and protected. Therefore, He doesn’t care and can’t be trusted.

However, even though these are events I would not have chosen, He knows where and how each of us fit into the timeless story of His forgiveness, grace, love, and redemption, extended to all of beloved and perplexing humanity.

My perspective is myopic, so when my observations about God do not line up with what he says about Himself in Scripture, I can be confident that I am short-sighted. 

Is God Worthy Of My Trust?

Can I be willing to go where he takes me?

My own choices reflect some good decisions and plenty of proof that I desperately need a Savior. Daily He provides life-giving forgiveness for my abundant shortcomings, mercy to cover my self-centeredness, and grace to navigate my life.

When a situation or person is troublesome, I’ve learned to go mining for a positive gem. Instead of falling into a victim mentality and adding to my list of bad things that happen, I ask, “Lord, what are you teaching me about you in this?” In a journal I list answered prayer and the characteristics of God–which are all good–to refer to when I wonder if God really sees me.

God extends a completely selfless and one-sided relationship to me through Jesus Christ. Whether I respond or not, He

  • loves wholeheartedly and unconditionally
  • never leaves or forsakes us
  • forgives
  • calls us by name
  • provides 
  • protects
  • hears and understands
  • honors and respects
  • cares about what is important to us
  • offers eternity in heaven with him 

Single Parent Is A Relationship Status

While being a single mom is my experience, it is not my identity. Single is the current relationship status and may or may not change in the future.

Mom to my child is who I will always be.

When much that is precious becomes marred, your tender heart longs to honor the holy and sacred.

You are here for such a time as this to  

  • study what God says in Scripture
  • come alongside others
  • practice grace
  • maybe work on that side hustle he put in your hands to do

For You

To help the solo parent family succeed, authors Pam Farrel and PeggySue Wells assembled the a collection of proven helps and practical tips in their book, The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. Parts of this article are excerpts from The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make, Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2020, used by permission,

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