Adele Butler – Women of Spirit: Singled Out

 

 

Singled Out

 

A few years ago a friend and I were talking about single mothers and how they are treated in their respective churches. Members avoid them like the plague. It appears as if they have committed the worst sin imaginable-they had children out of wedlock. When Mary, the mother of Jesus became pregnant before she got married, Joseph, her fiancé, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly. Fortunately, the Lord sorted everything out and the marriage took place.

When I worked in the Good Samaritan Ministry, I had the opportunity to help a young single mother who was expecting her first child. Unfortunately, the ministry was criticized for helping her because of her situation. Yes, marriage should come first and then the children but it doesn’t always work out that way. And it is important to note that all single mothers do not become pregnant out of wedlock. A woman who had 4 kids from her first marriage was suddenly left pregnant with twins. Some people, seeing her and not knowing the facts might condemn her. We are not to judge or condemn anyone because they are single and pregnant. We should do what God did—help them in any way we can.

A same friend with whom I was discussing the plight of single mothers wrote an editorial “Am I a Deserving Poor Person” in which he made the following statements: “The difficulty in following Jesus’ command is that we often pick and choose who we decide is our neighbour. We see our neighbour as the starving, AIDS infected person in the Third World or the orphan in a war torn country, needing our love and care but often perceive the homeless in our community as undeserving of our love.”

This notion of deserving and undeserving poor leads to denial of assistance to those we think are lazy, immoral or unfit. Thus little sympathy is extended to the unmarried young woman who gives birth. Governments give these unfortunate women minimal help. In Ontario there is a woeful lack of affordable housing. There are 67,000 person/families on waiting lists because little public housing has been built in past 20 years. Many, unaware of these facts glibly accuse the young woman of being lazy and do not consider her to be worthy of Christian love.

“I know from my work that there are many women and children in shelters through no fault of their own. They work fulltime but for wages too low to obtain suitable housing. Others had to leave abusive spouses. Regardless of the reason for the persons being homeless it is the Christian’s duty to extend loving help to them. Should we not rejoice because, were it not for the grace of God, any one of us could be in their situation?”

Everyone deserves God’s love and grace. I met a young, single mother when I attended an Open House at a women’s shelter. She told me that she left her church because of how the members treated her. I could relate because I experienced the same thing. I too had my child out of wedlock and tongues wagged. One member told me that some of the members were out for blood. I was asked to relinquish my church duties which meant giving up leadership of the Good Samaritan Ministry which I truly loved being a part of. It was hard for me but I did it. However that was not enough. I faced either a public meeting in which my personal life would be discussed or disfellowship. I chose to terminate my membership and leave the church.

When I was going through this, God comforted me. On the darkest day, He reminded me that He was my Shield, my Glory and the Lifter of my head. In other words, even if others abandoned or shunned me, He would stay by my side. David’s words come to mind: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Psalm 27:10). God is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. He is the One who stays when everyone else flees.

Single mothers, I want to encourage you. Being a parent is not easy, especially when you are doing it alone. I want to assure you that you are not alone. You have a Father in heaven who will support you. He will be your Husband; your Companion, your Friend, your strength and your Rock. You don’t ever have to feel that you are alone. Instead, claim this promise, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

You may feel singled out by some people because of your situation but don’t be discouraged. Think of yourself as being singled out by God because you are a prized possession. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). As long as you glorify God, live your life according to His will and purpose, you have nothing to worry about. Thank Him for blessing you with your children and dedicate yourselves to raising them to be Christ like.    – Adele butler, 2011.

 

You were singled out for greatness. 

 

A Celebration of Women

 

Comments

  1. What an inspirational message Adele! You are amazing!! I loved the part about how easy it is to be Christian like to someone in a third world country while being judgemental and closed minded to the person standing beside us. So very true! We are not judge and jury. If we could all try to practice loving kindness to those we meet the world would be such a better place.

    Tiffany

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