Originally published Tuesday, 12 March 2013.
As her body crumbles to the floor, she can hardly believe what she is hearing. Her husband wants a divorce. No, not me. Not us. I've done everything right. I've tried. I really have. A million thoughts rush through her mind as the reality that her world will no longer be the same comes crashing against her. She lies there, crying and helpless, wondering how she will survive financially, what her friends will thing, and how her children will survive without their father in their daily lives.
This is reality for more than 15 million women who find themselves parenting alone today in the United States. It is estimated that 1,000 teenagers become pregnant every day, while one in every two marriages will fail. Whether it be a fifteen-year old pregnant teen, a thirty-five year old divorcee, or a grandmother parenting her grandchildren alone, these women are desperate for connection. The statistics that surround the single parent home are staggering:
- 78% of the U.S. Current prison population was raised in a single parent home.
- 71% of all high school dropouts came from single parent homes.
- 1 in every 3 single mothers lives in poverty.
- Children in single parent homes are 5 times more likely to commit suicide.
- They are 32 times more likely to run away.
- They are 10 more likely to use drugs or alcohol.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. By all accounts, today's society is currently in the midst of a single parent crisis that affects our economy, abuse rates, crime, education, and our future generations. We know that we are under Biblical mandate to serve the least of these, the forgotten, the broken, the marginalized. The questions is, “What are you, the church, doing about it?” For far too long, the church has ran from the single parent home. Recent studies suggest that 67% of single mothers in the United States do not actively attend church (The Church and the Single Mom, Carepoint 2011). It is one of the fastest-growing sects of the population, and there are approximately 9 million unchurched single mothers in our communities across this nation.
The Life of a Single Mom Ministries was founded as a solution to this very concern. Less than 1% of the 300,000 Evangelical Christian churches in the United States do anything for single mothers, and the few that do struggle with how to run effective programs that go beyond a one-time-a-year Christmas, Thanksgiving event, or outreach program. All of those programs are great, but long-term, sustainable ministry is where radical transformation will happen. TLSM provides resource to equip pastors, leaders, and lay people on how to launch effective single parent programs within their church. TLSM has helped more than 450 churches in the United States and served leadership in 19 additional countries. But the work is not done. Praise God for the cutting-edge churches across the country who have embraced this endeavor! Has yours?
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who is also founder The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. TLSM was founded from Maggio's own journey and resolve to not be just another statistic. Maggio has appeared in hundred of media venues, including The 700 Club, Focus on the Family, Daystar TV and countless others. For more information on Maggio or TLSM Ministries, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.