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Loving Everyone

Growing up my mom would often mention a very painful time for her when she and my father separated. Being that my father was a pastor, the impact of their separation caused a ripple effect that was especially bad for my mom. When the new pastor came to the church for the first service, he stood at the door of the church greeting everyone as they left.

"What's your name?" He asked my mom.

She told him and the moment she did, he dropped her hand and the conversation abruptly ended.

My mom left the church upset. It was a situation that was firmly implanted in her mind for the remainder of her life because of the pain she felt that day.

Often over the years I have thought back to that time wishing that single parenting was not such a curse. When single parents enter a church it is like the story of the Scarlet Letter, judgement immediately enters people's minds and the single parents are often treated as black sheep and shunned or not totally accepted in churches. Seventeen years of being a single parent have taught me that the reception my mom received so many years ago is still the same in so many churches today. This must change. Nobody knows the story of what happened and truthfully it really isn't anyone's business. What single parents need is love, support and acceptance. Being a single parent is grueling and difficult work. Exhaustion consumes a single parent and there is so little help or support. We must stop judging them and start loving and caring for them. They are just as important as the married families that are in the church.

It's time we all realize that each of us is on a journey whether we are single, married, widowed, divorced, single parents, elderly . . . We need to come alongside everyone and love, support and encourage them. After all, isn't that what Jesus did?

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