Written by: Joanna Beckley
Ah, such a catchy tune. Everyone longs for an easier life, but being a single mom surely carrying additional problems that can seemingly be overpowering by the end of the day. God has always been a defender of the fatherless, the widows and the strangers, Psalm 68:5. So one might ask, what help can I offer from the Scriptures that will help the ever growing number of unmarried mothers, whether they are widows, divorced, or fornicators who have hopefully, prayerfully, repented.
Whether a mother is single or married, the commands and guidelines from God for motherhood are the same. But, God did not design children to be raised by mothers alone. The strengths he gave to fathers and mothers are specific and both are necessary for the well-being of our children. A mother cannot replace a father, nor can a father replace a mother. When a woman is forced by circumstances to physically provide for her family, it will limit her ability to nurture as God intends. She cannot offer the same protection, identity, and security a father can provide. She cannot supply the male role in the family that every son and daughter needs, nor can they see her example of submission to her husband. She can and must lead, but her leadership will hinder foundational principles that lead her children to respect their heavenly Father’s authority.
It is of critical importance that a single mother recognize her limitations and seek godly ways to try and compensate. She alone must carry the primary goal to train her children to serve God so that one day they will inherit eternal life.
Let us consider the excellent guidance the Bible holds for single or married moms.
Titus 2:4 “that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
When we take part in the act of bringing children into the world, God expects us to accept responsibility for their care. It is not the government’s responsibility, nor is it primarily the grandmother’s or a baby sitter’s. Before we can even address specific areas of concern we have to face our responsibility as a mother to love our children. This love will encompass their physical, emotional, moral, and spiritual health.
Eph 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
The father in the family is commanded to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But if the father is absent can the mother renounce her responsibility to pick up the reins? NO! Just as God commended Abraham because he trained his children to keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice (Gen 18:19) a mother must also teach the following pivotal goals to her children:
1. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Mark 12:30). This love is learned by observing the mother’s love, the tenderness and mercy she demonstrates toward her children. They will learn to talk to the Lord, and include Him in their own plans because their mother does so. They will find joy in reading the Bible because mom shares her own joy. They will see her faith and trust in God. They will know Jesus because Jesus knows their mom.
2. “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Mom, are you confident in yourself, your God-given value, so that you can teach the same within your children? Are you understanding and caring about the feelings of others? (And these “others” include caring about the feelings of your children.) Are your children learning not to be selfish and demanding? Are you loving others so that your tongue reflects that love, without gossiping or criticizing others? Your children are listening. . . .
3. “Teach me to do your will; for you are my God” (Psalm 143:10). Children must learn absolute immediate obedience to you, their mother. If you do not require this of your children how will they later be obedient to God? Do your children obey you in public, including during worship services? Requiring obedience teaches your children to appreciate God’s nature–love and justice. Learning obedience teaches your children the meaning of sin and its consequences. By the same token, don’t forget that love demands expressions of appreciation, commendation, and encouragement wherever appropriate.
4. “Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Mom, are you truthful and honest? In return, you must demand the same from your children. This quality is absolutely critical in developing your children’s love for God and retaining respect for you their mother. How careful are you in keeping God’s commandments? You cannot train your children in what you do not do. Help your children to value their conscience, which has been trained by you. In teaching values, think seriously about how you speak of money (or the lack thereof) compared to the focus you give to your Father in heaven.
5. “But the fruit of the Spirit is. . . self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Mom, do you control your anger? Keep your promises? Use your money wisely? The list is endless where self-control must be practiced. If you do not control yourself, how will your children learn? If you do not, you, like any father, will soon fail in the Lord’s command and abuse your power as a parent, Eph 6:4. Are your children learning to work and carry responsibility? Are they learning the difference between self-worth and pride? Are they learning to bow in reverence before God?
Single mothers, these are tough requirements that are normally shared by the father and the mother. You do not have that benefit. Whatever choices you make in solving the day by day problems in rearing your children, your solutions must be based on your primary goal to train your children to “keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice”. If you are forced to place young children in the care of others, don’t excuse yourself by making a financial choice over and above your primary goal. Consideration of what your children are learning from others must always take priority over seeking a solution to your financial problems.
Rose gardens are expensive commodities in this life. No one is exempt from facing the trials while living on this earth, our temporary abode. I am confident that when we give our lives to Jesus, he will give us what we need to face whatever comes our way–including being a single mom.
2Co 3:4-5 “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”
Blessed are the Mothers who love God, for their children shall
not be ignorant of their Creator and His plans concerning them.
Blessed are the Mothers who love the word of God, for their
children shall know of the way, the truth and the life.
Blessed are the Mothers who love the house of God, for their
children shall enter there and sit with them in the presence of God.
Blessed are the Mothers who love to pray, for their children
shall feel the power of prayer and many shall find salvation.
Blessed are the Mothers who love to give to the cause of Christ,
for their children shall become supporters of the Kingdom of God.
Blessed are the Mothers who love the family altar, for they
shall have their reward in this world and in the world to come.
Blessed are the Mothers who love to speak kind words to their
neighbor’s children, for thereby they shall win
other boys and girls besides their own to Jesus Christ.
Blessed are the Mothers who love to be companions to their
children, for they shall be called understanding Mothers.
Blessed are the Mothers who love to fight life’s battles
bravely with a strong and steadfast faith in God,
for their children shall know where to find strength in time of need.
Blessed are the Mothers who, when they are old and gray,
can look back upon memory’s wall with no regret and can say,
“I brought my children up in the fear of the Lord.”
Theirs are the mansions in glory.