"The LORD is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me?—Psalm 118:6
Who Will I Believe? God or People
A legion of parenting experts, sociologists, and religious folk eagerly point out the gruesome and lasting effects of children raised in a single-parent home. Their "words of wisdom" strike fear in my heart, undermining my conviction that I can lead my children with dignity, strength, and confidence. The very people castigating us renege on their God-given responsibilities. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
One day I realized, Their dire warnings contradict God's heart regarding the widows and the orphans.
Beginning with the Torah, God commands his children to provide for all his children—including the impoverished and defenseless. In the Hebrew language, Exodus 22:21–22 repeats three words, "oppress," "cry out," and "listen." God instructs the people of God, "Do not mistreat, oppress or take advantage of the alien, widow or orphan." When their attitudes and actions fail to fear (respect) the Lord, God says he will defend the cause of the fatherless, widow and orphan (Deuteronomy 10:18).
Are Today's Single Mothers "Widows?"
In biblical times, widows were women who lost both their husbands and other males charged to socially and economically support them. Some men were unable or unwilling to fulfill their obligations to these widows. "Widow" and "widowhood" derive from the root Hebrew word, alman, meaning "discarded, divorced, forsaken."
Discarded, divorced, forsaken describes how I felt when my husband pursued another man's wife, leaving me with the responsibility to care for two young, rambunctious sons. Solo parents know better than anyone the challenges we face. We do a good job of burying ourselves under the fear and guilt pile. We don't need others dumping more shame and panic upon us to promote their cultural agendas.
God's Agenda—Our Hope
Whether a solo parent by choice, chance, or circumstances, God reaches out to us to remove our fear and guilt, replacing it with His strength and hope. God constantly works on behalf of single parents and their children. When many pundits rail against us, I take comfort in, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).