A Note from Chris Adams: Sometimes we make false assumptions about the moms in our church and community. “Dad can take care of the kids while the mom comes to our Bible study.” If we think this way, these assumptions limit which moms can participate. Dr. Deb Douglas, Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA offers a look at some of the complicated lives these moms have and gives us some actions steps to take to make sure our mom’s ministry includes all moms!
Mom, Dad, 2 kids. A picket fence. A dog named Spot. A house with a fireplace.
That’s the picture in the past of what a normal family was “suppose” to look like.
But normal has faded away and been replaced by complicated families with complicated lives. Some of the complexity is caused by choices, but some of the complexities are a result of a complicated world. For example, next door the family is a mom and dad who are both deployed military personnel, leaving a grandmother and aunt to care for the children. It’s complicated, but it works.
There are other examples: The mom with a special needs child facing the unknown. Or the single mom, or the step mom, or the widowed mom, or the mom facing cancer or financial collapse.
How can we describe moms in complicated lives?
- Moms in complicated lives feel isolated from other moms.
- These moms are overwhelmed by life and its complexities.
- Each mom’s situation is unique and different. Feeling like no one’s situation is the same as our own can leave us feeling alone.
- Women like to find their niche—the place they fit in. Moms in complicated situations may feel there is not a niche for them in the church. Maybe they’ve tried other churches and become frustrated by not finding a place to fit in.
Moms in complicated lives need help from the women’s leader, but often the leader is covered up already with needs from moms, singles, and seniors plus their own personal needs. What’s a women’s minister to do?
- Be inclusive. When advertising events, consider the wording used, the time of the event, and childcare. Improper wording, lack of childcare, or poor timing can make moms feel as though they are not included.
- Be careful. Watch the wording when promoting events or writing articles or blog posts about mothering. Ask someone else to read it before using. Another person’s perspective may prevent misunderstandings.
- Be intentional. Personally inviting moms in complicated situations to events or Bible studies is important. This will help them feel included.
- Be still and listen. Most moms need a listening ear. Moms in complicated lives are in desperate need of a loving person to listen.
- Be prayerful. Recruit prayer warriors to pray for moms with complicated lives. Pray about how to best include moms of all circumstances in the women’s ministry.
Complicated lives are the new norm. Learning to minister to moms in complicated lives is a continual process. Keep learning, keep praying, and keep trying!
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.