A Note from Chris Adams: It would be wonderful if we all had perfect marriages and families, but those just do not exist. What happens when one of the moms in your church faces a divorce? How do you reach out to her? Dr. Deb Douglas, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA, shares some thoughts and ideas to help leaders of divorced moms minister to make a difference.
Moms get divorced sometimes. It is not what they dreamed of on the day they put on their wedding dress and walked down the aisle full of hope and happiness. The pain, the tears, the destruction were not thought of as the engagement pictures were taken, the date was set, or the cake was cut. Divorce was not a part of the picture they had for their lives, but it happened.
Where is women’s ministry in the midst of the tearing apart of those wedding pictures? While we are cautious as we counsel women, being present and biblically encouraging is a role we can play.
Here are some basic facts that do not change about moms going through divorce:
- God loves them.
- God cares about their circumstances and challenges.
- God hears their prayers.
- Divorcing moms are still moms.
- These moms still have needs.
How do we help?
- Be there. Listen. Pray. Give sound biblical advice. Keep opinions as opinions but do share facts, resources, and encouragement.
- Keep being there. Many divorced moms say they feel abandoned after the divorce is final. Some married women do not want a single woman hanging out with their husbands, so they leave single women out of invitations. Be intentional about including divorcing moms in church and social occasions.
- Stay in touch. Text, call, email, and message. Check on the moms often.
- Ask questions. Asking appropriate questions shows care and concern.
- Avoid clichés like the plague. Clichés come across as being crass and uncaring.
- Be realistic. Moms going through divorce are facing a readjustment of financial status. Help relieve financial burdens in small ways such as:
- Free tickets for upcoming events
- Free camp for the kiddos
- Pick up the tab for lunch
- A gift card to a local restaurant
- A free fill up at the gas station
- Offer suggestions for free childcare
- An old fashion pounding. (What’s a pounding? It’s stocking the kitchen pantry with a pound of flour, pound of sugar, pound of coffee, etc.)
- Pray with the moms. Pray for the children.
Divorce is not the picture moms have in their dreams. Divorce is complicated and as an outsider, it is not our job to place blame. By focusing on the mom, we can encourage her during the most difficult days of her life, pointing her to the redemptive, healing touch of Jesus.
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.