LIFE at Wheaton Bible Church

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Single Parenting


Stephanie Martinez with her kids.

“A safe place for moms and dads who see their families coming apart.” That’s how Stephanie Martinez describes WBC’s Monday night group for single parents. The mother of four has benefited from participating in the group and has also helped to lead this support community.

WBC’s Single Parenting group is a resource for parents who may be exhausted and feel as if they have the toughest job in the world but want to do the best they can for their kids.

Each Monday night, single parents are invited to meet with a room full of people who “get it,” who know what they’re feeling—other moms and dads who are hurting too—and who also have lives “that are sometimes a mess.”

And while it’s more than tough to be a single parent in a suburban area Stephanie laughingly calls “family-ville,” she tells other single moms and dads “not to believe the lie of the culture that says your kids are going to be a mess because they are raised by a single parent. You’re going to make it, and your kids are too.”

To emphasize that point, several of the speakers who have been invited to address the group are godly men—pastors and Christian professionals—who themselves were raised by single moms. That fact alone is encouraging to the members of the group.

Stephanie’s own desire as she worked through the realities of single parenting was that this painful experience would be redeemed, and that God would bring good out of her pain. “I prayed, Don’t let this trial be wasted.” And a part of God’s answer to that prayer was the opportunity she’s had to share the hope she found. “I learned,” she said, “that you’re going to more like Jesus at the end of this—if you cooperate with Him.”

Among the “selling points” Stephanie communicates when inviting someone to the Monday night group is the family meal that begins the evening. For her, walking in and having a meal all prepared for her and her kids was a gift. “And even better,” she adds, “is that after eating—when you go to the parents group—you know that your kids are being so loved and cared for in Treasured Promises! The workers have such a heart for these children.”

As the kids head off, moms and dads can grab a cup of coffee and head to their own group, where they’ll hear a speaker or watch a video that focuses on an issue that touches these parents right where they live.

Stephanie recalls one session with a Christian counselor who addressed the practical issue of how to talk to your kids about tough subjects surrounding divorce. “As I looked around the group, I could see the parents’ shoulders visibly relaxing as they listened and as their questions were answered.”

She also loves seeing how friendships begin, and how the parents discover that this can be a place to bring their frustrations—praying together, crying together, and surprisingly often, laughing together. “Laughter,” Stephanie adds, “is so healing.”

“But,” she continues, “we are also open with our pain. And we pray for each other. Each time we begin and end with prayer, for each other and for each other’s kids.”

Parents may walk in feeling helpless, believing they are facing an impossible challenge, but what many say they’ve found in this group is hope, and the confidence that things are going to be okay.

Single Parenting sessions begin in September and January, but the invitation to join the group is open at any time.

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This entry was posted on December 8, 2011 by in Winter 2011/2012 and tagged , , .

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