Dear Ministry Leader,
There is Power in Your Presence
“And if we will trust Him for it, we can come to the unshakable assurance that He is in charge, He has a loving purpose, and He can transform something terrible into something wonderful.” – Elisabeth Elliot
Never underestimate the power of your presence in the pit. Some ministry is meant to take place in the pit. It is being present. It is realizing that there is not always a simple label for what someone is going through, other than one is simply being human. Custody battles happen. Recovering and restoration from abuse is a slow process. Financial burdens that are overwhelming can consume the mind of a single mom. Sickness and illness will fatigue a single mom faster because she is already exhausted. Understanding that her candle can only be burnt at both ends is not an excuse but a way of life that she must juggle.
I am currently reading Suffering Is Never For Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot. Suffering is something we each can identify with because we all experience it. Elisabeth’s describes suffering as, “Suffering is having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have”. Her simple explanation and perfect description changed my perspective on how I listen to the single mom in my life. Before I read this particular definition of suffering, I would have heard complaining instead of the voice of suffering. When I was a single mom myself, I too, would not allow myself to speak of having what I didn’t want and wanting what I didn’t have because I feared I was giving into complaining and discontentment. I also did not want others to see me as complaining or whining.
As I have ministered to single moms and I look back on my own single mom years, I am realizing more and more that most of the time she is not complaining. She is revealing her suffering.
When I went to the doctor about the pain in my ankle, he did not pat me on the back and encourage me to be aware of my complaining spirit, instead he listened intently to my suffering and how I described my suffering. By doing so, he had a better idea of the root of my problem which led to an answer to my suffering and greatly diminished my suffering.
Be An Active Listener
For you as a ministry leader in your church to women which includes single moms, I want to encourage you to be an active listener. Going beneath the surface while listening to what the single mom is saying could be telling you of her suffering. She could be conveying to you that she has a circumstance that she doesn’t want, or she could be explaining to you that there is something she wants and doesn’t have. When we listen for the voice of suffering, we will begin to recognize how easily it can sound like complaining or discontentment. It is not always those things. Sometimes it is the soft cry of the soul hoping that someone will truly hear what is trying to be spoken.
“Who of us in the worst pit that we’ve ever been in needs anything as much as we need company?” Elisabeth Elliot asked this question. Sometimes, as ministry leaders, our most meaningful times of ministry is when we climb down in the pit and simply choose to be present for the one that is suffering. Climbing down into a pit is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it takes a woman that is deeply grounded in scripture, firmly rooted in Christ, and completely comfortable with trusting the unknown to the One who knows all. The leader who decides to get into the pit to be present for that single mom as she finds her way out of the pit will do more ministering to her soul and will affect eternity.
**New Podcast Alert!**
Know a single mom who is struggling to find healing in spite of the hurt? Check out the **new** podcast featuring featured expert, Joy Anisa and Jennifer Maggio below! Visit the TLSM podcast page for more!
MEET OUR FEATURED EXPERT
Joy Anisa would have never dreamed that her life would be filled with such incredible sadness that comes with loss. She never would have imagined that she would experience the personal effects of emotional and mental abuse, the silent killer of the soul. She is in awe of how God is the keeper of her soul and He has kept what she committed to Him. He would not allow her soul to be destroyed! Joy Anisa is married to Jeff, a bi-vocational pastor and they live in Conyers, GA. Their oldest daughter, Meighan, is serving for a year with the London City Mission in London, England. Their son, Caid, is a sophomore at Eagles Landing Christian Academy and plays football. A graduate of She Speaks with Proverbs 31 Ministries, Joy’s story will inspire, encourage, and bring laughter through the tears.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com