This is a post from one of my dearest friends. Her name is Millie, and I love her with my whole heart. Kind, funny, and loyal to a fault, she loves the Lord with all her heart and seeks to follow Him and be His love and light wherever she goes. I have walked with her through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and she has always sought the Lord for each next step. She is one of my heroes and as you read her post today, you will see why. She reveals to all of us an overlooked need in our churches. I was heartbroken for her and convicted by the Spirit as I read her words. I pray this encourage us to ask the Spirit to make us more aware.
Church is the hardest place I go as a single person. The. Hardest. I’ve been in church all my life and it’s always been one of my favorite places to be, but when I went through separation, then divorce, it became a struggle. Nowhere I go is more family centric, more relationship rich, (as it should be) so there’s no greater reminder of my singleness.
From the minute you pull up in the parking lot it starts. It might be the sweet couple walking in hand in hand, the precious family dressed in matching Matilda Jane, or the fact that it’s raining cats and dogs (like today) and there is no one there to drop you and your daughters off at the door. You don’t even have to get inside the building to be exceptionally aware that you are alone doing something that you had always done as a family. From the church nursery all the way to adulthood, it had always been a family thing for me.
Divorce is the death of so much more than a marriage, it’s the all encompassing death of your way of life
Divorce is the death of so much more than a marriage, it’s the all encompassing death of your way of life... but you don’t realize that until you experience it yourself.
I wish I had known to rush over and help the single mom through the door because it had taken all she had just to get there that morning. I wish I had asked the single professional woman to sit with me every time I saw her there awkwardly making her way through the crowd. I wish I would have known to offer to grab the diaper bag or run back out with my umbrella to get them in from the rain.
I never knew so many of these women and men had to muster up so much courage and wrangle up all the energy they had, to get there that morning. I just didn’t know. I’m in a much better place now emotionally. MUCH. I was ALWAYS glad that I went to church (((even on the mornings where it was incredibly hard to pull myself up out of bed and go))), but I can’t tell you how hard it used to be to get there and how emotionally exhausting it was to be there so raw and so very alone, trying to figure out my new normal.
I say all of this to say... this is a PSA of sorts. Seek out the people around you that might be at church as a sheer act of will and obedience, and try to make it an easier experience for them. Ask the unchurched people around you to join you. They might really want to go, but do not have the energy to force themselves through the tough transition of getting there and getting involved, especially if they’re having to do it alone. I’m convinced that this is why so many people fall away if they’re single after college or single again after divorce.
It won’t take much to turn the tides. Folks just need a little support and this is a major blind spot in the church.
Thank you, Millie, for being courageous enough to press through and go to church with your beautiful family. And thank you for being courageous enough to kindly and lovingly rebuke us in this area, that I have so often been totally oblivious to. Lord, have mercy. Holy Spirit, awaken us to those in need around us, and reveal how we can best help, serve and encourage them.