By Jennifer Maggio
Special to Inside The Pew

Yep, I’m going there. There’s no sense in pretending the subject does not exist, so… buckle up.

I recently came across a website that INFURIATED me. In fact, that is probably a serious understatement. Since my life’s passion is singledsc_0062 moms, I am always researching single parents’ topics. I happened upon an article regarding sex and singles. I would not dare give you the name of the site, because I will not give them the satisfaction of multiple hits. But here is what the meat of the article said, loosely translated:

“My name is Sally. I am single. I have been for some time. I am also a Christian. I have been for some time. And I am sexually active. I have been for some time. God created sex. Sex is good. And since no normal human being would be able to abstain for any length of time anyway (and God really does not expect us to), I know God will forgive me. I’m going for it and you should do the same.”

The lengthy article sparked quite the controversy. I almost chimed in with the hundreds of other comments and voiced my outrage, but quickly knew that it would fall on deaf ears and she wrote that article (and many like it) for that exact reason.

Eighty percent of the country identifies themselves as Christian, so why is it that none of us talk about this subject? Christians follow God’s written word as their life’s instruction book – The Bible. The Bible is more than clear on its principles regarding sex.

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does…” 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NLT).

There are dozens and dozens of Scriptures that outline God’s word for how sex is supposed to happen. Sex is good. It IS right. But only within God’s plan for our lives.

This is not new news for most of us. We’ve heard it before. But have you ever wondered why God puts such a difficult “don’t” on our list? Have you ever thought, like the woman above, that this was a ridiculous measure for which no one could ever live up to? That ain’t right how God won’t let us have any fun, huh?

Well let me tell you what “ain’t right”…

– Suicides among teen girls

– Sexually transmitted diseases affect millions

– AIDS in still an incurable disease

– Millions of babies have been killed through abortion, because moms cannot afford to or do not see how they could care for them.

– Fifty percent of babies are born outside marriage today, which leads to single parenting. Single parenting among those under 25 is most often associated with lower income rates, higher high school dropout rates, suicide, depression, and abuse.

Those are the facts. (The Church and the Single Mom, Carepoint 2011). That does not even broach the subject of giving oneself over sexually to another and how the emotions tie in or the broken hearts that follow

Let me challenge you with this idea. As a parent, when we tell our 7-year-old not to play in the street, is it because we do not want him to have any fun playing kickball with his friends? Are we just plain ol’ mean parents? No, of course not. It is because we understand the potential danger that our precious 7-year-old could experience and we want to protect him — EVEN IF HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHY. The exact same is true for Christians. Our Heavenly Father does not want to hinder joy in our lives, but He does want to protect us from potential harm.

And before you decide that I am some rigid, unbending, beat-you-over-the-head-with-the-Bible, finger-pointing, judgmental Christian, let me stop you. I WAS some of those statistics. I was sexually active at 13, pregnant four times by 19, and dabbled in sexual promiscuity for years thereafter, living in poverty, depression, abuse, and more. I have lived it and seen first-hand the devastation it causes.

Today, as I work full time with single parents, I have seen hundreds of young teens walk through the most difficult seasons of their lives because they did not wait. I’ve seen thousands of single moms struggle emotionally and financially, because they did not wait. I’ve seen the trickle affect that this one simple concept (or lack thereof) has had on our economy, emotional well-being, and spiritual growth.

And before my inbox is flooded with countless emails, let me be clear. Everyone has their list of issues they are working on. (I know I sure do). No one thing is greater than the other. I am not saying this is just a single parent problem, obviously, but my passion is for helping the single parent live a better life.

Before you embark on one more meaningless sexual relationship that could very well leave you more emotionally broken, more financially broken, and more spiritually broken, think about its effects and know that there is great freedom in simply waiting for the right one.

Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parent issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who travels the country sharing her riveting story of homelessness, severe abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies. She has appeared on countless radio and television programs, and she is founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.

 

By Jennifer Maggio
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inside The Pew staff.

BATON ROUGE, La. — As her body crumbles to the floor, she can hardly believe what she is hearing. Her husband wants a divorce. No, not me. Not us. I’ve done everything right. I’ve tried. I really have.A million thoughts rush through her mind as

Jennifer Maggio

the reality that her world will no longer be the same comes crashing against her. She lies there, crying and helpless, wondering how she will survive financially, what her friends will thing, and how her children will survive without their father in their daily lives.

This is reality for more than 15 million women who find themselves parenting alone today in the United States. It is estimated that 1,000 teenagers become pregnant every day, while one in every two marriages will fail. Whether it be a 15-year-old pregnant teen, a 35-year-old divorcee, or a grandmother parenting her grandchildren alone, these women are desperate for connection. The statistics that surround the single parent home are staggering:

  • 78 percent of the U.S. current prison population was raised in a single parent home.
  • 71 percent of all high school dropouts came from single parent homes.
  • 1 in 3 single mothers live in poverty.
  • Children in single parent homes are five times more likely to commit suicide.
  • They are 32 times more likely to run away.
  • They are 10 more likely to use drugs or alcohol.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. By all accounts, today’s society is currently in the midst of a single parent crisis that affects our economy, abuse rates, crime, education, and our future generations. We know that we are under biblical mandate to serve the least of these, the forgotten, the broken, the marginalized. The questions is, “What are you, the church, doing about it?” For far too long, the church has ran from the single parent home. Recent studies suggest that 67 percent of single mothers in the United States do not actively attend church (“The Church and the Single Mom,” Carepoint). It is one of the fastest-growing sects of the population, and there are approximately 9 million unchurched single mothers in our communities across this nation.

The Life of a Single Mom Ministries was founded as a solution to this very concern. Less than 1 percent of the 300,000 evangelical Christian churches in the United States do nothing for single mothers, and the few that do struggle with how to run effective programs that go beyond a one-time-a-year Christmas or Thanksgiving event. TLSM is on a mission to change all that.  TLSM provides resource to equip pastors, leaders, and laypeople on how to launch effective single parent programs within their church. TLSM has helped more than 400 churches in the United States and served leadership in 19 countries. But the work is not done. Praise God for the cutting-edge churches across the country who has embraced this endeavor! Has yours?

Jennifer Maggio is critically acclaimed author and speaker who is also founder The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. TLSM was founded from Maggio’s own journey and resolve to not be just another statistic. Maggio has appeared on more than 100 radio and television shows and writes articles for dozens of magazines. Her products are endorsed by LifeWay Christian Stores, Focus on the Family, The 700 Club, and many more. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.

By Jennifer Maggio
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of  the Inside The Pew staff.

BATON ROUGE, La. — With an estimated 15 million single mothers in the United States and numbers increasing daily, it is imperative that the local church have a thriving single mothers program. It is estimated that 67 percent of single mothers do not actively attend church.  As the church – the body of Christ – this should pain us. It should keep us up at night.

Jennifer Maggio

So, why should we formalize a single moms’ ministry within the walls of our church?

  1. The Bible tells us so. We have been commissioned with certain duties by the Lord. Psalms 146:9 informs us “He cares for the widows and orphans.” Luke 14:13 challenges us to “invite the poor.”  1 Timothy 5:3 advises us to “take care of the widow.” The widow, many times, is the single mom. The orphans are left by a single mom. The poor are often single moms.
  2. Single parents are one of the fastest-growing sects of our population. What better way for our local churches to grow than to connect with the 9 million unchurched single mothers in the country? This represents more than 20 million women and children and they are in our neighborhoods, grocery stores, and schools.
  3. Single moms need more than just a Christmas toy drive once per year for her children. They appreciate that sort of thing, but she desires sustained connection with the house of God. She longs to learn more about financial stewardship and parenting effectively. She needs long-term fellowship with other single mothers in similar seasons of life.
  4. A single moms’ ministry is NOT the same thing as a singles ministry. Singles ministries are co-ed environments. Many single mothers are recently divorced or vulnerable and need a private support group for women only. This allows the freedom to express concerns and hardships sans the added pressure of the opposite sex.
  5. And perhaps the most important point – single moms ministries DO NOT condone unwed pregnancy or divorce no more than addictions’ ministry condones drug use. We know God’s word calls us to live in sexual purity and that marriage was intended to last forever. However, we must address the needs of those within our community who are parenting alone.

Jennifer Maggio is critically acclaimed author and speaker who is also founder The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. TLSM was founded from Maggio’s own journey and resolve to not be just another statistic. Maggio has appeared on more than 100 radio and television shows and writes articles for dozens of magazines. Her products are endorsed by LifeWay Christian Stores, Focus on the Family, The 700 Club, and many more. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.