Most weeks, two or three come in. For the most part, they’re filled out by women. Primarily they’re checked single with children. I’m talking about benevolence forms. These are forms asking the church for assistance.
We have a team of volunteers that works to get these forms processed. I’m not involved with the process itself, but I see how carefully the team works to choose who qualifies for assistance.
Society tells us that men are unnecessary. We can do this parenting thing alone. We don’t need a man. They’re a nice accessory. After all, they only want one thing right? They cheat, they lie, they don’t work hard enough. Yet, could it be that our expectations are so low when choosing whom to father our children, that we choose a man who is ill equipped? That choice leaves us vulnerable. We can blame the down economy but single women with children have always ranked highest amongst those living below the poverty level.
I read these forms with great sadness. Generally speaking the average seems to be three children, two fathers, never married, no one pays child support, and she has never worked or barely worked because someone had to take care of those babies. There is a hardness and a sadness about her story and when I see her, she’s lost the sparkle in her eye. Yet, society tells her she can do it all by herself.
Could it be that God designed sex within the context of marriage to alleviate this pain? Could it be that in his infinite wisdom and compassion he was looking to save us and our children from this struggle, this life of poverty?
It seems judgmental, even to my own eyes, when I read what I have written here today, and yet, life takes some planning. We, as the church, help with what we can, in terms of goods and services, but it’s a band-aid on a more critical wound. We all make mistakes and we all have to live out those consequences. How do we educate the next generation that just because he says, I love you in the backseat of his mom’s car, doesn’t mean that it’s the right time to awaken love? How do we change the lie, and it is a lie, that life will go on as planned? How do we change the story? Even among my Christian friends, they say sex before marriage is unreasonable and unattainable. A nice thought in theory, but not practical in life. We all stand in freakish awe when someone publicly declares that they are going to wait until they get married to have sex. Surely there is something wrong with them, because we are too smart to fall for a lie.
Women suffer, children suffer even more so, yet we plow forward thinking this time it will be different for her. It’s a lie. There is an enemy of your soul who desires to destroy your dream. There is a Dream Giver who is calling you to take more care. Who will you believe and what has to change within you? Within us?