It’s no secret that married couples in local churches need to reach out to the singles in their midst. “Doing life alone” can be exhausting, says Holly Stallcup. But the Scriptures “consistently paint a picture of interconnected community … where we find ourselves in day-in and day-out partnership with others.”
Bridging this single-married divide is particularly important for women. Although married women are called (rightly) to extend friendship to their single counterparts, there’s another ministry that often goes unnoticed: the outreach that single women extend to young mothers, in particular.
Hannah Wong, visiting lecturer at Baylor University, sees potential for profound encouragement in being “the person who says [to a young mom], ‘I see you!’ and more than that, ‘I’m paying attention!’”
Wong is in her early 40s and has spent years in relationship with many friends who have married, had children, and sometimes given up careers to stay home. She views her friendship with these mothers as a ministry that’s “deeply connected to what Jesus did.”
The need to be “observed and understood,” says Wong, is experienced by everyone, but singles and young mothers feel it with unique intensity. As a single woman in the church, she feels called to be a witness who can speak words of affirmation over those whose work is difficult, relentless, and often unseen.“Once a friend said to me, ‘You must think I’m so impatient with the kids!’” says Wong, who then told her friend, “What I was thinking was, Good gosh, how are you so patient? I’ve got to tell you, you were a lovely, patient person ...1
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