Have you ever pulled into a church parking lot, handed your keys to a valet and gone inside to enjoy a free manicure or haircut? Most of us would probably say no. But the women of Rolling Meadows, Ill., who attended Harvest Bible Chapel’s Day at the Spa can say yes. In 2006, the single moms’ ministry created a special event to make single moms feel beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.
The planners chose a theme found in Psalm 30:11, God turns our mourning into dancing (KJV). This truth might have been hard to embrace under the weight of the loneliness, financial stress and fatigue that often accompanies single parenting. That’s why Joy Samyn agreed to start the day by sharing her story.
Story of hope
Joy spoke about her pain after her husband admitted to an affair and ended their marriage. Left alone to raise their daughter, Joy soon found herself unemployed, penniless and without a home. Joy described how, in the grip of despair, she thought about taking her daughter’s life and her own.
But the Lord intervened, and Joy asked people in the church to help her; many responded with biblical counsel and encouragement. Working through the church, God blessed Joy with a job, a home, a car and the excitement of seeing her brother and sister accept Christ as Saviour.
Joy’s story highlighted the fact that single parents can’t do it alone; God wants to use others within the body of Christ to meet their needs. “It’s important for the whole church to minister because single moms want to know that they are loved and accepted,” said Donna Hart, the director of the single moms’ ministry. “They don’t get that affirmation or support from a husband. Loving service communicates it to them.”
Kelly Walker, a single mom who led the event planning, said, “Single moms need to know that there are people who care and desperately want to help. We’re not meant to do it alone. Many women struggle needlessly at times. [It’s important to] get plugged into a church.”
To demonstrate God’s love for these moms, more than 60 volunteers from Harvest Bible Chapel worked to make the day a success. They provided valet parking, child care, lunch and spa services from a local beauty school. During lunch, each mom received a Bible, books on parenting and spiritual matters, an array of beauty products and gift certificates to a local grocery store.
One mom mentioned that the gift certificates were a solution to an urgent problem. She had made an error with her budget; the mistake left her with no money for food. She and her children had been eating oatmeal for a week.
The power of support
After lunch, Donna set the spiritual context for the beauty treatments. She emphasized that Christian women should focus on more than their external appearance; they must also consider their internal beauty. Donna talked about how women can become trapped by looking in the mirror, stepping on a scale or seeking affirmation from dating relationships. Instead, she reminded each woman that she is beautiful.
When it was time for the spa treatments, the volunteers hoped the moms would recognize the free gifts and services as a picture of the way Christ loves—freely and generously.
For some women, it was hard to receive a blessing without feeling obligated to give something back. This was true for Karen Witt. “The stylist was so incredible. She showed me true Christian love,” Karen said. “At the end of the haircut, I was consumed with thinking about how to tip her, even though no tip was required.” After the stylist repeatedly refused a tip, Karen expressed her thanks with a hug and tears.
Single parenting can be exhausting, but single moms (and dads) need to know they’re not alone. It’s up to the church to help them see the beauty of God’s provision. Through faithful service, the church can provide the support that will help single parents believe that God can turn their mourning into dancing.
Jennifer Schuldt is a former staff member of Harvest Bible Chapel.
Tips for Planning a Single Parents’ Event
• Involve single parents in the planning.
• Ask the community and church body for donations, volunteers and prayer.
• Start fundraising early. Call businesses, write letters and double-check on pledges.
• Think of meaningful services (such as valet parking) that single parents might otherwise not be able to enjoy.
• Strive to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the attendees.