Daily Devotions

Single Mothers are a Gift

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Save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.” (Psalm 86:16)

As many of you know by now, I was raised by two wonderful women. My mother and grandmother (Granny) raised me and made sure my brother and I had our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs met. Not having a father figure was challenging but made infinitely easier by having people in your life who love you. Especially in that generation, where divorce was not as prevalent, I wish someone had shared the following Biblical lesson with my family. I hope it helps other children in single-mother homes.

Jonathan, in his article, “Single mothers are divine!” points out that amidst the backdrop of overwhelming patriarchalism, many of the Biblical males were raised by single mothers, or at least mothers with absentee fathers. In Genesis 38, we are introduced to Tamar, a woman mistreated, who “outwits her male captors with sex, and becomes the first female mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.” Tamar has no husband but raised twins. Jonathan points out, “She has the important qualities: boldness, observation, theatricality, a demand for justice, and a willingness to stand up for it.” Tamar is far from the only example of strong women raising children without a man.

Moses was raised by women in the book of Exodus. Naomi is a single mother as we find in Ruth 1:14. Jesus was raised by Mary, and it appears Joseph died sometime after Jesus turned twelve years of age. Mark 6:3 calls Jesus, “son of Mary.” Jonathan quotes Andries van Aarde, who “indicates that Jesus is seen as ‘without a father who could have given him credibility.’” Read 2 Timothy 1:5. It speaks of Timothy’s faith given by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Each of these individuals is described in this often-misogynistic society as better for the courage, wisdom, and love of their mothers, who raised them primarily alone.

Today, pray for the single mothers in our lives. It is hard enough to raise children with two parents, it is more than twice as difficult to be a single parent. Yet, Scripture reminds us that God provides through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is exhausting enough to be a single mother, but I grieve the stigma my mother faced as a divorcee in the mid-1970s. I wish someone had the Biblical understanding to remind her of the power and respect the Bible had for its single mothers. The next time you see a single mother, remind her that she is a gift from God!

Bruce Lee: More Than Just a Kung Fu King

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For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

I am watching the ESPN special on Bruce Lee. For those of you who do not remember Bruce Lee, you need to see this special. I am enjoying it more than the Michael Jordan or Lance Armstrong specials. Bruce Lee was a Chinese American actor and Kung Fu master. I expected to hear about the unique talent that Bruce Lee was and the way he transformed martial arts in America.

The documentary gave many examples of the demeaning way Asians were treated in the cinema. Their specific example was from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The main character’s Chinese neighbor had buck teeth, had a screaming tone, and acted like a simpleton. Like so many other Asian characters, the parts were played by white actors who simply used makeup techniques to slant their eyes. The “Asian” in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was a demeaning character portrayed by Jerry Lewis. They didn’t even use an Asian actor.

Then here comes Bruce Lee, a young, handsome, articulate, and amazingly talented Asian actor. Sadly, Hollywood had no time for an Asian leading man. Prejudice forced Bruce Lee to try new ways to make a name for himself. He was somewhat successful, but he wasn’t given the opportunities he would have had today. Prejudice is a sickness that diminishes more than just an individual, it demeans an entire segment of society. It crushes the soul!

Today, when you watch the latest shooting of a black or brown person, remember that more than just that individual is affected. Each prejudicial death destroys the soul of millions. Bruce Lee’s life was a celebration of the dignity and worth of the Asian American. He helped give hope to a people that felt somehow less-than. Prayerfully reach out to God and ask to receive the Divine wisdom that comes from racial empathy. The sooner we recognize the talents of all God’s people, the faster our world can advance. When prejudice diminishes, all God’s people can reach their full potential. This is a spiritual issue, because every soul diminished makes God weep.

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