Saturday, February 23, 2013

Muslim Single Moms

“Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles….” James 1:27a

Hamida is a Muslim single mom with two young sons and two twin girls, aged seven. One of the girls is paralyzed and requires a wheel chair and constant supervision. Valiantly she is trying to learn English, buy their groceries and household needs without the use of a car, and push her little girl’s wheelchair on sidewalks still uncleared from the night’s snowfall to the handi-transit bus to get to school. Hamida’s eyes reveal deep suffering. She is not surrounded by her community which would be the case with two parent families.

Amal came to the West when her two sons and daughter were small. Now the children are in their teens. One day as we were chatting she began to go on and on about believing all the prophets and holy books, etc. I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to let her talk and remain quiet even though I was tempted to correct her theological mistakes. Then, suddenly, without any transition she said, “I have no husband, father, or uncle to help raise my teen age boys.” Her point of need abruptly came to the surface revealing how difficult it is to raise her boys without a male relative to keep them on the right path. Like, Hamida, she doesn’t have a typical social life or much help from her Islamic community. When the boys were young she was not so concerned but now with them in their teens western freedoms concern her a lot. Some fatherless boys join gangs and land up in youth detention centers or jails.

In the past thirty five years of ministry among Muslims I have come to know energetic bright university students with promising futures and professionally skilled men and women enjoying their homes in our upscale neighborhoods. I’ve also known many Muslim newcomer families where husbands and wives are both working hard at getting established and raising their children. They have each other. They have their communities. Their weekends are busy with get-togethers with some of their community friends. They may have low paying jobs but at least they are moving forward. It’s the single moms who come here with their children who get at my heart strings. Some of their husbands have “disappeared”, or been blown up or shot, or in the case of MBBs martyred.  Others have been abused to the breaking point and been divorced. They are the “widows and orphans” of our modern era. I have to confess when I first began meeting them I wanted to run away. To say they need a lot of long term help is an understatement. Their needs are overwhelming and their journeys challenging. On the whole most of them are resilient survivors. However, some have not been able to withstand the challenges and become mentally ill. Whatever the case, God loves each of them and has rescued them from difficult living conditions in their homelands and designed that they should live among us. Hamida and Amal have a way of revealing my true motives in ministry.

Dear heavenly Father, please encourage my sisters who are ministering to Muslim(or MBB) single moms. Let them know You are pleased with them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.