[0:00:01] Lois: All right guys, we are so glad to be with you today. This is the R. F. W. P. Podcast Sister seeker where we are seeking truth finding God’s heart. My name is Lois Mcnair. I’m your host and with me today I have my co host

[0:00:22] Emily: Emily Louis.

[0:00:23] Lois: And we are so excited to have our very first sister seeker interview and we have Bri with us today.

[0:00:34] Emily: Hi Larry,

[0:00:35] Lois: how you doing?

[0:00:37] Bridget: I’m great. How are you?

[0:00:38] Lois: Good. We’re so excited to have you with us. We’ve been hanging out a little bit and uh we’re going to jump in here a little bit and talk to talk to bree. But before we do that, did you guys have a good week?

[0:00:53] Emily: Yeah, it’s good week. Um Full is always

[0:00:58] Lois: yeah, but of good things like you shared a little bit about how fun your sunday was something you guys did. Oh yeah church

[0:01:09] Emily: I’ve already forgotten. Uh huh. We got to do church in the park with, it was three churches that got together, ended church in the park for like a community service um community church service. It was so beautiful.

[0:01:24] Bridget: That’s so fun.

[0:01:25] Lois: Uh Oh bree I have to tell you this when Emily told me that this week, like yesterday, when she told me that um she said it was so hot And I’m like well what was the temperature is, looks like 75, Okay, it’s

[0:01:43] Emily: not just 70

[0:01:44] Lois: five. Are you serious? I live 15 minutes north of the beach. The heat index was like well over 100 yesterday to not talk to me about 75 being hot.

[0:02:00] Bridget: I don’t think Florida has been 75 since

[0:02:02] Lois: january so Right

[0:02:05] Emily: mm It hit 90. I promise it hit 90 yesterday.

[0:02:10] Lois: Oh wait, Bill said 85. So we went from 75 to 85. American, 1990. Are you speaking evangelistic Lee?

[0:02:18] Emily: It was 85 at 11:00 AM. It was 90 at three in the afternoon. Yeah, you don’t believe me.

[0:02:33] Lois: Well, we are really excited to have sister seeker stories and this is something new that we’re adding to the R. F. W. P. And we are just stoked about it. Uh, so we’re gonna let Emily tell a short story something that our listeners wouldn’t know. So every time we do an interview and we do a sister seeker short story, one of us is gonna tell a little bit of a story that our listeners don’t know almost that are sisters. Don’t know. Our sister seekers don’t know. There you go. Brother. Brother seekers don’t know,

[0:03:18] Emily: right? Don’t leave the guys out. Okay, so fun thing. I don’t think even lowest knows. I did four h for 11 years and we raised shape every summer and we would train them um to try to build up their muscle. We would feed them up on stands to where they had to stand up in order to eat and we would, we barn soured them basically, so we’d walk them down our lane and then you

[0:03:54] Lois: have to back out of his barn souring. That is so frightening sounding his barn souring because I’m thinking did they poop in the barn and it’s soured in and that’s what you know. Oh my word.

[0:04:13] Emily: Okay. So yes, they did Pope in the barn and yes, we did walk all over it because it would like dry in layers because it’s just sheep manure.

[0:04:23] Lois: That’s so bad. Mhm. I’m sorry, I have to brian pullman. So sorry. Okay, brian Edwards moment.

[0:04:41] Emily: Okay, I have to ask bree, are you familiar with like farm animals or

[0:04:47] Lois: anything? Yeah, so like we were so, so for low as

[0:04:58] Emily: the sake and anybody else who’s listening two If you have an animal that’s barn sour they like will always just keep running home and you can, it’s harder to get them to leave the the barn. So we would intentionally feed them when they ran home so we would like exercise them. It’s kind of just funny. That’s my funny story,

[0:05:23] Lois: barn souring. Yeah,

[0:05:27] Emily: no, we would show sheep um at the fair.

[0:05:32] Lois: Yeah. Okay, I’ve lost it. So we just said show sheep. Uh huh. I know you meant to say show sheep. Okay, this is bad. Just a little thing like when you’re trying to teach somebody how to pronounce separately and you like sally sold seashells by the seashore and you send show sheep. And I just, we haven’t

[0:06:07] Emily: even told a Jag joke

[0:06:09] Lois: yet and we’re I know this is bad feeling okay. Oh my gosh! Speaking of dad jokes free. Oh man, okay, we were talking earlier and you said that you loved dad jokes, so you have to have a dad joke?

[0:06:28] Bridget: Oh yes, I have lots of bad jokes. Um

[0:06:32] Lois: okay, well you get to tell one today,

[0:06:34] Bridget: 11 dot.

[0:06:36] Lois: Then you can help Emily prepare for our face off in Missouri. Our dad joke face off when we do our podcast live, their first video that we’re going to do there and uh we’re gonna have a face off between brian and Emily, I’m still not sure brian actually knows we’re doing this, but that’s okay. We’re trying to get Emily a head start on the preparation. There you go bri, hit us with a dad joke.

[0:07:05] Bridget: Okay, who was the most business savvy woman in the bible? It was the most business

[0:07:14] Lois: savvy woman in the bible. Uh huh. I don’t know,

[0:07:21] Bridget: it was pharaoh’s daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and pulled out a little profit.

[0:07:34] Lois: It took me

[0:07:37] Emily: way too long to get

[0:07:39] Lois: that. Yeah, I can tell you weren’t laughing. I’m like, Emily doesn’t get it. We’re in crisis mode. Now,

[0:07:46] Emily: that is going to be my advantage, That’s going to be my competitive edge. Is that maybe I’ll just miss some of them and then I won’t

[0:07:54] Lois: like, you won’t laugh. That’s a good one. I haven’t heard that one. Uh It’s good, it’s going okay before we jump into a little bit of your story, we need to play this or that. You know what this or that is okay? Are you willing to be a participant here? Yes. So, okay, so I’m gonna I’m gonna give you two things, you know, basically this or that and you have to choose one. Um Or you can say neither I guess, but no, Emily is telling me no, no, sorry. You have to choose either this or that and you can take a long time. Are you ready?

[0:08:41] Bridget: Yes, I think.

[0:08:43] Lois: Okay. Good, good answer. Good answer. Okay. Dog or cat. Dog netflix or youtube netflix. Phone call or text. Next toast or bagel toast, eggs or what? Eggs or eggs. Never mind. Okay, scrambled or fried scrambled. Okay, cardio or weights. Wait, okay. Facebook or twitter twitter. Okay. Ice cream cone or snow cone?

[0:09:36] Bridget: Ice cream cone.

[0:09:37] Lois: Okay. Okay. So while you’re doing your weights, music or podcast? Oh,

[0:09:46] Bridget: music,

[0:09:47] Lois: music. Okay, cake or pie cake cake. Okay. Football or basketball. Uh huh. Okay. All right. Rich friend or oil friend,

[0:10:05] Bridget: loyal friend.

[0:10:06] Lois: Okay. Um Alright. What’s worse? Okay, this is what’s worse this or that. Um laundry or dishes,

[0:10:16] Bridget: laundry

[0:10:17] Lois: jogging or hiking

[0:10:20] Bridget: jogging, definitely. Okay.

[0:10:23] Lois: Um. All right. And just um one more just for fun. Work hard. Play hard.

[0:10:31] Bridget: Play hard.

[0:10:32] Lois: Okay and that is our first official this or that game with bree. Yeah,

[0:10:40] Emily: insert fun sound effects.

[0:10:42] Lois: Yeah. Six. So Emily I’m gonna turn it over to you and um But you get us started

[0:10:55] Emily: awesome. I would love to just let bree kinda have the floor and tell us about yourself. Um Who are you, what are things that you like make up? You you know that you love to do that are part of your story and have shaped you and molded you.

[0:11:17] Bridget: Oh man. Who am I? What a question. Um Well I’m a mom. I have one beautiful daughter who is incredible. Um I am a criminal justice student. I’m almost done with my degree. Yes. Well finally um I love hiking, avid hiker, which is why the jogging versus hiking was a super easy one. Um Let’s see, I love traveling um writing a couple of books. Um I’m a christian, I shouldn’t have left that one towards the end, but you know, I think that’s about it

[0:11:59] Emily: maybe. Uh Thanks love it. So what is what has been your experience with legalism or with I. F. B. You’re like the performance based religion?

[0:12:14] Bridget: Well, I was pretty much born into an independent fundamental baptist studying. Okay, so the first church that I really grew up in, I think we started going when I was about three. Um and it was, I won’t say the name, but everybody knows the pastor and not very many people like him, but he was very popular in the camp meeting circles. Um But then I also I played sports at a different church that was in a different circle and then I volunteered at a publishing company in Tennessee. We You can figure that one out. Um And I just pretty much everything I did from birth till 18 or 19 was all centered around an i. f. church. So um and every one

[0:13:09] Lois: of our some of our listeners um you know when when we when we talk about I. F. B. Sometimes I think some of our listeners don’t know what that stands for. True,

[0:13:23] Bridget: that’s the independent fundamental baptist movement or whatever you want to call it. Oh um Legalism was a big thing. Uh I don’t know how to explain it very well but it was all very not very much of it was biblical come to find out, you know years later after studying it and everything. But um it was very much works based. You had to earn the favor of God, you had to earn. They said that your salvation was by grace through faith, but if you didn’t do X, Y. Z. Then you weren’t really saved to begin with. So that’s the message that I heard growing up. And so since I did A B C. And X, Y Z. I just thought Well I have to be saved because why else would I do all of these things in the church? So I went to this one church until I was 18, I believe I was 18 when I finally left, There was a major event that happened when I was 17 that kind of shattered those rose colored glasses that I had. And so I started really seeing things that were not biblical and seeing that what was being preached from the pulpit was strictly his opinion And very rarely did he ever have bible to back it up. And yet we all just believed it because he said it. Um so it really just brought me to the point where I had no idea what I believed or why I believed it because I no longer trusted or valued his opinion. So everything just kind of started falling away. I ended up leaving that church when I was I think I was 18 and then I moved to Florida when I was 19 and thought out community, the only place that I knew too, and that was another independent, fundamental baptist church. It was in I don’t really even know where you would categorize that that a lot of people talk about the different circles of the I. F. B. And I don’t really know where this one falls. Um but I spent about six years there and it turns out that it was just the different side of the same coin. And so then I kind of just, I was done, I was just done. I was spent, I had spent my entire life working for this piece that I didn’t have. And so I just finally reached a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had nothing left in me to give. And so I pretty much became an atheist. I had decided that either God didn’t exist at all and it was all a lie or he just didn’t love me specifically. And that was a really dark place for me during those few years. Um and then ultimately, I don’t really know what the turning point was. Um but I just decided that I needed to read the bible again and shed the lens of the opinions that I had heard my entire life. And so I started reading, I started in the gospels, started in the book of jOHN actually and just read about the life of christ and I started listening to sermons of different creatures and God just drew me back to him and I ended up in a church and they had a revival meeting and I heard a sermon from the Book of johN which was funny because that’s where I was currently studying and it was just, it was the gospel and it was laid out plain and simple, like I had never heard it in my entire life and that’s what I decided I needed to give my life back to God and really finally put my trust in him and him alone. Now that’s in a nutshell, my journey through

[0:17:35] Lois: Yeah. So I, I want to ask you something but you are more than welcome to, to pass. But um, would you be able to just kind of briefly, what was that? What was the initial reasoning for stepping away from your IFB background? Because at this point you started when you were little right and then you were 18 or 19. Yeah.

[0:18:15] Bridget: So there are, There were two major events that happened several years apart. Um, I actually have a traumatic background. My upbringing was riddled with abuse starting from the age of six and going until I was 24. Um, some of it was in the church and some of it was not, some of it was at the hands of my brother. Um, some of it was at the hands of a man in the church. All of it was covered up. Bye. I found out much later, but covered up by the pastor, covered up by my parents, ignored by my parents. And then when I was 17 I had graduated from high school year early, I started college. I really thought that I was on my way to something better and then I was sexually assaulted by a co worker and that just kind of full stop and did everything right there and I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t have anyone close to me that I felt was supportive. So I went to a youth pastor of a church that my my church was closely interacted with through my teenage years, there was several hours away. And so I felt like that would be a good place for me to go because I wouldn’t have to see that person over and over again. And I would just have one person that I could tell, get it off and get support there. Right. Well they were supportive, but they then called my pastor who I it’s a really strange emotion to try to explain in words, but I believed every word that he ever spoke, but I did not trust him with my own personal stories. Uh, that’s a really loaded thing. We can totally get into that if you want to. But um, I just, I didn’t trust him enough to tell him what had happened to me, but they told him, So then he called Me one morning and just started going off on me, telling me that I was lying. And if I wasn’t lying, that means I wanted it and that I was just, um, falsely accusing this man. And it just, it shattered me. It absolutely shattered me that my pastor was saying these things to me and basically he threatened me with public humiliation so that if I didn’t recant the story on the phone with him, right then, that he was going to pull me before the church and say it from the pulpit and that his words all hell was going to break loose for me.

[0:20:57] Lois: And you are like, what, 17, 18

[0:21:02] Bridget: point

[0:21:03] Lois: in time? I mean, what 17 year old would be able to just navigating something like that. I I can’t imagine.

[0:21:16] Bridget: Yeah, it was it was a very difficult um thing. So I did, I just told him fine, if that’s what you think, then it didn’t happen and I don’t want to talk about it ever again. And so then he goes into how I have mental issues and I’m a pathological liar and just just shattered me. He shattered every tiny little bit of self worth that I had as a lifetime I F. B. Girl and just broke me. So I didn’t know where else to go. I stayed in that church. Um I wasn’t allowed to do anything anymore though. I was taken, I was a bus captain and I was removed from that. I wasn’t allowed to sing in choir, I wasn’t allowed to play the piano. So for me being that I had attached my salvation to the things that I was doing in the church and then those things are taken away from me. I was so lost. I was just, I felt like absolutely nothing and I was just going through these motions and it was just a really, really dark place. And so eventually I went through a pastor friend of mine, I had grown up with his kids and they pastored in the city next door. And so I went to him and I kind of told him a little bit about what was happening and told him that I just I need help, I can’t go to my parents, I just need help. And he told me that I had to talk to my pastor, so when I explained to him that that wasn’t an option, uh he told me that he couldn’t go against such a great man of God and asked me to leave and not come back to mr

[0:23:00] Lois: oh my goodness, Emily, your face is just like,

[0:23:05] Emily: I don’t have words like that. Other pastor was like, well, so and so is right, and it wouldn’t help you All right,

[0:23:17] Bridget: Still 17, by the way at this point. So yeah, so I just a kind of left church at that point and decided I just had to get out of the state, I had to leave and I didn’t want to run into these people at walmart and you know, I won’t say what I would like to do to them when I see them at walmart, but so that’s when I decided I just I had to leave, so I left the State,

[0:23:45] Lois: you know, it’s amazing to me, and it is amazing to me that there are so many stories like yours, but you you found your weight, I don’t even want to say, found your way back. You found your way forward to a relationship with jesus again, Emily, you wanna dive in here? I know I can see it on your face. Uh

[0:24:25] Emily: I would love to like, you kind of gave us an overview of all of this and then the events that led you you realizing that you were empty without God. Can you just dive back into that a little bit and talk about like, what, what drew you to God, What made you like want to be in relationship with him after all of that? And after like professing atheism, I don’t know what what drew you back? How did you find out? Wait A. 2nd. God does love me?

[0:25:03] Bridget: So I think to tell that part, I have to kind of tell you the second major events that happened in an I. F. Church. Um, and that was while I was married when I moved to florida, I met someone and we dated for a while and then we got married and literally immediately upon us getting married. The physical abuse started. I literally came back from our honeymoon with a black guy all over an argument about where to eat for breakfast. So again, well before that I found another FB church like I had said. And so immediately I attached salvation back to what I could do in that church. So I immediately go back into every area of service that I possibly could, because that’s what gave me security in my salvation. I felt if I did enough and I was earning his favor, and I was earning what he had done for me. And then my marriage quickly went downhill. Within six months. He broke my foot, he broke a couple of ribs. He broke my wrist, push me down the stairs, gave me quite a few bruises, big knots on my forehead. Things like that. I

[0:26:23] Lois: just I am so sorry, I am so sorry that you have that experience, that you have those memories that just breaks my heart.

[0:26:36] Bridget: It was a very difficult time. And the church that I was in, I had to go to service. My husband actually made me so I will go to service with bruises. They saw them, nobody said anything. And a few people have said something to me since then that they had a feeling that things were happening, but they didn’t know what to say. And I get that a lot of times you don’t, you have no idea how to help somebody in that situation. So, I mean, I understand to a point, but then I had my daughter and thankfully the physical abuse stopped while I was pregnant. Um but then it started up few months after she was born and the breaking point there was, he took a swing at me thankfully he missed. Um but then he was throwing things around and my daughter was barely a year old sitting in her car seat and all of this was happening around her. And I just realized I cannot under any circumstances let my daughter grow up in this kind of a household. And so I started setting boundaries and saying, if you do this one more time and I have gone, we can’t stay. And so he would go through these cycles where he would say I’m going to get help. I promised. And he would go to one anger management class or he would buy a book and read it and then a month or so later that would all fall away and he’d go through another abusive cycle. And it was just up and down constantly and so breaking again. What tiny bit of self worth that I had built back up. And then when I finally went through my pastor, I was told that I wasn’t praying hard enough for myself or for my husband and that I needed. Yeah. And by the way, when I went to his office, I was literally covered in bruises. I had bruises on every part of my body and was told that I needed to go home and work on my submission to my husband if I wanted things to get better.

[0:28:45] Lois: No, my, um, so

[0:28:49] Bridget: that was the last experience for the pastor that I had. And ultimately it’s kind of a strange twist of events, but he actually ended up leaving me. My husband did and he filed for divorce. Um, it was a very narcissistic play on his part because I finally said, I’m, I’m done enough is enough. You’re not going to treat me like this. And so then he of course, became the victim and left me. And I just found it all these lies about me control

[0:29:24] Lois: controlling issues. They’re like, you’re not going to leave me, I’m gonna leave you. And I’ve heard that, unfortunately. And a lot of women’s stories who have been through physical, emotional, mental sexual abuse. They, Yeah, yeah.

[0:29:45] Bridget: So when that happened, and I, then after the divorce was final, I was told by the church by the pastor and the, I believe it was the youth pastor maybe. Um, they came to me and said that I no longer fit the image of what their church is good for. So I was not allowed to again, no playing the piano, no singing, no working on the bus, no teaching sunday school. I was still allowed to come to the church, but I was not allowed to do anything. So I want I want

[0:30:20] Emily: all because you were divorced now. Like, that’s that’s the only thing that changed,

[0:30:24] Bridget: yep. That’s the only thing I never stopped serving even during the darkest parts of my life. And it’s because it has nothing to do with me. It’s because that’s what I anchored all of my Salvation on. That’s what I anchored my faith on was what I was doing in the church. So I couldn’t

[0:30:40] Lois: validation Yeah. Investigation that you did not receive growing up and that you did not receive in your former church. I think um I think those um three words fit the image. You don’t fit the image Emily, that the, maybe we need to do a whole episode just on those three words fit the image. You

[0:31:17] Bridget: could, that would have a topic, wow. Uh huh. So at that point I washed my hands of all things church related and vowed to never darken the doors of a church ever again. So no, I’m a single parent and I’m going through life literally alone. I moved to florida, I had no family here. My family was my husband’s family, my friends were his friends. So when he left he took everybody with him and I was literally just by myself. And so I just, I worked and I went home and I was with my daughter and that was it. That was life. And what kind of drew me and prevented me from full on becoming an atheist was kind of weird, but I did a paper my first year of college about why you could believe that the bible was true. And there were two things that I just could not get out of my head that I had learned. One of them was that the bible said the life of the flesh is in the blood. Well, that was said hundreds of years before scientists knew that you had to have blood in your body to live. But there it was plain and simple written in the bible. And then another thing was that I believe it’s in Isaiah, it said he stood up upon the circle of the Earth into the Earth was a circle. Well, during that time and for hundreds of years after that, people didn’t know that the earth was a circle, believed it was flat or swear or whatever, but yet the bible said that the earth was a circle and so those were just two random things that I just couldn’t kick, I just couldn’t get it out of my head. And so I just started thinking, okay, maybe he is real, maybe I’ve just been doing it wrong, and I think I really think it was just him, kind of steadily whispering in my ear, hey, look at this, hey, what about this, what do you think about that? And so I would read it, it’s like, okay, that’s different than what I remember learning growing up. Okay, well that’s that’s different, jesus is a lot nicer than I was led to believe that he was, especially to women. And um yeah, that’s just, that’s what kind of got me. And like I said, I started visiting a church and heard a message that was clear presentation and that was that okay. He loves me. I don’t have to do anything for it, which was good because I literally had nothing left to give. I was completely empty person and slowly but surely he just started pouring back into me and now here we are a few years later. And my relationship with God is still, it’s still struggles because I still have that lens that I’m trying to break. So I still have these worked views. So we’re working on that the Lord is being very patient with me while I struggled through this. So yeah, that’s uh it was, it was really just got, it wasn’t any crazy thing that happened that brought me back to him. It was just God whispering in my ear. Hey, look at this, look at that, this life changing,

[0:34:36] Emily: That’s so incredible. I totally get the little anchors because there are things where I go and if it wasn’t for that, I might be able to doubt this whole thing. But because of that, you just can’t and God is so faithful and patient tonight, I’m so thankful for your story. Just God not giving up and God always pursuing you. And they, you were able to to see like, oh, this is not the God that I was taught about. God is not this person. So thank you for sharing those, those vulnerable parts of your story um to share your testimony of what God’s brought you through. Yeah.

[0:35:30] Lois: Yeah. So as a single mom free, um, we do have a lot of single moms that for one reason or another, they have found themselves in the situation that you are currently in. So, um, what, how would you like to encourage single moms? How would you like to um, for the body of christ to encourage single moms? Kind of, you know, what can churches do differently or what, what have you seen some churches do? Well, just I know I’ve asked kind of a cluster of questions, but you just take it in answer as you see fit.

[0:36:22] Bridget: Okay. Um, well, I would encourage everyone to read the story of Hagar. I think it’s in genesis Emily. Do you know what I’m talking about? The scrape a car? Yeah, yeah. So she bore a son to Abraham and was essentially, She was she fled at one point and was just her and her son. And then a few years later she was forced out and was on the run basically. She was in the desert. She was by herself with her and her son. You thought they were going to die. And then here comes the angel of the Lord giving a message from God and I’m not going to quote this verse correctly. But it said that Hager said to God, you are the God that sees. And um I I think I wrote it down yet it said you are a god of seeing truly here. I have seen him who looks after me. And that verse gets me. There have been so many situations where the Lord heard me in my most desperate times and he provided for me in a way that literally only he could, for example, a little over a year ago, my daughter and I went through a house fire and lost everything and just one thing after another after another. God just drop things in our path. That was perfect for the moment that we needed it. Um When I had to pay for the hotel room, we lived in a hotel for about a month and when I had to pay for it, I said all right, God, I have no idea how much this bill is going to be. I don’t know if I even have the money to check out of this hotel, please help me. And so I went to the desk and I asked for the total and I put in my debit card and I had $2 left over when it was done. It was literally just the perfect amount a that bill incredible. Um So what I would say to single moms would be just trust God and know that that’s easier said than done. Trust me. I know that’s easier said than done. Um In fact, I really believe that he used that fire in my life because as a single parent, you’re used to just figuring it out. You figure it out yourself, you gotta build to pay, you don’t know how you’re going to pay it. Pick up an extra shift, figured out, do what you gotta do, right? But when that fire happened with us, I didn’t know how to figure that out. Like what do you do, where do you go from that? And I had to just fully and completely trust in God to provide for us. And he did in a miraculously beautiful way and I could go on and on and on about about that. But he he will provide, you just have to ask him, he knows that you need it, but he wants you to ask, um, as far as churches go, have you ever looked at the statistics? Probably not. Because who does, who just google something like this. But look at the statistics of how many single parents there are in the United States alone. It’s a lot. I don’t remember the exact number, but there are a lot of single parents. So as a pastor, look at the demographic and the makeup of your church. Do you have any single parents in your church? Probably not. Mhm. So maybe just ask yourself why, why do single parents not feel comfortable stepping into your church? I know from my own experience, you feel judged, neglected, ignored. Even now, I feel like I’m in a really good church. Still very hesitant and I’m afraid to make the connections, But I find it very difficult to make connections with people my age that did because they’re all married. I’m the only single mom in my church. Okay. So you know, go to lunch. The couples go to lunch all the time. I would be the third. Well, basically. Um, so just look at that and the recipe for changing that. I don’t have the recipe, but it’s probably different I would imagine for every church individually, but maybe just make a conscious effort to see what you can do to support single parents. I say single mom a lot because I am one. So it’s easier for me to speak to that topic. But single dads, I’m sure feel the same way. Sure. Um, one, a couple of little things that people could do is ask the single mom to go to lunch. If that you women can have conversations with men too, it’s going to be okay. He has

[0:41:33] Emily: friends.

[0:41:34] Bridget: Yeah, exactly. You can learn. That’s one thing with single parents as they have experiences and insights that a lot of other populations are not going to have, You can really learn invaluable viewpoints from these women and a lot of times that’s just ignored because they don’t have a husband who shares all of his opinions. Um, so just ask the mom to lunch, get to know her. one random little thing would be take pictures of her, ask her, obviously don’t be weird and just start taking creepy pictures of single moms and their kids,

[0:42:11] Lois: but

[0:42:17] Bridget: her if she wants you to take pictures. But um, yeah, because I mean there’s there a couple of years worth of time that I don’t have pictures of me and my daughter and that’s really, it’s my fault. It’s not anyone else’s, but it’s a lot of times, just something I didn’t think about. You know, we’re having a good time at the park or you know, she falls asleep on me at the dinner table, which is adorable. And I don’t have pictures, I have pictures of my ex husband doing those little things, but not me. Um So maybe just offer to take pictures if they’re wearing cute matching outfits or something. Um I know that’s kind of random and all over the place, but no,

[0:43:00] Lois: we have several photographers in my family and, you know, a few of my kids are professional photographers. And so, you know, I would just say in those churches, for those of you are listening, if you have professional photographers in your church or anything like that, you know, um set up some free sessions for them. And just love on the single parents. You know, I’m assuming that that’s a good thing because I can’t speak to it from experience, but

[0:43:35] Bridget: it would mean I haven’t had family pictures taken of my daughter and I, she was three, which is, I say it’s my fault. I haven’t done it. I haven’t had the money to do it really, but because professional pictures are expensive and mama’s got bills to pay, you know, I can’t take professional pictures. So yeah, that would be something awesome. Um, as far as pastors are concerned realizing that it’s not always the woman’s fault or choice for that matter that she’s a single mom, it’s not because she was sleeping around. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, not that it really should matter in the after effect anyway. Um, whether she intentionally became a single mom or whether it was thrust on her, you can still support her. The bible tells us to bear one another’s burdens and single moms should not be exempt from that, wow! Another another good thing to realize. I think in churches is that most single moms did not come into this single parenthood on their own choice. A lot of times it was thrust on them. A death of their spouse is a sudden shift into the unknown, but they didn’t ask for my case. I should have left my husband because an abusive marriage is not a biblical marriage anyway. But that’s a whole other podcast right there. Um,

[0:45:16] Lois: but you’re right. Yeah, absolutely. Right. I stand with you on that any time that there is abuse abandonment. Yeah, you’re absolutely right.

[0:45:29] Bridget: They mean they didn’t ask for it. They’re probably grieving. It’s even me. I didn’t lose my husband to death, but the life that I had envisioned was gone and that was a grieving process that I didn’t really realize was a grieving process until much later. So giving blanket statements of how divorce is never an option and something about the man always being the head of the household, not always true and not always helpful to a single parent. I am the head of my household. I am the spiritual leader in my home. Is that the way God designed it, nope. But God also didn’t design for my husband to be beating the crap out of me all the time. This is just where we are and I feel like single parents should be supported if anyone else by the church for sure. I’ve noticed that a lot, there are a lot nicer people outside the four walls of the church and there are inside the church and that’s just, just didn’t beat up. Um, a couple little tips for, for moms in general, but specifically single moms. Um, it’s okay for you to do family things as a single mom, go camping, go on the family vacation, go to the theme park, do the things that you would do if you had a family with a husband, do them with you. Just you and your kid, you and your kids take the family photos because you are a family, complete just you and your kids. You don’t have to have a husband for that. And again with pictures And this is two moms everywhere. Just take the picture. Yes. Even if your hair is a mess. Yes. Even if that shirt makes you look at, just take the

[0:47:25] Lois: picture. So

[0:47:29] Emily: bree when we were talking, I don’t remember just a few days ago, like getting ready for this. I was like, okay, I need to do this more. We were at the splash pad and I asked a total stranger, she’s taking pictures of her kids. And I was like, hey, could you just please take a snapshot of us? And she texted it to me and it’s like all, like all four of my girls and I are in it and I was like, I am so thankful for you reminded me to take pictures with my kids because because we don’t,

[0:48:00] Bridget: yeah, don’t a lot of time here. You take awesome pictures but you’re never in them. And I didn’t realize it until my daughter wanted all these framed pictures of me and her and I had three to choose from. So just take the victim. Mm

[0:48:19] Lois: Yeah. Emily is there anything that’s on your heart that you want to ask free or just or just share given every story?

[0:48:31] Emily: I think bree you’ve dropped some nuggets like this is stuff that mama’s single moms churches who want to help single moms can go back and listen to a second time I think and like take some notes. I would love

[0:48:48] Lois: single dads because there are a lot of single dads who are um I think of a few just that, you know, we met through social media just in the last year that just working really hard to be there as well. So yeah, I appreciate, I appreciate all the love for single moms. But I also appreciate very, you being very candid about just saying single parents overall. Not just yet.

[0:49:21] Emily: That’s good. Um The only thing I would, I mean, do you have anything else that you would say to pastors? Like if you could about the stigma around divorce? We haven’t talked about that a lot. We’ve talked about, you talked about it a little bit. Okay. Is there anything you would add to that?

[0:49:41] Bridget: Well, I think I kind of skirted around that Not all divorces, not biblical, there are actual biblical reasons why a person can and should and the marriage um, you know you mentioned, I think abandonment, well abuse is abandonment. If a man is abusing his wife or if a wife is abusing her husband, they have abandoned their vows. So you leaving and separating yourself from that abusive environment is not a sin, plain and simple. It’s not a sin. Um okay. I think that yeah, a lot of pastors that I’ve heard talk about marriage, we’ll just say that there are no biblical reasons for marriage and that you should always stick it out and you can always fix your problems. Okay. Not always true. I hold a lot of value in marriage. I think marriage is an absolute blessing and it’s something wonderful that should be valued. But what’s also a blessing is not being miserable and abused and manipulated. And I think if pastures understood that a little bit more, maybe they could be more of a help to the people that are in their congregation.

[0:51:04] Lois: Yeah, I am extremely thankful Probably about 18 years ago. Yeah, when bobby and I were on staff with a pastor that just was really solid and very biblically based and wise and spoke the truth but spoken in love. He did a family series in one of those weeks. He talked about that will call divorce and he was very clear. He had met with a therapist in our church before he did that message and said, you know, help me as I prepare this and just lovingly. Uh I was trying to bring the church body along probably from UNt twisting the narrative of a lot of things that they had heard growing up. And he just talked about that abandonment, the neglect, physical, mental emotional abuse, um extra marital affairs, all of those things. Um he laid out very clearly and beautifully and biblically. Um so I appreciated that and I’m glad to have had that because of course I was raised in that same thought process when I was younger.

[0:52:41] Emily: one of the things I’ve heard that I love is that God does not love the institution of marriage or the institution of your marriage more than he loves you. Like he is not he does not want you to sit there and suffer just to uphold some institution which is good. It should be good. But if it’s not he doesn’t he’s not like well that’s more important than you being well and whole

[0:53:12] Lois: and so safe.

[0:53:15] Emily: Say yeah, yeah,

[0:53:21] Lois: that’s a lot to take in brie and you have just shared with us very candidly. And I I’m thankful it’s kind of a double edged sword, I’m thankful. Um but I’m, you know, it makes me sad to hear your story and what you’ve walked through. Um but I’m thankful for you or being willing to share it. I’m thankful that you allowed jesus to draw you back to himself because you are you are going to make an impact. You are making an impact with your story and somebody will hear it and somebody will make a choice and make a decision and a healthy one or someone will realize maybe for the first time that they are not alone because you’ve taken the time to share your story with us today.

[0:54:23] Emily: I would love to give you the floor, breathe if you have anything else on, on your heart to share. Um just open it up.

[0:54:32] Bridget: One thing that somebody told me a couple of years ago, um, she’s actually since passed on. So this, this raise actually means even more to me now. You told me that uh, sorry, I’m trying not to get emotional, but um, she said that the love that you have for your kids and the desire that you have to be a good parent, then sometimes overcome a lot of your shortcomings, a lot of your mistakes because all of us make mistakes. Um, and if you just just love your kids man, just pour into them be part of their little lives. Um, that’s something that I and working on myself, especially single parents, that it’s always a constant challenge between picking up more shifts at work so you can have more money and pay more bills or do I take this monday off and spend time with thinking it’s a constant Battle between which one is more important. So just don’t forget corn and your kids. Um and I would love for one of you or myself to pray maybe for the single moms

[0:55:43] Emily: please. Yeah.

[0:55:46] Bridget: Okay for

[0:55:47] Lois: you to do that. Sure

[0:55:52] Bridget: our gracious, loving heavenly father, we are so grateful for the opportunity that you’ve given us to talk to each other today Lord, I just pray that you would just wrap your arms around all of the single parents that are listening, show them that they are skiing and they are heard and they are loved by you and Lord, I thank you for the relationships that are being built both with you and with each other. And I pray that you would just help us all to find a place where we can find support and a place where we can feel valued and included and help us all as we raise our Children, that we would do it to your honor and your glory and love you so much and thank you for all the mercy and the grace that you show us and jesus name. We ask these things Amen men.