The Next Faithful Step

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Catherine the Single Mom

Catherine is 35 year old single mom.  Her daughter Lucy is 13 and her son Angel is 11.  Catherine works as a department manager for a store that sells bed and bath supplies.  She started out working the cash register and was soon promoted for her hard work.

She gets her children off to school first thing in the morning.  She tries to make sure they have a good breakfast, but sometimes that means they end up munching on a bagel as she drives them to the middle school, where they are in eighth and sixth grades.

Catherine then goes to the store.  She does not officially have to be there until nine, but she is usually there before eight.  Even then, there is not enough time to take care of all the paperwork from the corporate office before the other employees show up at 9:30.  The Store Manager, Tori, likes Catherine a lot.  In fact, she treats Catherine like the de facto Assistant Manager.  That means that Catherine gets a lot of praise and trust.  But it also means she ends up doing a lot of work that is not technically in her job description.  Catherine hopes (indeed expects) that she will have her own store some day.

The bulk of the day goes by quickly--managing employees, receiving shipments of new stock, and, of course, dealing with customers.  Catherine does not feel like she has much time to think. She just responds to whatever happens next.  The feedback she gets from others tells her that they see her as a mother-figure--the one they go to when they need someone to help them solve their problems (whether or not the problems are related to work).

Catherine arrives home around 6:30.  Because her lunch break consists of a Zone bar gulped down with a diet soda, she has worked almost straight through for ten hours.   She throws together some dinner and gathers the kids to eat at seven. 

Ideally the kids have done their homework already.  But middle-schoolers rarely do anything without adult supervision.  So she spends the next hour or three riding them to finish their homework, shower, and get to bed at a decent hour. 

She falls in bed at ten o’clock.  You would think that that would be the best part of her day.  But it is the part she dreads.  That’s when she thinks about the fact that she barely makes enough money to pay the bills (her ex-husband is not in the picture).  She worries about having better health insurance and life insurance in case something happened to her.  And she wonders about her own mother, whose health is failing even though she is only sixty-two.  Indeed, she thinks that her mother’s lifetime of working on her feet is what made her health fail, and Catherine wonders what will happen to her own health when she is in her sixties. 

Catherine does not have time to take her kids to the church youth group.  She only gets alternate weekends off from work.  But she tries to get them to church about once a month.  She prays to ask God to reach them.  Her congregation was really helpful to her when her husband left her with two kids under five and no job prospects. But she worries that the kids don’t seem to have enough church in their lives to hear much about Christ’s love.

You are Catherine’s pastor.  She says to you, “I really want to get more of Christ in my kids’ lives (my life too).  But I am only one person.  I really do want things to be different.”  How will you respond?