Bridging the Single Mom Gap
In the early 1990s, Carol L. Lund and her husband, Gordon, of Dassel, Minnesota, sat at a wedding reception, enjoying the celebration, when another guest commented on a mutual friend’s marital demise. The guest stated that the now-single mother deserved the consequences of the divorce.
Stunned by the man’s attitude, Lund determined in that moment that she would do everything she could to be part of positive change in the single mother’s life.
“His words tore my heart apart, and I knew something needed to be done,” she says. Immediately, Lund and her husband opened their home to the single mom and her children.
“The Bible tells us to care for the widows and orphans, and single mothers are part of that category,” says Lund. She offered wisdom, prayers, a safe place to hang out, a listening ear, counsel, encouragement, and leadership development. Today this mom is a successful business owner.
While Lund was delighted to see her friend thrive, she didn’t think much about how that wedding-reception decision had changed the trajectory of her life. That is not until Clarence St. John, then Minnesota District superintendent, approached her in 1997 with a proposal to become women’s ministry director of the district’s Bridging the Gap ministry. Throughout the years, though she had often ministered to women where she has attended church, New Life Assembly of God in Cakato and River of Life in Cold Spring, Lund didn’t feel competent enough for the district post.
“She is definitely qualified,” says longtime friend Pat Schwalbe, who serves as volunteer adviser for Minnesota’s Bridging the Gap. “She is a visionary and sees the gold in people.”
After much prayer and deliberation, Lund accepted the role.
“I realized that if God calls us to something, we need to pursue it not with perfection but with excellence,” Lund says. She went to work, reaching out to churches throughout the state, encouraging women to know who they are in Christ and to embrace their calling.
In 2011, the ministry she’d offered in her home to that single mother came back on her radar. St. John’s wife, Vicky, along with the assistant superintendent’s wife, Becky Tedeschi, approached Lund and current U.S. missionary to single moms Lois Breit with a need.
“They wondered what we could do to minister specifically to single moms,” she says. Lund notes that almost 9 million families are now led by single mothers and churchgoers rarely experience ministry directed specifically to their unique challenges. After they prayed and brainstormed ideas for single-moms ministry, under Lund’s leadership, Bridging the Gap hosted a single mom’s retreat. Initially, 200 women showed up. The annual event has grown each year, with 700 women, including volunteers, going to the most recent retreat.
Lund, 72, says other Christians must understand what single moms go through in order to give them hope and to minister to them with practical and Christ-centered resources.
Schwalbe has seen the fruit in her friend’s work.
“Because Carol follows the Spirit’s leading, these women blossom and grow,” Schwalbe says.