School, work, dinner, homework, laundry, chores, potty training, doctor appointments, sick kids, meltdowns, discipline, finances; these are all just a small handful of duties that we all have as parents. Although raising kids can be extremely exhausting and overwhelming at times, it is by far the most rewarding assignment that I have ever been given. For me, it is nice to be able to share these tasks with my husband, Jason, but it has not always been this way.
The days of having a nuclear family that consists of a father, mother, and children living in the same household are not as common these days. Being a single parent is a way of life for many people now. Whether it was a decision that was made by choice or forced, all these duties are foreseen by one parent on top of the possibility of stressful things to deal with like bitter feelings, visitation/custody issues, disruptions of extended family bonds, split holidays/birthdays, new partners, or just an absent parent due to death or choices. Although some splits in relationships can lead to healthy coparenting, it does not always work out that way in the beginning. This is the reality. Everything is on you now…EVERYTHING! So, while you might be hoping for the day when things will be different, that does not solve the “right now” of this moment. While your mind may be scrambling with thoughts and so many unanswered questions, one thing stands true: our story doesn’t have to be “picture perfect” to connect with God. He wants us all, just as we are.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28) NIV
What may seem like a mess to you – He will use it as a message for others. God wants us to lean on Him in our weakest moments; He will either give us the strength to climb the mountain or move it for us. That’s just who He is. Organizing, scheduling, planning are just a few time-consuming tools that will have a beneficial outcome to help make everyday tasks less stressful for the entire family. You must be willing to invest in your family just as Christ has done for us all. Whatever it is that you think you lack, continue to keep Christ at the center for guidance. You may not always have healthy relationships with friends or family that you can rely on, and that is okay. Being a single parent does not mean that you are alone. There is value that comes into having a church family and building healthy relationships that benefit your entire family. There is a powerful sense of community that comes with having a direct relationship with members of your church. Be open to accepting help. Don’t make it harder on yourself. If friends and family offer their help, take it! This can mean having someone play with your child(ren) while you run errands or having someone to call when you just need to talk.
The more you begin to dive into His word, the more you will begin to grow and understand that all that you need is in Him. The feelings of feeling trapped, overwhelmed, exhausted, guilty, lonely, and isolated will begin to fade away. You begin to focus on the blessings of the situation: the strong bond you have with your child(ren), a bond that no one will ever be able to take the place of. You are their security, strength, safety, peace, greatest fan, and you can make decisions on your own that could potentially lead to disagreements! SCORE! Just like you want your children to think of you first with the good, bad, and ugly in their lives – this is exactly what God wants us all to do. Hold on to God’s promises. He will never leave you lonely. Choose daily to take the lead in your children’s lives by keeping Jesus in the center. Pain will no longer define your story. What consumed your “story” will slowly fade into just a chapter, followed by a page, a paragraph, then a sentence, a word, and finally it will just be a period. A small period of time that you not only went through, but you made it through. Trust the process; I know the author!
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13) NIV