Unless you have been there, it is really hard to understand. Single parents struggle with so many challenges. Your kids can be sweet, and then sometimes, they can be little terrors. You love them with all your heart and would die for them if called to, but there are also times when you might just give them away if only for a moment’s peace.
Your average day consists of waking early to get yourself ready so you can get your kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair combed, and packed for school or daycare. Then it is off to work for at least eight hours, only to come home exhausted to fix dinner, help with homework, settle disputes, get the kids through the tub and off to bed. Then it’s time to clean the house, not spic and span, but just enough so you won’t worry about being featured on the next episode of Hoarders. And then, there is the never-ending list of things you have been told you should be doing, but just can’t find the time.
I can remember many nights when I laid down at night too exhausted to lift my head. All I could do was cry (yes, men cry too) and try to muster enough strength to face another day. In times like these it is important to remember we are not alone. God is right there with us. His promises were precious to me then and still are. Here is my favorite:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
There is so much to draw strength and encouragement from in these verses. But let’s just focus on the fact Jesus is here to help us through the daily challenges of life. When we operate in His strength, we can go on even when our strength has run out. Learning to trust and operate in His strength takes time and practice, but we can. Here are a few tips I learned as a single parent to lighten the load.
1. Pray: Pray for yourself, that God would strengthen you and help you focus on the important things of life, and let the trivial things go. Pray for and with your kids. Pray they would know God fully and be able to trust in Him completely. Pray God would cover your parenting mistakes with His grace. Pray God would protect your family from the schemes of the devil.
2. Join: We were not meant to walk this life alone. We need fellow believers. Find a local church and join a small group. You need brothers and sisters who will pray, encourage and support you.
3. Take a break: Find someone in your church or family to occasionally give you a break by watching your children. This can be a church friend or family member. You might even explore a co-op with other single parents you trust and take turns watching each other’s children.
4. Remember God’s Promises: God loves and is always there for us. We find our identity in Him and his Word. I never mentioned this earlier, but single parents, moms especially, can be judged and unfairly labeled. Don’t believe the lies the world tells us. Trust His Word.
Remember, God loves and accepts you. You are perfect in his eyes, not because of anything you have done, but because of what He has done. Live in this Truth.