SINGLE PARENTS

SINGLE PARENTS

When the kids would get something, like a new Lego set, and would thank me, I would tell them, “Bless your father for providing,” and they would call out, “Jesus, will You bless my dad for providing for me?!” Divorce is painful, not just because of the event itself but the lies that are attached to it. When kids cultivate a thankful heart, it is impossible for them to be spiritual orphans.

LOOKING THROUGH GOD’S EYES

“You can’t. You are a single mom.” I will honor those involved by not sharing details, but I have been told this on more than one occasion over the years. The first time was when God called me to go on a mission trip. I had no desire to go, yet He began to speak to me so clearly that I gave Him my ‘yes,’ and within a week, all the funds came in. I was told, “There is no way God would call a single mom to go.” Those words stung! I beg to differ. Jesus always went after the weak, the sick, the broken, the least of these, and those overlooked. It isn’t the ‘less than’ part that qualifies a person. It is what Jesus does IN the weakness. Our weakness simply becomes the ground in which we are aware of our need for Him. No one needs to convince a solo parent (or their children) that God’s best is a family with both a mother and father, but it is incorrect to disqualify someone based on weakness alone. Judge them based on what God does through the weakness. Man may need a perfectly polished resume to qualify you, but God does not.

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Gather the kids and talk about the things most dear to your heart. Ask them what is one thing they couldn’t live without. Spend time thanking Jesus for giving it to you.

NOVOCAIN

Novocain – drug used to decrease pain.

We all know what pain killers are and we gladly volunteer for it at the doctor’s office. It makes sense why someone would not want to endure a dental procedure without it. Why would you?

It also makes sense why people would want Novocain to dull the pain when going through a divorce, but I strongly encourage you to forgo the pain management and let it hurt.

Such unusual counsel, I know! Let me explain.

Novocain during a divorce looks like: sex, alcohol, shopping sprees, dressing revealing, chat rooms, porn sites, casual sex, social media addiction, endless eating, gambling, dressing like a teen, buying a sports car and on and on.

So why do I strongly encourage you to forgo the pain management and let it hurt? While those things may numb or dull your pain for the moment, when they wear off, the pain will only INCREASE! Some discomfort is meant to be felt SO THAT true healing can occur. If we walked around drugged all the time, we wouldn’t be able to discern when our fingers are touching a hot stove, or our stomach is producing pangs out of hunger.

Whatever pain you are feeling from your situation, it is there for a reason and God wants room and time to HEAL the pain, not just make it go away. Failure to do so means you will only carry the covered over pain into the next relationship and God bless the man or woman that touches that scab. It is why second marriages have such a low success rate.

The best thing you can do for yourself is let it hurt and get that pain all out. God will meet you as you seek Him. I promise you; it will not last forever. You are not trapped in pain forever. The enemy wants you to think that you are dying of emotional distress and therefore need to medicate your soul, but the truth is, the only way to lessen the pain is to FEEL IT.

I want to give testimony that the peace, joy, and wholeness on the other side is full of lush fruit one cannot birth through painkillers and numbing agents. I think one of the hardest things is to see your life partner moving on so quickly but trust me (oh, please trust me) when I say there is nothing to be jealous of when someone has to clean up another person’s mess. You are doing your heart, children, and future a massive favor by allowing the healing process to occur.

I am sorry for the pain you are feeling.

It is not okay that someone didn’t treat your heart the way God intended.

It makes me angry that you and your children are having to walk this out right now.

You deserve to be loved, honored and cherished.

I WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO

Our city was once attacked by a raging wildfire that in the end destroyed over 1,200 homes and killed eight people. I was at a friend’s house when the message came that we were being evacuated. I raced back home to grab our animals and papers and from my back window, I could see the fire tornado coming our way. My knees began to give way as the magnitude of the stress was more than my body could carry. I remember thinking there was no way I could go out because then my four kids would be left alone in the house with the fire coming. I heard in my spirit so loud and clear, “You will always know what to do,” and at that moment my knees strengthened, and I was able to get the children out and to safety.

If Christ lives inside of you, then you will always know what to do.

I found declaring this over me has been a lifeline during many very challenging decisions.

Write out, put it on a sticky note, set a reminder on your phone, but declare with faith that Christ in you will always lead you.

I WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO!

SOLO PARENTING

When I was walking out becoming a SOLO PARENT, my heart felt like the scene in Titanic where the water was filling the cabin, and they were sucking the last bit of air out of the corner. Except I had four children attached to me. They say walking through a divorce takes as much out of you physically as going through open heart surgery. The effects on one’s mind, body, and spirit are profound. I have a natural built-in ability to overcome, persevere and bounce back, but this one almost took me out. I longed for keys, answers, and solutions and fought with everything within me to find Jesus amid the mess. Looking back, I can see that He gave me some golden keys that not only helped me navigate the tsunami of emotions for myself but my children. We didn’t just endure but overcame. We didn’t just survive but began to thrive. In fact, it was in my season of becoming a solo parent that my destiny began to open and unfold before me. God is a master who takes our messes, mistakes, and hurts and turns it into something so beautiful and life-giving. I want to share the tools, keys, and perils of wisdom I learned along the way with others.

One mom shared: “I have been a single mom for roughly 12 years, and this class brought healing to my heart and new perspectives even after so long. I truly thank you for sharing your wisdom. It has been so helpful and encouraging in my life.”

LIES, LIES, LIES

This is going to be one of the simplest, yet most profound tools I give you.

The LIES we believe because of an event is what brings lasting pain and heartbreak, not the event itself.

Rape is a horrible, horrible event that deeply affects a person. But long after the actual event is over, the LIE they believe about the event is what triggers the event over and over and over again as if it is happening to them again and again. In that moment their system is shocked (reasonably so), and the enemy comes and whispers, “You are powerless”, “No one cares”, “You are all alone” and because the events serve as evidence that the lie FEELS true, we grab a hold of them and embrace them. It is the lie that is tormenting us, not the event.

So this very simple, yet profound exercise is to ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing about my situation?” and allow Him to show you.

When you are ready and if you are willing pray this out loud:

Confess – “Jesus, I confess I have been partnering with the lie that _____. Will You please forgive me?”

Break Agreement – “I break agreement with the lie that _____.”

Declare the Truth – “Jesus, what is Your truth about this situation?”

Just watch and listen to whatever He wants to show you and then take a moment and RECEIVE it.

This exercise should be used anytime your heart is losing peace and you are feeling unsettled. There is one thing the enemy cannot counterfeit and that is PEACE, because peace is His presence, and the enemy isn’t God.

FAITH IN MEN

When we first became a solo family, I asked God to show me how to restore my children’s faith and trust in males. I was concerned that they would project their hurts onto God, and that concerned me. At church one Sunday, I was mesmerized by a senior man being so affectionate with his bride of 60 years. It was like my eyes turned, and I was then drawn to the father who was tickling his giggling son. Then my eyes locked onto a man who faithfully came to church week after week to serve. I suddenly realized God was showing me examples of healthy males all around us. After church, I sat the kids down, and we began to talk about all of the men in our world and how each of them reveals a part of God’s design. We called these examples the Purple Heart Dad. Each one of them made up the whole picture of what God has designed for men. For years whenever the kids saw a male doing something that was a reflection of a good father, they would say, “That guy just _____. He has a purple heart.” God was building their view of a godly man. I want to thank ALL of you men who are loving your wife, protecting and shepherding your children, walking in your calling, leading people and walking in integrity. Others are watching more than you realize, and God is using your life in ways you cannot see.

GODHEAD PARENTING

Let’s Break It Down – Take a sheet of paper and write “Dad” on the left side. Under that write “Mom” and under that write “Siblings/Friends.” In the column next to each of these, write out three to five strong beliefs you have about them. We aren’t looking for obituary tributes; we are looking for YOUR truth. I am not asking what you know to be true as in, “Well, they did the best they could.” Use words that feel true to your little girl/boy heart. Maybe it will be things like, “They loved me, but were too busy,” or “kind”, “would yell a lot,” “unpredictable.”

Three in One – God provides all that we need. God is our Father. We have His Son Jesus and His Spirit. They are ONE – we serve ONE God, but they are all different. For example, my son is one person, but he is a son, brother, and friend all rolled into one person. There are different sides of him, but all parts of one whole. We need to have a relationship with each of the godhead to walk in the fullness of who God intended us to be. If we love Jesus but have no relationship with Father God, we are out of balance. If we are cool with Father God but have no room for Holy Spirit, we are missing out!

He provided us an earthy family that mimics the godhead. Now, write “God” in the third column on the first row, then “Holy Spirit”, then “Jesus”. The dad represents God the Father who provides and protects us. The mom represents Holy Spirit who comforts, educates, and nurtures us. And our siblings or friends represent Jesus, who is our friend and companion. At least that was God’s design.

If there is trouble, who would a child want to handle it? Probably Dad. But if the child hurts themselves, most often they would want Mom. As a child gets older, who do they want to tell all their secrets to and giggle with? Their friends, right? We learn about the godhead through the relationships that God gives us on earth.

It would be a safe guess that whatever you wrote down in the “Dad”, “Mom”, “Siblings/Friends” column is also how you view the godhead (unless you have already had significant healing). The goal is NOT to focus on how bad your parents were but to realign yourself with the truth of God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. See the difference?

All parents have a natural desire to shield their children from harm. I remember when the bubble was broken for my children. I was crushed that their innocence and know-no-pain world had come to a crashing halt. For some reason I couldn’t get over it, and it was paralyzing to me. Then a wise woman in my church told me about a family who had done everything right – they raised amazing godly children who were loving, honoring, respectful and happy – until the day a bully showed up on the playground and made their life a living hell. I asked her, “You mean that even if I did everything right, the bubble would have probably popped some other way?” She replied sadly but honestly, “Yep!” I realized then the meaning of a fallen world. While we do not expect the bad, we come to realize that our enemy is real, and he is good at his job. That is why we need to be better at ours!

For any area that you have a weak spot with the godhead due to your experience with your earthly relationships, walk through the following steps:

  • Forgive your earthly parent/sibling/friend for whatever you wrote down.
  • Renounce that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit are that way.
  • Ask Him for His truth.
  • Receive His truth!

THIS is why we need to stop and take a little inventory of our lives so that we can see how our childhood has shaped us and perhaps altered our view of the godhead. Often what happens is we are so determined to do things differently from our parents that we end up in extremes and still out of balance. At times my mom was so against sugar and treats that I coveted them any time I was around them. I didn’t want to be like that with my kids, but I realized I said yes to sugar too much. Another good example is abuse. A child is abused and swears they will never do such a thing to their child but goes so far to the other side that their child has never known a day of consequences or learned self-control. There has to be a balance – the balance is Jesus. And the only way to come into proper alignment is to have our eyes fixed on Him.

Godhead Parenting – Once you learn the incredible ways earthly relationships can impact or distort a child’s view of the godhead, it changes the way you parent. I am constantly looking for ways to reveal to them the fullness of the godhead. For example, being part of a single parent family can make it easy for my children to feel like orphans, but I am constantly calling out the way their dad still provides for them financially. When I bless them with something and they say thanks, I am quick to say, “Bless your dad for providing the funds.” It is hard for them to feel like an orphan when they are thanking God for how their earthly father is providing for them. This is not an attempt to ignore reality, but I take seriously not letting earthly relationships define their view of God, Jesus or Holy Spirit. There have been times when I have responded to them harshly or with anger and when I go back to make it right, I will say, “Holy Spirit is never harsh or mean with you and I am sorry that I treated you that way.”

Divorce – Can you see a bit more clearly how a child becomes a spiritual orphan? When parents are bitter towards each other and slander one another in front of the kids, it destroys not only their worth and value but also their view of the godhead. One of the most powerful things you can say to a child going through a divorce is simply, “God would never leave you!” What is happening in the natural is unpleasant, but how a child transfers these lies to their beliefs about the godhead is how lasting wounds are created.

JOY RETURNS

I promise you this is true, but more so He promises it.

Psalms 30:1-5 (MSG) – “I give you all the credit, God – you got me out of that mess, you didn’t let my foes gloat. God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out. All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank him to his face! He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.”