We became a solo family two weeks before Christmas. I went to bed Christmas Eve but woke around 2am thirsty. I don’t need much sleep but getting out of bed for a glass of water was out of the question. The thirst persisted. I finally got up and stumbled to the kitchen, where my feet hit the standing water from the dishwasher that had leaked. I was so thankful to have found it then, as it would have ruined our hardwood flooring and seeped into the basement had it been left for Christmas morning. I cleaned it up in the dark, sat on the kitchen floor, and wept. There was no way I had an ounce of energy left in me to wash dishes three times a day for five people. I felt so alone and overwhelmed. I told God I wasn’t stupid but honestly didn’t know who to call to repair it. An electrician? A plumber? Another wave of tears came as I embraced my hopelessness. I wasn’t even sure I knew where to buy a new one. Home Depot? Did Sears carry them? My husband would have known with ease how to handle this situation, but he wasn’t there, and my cluelessness was reducing me to another wet pile of tears on the kitchen floor. I suddenly remembered the verse that talked about God being my Husband. I dried my tears and said, “Okay, YOU are now my Husband. We have a problem with our dishwasher. What are You going to do about it?” Three days later, I ran the dishwasher, and it never leaked again. A place in my heart was created that Christmas for God to become my Husband, my faithful, know-it-all, can-fix-it Husband. I no longer operated in spiritual singleness. FAITH is the wedding band that activates His power, peace, and solutions in my life.
I am pretty good at processing my heart. Messy emotions don’t make me uncomfortable, and I know how to press into them for growth and freedom. But divorce kicked my bum in this area. I felt stuck and unable to know how even to process my emotions, much less do something about them. I have always had older female mentors speaking into my life, and I leaned on them heavily this season, but I had this insane desire to find a non-Christian male counselor. I wanted to get feedback outside of my usual circle. I only went once because I got what I needed in my first meeting. I was lamenting about all of the issues between my ex-husband and how I just wanted to put a pretty bow on it and THEN divorce. I hated the unresolved conflict because I didn’t want to leave things so messy. He said to me, “Lisa, the meaning of divorce is unfinished business. If it were resolved, you wouldn’t be getting a divorce. You need to learn to be okay with not having it cleaned up.” Whoa… It freed me from the broom in my hand that so desperately wanted to clean up every area of the mess and make it neat again. My heart couldn’t partner with throwing the broom on the floor and walking away. Instead, I decided to give my broom to Jesus to deal with the mess as He chose best. It was one of the most challenging aspects of my divorce, yet one of the most freeing.
“Jesus, I hand You the broom to clean up my mess and to turn my mistakes, immaturity, and weakness into something beautiful. I hand over all the files and ask that You deal with them according to Your power and grace. I no longer hold myself captive to a mess that is too big for me to clean up.”
“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). Perhaps you are not going through a painful divorce, but maybe you have an ending relationship, were let go from a job you loved, or are strained with your adult children. If there are issues that are undealt with, and it is causing you added pain, hear this: Your job is to LOVE Him. His job is to pick up the broom.
This was taken from our Dandelion course for solo parents: Dandelion – Solo Parenting ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
Teen girls have been fairly smooth sailing for me. When emotions are big, I feel confident in how to respond and help them. Teen boys, on the other hand, have refined me to my core. I love my son dearly, and connection with him is important to me, but I have been challenged to remain connected to him while he is finding his way. As a mom, I have full awareness that I cannot fully bring him into manhood and learning how to do this dance has been interesting. Parts of this season with him have made me feel so inadequate, weak, and even worried. Yet it has made me all the more dependent upon the Lord in a new and fresh way. I was crying out to God recently for strategy and help when He told me to tap into the incredible men around us who have more wisdom and knowledge than I do in this area. I was blown away by their insight and surprised by how similar their responses were. Men really do hold keys to a young man’s heart.
This is the text I sent to a handful of men: “Hello! I am asking a couple of men who I trust for some feedback. Hudson is 14 and clearly shifting seasons. I am sensitive to these changes and want to grow in supporting him and become all that God has for him, even if the male brain and wiring are not my norm. Would you be willing to give me insight on the following questions from your perspective as a dad but also from when you were his age? What is something he really NEEDS at this age/stage? What is one of the worst things a mother could do at this age? What could I do as his mom to affirm his need to pull away and become his own individual? Any additional thoughts? I sincerely value hearing and learning how best to parent him! Lisa.”
I became a solo mama to four children under the age of five, including twins two weeks before Christmas. My world was rocked to the core… but then God showed up! I hit the jackpot in getting such anointed counsel during my most profound season not only for me but for the children. We are living the fruit of that counsel today nearly 11 years later. My heart goes out to the scores of parents who message me sharing their heartbreak, fears, and pain of their own story. I realized I could help more people by creating an online resource to give parents powerful tools and teach them how to partner with God in the midst of their heartbreak and pain. This truly can become a bittersweet season as you learn how to wholeheartedly grieve your spouse but gain a Father. If you or someone you know is walking through the challenges of becoming a solo parent, this resource is for you. If you want to help someone walking this out, consider giving them the gift of this course. It will change the direction of their story and point them back to the Father.
Once you learn the incredible ways earthly relationships can impact or distort a child’s view of the godhead (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), it changes the way, you parent. I am constantly looking for ways to reveal to them the reality of who God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit really are. There have been times when I have not modeled it well and have responded harshly or with impatience. When I go back to make it right, I will say, “Holy Spirit is never harsh or impatient with you, and I am sorry that I treated you that way.” One of the most helpful things you can say to a child going through a divorce is, “Do you know God will never leave you?” or to the child being bullied, “Jesus would never treat you like that.” Humans fall short, but God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit do not.
Are you a single parent? Know of someone walking through the painful steps of becoming one? I look back on our season of becoming a solo family, and I am deeply thankful for the golden wisdom I received. It altered our outcome, brought so much healing to all of our hearts, and prevented long-term damaging trauma. I created this resource to pass some of those nuggets on to you. Not only can this be a rich time of processing pain but igniting a fire of hope and deep faith in who God wants to be in your life. When He becomes your Husband and your children’s Father, there will be some seriously good fruit.
May I encourage you to share this in a private message with those in your community who need a dose of hope? Furthermore, sponsor them to receive the class?
Dandelion (online class) – 30 days to walk at your own pace, exploring and discovering helpful tools, and activities, for you and the children to walk through becoming a solo parent. This is a must-view for anyone becoming or already a solo parent. Dandelion – Solo Parenting ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
For Christmas one year, I gave Hudson a little book called “What Every Man Needs to Know” that listed things like how to build a fire, ask a girl out, how to fart, etc. It was supposed to be a joke, and I thought he would laugh. Instead, he read it cover to cover and earmarked all of the things listed in the book that he didn’t yet know how to do. My heart was gripped by the way he saw the need to be instructed in the areas of becoming a man. I knew I needed to respond, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking a single man to take on that role. I asked Hudson to make a list of the top 20 things he wanted to learn, and I asked God for a solution. I knew I couldn’t just step in and teach him as it was something that needed to come from a man, not his mother. My mind began to flip through the countless incredible men in our lives who I, as a mother, honor, respect, and trust. I began to reach out to each of them and told them the story of the book and Hudson’s list. I asked them if they would be willing to pick one thing on the list and teach and empower Hudson in that area. Oh, let me tell you how these men have risen to the occasion. Hudson has learned how to tie a tie, build a fire, change a tie, drive a car (yes, he took him out and let him drive his car!), cut down trees, burn a massive bonfire, drive a tractor, build things, change the oil in a car, replace wipers, roast hot dogs (without burning them), run a business, make money, throw knives, shoot a gun, sail a boat, go fishing, fix a bike tire, dress like a man (I loved this lesson), one man even gave him a talk about how to treat girls with respect. I am in awe over the rich men in our community who are willing to take time out of their busy lives and families to help a boy become a man.
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.
When the kids were little, they always wanted to go to the park after nap time, but I was exhausted from cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. I felt like my day was a perpetual cycle of complete and repeat. The thought ran through my mind that if I didn’t have kids, I wouldn’t have to do all of this work. I hated that thought because I loved being a mom and my children. I rebuked that thought and remember the Lord leading me to EMPOWER my children to be a part of the family, not just takers. I sat them down and told them that I wanted to take them to the park too, but that part of living in a family is running a family that includes picking up after ourselves, cleaning, and managing our home. We came up with four areas that needed attention every day – floors, dishes, laundry, and garbage. From that day on, I haven’t touched a single one in nearly ten years. Each week we rotate chores and run the family together. When they were tiny, they didn’t do it perfectly, nor did I expect them to. But I used it as a time to go after character, self-control, honor, and faithfulness. When one fails to take out the garbage, it affects the family. When we rush and put clothes where they don’t belong, it affects the family. When dishes don’t get done, it affects the family. When they had attitudes, I went after their heart. I wasn’t training them in the area of perfection but in having the CHARACTER behind a chore or task. This is one of the best choices I made as a mom years ago, and I am reaping the fruit of four children who own the wealth, health, and success of our family unit. They were taught from an early age how to care for their family, and it started with chores. What have you empowered your children to do to help run the family?
I am sharing this testimony from one of my spiritual daughters:
“When the girls and I have some free time, we like to do what we call treasure hunting. We ask the Holy Spirit where to go to find someone that needs prayer. Today before our mission, I told the Lord I wanted to witness a real impact. For someone’s life to be completely changed (well, don’t be surprised when you get what you asked for.). We walked where we felt led at Walmart and ended up in an aisle face-on with my children’s father, who we had not seen in 9 years. Clear as day the Holy Spirit said that’s who you’re here to pray for. Umm, really, Jesus? You know our history, right? We said hello. Did some very minimal catching up and asked him and his now wife if we could pray for them, and they willingly received prayer. (For those of you that don’t know our story. Karina and I walked away from everything we owned when I was pregnant with Val to leave an abusive, toxic relationship and find safety). I truly believe this was a divine appointment. Never in my life have I felt the presence of God as strong as I did at this moment. His peace was definitely present. You know God has done a work in your heart when you can extend grace to somebody when they least deserve it. I am sharing this because I want you guys to witness that the power of God is real. If you knew me nine years ago, then you know this encounter would have been restraining order number four. My heart has truly been transformed, and to be honest, I’m still pretty shocked. What happened today was with strength I cannot take credit for. I would like my prayer warriors to agree with me in prayer for him and his wife to have shelter, find a successful treatment center, as well as some accountability to walk beside them. He told the girls he would be around again someday when he’s clean. I am proud of him for being honest and respectful.”