Solo parenting has been one of the greatest challenges I have faced in life and the area where I have reaped the most. I have never felt like a ‘single mom’ because it was through our loss that I discovered a side of God as my Husband, Provider, and Protector. We parent together, and it has been my greatest joy in life to see Him reveal Himself to my children and what concerns them. It is so important that solo parents learn how to connect with God so that they don’t attempt to be both roles. When a parent attempts to be both mom and dad, the child loses the absent part and part of the present parent because they are so exhausted trying to be both. It is better to have one fully present parent than an exhausted, burnt out one.
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.
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.
Have you ever taken a splinter out of a child’s finger? You surely do not want to do it in public! They yell and scream and act like you are cutting off their finger. But once it is out, they run off and play like nothing happened.
Have you ever tried to remove a heart splinter that has been stuck for years and years from an adult? While they may have a smile on their face, they will protect that wounded site at all costs. Even attempting to touch it will cause pain, as the tiny splinter now has a blanket of inflammation and infection around it. Can you see the difference between how a child deals with the pain versus a grown adult?
Childhood hurts can turn into adult-sized wounds. Childhood lies can turn into adult strongholds. Childhood offenses can turn into adult bitterness.
The goal is to remove the owie before it becomes a life-threatening spiritual wound! This deserves a loud, “AMEN!”
What does a child with a splinter in their heart look like? They act out, scream, yell, disobey, pinch, hit, kick, cause trouble with siblings, have nightmares, cry, are rude, are mean and are disrespectful! This is why it is so vital to raise up parents who can discern what is going on beneath the surface of their child’s outbursts. You are the one who knows what is normal for your child. You are the one who knows when they are acting out from being hungry, tired, or when it appears “out of the blue”. You have known their cry since they were first ushered into your arms. You are the one God entrusted to listen to them. You are their mama/daddy, their advocate, their teacher and helper!
Not all of their ‘bad’ behavior deserves discipline. Sometimes it is their heart screaming in pain and they need compassion and tenderness.
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.”
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.
I am not one to run from God; in fact, I run to Him in my times of trouble and distress. He has always been my safety pole, and I hold on for dear life.
When my husband first left, I had a gross picture in my mind of Jesus sitting on a rock holding both of us on each knee. He had this perma grin smile on His face looking back and forth and us. It was gross. I began to feel this deep disgust coming over my heart toward God, and it scared me because I usually do run TO HIM, not from Him.
I called a mentor and confessed that I was worried my heart was growing hardened with God. If God loved him, I am not sure God was safe and that I wanted to trust my heart to Him anymore. She said, “Oh no, Lisa. God loves him deeply as He created him. He is passionate about him, but God is not on either of your sides. He is ONLY on the side of righteousness.” And with that something slapped back into alignment deep in my heart and I craved whatever was righteous. It shaped the outcome of my divorce and every decision I made (I didn’t turn into a doormat, but I filtered everything through ‘what does righteousness look like in this situation?’).