Worship Makes Me A Better Single Parent
As I write this blog, my daughter is recovering from oral mouth surgery. Being her “nurse” over the past two days has been my responsibility, but also my privilege. It has reminded me that being a godly parent includes both components simultaneously – responsibility and privilege. For godly moms, our children thrive when we are able to consistently demonstrate both with care and compassion only we can provide as a nurturing mother.
Single parenting comes with its own set of unique challenges and joys. Though different from traditional parenting dynamics, it is not inferior. This month, I really want to speak particularly to women who are single moms and encourage them to keep on keeping on. And just how do we do that? We are empowered to be the best mothers we can possibly be as we allow God’s presence to help us each day, day by day.
I have felt the prodding of the Holy Spirit constantly leading me back to Philippians 4:5, as I consider how worship makes me a better single mom. It states, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” You see, worship softens us and causes us to be gentle, especially and most importantly to our children.
Whenever I am less than soft and gentle with my daughter, I often hear the whisper of this scripture, as if God himself is saying, “Patrice, I’m near. I’m here watching how you choose to handle this situation.” Don’t get me wrong, parenting is not for cowards and being a single parent is not for the faint-heart. There are times when you have to be tough and strong. When you know that being head of household and carrying the weight of all that means on your shoulders alone, you will have ample opportunities that require you not to be soft and gentle.
Yet, when we deal with our children, and how we interact with them on a day to day basis must reflect the gentleness and softness that comes from a heart that has been soaked in the Spirit of God. When we are short, abrupt, curt, and impatient with our children, if we are honest in our assessment, it is probably because we have not spent enough time with God. Being in His presence continually changes us to be more like Him. We evidence the fruit of the Spirit and character of God when we have been with Him in worship…worship through our times of prayer, worship through praise offerings, and worship through the proclamation of the Word of God over our lives.
If we are going to be able to handle everything that comes our way, we must make time to be alone with God. Our children need us to because they are depending on us. It is hard to spend time with God and then turn around and be grumpy, cranky, and irritable with others, most of all our children. As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one thing I settled on many years ago is that my daughter would never be able to say I’m nicer to others than I am to her, or that I am one way in public but different at home. Our first ministry is always to our family. Our softness and gentleness must start with the grace we extend to our children. It is not their fault we are single parents and they should never be made to feel as if it somehow is, based upon the way we treat them.
Our worship must make the difference in every aspect of daily living. May our children reap special blessings because we choose to parent in such a way that brings God glory, even if there is only one parent in the home. There is no law that we cannot experience true, genuine joy in the journey just because it may look different from a traditional model of parenting. Be your child’s champion and allow God’s presence to show up in the way you do life as a single mother. His blood makes it possible. His grace is sufficient. His love makes you more than enough. His presence makes you capable.
Most importantly, as single parents our children need to see us modeling for them what it looks like to live a life of devotion to God. Give them the childhood memories of seeing their mom engaged in worship at home and not just at church. Have times dedicated for prayer and devotions. Allow them the opportunity to lead some of these times. Children do not need a two-parent home in order to have a spiritual foundation established in their lives. They just need at least one parent who is willing to consistently display the heart of God to them. Never doubt that your worship is making all of the difference. Not just for you, but also for your seed.