by Sue Karsner (Sweet Sister guest post)
Divorce can be devastating for a single mom, especially knowing that God hates divorce. How do you reconcile this? After being divorced for 20 years, I will cut to the chase and give you the bottom line for me.
God hates divorce, but He loves more!
If you read the story of the woman at the well from the Gospel of John 4:4-26, you will see that Jesus desires the woman’s worship over and above her guilt. This is what set her free to become the first evangelist!
This may be comforting to you, but what about your children who grow up without a dad or has a distant father?
I’m sure you’ve heard the odds of what happens to boys who are raised without a father. I surely did when my son was only a baby when my marriage ended. Fear and anxiety set in knowing that the distance of his father was going to mean that there would be little to no interaction – the interaction that would keep my son out of serious counseling or even jail.
Miraculously, by the grace of God, this didn’t happen. At least not yet, and my son is now 24.
In fact, raising my son was the most enjoyable time of my life, and fruitful indeed! This single mom didn’t experience the normal exasperation of raising a child alone.
In fact, I seemingly enjoyed the easiest teenage years compared to most intact families, resulting in a mature, responsible, deep-thinking, God-fearing young man who also gave me a beautiful, amazing, puts-me-to-shame daughter-in-law.
How did this “fabulous fruit” come to pass when the odds were against it? Here are some spiritual truths that provided the necessary nurturing of my little seed and practical tips that watered and fed this little guy to the wonderful young man that he has become. If you find yourself in this unfortunate, sometimes tragic situation, you may want to try these suggestions.
• First and foremost – Commit yourself, your Child , and your Parenting to the Lord. Realize your child is a miracle and a gift from God, but he/she belongs to Him.
You will never be alone! God says in Isaiah 41: 10
“Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I can’t say enough about the peace that I received from the Lord and all His incredible guidance. He provided always with gifts of wisdom, financial means, and forgiveness of my former spouse.
• Delve into the Word. As your young child sleeps, plays, etc., take this time of your singleness to intensely study the Bible. There is much wisdom, and you will need this to parent your child. Personally, I spent the first 7 years of my son’s life in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and 3 more years in Community Bible Study (CBS). You can find these classes in most major cities.
Your closeness with the Lord will guide you in your parenting in ways that you could never fathom.
Remember that God loves your child more than you ever can. It’s awesome to see God’s hand on you and your child!
• Pray for “daddy” with your child. (No matter how you feel about your child’s father). This will keep a distant father in your child’s life in an important way. Address God as “Our Perfect Father in Heaven” when you pray, and this will distinguish God as your husband and Father who will love, care, and provide SECURITY for your family and who will never fail you. Keep your emotional and material issues with your child’s father undisclosed. Wait until your child is asleep to call a friend or counselor to discuss any pain you are feeling toward your child’s father and the loss of your marriage.
Christian Counselors are very helpful. They can provide a perspective that you may not see. I was feeling anxious, fearful, and helpless during the early years, and my counselor was able to provide practical ways to get through the day and provide hope for the future.
• Daily Devotions with your child will be like having God in your house! Your child will feel more secure knowing that his perfect Father is listening and guiding each and every day.
• Pray for Godly men in your child’s life. Coaches, teachers, pastors, and neighbors, will provide examples that your child can model.
• You need your sleep. If you are alone with a young baby or child, you will need to teach your baby to sleep. Make sure your child learns that their crib is not for playtime and they will learn to take sleep seriously. Put them down, say goodnight, and walk away. Use a pacifier, if necessary. Expect them to sleep and they will learn to do so…as long as they are not distressed or sick. If they fall asleep outside the crib, make sure they wake up in the crib. Stick to scheduled naptimes. When your child is older, set a time limit for when your child is allowed to get out of bed. For me, it was 7:30 a.m. My son was told that he needed to wait until then.
• Refrain from using the word “no.” Instead say “you may not do that” or “sorry, but that’s not allowed.” Children, unfortunately, will mimic the words you use, and “no” isn’t a very pleasant one to hear from your child. Your tone and words should always be respectful.
• Provide security. Surround yourself with Godly friends and family. Grandparents are great for this. We also had wonderful neighbors who were always there for us. My son knew where to go if he needed someone’s help in an emergency.
• Messaging should be consistent. Your child needs consistency in their world-view. I was fortunate to be able to provide Christian education for my son, and we also attended the same church throughout his upbringing. School, church, and home messaging was consistent and constant. We loved our church, and it was never a thought to miss a Sunday.
• Always be honest. When you hear your little Kindergartener, in his car seat behind you, begin a conversation with “Tell me the truth, Mom” and proceeds to ask about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the tooth fairy all at the same time, give it to him straight. (Yikes ) Also, refrain from sarcasm, bribery, and threats. Trust and respect are crucial.
• Expect obedience. If your child thinks it’s okay to disobey you until a second or third repeated request, you are teaching them to not obey you. This is where the “higher-calling” comes into play. Those daily child devotions are full of life lessons that encourage the importance of obedience.
• Raise your child to be a decision-maker. If my son wished to wear shorts outside in the dead of winter, that’s what he did. I knew that if he was cold enough, he could come inside or change his clothes. He decided when to do his homework while he was in Grammar school. I remember when I was picking him up after school and feeling delighted to see him lying face down on the trampoline at his friend’s house with his books spread out, while his friend was bouncing around. This attitude continued till high school when his homework habits were solidly getting him through those difficult years. Making his own decisions provided the confidence he needed for work (he was an umpire at age 12) and later on in his college years.
In conclusion, notice that the flip side to the Isaiah verse (above) is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Let this encourage you. I rejoice happily, for God has blessed me with this fruitful life. He will give you a fruitful life as well, if you commit to give Him the glory.
Happy Mother’s Day! To God be the glory!