Life can be such a battle, can’t it? You wake up to another morning of “rush hour”,(or is that rush hours?) and go through your routine of 37 steps to arrive finally at 8:00am for another day of work. Well, non-mom work, that is! The actual job that is in many ways so much easier than our mom job. If you are anything like me, some days, well, I just reach a point of despair. Really, like as in wondering if I can still move this thing forward! I cry, I get upset, just like you, and then after spinning my wheels a bit I remember, why am I trying to do all of this myself?
I was recently reading Jeremiah Chapter 1, and in verse 17, God tells Jeremiah, “But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you.” Do you know the type of commandment this was? This was no easy commandment! Jeremiah was a young priest in a small town, and God called him to be a prophet to his very people, the sick, evil, idolatrous people that the people of Judah had become. Can you imagine being asked to go out every day and preach to people that didn’t want to listen to you? People might simply ignore, you, tell you to shut up or worse, might spit in your face? Sounds a bit like our rambunctious children, doesn’t it? Maybe sounds like your co-workers, or even yourself and all of the “busyness” that keeps us trapped and spinning our wheels in bad habits or bad attitudes.
Let’s take a lesson from Jeremiah and see how to remain strong in the battles we face as single moms
Do not determine your actions based on other’s reactions
This is a tough one. We teach our kids important virtues like sharing and being truthful. Then we catch one of them in a lie. Next we find the other one holding onto every toy from their friend during a playdate with an evil look to boot! We wonder, “why in the world are they doing this?” Yes, they heard you, they know they are not to lie. They know they are supposed to share. It’s wrong, and each child will decide how long they are going to hold out before they eventually cave. However, their reactions should not determine your actions. Are they lying? Then keep being consistent with consequences. Are they not sharing? Keep taking their toys away so they can see how the other child felt during the play date. Make up your mind that good mothering doesn’t always “feel” good. Mothering is hard work. Dig in deeper than your strong-willed children are digging in and stick it out with them, no matter their feelings on the matter. We are the parents, they are the children and that never needs to get confused. Ask God to help you with this, as we know especially as single moms, this is a tough assignment.
Know your purpose and do not waver
In the over 40 years of his ministry, Jeremiah only records two converts. Two people that turned from their evil ways back to God. What makes Jeremiah such an example is that he did not waver from his mission no matter what the dismal country of Judah looked like. As single moms, it is so easy to look at the world around us and compare ourselves to other great moms out there (many of whom are married which we incorrectly assume must be the secret to a problem-free life!) We begin to think that our children are different, less than or will grow up missing something from their lives because they live in a single-parent household. We allow our minds to go on and on with various scenarios, each of them playing out with our family at a disadvantage. This would be like Jeremiah looking at the world around him and saying, “You know, God, I know you’ve called me to do this, but this is just so hard! I cannot make a dent of a difference in this huge country of Judah. I must look ridiculous to all of these people walking around here and telling them of the wrath to come! Look at how many are so messed up! How can any possible good come out of this?”
Jeremiah had every reason to give up, but he didn’t. Instead, he chose to stay committed to the purpose for which God had called him and did not waver no matter what the outside world looked like. We forget that God is the ultimate author of life, and He says in Romans 8:28 that he uses all things for good for those who are called according to His purpose. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet, as you and I are called to be single moms. If you will commit your ways to Him, he promises to make all things, even a broken relationship, to be used for good. Know that God sees you, and He knows what you are dealing with. Do not allow yourself to be defeated by the world you see around you. Realize that this is part of what you have been called to do, and do not allow yourself to be sidelined by what you see in the world around you. Stay committed to being a great mom.
Take action everyday
God tells Jeremiah to “dress for work.” Another translation says “Get yourself ready!” Instead of thinking about how your children respond to your parenting or what the world looks like “out there”, instead solely focus on what you are to do today. What new habit can you begin with your children? Do you need to look in the mirror and adopt a new attitude? Do you need to put together a discipline program for a hard-nosed kid? This is not the time to feel sorry for ourselves or think someone is coming to rescue us! Do as Jeremiah did. He got up and he got ready to preach. We need to get up and get ready to move forward confidently as a mom, as a woman, as someone that is courageous, not cowardly.
Every day we have a choice on how we can respond to our life’s circumstances and to the world around us. Embrace your life as a single mom. Know your limits, reach out and ask for help. You are loved, cherished and given these wonderful children to raise and nurture. Ask God to help you each day. None of us were made to do this alone. Do not make the mistake I made for so long thinking I was best trying to do it all myself. Nobody can raise children in a vacuum. Step out of your fear and your insecurity and into the confidence that will come by moving forward in the path you were meant to follow.