There is one of two places we live our lives-- freedom or bondage. There is no half-way point. As you embark on the life of parenting alone, it is crucial that you feel empowered and encouraged to persevere. That only comes in freedom through Christ. When I think of freedom, I think of words like: joy, peace, happiness, and forgiveness. I think of living guilt-free from my past and eagerly looking forward to my future.

However, there is the dark, opposite of that- bondage. That word evokes feelings of suffocation, fear, anxiety, and embarrassment, and it is where so many choose to camp. As a victim of years of physical and sexual abuse at the hand of many men in my own life, I easily understand the pit that so many of us fall into. We begin to question God's hand in our lives, the “whys” and “hows” . Many of us pretend that we have never suffered through emotional or physical abuse, or even the trauma of divorce or unwed pregnancy. We gloss over our deep emotions, put a smile on our faces, and attempt to parent. Problem is, we could never effectively parent a child until we have experienced the freedom found in a relationship in Christ.

I have counseled many women who feel living as a Christian is simply too hard. There are too many things that you cannot do, too many parameters to stay within. Let me offer a new perspective.

As the parent of a toddler, we place guidelines on their environment. “Do not touch the stove.” “Do not walk into the street.” These guidelines are not to disappoint our children or limit their fun. They are put in place because we love our children and truly desire them to be safe. Have you considered that is exactly what our Heavenly Father wants?

God is our Heavenly Father who created us. He loves us. He desires for us to live lives full of joy and fun. In order for us to do that, there are things that our Father must disapprove of. Rather than looking at those things as restrictions in our lives, I challenge you to look at them as hot burners on a stove that you do not want to touch for fear of getting burned. If ignored, they can hurt and leave permanent scars. Consider the following verses:

I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” Psalm 119:45 NLT

 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. “But we are descendants of Abraham,”they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is a part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:32-36 NLT

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 NLT

I want to jump out of my seat when I hear this! It cannot be more plan than this. The Bible explains to use that there is no freedom in living a life of sin. We wind up deeper in misery. Because God designed us, he knows the intricacies of our spirit, our emotions, and our physical well-being. We must trust the he has our best interest in mind, just as you have your child's best interest in mind. Imagine what type of parent you would be if you allowed God to fight your battles, releasing past hurts and disappointments, releasing the roller coaster ride of living a life of sin – one foot in Christianity and the other out.

We get caught up in wanting to be right, seeking revenge on those who hurt us, or feeling sorry for what has been done to us. We do not give it to God. I challenge you today to turn it all over to him. Begin to see yourself as a new person, a new creation. Allow him to carry the burden of life for you. Start your life, today. Look at parenting with a new perspective. Respect  what God has given you. The Creator of this world has entrusted you with the life of a son or daughter.

Be honored. Be free.

Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on single parent's issues. She is a critically-acclaimed author and speaker who travels the globe sharing her riveting personal story. She has been featured on countless radio and television shows and is founder of the international nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.