Single Moms: Turn to Your Heavenly Father
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2010 16 Dec
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Theresa Whitehurst's book, God Loves Single Moms: Practical Help for Finding Confidence, Strength, and Hope, (Revell, 2010).
Life as a single mom can often be hectic, and the constant stream of responsibilities you have to handle without a spouse's help can distract you from your own needs while you're busy focusing on your kids' needs. But you're not just a parent; you're also a child whose heavenly Father wants you to pay attention to the girl inside your soul. The happier you are as God's child, the better you can serve as your kids' mom.
Here's how you can rely on God's help to nurture the girl within you so you can be the best mom possible for your kids:
Recognize that God is on your side. As a single mom, you shouldn't feel ashamed or worry that God is somehow disappointed in you. Realize that God loves you just as much as He would if you were married. Trust God's promise that He treasures you and stands ready to help you with the challenges you're facing.
Choose thriving over surviving. Don't settle for less than the best that God wants for you in life. Whenever you face important decisions, shift your focus from merely surviving to thriving. Aim to do more than just handle problems successfully; decide to follow your dreams and enjoy fulfilling God's purposes for your life. If you plan for the best for your kids and yourself, your attitude will help you experience the best. Give your doubts and fears to God and ask Him to replace them with fresh faith and confidence.
Take an inventory of you and your kids' lives. Evaluate the state of various areas of your lives to determine what's going well and what needs improvement. Consider such areas as: you and your kids' physical and emotional health; your relationships with God, each other, your kids' father, and other loved ones; your career; your kids' school performance; your finances; your schedule; your home organization; and the individual dreams and goals of you and each of your kids.
Make positive changes. Study the information you've gained from taking an inventory of you and your kids' lives. Then pray for the wisdom you need to discern what specific changes you should make. List both short-term goals and long-term goals, as well as steps you plan to take to reach those goals, and dates by which you hope to achieve them.
Take good care of your health. Taking good care of yourself will strengthen you so you can take good care of your kids. Pause regularly to consider how well you're feeling spiritually, emotionally, and physically - and if you need something, don't neglect yourself. Set and maintain healthy habits, such as making time regularly for prayer and silent reflection, taking breaks from work for fun and relaxing activities, getting enough sleep and exercise, eating nutritiously, drinking plenty of water, and visiting a doctor for regular checkups. Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself in your mind - your inner dialogue of thoughts - and notice when you're being negative. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind regularly, helping you fill your mind with positive thoughts and replacing unhealthy thoughts with healthy thoughts that reflect God's truth. Whenever you catch yourself tempted to say or do something wrong because you're tired, pause and pray for the strength you need to make the right choice in that moment.
Take good care of your kids' health. Pray for the patience you need to help your kids even when you're tired and distracted. Make time to notice how your kids are feeling every day. If any of them seem depressed, angry, lonely, or anxious, make an appointment with either their pediatrician or a professional counselor to evaluate their health emotionally, mentally, and physically. Constantly encourage your kids to discover more about God's purpose for their lives and the talents He has given them, and give them opportunities to develop and use those talents to contribute to the world around them.
Get the support you need. Don't burn yourself out by trying to do too much on your own. Recognize that your kids would benefit as much as you from having people trustworthy people who care about them invest in their lives. Reach out to people to help you with child care and other practical needs you have, and be sure to offer them some help in return. Make building friendships with others for social enjoyment a high priority, too.
Organize to experience more peace. Ask God to help you organize your time, paperwork, and home so you can eliminate unnecessary stress from your life and enjoy more peace. Pray for the guidance you need to set up a successful system to guide your kids' behavior, complete with age-appropriate rules, consequences, and incentives.
Manage your money wisely. Set a budget that reflects biblical values like giving, saving, and avoiding debt. Keep track of when various bills are due so you can plan an effective schedule for paying them on time, and plan for how you'll afford future goals like taking vacations with your kids, buying new appliances, replacing your car, and paying for your kids' college education.
Build your career. Find a job that pays enough for you to have the income level you need to support your kids well, and once you're earning the amount of money you need, then focus on expanding your career to find the best opportunities to pursue your interests and use your talents professionally.
Renew your confidence. Pray about every problem you face and every concern you have, and expect God to help you. Ask God to give you the confidence you need to believe in yourself as a person and a parent when others criticize you. Thank God regularly for His work in your life, and let the evidence of His ongoing care for you give you fresh confidence every day.
Communicate wisely with your kids' father. Ask God to help you communicate in positive ways with your kids' father so you both can work together as a team to do what's best for your kids.
Adapted from God Loves Single Moms: Practical Help for Finding Confidence, Strength, and Hope, copyright 2010 by Theresa Whitehurst. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.
Teresa Whitehurst is a clinical psychologist who provides counseling as well as personal and career coaching. She has worked as a psychotherapist for many years in private practice, at Harvard Medical School, and at Kaiser-Permanente. Dr. Whitehurst writes and speaks on parenting and personal development issues and is the author of How Would Jesus Raise Your Child? She is a single mom who has two adult daughters and two grandchildren.