Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Did you know that this past Sunday was Single Parent Day?

Ronald Reagan saw the hard work of single parents many years ago and proclaimed March 21 Single Parent Day. I had actually never heard of Single Parent Day until I had been a single parent for a number of years. While it may not be a holiday celebrated by Hallmark, I want you to know that you are valued. You are seen. You are heard.

You are doing an amazing job with those kids!

Your kids are going to turn out great!

Your hard work does not go unnoticed!

Your sacrifices will pay off one day!

Your future is secure in God’s hands!

Your prayers are being heard!

God will work all things for good to those who love Him!

His timing is perfect!

In honor of Single Parents Day, I recently asked my Facebook friends what is the hardest part of being a single parent and what is the most rewarding. The answers were pretty much what I expected. Here’s a sampling of the hardest part of being a single parent.

Having an ex who undermines the rules and healthy choices I try to instill in my children.

Watching my kids long for a dad.

Never having someone else to lean on or help me keep things going.

Not allowing self-doubt to control my conversations and interactions.

Needing to be in multiple places at the same time.

Making tough decisions concerning my kids’ lives without a partner.

Having to do everything all the time.

Being super tired and burned out and not having any relief. I hate it when I take it out on my child.

The loneliness at the end of the day is so painful

Knowing that even though I escaped a toxic relationship, my kids can’t escape.

Leaving my kids at their dad’s house for an extended stay.

Keeping myself together for my kids even when I feel like everything is falling apart.

Decision fatigue.

If you have never been a single parent, I encourage you to read the pain. The fear. The anxiety. The heartache. These single parents are giving every ounce of their being and feel so incredibly drained. So alone. Even hopeless at time.

One of my dear, sweet friends expressed it so well this week. She talked about lying awake at night worrying about how to keep a roof over her kids’ heads, wondering if they were getting a good education. She worries about whether she will be able to pay the rent and how she will survive during retirement—if she ever gets to retire. She worries about her boys not having a male influence to model a godly life. There are so many stressors hanging over her head, and it sometimes seems as if things just get worse instead of better.

If you know a single parent, please reach out. Offer to bring some dinner. Slip him/her a few extra dollars. Pay his/her rent. Watch the kids so he/she can go for a walk. Buy her a gift card to pamper herself at a spa. Make sure there are gifts for special occasions. You will never know how much these simple kindnesses are appreciated.

But let’s not forget the rewards of being a single parent!

My oldest had a habit of coming into my room every night, lying down on the bed next to me, and sharing his heart until he knew I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. Just last week, he called to talk through an idea he had (which is a pretty normal occurrence). When he hung up the phone, he sent me a simple text that said, “Thank you for always listening. I love you.”

There might have been a few tears stinging my eyes.

What other rewards come with the single parent journey?

Helping your child make good choices and directing their lives toward adulthood.

Seeing my prayers answered and God doing amazing things in their lives.

Knowing that God has a plan and continues to orchestrate it even when they doubt.

Showing them that Mom can do it and SO CAN THEY!

Having my kids tell me often that they appreciate me and our time together.

Building a close relationship with them.

When my adult kids text me and call me when they need someone.

Seeing your child thrive and knowing you were part of it.

Knowing they see me getting healthy and it is a positive impact on their lives.

The freedom and ability to nurture your kids well and point them to Jesus!

Realizing I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Knowing the pleasure is all mine when my kids grow into amazing young adults!

Seeing my children grow up to be strong, confident, and capable young people.

Yes, the single parent journey is hard, but it has some amazing rewards. As you journey through this season, hold close to God and keep your eyes open to all the blessings. Trust Him to take care of the things out of your control.

You are doing an amazing job, and you will survive!

Father, I pray for my single parent friends today. Provide for their needs. Take away their fears and anxieties. Be close to them as they wait to see the breakthroughs you promise. Father, let them know they are seen and heard and loved. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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