National Single Parents Day – Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog
Today, March 21, is National Single Parents Day.
For many years, I had no idea there was such a day. For many years I wouldn’t have cared if there was a single parent day.
But, after eight years as a single mother, I would like to take a few minutes to explain what it is to be a single parent.
Being a single parent means you bear the brunt of all the decisions. And it is sometimes a heavy burden to bear. Yes, when things are going well, we can congratulate ourselves. However, when things don’t go so well, you bear the blame. Sometimes the burden of responsibility is so overwhelming. Should I allow my children to do xyz? Should I change jobs? Should I buy a car? Should I…? the decisions never end.
Being a single parent means you take on all financial responsibility. This one is tough. Even though I remarried almost five years ago, the years of tight finances still affect me. I’ve fallen so far behind on saving for retirement. I feel so behind on building equity in our house. But more so, I think of all the things my kids missed out on because I just couldn’t afford it. I’ve been blessed with great jobs and never feared losing the roof over our heads or putting food on the table. But, not all parents are blessed like I was.
Being a single parent means you are exhausted. Still. It is a perpetual state. I know people who raised a child on their own, and they say how busy they were. Add a few more kids and there’s no end to the activities. When my eldest was playing basketball, we literally had activities every night of the week. And that’s not even including work, homework, church, other school activities, grocery shopping, dinner prep, housework, lawn work, bill paying, and the multitude of others. activities called life.
Being a single parent means loneliness. I don’t think I would have survived without my children and – quite frankly – the hustle and bustle of chasing them from dawn to dusk. I usually did pretty well until I got into bed at night, alone, with all the kids snuggled up safely in their own beds. That’s when loneliness hit. I will honestly say that I don’t know how single parents who have little time with their children survive. My children were my lifeline. But even with them, I yearned for another’s company.
Being a single parent means stepping out of the role God has given you. I remember one night when my house alarm went off around 3am. I was beyond terrified! And yet, I had no one to be my protector; I had to be the protector of my family. In my book, that should be the man’s responsibility. As I lay in bed contemplating my options, I grabbed the only gun I could find and slowly peeked around the corner to find my cat. She had learned to open the door and go inside to avoid the cold. I have never been so happy to see this cat! But what I mean is that God created us with natural strengths and weaknesses. In an intact family, each spouse can fulfill the roles for which God created them. However, as a single parent, you are the benchmark for everything.
I’m sure I could go on about some of the overwhelming aspects of single parenthood, but can I also share some of the beauty? God has given us incredible promises to keep to in the midst of this season.
He hears. Do you remember the story of Hagar? Hagar was married to Abraham, but when she became pregnant she was fired and became a single mother. What did God tell him? I hear your cries, your pleas of despair (Genesis 16:11). And if God listens to us, we can be sure that he will act in his time and in his own way.
He cares. He tells us to cast all our cares on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). There is no end to the depth of His love for us!
His grace is sufficient. I know this season seems endless, but I promise his grace is more than enough (2 Corinthians 12:9). When it seems impossible for us to continue, he gives us the grace and the strength to take one more step.
He is strong. This goes hand in hand with His sufficient grace. In our weakness – and I promise as single parents we often feel weak – His strength is perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9). Who wouldn’t want God to stand strong on our behalf?
It is enough! In fact, it is more than enough! Have you ever thought about why God referred to Himself as the Great I Am? It’s because no matter what we face, no matter what we need, no matter our circumstances, He is what we need. He is our supplier. He is our protector. He is our friend. He is our strength. He is our daily provisions. And He is so much more than we could ever ask for, hope for, or imagine!
He gives us the desires of our heart. When we choose to delight in him, he promises to give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). The key is that delighting in him allows him to change us, to change our desires, so that what we desire aligns with his plans for our lives.
His redemption is perfect. You may not be where I am today, but can I tell you that when you walk through His promised land, it’s amazing? I’ll be honest: our lives today are nothing like I imagined. But, the portrait of redemption is so incredibly beautiful!
His timing is perfect. I know you might be doubting that right now, but remember hindsight is 20/20. I’ve often wondered why he was so slow to bring my redemption, but looking back I see why. He still had work to do, in me, in Roy, in life in general. He brought Roy with him when he was fully ready to surrender to God. He brought Roy in when my kids desperately needed a father figure. He brought Roy when I needed a friend more than ever. He brought Roy in at exactly the right time – his time.
Being a single parent is not an easy journey, but the blessings are endless! If you are in single parenting season, I give you all my love and respect first! I know how difficult this is, so know that there are others who have gone before you and continue to walk alongside you. Second, know that all God wants from you is your whole heart. He doesn’t want you to carry all the burdens because He wants to carry them for you. Come to Him, surrender completely, and watch Him do amazing work in you so He can do amazing work through you.
I celebrate you, my single parent friends! You are doing an amazing job!