Sometimes we can become so overwhelmed with the end results, which may or may not look as we would have desired. The choices that we make ultimately impact our ability to walk in the fullness of who we are and who we should become. As a single mom, I can look into the eyes of my children and tell that they are hurting even broken and I often struggle with the question “Did I do this to them?” Raising children alone can be challenging, difficult, confusing and frustrating. And sometimes as the adult, we find ourselves in a place where we too don’t have all the right answers.
We want the very best for our kids but we can only give them what we have. We try to give them a good foundation, work ethic, biblical structure, insight and wisdom. But what we can never do is fill the voids that others ( irresponsible, inactive or abandoned co-parents) have left in the lives of our kids. I get enraged when I consider that the pain I’m witnessing in my children could be eliminated or at least reduced by a simple act of selflessness from their father. A pick up from school for a lunch or dinner date. A Saturday afternoon game of basketball or time in the mall with his daughter so he can see the things that make her smile. A Friday night movie date (or matinée), complete with popcorn, soda and goobers. A Sunday morning worship service followed by a light lunch across town. A day in the park, tossing the football, sitting on a blanket and just getting to know THEM! Anything is better than nothing in my opinion. The problem arises when you realize that although these seem like simple, inexpensive ways to connect with ones’ children the other parent often just doesn’t get WHY its important.
Because I am the parent who wants to meet every possible need for my children, the lack of consideration for how their father responds to them can be so overwhelmingly disappointing. I cry for their hurt because I can’t fix it. I pray for their brokenness because I can’t repair it. I long for their voids to be filled but I can’t replace it. Hopelessness can set in if I’m not careful. Bitterness and resentment can easily rise up and try to attack the one responsible for the loss of hope in my children’s eyes. The reality is that neither my rage, fear, frustration or hopelessness will be of any benefit to my children and the voids that they feel.
I can’t give up. I can’t stop trying to encourage them to forgive, not be bitter, believe God for fulfillment and restoration. I can’t stop reminding them that they are great, intelligent, beautiful, handsome, talented, special and worthy of all the love in the world. I can’t stop reminding them that none of this is their fault. I try to remind them of the times when their father does demonstrate his love. But they are tired of the monetary handouts here and there, bags of stuff for Christmas but no real “gift”, or complaints of why he can’t do something they need because “I’ve got clients waiting for me”. They are tired and I am tired, but what do you do?
I have learned to pray earnestly for my children every day. I call out to God and remind him of how HE created them to be the beautiful individuals that they are. I speak into their gifts and special attributes. I ask God to protect their hearts from un-forgiveness and bitterness. I pray that their hurts and wounds are healed and every void is filled with HIS LOVE! You see as a mother I can only teach, nurture, support and love them through these situations. I can’t replace the pain, but I can ensure that through prayer hopelessness will not be their fate. I refuse to allow the actions of another to become permanent scars on the walls of my children’s hearts. I allow them to express how they feel and encourage them to pray for their father just as I pray for them.
There will be many things that a single parent can’t fix for their hurting and emotionally wounded children- but we can give them hope, encouragement, support, wisdom and the power of prayer.
Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”