Monday, January 28, 2008

Take Heart Single Parents

Parenting is challenging. A single parent faces extra challenges in raising children. Often we hear the dire statistics of lower academic performance, social behavioral problems, and other risk factors with children from nontraditional homes. However, if you are a single parent, have a blended family, or adopted children, I want to encourage you.

Something that I had not thought about came to my attention through a video series, Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. In the Bible we see that God often used children from nontraditional homes for special work. Here are a few examples. I am sure there are more.

Samuel grew up in the temple, probably seeing his parents just one time each year. God used Samuel as a judge and a prophet. He played an important part in uniting the tribes against the Philistines. He anointed two kings of Israel—Saul and David.

As a baby, Moses was adopted by a princess and grew up in Pharaoh’s court. God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. He also received the Ten Commandments from God.

Joseph was born into a polygamist family—the 11th son of his father and the oldest of two children born to his mother. His mother died when he was young and then his older jealous brothers sold him into slavery when he was still a young boy. God used Joseph to provide for Egypt and the Israelites during a seven year famine.

Daniel was taken from his family as a young boy and grew up in the Babylonian court. God used Daniel as a prophet giving him visions and dreams for the people of his day and for us today regarding future events.

Queen Esther was an orphaned Jewish child raised in Persia by Mordecai her uncle. God used Esther to become a queen and help save the Jewish people from being wiped out of the Persian Empire.

Becoming a parent brought me great joy. As a widow, I was aware that God promised to be the boys’ father. Psalm 68:5 says, A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. I remember one time talking to God while watching my son struggling at a baseball game. I said, “God, you are his Father, don’t you want him to get a hit?”

My mother-in-law quoted James 1:5 to me on more than one occasion when I talked to her regarding parenting. The verse stayed with me. Sometimes in my impatience, I said, “God, I need wisdom here, real soon. Please help me.”

My sons lost their dad at ages 10 and 12. I worried for my boys. I was concerned about them having good male role models. I fretted that the fun person in our home had died. As a single parent, I was often inadequate. However, God is using both of my sons today. They are good dads. They are both involved in sharing Jesus with others and encouraging believers. I don’t take any credit for my sons. Just as in the examples above, it is God that develops children for his work. And yes, even children from nontraditional homes.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20, 21

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