October 17, 2009, I became a single parent.
My husband of 28 years, Pastor Paul Giesbrecht, was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. From the horrible day he died, I was forced to make all major decisions for my family. There were choices, so many choices, large and small. What will I do about income, vehicles, college funding, health insurance, life insurance? I was overwhelmed.
At first, my reactions were pretty much knee-jerk. I had to do something; after all, decisions had to be made. Soon, the numbness wore off, and it hit me: My kids have no father. They are orphans.
I had to face the reality of something I never thought would happen to me. I had to answer the question how do I love my children as a single parent?
Being a single parent is almost looked upon as a curse in this society of married couples. Your situation may not be like mine—a widow. Maybe you are divorced or never married, regardless of how you got into the “single parent club,” the definition in Wikipedia says, “A single parent (or solo parent) is a parent, not living with a spouse or partner, who has most of the day-to-day responsibilities in raising the child or children. A single parent is usually considered the primary caregiver, meaning the parent the children have residency with the majority of the time. In an article by Kirsten Andersen, Jan 2013, says ‘The number of US children living in single-parent homes has nearly doubled since 1960, according to data from the 2010 Census. Today, one-third of American children—a total of 15 million—are being raised without a father. Nearly five million more children live without a mother. That’s 20 million children raised in single-parent homes.'”
So in light of these startling statistics...
How do we make a difference in our world while we parent our children as godly singles?
The first thing I did as a single parent was: remember God’s faithfulness.
My situation changed. My God had not. I counted the ways God had been faithful to me and my kids up to the day their father was promoted to heaven. The ways God had provided were endless. My kids had been loved, really loved, by a very godly father. As single parents, we must remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness. When we choose to remember God’s faithfulness, it helps. But also when we immerse ourselves in scriptural truth, it is essential to combat the enemy. I spoke scripture over my situation by reading aloud:
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him.” Lamentations 3:21-26
The second thing I did as a single parent was: remind myself of my identity in Christ.
There’s a big difference between who you are in yourself and who you are in Christ. The first book of Ephesians talks about our Identity in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 (NIV) says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” In and of ourselves, we are nothing. In Him, you and I are complete, lacking in nothing. Complete means: satisfied, finished, perfected, filled up, assured, confident, secure. Ephesians 1:4 says, “For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” If we know who we are in Christ, what you are or what you lack doesn’t matter anymore.
When we remind ourselves that in Christ we are LOVED, we are SAFE, we are IMPORTANT, our attitudes and our actions are changed and rearranged.
Ephesians 1: 7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
This concept of God’s unconditional love has ministered to me especially during days I couldn’t love myself or my circumstances.
The third thing I did as a single parent was: reach out with God’s love language—prayer.
Practice God’s presence; there is power in prayer. My children were hurting badly. Their father has died and so had part of their future. Their situation would be permanent. No one could replace their father. This was a hard one for me. I began to pray without ceasing.
I recommend you join with at least one good friend (single women with other women) to pray for your children. I use the Moms in Prayer method to pray for my children. Use God’s prayer book, the Bible, to help you enter into praise, confession, thanksgiving, and intercession.
Isaiah 54:4 (NIV) says, “Do not be afraid, you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace, you will not be humiliated you will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach (disappointment) of your widowhood.”
I asked God to be my children’s Father. I studied single parents in the Bible, and I noticed they all had one thing in common. They knew God’s word and went to God to meet their needs.
One of my favorite single parents is found in 2 Kings 4—the widow who couldn’t provide for her two sons. God’s answer was found in a little pot of oil. When the prophet asked the widow, “What do you have in your house?” she said, “Nothing except a small jar of oil.” He replied, “Go ask your neighbors for empty jars, don’t just ask for a few. Go in your house, shut your door, just you and your sons.” They brought the jars to their mother and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, bring me another one. But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God. He said, “Go sell the oil, pay your debts, you and your sons can live on what is left.” God wants us to trust Him to meet every single one of our needs. When we do this, it speaks volumes to our children. God will take care of them in the same way He takes care of us.
My prayer for you is found in Ephesians 1:17–18:
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people and his incomparable great power for us who believe.” In Jesus’s name, amen.