Dear Single Parent

By Reba Phelps

I wanted to take a brief moment, if you will, to remind you that you are an amazingly strong person who matters and God chose you to be a parent. I know you probably feel alone at times and without help, especially during the midst of the holiday season.

The holiday season tends to have a more complicated set of single parenting issues. Navigating the murky waters of holiday visitation schedules to satisfy both parents and sets of grandparents can sometimes be a Christmas miracle in itself. Try to stay positive and put the children first. You can never go wrong when you put their needs before your own.

Children grow so fast. One Christmas you are changing diapers and hanging the “Baby’s First Christmas Ornament” and before you know it they are driving away. Christmas memories don’t always have to be made on the 25th of December. You have thirty other days in the month to make Christmas magic with your children.

Christmas happens when you have everyone together. If it is not your year to have your children for the holidays, make the most of it. Plan ahead and spend time praying asking God to fill the lonely place in your heart with his love and peace. Visit with family and friends you haven’t seen in a while. You can even volunteer to help the less fortunate or serve at your church.

Sometimes Christmas church services will cause us to lose our joy as well. It is completely unintended but it still happens. Stay strong and focus on the true reason for the season. Try your best not to focus on the perfectly nuclear families with coordinating clothes sharing the pews with you or lighting the Advent Candles. The Advent is supposed to symbolize hope, love, joy and peace.

These are the exact feelings that Jesus wants all of us to feel during the Christmas season. Anything outside of this is not ordained by him. Don’t let your loneliness or bitter feelings steal the real meaning of Christmas from you or your children.

The holiday season offers no shortage of ways to feel downtrodden about your circumstances. My hope is that we will find it in our hearts to count our blessings and not focus on the anxiety of parenting alone and itemizing the things we do not have.

God has also called you to be the leader, and spiritual leader, in your home. He truly does not give us more than we can bare. You can do this. Challenge yourself to capture every negative thought and transform that into thoughts of our savior being born.

As a single parent you are pulled in many different directions. Socially and in your career. Feel free to say no to things during the season that do not bring you complete joy and peace. This year it is actually socially acceptable to say no or take a step back.

He has called you and equipped you to make tough decisions, and they will not always have a perfect outcome. You will not always be popular with your children. But, you must not give up because you have small people living with you that will forever be shaped by the decisions you make and the words that come out of your mouth.

So, when you are up late at night during Christmas holidays putting together a doll house all by yourself, or staying up all night wrapping presents alone, and even stressing out over holiday expenditures….remember, that contentment is a choice. Choose to stay positive. Choose to stay prayed up. Choose to lean on others when you need to. Take someone up on the help they offer. You are not alone. You are loved and you are important enough that God sent his son to all of us.

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.” – John 14:1

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