Christian Biblical Counsel: SINGLE PARENTING

Single Parenting

Success with God as Your Partner

by June Hunt

She denied that her husband had shut himself off from her. Maybe he was just angry about something. Surely he would get over it. In truth, he had never been open with his feelings. Then, a week before their oldest child’s tenth birthday, he announced, “I’m just not happy.… I need to get away and find myself.” Within days, he had packed his clothes and left. This wife and mother felt devastated, yet she still held out hope that he would return and no one would ever know. She told no one although she tried to explain his absence to the older two children. The baby wouldn’t understand. Fear gripped her heart as she gradually faced the possibility that he would never come back home … then she cried out, “Oh, God, I can’t do this alone!” In this true scenario, the crisis led her to accept Christ as her Savior. That is when she experienced the Lord saying to her,

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

(Isaiah 41:10)

I.     DEFINITIONS

Single parenting—understandably the most difficult role on earth! What single parent has not brooded over these thoughts:

•     How can I parent my child alone without feeling lonely?

•     I need to take care of my kids without them needing to take care of me!

•     How can I fill the role of both mother and father? I feel I have to have help!

The Bible says help is near. The Lord will be your constant help when you need to be upheld.

“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

(Psalm 63:7–8)

A. Who Is a Single Parent?

A single parent is an adult who has custody of at least one child and manages the family without a marriage partner.

God’s Hope:

Although you may think you have taken on more trouble than you can bear, Jesus said,

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

B. What Determines Single Parenting?

The Six D’s That Determine the Single Parent Status

Raising a child alone because of one of the following:

#1 Decree of adoption by a single person

#2 Decision of a never married parent to keep the baby

#3 Death of a mate

#4 Divorce or separation from a mate

#5 Desertion of a mate

#6 Distance of a mate due to extended

—  military service

—  hospitalization

—  employment

—  imprisonment

God’s Hope:

Although you may hate the circumstances in which you find yourself, the Bible enables you to claim with assurance,

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11)

C. Why Has This Happened to Me?

No one escapes having crises in life. In a crisis all you have believed in and planned for is suddenly disrupted. It feels as though the ground has been pulled out from under you … none of your old coping mechanisms work. Life is changed … forever! Bob Burns writes in his book Through the Whirlwind, “The Chinese have a two-faced symbol for crisis. One character stands for catastrophe and the other stands for opportunity. We tend to look at the catastrophe of a crisis, but with each trial comes the opportunity for personal growth.” God knows you so intimately that He knows exactly which crisis can motivate you to cry out to Him. Spiritual growth and maturity are almost always the result of seeking God’s help to resolve a life crisis.

God’s Hope:

Although you may feel “afflicted” as a single parent, the psalmist, who knew the value of affliction, said,

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71)

Goals for Personal Growth

•     A closer relationship with the Lord

—  As you rely on Christ to give you strength, your trust in his faithfulness deepens.

•     A closer relationship with your children

—  You can choose to spend more quality time with your children and to become more sensitive to their needs.

•     A stronger sense of self-confidence

—  Meeting the needs of your children provides a sense of accomplishment and develops their confidence in your ability as a provider.

•     A stronger training ground to build character

—  Children in single parent families usually learn responsibility sooner and gain maturity earlier.

•     A deeper joy in parenthood

—  Single parents assume more responsibility and develop a wider range of relational and practical skills.

•     A deeper joy in life

—  Single parents tend to set priorities more carefully and to develop a greater sense of appreciation for what they have.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

(James 1:2–4)

 

II.    CHARACTERISTICS OF SINGLE PARENTING

The bright, competent father had a picture perfect marriage. He and his beautiful wife were active in their church and accepted their responsibility to nurture their two small children in the ways of God. She was only thirty-two years old when the doctor said she had less than a year to live. Their life crisis came in the form of a dreaded disease … incurable cancer. His devotion to his wife knew no bounds. He took her to every known cancer specialist in the world as they traveled through North America, Europe and Asia searching for a cure. But hope after hope vanquished. On a cool fall evening, she quietly slipped away from him. Only then did the emotion of anger begin to engulf his heart. In spite of his ability to “fix” everything in business, it would take time to accept that here was a mortal wound to the family that he couldn’t fix. And it took time for his broken heart to heal.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

(Psalm 147:3)

A. Accepting the Emotional Fallout

Anger

Anger is an emotion we all experience. This is especially true when you wake up one morning only to realize you are a single parent … though you had no choice in the matter. When you feel angry, first identify where your anger is directed.

•     Are you angry because you have no marriage partner?

•     Are you angry toward yourself for your own mistakes and bad choices?

•     Are you angry at God for taking your spouse or allowing divorce?

•     Are you angry because you feel rejected?

•     Is your anger denied yet unleashed toward others?

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

(Hebrews 12:15)

Depression

The loss of a mate for any reason ignites grief—actually a grief process. This process usually manifests itself in the form of depression. And just as all grief takes time to heal, emerging from depression involves working through various contributing emotions.

•     Self-pity

 

—  “Why has this happened to me?”

 

 

 

“I have been abandoned by everyone.”

 

•     Envy

 

—  “It seems everyone else has a successful   family life.”

 

 

 

“Our family is taking a financial   nosedive.”

 

•     Jealousy

 

—  “It hurts to see my ex dating others.”

 

 

 

“It hurts to see the children leave   home for visitations.”

 

•     Fear

 

—  “Am I destined to be alone for the rest of   my life?”

 

 

 

“How will I be able to provide for the   basic needs of the children, much less to finance their education?”

 

•     False guilt

 

—  “Why couldn’t I hold the family together?”

 

 

 

“God is punishing me for some past   sin!”

 

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”

(Jeremiah 29:11)

Fear

One response that most people have when facing a major life change is fear. With each step forward into the unfamiliar, there is the giving up of something familiar … possibly something that was good and satisfying. It can also mean giving up a simpler, easier life for a more difficult and challenging life. Since fear can be contagious, you need to work toward having victory over your fears so that your children will not catch the same disease.

The Germs of Fear

•     fear of the future

•     fear of financial hardships

•     fear of loneliness

•     fear of emotional damage to children

•     fear of personal rejection

•     fear of losing a home

•     fear of being inadequate to do a good job

•     fear of losing children’s affections

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

(Psalm 34:4)

Loneliness

For many single parents, the first and most difficult emotion experienced is loneliness, especially if you married before you developed the maturity to enjoy being single or alone. Many times the marriage was an immature attempt to escape loneliness. Then when a mate dies or leaves, the effects are devastating. All too often the result is to rush quickly into another marriage in an effort to escape the pain of loneliness. Now is the time to enter into a more intimate relationship with your Savior and allow Him to make the healthy changes that you would have never made before.

Learn about Loneliness

•     You cannot be a good parent if you are focused on your loneliness.

•     Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries will be the most difficult times to fight feelings of desertion and loneliness.

•     Don’t look for something or for someone to depend on in order to escape loneliness.

•     Choose to depend more and more on God to see you through loneliness, one day at a time.

•     The time you are lonely is the time to take responsibility for your own life and to look closely at the personal changes you need to make.

•     You are not really alone.… God is always with you.

“The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

(Deuteronomy 31:6)

B. Four Stages of Single Parenting

Be optimistic … even when you don’t feel like it. Optimism is one of the most important ingredients for making your way through the stew of emotions you will experience. As long as you are optimistic, you are hopeful. And just as fear is passed on to those around you, optimism is also contagious. Normally, single parents move back and forth between these four stages of healing … always moving toward the hope that we have in Christ Jesus.

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

(Isaiah 40:31)

#1 Helpless

The “helpless” single parent is often overwhelmed and feels a desperate need for the stability of someone else.

•     Comments

—  “I can’t make it alone.”

—  “I can’t handle the responsibility.”

—  “I’ll never be happy again.”

—  “It’s hopeless.”

•     Characteristics

—  emotional extremes

—  outbursts of tears

—  deep depression

—  desire to die

•     Consequence

—  The adult may feel isolated and alone and may withdraw from family and family responsibilities.

—  The child may feel the need to be super responsible and becomes the “protector.”

•     Comfort

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

#2 Hanging-on

The “hanging-on” single parent is one who is in partial denial, clinging to the previous partner for personal identity and security.

•     Comments

—  “You are my source of security.”

—  “You are my source of happiness.”

—  “The children and I have to have you in our lives.”

—  “The children are doomed without a ‘whole’ family.”

•     Characteristics

—  manipulation

—  self-pity

—  desperate pleading

—  misplaced identity

•     Consequence

—  The adult may despair of having a “normal life” again or ever again experiencing joy and happiness.

—  The child may feel the need to fix the hurting parent and become the “emotional provider.”

•     Comfort

“For in him [God] we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

#3 Heroic

The “heroic” single parent is one who appears totally self-sufficient and is determined to look like the successful single parent, trying to cover all the bases and juggle all the responsibilities. This parent often tires and wears down and finally burns out.

•     Comments

—  “There’s nothing I can’t handle.”

—  “I will succeed no matter what.”

—  “The children and I are doing great.”

—  “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

•     Characteristics

—  unwilling to be vulnerable

—  vindictive

—  bitter

—  fearful of failure

•     Consequence

—  The adult may feel the need to fix everything, refusing help from anyone else, trying to convey an air of self-sufficiency.

—  The child may feel no need to rely on the Lord because the parent is self-sufficient.

•     Comfort

“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)

#4 Hopeful

The “hopeful” single parent is one who realizes that sufficiency is not in one’s self or in others but is found by relying on the Lord.

•     Comments

—  “Our future is in God’s hands.”

—  “I will rely on God to provide our needs.”

—“I am thankful for my deeper walk with Christ.”

—  “I believe God’s Word that I am complete in Christ.”

•     Characteristics

—  secure in the Lord

—  confident

—  patient

—  whole

•     Consequence

—  The adult will depend on Christ to meet each God-given inner need—the need for love, significance and for security.

—  The child is secure, knowing the parent’s confidence is in the promises of God.

•     Comfort

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3–4)

 

III.   CAUSES OF DESPONDENCY

The life of a single parent is not like “Been there, done that!” It is more like “Have not been here and don’t want to do this!” One of the major questions your heart cries out to God is, “Why me Lord? What have I done to deserve this?” The children of Israel had somewhat the same reaction after God brought them out of bondage to the Egyptians. They turned against their leader, Moses, whining, “Why have you brought us out into the desert to die? We would have been better off in Egypt!” Their bitterness was aimed at Moses, but in reality they were so angry at God that they could not envision His promises or trust Him for their future.

A. Causes of Bitterness and Discontentment

•     resentment toward ex-spouse or toward God

•     reduction of income

•     loss of friends and social life

•     loss of identity

•     loss of freedom because of bearing parenting responsibilities alone

•     envy of friends who have spouses

•     exhaustion from having to carry the load of parenting alone

The degree to which you respond positively to single parenting determines the degree to which you can parent well!

B. Inner Causes of the Deep Pain and Loneliness

We all have three inner needs—for love, for significance and for security. The dream is to be surrounded by a family where these needs will be met. The reality is, these needs can be fully met only by God. He has given these needs to us so that we eventually will realize that He alone meets our inner needs and that nothing tangible will ever bring the ultimate love and fulfillment we need and seek.

•     Did you look to your marriage partner to confirm that you are loved unconditionally?

Yet God says

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

(Jeremiah 31:3)

•     Have you placed your identity in or received your sense of significance from being married?

Yet God says

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

(Colossians 3:2–3)

•     Did you think your family provided the emotional security you were seeking?

Yet God says

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

(Psalm 62:6)

C. Root Cause

The root cause of your anger, depression, fear and loneliness is rooted in a wrong belief system. Until we know Christ and realize that it is only in Him that our needs will be fully met, we seek to meet our own needs based on a wrong belief system. As you begin to renew your mind in the truths of God, you will be able to meet the high challenge to which you have been called.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

(Romans 12:2)

Wrong Belief:

“As a single parent, I can’t feel secure unless I have a mate beside me providing the physical and emotional help I need,” or “I have to assume responsibility for making everything right for myself and my children. The only person I can trust is myself.”

Right Belief:

As a Christian single parent, I can feel secure knowing that my relationship with Jesus is my source of security. God is the perfect provider for our family and a faithful Father to my children.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

 

IV.  STEPS TO SOLUTION

Single parents who feel they have three strikes against them have left God out of the lineup. He certainly has not been taken by surprise. In fact, He knows you better than anyone else does, and He considers you worthy of your job as parent to the children He gave to you … children whom He loves even more than you possibly can. He knows you will go through hard times, but His promise is to be with you. And you will know He is there … guiding you all the way.

“The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!… Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ”

(Isaiah 30:18, 20–21)

A. Key Verse to Memorize

For the Single Mother

“You, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

(Psalm 10:14)

For the Single Father

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

(Isaiah 49:15–16)

B. Key Passages to Read and Reread

Psalm 145:8–9, 13–20

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.… Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.”

C. Meeting the Emotional Needs of Your Children

Allowing the Lord to meet your emotional needs will enable you to focus on the needs of your children. They will have anger at the absent parent, anger at the parent they are left with, anger at themselves—feeling everything is their fault, and anger at the situation in general. Children worry and fear that more unwanted changes may occur or that something may happen to the one parent they now have and there will be nobody to take care of them. Additionally, most children do not always understand that divorce or separation is not between a parent and the children. Thus they have a deep feeling of rejection and guilt. Put your children first. Recognize the importance of building your home on the firm foundation of security. Security is the single most important need of the single parent home.

“Your dwelling place is secure, your nest is set in a rock.”

(Numbers 24:21)

Children need to …

See that you are emotionally healthy and not insecure about the future.

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” (Psalm 146:5)

Experience a consistent, structured home life brought about through your wise parenting.

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.” (Proverbs 24:3)

Continue to have the freedom to love both parents.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11)

Understand they are not responsible for having only one parent at home.

“Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.” (Proverbs 16:22)

Receive comfort so that someday they will be able to comfort others.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

Identify their inner feelings and confront them honestly.

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalm 51:6)

Turn to the heavenly Father to find security in His family.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

Yield to the Lord their discontentment, realizing that there is no “perfect family.”

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11)

D. Do’s and Don’ts for Single Parents

A Christian lawyer who experienced an unwanted separation and divorce knows the weight on the shoulders of a single parent. He writes in his well-acclaimed book, “If separation or divorce is like a death to us as adults, we can only begin to imagine the devastating impact it has on our children.”

Single parents will do well to remember his bottom-line reminder: “Our children need blessing and acceptance from us—a warm acknowledgement that they are loved and appreciated as individuals.”

Don’t hang on to negative feelings.

Do … Forgive the absent parent.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

Don’t try to be the father and mother.

Do … Be the wisest parent possible in your God-given role.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5)

Don’t think your children are “doomed” or “permanently damaged.”

Do … Know that God has a plan for them and that they can reach their full potential.

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Don’t try to hide your emotions from your child.

Do … Be vulnerable. Let your child know who you really are as a person.

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

Don’t criticize the absent parent.

Do … Mention positive attributes of the absent parent and, if possible, give children the opportunity to build a relationship with the absent parent.

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

Don’t live on borrowed money.

Do … Set a budget and involve the children in the planning.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:6–7)

Don’t take on the financial burden alone.

Do … Count on God to fulfill financial needs.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

Don’t do everything for your children.

Do … Give them household chores with daily, weekly and monthly schedules.

“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.” (Proverbs 12:24)

Don’t overcompensate by buying too much for your children.

Do … Realize that you can’t buy what your children need the most.

“Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.” (Proverbs 15:16–17)

Don’t accept disrespect from your children.

Do … Realize that when fear of rejection rules you, it can lead to passive parenting.

“Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” (Proverbs 19:18)

Don’t expect your children to fill your emotional needs.

Do … Pursue friendships that will give emotional support and role modeling.

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Don’t look to the world for advice and approval.

Do … Look to God and His Word for correction and instruction.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23–24)

Don’t exaggerate or make impossible commitments.

Do … “Keep your promises.”

“A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.” (Proverbs 12:17)

Don’t be pessimistic about the future.

Do … “Look for the positive.” Create a sense of adventure and excitement about a new life. Provide assurance regarding the child’s basic needs.

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Don’t make your child feel guilty for continuing to love the absent parent.

Do … “Be fair” not only to the absent parent but to their parents as well (your child’s grandparents).

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Don’t shelter your child from the reality of their painful situation.

Do … “Teach them about disappointment.” Life is sometimes unfair and disappointing.

“Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees.” (Lamentations 3:48–50)

Don’t exclude the absent parent in making parental decisions.

Do … “Cooperate with your spouse in co-parenting as much as possible, setting mutual goals and discipline boundaries.”

“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.” (Proverbs 11:14)

E. The Only Perfect Mate

Are you afraid of going it alone? Do you think you must remarry to fill the shoes of your missing mate? Do you think you must find a new mate to help in the role of parenting? Blended families are usually more difficult than is seen on the surface. Before you jump into a potentially difficult situation, remember who has called you to be His bride.

“Your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”

(Isaiah 54:5)

•     He is always there for you.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

•     He is a good listener.

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8)

•     He is faithful.

“For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 117:2)

•     He is patient.

“You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

•     He is wise

“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” (Job 12:13)

•     He is forgiving.

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

•     He loves you forever.

“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

•     He loves your children more perfectly than you do.

“So we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:16, 18)

The   heavenly Father has a special place in His heart for single parents.… He   personally identifies with their pain. If God in His infinite wisdom has   given you the responsibility of raising a child alone, hold your head   high—you have a high calling

—June   Hunt

 

 

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Questions and Answers fromHopeIn The Night

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“I   am a single parent with a ten-year-old daughter. I have tried to raise her in   the church and give her biblical principles to live by, but she continues to   argue and be disrespectful with me. What can I do to keep this from getting   worse?”

Some children   just seem to come into the world with extremely strong wills. I wouldn’t   begin to say that you can do certain things and she will change. But you can   continue to do what is right: keep her in church, set appropriate boundaries,   establish consequences for negative behavior and model appropriate respect   for her. Persevere with prayer that God will work in her life, and give her   encouragement when you can.

“Give   thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

 

“I   am a single parent, and I would like to have more time raising my child   instead of leaving it up to others. Should I change jobs in order to spend   more time with my preschooler? What should I do?”

Your greatest   calling in life right now is parenting. To be the parent God wants you to be,   you need to be actively involved in the various stages of your child’s life.   God will honor your decision to take a loss financially in order to make your   child your priority. Check employment ads in the paper, contact an employment   agency and tell others of your desire to work at home or to work fewer hours.   Be willing to accept what God brings your way. He will communicate to your   heart which job to accept, and you will experience the joy of God’s   provision.

“My   God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ   Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

 

“My   teenage son is rebellious and is getting into trouble. His father left home   two years ago, and my son won’t listen to me. He says I am constantly nagging   him. Should I give up trying to tell him what is right?”

No. Even if   your son continues to make choices that are wrong, as a parent, you are   responsible for communicating what is right. You are not accountable for your   son’s wrong decisions, but you are accountable for your parenting. If you   won’t try to teach your son what is right, who will?

“The   teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of   death.” (Proverbs 13:14)

 

“I   have a five-month-old daughter, but her father doesn’t want anyone to know   about her. We are not married, but I don’t think this is right. I’m beginning   to think that I should put him out of my life. I used to go to church, but   have stopped. Now I want to go to church again and begin doing things right.   I really want to make the right decision here. What do you think I should   do?”

It seems   obvious that you are seeking to do the right thing for your daughter. You are   wanting what will be the best thing for her. This is agape love. It is the   same kind of love that God has for you. But your friends’ opinions, or even   my opinion, is not the answer for you. You need to become convicted in your   own heart of what you should do. This means seeking God and His will. Ask God   for forgiveness of your past and seek His guidance in the way you should go.   Pray, “Lord, I want only to know Your will.” With God’s help, you can start a   new life and begin doing things His way. And His ways will include being   honest about your life, not hiding the truth about your child, and bringing   honor to God by choosing sexual purity.

“The   integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by   their duplicity.” (Proverbs 11:3)

 

“What   can I do about my ex-husband’s allowing our son to watch movies that both my   son and I are opposed to?”

Check the laws   in your state to see whether you have any legal recourse. Maybe there is a   lawyer in your church who could give you some helpful counsel. Be grateful   that your son is aware of the improper actions of his father. It is important   though that he be prepared to appeal respectfully to his dad. He also needs   to be trained in what to do with his eyes and mind when he is being exposed   to things he finds objectionable. He needs to be taught how to respectfully   say no to things … that violate his conscience.

“Submit   yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good   and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” (1 Peter 2:18)

 

“I   was unwise and got a woman pregnant who is not a citizen of this country. Now   she rejects my desire to help her or to even be a part of my child’s life.   What can I do?”

You are the   natural father and therefore responsible to provide for your child. Since   international laws vary greatly from country to country, you will want to   learn the civil laws within her country regarding a father’s rights for child   custody, visitation and all other related matters. Ultimately, pray for God’s   wisdom so that you will be able to discern the leading of the Lord.

“If   anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate   family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy   5:8)

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barnes, Robert G. Single Parent’s Survival Guide. Pocket Guides. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1987.

Barnes, Robert G., Jr. Single Parenting: A Wilderness Journey. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1988.

Burns, Bob. Through the Whirlwind: A Proven Path to Recovery from the Devastation of Divorce. Nashville: Oliver-Nelson, 1989.

Bustanoby, André. Being a Single Parent. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985.

Bustanoby, Andy. Single Parenting. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.

Compaan, Arlo D. “Single Parenting.” In Baker Encylopedia of Psychology & Counseling, ed. David G. Benner and Peter C. Hill. 2nd ed. 1125–27. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999.

Hunt, June. Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Forgive … When You Don’t Feel Like It. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Handle Your Emotions. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008

Hunter, Lynda. A Comprehensive Guide to Parenting On Your Own. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997.

Knorr, Dandi Daley. Just One of Me: Confessions of a Less-Than-Perfect Single Parent. Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw, 1989.

Richmond, Gary. Successful Single Parenting. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1990.

Smith, Virginia Watts. The Single Parent. 2nd ed. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1983.

Smith, Virginia Watts. Advice to Single Parents. Pomona, CA: Focus on the Family, 1989[1]

 


[1] Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Single Parenting: Success with God as Your Partner (1–20). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

2 thoughts on “Christian Biblical Counsel: SINGLE PARENTING

  1. Heather B

    I am doing everything I can to give my son the foundation and understanding he needs to succeed in his faith. I’ve been reading a great new book by Dr. Tony Evans. One of the goals of the book is to help parents grow in confidence as they discover their worth as a parent based on God’s Word. It’s called “Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith.” He says, “It’s far easier to SHAPE A CHILD than to REPAIR AN ADULT. Raising kids who recognize and retain their identity as children of the King launches healthy adults who have the capacity to stand strong in their faith.” Equipping and guiding our children starts with us, parents! This is the most solid, thorough, inspirational and affirming parent book I’ve ever read! I love it and HIGHLY recommend it for all parents – birth, adopted, singe, married, foster! http://www.raisingkingdomkids.com

    Reply

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