It is natural for us to dread the trials. It is only human to avoid pain and hardship. We want to be comfortable. We want all our plans to work out. We do our best to prevent difficulty. Nevertheless, it is these very trials, pains, hardships, discomforts, broken plans, and difficulties that make us grow. Well dear parents, tackling a solo-parenting job will certainly push you beyond what is comfortable. I don’t think I’m being over-dramatic when I call a weekend or seven days (or longer!) with your spouse out-of-town a trial. You may become a seasoned expert at it. You may learn tips and tricks for making that time go smoothly, but there will inevitably be something that seems to stretch you as you meet the needs of your family. This brings us to tip #4 in the series “5 Tips For Parents When Your Spouse is Out of Town.”
Today’s tip is to keep an eternal perspective.
This means that as you bump along doing your best to stay one step ahead of your kiddos, as you face the exhaustion, and as you reach the end or your patience, there is more going on just below the surface. You see God is always up to something and behind the spilled cereal bowl, and the overflowing toilet, and the running late to the appointment, or the feisty toddler in timeout (again), there are opportunities to know and see and experience God. In any trial, but especially in trying seasons of parenting, here are a few ways to pull back the curtain and peek at an eternal perspective:
- See the joy in the trial. What? Joy? I know it is hard to get there mentally, but James urges us “to consider it pure joy…when we face trials of any kind…” This may seem like too much to ask for a weary mom or dad in the trenches of solo-parenting however joy is a choice. James is asking us to count it as joy…because we know what the trial is producing in us (go check out James 1) and that is we can become “perfect and complete, not lacking anything.” Ahem, this is HARD to do! I’m right there with you…man, am I quick to grumble, complain, or vent when things are not going my way. What would my perspective be if I trained my thinking to count trials as joys???
- See that every trial has a purpose. Sometimes we miss what God may be doing in a trial because we are so focused on controlling or fixing or taking a short cut out. Learning to see with an eternal perspective means pausing to consider the purpose behind what we are going through…and if we can’t see it yet…trust that God will show us.
- See the Gospel in light of our failures. We are bound to mess up as we parent solo. We will find ourselves depleted of energy and patience. But there is always grace. When our kids see us fail, we have an opportunity to model how to ask for forgiveness. When we admit we are wrong and that we cannot do anything without Jesus, we are showing our kids the Gospel. We are also modeling for them what to do when they mess up.
I’m positive if I thought a bit more, there would be so many eternal perspectives on solo-parenting…
Parenting is a crucible. It will bring up our “issues.” It will demand more than we can handle. Let it bring you to the feet of our Lord who gives us rest and wisdom and grace for each moment.
Your turn—> What might you add? What eternal truths do you unearth in your parenting trials?
Singing His Grace,