Dr. Randy Carlson
Becoming a single parent can be completely overwhelming. Many of the parents I’ve talked to who have become single parents are absolutely, desperately lost. They say, “I don’t know where to turn.” This got me thinking about what God has to say to single moms and dads.
Let’s look at Genesis 21:15-16 and the story of Hagar, as the single mother of Ishmael. At this point in the narrative, Abraham and Sarah have sent Hagar and her son away with only some break and a water skin. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.
Do you get the picture? She’s been out in the desert and all she had was this water and bread that Abraham had given her. And now that’s gone, and she’s left her son under a bush because she can’t bear to watch him die. That’s a pretty moving picture, isn’t it?
Thought you had it rough as a single mom or dad? Hagar understood. It is rough and it can be overwhelming. Statistics tell us that single moms are 40 percent more likely to experience major depression than the general population. Does that surprise you? I think it’s understandable when we look at the kind of trauma that single parents experience. They go from being a team and having someone on their side to all of a sudden being on their own and having to make major decisions.
So, if you’re a single parent feeling overwhelmed, what can you do? Here are three things that can help.
- Make the right social connections. You’ve got to spend time with and connect with the right people. Get out of the house and into church. Connect with other people in a healthy way, which means not just attending church, but getting involved in a church. Find a church that has a program for single moms and dads. That’s a place where you can get a lot of encouragement, which is important.
- Eat well and exercise. Taking care of yourself can help with the depression that so often accompanies single parenthood. There’s a lot of pressure and stress in raising kids on your own. Fatigue often sets in when you’re playing two roles. So take time to take care of yourself.
- Set new goals. Celebrate small victories. Do small things. Every day do the next right one thing. Ask yourself, “What one intentional thing can I do today that will make the biggest difference in my family?” This may not be the time to think about the big picture. It’s not about what is going to happen ten years from now. It’s about what is happening now and what you can do today to make the biggest difference in your family.
When you do these things—even when you feel overwhelmed as a single parent—you’ll see positive results and will be encouraged to keep moving forward and do the next one thing.
Has this article been encouraging? Take your intentional life in Christ to the next level and you can receive ongoing, monthly coaching from Dr. Randy Carlson. Become a member of the Intentional Living Center today with your monthly gift of any amount.