“With COVID, job security, and finances I just wonder how everything is going to work in the future. I know that God’s got this, but I just can’t help but worry.”
These are the words of a single dad. Have you been there? Are you there now? When you have so much going on as a single parent, life can seem like a journey to survive instead of to thrive. How can single parents have hope for the future in midst of their daily grind and the concerns we face raising kids alone?
Worry is something we all experience at one time or another, sometimes regularly. The future can be scary, and that fear is compounded because we are doing it alone. Add in the pandemic and current events, and it can be overwhelming. But there are ways to deal with worry even when our anxiety peaks.
How do we find the peace God promises us that passes all understanding while wondering if we can pay the bills this month and managing all the tasks on our to-do lists?
We do that by practicing a difficult but necessary truth. We must trust God. This is where the rubber meets the road. Even on days when we need food for our kids or money to pay the light bill, we can trust God to show up. `Our fears about provision, our career, and our kids can strengthen our faith when the uncertainties lead us to Him’.
The struggles for single parents are very real. The burdens we face are real. Many of us need to trust God during “worst case scenarios.” How do we do that?
Marissa, a single parent, found hope and peace when God reminded her to trust Him even in her worst-case scenario of becoming a widow and raising her boys alone. God nudged her heart as she asked him how she was going to manage it all and to have a safe, secure future for her and her boys. He reminded her, “There isn’t safe. There’s just Me.” When life is uncertain and scary, God is with us. This truth guided her toward peace.
There are three things our solo parent team, including Marissa, identified as necessary to move toward peace about the future.
Oswald Chambers in “My Utmost for His Highest” shares his thoughts on the topic of surrender. He says, ‘Are you prepared to let God take you into total oneness with Himself, paying no more attention to what you call the great things of life? Are you prepared to surrender totally and let go? The true test of abandonment or surrender is in refusing to say, “Well, what about this?” Beware of your own ideas and speculations. The moment you allow yourself to think, “What about this?” you show that you have not surrendered and that you do not really trust God. But once you do surrender, you will no longer think about what God is going to do. Abandonment means to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions.”
This is no small thing. But it’s a necessary thing. We cannot find peace if we are constantly fighting against what is and pushing against our reality. We must bring our reality to God and relinquish it to His control. The space between now and what is to come is where we need to surrender. It’s helpful to remember in this space that what is coming is better than what is gone.
We need to remind ourselves that while we have lost many things that doesn’t mean God doesn’t have better things ahead. Often our will can get in the way of peace. It’s hard to let go of the things we used to have or things we still want but we must consciously surrender our dreams to God. This is easier when we remember God still has a good plan for us.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis writes about Aslan, a character type of God, and the question is asked, “Is he safe?” and the answer is “No, but he is good.” We must make the active choice to trust that God is good even when our stories do not look the way we want them too. Marissa echoed this truth, “The character of God does not depend on the outcome of my story, it depends on the outcome of His.” Accepting God’s sovereignty through active surrender is the first thing we need to do to find peace. We must trust our future to God by surrendering it to Him.
Another key to finding peace is the concept of control. We must first surrender to God all the things we cannot control and then ask Him for the courage to change what we can. Robert Beeson, founder of Solo Parent Society, says, as a recovering control freak, he has learned the difference between output and outcome. “We have control over what we decide to do, which is output, but we have to let go of outcome. We get what we measure. What we pay attention to, we receive. If I focus too much on outcome, my output suffers. My primary job, which leads to peace about the future, is to focus on output.” We need to pay attention to what we can do, output, while trusting God for the outcome. We can do what we need to do to the best of our ability while letting go of control for the outcome. That is God’s domain. When we remember to let go of that control, we can move toward peace.
How else do we have peace for future? We find it in God. God is our Peace. Philippians 4:7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. We can have peace even when it seems like a tornado is ripping through our lives but only through our connection with God. We can foster that connection through prayer, through reading and speaking words of truth and life to ourselves about our situation. Choose a verse and go over it for a week. Keep your thoughts centered on God and His word. Put a sticky note above the sink. Choose to focus on Him.
Finding peace is impacted by what we let into our lives. Be aware of what you are bringing in through your eyes and ears whether that is music, podcasts, books, TV, or social media. Be aware of what you surround yourself with. We need healthy sources of truth and life to find and maintain peace. Isaiah 26: 3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” We find peace in our intentional connection to God. Lasting, powerful peace is impossible apart from Him.
Luke 15 tells the story of the prodigal son. After leaving home, squandering his inheritance, and hitting rock bottom, he decided to return. When he did, his father ran to him to embrace and welcome him back. This is how God waits for us. He runs to us and welcomes us back to life and peace in Him. We can trust that God is good, that He loves us deeply, and that He is with us to bring peace in the storms.
So, how do we have peace for the future?
When we surrender to Him, when we let go of control of the outcome, and when we connect to Him daily, we move toward peace.
Wherever you are as a single parent, in the middle of the imperfect and the unknowns, God is there too. When worry comes, remind yourself God is still in control and He is about to do something. Wait to be surprised by Him! Wait to see Him move. God runs to us with welcoming arms as we trust Him. Having a relationship with Him is the pathway to genuine lasting peace and our mission is to encourage you to know Him better. He is our source of peace.
Learn more about Solo Parent Society on our website. Listen and subscribe via Access More or wherever you get your podcasts. Join our online community on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Donate to help us provide further resources and weekly support groups for single parents here. Download our app to stay connected to our podcast, blogs, and info. on our weekly groups, both in person and online.
And remember, there is always hope. Questions? Need prayer? Contact us at email@example.com.