“I’m Melissa, a single mom. Lately I’ve been feeling like if God really cared, why would he let me be struggling like I am? I’m having a really hard time. Like I prayed that my marriage would work, but he left anyway.”
Single parents have often gone through hard circumstances that can make them wonder if they can trust God. Divorce, death of a spouse, sometimes betrayal or abuse leave us asking, “How can we trust that the God who allows this to happen cares about us?” Sometimes we reach a place where we no longer feel comfortable trusting anyone. Going through a solo season can lead to further self-reliance and a desire to control things to avoid more hurt. It can be hard to trust anyone other than ourselves.
Where are you at in your journey of trusting God? What has contributed to your response to trusting again?
In talking with single parents about the solo parent journey, we find different responses to trust. But, when circumstances happen unexpectedly, it can be very hard for anyone to trust God again. Marissa, a single mom to two kids, shared this is a tough topic for her. When her husband passed away four years ago, it was a devastating blow. Her journey has been a painful one but she has learned to find the courage to trust God again. Marissa shared three key steps to trusting God even when we feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us. They are:
- Do it anyway.
- Track God’s faithfulness.
- Ask God for joy.
Do it anyway
One of the first steps to trusting God again is to make it a daily decision and practice. We need to actively and intentionally seek out God for our day to day needs. We may feel devastated, afraid, and unable to let go of the idols in our life that make us feel like we are in control. But, the first step is relinquishing that control and deciding to trust God instead, first and only. This is the place we must start. If we wait until we feel like it, we won’t decide to trust Him. Our emotions are real, and we need to be transparent and authentic in how we feel but we can’t let them get in the way of choosing to trust God. We can tell God how we feel while also deciding to trust that God will provide what we need according to His will. We must choose to believe the truth while acknowledging how we feel.
Have you made the decision to choose to trust God despite your feelings of fear or hurt? What helps you intentionally choose to seek Him even though you have been hurt?
Track God’s Faithfulness
In Psalm 22, David laments and asks God why He has forsaken Him. He calls out to God in his doubt and pain. His honest plea and confession are our model for how we can go to God with everything in our hearts and minds. This is the epitome of closeness and intimacy, When we draw near to God without pretense, bringing all our feelings, hurts and needs to Him, God has a remarkable way of reminding us of His faithfulness. David starts out by pouring His heart out to God, but the psalm ends with him remembering God’s goodness and faithfulness for His people and for David personally. When we bring our genuine needs before God, He often directs us to the truth of all He has already done and all that He can still do for us. In finding the courage to trust God again, a crucial second step is tracking His faithfulness. A practical tool to do this is by journaling all the things we can think of that He has done for us personally in the past and present. Making a list of those things reminds us of His character and His love for us. When we list His attributes and remember His power to heal and help us, our ability to trust Him increases. Writing these things down helps us see God’s track record of faithfulness and care. What matters to us, matters to God. Tracking His faithfulness shows us that in a tangible way. As we look at what God has already done, we start to look expectantly for where God is going to show up next. It opens our eyes to see the ways He is moving all around us all the time, in small ways and big ways. The gifts we look for from God are not always tangible but are always things that put our growth in Him and our holiness first and foremost. Charles Spurgeon said, “I’ve learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” When we track God’s faithfulness, our list won’t include specific practical provisions only. So much of His faithfulness is in His constant presence in our pain. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us, and He draws near to comfort us during hardship. God never afflicts us with grief willingly and He continues to redeem our painful circumstances as we walk with Him. Our trials reveal our need for Him, and God longs for us to depend on Him through every hurt we experience. He longs for us to trust Him with our pain.
Are you able to go to God and pour out your heart to Him? Where are you in the process? What things can you track as demonstrations of God’s faithfulness for you and your family?
Ask God for joy
As we choose to trust God “anyway” and as we track His faithfulness, our courage to trust Him grows. A third step is asking God for joy. When we experience hardship and pain, it can be almost impossible to imagine we will find joy again. And on our own, that is true. We need to ask God to help us find joy in Him again. When we have lost many things and experienced prolonged grief, we can doubt God’s ability to give us joy. But, asking Him for help is a necessary step if we want to experience joy ad security in Him. Dallas Willard teaches that to praise God, whatever the source, thrills our hearts and brings us life. An important part of trusting God again is opening our hearts and asking Him to help us find reasons to praise Him. When we do that, we discover we have less fear and more trust. If you have lost your joy because of fear or pain, ask God to help you see Him all around you, in ways that thrill your heart and bring you joy. Praise Him and your joy will increase, even as your trust in Him grows.
Finding courage to trust God again after experiencing pain, loss and grief is difficult. As single parents, we know this firsthand. But we can find that courage when we are willing to enter in by choosing to do it anyway, tracking God’s faithfulness, and asking Him for joy. It is scary to trust again especially when we have lost so much and experienced deep hurts, but God is trustworthy. His love never fails. He is our refuge and strength. We have a God we can delight in and trust. Phil Vischer says this, “Finally, and I am very serious when I say this, beware of your dreams for dreams make dangerous friends. We all have them, longings for a better life, a healthy child, a happy marriage, rewarding work but dreams are, I have come to believe, misplaced longings, false lovers. Why? Because God is enough. Just God. And He isn’t enough because He can make our dreams come true. No, you’ve got Him confused with Santa or Merlin or O with Oprah. The God who created the universe is enough for us —even without our dreams, without the better life, the healthy child, the happy marriage, the rewarding work. God was enough for the martyrs facing lions and fires even when the lions and fires won. And God is enough for you. But you cannot find the truth of that statement while you are clutching at your dreams. You need to let them go. Let yourself fall. Give up. As terrifying as that sounds, you’ll discover that falling feels a lot like floating. And falling into God’s arms, relying solely on His power and His will for your life, that’s where the fun starts. That’s where you’ll find the abundant life. The impact God has planned for us doesn’t occur when we are pursuing impact, it occurs when we are pursuing God.” This powerful statement is all about giving up and pursuing trust.
Have you found joy and abundant life again after your painful circumstances? Do you have examples of ways God has thrilled your heart and helped let go and move into trust again? Have you discovered He alone is enough?
When we are disillusioned, hurt, or betrayed, we find ourselves asking how God could let us face the painful things we are experiencing. It’s a difficult thing to trust God again and it doesn’t happen by accident. We must 1) do it anyway, 2) track God’s faithfulness, and 3) ask God for joy again.
As you navigate the journey to find courage to trust again, we would love to be part of your support network. Join our Solo Parent Society community by participating in one of our online groups meeting every week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Subscribe to our weekly podcast via AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts, and download our Solo Parent app FREE in the app store. We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. If you want to donate so we can reach more single parent families, go to www.soloparentsociety.com. Questions? Email us at email@example.com.