11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
We have all been given gifts…probably many gifts, and while we may sometimes focus too much on the things we are not quite so good at…there are many talents we do possess; some of us may excel at sports (not me), music (not me again), art, writing, cooking, teaching, math (certainly not me), etc…
Whatever our gifts are, they are improved the more we use them and shared them with others. Many of the gifts we have are useful for helping us get ahead in our work, and our lives, and others simply feed our soul. Yet there are some gifts we kind of take for granted, or even down-play because we may feel that we are still not quite good enough.
I have previously shared that I once had a cat which ran away because I was such a poor pet owner…so when I first found out that I was going to be a parent, I thought of that cat, and I became more than a little anxious. I was not sure I would be up to the task, though it did help to remember that I would not be going into this new world of parenting alone, as my wife and I would be raising our child together…or so I thought!
Being a new parent was tough, even with a partner, there was little sleep, a cramped apartment, and a lot of uncertainty, but we learned as we went along…often from our mistakes! I had to take a lot on faith even then, and turned to prayer quite often, as well asking advice from my older siblings, and friends who already had children of their own.
Then when I thought I was finally getting the hang of the whole parent thing, my marriage evaporated and I became a single parent! It was like I was staring my parenthood all over again…because I was!!! My fear and anxiety rose, and I often felt overwhelmed and helpless, and turned once again to my faith, my family and friends for help. In time my skills as a parent grew, as I made many more mistakes, but also took more risks, and listened to the advice I was given, and through it all I became a better parent.
Sometimes it is hard for me to give myself credit for my parenting skills…mostly because I know that I still have a lot to learn, as our little family still faces many challenges, and because when I look back I can see where I could have made better choices; but I can also see where I could have made much worse decisions as well.
As single parents (or for any parents) we can learn from our mistakes, and (hopefully) we grow, and our skills improve, as we share our gift of parenting with other parents, and most importantly, with our children!
Our parenting skills are gifts we use and share every day, and in doing so, they grow stronger; however, sometimes we are just too caught up in the day to day tasks to really think about them, or even see them as gifts…yet they are very valuable to us, and our children, and I believe these are gifts given to us by God, to help us in the difficult task of being single parents.
When I stop to think about it I find it hard to believe that I have been able to be a single parent for 17 years, and have not completely failed, or run away from my responsibilities! I believe that it is only with God’s help, not only through prayer and faith, but also through those close to me, that I have been able to manage life as a single father, and that I see as a true gift!
Let us Pray
God, thank you for giving us many gifts; gifts which have helped us throughout our lives. Thank you especially for the gift of being a parent, help us to continue to share this gift, and continue to learn, so that our gifts for parenthood only become stronger. Help us also to remember that the greatest gift that you have given us is your love, and let us share that gift with each other, especially our children.