10 Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshipers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
As single parents, it can feel as if we have made a lot of sacrifices for our children, our sleep, careers, finances, and social lives may have all been given a back seat to raising our kids. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but can leave us feeling somewhat frustrated and more than a little tired…
This feeling of sacrifice can feel even more frustrating when our kids become teenagers, when a lot of what we have done for our children can feel like a huge waste of time and effort, as they begin to move in directions of their own choosing, especially if they go in a direction that we are not happy about…say if they get involved with people we disapprove of, drinking, drugs, or other activities that put them at risk. We try to help them, to talk ‘sense’ to them, but they do not always seem interested in listening; at times like these our sacrifices can feel as if they were all for nothing, having done no good at all.
As single parents (or any type of parent) we never quite finish making sacrifices for our children, either material, spiritual, or physical, as our children continue to grow in their own direction and follow their own paths and make their own mistakes…the key is that we remember that it takes more than just sacrifice to ensure the well-being of our children. Once a sacrifice is made, it should be followed by action, by change, and by a stronger faith in the power of God to heal and to restore what was once broken.
It is not always up to take the action, but our children, who will need to make changes, but we can have faith that God is with them, and in that faith learn to let go and let God’s Will be done. What we can do is to remember that in the midst of all of our sacrifices, and the love we have for our children, and our worries for them, we are called to take care of ourselves!
While many of our sacrifices are necessary, and may seem and feel noble, it is good to remember that the most important person for us to take care of is our self. If we do not learn to care for ourselves first and foremost, we can wind up stressed out and sick, and therefore confused about what to decisions and sacrifices to make…and get so run down that we are no good for anyone.
In the long run, the best sacrifices to make are the ones that enable us to take care of ourselves, which can mean saying ‘no’ more often to our children, and taking a harder stance when the ask us to give up something we need for what they want; there is no sin in making sure we stay healthy enough to take care of our children…and the only way to do that is to take care of our self.
When all is said and done, despite all of our efforts, teachings and sacrifices, the results are up to God, as our children also walk in the light of the risen Christ, and are loved by God. In this light there is a good chance that we will see that our sacrifices, love and guidance do not turn out to be for nothing, as there are no lost causes, and what we give to our children will at least plant a seed of faith within them, a seed which can only grow, and lead them out of their own dark places, and into a new life of faith…as they continue to journey down their own path in life.
Let us Pray
God, thank you for the greatest sacrifice of all: the life, death and resurrection of Christ, in whom you have shown us your great love and compassion for us all. As single parents, we have made many sacrifices for our children, and will make many more. Help us not to be discouraged when those sacrifices do not seem to produce the results we want right away; but to have faith that you are in charge of the results, and hold our children in your loving arms. In the midst of our sacrifices, please help us not to neglect our own needs, and put ourselves at risk of illness, stress or despair, let us always remember to take good care of ourselves, so that we can have the strength to care for our children.