Thursday – February 6, 2014

 John 5:1-5

5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch for me to make the assumption that we all love our children!!  As single parents we have made changes and sacrifices in our lives for our kids; and have done so (mostly) without complaint.

I know for myself, that I have become a better person because of being a single parent, I have worked hard to be nicer to others, and to live a better life, as an example for my daughter for how to treat people, and how to live a life of faith and commitment to my Christian beliefs.  Although I have not been a perfect parent, or a perfect Christian, I have made an effort to follow Christ’s simple commandment to love others, and to love God above all else.

In turn it is my faith that has helped me through some difficult times as a single parent.  During the early days, right after the separation, when my daughter and I were starting out on our own, I prayed often to have the strength to keep moving forward one day at a time without giving in to despair, and the wisdom to make good choices for the two of us.  When one of us was sick, when I was laid up with a broken ankle, when she started running into trouble at school…and then when the drama of the pre-teen and teen years began, my faith kept me strong, and helped me to (usually) keep my head and control the frustration that fed my own temper tantrums.

Although as parents (single or otherwise) we have moments of frustration, anger, and fear, our faith in God’s love for us all is stronger than any of these, as the old saying goes: “Fear and faith cannot live in the same house”; but they can indeed be neighbors!  Although I live in faith, there are many times when I can hear fear pounding on the walls, and trying to get in, and it can be disturbing.  When we find ourselves in deep water in terms of our parenting, struggling with our fears, and not sure what to do next, we can always rely on our faith to see us through these tough times, and to calm our fears, with the knowledge that it is Christ who walks with us!

It is not always easy, and does not stop all of our worries, but knowing that Christ is with us can make it easier to face our fear, frustration, despair and resentments; and helps us to relieve (if not eliminate) our worries, which can free us to have faith in God’s great love for ourselves and our children.  

When troubled or confused, we can always stop, pray, and then follow his simple commandment to love others and love God above all else: to treat others as members of our own family…because we ARE all part of the family of God, all loved and forgiven, and living in the light of the risen Christ.  Following this commandment is a great way for us to keep it simple, when times get complicated, as it is an easy command to follow, even if it can sometimes be difficult to practice — “practice” being the key word here, as we are not called to follow Christ perfectly, but to do the best we can by following our faith, and keeping to our commitment to his teachings.

If we can make this commandment a cornerstone of our lives, we will always know which direction to move in, as we turn over the results to the Grace of God’s love for us, and set an example for our children to follow.  Following Christ in faith also allows us to find understanding, compassion and forgiveness for those who we feel have done us wrong, especially if these include our children, it can also help us to make our way through times of fear and confusion, and see us through to a brighter day, where we are freed from the trials that life sometimes puts in our path, and able to enjoy the gifts of love given to us by God.

Let us Pray

God, please help us to always strive to follow your Will: to be happy joyous and free.  Help us when we struggle with life’s difficulties, fear and worry for our children and our loved ones.  Let us have faith in your presence and to seek to follow the command of Christ to others and love you above all else.  Please help us to seek simplicity and away out of our confusion and worry by following this command, as it gives us a direction to take, when we do not know where to turn.  Thank you for always being by our side, and showing us how to over come fear and frustration with faith in  your great love for us.

Amen

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