1 Praise the LORD!
Happy are those who fear the LORD, who greatly delight in his commandments.
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.
4 They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever.
7 They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the LORD.
8 Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever;
their horn is exalted in honor.
I believe it is God’s Will for us to be happy joyous and free! God does not want us to have to struggle with life, and especially not with parenting, as our children are a gift to us…a reflection of the love that is given to all of God‘s children!
That said, there are times when I need to take a moment to remind myself of this truth…as being a parent is a tough job, sometimes made all the harder when the adjective “single” is added in front of the word “parent”. I can get so caught up in the drama, frustration and worry of parenting that I forget that having a child is really a great blessing, and a reason for joy!
It helps me to remember what it was like before I was a father; when I hoped to have children, who I could help to grow up, by guiding them into a life of their own. I thought of how much fun it would be, and the joy of raising a child…and the love! Then, when we knew a child was on the way there was the excitement her mother and I felt about the new person about to join our family. There were other moments of joy as well as we prepared for her arrival, by setting up a crib, getting baby clothes, and all the other supplies we would need to welcome our new baby.
When she was born there was the excitement of seeing her face for the first time, bringing her home, seeing her smile and hearing her laugh, holding her in the crook of my arm as we paced the apartment floor on those late and sleepless nights…
Then, when I became a single parent, while I felt some fear and anxiety about whether I would be up for the responsibilities of raising my daughter pretty much on my own; there was also much to be grateful for: like the time spent playing with her stuffed animals, running around the yard, talking, watching movies, going to the park, etc…that I may not have had if I were in a more traditional father-daughter relationship.
Even as my daughter moved on to school-aged, pre-teen and then her teenaged years, there was much to be joyful about: hearing her sing and (do her best to) play violin in school programs, her time playing soccer, and on the swim team, as well as various other events and celebrations as she grew up. Then there was teaching her how to ride a bicycle, and the terrified excitement of teaching her to drive and letting her take wheel for a trip to the movies or to the store for the first time.
All these milestones can be reasons to celebrate, because as hard as it can be to raise children, it is an amazing blessing to watch them grow into young adults, and then (hopefully) go out on their own path in life. However, on the way to becoming adults there are some tough times (teen years) when it can be easy to forget all we have to be grateful for with our children as we get caught up in worry, drama, fear and even anger…but mostly there can be a lot of frustration as things do not always go as we would have hoped during this time. Yet, even during these years there are many reasons for joy, such as sharing laughter, accomplishments celebrated together as well as crises avoided, and good conversations expressing the support and love we have for each other.
There is much joy to be found in our experience as single parents, joy in the great gift that God has given us in the love of our children that it overshadows all the hard times, the rough days and the frustrations that we sometimes find in our journey together as we guide our children towards adulthood…sometimes it just takes a little faith in the presence of God’s love in our lives to see us through the tough times and back out into the light of joy.
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for filling our lives with your love and grace. Help us to remember that it is your Will for us to be happy joyous and free, and this is why you have given us so many gifts of love like our children. When the going gets tough, help us to remember the good times with our children, and the great love we share with them which is a reminder of the great love you share with all of us…your children! Let us never miss an opportunity to share joy with those around us, and to share our faith with those who struggle, so that they too may make their way into the light of your love.