9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Most of the time we simply have to take things in our lives on faith!
It would be wonderful if we could absolutely know what God’s will was for us and for our children, and not have any doubts…but we seldom if ever are granted this gift of the knowledge of God’s will. Instead, we can make educated guesses based on reading scripture or checking things out with other people of faith, and we can come to believe we are following the will of God, but that is not the same as knowing without a doubt.
For instance, I was sure that going to seminary to become a Lutheran Pastor was God’s will for me…but while I made it through school and graduated, my career never materialized, as I wound up getting divorced during my last year at school and becoming a single parent, and then found myself back in the corporate world. While I was glad to have this business experience to fall back on, I was upset that my plans did not work out as I had hoped, and I found myself not only questioning God about why I had hit a ‘brick wall’ in terms of my career, but also as to my becoming a single parent (which I thought was a sure sign that God had an interesting sense of humor)!
Before it happened to me I thought I would be the last person qualified to be a full-time single parent (and I did think about what I would do as a single parent, long before my daughter was born), but when the time came, I realized that it was the only choice that I could make for my daughter and myself. This was one of those few cases where I knew what God’s will was…but how to go about following this path was a mystery to me, something I had to take on faith, and figure out as I went along.
Although I had very little clue about how to be a single parent I took each step with faith, and although reluctant to do so, knew that I had to ask for help when I got into the deep water…and I found myself in the deep water more often than I would like to admit! Even when I did not want to ask another person for help, I still prayed to God, and when I did I often found that help was placed before me…someone would step up to offer advice, or I would break down and ask for help from another parent: a friend, a sibling, and at times even a stranger who seemed to know what they were doing.
Faith gives us the strength to face the challenges of life, and to have the courage to do what we are reluctant to do: like ask for help and then follow the advice that was given! Faith shared with others can often help us to see what God’s will is more clearly, and it is this faith that can enable us to do amazing things with our lives…things we never thought we could ever do, like being full-time single parents!
As parents we do sometimes make mistakes, even when we make them in faith and with good intentions (for we do want the best for our children), but there are times when we listen to the wrong advice, or when our judgment is off, due to be stressed, tired, or just so very busy…the good news is that it is okay for us to make mistakes, to be human, even to mis-read what we believe to be God’s will in a certain situation; for God does not call on us to be perfect, or even to perfectly know what His will is for us or our children…the good news is that we are all forgiven by God, and given many second chances in life. For the most part, honest mistakes become opportunities for learning…opportunities for finding new tactics and solutions to our problems, new way to meet our challenges, and to be better parents along the way.
One of the greatest gifts that God has given us is grace, which offers us forgiveness and love…even when we feel we may not deserve it. After all, if we can find it in our hearts to forgive our own children for their misdeeds and help them to learn from their mistakes, imagine how much more gracious God can be with us in light of our own failings. To follow this logic even further, then it should also be easy for us to accept God’s forgiveness into our own lives, and to forgive ourselves for making a mistake with our kids.
Life is about learning, and growing in faith, and in knowledge…and this never ends for us, as childhood is only the beginning of a life-long process of always seeking improvement and enlightenment. Of course in the midst of our busiest days as single parents, it can be easy to forget that we are called to learn and grow…especially when it can feel as if we are just barely keeping our heads above water…but it is at times like these that it helps us to remember that we do not face all of our challenges alone, that we can turn our lives, and our children over to the care of God’s will, and trust in the grace that surrounds us all like the air.
Living in the light of this grace, basking in God’s love, we are protected, safe, and carried through the rough times, and we can find reasons to celebrate the great joys of being parents, and the gifts that we get from being single parents: the love, the bonding and the close relationship with our kids that comes from growing up together…in faith.
Let us Pray
God, we thank you for doing your will in our lives. Thank you for putting people in our lives that can help us to more clearly follow your will. Help us to always have the faith to seek your will, and to do the best for our children, but also let us be forgiving of ourselves when we fall short…just as you have already forgiven us. Let us remember that above all else, that it is your will that we live or lives happy joyous and free…and forgiven. Thank you that we, and our children, live each day, immersed in the light of your grace.