18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
“Not the potter, but the potter’s clay…”
It is nice to be reminded that we are not in charge, we are NOT the potter, but the potter’s clay…shaped and formed by God’s loving hands.
As single parents, we can get used to being in charge, sometimes more than we would like…
When I was a kid I loved being irresponsible and having very few responsibilities; I often felt burdened by the few chores I did have, like feeding the pets, cleaning my room, and yard-work as all I wanted to do was play, watch TV or just plain be lazy. Then I got older, I got more and more responsibilities as I started working and my school work became more demanding.
Today, my life filled with responsibility: for my child, home, finances, job, volunteering at church and my 12-step group, and of course…feeding the pets!
Being a single parent means taking on a whole realm of responsibilities…not only taking care of our children but also having to handle every aspect of our home-life, more or less on our own. We are the first and last word in terms of making family decisions (at least until our kids are teens) and we are the ones who pay the price for the wrong decisions, and who have to tough it out when we make good choices that turn out to be unpopular.
As single parents, we also are the ones who stay up (usually alone) when our teens are out too late, or who have to respond when they get into trouble or when trouble finds them! We help them with homework, sit with them when they are sick, drive the everywhere and help them face the many dramas of growing up.
I have often felt overwhelmed by my responsibilities and feeling like I had to be in charge of everything…and there were times when I felt like I just wanted to take a break, and be irresponsible for a little while, and hide from my responsibilities. However, as a parent, I could not just ‘check-out’ and ditch my responsibilities to my daughter and my home.
As single parents we can feel a strong commitment to our responsibilities as a parent, and feel like we always have to be in charge…so much so that it can be hard for us to ‘let go and let God’, and instead are burdened by an “I’ll do it” attitude that usually leaves us just frustrated and tired, and feeling like we are on our own in this whole parenting thing.
The good news is that we are not alone, and we are NOT in charge: God is! We are NOT the potter but the potter’s clay, formed by God’s loving hands, into beautiful and strong vessels that can hold any responsibilities and pour out our love and faith on our children, and all those around us. God, who is our potter, holds us close, and walks with us, ensuring that we can withstand any challenge, and do not have to face these challenges alone…as we are surrounded by Grace, and we share our experience, faith and hope with others who have also walked the walk of being a single parent.
And in turning our control over to God, we are freed from being in charge, freed to enjoy the love of our children, and freed to take better care of ourselves, to allow ourselves that break, that we need to re-charge our batteries and refresh ourselves.
Once refreshed we can take what we have learned to shape and mold our children, to give them a strong foundation of love and values to grow upon…as we live in the warmth of our potter’s love which fills us with faith, reminding us that we are not in charge, and knowing this makes things easier as it takes away much of the pressure, making more room for us to see that life as a single parent is good and filled with many opportunities for growth and love.
Let us Pray
God, thank you for being our potter…for shaping us in your loving hands, and for making us better people and better parents. Thank you that you are in charge, so that we do not have to be. Help us to find a balance in our lives so that we can remember to care for ourselves as well as we care for our children. Let us have faith to trust you to be our potter, to be in charge and to guide us in lives and as we work to guide and support our children as they grow.