6 It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, 7 and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants.
It takes more than biology to be a parent, as some people are unable or unwilling to meet their responsibilities to their children. It seems like a harsh thing for me to say, but it is a sad truth that not everyone who has children is cut out to be a parent, and others have more growing up to do before they are capable of being parents to their children.
As single parents, many (but not all) of us have learned this truth first hand, as we have had to learn how to deal with the fall-out that can occur when our children’s other parent acts in a way that is selfish, mean, ignorant, or just plain thoughtless. In addition there are occasions were some of us have had to deal with the unreasonableness of our ex’s or their families, and have had try to do it with a certain amount of grace and understanding (though this can often give way to annoyance).
Being a parent is about more than just biology, it is also about understanding, commitment and love…it is about the promise that we make to our kids to always be there for them, care for them and support them as we help them face the trials of growing up together.
This does not meant we are called to be co-dependent of course, as we can be present for our children by both holding their hands and by letting go and allowing them to learn from their mistakes, just as we have learned from ours. Letting go can be hard for us to do, but by doing so we can fulfill our promise to our children by giving them the guidance and love they need to grow from these experiences and therefore learn how to get back up on their feet, all with the comfort of knowing that they are loved and will never truly be alone in this world.
This promise that we make to our children is like the promise God has made to us…to always be with us, watch over us, love us, and also let us fail so that we can learn new ways of getting back up, and supporting each other. As single parents many of us know something about trial and error while we are raising our kids. As for myself, I raised my daughter with her mother for the first few years…and that was hard enough, but when our marriage ended and I became a single father everything changed! Nothing could have prepared me for the task at hand, and I learned a lot from trial and error, and having to figure things out on my own!
The most important lessons I learned was to have faith in God’s grace, when to turn decisions, problems and worries over to God’s care, and that it is imperative to trust the voice and love of God as it was shared through others: family, friends, professionals and even my daughter…understanding that I could not manage the responsibilities of raising this lively young girl all on my own!
This is our good news for today: that no matter what our struggle, worry, pain or even fear, no matter how much we may feel overwhelmed and alone, we are never alone, and always surrounded by the promise of God’s love…as it is through the people of God, the people of faith…each of us who follows Christ, that this love and support is shared…allowing us to learn new ways to be there for our children, new ways to teach them life’s lessons, giving us the strength to hold on when needed and to let go when letting go and letting God is the best thing for us to do.
As the people of God, we are bound together by this promise of God’s grace, the promise that was made to Abraham, Isaac and their descendants…a promise renewed by the life, death and resurrection of Christ…a promise who’s light shines all the way from the empty tomb to the hearts of our children…a promise that we are both a part of and are called to help fulfill as we are called to be Christ to the world, not only by guiding our children through their journey towards adulthood, but by also caring and supporting each other as we strive to make the best choices for ourselves and our loved one…reminding each other that while we may be single parents, we will never be beyond the reach of God’s grace…and therefore, never alone.
Let us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for making us part of your promise…the promise you made to Abraham and Isaac and renewed through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Living in this promise please help us to share the light of your love with all those around us by living our faith out loud, so that we are not only recipients of the promise, but also a part of that promise for others…especially our children and others who struggle with the challenges of being a single parent. Let us also reach out with forgiveness and compassion to those who may biologically be parents but who struggle with meeting their responsibilities. Thank you for giving us the strength and support for our ministry in the world to our children, and in the lives of all those around us.