19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
At times we may find our faith faltering…of course it is not at all surprising to find our faith tested when times are tough, and things are not going our way; however, we can also let our faith lag when we run into those times when things are going exceptionally well for us, as we find ourselves becoming complacent and letting our faith take a back-burner as we get caught up in our good fortune and the busy-ness of our lives.
Whatever the reason, good times, bad times, or just plain busy times…as single parents we can sometimes lose our way, and lose sight of who we are and where we are in life; as well as lose sight of the magnitude of what we are doing: raising children into adulthood, and walking with them through all the challenges along the way.
Raising children can be a difficult task, filled with pitfalls, mistakes, frustrations, and regrets. These things can sometimes overcome our faith and cause us to forget about the good things: the joy of raising a child: laughing with them, playing with them, and being able to renew our own lives, as we get to experience a little bit of childhood, once more for ourselves!
When we fail to live up to the expectations of ourselves and others we can wind up being too hard on ourselves…as if we were not allowed to make mistakes, and had to be perfect parents all the time!
Of course being a perfect parent is not possible…though most of the time we do pretty well, we often do fall short, but that is normal because we are human after all, and prone to doing things imperfectly, especially when stressed to the limit by our responsibilities as single parents, feeling as if we really are all alone as we face challenges from not having enough time to think clearly, to having to deal with our children’s addiction issues, or squabbling with their ‘other’ parent.
The good news is that we are not called to be perfect parents!!
Just as we are not called to be perfect Christians…only to do the best we can, knowing that we immersed in God’s grace, and forgiven for falling short and not being perfect parents on occasion!
Today we are celebrating both Reformation Day, the day Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door, calling on the restoration of the church to the true message of the Gospel; and Halloween (or All Hallows Eve) a holiday rooted in both secular and Christian traditions of honoring the dead…and starting over renewed and refreshed after the harvest. As we observe these connected holidays we can give ourselves a break and accept the grace and forgiveness we have been given through Christ…and experience a reformation of our own!
Our Reformation can take us out of our feelings of being overwhelmed, worn-out and simply “not good enough” and fill us with the ability to forgive and to love ourselves, as we have been forgiven and loved by God, and as we often forgive our children out of our love for them, even when they have fallen short of our expectations.
Living in this spirit of Reformation, we can be filled with hope, refreshed and energized for our call to follow Christ in all that we do, and to do the best we can to raise our children in the light of God’s gracious love!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for showing us forgiveness and grace, even when we have fallen short of your glory and our expectations…even when we may have trouble forgiving ourselves! Help us to let go of our guilt and feelings of not being good enough so that we can experience the joy of being parents! Let us share the spirit of Reformation as we offer the renewing power of your forgiveness and grace to all those around us…especially our children!