22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes] for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
As parents we know that birth is just the beginning of the adventure!
Prior to the birth of our daughter, her mother and I read all the books we could, including the “What to expect…” series. We also talked with our siblings and friends who were already parents, to learn from their experience; however, once our daughter was born we found out the truth: that there was nothing we could have done or read that could have truly prepared us for meeting the challenges of parenting! Instead, we discovered that parenting is something we learn as we do it, usually through a lot of trial and error!
Raising a child under any circumstance takes a great deal of strength and patience, as well as the ability to put up with a lot of that ‘trial and error’ mentioned earlier…and to learn from it. As single parents, we often have to dig deeper into that reserve of strength as in many ways we can feel alone on this journey; however, the good news is that we are not alone as we are surrounded by the support of others, from friends to strangers. Even if it is not always evident to us, help is always available!
This is the promise of today’s scripture: that not only does the Spirit intercede for us directly, surrounding us with the grace of God, but also acts through those who can help when we are feeling worn out and weak in the face of our responsibilities! This help and support is a gift born of God’s great love for us, love that was made manifest in Jesus, and which shines brightest when it is shared with others!
While this help may be all around us, there are times when it can be difficult to ask for help, or to accept it when offered. I do not know if this is the case with all single parents, but for me, pride can get in the way, as it is hard to admit when I need help…that there are some things I just cannot handle on my own, or when my poor judgment has contributed to a big mess that I cannot clean up by myself. However, I have learned (the hard way) that it is okay for us to need help, and that following pride will only lead to more trouble, and more heartache, and our struggles are easier face when they are faced together!
Supported by each other, we are able to face the hard work of single parenting, but even more than this, we can come to see these challenges as adventures: opportunities for learning, for growth, and to discover that when we share our faith together we are stronger than we ever could have imagined!
Raising our children as single parents is not always an easy adventure, but neither is growing up. There can be a lot of struggle, disappointment, frustration, anger and fear; but these can all be seen as growing pains, part of the birth process…for as noted earlier, the birth of a child is only the beginning of the story, as childhood (especially the teenaged years) also ends in a new life being born, as an adult emerges from the turmoil, ready to face the challenges of life in this world, both the trials and the errors, knowing that they are not alone, but are surrounded by the love of God, alive and active in our world through each of us.
Let Us Pray:
Dear God, thank you the adventure of parenthood, and that we do not need to face this task alone! Help us to put aside our pride and be able to ask for help when needed, remembering that we are not really alone as we raise our children, but are surrounded by your gracious love, as shared with each other. Give us the strength guide our children through the pains of their birth into a new life: as adults, who are able to meet their own challenges face to face.