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A Gift for Single Parents

Karen Stefacek
Mother of Jada, Age 6
Children’s Pastor at Desert Vineyard Church

We all have different life experiences, but as single parents, we typically have a few things in common:

  • We carry a lot of responsibility: family income, raising children, managing family finances, health and safety, home and lawn care, grocery shopping and meals, taking out the trash, changing the light bulbs...the list can seem endless!

  • We don't often get a break or the luxury of a hand-off to another adult for what needs our attention, especially when it comes to our children.

  • We can feel alone in this journey.

These are realities I relate to and they move me to lean upon Jesus deeply and daily.  They also tend to lead us all to a conversation about time.  

Do you find yourself feeling stressed about time?  Are you often feeling as if you never have enough?  What thoughts circulate in your mind about time?  Do they lean toward lack or abundance?

I'd like to share a key that has made a great difference for me.  I participated in a professional training at which it was suggested to embrace the perspective that time is a gift.  Time is a gift.  Instead of being the source of anxiety, time could become a source of joy, peace and fulfillment.

As I've begun to look at time this way, some new practices have started to form:

  • I have become much more aware of (and grateful for) little pockets of unexpected extra time that come my way.
  • I've had a greater liberty to say "no" to what others expect of me, when I know God is not expecting it, to keep balance in life.
  • I've been more intentional about scheduling Sabbath (rest) and fun for myself and my daughter. If it's on the calendar it usually happens. If it isn't, it rarely does.
  • I have worked harder at planning, which tends to create more peaceful days.

With this perspective, I've also realized a sweet increase in joy in my family life.  Moments matter and become precious.  A couple of mornings ago, my Jada snuggled into bed with me at 5:45am.  She lay there for a few minutes and then asked, "Hey Mom? How would you feel about a quick game of rock, paper, scissors?"  I laughed out loud and we played till 6am.

The pandemic we are experiencing now has brought so many hardships and challenges to nearly all of us.  If you are a single, working parent, now also managing your children's education at home, I feel your pain!  It can be overwhelming at times; don't hesitate to reach out to someone in our church family for help.  Prayer, an understanding conversation, a peer counseling session...these are all here for you!  

But also consider that your gift is time!  Looking at time with this attitude promises to be the beginning of a new day.  I can attest to this myself.

Finally, we single parents have another common life experience: we all have the same amount of time.  We have the same 24 hours in each day, the same seven days each week, the same four seasons and 365 days each year.  We get to decide, with God's help, how to use it.

The next time you are tempted to complain that, "if anything gets done at my house, I'm the one who does it," or worse, you fall into the downward spiral of a victim mentality, remind your soul that time is a gift.  God loves you with the same never-ending love as everyone else and he is able to direct your path, order your days and guide you to fill the precious time you have with what really matters!

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