Originally published Tuesday, 13 November 2012.
As one who travels around the country encouraging single parents to find their strength, I make it abundantly clear that all strength and peace is found in a relationship with God.
"The Lord is my strength and shield...." Ps. 28:7
However, beyond seeking to deepen your relationship with God, there are some practical tips that I have found give single parents great hope, once accomplished.
1. Find the strength to move into financial security.
Now, I know some of you out there are laughing as you read and maybe even thinking, "Well....gee, Jennifer, that's a great idea. I'd love to find financial security, but I'm trying to simply make ends meet right now!" I get it. I was there, too. I remember the counting of pennies to put gas in the car or groceries on the table (not that it would get is very far, these days!) But there is one simple truth that radically changed my life, and I want to share it with you - tithing. Tithing is the practice of giving 10% of your income back to God, which is done through the local church. There's lots of supporting Scripture on this, but check out Deuteronomy 14:22 for one. Some of you may be thinking "Yeah, but I'm a single mom with enormous financial obligations. I just don't have the extra money." You can't afford not to tithe! As Christians, we give our tithe to the local church, not because we expect some type of blessing in return, but from obedience and gratitude for all God's already done for us. I did financial counseling for 10 years in Corporate America and I could give you tons of tips and tricks for financial management, but this is, by far, the most important.
2. Find the strength to parent effectively.
Find the strength to say "no" to your children, when you need to. Don't overindulge your children. Don't make excuses for poor behavior. Hold them accountable. Don't foster in them some sense of entitlement that just because they lack a second parent in their home they somehow will forever be victims. It isn't true. They are strong, smart, capable kids with bright futures. Don't ruin them by teaching them a victim mentality. They are more than conquerors!
3. Find the strength to move past poor choices.
We've all been there. You get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing over and over, even when you know it isn't working. For some of you, you have compromised in your home due to exhaustion, loneliness, depression, or others. This led down a slippery slope of pornography, sexual impurity, gossip, alcohol, excessive shopping, or any number of poor choices that are now affecting your life and that of your kids. No temporary fix will sustain your permanent, God-given hole in your heart, but Him. Make a decision today to lay down the past. Make a decision to reach out for some help with a trusted friend or family member. There is not one thing you could ever do to separate you from God's love, and there's great peace in knowing that.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who is also founder The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. TLSM was founded from Maggio’s own journey and resolve to not be just another statistic. Maggio has appeared in hundred of media venues, including The 700 Club, Focus on the Family, Daystar TV and countless others. For more information on Maggio or TLSM Ministries, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.