(Some links may be affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission off of anything you choose to purchase. However, this is not at any additional cost to you, and I promise I do not recommend anything I would not purchase myself – and most likely I’ve already purchased it.)
This is part 2 of a 3 part series. You can find part 1 here. (I know in previous posts I’ve said it was a 5 part series. I’ve decided that it would be best to stop at 3 and encourage you to simply read the book for the rest of the B.R.A.V.E. acronym. Partially because I started wondering if I might be broaching copyright infringement unintentionally. Even though I’m not even looking at her chapters since the first one to make sure I’m not saying the same thing, I want to respect the rights of the author. You can find a link to her book here.)
Part of growing and moving forward in life is remembering to reflect. Reflection on the history of mankind, on your own personal history: the culture in which you grew up both on a national level as well as on a familial level, and reflection on the choices you’ve made thus far. We operate, make decisions, and relate from our own biases and experiences. We don’t often realize it; however, our own wounds and training often carries over onto our own children if we do not deal with them.
We have also learned many lessons in the past that without proper reflection and memory, we forget. It would then require us to learn those same lessons again and again. Who wants to learn the hard way more than once? And who wants to see their children deal with the same hurts and struggles?
What can we learn from the Israelites?
God told the Israelites time and time again to remember where they came from, where God had brought them, what He had done in their lives. He even commanded them to “make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations…and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them…that ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God” (Numbers 15:38-41). Deuteronomy 5:15, 7:18, and 8:2 all talk about remembering how they were slaves in Egypt, how God led them out of the pit there, and all that He did unto Pharaoh to deliver them.
God even commanded them to “remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lord thy God to wrath in the wilderness” and went on to list the many times they rebelled against Him (Deuteronomy 9:7). We don’t want to remember the bad times, the times we didn’t do what we were supposed to or the times we outright did things we weren’t supposed to, but God knows that we need to remember those times so that we don’t repeat them.
Reflection on the past helps growth for the future.
When you are struggling to see what the purpose of your present darkness is, reflect on your past trials and tribulations and remember how God brought you out of them. Remember how you grew stronger in your faith. God never leaves you in the pits of despair. He is walking beside you every step of the way. I wager to guess that times He is carrying you through it.
It is oftentimes that the darkness draws us closer to God and in a deeper relationship with Him. And that is what God wants. Our undivided attention, devotion, and fellowship with Him. Our complete reliance on His strength and comfort.
God also seeks to be glorified through us in every phase. If we can reflect on His promises and the ways He has kept those promises in the past, we can more easily praise Him and glorify Him as He desires. And this is how we encourage growth for the future. We are reminded time and time again of how God has carried us and the next time life gets us down, we are more confident in our Savior’s arms and we get back up again quicker than we did before.
Reflect on our parenting styles and strategies
Reflecting on our own responses to other people is also important, especially where our kids are involved. If we fail to do so, we will not recognize where we may have come short of being the grace-giving guidance counselors our children need. They may shut down on us in the future and ignore our instructions as teenagers. We will then find ourselves grieving over our prodigal children wondering what we did wrong just a little too late.
I strongly encourage you to pick up Lee Nienhuis’s book that I discussed in my list of suggested books for every mother-to-be and read what she has to say about it. She gives very clear examples from the Bible on a parent who failed miserably to rear his children and paid the ultimate price for it.
My words here are simply meant as a compliment to Lee’s chapter on this subject. I hope you will check out her book and pray about how you can apply her teachings to your parenting strategies. Parenting is hard enough. It is even harder when you are doing it alone. So many statistics out there talk about the negative affects of a single parent household. I pray for you and for myself that this is the start of a change in the trends.
Keeping a journal is helpful for keeping track of your personal thoughts and struggles weekly (if not daily). Write down everything. Your rants, questions, events of the day, and your children’s struggles and successes. Include your responses and reactions. Anything God spoke to you about or that you learned.
You will be able to go back over these things in the future as you continue to reflect on where you’ve come from. Sometimes it is just helpful in the moment to have some place to dump all of your thoughts and frustrations on without otherwise blowing up on someone (which would probably be your kids!)
I’m super excited to delve more into the idea of being a single mother by choice. A lot of people wind up as single mothers due to hard circumstances that they only had so much say in. But there is a growing trend of women out there who are choosing to adopt as a single mother, or even becoming mothers by in vitro. Next time…
Join my band of Gypsy Mothers!
I hope you’re feeling encouraged by my posts and encourage you to subscribe to get a little extra bonus each week with a brief synopsis of the week’s postings. There will be no spamming of your inbox on a daily basis. I mean, who has time to read all those emails each day? Join my band of gypsy mothers and let us start a movement to change the negative connotation surrounding the idea of being single mothers.