So, I have a confession to make about this blog post.
It’s part Deux. As in a do-over. A restart.
Because the first version was . . . well, raw. The very thought of having to fight back during this time of my life can get me heated. Because single motherhood has been everything I feared. And then five times worse. I’ve had my dukes up from day one. Even when all I wanted to do was put them over my face and cry.
I’ve had to fight—mentally, emotionally, and physically—to get to a healthy point in this process. I’ve had to give up and fully turn over everything to God when all I wanted was to regain control. It’s literally been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s topped losing my job. It’s topped being lied to by the one person I trusted the most. It’s topped being disowned by half my family.
And when I think about further difficulty coming my way, all I want to do is take someone out. Whoever that may be. My instinct is to lash out, and get even, and consider revenge.
But, God calls us to himself instead.
In the midst of our difficulties, God gives us the power to bear the pain of unjust suffering. And while we may feel like the next step we should take is retaliation, we shouldn’t. That’s living by the world’s standards. Not God’s. And there is no better way to glorify the God we love than to give up, and ask him to fight for us instead.
The single mom’s most likely opponent is often her ex. If that’s you, and you’re ready for battle, I hope you’ll lean in close to listen here:
Not fighting may be one of the most difficult things you have to do. But, as much as it’s in your ability to do so, you should turn the other cheek unless you or your children are in imminent danger.
This can look like a lot of unpleasant things:
Ignoring the bad things being said about you.
Letting the under-the-breath comments go.
Ignoring the hurtful reaction when you ask for something that is well within your right to ask for.
Letting the too-late-to-make-a-difference kindnesses pass over you, rather than remind you of all the times they couldn’t offer them before.
Ignoring the hurtful ways extended family now treats you.
Just typing those out makes me want to slap someone. Seriously. It’s innate. It’s human. But, it’s not what we’re called to do as believers. This is when we have to call on something bigger than us—stronger than us—to step in and take over before we make a mess.
Because in the long run, the mess we are making is not in our own lives, but in our children’s. Most likely, we will move on to other relationships and maybe even a new marriage. We’ll get to start over fresh in that regard. But our children’s lives are being spelled out before them—right in front of them—though they have no say or control.
If we create a hostile environment—they will be the ones to suffer into adulthood.
If we disparage the other parent—they will be the ones to look within themselves and find something wrong.
If we let our anger rule our day-to-day lives—they will be the ones to lose their childhood.
So, don’t be so quick to draw that line in the sand—even though it feels like exactly what you should do. Doing so only further separates a family that is already broken.
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV)
Ask God to put up his dukes instead. In the end, it’s his battle to fight. And, he has the ultimate vantage point.
And sweet friend, if you’ve already put up your dukes and promised to take someone down for making what is already hard, even harder. It’s ok.
Start over. Reset. Write a part deux.
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