Helping a single parent is a whole new level of reaching someone. It can be discouraging, messy, and rarely consistent. And unless you have ever been a single parent yourself, it can be quite intimidating to lend a helping hand to- let alone even knowing where to start. For anyone who may have a son, brother, or friend who is a single dad, here are five very quick tips that you can use to help them along the way.
Keep them covered
I know this may seem like an obvious one, but never underestimate the power of prayer. You may not completely understand everything they are going through, and that’s fine. Pray specific and transparent prayers, not manipulative or selfish ones. Be sure to love on the involved children unconditionally through it all and even pray with them whenever possible. Prayer can move mountains and when we pray within God’s will, we know we have the petitions we ask of Him (1John 5:14-15).
Seek godly counsel
Believe me when I say that I am fully aware of just how little there is for single fathers out there when it comes to Christ-centered help. Start by contacting some of the local churches in your area- ones that may have a higher single parent population than others. Even if the church doesn’t have an actual “single parent” ministry, many of the pastors may have counseled single dads in the past or at least have a general understanding of what they face regularly. You may also search for additional resources on our website: www.afatherswalk.org.
Do NOT slam the mom!
This is our “Golden Rule” of the ministry. Yes, the entire situation may be a mess and perhaps she is being spiteful or manipulative. I am sure it can be quite painful to watch your son of friend go through it all. I am right there with you when it comes to experiencing how unjust some situations may be due to the other parent or the courts’ doing. Still, if we allow the sin of anger and bitterness to seep into our hearts, it will only overflow into other areas of our life, perhaps even around the children. Instead, ask the Lord to remove these negative emotions from you if need be (you may really have to do some hardcore praying here!), but a softened heart is the only way to honor God (Psalm 86:11, Heb 3:13).
Help them build a foundation
Statistics show that only 33% of single parents attend church on a regular basis. Single parenting equals brokenness no matter how you slice it, and we know the only path to complete healing and restoration is through Jesus Christ. You know the single dads in your life well. Bible thumping and condemning talk isn’t going work- I will tell you that right now. What they need is to see the true love of Christ. Remain focused on creating a safe zone where your son, grandson, or friend can feel completely accepted and loved; somewhere they can heal and their feet can be set upon Rock.
Preparing for the long haul
Whether or not things ever get better between Dad and Mom no one may know. A father can always keep in mind that he is Dad for life, regardless of the circumstances. Things began extremely rocky between me and my daughter’s mom. Eleven years later, it’s bumpy at best. Children get a huge part of their personality and self-perception from their father and our enemy is a master at keeping us spinning around in circles instead of looking to God for help. Any single father that holds fast to his relationship with the Lord will not only be able to persevere through the storms along the way, but will one day see His glory revealed through it all (Romans 8:18).
Single parenting is a tough situation for everyone involved. Our responsibility as Christian individuals is to show the unconditional love of Christ to others. The Bible tells us to hate what is evil and to cling to what is good. Love never fails and perfect love casts out fear. Hold fast to all of God’s promises, because we know in Christ all of His promises are “yes” and “amen”.