If you’re a single parent or a parent in a blended family, you represent the majority of families in America. Now, only one out of four families is what we’d call a “traditional family” – a mom and dad with the same biological children. In addition, over forty percent of all babies in the U.S. are born to single-parent moms.
As a pastor, I meet a lot of single parents and parents of blended families. And what I’ve found is that many of them are experiencing absolute brokenness, whether it’s because of their actions or someone else’s poor decisions.
Lots of single moms or dads fight just to get through the day. They struggle with being the sole provider for their kids, and they don’t always have the emotional support or strength they need to do it.
Parents in a blended family have other unique challenges. At some point, many of them realize just how tough it is to connect and bond with children who aren’t their own biological children. They also deal with the reality that their children complicate their relationship with their spouse.
So what’s a single parent to do? And how do parents of blended families find hope and healing?
First, know that if you’re a single parent or if you’re in a blended family, God’s Word to you is: for nothing will be impossible with God. (Luke 1:37 ESV) Single and blended families aren’t God’s ideal, and they’re often very challenging, but God wants to redeem your situation!
His grace is sufficient for you to overcome any and every obstacle if you surrender fully and wholly unto Him.
My own family is a blended family. When I met my wife, Theresa, she was a single parent of two little twin boys and abandoned by her ex-husband. I married her when her boys were four years old, and I became an instant parent.
Those early years were particularly turbulent. We had to deal with a lot of baggage from our past and a lot of unrealistic expectations. Both Theresa and I have learned a lot over the years.
Here are five specific ways that we’ve learned how to cope as both a single parent or a parent in a blended family:
- Make God your number one priority. I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s key. No matter what, spend time with God. Make His Word, make His people, and your heart the number one priority.
- If you’re a single parent, get connected with a strong, godly, same-gender support group for encouragement and accountability. You have to get connected. Don’t go it alone. If you do, you will not do it well, you’ll make very bad decisions in your moments of weakness, and loneliness, and exhaustion. You need other people who love God to say, “Let’s do this God’s way together.”
- If you’re a parent in a blended family, make your marriage a priority and seek counseling from a mutually trusted, biblical, and wise counselor. It’s very important to see someone that you both choose and agree to help you. You’ll need to work through expectations, which are usually way off.
- Accept this season of your life and set realistic expectations for you and your children. The goal is not to make everything in your life perfect, nice, and easy. That’s just not possible. Single parents, accept that this is a tough season and that you need God’s grace and His love. If you’re in a blended family, accept that it takes time to establish a deep connection with your adopted kids.
- Remember that God can make up for what you can’t give your kids or your adopted kids. He can do what you can’t do. I’ve known kids coming out of single and blended homes, and I’ve seen God work in amazing ways. Some of these kids have turned out to be the best, most godly, amazing kids I’ve ever met.
For more tips on how to be a godly parent, check out Chip’s series, House or Home: Parenting Edition: God’s Blueprint for Biblical Parenting.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip