Pack your snack, check your folder, socks and shoes. That’s the checklist I give my kids every morning. What I hear is: “Where’s my hairbrush? Have you seen my shirt? What goes with these shorts? I need money. Can you sign this?” Typical morning in most households.
Whether you have a one parent or two parent household, mornings can be rough. Lately, I have been thinking about single parents. If you were raised in a two parent home – one where both parents were actively involved – you may not understand the single parenting dynamic. All of those things that a two parent household can “tag team” become the responsibility of one parent in a one parent household. Who will pick up the kids from school? Who will make sure homework is done? Who will make the meals? Who will make sure the kids have all the clothes for dress up days? (Can I get an Amen?) Unless you have a good support system of other family members and/or friends, it can become overwhelming for a single parent.
When you have more than one child and two or three places to be at once, what is the solution? One has practice, the other has a game…you can not be both places at once.
That is where a support system is vital. Sometimes people who have only ever experienced two parent households do not understand the stress and anxiety a single parent works through.
Today, I am asking you to think about and pray for single parents. They need a little extra grace.
The dictionary defines grace (in Christian belief) as the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for grace was chesed. This word means deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity. It also indicates enablement, daily guidance, forgiveness and preservation. In the New Testament the word is Charis. It focuses on the provision of salvation.
But really, what is grace? Grace is God’s love in action towards people who deserved the opposite of love. Grace is God moving heaven and Earth to save sinners who could not save themselves. Grace is God sending His only son to die on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven.
In Ephesians 2:8-10 the Bible says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, for which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Grace is a gift, from God to us, and we can give it away just as freely. Grace is for everyone.
Sometimes I find myself in the checkout line or walking the aisles of a local “one-stop” department store thinking and sometimes acting in a way that is not extending grace or being a light for Jesus. I am not making a good impression or being an example of a Christian. People are watching. I know you have heard someone say, “You may be the only Bible some people read.” That is so true. How I live my everyday life every day and how I react to events in my life is a testament to Christ in my life.
If the cashier is rude and unfriendly I have a choice to snap back or to extend grace and realize that maybe there are reasons I don’t know about. Maybe her rent is past due or her child is sick or her husband left. I do not know the details. The truth is I don’t have to know what is going on in anyone’s life to extend grace. I do not get to chose who I believe is “worthy.” So, I strive to practice grace in the moment and to look at those I come in contact with as children of God.
Who will you extend grace to today?
Emily Edwards is a staff writer for The Southeast Sun and Daleville Sun-Courier. The opinions of this writer are her own and not the opinion of the paper. She can be reached at (334) 393-2969 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.