Frazzled and faithful: Reflections on single parenting

frazzled2Popular worship leader and single mom Kim Hill offers insight into the chaotic single-parent life. Kim is a Grammy-nominated, multiple-Dove award winning singer/songwriter.

She is also the frazzled, joyful single mother of two boys.

Last Monday morning I was cajoling my boys, Graham and Benjamin (15 and 11), to hurry up and come downstairs. Suddenly it occurred to me that I’d forgotten to work out the carpool schedule. Then I accidentally dropped a bowl of oatmeal on my freshly mopped floors. I can promise you, a worship song wasn’t the first thing that popped into my head! What came to mind was: How in the world do other single moms run an efficient household without saying bad words before breakfast?

It’s all too much

Maybe you aren’t frazzled from trying to raise two kids by yourself, but nearly every woman I’ve connected with at Christian conferences talks of being overwhelmed. They’re exhausted from staying up all night with a new baby or stretching too little money over too many bills. Most of the women I rub shoulders with are worn out from trying to juggle too much.

This juggling-mama-mania is why I think it’s so important to recognize our absolute dependency on God. We have to admit we can’t possibly manage all the details of our families without divine help.

Personally, I also suffer from spiritual amnesia—a point Graham recently brought to my attention. He had committed a minor infraction, and I had responded with a major tongue-lashing. I quickly realized I should apologize for my grumpy overreaction, so I said, “Honey, I’m sorry for getting mad at you. What you did wasn’t a big deal. I’m just stressed out because it’s been a really hard season.”

Graham paused for a few seconds then replied cautiously, “Mom, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but you’ve been saying that for a long time.” Yikes, talk about hitting the bull’s-eye!

The Lord has provided for the boys and me in tangible, miraculous ways the past seven years that I’ve been a single mom, yet I still struggle with anxiety. As a Christian, I know better than to worry about tomorrow’s troubles, but I still do. I often look past the compassionate gaze of my Redeemer and get distracted by mortgage payments and the craziness of my calendar. I lose sleep over how to provide for our little family and how to protect their tender hearts from the ugly wounds that accompany divorce.

Leaning into faith

Thankfully, in spite of my tenuous trust, every time I pick up my Bible, God turns my face toward Him with themes like:

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. – Isaiah 26:4
Under his wings you will find refuge. – Psalm 91:4
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. – 2 Peter 1:3
My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

Through the Bible, prayer, music and gorgeous Tennessee sunsets, God reminds me that He will never abandon us to stumble through life on our own. He gently comforts me with the fact that my love for Graham and Benjamin pales next to His perfect love for them. God assures me that His affection will never fade or fail, whether I keep all my balls in the air or I drop one or two or 12 in moments of weakness. And my heavenly Father sweetly sings mercy over me on those nights when I’m too tired to sing my own precious children to sleep.

Rest in Him

The realities and responsibilities of life can definitely knock the wind—and the worship—right out of us. So I encourage you to carve out a few minutes today and marinate in this wonderful, paraphrased promise of Jesus from The Message:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. – Matthew 11:28-30

Also by Kim Hill: A hole in it! A devotional birthed out of Kim’s personal story, written to help single parents guide their children through the fallout of divorce.

*We first published this blog post from Kim Hill in May 2010. This article first appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, November 2008. Used with Kim Hill’s permission.

Kim is a 26 year veteran of the CCM music world. She's a Grammy nominated, Dove award winning artist with 16 CDs to her credit. She leads worship at women's conferences around the USA. In 2013, Kim created The Nashville Treehouse with Paulette Wooten. She has two sons aged 21 and 17. She was our guest artist at Beauty for Ashes 2010.

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