Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

May 1, 2016 Sermon

“Balance:Families and Single Parenting”
1 Timothy 5:3 – 8
Ted Jansen May 1, 2016  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        The teeter totter is a lot of fun to ride if you are balanced.  If not it can be stressful and even painful, it won’t be enjoyable.  The teeter totter is a ride about balance and joy for all those on the ride.  On the teeter totter to gain balance you need to shift weight, add weight or delete weight.     
            We begin a series of sermons on the family and each different topic has an image to consider as you listen the teaching.  I pray that you will gain some insights and practical ways to strengthen family life. 
I want your feedback as a part of the message today and afterwards.  I want to do my best to give some helps to each person here.    
            Let’s go back to the image of the teeter totter as it relates to families, and discern the unique challenges for single parent families. 
 
2.)        On one end of the teeter totter I put children and their physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual needs.  For each child they have a variety of needs and level of needs in each of those areas.  They change from time to time and parents have to adapt and have strong sense of love as they meet those needs.  One challenge is knowing what the needs are in each area. 
            Do you understand your children, your grandchildren, the children around you and the needs they have physically, emotionally, spiritually?  This is a vital and important first step. 
            As you look and understand the needs it will determine what your parenting will look like as you seek to meet those needs. 
 
3.)        On the other end of the teeter totter you have adults, parents, or a single parent family, and their lives.  This end represents all the resources that a parent can provide to meet the needs of the child or children.  That is why it is important to start with the needs and not our resources.     
            How do we balance when you are on a teeter totter?  If the needs of children are more than the resources this leaves the children with unmet needs and at times a feeling that a parent cannot be present in their lives.  They are off the ground.  (We also realize that as parents we cannot meet all the needs in our children.  That is why we have other adults who can take that role.)     
            If the resources are more than the needs then the parents can rest and be ready for the next need, or be willing to share with other children.    
 
4.)        Think of the resources that a parent brings.  Parents bring time, thinking, money, energy, shared relationship, and love.  Parents bring time to do the tasks of parenting, thinking for decisions of parenting, money for the needs of parenting, energy to give to children, shared relationships in parenting, and love that comes from a heart that has been loved by others and God.
            When you have two parents in the house you can take turns sharing your resources as your life and journey is before you. 
            When our children were born and young Sue was a functional single parent on Sunday mornings.  I have always been focused on the sermon, service, praying and getting ready for worship.  So, she had to get three little children ready and herself to come to worship.  I admire her for that and the many years she did that.  It speaks to her faith and diligence. 
 
5.)        The challenge and stress of single parenting as it relates to the balance of resources and needs is the fact that there is only one parent, one person, one adult.  Or, there might be two separate single parents who have different philosophies and personalities. 
            How much energy do you, as a single parent have, to guide children?   How much energy do you have after you have worked?  How much money do you have to take of the needs, goals and wants of your children?  How do you feel about yourself as a single parent?  How do you make decisions about your children?  Are there other adults that come along side you in your role as a parent? 
            These questions and others might be a part of all parenting challenges, but greater for the single parents. 
 
6.)        1 Timothy 5:3 – 8 is a letter from Paul to Timothy, who is younger in the faith.  This section teaches about the church and how relationships should be lived.  
            Paul is focusing on our attitude with widows.  Paul writes about younger and older widows in verse 9 and 16.  Paul wants the believers in Christ to live out their faith by their care for single parents.     
            The principle that we can apply is that the families of the widows, those who are single parents, need to do their best to come along side each single parent and provide the resources that are needed to help with the needs of the children.   We read this in 1 Timothy 5:4, 8, 16. 
            When a families help is not enough the church, the organized community of faith, is to come alongside widows, single parents, to bring resources to them.  This is what Paul is teaching in 1 Timothy 5:3, 9.     
            As we understand the balance of needs and resources we seek to provide more resources of money, prayer, time, encouragement, love, and the gift of hope to those facing challenges.  
 
7.)        When I was in Africa in 2012 I met Rhoidah Campo.  Her husband was a pastor and she and her husband had two small boys.   Her husband tragically died and she was all alone.   The culture in Africa said that she was “unwanted,” even though she loved God.  
My friends Ken and Deb Vance, who are missionaries in Zambia, have come along side of her to help her.  They helped her start a beauty salon and have helped with needs for the two boys.    I had a chance to meet her and see her two little boys and play with them.  She had a small home and salon that was probably as big as the office space.
She has face many challenges being a single parent in a culture that does not care.  The church, the people, who are not immediate family, but a family of faith came along side of her to walk with her in her role as a single parent.     
            The scripture that we read in 1 Timothy tells us that we need to put our faith in action to support and partner with single parents as a way of doing our mission work. 
 
8.)        What “needs” do you see in single parent families?  What is God calling you to do as you live out your faith? 
            There are all sorts of needs in families and resources that you can bring.  God is calling us to bring balance to those who have needs around us with the resources God has provided us. 
            What are your thoughts on what I have shared?  
 
9.)        I want to share an article on the stresses of single parents written by the American Academy of Pediatrics (May 2007).  Stress is not unique to single parents but when the needs become greater than resources, or resources get depleted we get out of balance.  Stress means out of balance.           
 
Stresses of Single Parenting               What are some ways to avoid the stress of being a single parent?
Single parenthood can bring added pressure and stress to the job of raising children. With no one to share day-to-day responsibilities or decision-making, single parents must provide greater support for their children while they themselves may feel alone. The following suggestions may help reduce stress in your family:
Get A Handle On Finances
Learn how to budget your money. Know when your paycheck or other income will arrive, and keep track of household bills. Do what you can to improve your finances.
Talk Early and Often
Let your children know about the changes in the family. Sit quietly with your children and allow them to talk about their feelings.
Find Support and Use It
Don't try to handle everything by yourself. You will need the support that family and friends can give. Get to know other single parents through support groups.
Take Time For Family
Being a single parent can be overwhelming. Set aside some time each day to enjoy your children. Spend quiet time playing, reading, working on arts-and-crafts projects, or just listening to music together. Your time is one of the most important things you can give to your children.
Take Time For Yourself
Time spent away from your children is important for you and for them. Being a single parent doesn't mean you can't have an adult life. Get a babysitter and enjoy some time alone or with friends. Do things that you like.
Keep A Daily Routine
Schedule meals, chores, and bedtimes at regular times so that your children know what to expect each day. A routine will help them feel more secure.
Maintain Consistent Discipline
Divorced or separated parents should work together to discipline their children the same way. Learning good ways to handle your children's behavior will reduce stress for all of you.
Treat Kids Like Kids
Though being a single parent can get lonely, try not to treat your children like substitutes for a partner. Try not to rely on them for comfort or sympathy.
Stay Positive
Be aware that your children will always be affected by your mood and attitude. They will need your praise and your love through hard times. It's okay to be honest about your feelings of sadness and loss, but let them know better times lie ahead for all of you.
Take Care of Yourself
This is a difficult time for you, too. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, and get enough rest so you can better deal with stress. Visit your own doctor on a regular basis. 
 
10.)      God has a special heart of love for the single parents, the widow and the fatherless.  God cares about you.  Listen to a few verses.  You are not alone in your role as a parent. 
            Deuteronomy 10:18 says, He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.
            Psalm 68:5 says, A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
            Psalm 146:9 says, The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
            Which verse will you hold on to?
 
11.)      I want to take a few moments to pray for those single parents who need God’s grace to be with them.  I am to invite you to stand for prayer, if you are facing parenting challenges as a single parent or two parent household.  I invite you to stand to represent a single parent family that might be your family or on your heart.   You are standing for prayer for them.