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House or Home - Parenting Edition - Finding Hope for Single Parent and Blended Families, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
May 2, 2024 6:00 am

House or Home - Parenting Edition - Finding Hope for Single Parent and Blended Families, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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May 2, 2024 6:00 am

Is there hope for single parents and blended families to experience true joy and peace - to find rest and strength in the midst of the journey? In this session, Chip is joined by his wife Theresa to share her story of single parenthood and how God carried her through that difficult time in her life. Whether you’re a single parent, a blended family, or just someone looking for a little encouragement, you’ll want to listen to this hope-filled message.

Main Points

A story of hope and restoration - Ruth 1-4

Single parenting - principles and practice

  1. Make your relationship with Christ your #1 priority.
  2. Get connected with a strong, godly, same sex group for support and accountability.
  3. Accept this "season" of your life and set realistic expectations.
  4. Remember God can "make-up" for what you can't give your kids.
  5. Refuse to become a victim, a martyr, or a super parent.
  6. Don't compromise your spiritual and moral standards to "provide a father/mother" for your children.

Blended families - principles and practice

  1. Count the cost thoroughly.
  2. Get pre-marital counseling from a mutually trusted, biblical, and wise resource.
  3. Make your mate your new, unequivocal #1 relationship ahead of children.
  4. Develop a weekly communication tool and mechanism to wrestle family conflicts, schedules, and miscommunication to the ground in a nonthreateneing and safe environment.
  5. Make the spiritual development of your marriage and family the utmost priority; only God and supernatural love can make this work - you don't have that apart from vital union with Christ in the context of a strong, loving, biblical community.
  6. Remember it will take time, it will be harder than you thought, and it can be a glorious testimony of God's restoration and redemption - so don't quit, don't withdraw, don't bail out, and know that God will bring results. - James 1:2-4; Hebrews 10:36
Broadcast Resource Additional Resource Mentions About Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.

About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.

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Someone has rightly said the most difficult job on the face of the earth is to be a single parent.

Well, believe me, I know about that one up close. If you're a single parent or a part of a blended family, you cannot afford to miss today. We're going to talk about hope for single parents and some real help for blended families.

Stay with me. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international teaching and discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. We're nearing the end of our series, House or Home, parenting edition. And for these last two programs, Chip focuses on the specific issues facing single parents and blended families.

Chip actually has a lot of real world experience in these areas that he'll tell us more about as he gets started. But first, we hope you've learned a lot from this parenting series. And to help other moms and dads experience that same encouragement and guidance, take a minute after this message and share these programs with them.

And you can do that through the Chip Ingram app or by sending them the free MP3s you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Well, if you have a Bible, go to the book of Ruth as we join Chip now with today's talk. As we start our time together, I want to share a little story. Over the years, I've spoken on parenting and every time I speak on parenting, I mean literally scores of people will come up and say things like, do you have anything for single parents or do you have anything on the blended family?

And the answer is always no. Now, I will tell you that when I met my wife, she was a single parent. She had two little boys and had been abandoned and was raising them by herself. And so we know a little bit about single parenting. And so when you become an instant father, I got to marry Theresa when the boys were a little older than four. Then we had a blended family.

And so I guess on the one hand, we know something about single parenting and blended family, but I've never taught about it or thought about it much in terms of how would you communicate that to other people? And so you'll notice on your notes, I want to read a story because as I prayed and thought about, you know, I think I could give some practical help and maybe some practical tools, but I don't know that I could give you a biblical perspective of God's picture of how He wants to help restore single parents and blended families. And so you can follow along in your Bibles.

I'll read a portion of the book of Ruth. And Ruth, as you remember, is written during the time of Judges. It's a very dark period. All I can tell you is every man was doing what was right in his own eyes. People were not worshiping God.

They had been involved in intermarrying, which God forbid. They were worshiping false gods, which God forbid. There was a cycle of sin, deliverance, destruction, crying out to God, and then God's deliverance. And then tucked in right after the Judges is this short little book about Ruth who's a Moabite.

And the real essence of the whole book is that when people make very ungodly, sinful, wrong and even stupid choices that bring chaos to their life and to their families, there is a God who's a God of love who pierces through all that chaos and fallout and really longs to help people in spite of what they've done or where they've been. In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land and a man named Bethlehem and Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. Now, interestingly, God had given them land that they hadn't possessed and hadn't obeyed, and so now times are hard.

It's God's discipline. And so now they're leaving the land that God gave them for a foreign land. The man's name was Elimelech, and this is interesting as well. The word in Hebrew, Melech, means king.

The prefix El means God. And so really this man's name means God is my king. Now, what we're going to see is his life and his behavior is the very opposite of God being his king. A king protects you, provides for you, and you obey him.

He doesn't believe God will protect him, he doesn't believe God will provide for him, and he's not obeying him as we'll see from his behavior. His wife's name was Naomi, and his two sons were Mahon and Killian. They were Aphrodites from Bethlehem, Judah, and they went to Moab and they lived there. Now, Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. And they married Moabite women.

That was forbidden. These are not Israelite women. One was named Orphah and the other was Ruth.

After they lived there about ten years, both Mahon and Killian also died. She's lost her sons, she's lost her husband, and her life is in disrepair. When she heard in Moab, now listen to what happens, that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughter-in-law's prepared to return home. With her two daughter-in-laws, she left the place where she'd been living and set out for the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Now, as you know this story, Naomi basically says to both of them, you know, there's no way that I can provide for you. I mean, even if you had, you know, if I had remarried and had a son tomorrow, you can't wait around for my sons to grow and follow Hebrew law and remarry. And she basically actually says to them, go back to your people and go back to your gods. And I hope that you basically find a husband and I will see you.

My life's a mess, nothing turned out well, I'm going back to my people. And then of course, you know, the classic message of Ruth who says, you know, wherever you go, I go and your people are my people and may only death separate us. And Naomi realizes that, you know, no matter what I say, this gal, our hearts have bonded. And she literally ends up kind of adopting Ruth as her daughter. And they go back, and it's interesting as you read in later Chapter 1, when they go back, they arrive in Bethlehem and it says there was a great stir among the people.

One translation, the King James says there was excitement. It's something like Naomi and she came back and what's going on? And, you know, she left with her husband whose name is, you know, God, Yahweh, the Lord is my king, and two boys. And instead of coming back as a fruitful woman with daughter-in-laws and grandchildren and a fruitful life, she's experienced the fruit honestly of a lot of decisions that were very bad and very wrong. You'll notice on your notes, she went from being a widow and then after being a widow, she becomes a single parent. And after she becomes a single parent, she ends up with a blended family. And so she has this adopted daughter, but she does some things that I think are very, very right. It's interesting, she comes to the point of absolute brokenness. And when I meet single parents and often blended families, they are in absolute brokenness.

Not always. Sometimes someone dies and sometimes you remarry and sometimes it's a pretty picture of just God's grace out of sorrow, but a huge percentage of single parents are single parents because 42% of all the births in America are from unwed mothers. A lot of people find themselves frustrated in their marriage and the most common reason for divorce is irreconcilable differences, not biblical grounds.

And so you have a lot of people that are in all kind of relationships, blended families, single parents, and if they would really look back and say, did I do life God's way, the answer really is no. And there's guilt and there's shame and there's difficulty and there's pain and there's consequences and that's why I think the Book of Ruth is so hopeful. Living in a foreign land, she's without help and without hope and she becomes this mother. Now, the other part of the stir is here she's coming home with a non-Jewish daughter-in-law. That is not how to make friends, you know, when you go back to Bethlehem, Beth, house of God. And so Naomi has some wisdom for us. She returned to God and to His people.

She heard that God had provided and God is working and she could have said, you know, I've blown it. I can't go back there. It's really going to be difficult.

I'm going to have to face some past issues. But she returns to God and she returns to His people. Second, she faced her pain and her loss. She literally is humiliated. She's coming back empty and not just empty but with a daughter-in-law of another race. In fact, they say, oh, Naomi, she goes, don't call me Naomi anymore. Call me Mara because I've been afflicted by the Lord. Basically, I don't bring anything to the table anymore.

My life is a mess. She followed God's word and if you read on to chapter 220 and not to the world in chapter 310. So when she comes back, immediately she says, wait a second. The Hebrew law is very clear. We have a kinsman redeemer. I'm going to operate the way God's word says. And then it's interesting when Boaz talks to Ruth and you know the story and how it's the threshing floor and she sleeps at his feet and she's getting all these instructions from her mother-in-law.

And Boaz says, you are a woman of character because you didn't go after the rich men or the young men. What she did was God's word said He's the kinsman redeemer. This is God's plan and somehow Naomi had instilled in this young woman, let's do this God's way, not the world's way. Let's do what God says.

Let's see if He won't provide by what He says and trust His word. And so then Boaz finds himself with a blended family and the result is God rewarded and restored her life. You know, there's grain again. Boaz goes to the elders and he goes to that and he marries. And then you find out later that Naomi will hold a little baby again in her arms and she'll have a grandchild and God will begin to restore the pain and the loss. And the premise is single parents and blended families for whatever cause, sometimes just the fallenness of life and sometimes through sin but it's never God's ideal. A God's ideal is always a mom and a dad to raise these kids. I mean, that's the ideal. So anytime you don't have the ideal, it's going to be challenging. I mean, sometimes we get this expectation that, oh, it'll just be a little bit different but everything's going to be great.

No, it's going to be challenging. But here's what I want you to hear. His grace is sufficient to overcome any and every obstacle if we surrender fully and wholly unto him.

God will give grace regardless of where you've been or how you got there. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and he'll be back to continue our series House Our Home Parenting Edition in just a minute. But let me quickly tell you we are more than a broadcast ministry. We're passionate about supporting pastors globally, developing helpful resources and sharing the gospel with this next generation. So if you'd like to partner with us in these areas, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org.

Well, here again is Chip. Now what I want to do with our time is I'm going to make this pretty simple. There are a lot of excellent books on here's the 15 things every single parent needs to know and things they need to watch out for and then blended families. I mean, I've read a lot of the books in preparation for this and then I thought, what is it that I really have to offer that might be helpful? So here's what we know for sure and a lot of this, it just gives perspective and that's what you need more than anything else. It's a high and growing percentage of families. About 42 percent of all babies that are born are born out of wedlock so they have a single parent mom. We know with what's happening in the military, there's functionally a lot of single moms and single dads as people get deployed. You know that there's widows and widowers. What we know for sure is that if a child born today over the next 18 years, about 70 to 80 percent of them will have some window of their life where they'll live with only one parent.

So what all I'm saying is this is huge. I mean, being a single parent isn't some little group over here, it's huge. Second thing we know is a single parent cannot provide the same quality of care and the quantity of time as a two-parent home.

I mean, we just need to get that on the table. You can't work and be at home at the same time. Your energy, your bandwidth, you can't give to your kids and work and take care of all the issues financially.

The emotional support and strength that you need. A single parent has their own personal needs to get met and often those don't get met so you have less to give to your kids both in time and energy. Then there's some unique specific gender issues. I mean, the most difficult job in the world as a pastor for over 25 years is a single mom, teenage boys. What teenage boys need is a strong, clear male model and that is really tough for a mom. The second most difficult job I've ever seen is single fathers with very small little kids, especially girls. I mean, a dad with a nine-month-old, it's not a pretty picture. He can try really hard but he just doesn't get it because what they need here is nurture.

What they need, those boys later need strength. The third is that with God, nothing is impossible. Remember Mary's response in Luke 1 when the angel said, you're a virgin, you're going to have a child.

How can this be? The angel said, what do you mean how can this be? With God, nothing is impossible. If you're a single parent, if you're in a blended family, God's word to you is with Him, nothing is impossible. And you say, well, but I made a lot of mistakes and this may happen because I did this and this and this. With God, nothing is impossible.

You couldn't make almost more mistakes. It's hard to read one chapter of the Bible like Ruth chapter 1 and see a man, his wife, and his sons that disobeyed God and did more things wrong going backwards and then to see God in His grace. The moment she turned to God, turned to His people, wanted to obey, was broken, oh God help, He delivers. Now, is there pain and consequences? Of course. Jeremiah 32, 17 is one of those verses probably worth memorizing where the prophet in the midst of a horrendous situation and someone looks at it and he says, was the arm of the Lord too short? Is anything too difficult for God?

And the answer overwhelmingly is no. So that's what you know. Well, what can you do as a single parent?

And a lot of these are just laying out, hey, here's what you need to do and there's whole books written about how to do them. But number one, make God your number one priority. I can't emphasize that enough. It's the key. No matter what, get up, spend time with God. Make His word, make His people, make your heart the number one priority. Number two, get connected with a strong, godly, same-sex support group for encouragement and accountability.

You've got to get connected. If you're a single parent, don't go it alone. You will not make it, you will not do well, you'll make very bad decisions in your moments of weakness and loneliness and exhaustion. You will get involved in relationships to try and take care of things that you will just add gasoline onto the fire of your suffering.

You need other people of the same sex who love God who are going to say, let's do this God's way together. Third, accept the season of your life and set realistic expectations for you and your children. I mean, at some point in time, I see single parents that they just keep going up against this wall and they just think things are going to get perfect and nice and easy. Just accept this is the season. And you know what?

For many times, it's the next 10 years because their kids are 8 or 9, 10 years old or the next 12 years or the next 15 years. Just accept. It doesn't mean that it's a bad season, but you just accept this is the season that I have. I need God's grace. And it really resets and recalibrates your expectations. Number four, remember God can make up for what you can't give your kids.

I've watched this over and over and over and over again. Like I said, for many, many years being a pastor, I watch kids coming out of single homes and you scratch your head and you say, you know what, how does that happen? Those are the best, most godly, amazing kids I've ever met. And often they see the desperation of their mom or their dad clinging to God and they don't have enough money and there's pressure and there's all these things and those kids realize because there's great need, they cling to God. God can make up. He can do for your kids what you can't do. Number five, refuse to become a victim, a martyr, or a super parent.

Those are the temptations. As a single parent, oh, woe is me. Everyone take care of me. You start telling the sad story, playing the small violin of your story with every single person and all you find, you find people doing like this to you. You know, like we really love you, we really love you. But every time we get you, you push that button and you're the victim. Or the other person that people don't like to be around, the martyr.

He walked out on me, but I will trust God. You know, okay, lady, lighten up. Or, you know, she had an affair and this is what happened. Or, you know, I was with these three small children and my husband died and I'm not sure how to handle it.

Lady, that was 41 years ago, you know? I mean, I don't mean to diminish things, but you just have to accept, you know, don't be a victim. Don't be a martyr.

The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. His promises are true. And the other is don't be a super parent. Boy, I've watched single parents just try to do it all, be it all. I mean, rise at four in the morning, go to bed at one at night.

I'm going to do this for my kids. Just accept. It's a tough season. God will be adequate. Walk with Him. Get help.

Love Him. Accept help. Number six, don't compromise your spiritual and moral standard. Don't settle for second best in an effort to find a mate or a father or a mother.

Boy, it's a big temptation. You start praying and praying, oh, God, you know, give these little kids or not so little kids a dad or a mom and don't compromise. Well, you know, maybe he'll come to Christ later or he says he believes in God or she says she believes in God and, of course, they haven't walked with God. They don't read the Bible. They don't seem to have any spiritual interest. But if I pass on this one, another one might never come.

You know, that's the buzzer of the Holy Spirit going, stop thinking that way. Don't compromise. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and you've been listening to part one of Chip's message, Finding Hope for Single Parent and Blended Families, from our series House Our Home, Parenting Edition. Chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. Are you an overwhelmed or discouraged parent, desperate for practical wisdom and guidance in raising your kids? Well, if that's you, Chip's got your back. He'll equip moms and dads with God's blueprint for parenting.

With a little courage and intentionality, you'll discover how to better communicate with your kids, reduce stress in your home, and have a joy-filled family. You're not going to want to miss a word of this insightful series. Well, Chip's joined me in studio now to share a brief word before we go on.

Chip? Thanks so much, Dave. Hey, I want to take just a minute to ask you something really important. If you've been impacted by this ministry, would you please pray about partnering with Living on the Edge in a new way right now? Nearly everything we do is dependent on contributions from partners like you.

Our ability to reach people through radio, online, or our app, sharing and developing small group resources, providing broadcasts that are international in Asia and the Middle East and literally dark places around the globe. Please pray how you might be able to come alongside and be a partner to Living on the Edge to help us reach people with the truth of God's Word. Thank you in advance for whatever God leads you to do.

Thanks, Chip. As you've heard, God has called this ministry to help Christians live like Christians, both here in the U.S. and internationally. So if you'd like to help us fulfill that mission, we'd love to have you join the team by becoming a monthly partner. Set up a regular monthly gift by visiting LivingOnTheEdge.org or by calling 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or go to LivingOnTheEdge.org.

App listeners, tap donate. Well, Chip, many of our listeners know that your wife, Teresa, was a single mom for several years before you guys married. So would you take a minute and talk about the encouragement you learned from her that you'd like to pass on to other single parents listening?

Absolutely, Dave. I watched Teresa walk with God in a way that actually was super attractive to me. And we have counseled together so many single moms, single dads. In fact, my daughter has even started a ministry to single moms. And so there's maybe five or six things in rapid fire that I would just say as a single parent out there right now, number one, what I learned from my wife, make your relationship with Christ your number one priority.

Walk with Him. More than anything else, that's more important than finding that person. Second, get connected with a strong, godly, same-sex group for support and accountability. You're so vulnerable. If you're a man, other brothers.

If you're a woman, other sisters, where there's no mixing of things. It's they understand. They're on your team. Number three, accept the season of your life and set realistic expectations. You know, so often we want a magic bullet.

Everything's going to be great. Just accept this is going to be hard. And number four, remember God can make up whatever your kids need even though there's one of you.

He can do something. I've watched that happen in my boys that I later got to adopt. And then refuse to become a victim, a martyr, or a super parent.

It's so easy to, oh, poor me, or I'll show everyone. Refuse to do that. And then don't compromise your spiritual or moral standards to provide a mom or dad to your kids. It's so easy to just, he's a really good guy or she's a really good gal and not really a Christian, but they believe in God and he won't stay with me unless we sleep together. Just don't go down that path.

God's plan is too rich, too good, and finally remember he's faithful, he loves you, and as you walk closely with him, the timing may not be what you want, but I will say this, trust God. He's for you and he loves those little ones or big ones even more than you do. Thanks for that encouragement, Chip. And in case you missed some of the points he just reviewed, they're pulled straight from his message notes, which is a tool available for every program. So let me encourage you to get this resource before you listen to us again. Chip's notes include his outline, the scripture he references, and fill-ins to help you remember what you're learning.

They'll really help you get the most out of every program. Chip's message notes are a quick download at livingontheedge.org under the broadcasts tab, app listeners tab, fill-in notes. We'll listen in next time as Chip wraps up his series, House or Home, parenting edition. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-02 05:29:20 / 2024-05-02 05:40:00 / 11

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