Monday, February 13, 2017

TENDING HEARTS IN SINGLE MOTHERHOOD--by Guest Author Karen Jurgens


Guest Author Karen Jurgens
with her daughters after her divorce
Let's be honest—going through a divorce isn’t easy. But no matter how difficult, don’t forget that your children may be suffering. To minister as the parental caregiver, it's crucial to remember to first care for yourself. Just as on a flight where adults secure their oxygen masks before helping children, it’s the same after divorce.

Here are some points to help you along that journey.

Step One: Tend your spiritual life.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4, NASB).
Guest Author Karen Jurgens
When I catapulted into a new life of singlehood, a personal relationship with Jesus became my lifeline. He was more than my Redeemer and Friend—He became my spiritual husband. My car was a prayer chapel to and from work where I discussed everything with Him, just as though He were sitting next to me. When I fell into bed exhausted at the end of a long day, He talked to me out of His Word, speaking from passages wherever my bible fell open. I meditated on those scriptures and memorized them. He filled me with His strength, giving me hope for tomorrow. Each day brightened a shade, and I began to climb out of my deep well of grief.

Step Two: Surround yourself with adults who can offer support.


As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10, NASB).

Karen's daughters with Nana.
When my stay-at-home status changed overnight, I dusted off my teaching certificate after a nine-year absence. Securing a support system at home so I could handle a new job was a key ingredient, while keeping my children stable in their world. Fortunately, my parents lived nearby, so I was blessed to recruit them. I am forever grateful for their provision of stability and love for the girls, in addition to my peace of mind.

Step Three: Begin a new life.

A joyful heart is good medicine... (Proverbs 17:22a).
  • Playing school with Papa, Karen Jurgens's
    father.
    Looking back, I can see how having a job was a blessing in disguise. Although I felt overwhelmed at the time, God used it as part of my healing process. Teaching, grading papers, and learning computer software programs kept my mind busy from the moment I awoke until I fell asleep. Little time was left over to feel sorry for myself—no time left to attend pity parties at the Broken Hearts Club.
  • Making a new set of friends also provided comfort. Singles groups in my church supplied opportunities for meeting new people and attending social activities. Laughter and pleasant adult company helped heal my heart.
  • But what about the kids? In a single family, ministering to them is worth every bit of effort it takes. Providing a feeling of security and love is of paramount importance.

Step Four: Communication.

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6, NASB).

  • Karen Jurgens's daughters at church.
    Regular church attendance and bedtime prayers were the most important routines I established. Every night we would gather on my bed to read the bible. We prayed aloud for each other and memorized scriptures together. These activities formed the foundation of the girls’ relationship and walk with Jesus. Any time one of them started to wander during their teenage years, their training in the Word always brought them back on the path of righteousness.
  • Keep communication lines open by helping with homework, attending school and community activities, or playing a board or card game your child enjoys. Regular dinner time around the table is also a great opportunity for sharing about everyone’s day to celebrate the good things as well as to console any hurts.

Step Five:  Create a safe and secure environment.

My dad’s favorite saying: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
  • Karen Jurgens's daughters in 2017
    Encourage positive words for little ears. No criticizing the other parent! Just pleasant, wholesome words that will nurture love for both parents.
  • Create a safe bridge of custodial visitation your child can cross in both directions. It’s not easy to live in two homes with two different sets of rules and expectations. Reassure children by continuing familiar routines with comforting belongings at both places, thus minimizing confusion and upset.
  • Pet adoption is a good way to bring comfort to a child’s heart. Loving and caring for our poodle Babette filled our hearts with love, comforting our entire family, and it taught the girls responsibility.

A road with fresh adventures and new relationships await you with every sunrise. May you and your children be blessed on this journey with good health, peace, and the joy of the Lord.

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

ABOUT AUTHOR KAREN JURGENS

Karen Jurgens, a Cincinnati native, has been a Texan transplant for thirty years and counting. Since retiring from teaching, she has begun a new career as an author, blogger, and speaker within the context of Christian ministry. She blogs about scriptural answers to life’s trials at Touched by Him Ministries.
LINKS FOR KAREN JURGENS:
Blogs:
Touched by Him Ministries 
Writing Prompts blog
Heartwings Blog
Twitter
Facebook Author page
Amazon Author page
Desire’s Promise Link to Purchase






3 comments:

Meghan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meghan said...

Thank you for being a wonderful mother and a strong spiritual leader for our family! You have a powerful testimony! This is a great article and I hope it helps people going through similar situations. I love you!!

Gail Johnson said...