Abandonment comes from discouragement and discouragement comes from losing courage. Many are the times we have found ourselves in situations where we feel abandoned, betrayed and lied to by the people we loved, trusted and placed our hope in. This allows for discouragement to creep in and rob us of the only moment where we felt loved, appreciated and a lifetime of a complete family to raise our children. It can easily make us lose the courage to face life with along with our children.
David – our greatest example of how one can encourage oneself in the Lord.
I will draw my encouragement from the book of 1 Samuel 30: 1-6 which states,
When David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who are there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives, Ahinoam, the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him , because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
What are the sources of discouragement?
- Our enemy
In this story the enemy was the Amalekites who had invaded the south and Ziklag, attacked and burned with fire. In our case today the enemy is the people who want to divide us and isolate us from finding the courage to face life’s challenges in the Lord our God.
- Other people. (Psalm 42:10)
David faced discouragement from the people who were with him in the battle when they spoke of stoning him because their soul was grieved for their sons and daughters, in the same way as mums and dads in this group we have faced discouragement from people who have called you names and an outcast because of society requirements
David faced reproach from his enemies who were even questioning his God and this made him so discouraged and weep and today in this group we are victims of this people have questioned our character and also hurled insults at us and we are wondering what will become of us but I want to encourage you today that you can encourage yourself in the Lord your God.
How can a single mum or dad encourage him/herself in the Lord?
- Be emotionally honest.
When you are going through hard times in your life let your prayers come honestly from your heart, even when they are ugly, C.S Lewis states “I have learned now that while those who speak about ones miseries usually hurt those who keep silent hurt more.”
Give yourself permission to feel, but don’t let your emotional pain become who you are. Feel something in that moment, bit don’t let your emotional pain rule you.
It is ok to be real, but it is momentary( not forever).
- Remind yourself of God’s goodness
David reminded himself of the good things that God had done in his life and he says in (Psalm 42:4 a, when I remember these things I pour out my soul within me with the voice of joy and praise, the psalmist is reminding mums and dads here when life becomes tough remember the good moments that God fought for you and provided avenues for you to fend for your kids.
- Challenge your inward despair
No matter the challenge one faces in life, always shift your focus back to God by correcting how we feel and think to how God feels and think and you will be surprised that He has always been with you through it all.
- Let hope in God be your Anchor
By hoping in God you will build a strong foundation both for you and your children where no one can shake and that will be possible when we learn to keep hope where it belongs not in people but in God.
- Gaze at God, glance at life
This will be possible when one does not look at their circumstances and current situation but gaze at God who is the author and finisher of our faith.