Relationships are complex at best. Co-parenting relationship with your children’s father can add a whole new level of complexity, emotion, stress and frustration to your life. Everyone’s relationship is different. I know women who have wonderful relationships with their children’s father, so good that it is hard to believe they are divorced! On the other side of the spectrum I’ve known women who literally do not talk to their children’s father at all and have a mediator or go between. Co-parenting relationships take time, patience and respect and are filled with peaks and valleys, but what matters most are the kids. Regardless of the divorce and the relationship afterward, most people agree that they love their kids and their happiness is what is important.
Many of the moms I speak to are completely burned out, not by the responsibilities, the kids, their job, or even finances, but it is their ex! There is so much hurt, anger, bitterness, and baggage that it consumes them. It eats at them day in and day out, so they vent…and vent… and vent. Listen, I get it! Sometimes you just need to let loose, but there comes a point when you have to let go as well. When we spend our energy bad mouthing and complaining about our ex, we are still living as though we are in the relationship! Moving on and creating something new becomes impossible, because of the negativity.
Dare, I say instead of badmouthing, become the peacemaker? No one is expecting that everything will be roses overnight, but do you want to live out the next however many years in a state of anger? Bad mouthing never really makes you feel better, it leaves a residue that sticks to you. Badmouthing pricks at your spirit, and convicts you. You know in your heart that God doesn’t want us to tear one another to pieces with our words. It is especially damaging if it is done in front of the kids. The longer you bad mouth the more exhausting it becomes because negativity is poisonous and zaps our energy and our light as Christians.
Divorce is heartbreaking, whether you both agree to it or not, so if you can work at creating something new for the sake of your family, why not do it? Our kids watch us and giving them an example that is rooted in respect will have a big impact, but so does badmouthing. Galatians 5:15 says, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” The enemy wants us to take a tough situation and make it worse by keeping us biting at one another until there is nothing left. Don’t allow it to happen.
I don’t know your ex or your circumstances and I’m not making light of any situation. There are some cases where an ex boyfriend or husband are physically abusive and dangerous and in those cases there is usually no relationship for reasons of physical and emotional safety. But, if that is not the case, coming to a place where you stop the badmouthing and start recreating the narrative will only be better for you and everyone involved. My number one way to do this is to pray! Ask God to bring you to a place of peace, ask him to heal the hurt, to bring the co-parenting relationship to a place of respect.
I can’t wait for you to dig deeper into this tip in my upcoming e-book, “15 Tips to Avoid Single Mom Burnout.”
There are two powerful darts that aim to shoot us down, snatch away dreams and inject poison into our hopes and tries to deflate our faith. Those darts are fear and discouragement. Have you ever got shot in the gut by one of these darts? Most of us experience the unpleasant effects of fear or discouragement when we are burning up to do God’s work. When we are on purpose and intentionally trying to live out God’s will for our life, that when the darts come flying out of nowhere.
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Some of you are probably licking your wounds as you read these words. Maybe it was just a few weeks ago that you had boundless energy to do God’s work. The path in front of you felt familiar because God had planted the seeds in your heart, to carry out his will and you felt fulfilled because that’s exactly what you were doing, then all of a sudden bam! You’re hit with a wave of fear, intimidation, pessimism and a stream of negative thoughts that scream how unworthy and ill-equipped you are to be on this path. After the fear gets cozy it ushers in discouragement. All the confidence and enthusiasm you were bursting with is slowly drained by the poisonous dart that has intentionally found its way to you.
Fear and discouragement are the heavy artillery used by the enemy to derail you and extinguish the fire you have as a follower of Christ. If you’ve been under attack you know how debilitating and paralyzing it is to your spirit. So, how do you loosen the grip of the enemy’s hold in your life?
Just as God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous he commands us to do the same. How can we do this when we can barely see above the fear that’s clouding our vision and the discouragement that invading our heart? We can only do it through the assurance that God is with us always. If God who is all-powerful, omniscient, never-changing, who is limitless in possibility is always with us then fear and discouragement are already defeated. The Lord is our shield protecting us from the darts of the enemy. Through our faith and assurance, our courage and strength are born. We can be encouraged by the knowledge of the scriptures that assure us that God has our back.
When I’m in my groove and on my path of purpose a huge mistake I make that gives the enemy a clear shot is when I become self-reliant. The courage and strength I experience in the beginning are born from Christ, but then that old prideful self-appears and foolishly I start to rely on my own abilities, skills, and strength, placing my protective shield in a corner. The enemy is crafty! When he sees I’ve taken off my armor he will take full advantage of my unprotected state, target my weaknesses and vulnerabilities with a full-on attack. Suddenly I’ve veered off course. I’m deflated, doubtful and feel like a balloon that’s been popped. All that zeal for God is replaced with a hesitancy to go forward. Ladies this isn’t what God wants for us!
The key to strength and courage is allowing it to pour in through Christ. Let him fill you with his blessed assurance, let him wipe away the tears of discouragement and resuscitate you with a heart of encouragement! You have nothing to fear as long as you continue to be rooted in Christ. We don’t have to be strong on our own, we can’t! We need the Lord of infinite power to permeate our life to be a force field against the darts of the enemy so that we can become the masterpiece the potter had always planned!
In a world that has an insatiable appetite for everything material, there are only a few things that really matter and are consequential. What matters above riches is a relationship with Jesus, wisdom, faith, and love. In these strange and trying times, I find myself angrier than usual, more easily offended and wanting to jump into the flesh in a New York minute. Everything seems a little louder, a lot more personal and there’s an underlying current of sadness and disappointment in and for the people in the world around me. I’ve been turning to the scriptures for solace and the word that is sticking in my head is wisdom.
Godly wisdom and not the world’s wisdom is an indispensable friend and guardian of my life as I weave in and out of situations that continue to surprise me. I am reminded to hold onto the instruction, to the God-breathed scripture and apply to my daily walk as a mom, a Christian and as a woman. I am so grateful for the blueprint of the Bible as I continue to walk along this crazy path called life. I know in this flawed world there is one thing that is flawless and that is the wisdom of the scriptures and my Savior Jesus Christ.
Coparenting can be rough, here are 10 Tips on Coparenting that have worked for me. Also, included is a resource page. Hope you find it helpful!