“Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to show up to everything.”
These were the words my daughter’s mom said to me after I attended a doctor visit for our daughter earlier this year. “No,” I thought to myself, “that’s EXACTLY what you do as a parent!”
Rather than dwelling on the negative and allowing circumstances like this to consume me, I now use this sort of example as an opportunity to grow in my walk with Christ and as a father. I try to parent to the best of my ability, the rest I must entrust to Him.
Co-parenting (or lack of) is often fueled by hurt or spite rather than what is in the best interest of the children.
Although there is no “one size fits all” remedy, here are a few quick thoughts to help comfort you when co-parenting seems impossible:
• Train through the trials
To use a workout analogy: “Resistance equals growth”. In order to become faster or stronger, we must first overcome “resistance”. Eventually the challenges that were once too difficult may actually become easier to endure. Why? Because we are more conditioned to handle the weight! The same is true as we encounter various trials in life. Our exposure to them, combined with the right “nutrition” (God’s Word) and “spotters” (friends, family, mentors, pastors) helps us to persevere through the difficulty. Case in point: my reaction to the opening statement is now far more civil now than perhaps some time ago.
• Go around if necessary
I have learned over the years that most teachers and doctors are happy to work with parents in separate homes to keep them informed on a child’s well-being. Reach out to those necessary to keep you in the loop and express your gratitude for their assistance. Yes, it may be inconvenient, so keeping our emotions in check and focusing on the task at hand will be key towards a positive outcome.
• Pray for those who persecute you
Do you pray on a regular basis for whomever may be causing difficult circumstances in your life? Not to get some sort of spiritual “credit”… but because as followers of Christ we hold to a higher standard and should be modeling the same love and sacrifice He made for us. Ask the Lord to soften your heart where it may be hardened. Pray for your child’s mother or father as an act of obedience and worship.
Focusing on godly co-parenting can be hard sometimes, especially when it’s not reciprocated. Hang in there and allow God to do His work. Our decision to do so now will not only draw us closer to Jesus but to our children as well through the example we set.
And let endurance have its perfect result,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:4 (NASB)
Parents, are you allowing God to help you overcome challenges rather than trying to do it yourself? What could you do differently?
Previously posted on 1Corinthians13Parenting.com on September 27, 2015.
By Matt Haviland
Husband to Christy
Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers, co-author of The Daddy Gap
Get a copy of Matt’s book, A Father’s Walk!