When the thought came to me that I needed to write about this sensitive and often misunderstood topic, I dismissed it as something that someone else would do much better than I.
I wonder if God grows weary of me trying to talk Him out of things that He makes abundantly clear are part of His will for my life?
Reluctantly I sit down before you, feeling very inept in my attempts to speak about such a fragile thing. At the same time, my heart is heavy and I know that once I listen and follow through with what I feel I am being led to do, the burden will be lifted and hopefully someone will be encouraged.
I know that there are many fathers out there holding everything together with their kiddos. I’m not going to talk about them. Reason being, I’ve never been a single dad. I have, however, been a single mom. I can speak from experience and hopefully share strength and hope as well.
Recently there have been a slew of things flooding my mind, but few reach my heart. The other day I was talking with a friend who asked if I would be willing to meet with an acquaintance of hers who was going through a difficult time. Without thinking or praying about it, I quickly said, “Sure!” (side not: that’s never a wise thing for me to do. Answer quickly. It usually means that my motives are selfish.)
This beautiful, young woman and I met for coffee. As I listened to her story unfold I began realizing that I had completely abandoned a part of my life that was a significant part of who I am.
I watched her eyes fill with tears though she would not allow herself to cry. I listened, I watched and I remembered. Suddenly I was taken back to a time in my life that was more difficult than I even realized at the time.
Some people choose it. Others are left. I chose it.
This woman had chosen it as well. Without telling you details of her story, without needing to, I can tell you that she’s in for a difficult road in her immediate future.
This got me thinking…now that I’m happily married to someone I adore and I have a beautiful family, does that exempt me from walking beside someone who is in the midst of the wreckage?
No. If anything it equips me to provide encouragement and a safe place away from the attorneys and bill collectors, accusers and mockers. I know first hand that she is misunderstood, judged, ridiculed and rejected by former friends and family. I know that she is scared. Fearful of not being able to pay the bills, of ever getting sick, of losing her low income housing. There is so much fear and doubt and uncertainty.
Have you ever been in that place of not really knowing from day to day what your life will look like? Do you know any single moms? Many of them have residence in that place of relentless uncertainty.
With Father’s day upon us, please be mindful of your words and intentions when speaking. Especially to children. There are some moms out there who are making it happen in both roles. Please don’t make assumptions or judgements.
If you’re a parent, you know how difficult it is raising human beings that will hopefully be productive members of society. There are days when I wonder what I would do if I couldn’t say to Chris, “Tag, You’re it!” so that I can have a few moments of sanity.
Being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. We are pulled in so many directions. When you have more than one child it can be stressful even with two of you trying to make all of the school functions, sporting events, dinners around the table as a family and quality time investing in the relationship and future of your child(ren).
Imagine trying to do all of those things by yourself. Raising children alone can be one of the most isolating things out there. It’s difficult to explain, except to say that it’s not what you think…she’s not who you think she is…things are not as they appear to be.
May I encourage you to do something extraordinary? If you know a single mom and you want to help, offer to keep her kids (at no charge) while she runs errands or takes a shower and blow drys her hair or takes a walk. Send her a handwritten note of encouragement. Offer to take her grocery list, go shopping for her and deliver her groceries. Let her know by your actions that she’s not alone.
It’s not enough to say, “What can I do?”
There are so many things. It’s difficult to know where to start. The question will usually elicit one of two responses; “Oh, nothing, I’m fine.” or “Just pray.”
We must take the initiative.
I challenge you to make an effort this week to positively impact the life of a single mom in your community. And after you do, I want to know about it so that I can thank you.
Are you a single mom? What are your top three worries, struggles, concerns? What would be the biggest help to you from an outsider? Please leave a comment below or if you would rather remain anonymous, you can email me at the address found here.
As the child of a single mom I would encourage single moms to have regular discussions with their children regardless of their age about why things did not work out. As a child I never knew what went wrong with mom and dad. I think we thought we were better off not knowing because the truth might be too hard for us to handle as kids. I think we were wrong. I do know it would have helped if we knew we were not the cause of or in some way played a part in the split. I think we all struggled with the thought that we were a reason for the break up. I think single moms could help their children by being very frank with them about what went wrong and that they need not worry that they were part of the cause. I know that kind of quilt can stay with someone forever. I know both mom and we were carrying burdens that might have been lessened if we could have talked more about what went wrong and what was going to happen. I think as parents sometimes we do not give our kids as much credit that they deserved for being able to understand complicated issues and thus we sometimes miss a great opportunity to help them deal with issues and to mature as well.
I totally agree with you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this.
Wow that took me back. Thanks for this reminder Joy,
I know. I feel you on that!