on being a single mom

A shame as dirty as the floor washed over me as I pulled the number from the dispenser. Babies wailed and mommas fidgeted. Numbers were called one-by-one. Brokenness filled the room. I couldn’t help but wonder about the circumstances that had left each person applying for government assistance. Abandoned families. Laid-off employees. Cancer patients. I prayed and reminded myself that God was in control over circumstances. Mine and theirs.

I fought the tears and resolved to maintain control. The moment would finally come when my number was called and she ushered us to her office. Right away, I could see that this social worker was not having a good day. She never looked up. Her tone was condescending and her heart cold. She fired questions at me, as if she was hoping to trap me. My situation was bleak and I needed the money, so I endured.

She had no patience, no understanding, and no tact.

On the form, I had checked married, but stated that he left. “That means you are separated, honey,” she jeered. I couldn’t find the voice to respond, so she continued. “You might as well face it. You are a single mom now.” It was the first time I would hear those words and it burned deep. The urge to choke her flooded over me, but I resolved not to come unglued. My heart withered in fear. I had no control over my life and the future was terrifying. I didn’t like it, but she was right. I was now a single mom.

 It's something I could never find pride in being. Yet something God has used to work beauty in my life.

Single mom.

For me, those words have always come with a wave of negativity.

I picture her living in a trailer, eating cans of beans from the church’s food bank and working while her babes sleep at night. She’s tired, mistreated, misunderstood, and often cries herself to sleep at night. Her heart is bitter and lonely and her responsibilites pile much higher than that sink of dirty dishes.

I grew up with this reality and I knew that it was the one thing that I never wanted to be. It was the one thing I feared the most. The one thing I worked the hardest to prevent. But it turns out that it’s not something I can control. Sweet friend…did you hear that? It’s not something you can control. Godly men fall off the deep end in an instant. Even pastors, deacons and missionary men. Families shatter and you find yourself sitting in the piles of destruction.

I’ve lived in that destruction for 2 years, 8 months and 2 days. Up until this very moment, I have never used the phrase “single mom.” Even when it was a matter of getting food for my children, I refused to allow it to define me. Yet, the reality is…I am a single mom. I care for 4 small children by myself. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t want this. It doesn’t matter that I begged him to stay. It doesn’t matter that I pray daily for God to restore our family. The reality is…he isn’t here and I do this thing alone.

I’m a single mom.

Declaring this “status” makes it hard to breathe. The fear of the unknown, the lack of financial resources, the emotional trauma and the judging eyes all carry great heartache. But for me, my greatest fear is the lack of acceptance. I fear that this will be the one thing that will keep me from being loved.

So often, people assume that single moms brought their depravity upon themselves. I know they do, because I’ve been one of those people. I’ve judged and pointed fingers. I’ve believed the lie that she could have been a better wife. I’ve watched her car pull into McDonald’s and passed judgement, never wondering how I could help with the mountain of responsibility that she never asked for. I’ve avoided friendships with single moms and I’ve offered “suggestions” as to their working status. I’ve even held the same critical views of myself.

Oh, how I wish I had known the pain, the utter depravity that a mom feels that can’t be comforted with piles of bills, laundry, and toys. Oh, how I wish that I had just once stopped to think about how badly she needed a friend or how desperate she was for a hug. Oh, how I wish that I had just stopped judging and tried to understand. But honestly, there is no way to understand or fathom what a single mom experiences. Until you’ve been there.

As it turns out, being a single mom is not a label, it’s a situation. And situations are what you make of them.

Single mom, it’s time we stop believing the lie that what other people think matters. NO ONE else can define us, but our Father. Right now, we can choose to believe what God says about us. There is no mold or stereotype to threaten us. EVEN if it was entirely your fault that he left, God’s love for you (and me) is scandalous. It’s never-ending.  All-consuming. Merciful and powerful. He chose us and adopted us as treasured daughters (Eph 1:4-8).

Perhaps you didn’t choose to be a single mom, but you can chose to bask in the love of our Savior, not allowing negativity to invade. We can claim the promise that He is in control and that His plan works all things for our good, even when others intend harm (Gen. 50:20). We can choose to believe that even in this circumstance God is working, refining our own depravity into a crown of beauty (Is. 63)

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Comments

  1. says

    Such a great post! I’ve been a single mama since pregnancy…officially now six years since she’s been born, but almost seven years on the journey since he left right after finding out I was pregnant. You communicate the depths of feeling so well and sometimes there are just no words for what happens to a heart and soul when facing its reality. I always wanted to be a mama, but not like this. Each year brings with it an element of strength and courage and acceptance, and the challenges come and go and evolve, but there is a lingering tension that never leaves. My greatest comfort has been The Lord who has strengthened me in ways I never knew were possible.

    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope…and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…who through faith are shielded by God’s power. In this (we) greatly rejoice, though now for a little while (we) may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1Peter 3-6

    Happy to have found your blog. If you do not mind, I would like to share this on my FB page. (https://www.facebook.com/mysinglemomlife)

  2. Monica says

    I absolutely love this post! Your blog and exactly what I needed for this tough season I am going through. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. says

    Very well said. It hurts when you become a single mom. I was one for 6 years, with a special needs child to boot. It was rough, and many nights I cried for lack of sleep, strength, and not near enough hours in the day. I worked 3 part time jobs in nursing in order to have a flexible schedule and pay the bills. That is a place I hope to never go back to, with the trips to the social workers to fill out forms for assistance to bridge the gap during times I couldn’t work for my child’s illnesses (chronic), facing the pile of bills that solely laid on my shoulder, and no end in sight. I married since then, as did my son’s dad, and took on 2 more children with special needs, and even with all the stress of married life and special needs, I would take it over single parenthood anytime. I commend you for keeping on!

  4. says

    Oh, gosh, what perfect timing! I’m so glad that I’ve found your blog. It seems QUITE inspiring and I’ve only read a little. Perhaps when I have more time later I’ll grab some tea and have some Mama Time, reading more? I’m a new single Mom. In fact, our first court date is TOMORROW…and my divorce, after 18 years of marriage (and 4 years of exclusive dating), may only be 30 days away. My husband walked out on us February 16, the day after our oldest son turned 14 and 3 days after our youngest son turned 8, to be with a married woman he chatted with on-line for just 7 weeks, but had never met. Convinced that she was the love of his life (even though she had no plans to leave HER husband and kids), he told me and our kids, “Mom and I are divorcing. I love someone else and I’m leaving” and then walked out. “The love of his life” lasted only a few hours (literally!), but the emotional scars he left on our kids are forever. Anyway, part of MY STORY. LOL I used to hide it, but I’m growing stronger every day; I CAN do this and do it well! I look forward to reading more of your writing! Thanks for being open about YOUR life and sharing it with others!

  5. Tara D says

    Like you Kim and too many women leaving comments I share a very similar story. Thank you for sharing, it is so very difficult. Were it not for Christ being everything perfectly (faithful, true, devoted) I wouldn’t believe in love. I’ve grown a lot, this has molded me for the better thanks to Our Father in Heaven.

  6. Christie says

    Oh, you precious woman of God…. I am so sorry. My hear aches for you and your family. What a difficult thing! My best friend’s husband flipped a switch several years ago, and I can totally relate to your statement that “Godly men fall off the deep end in an instant. Even pastors, deacons and missionary men. Families shatter and you find yourself sitting in the piles of destruction.” Such heart ache! May the Lord continue to heal yours, and may He bring people in your path who can help with laundry, give you a little time to breathe and just listen and be a friend.

  7. says

    Hello there, very nice blog you have here. I was searching Christian blogs, Christian Single Parent Blogs, etc. I came across your blog. It is very beautiful. I am a single father with custody of my child. Single parenting can be messy.
    Anywho, I wanted to wish you a Very Merry Christmas.
    Check out my Christian blog if you have some time at: http://www.courageouschristianfather.com

  8. Nancy says

    I just became a single Mom yesterday, although the reason I am a single mom is that I was doing it basically all myself anyway. He had internet and gaming addictions, no affection for me, was verbally and emotionally abusive to me and kids. I pushed for change, he gave a tiny bit, but after 20 years of trying to impress upon him that we needed him, I finally felt like we didn’t any more. He is reaping what he had sown, and I had sheilded him from the consequences of his actions for far too lang. So he moved 400 miles away. Yesterday. Glad to find your blog- I know I was forced into this position, but I still feel somewhat at fault. your words “God’s love for you (and me) is scandalous” are healing. thank you

  9. Teresa says

    I am SO happy that I found your website. I don’t know what to call myself sometimes. My husband has been in prison almost 5 years and will be for many more. I have used the term single mom. The other day I said I was a Prison Widow. Both of those terms are not what I ever dreamed I would be. We have 9 children. I have a supremely supportive church who is committed to homeschooling so they have made a way for me to stay home with my children. I am incredibly blessed.
    I have a testimony to God’s faithfulness. I tithed last Sunday and someone handed me an envelope on Tuesday with 6 times what I gave! You cannot out-give God and you can absolutely trust Him!
    I am continually comforted by this verse:
    2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  10. Heather B says

    Lord bless you, Kim. We have so many friends, so many, that are single moms. Dear friends. I have a special place in my heart for you, and as you know, so does the Lord. I’ve been reading a new book by Dr. Tony Evans. He has a special message in it for single parents. He says, “God knows the situation you are in, and He knows where to find you. He loves you and has great compassion on you. When you hurt, He feels it. He knows your loneliness, stigma, and pain. After all, He experienced the fullness of all three on the cross.” I’m not trying to preach, I know you know this. I’ve just been really encouraged myself reading this book. It’s solid, thorough, inspirational and affirming. It’s called, “Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith.” I recommend it for any parents interested in a great resource. Blessings to you!

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