It’s 10:13 pm on Friday night. You step on a handful of now-broken crayons as you fumble with the light switch. The empty house surrounds with darkness. The kids are now with their dad and you are stranded with a stack of bills you can’t pay, a filthy house, and a never-ending to-do list. You know you should get started on something or even just go to bed so you can get up early tomorrow. But the tears explode streaks of fire down your cheeks instead.
It’s in the darkness that the loneliness takes over.
My friend, do you find yourself suffocating in the emptiness? Maybe you can’t relate to the loneliness of visitation or the stack of never-end bills. But sweet single mom, I know we have this one thing in common. In fact, it’s often the very first comment I see when I meet another single mom. No matter what the circumstances are, the feelings of loneliness sink deep into our souls. We are certain that it’s not possible that anyone has ever felt this way or gone through these same things. We are certain that no one is crazy enough to attempt this homeschool thing as a single mom. We are certain because we know darkness and darkness feels lonely.
Dear Single Mom who feels alone…it’s a lie.
Yep. It’ a bold-faced, stupid attempt of the father of lies to kick you while you are down. (John 8:44) And if we aren’t very intentional, he will succeed.
I can’t help but think of Anna of Frozen as she is dancing around the lonely castle proclaiming that “for the first time in forever” she won’t be alone. No more talking to the pictures on the wall. No more dark nights. But she is so wrong. Every time I hear that song I remind my kids, “she never had to be alone.” By now they groan and beg me to stop telling them that. But I refuse. I refuse because I know that in our flesh we are tempted to believe this very frequent and fatal attempt of Satan to steal our joy.
Now Anna, might have felt alone as there is no indication that she knew Jesus as her Savior, but oh sweet single mom, it doesn’t have to be that way for us. With Jesus, we are NEVER ever alone. True, your best friend may not have walked through divorce. Your mom might not be able to relate to homeschooling. You might even live in a town miles away from another single mom or homeschooler. But you are still not alone.
Let’s look at what the Bible says—>
The first verse that comes to mind when people start talking about God being with us is some version of Deut. 31:8. “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (ESV). I love that God promises never to leave us. In a world where marriages are easier to break than to commit to, this one thing is very comforting. There will never come a day when God finds a younger version of me that he would prefer or one who weighs a little less. Or even one who makes fewer mistakes. God loves me (and you) today exactly the way we are. Of course, that doesn’t mean that He won’t change and grow us. But we can count on the fact that HE will never leave. Never.
Honestly, I think that should be enough, but you know what? God gives us MORE! Not only will he never leave us, look at what Psalm 42:8 says: Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. (KJV) I don’t know about you, but there have been many sleepless nights around here. What a comfort to know that God gives me His song to be with me in the night and His lovingkindness in the day. This God isn’t some being who dictates and controls. He wants relationship with us. He wants to be that song in the night. What a precious thought!
But there’s more. Actually, the Bible is full of verses that I could share here, but I will let Psalm 116:1 be enough for today. “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.” (ESV) This isn’t the only place in the Bible where it says that God hears our cry. In fact, there are far too many to list. But think about it for one second. The God of heaven, who created you in His very image, hears your cry. He knows those lonely thoughts. He sees every tear. Oh, what a blessing we have!
After reading those verses it’s hard not to be excited about the promises we have in God. But I know exactly what you are thinking. I know these verses can be hard to swallow from a pastor who has been married 20 years and goes to bed every night cuddled with the woman of his dreams. Or the well-meaning counselor who may have a degree in this stuff, but has never come home to an empty darkness.
But I’m not either of those things.
I still lay on one side of the bed feeling that vast emptiness beside me. I know what it’s like to go days without talking to another human, or at least another adult. And I know the anguish of having no one to hold you through life’s triumphs and trials. Yes, I get that God is not in the flesh. And yes, I’ve heard so many of you say that you need someone in the flesh. But, oh my friend, don’t you see what you are really saying there? If you need more than what you have, you are saying that God is not enough. And this thing I can promise—> Until God is enough for us, no one else will EVER be enough. No husband, no friend, no family member, no counselor. No one.
So what does that look like practically? I mean, if we are to believe these verses and KNOW that we are not alone in this, how do we do it? My friend, as I already mentioned, I’m no expert here. But I will tell you what has worked in my life. And it’s really no big secret.
1. Don’t allow yourself to speak lies out loud. Every time you find your self starting to doubt God or proclaim despair on your situation, stop it dead in your tracks. DON’T allow yourself to speak out loud, what you are not supposed to believe in your heart. (Don’t allow yourself to ponder over it either.) Negative talk will indeed begin to sound true if you continue to say it. So stop right now.
2. Cling to the truth by drowning in it. Next, you have to replace those untrue lies with the truth. And if you are anything like me, you don’t know nearly enough truth. Carve out that quiet time and DROWN yourself in God’s word until you have a scripture to combat every lie that you think, feel, or say. God tells us that His Word is the sword that we need to fight this battle. (Eph. 6) Don’t leave your sword on the shelf.
3. Preach to yourself. I promise this works. I’ve been using this tactic for years. I recite verses and truth from God’s Word OUT loud all the time. I tell my kids what His Word says about something, I put it on my mirrors, and on the fridge. I read it out loud. I cry it out loud. Sometimes I shout it out loud. I even post it on Facebook. This is your chance to be a realist. I allow myself to say, “I FEEL lonely, but I know it’s a lie because God commands His lovingkindess over me every day!” This works great when dealing with your kids, too. Just remember, as my wise friend always says, “Feelings are real. They just aren’t reliable.” Feelings aren’t taboo. We all feel things. We just can’t believe that our feelings are truth.
At the risk of contradicting myself, I will share one last thought. Once you find that God is enough or you at least realize that you are on a journey to that place of contentment, use the resources that God has given you. Maybe there is a single mom group at your church or in your community. I was unable to find one with like-minded gals, so I rely most on online relationships. And I’ll be honest, while it seems weird, it’s really quite nice. I can talk whenever and not need childcare. There is almost always someone around to talk you down from the ledge. And often times, I find that in helping someone else with their problem, God teaches me something new about my issues.
If you are looking for an online support group, come join us over in the Not Consumed Community. It’s not a group exclusively for single moms, but you will find many of us over there as well as many other like-minded moms just trying to live out this life of faith!
Come and join us. We’d love to have you!