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Dear Single Mom…

From the Editor : Maddie Jomolca

It’s 10:30 pm on a Friday night.  You step on a handful of now-broken crayons and Barbie’s 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. The separation anxiety kicks in, and though you know you should get started on something or even just go to bed so you can get up early tomorrow, you, instead wrestle with tears that seem to explode out of their ducts and burn holes in your cheeks.

I am a single mom. I have raised three beautiful girls, now women, on my own and this was, for years, my very own arena in which I performed. In fact, my situation, often mistaken for my “title”, for the majority of my adult years has been as a single mom, a situation that I have had to closely identify with… to bond with.

A situation that at times, has left me suffocating in the emptiness, and drowning in self-defeat. If you’re anything like, perhaps you drown yourself in never-ending projects or “to-do” lists simply to keep yourself from “thinking”; from trying to make sense of it all.  Maybe you cannot relate to the loneliness of visitation or the stack of never-end bills. But sweet, single mom, I know we have this much in common: No matter what the circumstances are, the feelings of isolation sink deep into our souls, more often than not. 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 it’s not possible that anyone has ever felt this way or gone through these same things, endured the same uncertainty. We are certain that no one is crazy enough to attempt this “homeschool thing”, or stringent disciplining that all-too often leaves us feeling more remorseful, than purposeful. We are certain because we are now, as Christian mothers, “daughters of light” and this sense of darkness feels unfamiliar to us.

Dear single mom feeling “alone”; I have three “household” words for you to meditate on; to remember: “It’s a lie”.

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. 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 more than just comforting. It is, and should be the very thing that should put the wind in our sails, and compel us to keep moving forward in dignity, strength… and in, above all thing – love.

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By: Kim Sorgius (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 momma’s 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.

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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1 Comment on Dear Single Mom…

  1. Your description carried me back to those years of heartache a mother never forgets. I’d like to communicate with you about using this post in the next edition of my book Living Learning Loving. You may reach me at gail@gailshowalter.com

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