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Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Life and Longings of a Single Mom

As I was driving in my car today to run a quick errand with one of my boys, I started thinking about how my son is different, not at 4 years old from our now 11 year old daughter. When my daughter was born, I was a single mom. My old boyfriend had chosen to leave me when I was pregnant and encouraged me to have an abortion. Before that, he even mentioned we should sell our child after it was born at the Arizona/Mexico border for some cash (just a couple hundred). Praise God, He put within me a love for children at a very young age making those suggestions not even an option for me.

I don't think it matters what single mom you talk to, most of them will say that they had never imagined their life would turn out the way it had/has. I'm not talking here about women who were married and lost their husbands. I'm talking about the mom who from birth raised her child on her own. Who would imagine their life as working hard and long hours making sure they could keep their job just so they could support the little lives at home? Knowing that if they took one day off work to take a sick child to the doctor, they might not have the money to pay that bill? For me, government health care was not an option. IF I chose to partake in that, "they" would have to contact my daughter's biological father and get him to sign off on her birth certificate (even though he's not listed) just so we could get that government help.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the mom part of 'single mom' that I didn't like. It was in fact the single part. As a little girl I had dreamed only of getting married to a man who loved me and then having his children. Somewhere along the way, I allowed my lifestyle choices to turn a wrong road and got the child before the marriage. The heartache that I endured at the time seemed impossible for any young woman to bear. At the time I was almost 20 years old when I gave birth to my first child. I praise the Lord that my parents had welcomed me home with open arms. I was able to live with them which was a huge blessing. I also had the support of some family members, a few Christian friends at my work place and that of those in my home church. I'm glad I never had to go without their love, support and prayers. However, at night when everything was quiet, I would cry. For a couple years after my daughter was born, all I could do was cry. So often I cried to the Lord. I buried myself in study of His word. I longed to truly know Him and finally live my life for Him.

Very slowly and gently, God began a work in me. He grew me in maturity and taught me how to follow Him through praise, communion and His word. I'm still learning too :)

I had come to a point in my life where I had given up all hope on men. I had been so hurt by my past situations and relationships that I thought I was done with that life. I thought I would be single forever and that was ok with me - finally, it was ok. You see, before then, I had always had a list of boys that would be my next "fling". I was never without a boyfriend for long. So to now be at a place where it was ok, was totally the Lord.

It was at this time I came to work with my now husband and his mother. It was a dark time in their life where they were trying to simply survive after their father had left their home for good to be with another woman. That is another story, for another time, to be told by them. Anyway, I was not at all seeking out companionship, yet God allowed my heart to be stirred by Matthew. He was such a kind and God-fearing young man. I was in awe. Imagine my surprise when I found out he was 5 years younger than I - 16 years old.

Living in the world that we live in, people tend to only look at age or a persons past lifestyle and make harsh judgements. When it was common knowledge that the two of us were in love with another, you would not believe what we had to endure while we waited 2 years for each other. It was so hard for me, having gone through all the "crap" in my life before Christ. I wished that people could see into my mind and know that I wanted ONLY what God wanted for my life. If that wasn't Matthew, I didn't want him. Yet the judgements continued and to this day are still brought up. How I wish people could have seen it for what it truly was - one young man and one young woman with a child, simply wanting God at the center of their lives and with their lives together.

Why am I bringing all this up so many years later? To first give hope to single moms out there. You are NOT damaged goods. Seek after the Lord and His will for your life. He just may blow you away with the man of your dreams. He sure did with me. And it was with a godly man who had never touched a woman before. How amazing!

Second, for those who know single moms, pray for them. That is the single most important thing you can do in their life. Next, show them love in whatever way God directs you. Through phone calls, letters, visiting them, gifting things to them that you know they can use, etc... Remember those days like Valentine's Day - show her love when she has no young man in her life to do that.

Third is the last thing they need to hear is how they messed up their life and now they have to live with it. How many times I had heard that - and sadly from people that were closest to me. It's enough to know we made mistakes, it's another thing entirely to know we're going to be alone with our child with no father in the picture. I so often hear women complaining about their children, husband, etc... If you think your life is difficult now, imagine having no father at all. Some women say they think it would be better but when the time comes, it really is much more difficult than they could have ever imagined. Have some compassion. We feel enough guilt for 10 people, just love us.

Fourth is that it's not the child's fault. So many times I've seen these little children treated like outcasts because their family didn't agree with what the mother did in order to have that child. This child is just like any other. They simply need love.

I'm so thankful that after marrying my husband, his family accepted my daughter (then 4 years old) as if she were their own. What a blessing it was for me! I was somewhat nervous about how she would be treated, especially after his other siblings started having their own children. Praise God, my Lyshie is treated just like anyone else. God is SO good!

So much of my story has been left out. If you want the full version, feel free to call or email me. :) In this world today, sin is so rampant and that goes along with the territory. The closer we get to the end, the more evil this world will become. Satan has tricked so many young women into thinking that if they love someone enough, it doesn't matter if they wait. What a lie he has deceived us with! Please, reach out to those single mom's out there. You have no idea how much of a blessing that will be for them. You have no idea the hurt, pain and hopelessness that single moms feels. They can all use your support.

If you yourself happen to be a single mom, check this out.


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Thank you for sharing, Mandi. I love your story so much. Just like I love you so much!

I really like how you drive home the point of not treating a single mom or her child as rubbish. You are right, some people have viewed children of single moms as not the same as children of married moms. Funny how God doesn't make a distinction of these children in the Bible. Psalm 51. 4-5 smack that right out. Of course there are all those other verses, too, abut the preciousness of the fruit of the womb -- any womb in any situation!

I also remember meeting Matt. I was a bit nervous about a sixteen year old, but after I met him I knew that the Lord was his guide and that his maturity belied his age. What an amazing pair the two of you are. What an amazing God is your God (and mine, of course)!
I also remember how knowing him drew you into deeper walk with Christ.

Ah! I could read about you all day. Your family is surely barak-el -- where God has blessed. The story of yours is the story of Christ and his Bride.
Praise God for you.