It was Christmas Day and my first Christmas alone. Well, I guess I wasn’t alone. I had my 11-month old with me. It was the darkest of days. I woke up to the inevitable – no money, no family, and a baby who toddled around, not knowing the difference. I cried most of the day. I eventually went to a friend’s home for a couple of hours, but I ultimately finished the day on the sofa in tears, alone.
Perhaps one of the biggest struggles for any single parent is loneliness. It is easy to compare families who are shopping together on weekends or strolling their precious toddler on a bright Sunday afternoon. It is easy to imagine our lives much different than they are, hence feeding into the loneliness that endlessly lingers.
Loneliness is dangerous. It can assuredly lead to compromise. How many times have I sat holding the hand of a mom who was regretful of a decision that stemmed from a lonely night? How many times did I stumble in my single parenting years for that very same reason? Loneliness can lead to further isolation and even depression or alcohol and drug use. It can attribute to bitterness and anger and a myriad of other not-so-positive emotions. So how do we fight it?
One of the first keys is to recognize you are never alone. God promises that he will never leave you. “Yeah, that sounds great, but I want human interaction!” You may be thinking. The Lord created us for relationship – relationship with each other and relationship with Him. However, the latter is the most important part of our life. The development of our relationship with the Lord is above all else our strength, our comfort, our peace. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7 about how his singleness has allowed him to serve God better. Next time you feel loneliness creeping in, consider serving someone else. How can you use your time and talents to serve God by serving others? Can you volunteer at a local soup kitchen or babysit for a fellow single parent? Can you offer dinner at your house for some neighborhood friends?
Be certain to stay connected to a local church. I am a huge proponent of this one! The Life of a Single Mom Ministries exists for this very reason. We believe that if we can keep single parents connected to a local support group in a church, we can help with those struggles of loneliness. Support networks give us perspective. It helps for us to hear others’ problems or to hear wisdom from someone who has been where we are. Satan’s plan is one of divide-and-conquer strategy. If he can isolate us from church and loving Godly friends, we begin to see the glass as half-empty. No one will ever love me. I will always be alone. How could the church treat me that way? I don’t need God anyway. On and on the negative thoughts go. Staying connected with a local church helps.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author of four books and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a global nonprofit. She is also the founder of Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.