‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed… Therefore we do not lose heart.’
2 Corinthians 4: 6—8, 16
I love the verses above. I clung to them while enduring some very tough moments in my journey as a single mother. When you really study the verses, you see yet another amazing example of how to navigate life’s circumstances. There is so much goodness packed in the Word of God, and I pray that the truths in these verses encourage you just as much as it has encouraged me.
Paul’s letter refers to “treasures in jars of clay” in verse 7. What exactly is the treasure, what are the clay jars he is referring to, and what is the treasure’s purpose?
We, as humans formed literally from the dust of the ground, are the clay jars that contain the greatest Treasure—God’s glory dwelling inside of us. How amazing is it that the perishable contains the Imperishable? The purpose in all of this is to show God’s power. It’s all for His glory. Thus, when He is operating in us, we can endure our circumstances as single mothers and even glorify Him in spite of it all.
Paul demonstrates that truth when he states that he and Timothy “were troubled on every side, yet not distressed.” In this context, the Greek word for “troubled” is thlibo, which means sufferings due to pressures from circumstances or the antagonisms of persons. The Greek word for “distressed” is stenochoreo, which shares a definition with stenochoria. This term literally means to be hemmed in closely, to be crowded into a narrow space, and the consequent painfulness from the circumstance. Metaphorically, it comes to mean the distress from that feeling of being boxed in. The opposite of stenochoreo is the state of being in a large place, and so metaphorically in a state of joy.
Do you see the beauty there? Paul’s circumstances were hard, and yet he did not let his present circumstances dictate how he would respond. He did not feel distress or despair— he was in a state of joy in spite of it all.
What do your present circumstances look like? They may be incredibly difficult. Whether divorced or having never been married, single motherhood is one of the most challenging seasons we will go through. Yet, how do we get through it? Is it by continually worrying, becoming annoyed, stressing, growing weary and worn down? Those sentiments are real, and they were my exact feelings not so long ago.
However, God showed me that I focused entirely too much on my present circumstances while ignoring that I had an amazing Treasure dwelling inside of me. Yes, I am a single mother, but I am not alone in this, and neither are you. God is enough, His grace is sufficient for us, and we will choose to cling to His Word and remain joyful. Let’s refuse to let our circumstances make us forget that we have the greatest Treasure.
I know that’s hard. I have shared my testimony on my blog and my Instagram page about balancing single motherhood during my last year of college and through law school and all of the challenges I encountered. So, I get it. But, we cannot let our present circumstances affect our internal state of joy. Externally, we are imperfect, perishable women who may be trying to make it one day at a time. But, as a Holy Spirit-filled, Bible-believing, Blood-bought mother raising our child(ren) in the way they should go, we have a great Treasure in the inside of us that empowers us to endure. In this way, He gets glorified.
Rely on His power, His grace, and remain joyful in spite of it all.
From special education classes to single motherhood to graduate of Emory University School of Law, Melonie Wright is proof that God is a Redeemer. When Wright was in preschool, her parents were told she was a slow learner and was placed in special education classes, citing she never talked in class and didn’t respond as others her age did. Melonie encountered God after experiencing much heartache and adversity. As a former college athlete, abuse survivor, and single mom who once had only cents to her name, Melonie knows what it is to be an overcomer through Christ and has a passion to teach other single moms to do the same thing. Melonie lives in Birmingham, AL with her daughter, Raegan, where she practices commercial litigation. For more information, visit https://meloniebygrace.com/.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com