The journey. Wow. Sometimes that seems like a very heavy and hard word. Journey means the act of traveling from one place to another. A line from point A to point B. From one destination to a different one.
The arrival to single motherhood is different for all of us. Maybe there was an abusive or toxic marriage that existed. Maybe there was mental instability or addiction that was represented in a dangerous marriage. Perhaps the journey was thrust upon you with no warning. Maybe you mistakenly thought all was well, and suddenly your husband announced he wasn’t happy and was leaving. For still others, this transitional journey of single motherhood was an abrupt halt to an otherwise healthy & happy marriage, because a spouse passed away. There are countless possibilities as to how you got here.
No matter your arrival, there is a high likelihood that this single motherhood journey is not exactly the place you once expected to be. Yet, here you are. The uproar that came to your family has been hard. Picking up the pieces and moving on is hard. The waves of grief, loneliness, struggle, and hardship keep coming. The journey becomes even heavier when not only have must you working on healing your own heart, but must also deal with the sadness and anger of children that they may currently be enduring. Putting one’s own emotions on the shelf, while we navigate a mourning process for our children AND juggle the many duties of single motherhood is exhausting emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
This journey into single motherhood is not an easy one and can sometimes feel as if you’re just barely keeping your head above the deep waters. Yet, here you are. Still breathing. Knowing that with each breath, there is purpose. You can still lay your hand over your heart and feel beating, which means you still have purpose in being here. But, how do you get from this feeling of never catching a break to a life full of joy and actually enjoying the journey of raising children, despite its variance from what was planned? Good question!
In the book of James, there is so much goodness and promise that God gives us. Take a look at James 1:2-3.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Take joy in the trial. This doesn’t sound like fun, does it? But actually, you should jump for joy hearing this one! Trials have purpose. It’s not all been for nothing. Be thankful and JOYFUL in various trials. What trials? All of them! Any hardship that comes your way. Anything that is a bit painful in the moment. Anything that requires strength that isn’t your own. These are trials that we take joy in, knowing that God is producing in us exactly what we need to be.
The trials are hard when that sweet baby of yours is throwing a tantrum because you told them that they couldn’t have a toy in the checkout line because the budget doesn’t allow it this week. It’s hard, when the unexpected bill comes in the mail and there is simply no wiggle room in that already tight budget. It’s hard when the kids cry for their dad. It’s hard when something breaks and the landlord what come fix it and you cannot afford to take it on yourself. It’s hard when you feel like you’ve failed, when you’re exhausted, and when you worry you’ll never get it all figured out.
Embrace the freedom of letting go. Breaking points (or shall we say bending points?) allow us to fully rely on God to move in ways that we can’t explain. The biggest miracles we experience are the ones birthed in extreme trials. When we give up our control of things and rely on Him to move and make a way, there is freedom in that. Think back to a time, when you really felt you could not make it another day, or even more realistic, another minute. Somehow, some way, you made it to the end of that trial. At some point, you began to breathe again. Now, you can look at the mountain that stood before you and you can see purpose. You can see the lesson. That lesson was the one you needed to help you with all the other obstacles you were going to face. There was purpose in the process. Embrace the freedom of knowing that even when hard, God is going to work it out and that the trial produces joy that you wouldn’t otherwise know. How can we know God’s goodness, if we’ve never experienced deep sorrow, sadness, trials, and obstacles?
Remember what God has done and that He is always faithful. He will never ever let us fall. (We may hang from the cliff for a while, though!) We will be allowed to be bent, but He will restore us fully and won’t let us bend until broken.
Thank God for the trial. Ummm, what? Yep. Thank Him. There will come a point when “Count it all joy” will speak to you. The horrible marriage. The devastating breakup. The money problems. The shame. The embarrassment. The abuse. God will redeem it all. He is going to use every single hardship for His good.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Yep, there it is. This is what God is talking about! He does not allow us to go through anything that does not serve a greater purpose. The worst things that we endure are going to be used to catapult others to their victory as soon as we start to realize that God allows us to go through these to mold us into the women He has purposed us to be. He puts a calling on every single one of us, and we must start seeing things as the bigger picture. As a part of the whole instead of this tiny section becoming the whole in our minds.
Is it easy? Absolutely not. But is it worth it? Absolutely. You can do this! You can start to look beyond the pain. You can start to see the good in the bad. It isn’t a natural thing. It’s a spiritual thing. Everything in your brain will fight the embracing of this hardship. It will require praying, studying God’s word, and spending time with Him. And let’s be honest….it may require more time than you are used to.
Embrace the quiet. Turn the radio off in the car. Turn the tv off. Put the cell phone down. Hear what God is trying to say in the quiet moments. The letting go takes place in those moments, where God’s still small voice speaks. It isn’t easy. It isn’t natural. It isn’t going to happen over night. But take the time. Put in the work. There is joy in this single motherhood season. The joy that only every single hard moment could bring about. These hard times are a blessing. There will be someone down the road that needs your single motherhood story to get through their own journey! And whats even greater is that they’ll learn about the amazing and abundant strength of this God you serve.
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