From across the gym, I watched him walk in with her. Hand in hand and all smiles, he pointed out our 3-year-old son on the basketball court. I began to feel sick as he then pointed at our 2-year-old daughter and me. I felt tense as irrational thoughts began to move through my veins.
How your heart can sink into the depths of your stomach and lodge itself within your throat, at the same time, is a mystery I will never truly understand. All I know is that it’s a horrible, punch-in-the-gut feeling.
My immediate thoughts, full of anger and anxiety, turned to embarrassment. Comparing myself to her was something I wish I wouldn’t have done, but I couldn’t help it. I was in such a rush that morning. Why didn’t I spend more time on my hair and makeup? She was fit while I was struggling in a few areas. Her clothes, purse, and shoes were much more beautiful than anything I could afford on my small salary. And as resentment and anger pierced through my heart and heated my skin, I tried not to notice them walk over to me.
He introduced her with a smirk on his face. I felt so much hate for him. She had the same name as the woman who filled up his cell phone log with late-night calls and secret conversations. The same name whom he claimed was just a “friend.” How dare he bring her here.
During the game, they exchanged a deliberate display of sickening affection. Loud whispers informed me of their shopping and dinner plans that night. All the while, we hadn’t seen a dime from him in months. His cruel and insensitive behavior left me feeling insignificant and worthless.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw punches. He knew flaunting this relationship would be an intentional hurt to me and leave gaping wounds. The urge to cry was so overwhelming. I wanted to run to the bathroom but knew my tears would swell and stain my face a splotchy red. I was afraid to speak for fear my words would turn into sobs. Hadn’t this man hurt me enough?
But I couldn’t do or say anything. My kids were watching.
Depression became my closest friend, and at times, my only friend. God knows I didn’t want him back. I knew in my heart he was horrible for me and my sanity, but why did it have to be this painful? Part of me wanted to start dating to rub it in his face and give him a taste of what he was putting me through. Something held me back. As the years passed, our kids watched him go through woman after woman. With me, they had stability and safety. By the time they were teenagers, he had created an environment where they had zero respect for him.
This was not the life I thought God had promised me and certainly not what I had imagined for myself. I wanted to do more. Be more. My biggest dream was always to be a mom. Working long hours to make ends meet left me with little time to be the mother I truly wanted to be.
Tired and bone-weary. I often felt I had nothing left to give. Every day, I thought I was on the verge of breaking. Was this going to be our lives day in and day out? Trapped inside this world, I knew I was ill-equipped for single motherhood. How do I move on and break free from these emotions? How do I move forward and start a new life free of his control?
God can give you visions that will change your destiny and leave profound legacies for your children. And when that happens, manifestation is inevitable. There is no longer any room for doubt, fear, or worry. All I had to do was ask Him for it. He reminded me that even the largest of giants can be destroyed by a single stone. My giant was a toxic relationship with my ex that I needed to move on from and never repeat it again. Having lost myself somewhere along the way, I was ready to be the mother and woman Christ had destined me to be.
God pressed into my heart and soul that there was a purpose in my pain and a testimony in my healing. This was a pivotal moment for a massive life change, which I now understood can only flow straight from Jesus. People were going to hurt me, leave me, lie, betray me, and put me in a state of fear and worry. But God still says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” That is a truth I held tightly to.
The enemy loves to use fear and go for our weakest moments. It crowds us in a corner and suffocates all rationality. It muddies the waters in our relationship with God, causing us to forget Christ’s faithfulness and His desire to propel us forward.
In 2 Timothy 1:7, God tells us that “we have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.” And in Isaiah 26:3, it says that “you will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.”
I knew that fear is faith in the enemy, and I had a desperate need for peace. Pushing all fear away, I kept my mind focused on Him.
I asked God for big miracles to change the hurt, devastation, and pain in my heart. A miracle to diminish the rage, anger, and depression within my soul. A miracle to fill me with grace, patience, and love for others. And a miracle for me to brave enough to speak of my past and use it to help others.
God promised me many, but for me to see, I had to obey. He questioned if I was all talk. Did I really want to experience a miracle of my own? One that beautiful testimonies are written about? I did, and so I had to ready myself for what I was asking Him for.
It started with forgiving myself. Forgive those who’ve hurt me. Pray for my enemies, big and small. Speak God’s promises over their lives instead of speaking hate and seeking revenge. See my true image through God’s eyes. And embrace this rough season in my life. All necessary components needed for God to fashion me for better and bigger things.
I stopped yearning for what wasn’t mine anymore. And I started believing that God had something far better for me. I protected and nurtured that which He had already placed in my care. I was going to serve Him out of love for the One who has always given me a way out and a way to a brighter future. My time was now. I was done wasting my life away on things and people who drew me further from Him.
God is so ridiculously good! I went through a few turbulent years after all this, but I was still standing strong. Following and trusting Jesus didn’t make things easier for me, it meant there was a promise of better things waiting for me. My kids are now grown and in college and had a happy childhood despite everything we went through. God brought my amazing husband into our lives fifteen years ago, and we live a life I had only ever dreamed of. My ex had led me to believe that this kind of life would never be possible for me. God had something much better in mind.
You may have read this far, sweet friend because you can relate to these words. I want you to know that maybe, just maybe, it’s your light and your spark that frightens you most and not the darkness you’re walking through. You may have dimmed your light and muted your voice for many years. You put him first time and time again. Tolerated his bad behavior and the negativity he’s spoken over you. You have done all of this, for so long, that you’ve forgotten “her” along the way.
There can be so much grace in letting go and so much power in choosing God. It is a gift in which there is absolutely nothing you can do to earn it. Choose Him, accept the gift, and allow your light to shine brighter than ever before. And by all means, pray enormous life-changing prayers.
Take a leap of faith…Your miracles are waiting.
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