My hat is off to you.
I wish we could sit down together over a long cup of coffee and remind each other that it’s going to be okay. That we will be okay and that God is bringing us through.
Some days when I’m bone weary, I think about you — laboring well after everyone’s in bed.
I think about you making hundreds of decisions by yourself.
And facing daily new that you never expected and surely never wanted.
I think about you figuring out a hundred things that he used to do or letting it go because it’s just too hard to figure out.
I think about you anesthetizing lonely evenings with the mindless screen, willing yourself to cheer the anniversaries of friends, the happy-birthday-to-my-best-friend-who-completes-me pictures, the snapshots of boys hunting and father-daughter dances your own will never see again.
That heaviness you carry? You’ve gotten used to it.
You’ve gotten used to knots in your neck and thoughts that can’t be switched off, swirling between the must-do’s of today and the what if’s of tomorrow.
And while you smile to everyone else and put a brave face on mothering, I see the heaviness that’s always with you. God sees it.
Sometimes you make it look easy to everyone else. Like you’ve embraced a new normal. But it doesn’t feel normal, no matter how you try to set new routines and rhythms.
And you don’t really share it because who in the world could you share all of it with? You’re the only one who knows the full breadth of all the hard. And then, too, better to shield the ones you love from the gritty hard.
I don’t have to know your details to know it’s the hardest path you’ve ever walked.
Consider this my warmest Atta Girl, from one who gets the challenges and wins, the feelings of constant failure and the pain that threatens to paralyze.
Consider this a huge, virtual hug. Not the sideways sort of hug but the lean-on-me kind that lingers long and lets the hot tears fall and shares the weight of what you carry.
All those years I was married, I’d known single moms and I’d heard the stats about single moms. But I really had no idea.
Overwhelmed isn’t a season for single moms; it’s the rhythm of her days.
Overwhelmed emotionally, overwhelmed with finances, overwhelmed with parenting kids who are grieving, overwhelmed with decisions and leaky air conditioners and countless tasks that need attention.
Overwhelmed trying to re-create that magical family life you had and so desperately want again for your children.
I know most days you’ve had to grow more spine than you ever thought possible. People call you brave. A testimony.
But you never asked for this testimony.
And you don’t feel brave.
You’ve simply walked forward feeling fragile.
I know single parenting has brought you to your knees. It was hard enough when there were two and but now you’re a student all over again begging God for wisdom to parent these kids — and teens and grown children — alone.
And the labels stink. Widowed. Divorced. Who knew so many papers and forms defined you? A reminder with every check mark of the death and brokenness that forever changed life as you knew it.
A forever reminder that you need to figure out who you are this side of marriage.
Single mama, you are seen and you are loved.
God has so much for you. He is not a God of surviving or getting by. He is a God of abundance.
God promises strength to the weary and generous wisdom if we ask.
He promises to heal the broken, to turn weeping to dancing and mourning to joy.
God promises that if we wait on him, we WILL see goodness in the land of the living.
And that like streams in the Negev, those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
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