Single parent motherhood.
I feel your pain. I know what it’s like. I know the emotional roller coaster it is to try to be both mom and dad to your children….when you need to discipline them when it’s needed but all you want to do is cuddle with them and make them cookies. There is a certain toughness that begins to form your exterior. It’s needed. You can’t breathe unless that toughness is there. It keeps you sane. Protects you from going mad. To watch bills come in that can’t be paid is defeating. Awaiting the beginning of the month is a never ending cycle of fret and worry. That amazing sense of accomplishment that you feel when you are able to have the entire rent check paid…..in full…though the bubble of exhilaration is popped the very next day as you worry about next month’s rent. You hope and worry that your children don’t get sick because the day care won’t take sick kids, meaning you will have to miss work days, meaning your check will be low and you might not have enough to pay bills. Your biggest fear is going back to the homeless shelter again.
With no family support, no baby daddy support, much less child support, you are left to figure out this thing called “motherhood” on your own.
“You cant get money out of a rock”, was the mantra of one baby daddy.
“stop asking me for money cuz I aint got none”
Remembering the day I checked into that homeless shelter, at 23, with two babies under the age of 3, it was enough to keep me going. It’s what got me out of bed at 4:30 am to get myself and my girls ready for the day, where I dropped them off in the early morning hours at a daycare center that would drop them off at school and pick them up from school so that I could work and then after a full day’s work, head to school so that I could slowly plug away at that college degree that seemed a million miles away. That degree was our ticket out of poverty but trying to survive one day at time, sometimes one hour at a time, the outside exterior of my soul started toughening up…getting hard.
Learning to keep hope away. The idea of joy, a useless foreign concept.
I remember the shelter only had beds for adult women and they offered me a mattress on the floor so that my baby girls could sleep right next to me, only to wake up one night and the lady in the bunk next to me reaching out to touch one my girls. I yelled at her to stay away from my kids. My girls slept with me after that. All three of us. Curled up tightly on the bottom bunk of a homeless shelter. For 6 months.
You can’t get money out of a rock I hear, but you can deplete your emotions to the point where your account is overdrawn and there is nothing left to give to the ones you are supposed to protect – your littles.
I started hustling. Hustling situations and people so that we would not have to go back to that shelter life. So we would not have to go back to believing and hoping that help was gonna fall out of the sky.
But that got old fast. More layers of hardness developed. Working full-time, going to school part time, or sometimes going to school full time and completely living on government assistance for food, health care and eventually housing caused more grief than freedom.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction I read. (Proverbs 1:7) What did that mean?
It would be 6 years until God would open up my understanding to those words and even though I was not a Christian at the time that I read them, I prayed. I prayed because I had no idea what else to do. I prayed due to the slight chance that there was a God in the sky, somewhere, somehow.
I didn’t pray for help with my bills, though I needed that.
I didn’t pray for a better housing situation, though it was needed, especially since it had become normal to see SWAT banging in our neighbors doors.
I didn’t pray for better day care. Well, I actually didn’t need it since it was subsidized and my day care was run by a Christian family, so my girls loved it and it was the first place in their young lives that they felt “safe”.
I didn’t pray for a better running car, though it was desperately needed because mine kept breaking down due to the fact that an old boyfriend dumped water in my gas tank after I broke up with him for showing psycho tendencies.
What I did pray for was wisdom. I prayed for the kind of wisdom that the Bible verse talked about. I know that I made a lot of mistakes in my life up to that point. Foolish mistakes. Mistakes that in hindsight, could have been avoided if I had the wisdom to know that there were alternatives. Mistakes like placing trust and hope in people that I should not have.
I needed beyond measure wisdom that college classes were not giving me.
I needed beyond measure wisdom that could penetrate the hard exterior of my soul.
I needed beyond measure wisdom that would help me with the little souls that were under my care, because I surely was lost on what motherhood looked like.
So this Mother’s Day, my prayer goes out to all those single mothers that have the weight of a broken world on their shoulders. I pray that God gives you Wisdom beyond measure.
I pray that you will trust in the Lord with all your heart and that you will not lean on your own understanding
I pray that in all your ways you will acknowledge him that he will make straight your paths.
I pray that you will not try to be wise in your own eyes.
I pray that you learn what it means to fear the Lord,
and what it looks like to turn away from evil.
And as God shows you what all that looks like in your own personal lives, you will see that God’s Wisdom becomes a healing to your flesh and a refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3:5-8) so that one day….that hard exterior that has become your soul becomes soft in the Creator’s hands….because he and only he is trustworthy.
The treasures of wisdom are hidden not from us, but for us, in Christ – Mathew Henry