Transformational Community for Single Mothers

There was a time, not all that long ago, when I was a single mother to three young kids. My children were nine, six and three years old when their Dad and I separated; my youngest daughter really has no memories of her parents living under the same roof together, she was so young.

Though we both get “credit” for our part in destroying the relationship, I am the one who initiated the divorce. While my ex-husband would have stayed in the marriage at the time, I wanted out. I was convinced that what I needed in order to be happy was “a fresh start.” I was not a Christian at the time, though I would have told you that I was.

I got a fresh start, all right.

The “fresh start” I got involved working full-time in the corporate world and caring for my three kids all on my own (literally) 90% of the time, as I had nearly-full custody of them and lived 10 hours away from family. Paying the bills, doing all the chores around the house, running kids to ball practice after work, and being the only adult in the house when the kids were sick, fighting with each other or scared in the middle of the night.

There was one particular day I remember that started off rough. My youngest daughter woke up tired, and she didn’t want to get dressed. She didn’t want to eat breakfast. She didn’t want to leave the house. What she really wanted was to stay in her jammies and have me read to her on the sofa. It was a painfully long morning of cajoling, threatening and pleading, and all the while I was also keeping an eye on the other two kids to ensure they were getting ready for school.

After – finally! – herding all three kids into the car, I dropped my youngest off at daycare, crying (her, not me, though I wasn’t far behind her), with a hug and the promise that we would read as soon as we got home that evening. As I walked out of the daycare building and back to my car, feeling guilty, I thought about what lay ahead of me at work – and then picking up the kids after work – and my promise to read on the sofa, which would push back dinner, then doing dishes and supervising baths. It wasn’t yet 8 a.m. and I felt drained and discouraged by all that lay ahead of me that day.

I showed up late to work and had to face my supervisor as I – again – skulked to my desk later than I should have. I remember thinking, “Every time I turn around, I’m failing someone.”

This day I describe was not unique. I had a lot of days that probably started similarly, that have blessedly faded from my memory. What sticks in my memory, though, is the loneliness that accompanied this frenetic life. There was this feeling that no one really understood what I was going through.

I don’t mean that self-pitying, “No one understands!” kind of whining – though I probably had plenty of that, too. As a single parent, though, you often feel like you have to do it all on your own – and obviously, in a very real sense, that is exactly what you are doing. Parenting on your own is so much more than dealing directly with the children, but involves all those other things you have to keep going that create the life your children have. And yet, at the same time, you are faced with the reality that you can’t do it all on your own, as you prove to yourself over and over by failing at one aspect or another.

You’re late to work because your kids need you, just for a moment, to stop watching the clock. Another time, you’re not there when your kids need you because you have to work, have to watch the clock. You make compromises and do things half-way, taking short-cuts you’d rather not take. You’re exhausted and short on time, patience, and (often) money.

Something else you’re often short on is friends – I mean real friends. A supportive network of people who understand that you have struggles and actually care enough to find out what those struggles are and how they might be able to help, even if it’s just to provide a listening ear or a little advice.

The Crossing actually has a group of people who want to help fill the void that often exists in the lives of single mothers. The Single Moms Ministry is made up of a group of women, most of whom are (or have been) single mothers themselves. This group is seeking to help other single moms become a part of a community. One of The Crossing’s core values is to be a transformational community, the Body of Christ that we are called to be (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). We not only want to help mothers with the practical needs they have, but we also want to create a place where real, authentic friendships can grow out of the shared life experience of single parenting. We want to offer Bible studies and book discussions geared toward the unique issues that single mothers face and encourage them to grow in their faith, together.

And we want single mothers in Columbia to join us, and find that while there are some realities of single parenting that you just have to find a way to accept (like dropping your child at daycare so you can get to work), loneliness is not one of those realities. There is a community you can be a part of.

This Sunday, June 26, the Single Moms Ministry will host a luncheon at The Crossing, in Room 204, after the second service, for single mothers who want to learn more about the group and meet other women raising their children on their own. The event is free, and childcare is available. Please note, however, that you must contact the church prior to the event if you will need childcare. (Time being so short, please send an e-mail to [email protected] ASAP if you want to join us.)

If you are a single mother, I encourage you to join us this Sunday. If you know a woman who is raising her children without a spouse in the home, share this information with her and encourage her to join us.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (ESV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

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