“A Single Mom Survivor.”
I often heard this term once I became a young mom. From other mothers who were even at a time single moms, but now married and continuing life functioning as (what seems like) a normal, happy human.
“A Single Mom Survivor.”
One who later finds their prince charming, is swept off their feet and lives happily ever after.
This blog post began festering in my mind months ago. It was a few weeks before Christmas, and I took a picture of my sweet girl eating dinner in front of our beautiful Christmas tree.
Let me give you a visual:
We were sitting on the floor of our 1920's lookalike rental home enjoying a nice dinner of left-over Raising Canes on paper plates. Behind her was our overgrown Lowes-bought Christmas tree filled with colorful lights and homemade ornaments, tiny handprints and all.
After I took the picture, I felt God's peace and presence sweep over me –
“I am a Single Mom Survivor.”
Growing up, I was your average fairy-tale loving, dress-up playing, wear a tiara everywhere little girl. I daydreamed constantly about my big cream puff of a wedding dress, with a long lace train and long white veil with as many sparkly rhinestones as possible without blinding the guests. My downfall, which seems all too common with most women I talk to, is that I fantasized the wedding, not the marriage.
My biggest dream when I was in my teens was to one day be married and become a mother; so, after dating my high school sweetheart for the majority of my teenage years, I was determined to start an early life with him and make those daydreams a reality.
I was 18 when we got engaged (in a way that no one would daydream about might I add). To be honest our relationship was never very stable, so an engagement at 18 years old was not acceptable to my parents. And when the news came four months later that I was pregnant, you can imagine the devastation that took place. Instead of the perfect fairy-tale life I had in mind, we created a nightmare.
It was the epitome of a shotgun wedding. It was a quick 14-minute ceremony that was put together in less than 30 days, and all I remember was staring out of the chapel's stained glass window, with a white dress on and hands on my stomach where my few-weeks-old baby was growing, thinking, “God, this can't be what you wanted for me.”
One month after we were married (I was now 19), my husband left. To this day, it's still really difficult to talk about. He left with no explanation, no conversation and no reason why. One day, he just stopped coming home.
After that, it was up to me to build a life for my baby and me.
The months counting down to meeting your first child are supposed to be some of the most joyous months of motherhood, right? Not for me. That season was the darkest, most horrific month(s) of my life. It was the can't eat but I have to, can't sleep but I need to, gut wrenching, tear jerking, rock-bottom with no where to go, anger. AND it consumed my life.
All I knew is that I had to keep going. I didn't know how and I didn't know where… I just had to keep going…
Society tends to create an image of survival for us young single moms. And at the top of the survival guide is finding a man, quick! Those whispers turn into our desires, tempting us to question why God hasn't provided them. We allow their opinions to persuade our faith and tell us we are somehow doing it wrong. This makes us question who we are and what God has for us.
Through battling the idea of being a society-based perfect single mom, and fighting for a semi-normal college-student life (with a baby), I found myself drowning.
I sought to fill the void of feeling alone and desiring love with what I thought would be an easier quick fix: male figures. I needed a husband and my daughter needed a dad, right? During that time, I built my life on a foundation of bitterness and pride. “They [society] can't see me look weak. I can't fail anymore. I can't let my family down again…” These thoughts ate at my mind and heart becoming my unhealthy motivation to prove that I wasn't another teen mom statistic.
After graduating college (PRAISE GOD by the way!), pursuing careers and continuously trying to find my own “prince charming,” I lost the only consistent man in my life up, my dad. He was my best friend, the man that held us together, and the man that provided for my daughter and me when we were in need. He was the one who constantly encouraged me, loved me and sacrificed his time to make sure “his girls” were okay; and he was the only one who gave me words of hope when I confessed my pregnancy to my parents, “at least I will get to meet my grandbaby, because my father never got to meet you.”
Soon after losing my dad, I spiraled into a fog of disbelief. I didn't understand how God could do this to me. I already struggled with no provision for a husband and father for my daughter, how could He take my dad, too?
I continued to try and fill the void with men, and I continued to chase this perception that society spoke over me: That I NEEDED a husband, and my daughter NEEDED a father.
Even after fully surrendering my life to Christ early last year (2017) I still found myself constantly praying for answers. When was it going to end? When could I breathe again? Where is my happily-ever-after?
Finding a husband became a goal, not a gift.
There is a very, VERY, large difference between a goal and a gift: a goal is attainable to oneself, striving and sacrificing to reach something on a personal level. A gift is willingly given from another party, when the receiving party has done nothing to deserve it; a goal you can control, a gift you can't.
That was it – that was the realization I needed to let go of the reigns.
I slowly began to let go of allowing society to decide if and when I need a husband.
I let go of comparing my life to others my age that were (are) having their dream weddings and starting a family. I let go of giving the devil permission to feed me lies that I won't make it in life unless I have a companion. I let go and completely abandoned the life I thought I wanted for the life God had planned for me all along – one of PEACE, of JOY, of CONTENTMENT, of DREAMS.
I became a Single Mom Survivor the day I realized that JESUS IS ENOUGH.
Jesus became enough when I was crying in my closet asking for 5 minutes of peace because I didn't know how to be a mom. He met me there.
Jesus became enough when my daughter watched mothers and fathers attend school events for their children and asked where her father was and I was able to respond with a smile, “God just hasn't let us find him yet!”
Jesus became enough when guy after guy decided that I wasn't enough or I was too much, and He (Jesus) said (says) the exact opposite about me – about you, about us.
We are His handcrafted, beautiful and courageous daughters, AND WE ARE ENOUGH FOR HIM (mess and all.)
Jesus became enough when He died on the cross decades ago, and when I finally met Him face to face and realized that His beauty is my reflection.
Slowly, I began trusting God with my life. I began to abide and I began to obey. Just like a wave rushes to the shore, He began splashing blessing after blessing right into my life. He began overwhelming my soul to the point I couldn't catch my breath in enough time to take in all the glory.
God has provided EVERY.SINGLE.NEED. AND HE WILL FOR YOU.
Ladies, Jesus is the ever-present gift. He is the provider of our finances, supplier of our hope, our counselor, and the encourager of our souls.
He meets us where we're at (even if it's hiding in the closet crying and screaming) and He gives us all that we need.
He is my dad, my daughter's dad, and the King of my heart. He is what we need.
My daughter and I may eat a lot of leftovers on the floor and in an old house, BUT I have never, ever, been happier in my life! I have never felt more provided for than I do today.
He makes me a Single Mom Survivor.
Through the years of raising my daughter, I felt very alone. I prayed for someone to reach out and just walk with me through this journey. Instead God created that person to be me. I hope that sharing my story and my heart will encourage those of you who might be living the same nightmares I once did. The end rings true, He is enough and I have the testimony to prove it.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am wear, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Written By: Sarah Sims