Singled Out

I sit here, behind my computer, covered in sweat because I just halfway finished mowing my backyard before my mower broke down.  I am staring at a pile of dishes in the sink as I remember about the load of laundry I put in the washer 3 days ago. The dog will not leave the cat alone, and my daughter and her friends are all begging for a snack.

Single parenting isn’t for sissies.

In the short time I was giving my lawn a mowhawk, I really started to reflect on what single parenthood really is.  Not only do I presently have lawn duty, but I also have the cooking, cleaning, and when I can remember, the ever-constant laundry cycle.   

The other night, I had get on you tube and learn how to fix the sink, and I’m currently trying to figure out how to replace some trim on the front of my house, which in my mind is a job for a rent-a-husband that I can’t afford. 

As a single parent, we have to be mom without dad. We take out the trash and do the dishes.  We pay the bills on one income. We cook dinner, help with homework, coach soccer and pray with our precious babies at night. We do it all single handedly. As a single parent, let me offer you a word of encouragement.  

Do not give up.

I don’t know your situation. Maybe you’re widowed, maybe you share custody, or maybe, the other parent isn’t in the child’s life at all.  You might have feelings of resentment, of hopelessness, of failure, and of rejection, but again, I encourage you, do not give up.  You are blessed and you are chosen.

Genesis 16 tells the story of what we know as the first single mother, her name was Hagar. Hagar was an Egyptian servant to Sarai, Abram’s wife.  Sarai had been unable to have children at this point, so she decided to do things on her own instead of waiting on God (which none of us have ever done). Sarai offers up Hagar to her husband so that he would be able to have a child. As any good soap opera goes, hormones fly, and Hagar eventually runs away. In the midst of all the drama, God comforts her and she goes back home to Abraham and Sarai. Eventually, Hagar gives birth to a beautiful baby boy, Ishmael.  

Later on, Abram and Sarai, now known as Abraham and Sarah, by the grace of God, have a son named Isaac.  Things between Sarah and Hagar aren’t good, and Sarah finally has enough when teenage Ishmael starts mocking her son. Sarah has Abraham kick Hagar out for good.  Abraham sadly equips Hagar and Ishmael with a small amount of bread and water and sends them out into the barren, empty wilderness.  

Hagar had nowhere to go, she had no one to turn to, and she had a son she needed to take care of.  

Oh, how this story sounds familiar…

“You said you would always take care of me.”

“How are the bills going to get paid this month? “ 

“I’m so exhausted, I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

“Why did this have to happen to me?”

“It just isn’t fair.”

As Hagar and Ishmael were wondering around in the wilderness, the food and water ran out. There was no water in sight and Ishmael became so weak he could not walk. Not knowing what else to do, Hagar placed Ishmael under a bush, walked a few yards away and began to weep uncontrollably to God because she could not bear to watch her son die. 

As Hagar was sobbing profusely, the angel of the Lord asked her what was wrong, and soon comforted her, telling her not to be afraid because God had heard the voice of her son.  He told her to get up, help her son up and then, revealed to her that her that Ishmael would become a great nation.

Then, God opened her eyes and Hagar saw something she hadn’t previously seen, right in front of her: a well. Hagar walked over, filled her waterskin, and gave the boy a drink. 

Then comes my favorite part: God was with the boy, and he grew. (Genesis 21:20 HSCB)

Sometimes we wander around in the wilderness. We wander through the wilderness of debt, of doubt, of weariness and of struggle. We must remember God hears, God sees, and God is not only with us, but with our children. It is our job not just to wallow in our sorrows and worries, but to get up, help our children up, and trust God in the process. 

As I’m in my bedroom typing, I can hear the echoes of my daughter singing praise songs from her bedroom.  I think about how lucky I am to have her fall asleep on my shoulder every night, and to be so loved by one single human being. I love that even at 10 she still calls me “mommy” and that I was lucky enough not only to bring her into this world, but most importantly, to lead her to Christ. 

I was chosen to be her Mom. You are chosen.

You see, when we are doing this parenting thing, as hard as it may be, we never do it alone.  Christ is with us and God is our strength.  God chose you to be this child’s parent. It was no accident, regardless of the choices you may or may not have made, that you were appointed to be the great mom or dad you are. You were made for such a time as this. 

Don’t give up.

As I venture to the sink to do the dishes, rewash the load of laundry that has been stuck in my washer, and maybe attempt to fix the mower, I hope I’ve given you some encouragement. You are chosen and you are loved. Do not give up; you are not alone. You were made for such a time as this.