I’ve heard many stories about single mothers who work two or three jobs to support their families with little or no help from the children’s father. Their selfless ways indeed make them heroes. But since I’ve made the transition over the past four years from stay-at-home-mom to mom with a husband and a job to single mom, one huge question has loomed over me for months: Is this the only way? Now that my daughters have lost their family, do they have to finish growing up without their mother’s presence after school and on weekends? It seems to me that if we ever needed to connect over a family dinner at the end of the day, this is the time. And what about introverted me? Am I selfish to ask for regular prayer, thinking, and dreaming time? Do I get to refresh my own spirit in the midst of the stressful process of divorcing and its accompanying spiritual, emotional and financial poverty? Then again, how do I get all the bills paid?
My vocation as a mother requires me to provide for my children’s spiritual and emotional well-being, whether or not their dad is around to help. I don’t take this lightly, but I’ve also spent many brain cells trying to figure out how to earn more money only to come up frustrated and anxious, and always distracted. I know there must be women reading this thinking I’m some kind of emotional lightweight, that there is something wimpy about me for not getting over myself to work a second job. And then there is my own inner critic.
For as long as I can remember I have denied the truth about myself for the sake of fitting in. I have spoken about my intentions for my life in ways that a go-getter or practical type would find acceptable, while leaving my own heart sagging. It’s not that I’m deceitful, although denying the truth is unholy behavior, isn’t it? It’s more about fear, in particular, that who I am at the core is not enough. My natural way is a softer, deeper, slower way, and thanks be to God, I’m starting to see the beauty in this. Every day I am more convinced that this deep down core of mine is what it is by divine design.
I’ve put down the burden of scrambling for another job. The one I have is enough to pay for rent and health insurance and it leaves me with time and energy to listen to my girls around a home cooked meal at dinner time. I count toilet paper squares and I’ve had to use olive oil as makeup remover but somehow, there is food enough for today every day. The kids don’t like being told “not now” when they ask for something, but I don’t think that’s a terrible thing. God has offered me an invitation to follow Him and thus, given me hope. He’s placed in my heart some ideas of what the future could hold, but nothing is definite right now except that He wants me close to Him and my children.
He wants me to always consider what I’m called to do in this moment.
And that always feels right.