I’ve been MIA. I know. But I have a very good excuse (I think, at least). The past eight days I have been a single mom. Which is why you haven’t heard from me lately. I went from the, “Oh, this isn’t too bad” state to, “OMG WHEN IS HE GETTING HOME,” survival mode. We stayed very, very busy. Filling our days with the YMCA, play dates, swimming, eating, parks, and friends. Eric is home, which is why I write. We made it. We are alive and well. But I am TIRED.
So this one is for you, Single Mom.
I have great respect for you.
You see, this past week, I walked a few, very few, steps in your shoes. Eric went to South Asia (to spread the Gospel, can’t even be a little frustrated at that huh?) and left me with a toddler and a baby.
I do not claim to understand the life of a single mom, who does this every single day, but I got a tiny, extremely tiny, like I should never ever complain tiny, glimpse.
Fist pump, high five, and a big ole hug paired with a huge cup of coffee to you.
I’m sure people ask often, “I don’t know how you do it.”
Well I figured out the answer. You just do. You do because you have to. You do because you are 100% capable. It isn’t easy, of course.
It brought me to tears a few times these past few days, but lets be honest…those tears flow freely even when the Hubs is around. Having an extra pair of hands probably seems like a luxury to you. An added bonus. A bit of a breath and fresh air. A few extra minutes to sit. And sleep. Can’t forget the sleep.
I will confess that when my husband was presented with the opportunity to go on this trip, my response was a, “Yay for you (and all the people who have never heard the name of Jesus), oh dear for me!” I was intimidated by the idea of being left alone to “do it all.”
But when it is all said and done, it really hasn’t been that bad BECAUSE I have had lots of help and an end date in sight.
If this was a long term situation, I’m sure another sentence (besides “it hasn’t really been that bad”) would flow from my mouth.
However, I have come to the conclusion that when we are forced into a situation where we must survive, we do. We make it happen. Regardless of how well we do it, we do it.
We’ve given birth. We’ve survived endless nights on little to no sleep…which is a real, live torture tactic for POWs. We’ve survived the toddler years. We go through crazy hormonal infestations of our body every month. WE ARE SURVIVORS.
The last night I put the kids to bed by myself, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I made it. We made it. I just want to encourage single parents everywhere, who do this every day with no end in sight. You are doing great.
Drink from the fountain of grace that is replenished every moment by the gift of Jesus on the cross.
His mercies are new every morning. We don’t have an ounce of perfection that we can gift to our children other than that of Jesus.
Which means we will mess up.
Even those moments we keep our cool and parent in grace, can quickly become overshadowed by a quick temper, a loose tongue, or even absent attention. Yet it is in those moments of our mess ups, that our children can see how much Jesus loves them- through our apologies and explanations that there is simply nothing we can do to receive His grace other than believe in the forgiving power of the cross.
Single mom, I pray that those survival days turn into a thriving joy during those hard and sometimes lonely moments. Know you are loved.
Before entering into my week of single motherhood, Eric and I got to eat dinner with Nik Ripken and his wife, Ruth. Nik wrote the books, “The Insanity of God” and “The Insanity of Obedience.” Nik and Ruth have served overseas in the most persecuted countries (for Christianity) in the world. They have seen people die, imprisoned, and ostracized for proclaiming Jesus. Many of these stories are in his books. At dinner, I told them about Eric leaving for 8 days and how I am really excited for him, but dreading single mom duty. And that began our conversation…
Me: “So what is the longest time Nik was gone?”
Nik immediately responds, not giving Ruth a chance to speak.
Nick: “7 weeks. I will never do that again.” 7 weeks, I thought. Wow. SEVEN weeks. Seven WEEKS.
Nick: “And this was before cell phones. So we didn’t talk for those 7 weeks.”
Me to Ruth: “So you had no idea when he was coming home?”
Ruth: “No, and both of us would never go into this country together, because if something happened to us, we didn’t want our boys to be left without both parents” [This country was the most war torn, persecuted, and hostile (towards Christians) country in the world.]
Me: “Well, I guess 8 days isn’t that bad.”
Nik: “It’s all about perspective. I knew men who were imprisoned for their faith, and when released, they found out their wives had been killed. No one told them.”