Single Moms

Tim Jackson —  September 21, 2012 — 8 Comments

I’m convinced that being a single mom is one of the toughest challenges any woman will ever face. Let’s be honest. Being a mom is a ton of work, and raising the next generation is a monumental task. Carrying, caring for, shaping, molding, and influencing her children is both a responsibility and a delight for many women. However, being left to parent solo without a husband to tag team with her is much more than challenging. It’s overwhelmingly unfair!

That’s why single moms are heroes in my book.

I know there are many reasons a woman can be left to parent solo, but the one I see most often are those moms whose husbands have bailed.

Recently I was chatting with a single mom who was totally overwhelmed by what she was up against. She’d finally drawn the line with her husband, who had been guilty of numerous affairs throughout their 20+ years of marriage. He’d run off with a woman 12 years younger, leaving her with 3 kids and financial support that was next to nothing because he was also financially irresponsible. No surprise there.

After years of what felt like beating her head against a brick wall, she’d had enough and filed for divorce. Divorce wasn’t an attractive option. Nothing about it made her feel good. But feeling good wasn’t the point. Being the responsible adult in the relationship and doing the loving thing for her children was.

She not only felt all alone, but she felt beat up, betrayed, bankrupt, and buried alive under a pile of relational rubble that her ex had dumped all over her. And she felt like giving up. It would have been easy for her to just give in and make excuses for doing nothing.  And, most of us would have understood, given her overwhelming circumstances.

But that’s not what she and many other single moms like her have done. They’ve shouldered the responsibilities of being the adults in the home, have gotten jobs (sometimes two) and paid the bills, and have provided a safe, secure, and loving home for their children.

While it wasn’t what they had in mind when standing at the altar, they’ve stepped up and done the heavy lifting as the sole breadwinner and soul support for their kids. Not that they don’t struggle with it all and sometimes feel like quitting, but they choose not to quit. They continue digging out from under the rubble and demonstrating a consistency in their love that their kids admire and depend on.

They certainly have earned my respect.

So the next time you see a single mom shouldering the load of parenting that was designed to be shared by two, take the time to express a word of encouragement. Let her know that you noticed and that you admire her for all the sacrifices she makes for her children. Maybe even go out of your way to lend a helping hand by offering to help with home or car repairs,  childcare, or a gift card for a night out. Your words of encouragement will be like water to a thirsty soul, and your acts of kindness will speak volumes.

I do think this is the kind of 21st-century idea behind James’ exhortation to first-century Jesus followers about one of the earmarks of genuine faith: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Those are my thoughts. How about yours? Feel free to share your thoughts and stories as a single mom, about the single mom who raised you, or on how God has encouraged you to reach out and encourage a single mom.

Tim Jackson

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Tim Jackson is married to his college sweetheart, Cole. They have 3 adult children. Tim is the producer for the HelpForMyLife.org website, writes Discover Series booklets on a variety of counseling issues and hosts webinars for RBC Ministries. He's also the founder and president of Still Waters Counseling & Equipping Ministries, PC, a local counseling practice serving individuals, couples and families. When not in the office, you will probably find him up a tree with a bow, in a duck blind or fly fishing on one of Michigan's many rivers.

8 responses to Single Moms

  1. shows your biased view, this could have been wrote as single parent. because many men do this also.

  2. You hit the nail on the head. PRAISE THE LORD ! I am a single mom who epexienced exactly what you wrote. I am a professional nurse for 14yrs specializing in oncology for past 7yrs and I just finished looking at my back account as I was paid today and am still broke for the next 2 weeks. I do give the Lord my tithe & offering trusting HIM for the rest. However the problem I do have is that because I am a nurse everyone thinks, oh she’s okay financially, therefore no one offers ANYTHING. I gracefully accept the spiritual emotional physical responsibilty for my child, and I tell her im struggling even as nurse, yet she feels she dosen’t want to go to college. I explain to her how will she make it ? Here I am struggling as a professional with all my education, training, experience. But she dosen’t get it. Yes I’m frustrated. Thanx for reading/listening.

  3. While I am not a single mom, I, too, have seen those who step up and care of their children alone. Remember not all single parents are moms. I know a young man who has been trying to step up for his child and is finally being given the opportunity. Pray for him to provide for his child and her needs. Bless each of you.

  4. James, Thanks for your comments. While statistically there are more moms in this category than men, you are so right on that there are many faithful dads who find themselves in the same position with wives who have abandoned their marriage and kids. These men face enormous challenges and are heroes too. Thanks.

  5. Nina, Thanks for sharing. I know our kids sometimes just don’t get it. We have a culture that is not encouraging them to be industrious, hard working and productive. They get the message from many sources that life should be easy. Not so. You’re doing the right thing by teaching and modeling what you teach for your daughter. Be consistent and persistent with her and hopefully it will pay off as you gets older and begins to “get it.” And pray a lot. Entrust her into the kind and loving hands of her Heavenly Father.

  6. Sandy, You and James are both on target regarding the challenges of single parenting for dads. Single dads who want to be a godly influence in their children’s lives have an uphill battle many times as well. It’s so clear why God intended for children to have both a mom and a dad. Both are needed not only to bring children into the world but also to raise them to become healthy, loving, and productive adults. Thanks.

  7. Thanks for acknowledging the journey of single parenting. I have a very similar story and remember the days when my five teenagers would ask ‘what’s for dinner’ and I just wanted to cry….that simple decision could have been the tipping point that day.

    I am commenting to encourage any single Mom’s that read your post. Now that my children are all adults and living on their own, I am still climbing out of the debt involved with their education, my choice!

    Parenting has been my mission and with God’s grace and provision the children do appreciate the sacrifices.

    I see so many families with young children and can encourage you to stay the course, fight the good fight of teaching a disciplined life to your kids. They do come back and thank you when they become adults!

    For all those women that are aspiring to become Proverbs 31 women, I can tell you that the moment your children ‘arise and call her blessed’ every sleep deprived night, the hundreds of nursemaid moments, the many repeated discussions and countless hours as a taxi driver are all worth it.

    God gets all the glory as we depend on Him to strengthen us.

  8. Kathy,

    Thanks for sharing your words of encouragement to other single moms out there. You’ve walked that journey of single parenting so you words carry the weight of your experience. Thanks again for your words and for being that faithful mom to your 5 children. We pray that what they learned from you they’ll pass along to the next generation.

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