You know how when you haven’t talked with someone for a long time it is hard to know where to start…that’s where I am. It’s been forever and I don’t know what to tell you…what to share.
I’ve been trying to figure out what keeps me from allowing my fingers to move across the keyboard and share some single mom life. Other than the obvious, that single parenting is a butt-kicking workout in life and survival skills.
But the more I’ve thought about it the more I realize that I want to write light-hearted, amusing anecdotes of single parenting. Although there are many, when I finally have the opportunity to plop down and write…my eyes are heavy with exhaustion, my fingers are tired of typing, and my body is bound for bed. There are no words for the weary sometimes.
My reality is that I’m not as lighthearted as I used to be…I’m living a hectic life and sometimes, it just beats me up a bit. And sometimes I want to share and sometimes I want to hide.
Forgive me if I tend towards the serious for a moment…towards the real. Honestly, real isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…you know? I think sometimes when we say we want real, we don’t really want the real that breaks our hearts or bends our ear. We want the real that makes us laugh at life, warms us from the inside. The kind of real that doesn’t ask us to accept brokenness or even walk beside those who are…are any of us not? Not broken in some way? Afterall, this world is a heap of hard sometimes.
My friends comment on my life…often. Some even go as far as saying they want to have a serious conversation with God about how much He can allow on one person’s plate…but amazingly, I don’t feel like asking “why?”…I just want to know “How?”
How do I get things moving in the right direction? My “right” direction? Which just has to be His too…right? There has to be a way forward that gets us somewhere.
One of my daughters asked last night if someday God was going to let things get easier for us…I think so. I guess things can always get harder too…boy, that’s not a happy thought.
I’m thankful that the why isn’t as big a deal anymore. I think I simply had to stop asking it because there isn’t a satisfactory answer for so many things. It feels pointless to ask why. This is where I am.
Ok, God. How?
How do I do this life when I feel absolutely not enough. I have “not enough” energy, “not enough” strength, “not enough” time, “not enough” money, “not enough” knowledge, “not enough” wisdom, “not enough” faith…isn’t it all down to that one.
Not enough faith that God could use a woman like me.
A woman like me…what does that mean? Like me?
I don’t even know how I define myself anymore. Many of the things I’ve thought defined me have slowly been stripped from me…some of them silly things…but some of them…things that really meant something to me.
Sometimes I wonder who this woman is I see in the mirror. This woman who is supposed to be so much wiser by now.
Sitting quietly on the back porch, mosquitoes nibbling at my flip-flopped feet, my dogs panting beside me waiting for a ball to arch through the sky, I think, “How in the world did I end up here?”
Did I make a turn when I should have gone straight? Did I go straight when I was supposed to turn? What in the world? I really thought I was walking straight paths…walking where I was supposed to be…following the plan. Not just my plan. His plan.
Happily existing inside the picket-fence world I crafted in my mind…and was blessed to live for a bit.
But it just isn’t there anymore. No picket fence.
Now there is a really beautiful old wooden rail fence covered in vines and a little bit of poison ivy. And inside those planks of wood is a home full of life and love and laughter. A smaller, cozier home with wonky floors and drippy faucets, in desperate need of a paint job and some repairs. But it is my home. Picked and purchased by me.
I love it. Even though it has been an absolutely lemon in so many ways. Its broken…just like me. Sometimes I feel like my house..wonky, drippy, wrinkly, and tired. This house is a beautiful picture of God’s provision…it really doesn’t seem perfect, but in many ways, I think it is. I just have to keep reminding myself that as I write check after check (after check) to fix things. I don’t know when the checks will end…surely there is a limit to how many repairs one abode requires!
And me…I’ve got some things to fix too. Attitude. Perspective. Expectations. Faith.
That last one I have typed and erased about four times. Because I don’t think that I can fix my faith. The Bible tells me that Jesus is the author and perfecter of my faith. I can’t fix it, because that’s Jesus’ job.
I guess it is kind of weird to say that my faith needs to be “fixed” – like so many other things in my life. Strengthened? Yes. Fixed? Is my faith broken? I don’t think so. I still believe and I still identify with that father in Mark 6 way too much, “I believe, help my unbelief!” It’s like I know that God can do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, but it just doesn’t seem like He really wants to…is going to.
If God doesn’t want to than that must mean that this is the best place for me…this place at this time. For such a time as this…Oh Esther…how did you find the courage to do the hard stuff God called you to do?
Esther who risked her life for her people…who trusted God even when things looked very bleak. After rereading her story, I realized that there were three things I could use, like Esther, to move forward in the hard…
Fellowship….she had support from her family and friends.
Prayer and fasting…she went right to God.
Stepping out in faith…she just did it.
So how does that translate to this single mom life I live?
Don’t do it alone.
Do what you can do this day and let God handle the rest…like tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.
I guess that is the how, isn’t it?
Three little “to-dos”.
Not really little.
It’s hard to ask for help. Sometimes I don’t even know what to ask for (Well, I guess there is always cash!)
It’s hard to pray when answers don’t seem to come quickly…or at all.
It’s hard not to think about the future…tomorrow, next month, next year, retirement…because I have to…but how do I not stress about it? That’s the key. Think but trust. Relax. (haha) and resolve to believe that God has my future…my family’s future…safe and secure.
I guess that’s what I share now! That life is still a challenge but I’m blessed regardless of the difficult things. That I’ve been learning how God wants me to live and trusting Him to move me forward in His time.
For now, I’ll sit quietly on the porch where the floors aren’t wavy and I’ll pray and talk to God about how to live this life well.