Yesterday I walked the mall with my children in search of back-to-school clothes. I played pool with my little boy, took him for a bike ride, watched our favorite show with the two youngest, and had Bible time. And when the oldest daughter came home from work I was available to do some silly dancing with her even while protesting every moment of her goofiness.
I’m listing all the above because the day felt like a miracle.
When I became a single mom and went to work, the most difficult thing was not working hard; it was leaving my children.
I had four children, a large home to maintain and care for, and I had home schooled for ten years. The four were my heart and soul walking outside my body—and they still are.
I had very little experience in the working world even though I grew up working harder than most children or young adults. Life as an Amish girl equips you well in certain aspects, but (and here I’m being vulnerable beyond what is comfortable), when I became a single mom, I didn’t know where to turn for a job.
I knew how to turn out enough food in the kitchen for an army in a matter of a few hours.
I knew how to kill a chicken and turn it into a meal.
I knew how to sew, garden, and even use power tools.
I could write and speak and publish books.
But I started at ground zero when it came to the business world. Painstakingly, I learned all about paying bills, starting a business, and running an air bnb.
And I’m here to tell you—how it all worked out was a God thing, because I was in tears.
I lived in a beautiful part of the world where mountains meet the sea, so the basement of my large home turned into a cozy air bnb. I got to use my love for hosting as almost each night in summer filled up with guests from around the world. They were a balm to my aching heart and the bank account filled up until I could purchase the car we so desperately needed.
I’ll never forget that Christmas month when I drove a lovely white Kia Sorento home to my children. “Look what God did!” Four years later I’m still driving that car and thanking God for it.
I didn’t know how to purchase a car. For the thousandth time, I knew I needed to learn, or get help. I chose the latter. God had me randomly run into a couple who had already wanted to meet me, and we became fast friends. They parented me through the entire process until all I had to do was head to various places checking out cars, and write a check for the one we all decided on. What a beautiful God process that was.
Once again, my weakness was perfected by his strength—and a large part of that was through God’s people who came alongside to help.
I owe them a lot, but here’s the beautiful thing—we both know we owe God everything.
In this part of God’s story, I’m the receiver and they are the givers—but the marvelous thing is that we both know the Ultimate Gift.
I never dreamed I could buy a car with cash. And as I drove it around town, this lovely car became part of my healing.
I could do this.
I was going to make it.
I discovered how incredibly easy it is to pay bills online. I ran my air bnb and slowly built up clientele for a cleaning business. Day after day after day, I learned, planned, and worked to rebuild my life and care for my children while at night my pillow soaked wet with tears and I begged God for grace to get up the next morning.
The right thing is almost never the easy thing. But doing the hard thing will create blessings for the duration of your life. Never forget that choosing the next yes to God is the best thing you will ever do.
Never mind the struggle—always mind your God.
The need to move out of state with the children became obvious, and once again I was faced with firsts.
There was a house to find and rent online.
There were plane tickets to buy, a large homestead to clear out, and four children to move across the country.
And when we got there, a start over on business.
Let me tell you, delivering 3000 flyers to mail boxes is not my cup of tea. Neither is starting a business while Covid hits.
Friends warned me not to bank on it. “Business can take years to build up,” they realistically said. But God came through once again, and as I got one client, then two, then three, they started putting word out and business flew off the roof.
The days were long, grueling, and hot. Southern summers are smotheringly hot and cleaning is not easy. Again, day after day after day of struggle to get through work while mothering four children in a new area was anything but easy.
I cried out to God for grace and learned to accept help from family and friends. I would not have been able to do what I did without accepting help, and I owe these beautiful people a lot–but, some things you can never repay and that is the beauty of giving and receiving.
Rather than file my own taxes, I hired an accountant. When the time came to visit my parents, I flew rather than drove. I said no to multiple things so I could say yes to the effort it took to make life function.
Single mom, I see you. And I’m here to say, if you have offers to help, accept them. Say yes to all of them because you’ll need help. The part of you that also needs rejuvenation hasn’t died with the rest of your life, and when friends offer, that means they know, they love, and they truly want to be there.
Hear me on this, and let it sink it every day—you weren’t meant to do this thing alone.
God never designed you to run work, family, and home without help. You need things and people in place to fill in every gap you can fill while you let yourself off the hook and out of the lie that you should be able to be everything for everyone, even still.
Single mom, don’t try to be superhuman. Just be a real human relying on grace and love to create the best you can of your life in spite of the worst thing that happened in your life.
Before long I was turning down work—and after two years I am sitting in a cozy cafe with my little boy doing my favorite thing of writing while two employees handle the work load for the day. I still had to pray my way out of the bed this morning, because four years of single mothering has me wanting days (not hours) of rest.
But this girl who knew nothing of the business world has a registered business running without my hands today. This fact alone speaks of the tender loving hand of God watching me all along with His own plans for my life. When I could see nothing but another hard day, he could see ahead to a beautiful plan.
Like Job, I sat in the dust and whispered, “Though you slay me, yet will I trust you.” (Job 13:15)
I learned to give thanks in everything rather than for everything. Big difference! God doesn’t cause the bad in your life but because He’s God, He wins over it all and brings the winning good right into the bad to over ride it and display His grace.
Job didn’t know he was on trial, that Satan was trying to bring him down, but God knew he’d pull through and would not put the name of God to shame by turning his back in a place of pain.
God brought Job through. And He’ll bring you through. One way or another, however it happens, God will bring you through. Allow His people to help you and lean heavily into Him where you’ll find sustaining grace.
I tell my daughters all the time, “God’s peace doesn’t always remove pain, but it over-rides pain because it’s greater, bigger, and on the winning side.”
Teach your children that grace wins and they can be part of grace. Be patient as they flounder and struggle through trauma. Hold your ground steady so they can see something steady in their blown-apart world.
Community matters, and you are such a great part of community. Honestly, I can’t wait to have more time on my hands so I can host the part of community I care about so deeply—single moms who unexpectedly find themselves alone.
And yet, I want to tell you, dear single mom, you are not alone. If you stay with Christ, you have the God of angel armies always by your side. That army surrounds you in the court room, on the job front, and as you mother your children. That same God enters your room at night when you feel alone and gives you grace to rise for another day.
When you stay with God, you will heal—because God can do nothing else. He is all goodness, all healing, all love, and all grace.
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10)