I’ll never forget the day I opened up the door to a lady handing me a large yellow envelope.
My throat went dry. “Is this what I think it is?” I asked quietly.
She nodded her head as she studied my face, and tears filled her eyes before she turned and silently walked away.
The day I looked over those complicated divorce papers was the D-Day of my life.
So I’m here to tell you, single mom, that you’re not alone and I get it. For me, you don’t have to appear brave when you need to cry. It’s honestly okay to be a wreck for awhile.
I get the nausea that won’t allow you to eat.
I get eating whatever goes down, when it goes down, even if it’s not nutritious.
I get the sudden survival mode that kicks in for your babes as you start working hard to provide for them.
I get the mom guilt that makes you try to over-compensate for a father’s absence by filling in all the gaps– and I get the resulting exhaustion that makes you love bedtime more than any other time of day.
I get how painful it is when you run to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving and see the girl who replaced you, also out purchasing groceries, for the man you used to cook Thanksgiving dinner for.
I get the struggle of forgiveness and the confusion of what that even looks like when you feel all the tension rise one more time in the face of such oddities.
I get the pain of holidays, where you give up the parties you used to throw—then decide to throw them anyway because you’re finally seeing that life can go on and you can still do the things you love, and your friends love you just as much as before.
I get the angst of your soul as you lift your face to the sky and ask God why. “Why, when I tried so hard to be a good wife, did it not work?”
I get the anger when you see other wives mistreating their husbands and the men still stay. How you’d like to remind them of the good they have, and how that goodness should be rewarded and respected.
I get it when it all seems so unfair.
I get it when you’re suddenly a single person, and other women look at you as a threat rather than a gift– and you’d like to walk around with a T-shirt that says, “I’d die a thousand deaths before I’d hurt any woman the way I’ve been hurt.”
I get it when it’s hard to receive help, and how slowly you learn the absolute necessity of it, how grateful you become for the brothers in law and family who help you unendingly when you need it—-and don’t stop when you tell them you don’t need it because they know better than you do.
But here’s the thing:
I also get it when you start smiling again because Jesus comes closer than any human being could ever come.
I get it when your hard work pays off and you’re able to support yourself and your children without child support.
I get the satisfied tiredness that comes at the end of a work week when you do payroll, and still have enough for your bills even when rent is high and groceries are out of this world.
I get the deep appreciation for your friends who get the fact that you don’t have time to spare even when you’d love to have them over—because just getting to sit on your couch with coffee feels like vacation.
I get the gratefulness mingled with frustration when you spend too much money on Dr. visits, trying to get well again after burning out from years of emotional trauma.
I get the joy of hiking hours into the wilds so you can be in touch with something bigger than yourself.
I get the deep friendships that form when others join your steep adventures and everyone talks non-stop about all of life while the legs burn upward before eyes rest on majestic views that defy every pain you’ve ever felt.
I get the gratefulness of those moments when pain melts into oblivion, even just for a few minutes as something better takes over your mind.
I get the deep appreciation for those friends who send their husbands over to fix your broken sinks and change the tire on your son’s bike. Woman to woman, it’s their way of saying, “I got your back” and they’ll never know how much it means to us.
I get the joy over small things, because joy is a gift and you feel it coming, coming, coming as it used to be—though now, it is richer, fuller, and better because it is not dependent on another human being.
I get it that you’re grateful for your sorrow because it led you to your joy.
I get it that you felt broken much longer than you wanted, yet realized that your heart broken open absorbed light more than before.
I get the peace that comes from no dependence on relationship for your happiness, and the profound realization that you’re going to be more than okay, not because of a human being but because “The Son of Man has risen with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2) and He met you in your tears so He could wipe them away.
I get the wonder that He never left, never became impatient, and always looked at you with love.
I get the realization that you’re His favorite—but so is everyone else around you, and they should all be treated as such, created in the image of God for the glory of God. The realization of your own value collides beautifully with the realization of everyone’s value, and you want the whole world to circle with love, endlessly.
And I truly get it that now, though you love everyone, you no longer trust everyone. You’ve learned to know when you know when someone’s character is solid and they’ve earned trust without trying—because they didn’t need to prove what already was.
You are now the girl reading with new insight this verse: “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
You live carefully, but courageously. Fear may threaten you, but love will overtake you.
Dear single mom, I get it that the Love of Jesus is now your anchor beyond what you ever knew before, and how, no matter what the future holds, you are set on HIM because you’ve found His love better than any other kind of love.
You are no longer the girl longing for the perfect life; you are now the girl held with perfect love in a very imperfect world.
“But to you who fear My name, the Son of Righteousness shall rise with healing in His wings.”