Ladies, I’d like to introduce you to Katie Oldham. She is our newest guest blogger, and if you are widowed with small children, I think you’ll identify with her honest portrayal of the emotional and spiritual struggle she had to overcome during the early days of her loss. For some moms, the reality of being overwhelmed hits right away. For many, like Katie, reality took time to settle in, but the Lord supplies where our abilities fall short.
For more information on Katie and our other bloggers, flip on over to our About Us page and catch up on our life stories.
A Single Mom’s Grace-filled Saga
‘Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.’
Isaiah 40: 30-31, NLT
The funeral was over. My family went home. The dust settled enough for me to evaluate my new environment. I looked at my two little girls and, wide-eyed, they stared back at me. I recall a strange surge of adrenaline and strong sense of motherhood that overtook me.
I was ready to take single parenting on with a calm confidence. I felt a closeness to God that reassured me, ‘Everything is going to be just fine….right?’
The three of us would buck up, buckle in and ‘be all that we could be’!
That adrenaline carried me for those first few months. I just stayed with my sweet girls as though our lives were suspended in time. Perhaps I noticed the world moving faster than life within my walls, but I turned a blind eye as friends and acquaintances moved on with their lives.
I kept mothering on my mind. Breakfast. The park. Puzzles. Preschool. Lunch. Dinner. Bath. Bedtime. Rewind…replay…..
Time raced on, and I felt the fog lifting. A growing sense of reality gnawed at my belly. I pushed it back. The beach. Play dates. Sweeping. Diapers. Groceries…Stand tall….remain steadfast…
Finally, frustration stuck its stinky foot in my door. I began bowing out of the activities requiring extra energy. That’s all I needed, right God? Just lower my mothering standards, knowing He will water my wilting efforts.
That worked… for a while!
Until………everything felt like it was falling apart. There I was, sitting on the couch, staring at the fireplace and listening to two toddlers taking turns calling for me from bed. The air conditioner needed repair. Laundry piled up. My business suffered as I got pulled in every other direction.
Finally, it was more than I could handle emotionally, and while my love never lacked for my little girls, and my care was not neglectful, inside, I withdrew.
Grief set in.
Friends assured me that all I needed was time to suffer and space to grieve.
And as I grieved I began identifying with my title, ‘widow. Over time, I embraced it. And as that grief stricken wife, I latched onto God’s Word with disbelief still in my heart. What loss my children had endured! Them? Fatherless?!
I cried out of guilt knowing my girls were missing the best of me. As he lay ill, I told Kevin I wouldn’t be the mom I was meant to be without him; I was afraid and wanted the praise he so often proudly paid me. How could I be the mom I wanted to be without his encouragement? My heart ached for the tangible touch and loving leadership of my other half.
But Kevin was gone. And so was the adrenaline. Parenting lacked its luster. The joy had been sucked out of it along with Kevin’s death.
But my babies were my bliss! Didn’t they deserve better? I had no choice.
God, grant me the grace to nurture my girls with enthusiastic desire. I did before! Fill my cup and fill the voids for something is missing!
Yes, Kevin was missing. But so was God!
I surrendered and drew close to God, craving His word upon waking each morning. It was HIM I was missing in motherhood. God was knocking at my door, drawing me near, but I had stayed too busy to notice.
As I listened to His Word, I felt His comforting embrace more and more each day.
I finally felt it: a new kind of contentment. It felt different than it had with Kevin as a co-parent. But, my passion for parenting returned.
I’m learning how to parent with grace, even within the walls of grief. His unconditional love for me leads me to the foot of the cross giving me the guidance I need. I again see the simple joys in childhood messiness. I feel even greater gratitude for my girls now!
I am blessed with the precious opportunity to parent my girls. And, no, I am not alone. HE makes me strong in my weakness.