A Single Mom’s Grace-filled Saga

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.

27 replies
  1. TDM
    TDM says:

    Your story hits so close to home with me. I lost my husband almost 13 months ago after being together for 16 years. I also have 2 small daughters who have just turned 4 and 6. My oldest daughter celebrated her 5th birthday 4 days after my husband’s death. It has been a long, foggy, emotional roller coaster ride but, the Lord has never left my side, ever. I still can’t believe this new life we are in is actually happening sometimes. My husband and I were inseparable, best friends. I know that we will be reunited one day when it is my time to pass from this life to my Heavenly life and that he will be right there waiting for me. Until then, I know that God will give me the strength and the courage to go on and raise our daughters and to enjoy it even though half of me has passed on. I thank you for posting this blog, reading the experiences of others who are walking this unwelcome road of widowhood has helped me in my road to healing.

  2. Debra
    Debra says:

    Melanie god will grace you to get through the days. Its eleven years and I could not have done it without the lord.

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Debra, 11 years–God bless you for your continued dependence on the Lord! He works in mysterious ways! I pray He blesses your life for many more years no matter what the plan. Blessings~Katie

  3. Melanie2
    Melanie2 says:

    I am 1 month away from being without my husband for 1 year. This has been the most difficult year of my life. My children were 7,9, and 11 when they lost their dad. My heart still hurts terribly, but I never imagined that I would be able to “make it” as I have been able to this year. I am a school teacher, and he died almost exactly 1 month before school was to begin. I did not know how I was going to make it through the year, but I did!! I can honestly say it was only by the loving grace and guidance of my Lord that I was able to do this. Also, I have wonderful friends and family who have been there for me ….I know this makes a huge difference.

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Dear Melanie, Thank you so much for your thoughts. You are at such a terribly difficult time getting to the 1 year mark. My heart and prayers are with you. Praise God that you have reached for His strength and I pray that you continue to gain comfort and endurance for this journey through Him. There is nothing easy about this, but with Him, there is purpose and blessing. Thank you and Prayers to you ~ Katie

  4. Amy
    Amy says:

    My point is that someone out there is reading this and feeling like she’s doing something wrong because she’s praying her heart out she’s still terrified. I want her to know she’s not alone.

  5. Amy
    Amy says:

    With all due respect, I think it’s easy to say that I gave it to the Lord in prayer, but we are human too. No matter how much praying we do, sometimes we are bereft and angry and terrified and overwhelmed. And it is ok to say so and acknowledge that those feelings are valid and understandable. I can’t stand here and say that I always believe the Lord has a plan. Sometimes I think He’s lost His ever loving mind. I would give anything, ANYTHING, for a strong loving partner like I had in my husband and even though I have learned to count my blessings, that hole in my heart remains. Sometimes the responsibility and worry of raising two children from scratch on my own is A LOT. I do believe the Lord is with me, but I cannot say that the burden of worry and fear and sadness is completely lifted. That would be a lie.

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Hello Amy, AMEN to THAT! Thank you so much for sharing your very REAL perspective and taking the time to point out that no matter how hard we feel we are trying, sometimes the burden is just too heavy. I am still utterly overwhelmed at times and, yes, terrified too. In fact, maybe as humans we will never be able to fully give it all to God. He never promised that life here would be free of pain and struggle. But, with practice and patience, we can continue to draw on His strength to lighten the load wherever we are in our journeys. I pray that you feel His hand upon you when you are in need of comfort and strength. I pray that His love surrounds you and your children so that in your moments of fear and sadness you know that, no matter how you are feeling, His love and promises to you never change. Thank you again, Amy, for sharing this perspective. Blessings~Katie

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Dear Debbie, Yes, when we feel despair God will heal our hearts in just the way we need. Thank you for your comment and God’s Blessings to you! ~Katie

  6. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    When asked how I “do it” I tell people it is truly by The Grace of God! My boys were 4 yrs and 9 months when my husband died. Amy, I too had to leave the visitation several times to nurse. I remember thinking that those days would never end. Then we came home to an empty quiet house and reality began to set in. My parents and friends were and continue to be the Earthly reason I am able to go on and live a joy-filled life. My boys are now 10.5 & 6.5. One grieves for the Daddy he misses, the other for the Daddy he never knew. It certainly isn’t an easy path to take, and one we would never choose, but I just have to trust that The Lord’s plan is higher than mine.

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Melanie, AMEN! Yes, God’s plan is perfect. While He never promised perfection on this side of heaven, HE does provide for what we need when we lean on Him until we too are in heaven’s perfection with Him (and our husbands!). I know the quiet house and the continued grief you speak of. My heart hurts with you and your children. You are in my prayers. Blessings~Katie

  7. Amy
    Amy says:

    Our girls were not old enough to even sit through the service – newborn and just turned 2 – and I had to leave the visitation several times to nurse my little one. We will be 7 years out next month and now I have beautiful, smart, healthy, thriving grade schoolers. We are still on our own but we are making it. Looking back those first two years were purely a blur. I had no time or energy for prayer or Bible study and forget about getting us ready and to church! But I firmly believe the prayers of others and God’s hand on their hearts got me to where I am now.

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Dear Amy, Thank you so much for sharing your experience. God protected you in your first ‘blurry’ years but praise to Him for putting people into your life who cared for and prayed for your family’s care. Thank God for how far you have come! I pray that you continue to stay strong in your faith journey with your children and that you accept God’s guidance into whatever life He has planned for you! Blessings~Katie

  8. Sonya
    Sonya says:

    When my husband pasted away my kids were 5 and 4 ( he died on our little girls bday) after we buried him 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant ( a son now that is 5) without GOD and my kids I would have not got through it, I was said GOD put me in a bubble and would release a little at a time for me to deal I never had to take any pills he put the right people and kids in my life praise to the almighty king when we don’t know why GOD does this is my story my testimony and there is so much more to share that he did after my husband pasted but the man thing was he never left me or forsaken me

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Dear Sonya, Wow. Your story is a witness to God’s great love and provision in our times of need. THANK YOU for sharing. God knows just what we need, when we need it and how much we can take. Although there are times we have MORE to handle than we can alone, with HIS strength we have when we need. PRAISE HIM for His utter love and care in your life and I pray you grow even further in your faith to live the life He has laid out before you. Blessings~Katie

  9. Terri
    Terri says:

    Thank you for your post. I too lost my husband to pancreatic cancer. Although my children are grown, we have walked a similar path. Just want you to know I will be praying for you and your girls.

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Dear Terri, I am so sorry that you suffered the same painful and destructive path with your husband! It is heart wrenching watching our Loves suffer no matter the cause! I pray that you have peace in your heart and God comforts you on the days you do not. God’s plan is not for us to understand but it is perfect. Thank you for your prayers as I will keep you in mine! Blessings~Katie

  10. FlowerLady Lorraine
    FlowerLady Lorraine says:

    Dear Katie,
    This was absolutely beautiful.

    I also did fine in the beginning, as I was so dependent on God to see me through. People said I was strong, I said my strength was from God. Then like you, things started piling up and the grief weighed me down. I cried out to God and still do and while the grief has lessened, the missing of my husband has not. I too, miss his loving encouragement in all that I do.

    Life goes on, and we grow, hopefully, ever closer to our God, who is now our husband. All that we do is to be done heartily as unto the Him. He will bless us and guide us, He carries us, He is our strength.

    Love and hugs to you as you cherish and raise your little girls. God will never leave or forsake you, you are very precious to Him.

    FlowerLady

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      FlowerLady Lorraine, Your words touch my heart and I thank you for your kindness towards my first go at writing for this blog! I have heard the words of how strong I am, and like you, I give those right to God! Without Him, living through a loss like this would be all the more devastating, hopeless actually. I thank God that you have gained such a faithful perspective and that you lean on the Lord in your times of deeper grief. We learn how GOOD GOD IS when we are forced to walk through suffering. Hugs and blessings to you~Katie

  11. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    When Daniel died after 16 months of illness, we were left. That was 15 months ago now. My daughter just turned 4 and my youngest son is 16 1/2. There have been many trials along the way, but the Lord keeps leading us through, as He has promised. There are time I make myself to busy to breath, but we get through that as well. I will be 60, when my daughter turns 18. That scares me sometimes, but I give it to the Lord.
    Our God is faithful and will never leave us.

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Dear Debbie, God bless you and comfort you! I know the shock and pain of living through an ill husband and then the first days of praising God for his perfection as he is made well in heaven….yet now facing life alone as a mom and widow. Even in your days when you busy yourself, breath in God’s peace because He is with you no matter what kind of day you are having. I am sending prayers for your peace that passes all understanding and the wisdom that only God can give. Blessing~Katie

  12. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    When my husband passed away unexpectedly just under two years ago, I too was left with two small daughters, Anna, who was 5 at the time, and Emma, who was 2 at the time. I completely understand your thoughts, as I too experience this. It has only been recently, by the Grace if God, that I am learning that these two precious gifts are my daily reminder of my sweet husband and that they have experienced a loss that most children will not know at their age. We are enjoying life and celebrating who Daddy is and I am thankful for God’s encouragement and never leaving my side, even on the hard days. But, even on those days, I know that my girls need me and I have to “push” past the darkness and focus on them. And, I know, this is what my husband would want for us. To celebrate life!! God bless you and thanks for sharing.

    • Katie Oldham
      Katie Oldham says:

      Rebecca, sounds like we have a lot in common! What a blessing to me that you have reached out in response to my blog. Thank you! It has taken me that time also to begin truly tapping into the unconditional love and guidance that God gives us as moms. He will fill our every need, He will fill the voids in our and our children’s lives and His love endures forever. There are still dark, hard days but HE never changes. Prayers of blessing and comfort to you as you round the corner of 2 years! ~Katie

  13. Jean
    Jean says:

    When David died, my boys were 8 and 10 and Lanette was 14. The full load of being the only one responsible was almost more than I could handle. No one to blame if they didn’t turn out right. It was going to be my fault. Until I learned that I could turn them over to the Lord and let him assume responsibility. I would do the best that I could and continually point them to Him, and then rely on Him to get the message across. He did not fail me and I am so thankful today they are all serving Him in some capacity.
    Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me.

    • Katie Oldam
      Katie Oldam says:

      Hello Jean, Thank you so much for your perspective! It is true that our loads are heavy until we are able to ‘let go and let God’ take the worry that comes with parenting (or any other part of our lives!). Praise God that you have been able to lean on Him and that your children also love their Lord. Hearing your words encourage me as a mother!

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