“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
I had lunch with a friend awhile back. She told me she was in awe of me. Not because I’m really awesome, which I usually am until I get out of bed in the morning. But, because I parent three kids all on my own. Let me just share she’s a new mom, so she’s in that phase of being totally sleep deprived and overwhelmed. I call it “first baby syndrome”! So to see me do it with three kids, right now to her I look pretty awesome.
Although she’s never there in the morning when we have exactly two minutes before we need to leave for school. There’s a whole level of crazy she doesn’t see!
The life my kids and I lead is an intimate dance usually meant just for us.
Yet, from the outside in the glimpses she and others might get, we look pretty “good”. After lunch I sat considering our conversation and her impressions of me, realizing that I am being watched by many; as a woman, as a widow, as a Christian, and particularly as a mom. That fact was heavy!
I fail every day. I mess up and make mistakes. I yell. I lose my patience. I say things I shouldn’t. I wonder sometimes if my kids’ poor behavior or attitudes are totally due to my lack luster parenting.
As a solo mom, I have made many bad decisions. And just the other day my teenage daughter reminded me in a “most helpful” way, I don’t follow through with my threats sometimes.
I’m pretty mediocre at best.
I am certainly no one to be watched.
Honestly, solo parenting is the single hardest thing I’ve ever done!
I never have a day off. Every decision is on me. Every time I need to discipline it’s just me. I can’t “tag” out and pass them off to anyone. Ever.
I have a village of people who help me. And I’m blessed by that group in so many ways. But, the bottom line is, I’m it! I don’t get any days off. I can’t call on my hubby to deal with a behavior issue for me. I can’t talk out the decisions or issues I have with each of them with the guy who got them as well as I do. When there’s an issue. It’s just me!
And that’s just the character molding…
There’s also the schedule managing, homework completing, lunch making, clothing washing, appointment managing, taxiing, sport watching, feeding, project completing, and meet every other need I do daily.
So what’s my secret? What’s the big epiphany to this calling as a widow? Why does my friend admire me? Well. You ready?
I’m a terrible sinful person. My kids are terrible sinful people. It’s really not us. It’s all by the blood of Christ.
It’s the Him in us that others see.
We aren’t perfect, yet HE is.
We keep it real. We are authentic. We show people it’s okay to be a messy unorthodox family. It’s okay to have grief as a family member. It’s okay to not be totally okay. And yes, I am even showing others, solo parenting is possible by God’s amazing grace, provision, and mercy.
I need daily love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. And I receive that and so much more when I approach His throne and lay it all before Him.
For me, I know for certain, right now there’s no greater time than this, and no greater need than the needs of a widow trying to solo parent her kids.
Father, thank You for the grace You give me as a solo mom. Thank You that You’re the constant I can rely on when I especially fail as a solo mom. Your mercy and grace covers me every day, and for that I am so grateful. Lord, I lift up other solo moms to You now. Come alongside them. And be all they need right now. Convict them to go before Your throne and find Your grace and mercy to be exactly what they need. In Your Matchless Name, Amen.
Erika Graham is Director of Operations, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her.
If you are interested in having Erika or any of our writing team speak, please contact us via email at: email@example.com.
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