Surprise!

You all should get an award for patience. If I had a nickel for every time I checked the stats and felt guilty for my dry spells…. It’s kind of the nature of the beast though, right? Single mom has blog. Single mom gets busy. Single mom puts blog on back burner. Rinse and repeat. Thanks for your faithfulness!

As a reward, I’ve arranged a surprise for you. We have a guest poster this week! My sweet friend Genevieve graciously accepted my pleas to “PLEASE WRITE SOMETHING FOR MY BLOG!” I’ve been blessed to have someone like Genevieve around. We have hurts and triumphs in common, but no single mom’s story is exactly the same; my walk is not like her walk. That’s exactly why I asked her to write for us. I’m hoping this won’t be the only time I’ll harass her into sharing. She has great pearls of wisdom. I’ve benefited from them, I know you will too.

So, here I am. I’m a 27 year old, Christian woman, who is divorced and now a single parent to two beautiful children ages 6 and 4. Divorce was never something I expected, who does really? My parents and almost all of my friend’s parents were and still are married.

I could blame the fact that I’m divorced on any number of reasons.We got married too fast, too young, without counsel. We were raised differently and it just stopped working. We didn’t really love each other. You name it, it was there. But I can tell you with confidence the reason I am divorced is because I followed peace, prayed without ceasing and sought Godly counsel.
Ever since my ex left a year and a half ago he has slowly faded out of the picture. I am now in the position to play all the parenting roles and having to rely on God for every single thing that we need. I have to keep a constant line of communication open so I can hear His voice in raising my children. I’m not perfect, its hard and sometimes I have no idea what to do. A lot of the time it seems, I have no idea what to do. But each time I can look back and see that His grace has sustained me and that keeps me pushing forward.

If I could make one point through this post it would be this: Even when it’s dark, lonely, painful and seemingly hopeless, keep pressing on. Going through a divorce is like trying to run through sludge while it’s pitch black and someone is beating you with a stick. I hated every minute of it. Sin brings death and you can feel the death from a place deep inside your heart.

Since my divorce I have sought counsel, prayed, and really taken steps to be healed not only for myself but for my children and my future spouse. To truly dig deep and get at the pain and the hard spots that have been created in my heart and life has been so important in the process of my healing. As I continue I’m sure there will be things I find, areas of fear and pain that I will still have to deal with. It’s so difficult and sometimes overwhelming but its so worth it.

I’ve struggled in writing this blog post because I don’t want to come across as an advocate for divorce. Even through it all, I desire to be married again. I believe in marriage as a God ordained gift. I believe that God has a wonderful man ready to love and lead us closer to Him. I have faith that wholeness and love are in our future.

God’s undying love has sustained me. Through court dates, restraining orders, custody decisions, lawyers, signing papers, tears, heartache, confusion and frustration, He has walked beside me and guided me the entire way.

The Lord will work out his plans for my life, for your faithful love, oh Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me. Psalms 138:8

Me and my children at my daughter’s kindergarten graduation.

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Stand Up

When I was a teenager, in the height of my fabricated angst, my family moved. And for the first time in my life, I had my own room. My mom and new stepdad told me I could paint my room however I wanted. I chose to paint one wall black, and write all over it. Song lyrics mostly, a few stereotypical quotes. I felt they expressed who I was. I had no idea who I was.

In hindsight, what I should have painted on my wall is a quote that cannot clearly be credited to any one person. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” A sentiment my mother had desperately tried to make stick in my heart. “If you don’t decide in your heart now to say ‘no’ to what is wrong, you will say ‘yes’ when the temptation comes.” And she was right. I took no hard stands on anything. I fell for everything. I got bruised.

Make a stand! Stand up for yourself! Stand up for others! Stand for something! Stand tall!

These imperatives attract us with their melodrama. What they are really saying is “Make a choice.” Life is a series of choices. It’s not a movie. No thunderstorm or soundtrack is going to accompany your choices in life. Choices build upon each other. Some consequences are immediately palpable. Most take time. Slow and steady changes.

A year ago today I made a choice. I decided to stand for something. I drew a line in the proverbial sand to say “I will not allow what is on the other side of this line to consume my life anymore. To rob my peace, to disrupt my present, to tarnish my future, to break my heart. It is not acceptable to me. I will not stand for it, but stand against it.” The changes this choice caused are largely yet to be seen.

When you think of what someone stands for, you think of the causes they back or their positive attributes. If you think of what I stand for and think of any cause or morality, you are wrong. On my own I am weak and helpless, selfish and lazy, vain and destructive. I have no cause, I have no stand.

I chose Jesus, because He first chose me. My choices without God only lead to shit. Choosing Him, above all else, is my hope. I stand for Him, hopefully by being so invisible myself that others can only see evidence of His glory in me.

You want to make a stand? Make choices that lead to positive change? Choose Jesus. You’ll fall without Him.

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

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5 Things I Pray About: #5 – Loneliness

I have put this post off for long enough. Why the procrastination? Because loneliness is a downer. It’s totally going to bum you out to read, and it’s totally bumming me out to write. Talking about loneliness is more difficult than I originally imagined when I included it in my “5 Things” topics. It’s hard to express because in it’s very nature, it is depressing, and I am NOT depressed.

Let’s clear the air before I dive in, ok? I am not unhappy. I am not over here in my little apartment crying myself to sleep or sniffling over wedding pictures (I used to do that, because apparently I like torturing myself). I WAS going through a really hard time, and I WAS a very sad person. I am not a sad person anymore. I am the happiest I have been in a long time. But, I am still lonely. You can be lonely AND happy. It took some courage to write this one, because it’s embarrassing to admit.

I’m not talking about the occasional feeling of loneliness. Such as “My boyfriend/husband is out of town and I wish they were here.” or “My best friend has been too busy to get coffee and I am lonely for her company.” Valid feelings of alone-ness, yes. Not what I am talking about. I am speaking about loneliness as a chronic condition.

I am talking about the kind of loneliness that shapes the way I live. Makes even the way I think drastically different. My inner dialogue, the very way I process information or plan my day, is much more conversational than it was a year ago. To put it simply, I talk to myself a lot. I vent to myself. I self-regulate. When budgeting my money, deciding what is for dinner, wondering why Micah is cranky, wondering if my outfit is flattering, deciding if I should make a major purchase etc. etc., my opinion is the only opinion that matters. Just imagine that for a moment. No one else has a real say in what you do or how, why or when you do it. It may sound appealing, but trust me it is not. It leaves me feeling exposed and unprotected.That kind of independence, wanting to only ever do things your way, is also known as immaturity. I miss having someone else to talk things over with.

Then there is the matter of simple adult interaction. I interact with plenty of adults on a regular basis. I talk to my mother and sister nearly every day. I talk to my bosses at my nanny job, to my coworkers at the restaurant job, to guests at the bar. I also interact with adults at school. And, I totally have friends guys. I have, like, a whole 3 that I talk to every week. But none of those people are sharing a life with me.

Let me give you a stupid example. The other night at my mom and stepdad’s house, we had tacos for dinner. And as I made mine, I was a little sad. Because “we” loved taco night. And “we” had our own way of doing it. We cooked onions and peppers in with the meat, we liked them extra spicy, we used bigger soft shells. He always showed me how to fold them properly, and I always ended with grease down my arm.

You know what I mean? The little things you share, because someone is there to share them with you. Instead, I’ve formed my own little ways of doing things. I don’t like having my own little way, I want to share a way with someone else.

Micah helps. The loneliness is worst when he is not here with me. Praying helps always.

 

I Peter 5:7 The Message

So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; He’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.

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5 Things I Pray About: #4 – The Future Guy

*Insert deep, long sigh and the biggest eye roll you’ve ever seen here*

Because that is exactly how I feel about this topic.  Just, ugh. “The Future Guy” is a muddled, murky mess.  First, there’s the “How long am I supposed to wait before dating is appropriate?” issue. Then there’s the “I’m a package deal now” issue.  The “My standards are so high that this future guy surely does not exist” issue. And, my personal favorite,  the “Where am I ever going to meet this person?” issue.

Several months ago, if you had brought up this mythical future relationship I would have given you the death stare. I spent most of 2013 figuring out how to live. (Congratulations to me, I made it.) Towards the end of the year, when my ducks miraculously appeared in their row, I was hit with loneliness like a brick wall.  No longer preoccupied with the drama that is divorce, I realized that I do not, in fact, want to be alone forever.  I was created to have a partner, and I make no apologies for acknowledging that.  It still is not something I think about often, but I do think of it more often than I used to. Does that make sense?

The first problem, the “How long…?” issue, does not really concern me too much yet.  First, I am not yet legally divorced. (Every time I have to say this, I die a little.) The fact that I am still legally married is not, to me, some moral reason not to date. When it’s over, it’s over, whether the state of New York knows that yet or not doesn’t matter. I think, because I am tied to him through our toddler, it means something more to me to have an official disconnect from him in black and white. Second, even if it was official, I am not ready.  I just started to consider the possibility recently. Not interested in doing a cannon ball into the dating pool. I don’t even have a toe in yet.

And timing doesn’t really matter, because this new guy is a mythical creature who will surely have to fall from the sky (where my standards are).  I am not messing around anymore (literally or figuratively). My dating history is a mess.  And no offense to any of my ex’s out there, but I was young and stupid and didn’t pay attention to the qualities that really matter in a guy. Number one on that list now is that he must be Christian. Not Easter and Christmas Christian either. That narrows down the playing field quite a bit.

Now consider that he must be Christian and willing to date a single mother. I’m young, only 24. Most Christian guys my age are looking for a girl whose qualities include words like “virgin” or “saving herself.” So, not only is mythical dream man willing to look past all of that, but he totally loves that I have a toddler too. Micah is not someone I want this new guy to just look past. He’s going to have to like me BECAUSE of Micah, because I am a good mom. Not in spite of it. And, he’s going to be totally understanding when I don’t let him hang out with the super cool Moo for quite some time. AND, AND he will understand that I will not have as much time for him as the other 20-something-year-old girls, because being a mom is more important. On top of all of these super powers, he must also be good looking and hard working, among other things.

Which brings up my favorite internal question: Where am I going to meet this guy? Your guess is as good as mine. Any guy who sits at the bar at work is automatically disqualified. I don’t meet many people at the nanny job. Church seems like a logical place, except my group of friends there are, weirdly enough, other mothers. Don’t even say the words “Christian Mingle” to me.

Clearly, God is going to have to bring him to me. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to, one that I reach over and over. I’m just going to have to trust God! How, where and when aren’t questions I am supposed to have the answers to. God knows my heart. He knows what I need better than I do. I want what He wants for my life.

 

Philippians 4:6-8

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

 

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Who wouldn’t love that face?

 

 

5 Things I Pray About: #3 – Sharing

Ah, sharing. Let’s be real. We were born not wanting to share. Micah’s favorite phrase is “NO! MINE!” I feel a little hypocritical correcting him, because that’s exactly how I feel about him. If I had the freedom to speak my mind like a toddler does, I’d be saying “No! Mine!” about my Moo a lot.

I have to share Micah. I have to hand him off to the babysitter. I control that environment, and it isn’t so hard. I have to leave him with his Mimi and Papa. They respect my parenting choices, with a healthy dose of spoiling. It isn’t so hard. I have to hand him over to his dad. I have no control. Over parenting choices or the environment. Over who is around my sweet baby. Nothing. That is hard. As a married mom, you and your husband probably work together in raising your children. Try raising your child, knowing that another person is also raising him in a slightly different way. Micah’s dad is a GOOD dad. Micah is safe with him, cared for and loved. But there’s an instinct in me that wants to say “NO! MINE! My choices, my methods, do it my way!”

Really, I could have titled this #3 – Protection. I don’t want to share him because I feel he is best protected in my arms. A mother’s protective instinct is not to be messed with. Being a single mom took that instinct into overdrive. It’s all on me. It’s my number one job. I think of all the hurt that may come his way. Boo-boos, sickness, heartbreak, tragedy. If I had it my way, he would never even scrape his knee. But that is not reality. Reality for Micah is much harder. He doesn’t know it yet, but he is starting out his life with a big hurt. Someday he is going to understand that his family is broken. He won’t even remember a time when it wasn’t.

Once again, it all comes down to trusting God. He is not best protected when he is with me, he is best protected with God. It is NOT all on me. I’m not supposed to raise Micah my way. I’m supposed to raise him how God intended. And he is not really mine, but “on loan” to me by God. I have an enormous responsibility to help Micah build a solid foundation for his life. And I have to trust that God will protect that.

For me, it is about relinquishing control.  I do not know what is best for my child.  Not on my own anyway. That is hard for a mother to admit, but it’s true. I can try to do it my way. Raise him my way, protect him my way. My way is not the best way.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)

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Some Mimi and Papa spoiling!

The Elephant

My family is all about nicknames. Everyone has one. Actually, everyone has a few. My main nickname is Jane or Janey, and to explain how that came about would only confuse you. One of my other names, usually brought up in nostalgic conversation is “The Elephant.” Not referring to my size, but to my memory. I remember everything. Childhood memories are like a scrapbook in my mind. I can picture certain events with crystal clear clarity. For example, I remember my brother coming home from the hospital. Specifically, I remember asking my mom about the umbilical cord on his belly button. I’m about 2 and half years older than Joe. I remember the details of our backyard in that house, and we moved when I was 4. I remember moving. The list goes on and on.

There’s another side to the nickname. I never forget when I (or someone in my family) has been wronged. Especially in my teenage years (I was a particularly rebellious teen) I held onto grudges. In my late teens and early 20′s, I got a lot better about it. Feeling the bitterness overwhelm my heart, I started to let go of a lot of hurts. I worked on forgiving others and forgiving myself. I have, miraculously, forgotten a lot of the hurts I used to bury inside.

Having learned the valuable lesson of forgiveness, saving my elephant memory for childhood nostalgia, I surprised myself this week with an obvious epiphany. I have to forgive my ex-husband. “Well, duh?” you are probably thinking to yourself. But it wasn’t a “duh” to me. It would have been, if I had given it a moment’s thought. But here I am, nearly 9 months into this and I haven’t  thought about forgiving him.

I have tried, very hard, to hear God and to live by His word in this time in my life. A silver lining of having your world collapse is that you get to rebuild it. I want to rebuild it the right way. So, I read my Bible, I pray, I listen. And God has been faithful to be with me and speak to me. Towards the end of the summer, I felt called to pray specifically for my ex. So I listened. Every morning that I drive to my nanny job, I pray out loud in the car. I pray for Micah and I. I pray for my family and friends. But I spend half that time praying for him. I pray that God would bless him, that God would make Himself real to him. I even prayed for the girl he was seeing. I asked for wisdom in my interactions with him, that God would open my mouth when it needs opening and shut it when it needs shutting. (So, so hard for me.) I asked for healing for my heart.

And not once did I ask God to help me forgive him. It was never in my stream of thought. Part of “The Elephant” joke in my family is this sense of justice that I have in me. It bothers me when people don’t get the consequences they deserve. Direct correlation to the rolodex of wrongs I used to keep inside. While I’ve let the wrongs go, I still have the sense of justice in me. And I see now where that has interfered.

Since my last “My Heart Today” post, I have received several messages about how those people could relate. All of them had a message of forgiveness. Not in a condescending tone, not like they were even giving me advice. I don’t think any of them even knew that forgiveness wasn’t something I had tackled yet. But the message on my end was clear. It’s time to forgive.

This is hard for me. My need for justice doesn’t like it. He has his very own rolodex of wrongs in my heart. He doesn’t deserve my forgiveness and he certainly has not asked for it. But here’s the “duh.” No one deserves forgiveness. And I need to forgive him, for myself. My resentment and disappointment towards him are NOT righteous,  as much as I like to think they are. I don’t have the right to hold a grudge against him. I am just as wrong to keep track of where he was wrong. I need my heart to heal, and I need forgiveness too. To be forgiven, you have to forgive.

We could call forgiveness “the elephant in the room.”  So big and obvious that I’ve been pretending it’s not there.

Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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5 Things I Pray About #2 – Consistency

Consistency is something any good parent prays about. You try to be consistent in routine, consistent in expectations and consistent with consequences. It’s something that rises naturally from every day life. For me, it’s something completely different now than it used to be.

When I was a stay at home mom, I used to try to think of ways to switch things up for Moo and myself. I didn’t want to get stuck in my routine. Now, I strive for routine. Let me walk you through a typical week in our home. It’s never the same, but here’s the average routine.

Sunday – Church at 10:30am. Up to my mom’s house after. I leave for work a little after 3pm, Moo stays with Mom and Kevin. Bartend until 10. Get back to my mom’s around 10:30pm. Spend the night.

Monday- Wake up at 5:30am. Pack clothes, diapers, and food for Micah and I. Chug coffee. Wake up Micah, hit the road around 6:15am. Get to Elmira at 6:45am. Nanny until whenever Dr. D is done with work. (Sometimes, we are home at 2pm. Sometimes 8pm. We never know!) Drive home, cook dinner, put Moo to bed.

Tuesday – Repeat of Monday, except we are waking up at our own apartment!

Wednesday – Hang around the house until 12pm. Micah goes to Dad’s. I run errands, clean, etc, until class at 4:30pm. Get out of class around 7:30pm. Usually, I spend my Micah-less night with my best friend.

Thursday – Sometimes I nanny, usually I wait impatiently for Micah to get home. Have a peaceful evening together.

Friday – NOTHING! One day a week where Moo and I spend the ENTIRE day with each other in our own home!

Saturday – Lazy day until Micah’s babysitter comes at 3:30pm. I bartend from 4-11pm. Come home and crash, because we have church the next morning.

It’s not a bad routine, and it is mild compared to the chaos of this summer. Actually up until a week ago, I only put Micah to bed three nights a week. More than anyone else, but not most nights. It bothered me a lot and a change in his dad’s work schedule answered that prayer. But, imagine how it is on a one year old. He spends the night in three different beds (and naps in a 4th at the nanny job), is put to bed by 4 different people. Different rules, different practices, different everything each day. That is a lot of inconsistency for a one year old! So what can I do to make it better for him?

First, I pray about it. (A lot!) When I am with Micah at home, I try to keep things very consistent. We don’t leave our house a lot if we don’t have to. I used to like to take him to do things, even if it was just running errands. Now, I try really hard to do things at home instead. We still do fun activities, but we like to do them within the 4 walls of our own playroom. We have reading time before every nap. I sing the same songs to him every night. I’m not trying to force some rigid schedule on him. That is completely impossible in our world. I am trying to give him small glimpses of consistency in our week.

I am not sure how well I am doing with this, but I can definitely tell that Micah has an attachment to our home (and to me, of course). He calls it Micah’s house and that makes my heart so happy. I pray all the time that God would give me wisdom with this. And I pray that there will be a day, soon, that I won’t have to worry so much about it. Until then, you can find us at home reading “What’s Wrong Little Pookie?” and singing “I See the Moon”  every opportunity we have.

“Point your kids in the right direction—
when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)

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(Moo on the job with me and Moo baking pies while Mama is at work.)

Healing

We interrupt your regularly scheduled posting (#2 – Consistency) for a “My Heart Today” post.

I wrote this yesterday, for myself. I write a lot for my eyes only, but feel compelled to share this one. We’ll get back to the “5 Things” series next. (Sorry for the confusion.)

 

It was a strange, sinking feeling that came over me. Have you ever had two lines of thought at the same time? There I was, standing in the kitchen, dabbing at my wet eyes with a dish rag and saying into the phone “I’m sorry. Just tell me what you want to do and I’ll do it.” And as I said the words, I beat myself up with them. “Nine months later and this is still who you are inside? One harsh word from him and you crumble?”

It’s hard. Those are the only words I can muster. Sometimes, I wish that there was a way that I would never have to look at him again. It’s hard to see him. When I see him, I feel sad. I feel disappointment. I feel angry. I feel rejection. I feel like a shell of who I really am inside. When he sees me, he feels absolutely nothing.

I was a happy person when I met him. The good things God put in me were just starting to reach the surface. My marriage, best described as toxic, changed a lot in me. It left a lot of destruction behind.

I wish I never had to see him again. That’s never going to happen. I see him every week. Every interaction teeters on the edge. I try to say as little as possible. But eventually, something has to be talked over. We disagree more than we agree.

I’ve spent the last 9 months growing into who I really am inside. And still to this day when he raises his voice, I cower. The hurt wells up in my throat and I can’t hold it back. I want so badly to hold it back. The only thing worse than him making me cry is when he knows it. I’m just too sensitive. Certainly not something he did. Have you ever been mocked for your own emotions?

No one wants to be reminded of their broken places inside. I’m broken here. I thought it had healed with time, and in an instant it was back. I take sensitive to an entirely new level. I feel whole and happy, and then the wounds are exposed. It comes rushing back, a stinging on my heart that only time and God can heal.

One of my best friends, when my apologetic and sad side comes out, tells me to never apologize for bad days. And I won’t. Bad days used to be every day. Now, I can take a deep breathe and know that those tears of rejection aren’t my daily life anymore. He’s not my life anymore. I can find joy in those moments of pain, because it means I cared. It means I’m in tune with my own emotions. I left before I built permanent walls inside. I’m so thankful for that.

Someday soon, it won’t hurt. I picture it sometimes. I’ll be sitting in the playroom with Micah, my mind running through the day’s to-do list. I’ll think about how I have to see him. And the hurt will be healed.

5 Things I Pray About: #1 – Providing

I’ve spent some time lately reflecting on how my priorities, my thoughts and my prayers have changed this past year. I was going to title this series “5 Things I Worry About” but that would be inaccurate. I don’t worry, because my life does not belong to me and I trust God to lead me where He wants me. “5 Things I Pray About” is much more accurate. I have been stretched, stressed and worked on (hard) in these 5 areas. This is the bared soul of single motherhood. I can’t speak for all of us, but these are five things that weigh on me:

1) Providing

2) Consistency

3) Sharing

4) The Future Guy

5) Loneliness

 

Let’s start with “Providing.” Because nothing makes people (myself included) more uncomfortable than talking about money.

I dance along a fine line. It’s a constant pulling. My son is young and these sweet toddler days are flying by. (See previous post.) I truly believe I was made to be a stay at home mom during this precious time in Micah’s life. I am not trying to offend working mothers. Working moms are amazing. Some women have the extraordinary gift of excelling in their careers and in motherhood. My attempt at the balancing act is often on the brink of disaster.

Trying to spend my time wisely between Micah and working, while earning enough income to provide for us is like a complicated algebra equation. I have two jobs. The schedule is hectic at best but it is the ideal situation for us both right now. I am with Micah during the week. (Except when his Dad has visitation and when I am in class on Wednesday nights. See #3 – Sharing.) On the weekends, I am away from him only a few hours before he is in bed anyway.

I make enough money to pay bills, put gas in my car and pay the babysitter. There is a small amount of spending money left. I never know how much money I will earn in a week. I nanny for anesthesiologists. They don’t know when they will be home, so I don’t know how many hours I will be paid for (They are kind enough to set an 8 hour minimum for me. They’re pretty fantastic!) At my bartending job, it is a total crapshoot. Sometimes it’s busy, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I get generous tippers, sometimes I don’t. (My boss there, also fantastic.) I pray every single day that I will earn enough to provide for us. I pray that no unexpected expenses will pop up. (I’m looking at you, car.)  Some people say they live paycheck to paycheck. I’m living day to day. And I am blessed to say that every rent payment, every bill, every need of mine has been miraculously met. (And I spent nearly a grand on you this year, car.) However, I don’t make enough to feed us. I receive SNAP benefits, AKA food stamps. It doesn’t hurt my pride to say that. I am so, so very thankful for them. Do you know how much of a relief it is to me to know that no matter how much I earn, no matter what comes up, that I will be able to put food on the table? Food stamps are a blessing to me right now.

Another side of being the single mother and sole provider is the judgment you occasionally face. Because I receive benefits, I sometimes feel the need to defend myself. How I earn my money, could I be working more, etc.. But I feel that I have found a decent balance, that I am dancing the line the best that I can. I don’t answer to other people, I answer to God. When I need to make a change, the door will open. Until then, I give “Providing” to Him to care for.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

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(A very tired Mama and a very cute Moo!)

 

It won’t be enough.

Micah Liam Allard.  I remember when we picked his name.  I remember painting wooden letters to hang on his wall.  I remember scribbling it in notebooks, saying it over and over in my head and imagining what my Micah Liam would look like. It’s funny, when you are pregnant, you spend so much time preparing for the baby stage.  You think about breastfeeding, you fold tiny little onesies, you set books next to the rocking chair in the prepared nursery.  Then Micah Liam came, and he was the tiny and sweet bundle of baby that I imagined he would be. So many other parents tell you how quickly the baby days go by.  I listened, I took it to heart.  Even at 4 am, sleep deprived, I reminded myself to soak it in.  I’d smell his little baby head and play with his tiny toes.

And it wasn’t enough.  I had the high privilege of being a stay at home mom for Micah’s first year.  I witnessed every stage, every new development firsthand.  I took note of new noises, I predicted accomplishments.  I let him fall asleep on me for every nap. I reminded myself that he wouldn’t do that forever. And it still went by too fast.  Sure, some days felt longer than others. I had frustrating moments, I was more than willing to hand off parenting duties to his dad to catch a break.  But it still went by too fast.

Motherhood can be a constant state of conflict.  I miss fresh, new baby Micah Liam.  I absolutely LOVED him. And I absolutely LOVE adventurous, adorable toddler Micah Liam.  My sister, when my nephew was a baby, told me that each month she would think to herself “This is my favorite age so far!” And that is exactly how I feel. With each new thing he does I think “I don’t want him to get any bigger, this age is so fun!” Because HE is fun, because being a mom is fun.

I am soaking in these toddler days. I’ll breathe in his sweet little boy-ness.  I’ll read that book over and over.  I’ll sing to him one extra time.  I’ll watch every new thing he does with excitement and pride. I’ll hold him for just a moment longer.  And it won’t be enough.

moo