this past weekend we finished up one of our favorite events of the year–the refuge and joshua station single moms crazy christmas brunches. this year, between the 2 venues we had 60 mommies. it was wild & fun. and trust me, it’s not a-tea-and-crumpets and remember-God-is-your-husband kind of event! we try to bring try to bring as much laughter, fun and hope as possible to these mommies in the trenches all year round, not just at christmas; but we do go out of our way to make it extra special this time of year.
it always makes me think how hard it is to be a single mommy or daddy. i have so much respect for these friends who are slogging it out, taking good care of their babies without the love and support they wish they had from a partner. everyone’s circumstances are different. some aren’t struggling financially every single day, while others are sick and tired of getting shut off notices and wonder how they’re going to figure out how to pay their power bill this week. others have a good relationship with their exes, while many others have everyday battles that never seem to end; and then some have never had help from their babies’ daddies and have always had to do figure it out on their own. some have 1 kid, some have many more. but regardless of the circumstance or situation, there’s one thing that all these mommies have in common--this was not what they had originally planned but somehow they ended up here.
and sometimes it’s hard to hold on to hope.
and though i don’t know what it feels like to be a single mom, i was raised by one. when i look back at how hard my mom worked to keep food on the table and the lights turned on with no help from her exes, i am always reminded of the tenacity of people on behalf of their kids. sure, there was all kinds of wacky stuff that happened in my house that i wish didn’t, but i do know that my mom was working her tail off to try to do the best she could for us despite a lot of odds. and i am very thankful she didn’t give up.
the holidays are hard for so many, but they are extra hard for single parents. they bring up the realities of their situation. the loneliness, the pain, the anger, the hurt, the sorrow, the grief in a way that the day-in-and-day-out sometimes doesn’t.
i wanted to take time to remember this season that there are all kinds of mommies and daddies who might need a little extra love, some laughter, a little help with their kiddos, a movie or a meal or a hug or some kind of reminder somehow, someway that they’re not alone on this nutty journey.
here’s a little prayer i wrote for single moms (and daddies, too, i don’t want to ever forget them, i just don’t see as many of them around the refuge as mommies).
God of love and hope,
be with the mommies and daddies who are tired this week
tired of the grind
tired of being alone
tired of being tired
infuse them with hope, a reminder they’re not alone
strengthen their weary legs, their worn-out hearts
nourish their hearts with your love & truth
gently wipe their tears away and whisper words of kindness in their ears
and when you feel far away to them,
may those who are nearby be You to them
a tangible presence in the darkness,
a snow-filled driveway shoveled,
a hot meal provided,
a day of respite from the kids offered,
a hug that is desperately longed for given
a moment of laughter supplied
may your spirit be close to them
may your healing strengthen them
may your mercy nurture them
may your hope buoy them
may your peace settle them
God, you know they are
brave even though they feel afraid
strong even when they feel weak
beautiful even when they feel ugly
remembered when they feel forgotten
loved when they feel abandoned
remind them of this today.
may your light and love and hope seep in,
some way, some how.
love & peace to each of you reading this advent. it’s sure been a weird one around here.