As a single mother of a 7-year-old boy, I have found that my life has its challenges and never-ending tasks. As you’ll often hear from any parent, there simply are not enough hours in the day. One of the things I often hear and many people have mentioned to me is that “they could never be me;” they could “never do what I am doing” in the sense of raising a son on my own. They wonder how I manage having a career, going to college, running a household and raising a child by myself. I understand that what they’re saying to me is, “I could never do all of that alone—I wouldn’t survive it.” Humanly, that’s how they see it.
I am one of eight children. My father and mother put their strongest efforts into training up a child, and we are all in the faith. They both spent their lives teaching their children to understand and look at their lives from a spiritual perspective, not humanly.
It may seem unimaginable to fathom not having a physical helper in marriage—a lack of emotional and physical support, such as having no one to help with the hard projects. For example, have you attempted to put together a desk when you’re not mechanically inclined at all? I have, and needless to say it ended with the desk not being all the way attached with a tablecloth thrown over it to give the illusion it was completed properly. I am still at a loss how I never figured out what the problem was.
It’s true there are many struggles that come along with being a single mom. I have met many mothers who are doing it “alone” in the world, apart from God’s one Body, one Spirit. That is very difficult. And for those of you who have a less supportive family, my heart pours out to you. All of it.
I am surprised by how often I hear, “You’re alone, Rebekah—I am so sorry! How do you do that, and with a smile—how?” This is something that humanly we can’t accomplish, so we can’t see it that way. We have to look at the struggle spiritually, the way God sees it. The fact is, I am never, ever alone.
If you are a baptized member of the body of Christ, part of the one Body, one Spirit described in Ephesians 4:4, He lives inside you (Galatians 2:20). In that sense, none of us is ever alone and should never internalize that because it’s simply not true.
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” It’s a scripture we’ve heard many times, but consider, “seek first, and then all these things will be added unto you.”
As I was growing up, my mother always told me that God is not a genie in a bottle. He’s not there to grant all your wishes—it’s not the way it works. You have to go as far as you can, a little more and then God steps in and does the rest.
In my teenage years, it was harder for me to understand why there wasn’t a little prayer that could just zap in all of my requests or the things I felt I really needed. Could God, with all His power, wonder and might, accomplish such a thing? Undoubtedly! But do we ever truly learn that way? Well, no, so instead we’re instructed “seek first, and then.”
Do your part and trust that God will do His. We can believe this promise, as my mom continually reminded me. In Isaiah 41:10 God encourages His people with the words, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Humanly, we say things that sometimes we do not mean, such as, “I like chocolate more than vanilla—oh wait, I changed my mind—vanilla all the way.” Or, we say things that later we are unable to fulfill in the long run. For example, you might be scheduled to serve at church and you get sick, so you can’t keep your commitment. But, when God says, “I will” it is not a hope, it’s a fact. “I will help you, I will uphold you” means “I have you.”
God Will Help
I married outside the faith, and because my son’s father could not accept godly standards, but chose to go his own path, my marriage crumbled beneath me. I was thrown into a whirlwind that left me bleeding, cut and internally bruised.
As I figured out life in the aftermath and dealt with the uncertainty ahead, the best way I can describe my feelings was that I was overcome with guilt. My son is a beautiful little amazing human that God gave to me to have, hold and care for. But how do you raise a godly man when you’re not one? I was not all alone; God was with me, keeping close, helping me survive and encouraging me with the help, love and support of my parents and family.
But even with all of that, have you ever felt wholly shattered? Have you felt that pieces of you are scattered all around you and you’re not even sure where to begin putting them back together? Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The peace that only comes from God truly does surpass all understanding.
I remember a conversation back in my home congregation shortly after my marriage ended. One of the women who had watched me grow up asked me how I was faring. She took the time to share things about her life that I didn’t know. She had been a widow for many years after her husband died. She went on to tell me how one would never understand, unless they’ve lived through it, the type of closeness and one on one you can have with God when you are a spiritual widow. She shared, “Enjoy it. I know you can never imagine it now, but there will come a time when you won’t be by yourself, and you’ll miss all this.” By “all this” she meant the extra help and support God provides to those who require it in their time of need.
I’d never heard that put into words this way before, but yes, I did receive an immense amount of help from God to fill the void left by a physical helper. When I took my requests to God He heard and answered me. He was there. I was not alone. He made sure of that, but to have someone who knew exactly what that meant was a great encouragement. This woman at church shared that she spent many years being a spiritual widow and many years later, remarried. God provided her with a mate, yet she confessed that she missed the extra help and one-on-one closeness with God.
Even if it seems like you are alone, you never are. God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), and He never has. For those who are doing things solo physically, take note of the ways God steps in. It’s often in ways that a physical helper would never even imagine how to begin. Consider the encouragement in Isaiah 41:10, “Be not dismayed, for I am your God.” God is magnificent and helping us in all the details that we humanly miss.
Whether you’re a single parent, widow, widower or a single person living God’s way of life, remember how Jesus talked about the will of the Father in John 6:37-39, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” Regardless of where you are in life—and we are all in different stages—always remember you are never alone. God will never leave nor forsake you, so do His will and trust Him for the “and then.”