Blog by Melissa Richardson
We don’t go through the trials and hard times of life for ourselves alone – they are never in vain. God doesn’t cause them, but He can use them for people He brings into our lives.
When I think back on how my life looked 23 years ago, God’s patience and grace amazes me! I never dreamt that I would be a single mom. I was going to be married FOREVER! That’s what I grew up believing. When I married my 1st husband, I was “playing” Christian, but not living as one. I grew up in church. My parents had served in the music ministry of that church my entire life, but even they ended up getting divorced. That was one of the reasons I just KNEW that I would stay married. Unfortunately, that wasn’t how things worked out.
After 8yrs of marriage, I found myself with a 10 month old baby, no family, a house I couldn’t afford, my credit ruined and a support system that, at its best, was hit or miss.
I remember my mom, raising 4 children on her own, with little or no help from my father, and thought – if she can do it with 4 children, then surely I can do it with 1 child and a thriving career. And I did just that until I was let go from my job. Thank goodness my son loved eggs, because that’s the one thing I could afford and we lived on eggs for a quite a while.
I was living pay check to pay check and like my mom, had very little help from my ex-husband. I told my mom that I was gonna have a pity party for the day, and then go out the next day to look for work.
I’d lost my confidence and as a result my thinking started going downhill. I started making poor choices because I thought I wasn’t good enough for anyone, and now with a baby…nobody was going to want me now. It caused me to choose relationships with people who I felt I deserved, not realizing the entire time, that they actually didn’t deserve me!! I chose the friends who viewed me the way I saw myself – never good enough and in need of change.
After a year into a relationship where I was forever trying to measure up, and in the beginnings of mental and physical abuse, I left. A week later, I discovered that I was pregnant with my daughter – talk about timing!!
I didn’t know what to do except to call my mom. You see, I had lost 2 babies when I was married and discovered that I was high risk. I was unable to work past 13 weeks and had to have a procedure done for me to carry my babies’ full term. How was I going to take care of my little family if I couldn’t work? Where would our money come from? I always thought that God would take care of me, but had I done too much wrong for Him to forgive me?! I thought I had and pushed Him far away.
I decided to move back home to my mom so she could help me with my son – I wasn’t supposed to pick him up at all during this 2nd pregnancy. I lived with my mom for almost a year and was then able to go back to my job, and resume life with my clients (I’m a hairdresser) and a few really good friends. I find it sad looking back that I didn’t view all of this as God taking care of me. I viewed it as God punishing me. Now, I’m so thankful for His protection and my mom during that period of my life.
I felt like I was getting a fresh start. I stayed a single mom for nearly 10 years. I dated…(badly)…and continued to try life my way, until one day, I just decided that I needed to give my kids what my parents gave me, a chance to know who Jesus is! Someone invited me to church and I finally broke down and went. I was waiting for the judgement, waiting for someone to let me know what I already felt – that I was a horrible mom, but that never happened!
Little by little, I started getting plugged into church and I made sure my kids were plugged in too! First with a single moms group, then with choir – these are two of the best decisions I have ever made. The fact that God placed people strategically into my family’s life, when and where we needed them the most was nothing short of divine intervention. I saw people like me at church – people who didn’t have it all together and some like me who were just fighting to keep their head above water and fighting to keep our kids off the streets.
It’s so easy to get caught up in everything we do wrong and be more concerned with what people think of us, instead of believing what God says about us. God gave me the revelation that nothing is wasted!! What we go through isn’t for our punishment! I have been fortunate enough to be able to speak into the lives of other single moms and young girls by letting them know what He has done for me. There are things that I’ve gone through that have taught me how to show grace to others and tell them what helped me get through it. Sometimes, people just need to know that they aren’t alone on this journey.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,” 2 Corinthians 1:3 NKJV
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be Jesus’ hands and feet for that person, just as He was for us.
God, I want to take a minute and lift up these amazing single moms to you. Please whisper in their ears that you are a God who really does delight in second chances! There’s nowhere that is too far for you to reach them. I pray that you will surround them with people who love them and love their children. Please give them a support system that lifts them up! I pray that your voice will drown out the voice of the enemy. Tell them who they are to you and what they mean to you! I pray for their children, that they will know how special they are and that You gave them a Warrior for a mama!! Help each mama see the strength that You have instilled in each of them to be able to carry the burden and gift of being both parents! Lord, I pray that you will show them that this is only a season for them! Allow their hearts to be filled with anticipation of what You can and will do in their lives!! Help them raise their children to let them know that, even if their earthly daddy fails them, they have a Heavenly Daddy who will never leave them!! Thank you Jesus for your promises and your faithfulness and for giving us more chances than we deserve!! AMEN