Yesterday, I got a message from our receptionist about a woman who called several times that day trying to reach me in the office. I didn’t recognize her name. Messages left by one another… and brief texts back and forth. Who was this lady and why was she urgently trying to reach me?
Finally today, we connected. I spent close to two hours on the phone with this precious single mom. She doesn’t attend my church but her co-worker does and she told her she should call me. I asked her a few times if there was something specific that she needed help with, to which she would just avoid my questions altogether.
It was then that God hushed me and told me that what she needed, was someone to listen.
I listened to her tell me about her day, her story, her past, and the circumstances that led her to single motherhood. As she shared the hardships of her past, I thought to myself how incredibly upbeat she sounds. I’m confused by this call.
She described the pride she has in her children. They work so hard. They have heard the word “no” from her so many times over the years that they no longer ask for much. Maybe they stopped expecting something better. Maybe the number of homes they have lived in and couches they have slept on has taken its toll on them. Another night of cereal for dinner or donated clothes in contrast to their friends designer labels. Maybe they are no longer filled with hope.
This is where I caught a quiver in her voice and my stomach sank…I knew what was coming. Oh, please no. I’m ashamed to admit this but as she slowed her speech to compose herself, I was thinking why did she have to call me, Lord? My day was busy…good…productive…until this call.
As quick as those thoughts came, they quickly left as God gave me a hefty yet loving, spiritual slap. He wanted me to listen and to stir up some distant memories.
She said she hates being the “not fun” parent, the one who has to make and enforce the rules. No child support means working one full-time job and a part-time job at night and on the weekends. She runs home in between jobs to make a quick dinner, grab the mail (more bills), and spend an hour with her kids.
Her voice sounds upbeat again as she joyfully tells me how they now have a small, but nice, town home with a garage to keep them safe when they park late at night. She signed up for months of overtime hours to save up enough to surprise her daughter with a cheap, little car for her sweet 16. My chin starts to quiver. At this point, I am thrilled that I am the one listening and not the one talking.
She’s trying to hide it but I can tell she is crying. My thoughts are begging her stop. Other people’s tears hit me hard.
I want to do more, Shaylah. I want to be more. This wasn’t the life I imagined, she says. I’m tired. So…very…tired. Beyond exhaustion. I work so hard with so little gain. What is it getting me or my kids? One more day of… this? So often, I just want to quit. I am so very lonely yet zero time for friends. My free time is for my kids and that time is going by fast. I’ve already missed out on so much. I just want someone to understand, to see me, to appreciate me, and to love me.
Lord please help me with the right words to say to this sweet mom.
I understand. More than you know. Sadly, I have pushed those thoughts and memories to the deepest depths of my mind when God wants them at the forefront. He reminds me how my heart is deeply burdened for single moms, how I have been praying for ways to reach those who have lost their hope, strength, and their fight to make it. And here she is. This is what I prayed for, right?
I tell her God loves her. More than she can ever possibly imagine. He wants to live in her heart. He wants to take away her fears, her worries, and her stress. He wants her to rest her body and mind and to rest her soul with His word. He wants her to know that He sees her and all that she does for her children. He is with her. Trust Him. Allow Him to guide her decisions…it doesn’t all have to rest on her shoulders. The fruit of her hard work and sacrifice will come as He understands sacrifice for love of others more than we can ever comprehend. Christ has a purpose for every setback and the wisdom for every decision to be made. He is asking her to see His promises over her problems. You are loved sweet single mom.