H-E-L-P is a Four-letter Word
- Monday, December 09, 2002
Let me introduce myself. I'm a single mother, age 32 ... and, oh yeah, I live at home with my parents. Believe me, when I was younger, it wasn't a goal of mine to be living with my parents at this age. Actually, I had planned to be married to Mr. Wonderful, sharing a beautiful suburban home with him and my 2.3 kids. But God has a way of changing our plans--or working His will in spite of them.
A little background might be in order. The summer before my senior year of college, I found out I was pregnant. To make a long story short, with my parents' amazing love and support, I made the difficult decision to undertake single motherhood.
After my son's birth, I finished my degree and got a job in my field (how often does that happen?). My son, Christian, and I lived with my parents until he was 5, at which time I felt financially secure enough to venture out on my own and to buy a townhouse.
Ahh! The freedom of being out on my own! The joys of owning my own home! And ... the bills!! We got by just fine on the salary I made; but as Christian got older, I felt a nudge from God to put him in a wonderful, private Christian school nearby. But how on earth would I afford the tuition and a mortgage note?
My mother, half-jokingly, made the suggestion one day that we could move back in with them so that I could afford to put Christian in this new school. Yeah right! That's just what I wanted to do--move back in with my parents. I might as well tattoo a big "L" for "LOSER" on my forehead. But the more I thought and prayed about it, the more sense it started to make.
Now granted, Christian hadn't even been accepted into this school yet. But, on faith, I put my place on the market and waited to see what God would do. Would you believe I was scheduled to move on Aug. 20, and one week before the move I got a call that a slot had opened up at the school for Christian? From that moment on, I never doubted that God had His hand in the whole thing.
We've been living with my parents for about a year and a half now, and I can truly say that it's been wonderful. I pay them rent and still have enough salary to pay tuition. (And, by the way, the school has been a tremendous blessing!)
People ask me a lot if I miss my privacy. Honestly, I still have all the privacy I need. And I have the added bonus of built-in babysitters on the occasion that I need one!
I realize that I'm very fortunate that this arrangement has worked out as well as it has for all concerned. I know that not everyone would have as great an experience as I've had.
But I do want to offer this advice to other single parents out there: Don't be too quick or too proud to dismiss offers of help that may come your way. Being a single parent is a huge responsibility. When you need them, God places people in your path who can assist you spiritually, emotionally and, yes, sometimes even financially.
Don't miss out on a blessing because you're embarrassed to accept help. I would have been a very foolish person indeed if I had let my pride get in the way of what was best for my son. One of the best things you can model for your child is to ask for help when it is needed.
After all, you want your child to always feel free to come to you when he or she needs something, right? But what lesson are you teaching if you are constantly trying to "handle" it all on your own?
Is there something you're struggling with as a single parent? First and foremost, turn it over to God. Then open your eyes to the people around you. The answer you're looking for may be as close as a neighbor, a co-worker or someone in your church. And if you're like me, that person may even be as close as your own family.
"I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isa. 41:10b)
In addition to being a mom to Christian, Tracey Bumpus is the managing editor of CCM Magazine. She previously served as the managing editor of HomeLife Magazine. A Nashville native, Tracey enjoys reading, cooking and taking care of her various pets, including a cat, guinea pig, cockatiel and numerous fish.
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