It was Christmas Day and my first Christmas alone. Well, I guess I wasn’t alone. I had my 11-month old with me. It was the darkest of days. I woke up to the inevitable – no money, no family, and a baby who toddled around, not knowing the difference. I cried for most of the day. I eventually went to a friend’s home for a couple of hours, but I ultimately ended the day on the sofa in tears, alone.
Perhaps one of the biggest struggles for any single parent is loneliness. It is easy to compare families who are shopping together on weekends or strolling their precious toddler on a bright Sunday afternoon. It is easy to imagine our lives much differently than they are, hence feeding into the loneliness that endlessly lingers.
Loneliness is dangerous. It can assuredly lead to compromise. How many times have I sat holding the hand of a mom who was regretful of a decision that stemmed from a lonely night? How many times did I stumble in my single parenting years for that very same reason? Loneliness can lead to further isolation, depression, alcohol, and drug use. It can attribute to bitterness, anger and a myriad of other not-so-positive emotions. So, how do we fight it?
One of the first keys is to recognize you are never alone. God promises that He will never leave you. You may be thinking, “Yeah, that sounds great, but I want human interaction!” The Lord created you for relationship – relationship with each other and relationship with Him. However, the latter is the most important part of our lives. The development of our relationship with the Lord is our strength, our comfort, and our peace. It is where our joy is found. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7 about how his singleness has allowed him to serve God better. The next time you feel loneliness creeping in, consider serving someone else. How can you use your time and talents to serve God by serving others? Can you volunteer at a local soup kitchen or babysit for a fellow single parent? Can you offer dinner at your house for some neighborhood friends and make it a game night, helping others who may be battling loneliness?
Be certain to stay connected to a local church. I am a huge proponent of this one! If single parents can stay connected in a local church, they are better equipped to battle loneliness. Support groups and Sunday School classes help us to get perspective. It helps us to hear others’ problems or to hear wisdom from someone who has been where we are. Satan’s plan is one of a divide-and-conquer strategy. If he can isolate us from church and loving, Godly, friends, we begin to see the glass as half-empty. No one will ever love me. I will always be alone. How could the church treat me that way? I don’t need God, anyway. On and on, the negative thoughts will grow if we aren’t careful. If Satan can steal our joy, kill our hope, and destroy our plans for the future, he’s won. We are no longer a threat to him. We are no longer focused on what we can do in the Kingdom of God, but rather what we can’t do.
Single moms, you are not alone. Support groups are blossoming all over the country to see that you are encouraged and equipped in the body of Christ. I leave you with one of my all-time favorite Scriptures:
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Is. 43:2 NLT
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and currently serves more than 1,500 churches.
The Life of a Single Mom has served 406,000 single mothers over the last decade and counting. Maggio is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.