“Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ” You are a God who sees;” for she said, ” Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name if his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.” (Genesis 16:7,13,15 NASB)
Life is full of surprises, some good and some, well, not so good. When we become parents there are some amazing surprises we encounter, like how we fall completely in love with the tiny bundle that God blesses us with whether we have just spent hours of painful labor, had a Cesarean section, or gone through a long, sometimes painful, expensive process of adoption. Also, even though those same bundles seem to take away any normalcy in our life–uninterrupted sleep, bathing daily, eating a whole meal in one sitting, or even going to the bathroom in peace–we still love them and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Of course there are the other kind of surprises, like: Surprise! You’re going to be a single parent. That unexpected event in my life rocked my world. Looking to the Bible, I’m sure being a single mom was not in Hagar’s plans, when she was just doing her owner’s bidding. But we see in this historical account that when Hagar is sent away, has nowhere else to go, and no one to help her, God shows up! As a matter of fact, it says He finds her! She calls Him El Roi, “the God Who Sees.”
This is where we can be encouraged, fellow single moms! God is with you always! He sees your pain; He understands what being alone is. In the garden, before He was given over to the high priests, Judas betrayed Him with a kiss. When Jesus was arrested, everyone ran away. When He stood before Pilate, no one was beside Him pleading His case. Then, on the cross, as He took every sin of every person ever born or yet to be born upon Himself, He was utterly alone. His Heavenly Father, who had been with Him for all eternity, turned His back on His beloved Son. Jesus willingly gave His life for us, just as we willingly lay down and sacrifice for our children. You see, my friend, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Scripture says, because Jesus came and lived life as a man( while still being 100% God), He is our sympathetic advocate! So when we read in Genesis that God saw Hagar and helped her in her greatest time of need, despite the situation, we can be assured that that same God( El Roi) is with us in our singleness, our brokenness, no matter how we feel.
I have found, in my personal journey, four things that have helped me in this season of being a single parent to battle that feeling of being alone.
First, I pray. There’s nothing better than taking 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and applying it to our daily walk. Verse 5b says, “We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” When there’s a battle going on in our minds–it could be worry or feelings of being alone, ashamed, sad, depressed, angry–we are called to pray. In the same chapter, verse 4 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” Wow! If God is for us, who can be against us? Right?
Second, I get in the Word. The Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God. He has spoken to us through it. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is living and sharper than any two edged sword.” It continues, “…and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Although we’re told to”‘follow our heart” almost everywhere we turn in the world today, God tells us differently. Jeremiah 17:9: ” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Instead we are to read, memorize, and live by the Word of God. When Jesus, after He fasted for forty days and nights, was being tempted by Satan in the desert to turn the stone to bread, in Matthew 4:4 it says, “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “ Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. So, if Jesus, being God in flesh, memorized and studied Scripture, how much more do we, as frail human flesh, need to saturate ourselves in Truth? Every. Single. Day.
Third, I am connected in a local church. Accountability, fellowship, encouragement, and spiritual growth–four major reasons God tells us not to forsake the assembling together of the saints( Hebrews 10:25). This is not only for us, but for our children as well. It offers stability for them and an opportunity to have godly male leaders in their lives. The first century church had this down. They knew they needed each other. Also, if you attend a rather large church, make sure you’re in a small group, so that you have the ability to connect on a more intimate level.
Finally, I serve others. Jesus was the ultimate servant-leader and our example. Definitely pray about how this will look for your life. We can’t do everything that comes along. Time is a gift we can give to others; it keeps our focus off of ourselves and our circumstances. Our first ministry is to our children; they are an eternal investment. We are all in different seasons in our lives. When we are moms of young babies, toddlers and children, we can pretty much know that’s where the majority of our time will be spent. During that time, however, we can reach out to others by encouraging them in phone calls. sending texts, social media, or the old-fashioned card or letter. Another way is by serving in the preschool ministry by being in the nursery. As our children become older and we have more free time (does that really ever exist?), we need to pray for the Lord to reveal ways we are to serve in the church. You can teach a class, serve the youth, or serve in your women’s ministry. Serving is an amazing thing, in that we can be blessed so much more by serving than by being served ourselves.
I hope you are encouraged. We may be single, but we are not alone.