One thing I love about the blogging world is the opportunity it provides to meet people you never otherwise would’ve met. I have crossed paths with some absolutely wonderful people who have blessed my life, even if it is only through virtual lines across the internet.
I believe people are placed in our path for very specific reasons. Whether they are on your same path, a few steps ahead or a few behind, crossing over or simply stopping through, there is much to be learned from each other. I’m excited to introduce to you all one such path walker of mine, Marisa. She has gone before me in the single motherhood journey and has now found her happy ever after. I asked her to guest post for me and share some of her wisdom. She is a grace filled, eloquent writer who demonstrates the love and mercy of God in each of her posts, as well as in her life.
Without further adeu, I present, Marisa Ulrich. Please check out and follow her on her blog Becoming His Butterfly as soon as you finish reading and commenting here! 🙂
First of all, much gratitude to Rachael for bowing the floor to me today. She is a terrific, warm writer and human being, don’t you think?
Ok. I will share just a sliver from my story, the piece that speaks to the single parenthood existence, as it is such a relevant part of our humanity in this day and age.
There is this picture people get of single parents.
Usually, it’s of a mom scampering to make ends meet, slaving away at a job(or two) she takes because she has to. Because, let’s face it, child support is spotty at best, nonexistent at worst.
Rarely home and rarely relaxed.
Perpetually juggling, perpetually alone.
So often doing without for the sake of her children, she scarcely recalls what it feels like to do something deliciously self-centered.
She doesn’t buy the dress wooing her from the window glass. Paying the daycare to teach her little one scissor-cutting and sharing trumps the pitter-patter she might get from rich fabric draped like it was made just for her.
She doesn’t get that extra bag of Milanos she likes,putting it back in favor of the cookie cereal with the doggy on the front that lights up her sweet child’s eyes. (who sits like his Highness, Prince of the Grocery Cart, exuding that certain cranky charm that says, “Hey, lady. It’s been a looong day of learning. Let me have what I want.”)
After round a hundred and three of wrestling said child to eat dinner, bathe, and get-your-dino-jammies-off-your-head-and-go-to-sleep-already, she presses on in the decathalon of dishwashing and recovery from Tornado Toddler.
Then, IF time is on her side, she curls up on the couch, her fluffy old afghan feeling half-empty,and proceeds to flip on old movies with other women cutely stumbling on the man of their dreams, nodding off before the happy, sappy ending, waking with a start by the dawn’s early light to do it all again.
In short, she has a pretty tragic, self-sacrificial life on the surface, doesn’t she?
It just whispers, ok, screams, in ultra-bright neon letters, MARTYRDOM.
I look at this description in all its dark detail and think, depressing? Yep. Despairing? Mmm-hmm. Painfully accurate? You bet.That was me. No lie. (Only I had the tornados-er-kiddos times three)
Yet, you know, there is something else missing, something as incomplete about it as a self-portrait without eyes. Something that is too key to ignore, too much a centerpiece of my life then and now to dismiss.
It’s the nest.
Ok. I can imagine you on the other side of the screen with a quizzical brow furrowed.Let me tell you about the nest…
The nest is that safe place made for everybody, yet so particularly poignant to those going it alone. Not made of the poky twigs and scratchy thorns you might be picturing. Oh, no. It’s something so much softer, lighter, yet stronger and surer than anything-I mean ANYTHING- I have ever known.
Something made to catch you when nothing and no one else will.
It’s the arms of my savior, the hands of my Lord. It sounds hokey or childlike innocent to those who aren’t in the know, I know, but it’s true.
Guys and gals, He really, really does have the whole world in His hands. The whole big blue spinning ball. With you and me and every tiny, not-so-tiny-anymore little baby smack dab on it.
There was not a day in those seven, incredibly long, tremendously stressful years I spent parenting on my own that I did not have this knowledge He had me and my little brood of hungry mouths in His oh-so-capable hands.
Now, I said I had knowledge. Would that I could say I always lived by it. Let’s end the suspense…I didn’t.
Sometimes, I didn’t just in the quiet of my own sinful heart. Sometimes I didn’t in a bigger, more in-your-face kind of way. I am not proud nor am I prepared with a handy list of excuses here.
It’s easy to fall into that my ex-did-me-dirty chain of bitterness. Easy, but it never hurts the one you want it to hurt. It just winds up hurting…yep.dingdingding. YOU.
You see, in order to experience that nest, truly experience it, you have got to allow yourself to fall into it.
You have to climb out of the I’ve-got-this-on-my-own arrogance, the woe-is-me-nobody-loves-me doldrums, and into the security of the Father’s arms.
He won’t make you go there, no matter how much He longs to care for you. Oh, no. He is waiting ever so patiently for you to muster the true courage and trust up from your raggedy, jaggedy old heart to make that leap for yourself.
The leap from pride to humbleness, from depression to praise through the pain. From a dry deserted wasteland of lack into the peaceful place called providence.
To that frightening yet freeing realization we really,truly can’t make it on our own, no matter how the media likes to pump us up with our do-it-all-till-we-collapse tendencies.
The day, ok, days-it takes us thickheads quite a long while- I learned to surrender the reins was the time I honestly saw firsthand the miracles-some whoaa! wowza! moments of mysteriously fattened checkbooks, others that are less seen but perhaps that much more significant because they were happening on the inside of me.
I learned I could bend, and a firm touch was there to ensure my back would not break.
I learned how much easier it was to breathe without a Snufflelupgous of gloom on my chest, how much better my heart beat when He began to clear out the years-old gunk clogging it up.
For the Word tells us He is came to bind up the brokenhearted, to dry every tear, to be a stalwart shoulder to every burden, to cover you in the shadow of His wings, to be our utter respite from the raging storm.
Can you imagine that? I don’t know about your particular circumstances, but I had a heck of a lot of tears, a sack of burdens to rival Santa and hurricane-force gales of insanity attempting to blow my little house down. Some days, ok, lots of days, I still do, even if the brand of insanity has switched hands from singleness to second marriage.
Yet, He was-and is big enough. Alpha and Omega. Beginning and end, encircling you. Encircling me. Encircling your precious own as He does mine.
You may believe me today, you may not. You may snort and call this syrupy sweet, unrealistic, and I’d understand. I’ve been around that lap in the track a few times in my life till I was gasping and wheezing(sarcastic, unbelieving cracks sound goofy when you can’t get a breath, believe me.).
Or you may, hopefully, embrace this as truth and hold it to the deepest places of your hurt, allow it to penetrate and begin to heal as you lay that cry down before the One who hears and knows it all.
There is one reason and one reason only I can say this to you today with such certainty.
I don’t know much-less and less as the years of mommyhood seem to make knowledge magically wipe clean- but, I do know in all my mad scurry,single mother days included,I was-and am-never alone. No,not even one time.
And, neither are you, dear mother (or father. I and the Lord both know there are unsung male heroes taking it all on, too.You are not forgotten.)
You know, it’s funny, but sometimes we crane our necks to the skies trying to glimpse Him, when all we need do is turn to our own hearts and find He is right there beside us, finding US, close as a breath, as near as our own prayers.
May you find Him today in the midst of this crazy scramble of life, fold yourself and your little family together, and experience the unerring safety of His nest.
After all, He already knows where you are. He’s just waiting for you to seek Him.