God Provides

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As a working single mom, the ends don't always meet. I have a full-time job, opened my own business as a virtual assistant, and volunteer with a local Christian single mom's group. If I were dependent upon my income from my full-time job, I'd never make it. I think most parents are aware that child support cannot be depended on or used as a catch-all, because there are times when it can be delayed, or discontinued-- without notice. As well, there are always unexpected situations that require money. They always require money. Thank the Lord, for His mercy and grace. Every month, my ends meet. Today, my cup overflows.

There is a Buddhist foundation that supplies a food pantry once a month. The announcement is made through our school district. I was intimidated at first, and felt a twinge of shame. I was convinced that others needed it more than me, but that's not the point is it? Every month they service approximately 700 households with a healthy bounty of groceries. There is always something unexpected, like dragon fruit. Or fennel bulbs. But there is also a staple of pantry items that includes: white rice, pinto beans, dry pasta, and sauce. The most impressive part to me is that they always give fresh fruit and vegetables.

The first time we attended was about nearly two years ago. We went through the registration process and were seated in a high school auditorium. I was a little confused. But then we were welcomed with a song of love that was also translated into sign language. We were then advised that we could proceed to receive our donations. As we wound through the snake-like line, we began to see the bounty from which we would receive. All of the volunteers wore vests, and the majority of those handing out food items were teens or tweens. They were kind and spoke to everyone. I left there that day feeling so loved. They really gave from their heart and shared without expecting anything in return. They were courteous and helped elders and women take items to their cars. They all bowed and smiled and said thank you repeatedly.

Yesterday, we received goods from a separate and equally generous foundation. I believe they were also Buddhist. Let me explain how unprepared I was for what I would receive. I've been to food donations before, and I've always taken my own box-bags. They’re reusable bags, that fold up for storage and have a very sturdy bottom. Previously, all of our goods fit within two of those boxes. Yesterday, I used three and still had to ask for another box. I was completely overwhelmed by what was given to me. It filled in every gap within my cabinets and refrigerator. When I left, I sobbed a little. It's just so amazing to be provided with $200+ dollars of food for my family.

Here is what we received yesterday: 12 fruity Cheerios and 8 rice Chex single serving boxes, 2kg of Masa, 6 organic Matcha Latte, 3 organic Roar electrolyte waters, 12 Kind bars, 2-10ct trail mix, 4 small bags Tostito rounds, 2 Kroger brand Wavy potato chips, 2 heads of romaine lettuce, 3 heads of iceberg lettuce, 2 large heads of cauliflower, 5 of the biggest carrots I’ve ever seen, no less than 18 gigantic apples, 2 fennel bulbs, approx 18 avocados, 24oz of pickles, 2 cans peeled tomatoes, 4-60 watt LED light bulbs, a 30-count jar of prenatal vitamins, a 5lb bag of frozen French fries, 3lb bag of white rice, 24 single serving whole grain frosted cereal, 8pk of Hansen’s sparkling lemon water, a dozen fresh roses. Oh, and two jars of "grains and fruit". It seems like an overnight oats type thing. That's nothin' to shake a stick at.

At times, the single mom job is one that pulls from us every emotion, feeling, and strength. We make 4,278 decisions every day. Most of those decisions have to be weighed against the greater good and the long term health and wealth of the family. Our decisions affect us, our children, and their futures. At times, the sheer number of questions, answers, and decisions leads us to a place of hands-in-the-air ready to give up. It's those days that we sob in the shower. Having to always make something from nothing is beyond nerve-racking. The decision to receive donations was hard, the first time. I have never thought it was hard since then. There's nothing shameful about needing food, and there's certainly nothing shameful about sharing and being generous. I am so grateful and we are beyond blessed.

Tanisha Ware

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Doozer’s Day

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As I write this, Father’s Day is looming. For single moms, the annual holiday is often better known as “Ugh. How are we going to handle it this year?”

Some of us use this holiday to celebrate our double duty. Some of us let it pass without discussion. Some of us celebrate grandparents or other important figures. In my family, we’ve done it all, including a brief stint in which my daughters claimed the day for themselves as “Sister’s Day.” But this year, at my daughters’ request, we are trying something entirely new: Doozer’s Day.

“Doozer” is my girls’ nickname for my boyfriend. It comes from the children’s show created by Jim Henson about the helpful Doozers who are famously task-oriented. If something needs doing, Doozers just “do-do-do-it.” It is an apt nickname, to say the least, and is now the only name by which anyone under 12 in our lives recognizes him. He is a great guy. Yet, it took a days-long, anxiety-ridden process for me to grant their request for Doozer’s Day.

Doozer and I have been dating for over four years. For the past three of those, I have frequently fielded questions about when we will get married, whether or not I am a “real single mom,” and if we will move in together. The answer to all of those questions is simple: “I don’t know.” There is something so simultaneously wonderful and frightening about loving again, about inviting someone to become a part of the family that you’ve rebuilt from the rubble, and attempting to trust. It is confusing.

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If relationships are typically a straight line from interest, to love, to engagement and marriage, ours would look more like the wobbly-yet-determined footsteps of a drunken man trying to walk the straight line of a sobriety test. It took a full year to get to “I love you.” In these four years, we became neighbors, but we still don’t cohabitate. He has never stepped into Father-Daughter dances. We do not share finances. We broke up almost monthly for the first three years because none of this makes sense. I know this isn’t the life he wanted. I mean, a financially ruined, emotionally unstable single mother with ex-husband drama isn’t exactly dating site profile material. In all honesty, he is not the man I envisioned loving either. This serious-faced, consistently underwhelmed introvert with a deep need for solitude? C’mon. Could there be a more opposite personality to mine? What was I thinking? He is certainly not who the girls envisioned as the fourth member of our silly, dancing, ice-cream-for-dinner crew. Yet, here we are, the three of us, stumbling into this new life – sometimes with headfirst abandon and sometimes one tepid quickly retracted toe at a time. Because as much as this was not what any of us had in mind for our future, it is the only thing that feels right – this family.

Seeing Doozer with my girls fills and softens my heart in ways that I did not think were possible. The time and energy he puts into them is one of the most magical phenomenon I have ever witnessed. I fall more deeply in love with him every time I see it. But I would be lying if I said that those feelings were simple and beautiful. In fact, they are complicated. As I watch this man guide and support my daughters, I am also terrified. I constantly fight the urge that creeps up the back of my neck to grab them and run far away to some secret enclave where the three of us live without worry that someone will break our hearts again – where we trust no one and are only vulnerable with each other.

I approached Doozer about his potential holiday, fearful that he would say, “This is too much, I’m out.” But when he responded positively, I became even more fearful about what that meant. Honestly, he could not have given an answer that would not have invoked fear. Knowing that he is taking a bigger piece of their hearts each day is, well…nothing short of terrifying.

Second Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” I use this verse often when talking about our bodies as vessels of the Lord. Think of yourself as the jar, I tell my girls, brimming with the Lord’s treasure. You are magical and unique, like any handmade pottery, and full of God’s love. Trust Him, I always say. Trust that He made you just as you need to be, His perfect vessel. Trust that He leads you, His vessel, where you need to be. Just trust Him.  So this year I am listening to my own advice. I am trusting God as we walk this journey that is crooked and scary but is the path upon which He has set our three hearts. Instead of resisting the path because it is unfamiliar and, honestly, a bit unorthodox, we will celebrate.

I hope that all of you single mommas celebrate. Whether you have a Doozer, a dear friend, an aunt, a neighbor, or yourself. Trust that God placed you where you need to be and with whom you need to be, and celebrate THAT!

Bring on Doozer’s Day! (Or Friend’s Day or Auntie’s Day or Whatever Day!)


A. Smith

Stop Apologizing for Who You Are

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Have you ever said, “I am sorry” for pretty much no reason at all? You get so used to saying the phrase it just comes out of you like second nature. Before you realize it, you are even apologizing for bumping into a chair as if the piece of furniture gave you an appalling look of insult!

I have always been one to apologize for everything. But during my divorce and then becoming a single parent, those words, “I am sorry” have suddenly become this barrier I throw up in defense. It is reflex that I developed into a terrible habit that almost too a point I am apologizing for my very existence. I even said those exact words!

I was blessed with a rare treat of a night out without my children. What also made this night even grander was it was an art show I was in with several of my other close artist friends. There were many artists from all walks of life going to be there, and we all shared a love for God. After months of painting, touch-ups, and meetings, the night came, and I put on my new outfit I had purchased for this specific evening and my bright yellow 4 inch, strappy, heels. I looked in the mirror, and for a moment, I felt good about myself.

The night started out amazing. I was able to meet and fellowship with new artists and catch up with old friends. I was able to share my art and tell the stories that inspired them. It was one of those nights that every exhausted mom needs to refresh herself.

However, like many of these social situations, eventually, the topic of my divorce and being a single parent comes up. And while this topic can sometimes inspire and be the very subject of my art; it is often the topic I struggle to speak about as I am not always sure of myself.

I found myself in a conversation with a sweet artist about our work and what inspired us. The conversation turned to my kids and I, as part of that inspires my work. And with a good attempt, I tried to keep it brief. But my complex divorce story is difficult to keep simple. I found myself beginning to feel vulnerable, and eventually, I struggled to try to sift through the doubts in my head. Was I talking too much? Why would anyone want to know about my divorce? Do they think I am a bad Christian? Shouldn’t I be more confident? I am probably talking too much! Soon, I did what I normally do when I lose my confidence; I awkwardly smile and start apologizing for rambling.

A close friend of mine, being aware of my little problem of apologizing too much, quickly joined the conversation. We made a joke and laughed, but then I said the words I regret. “I am sorry I apologize so much. I pretty much apologize for my existence.”

When I said that, it struck my heart. The conversation continued with laughing and fellowship. The rest of the night went wonderfully; however, that feeling lingered on as I went home.

It was like a truth God brought to light. What I said was true. I have this terrible habit of apologizing for no reason. I pretty much apologize for my very being. Here I was a part of this celebration of hard work and art showing parts of our passion and souls, and I apologized for who I am, feeling that is was something shameful.

The sad part is, is it not just this night. When it comes to any point for someone to see the most vulnerable parts of my life, I start apologizing as if they would be insulted. My most vulnerable part of me is me being a single mom and taking life on alone. The brokenness of my divorce is still healing. Yet, these are not things I should be ashamed of and apologize for. These are aspects of my story, and they are part of creating who I am today.

Apologizing outside of honest mistakes and mishaps almost take away the whole meaning of apologizing. Instead, it builds guilt and shame that shouldn't be there.  In no way should anyone feel the need to be sorry for being the person God is creating them to be. Being a single parent is not shameful as it is a brave undertaking. Feeling the pain and being vulnerable from divorce and breaking a part of a family; it is what makes us human.

If anyone has the habit of apologizing because we feel the vulnerable parts of lives might offend someone, it needs to stop. It may be hard, but we need to work hard to try and not say, “I am sorry,” when we did nothing wrong.

Instead, we need to lay our worries and doubts before a mighty God who can carry it. We need to remember we loved, redeemed, and made by a wondrous Creator who cares for us deeply. And even if our journeys as a single parent is difficult and leaves us vulnerable, we should never feel ashamed.

NaTacia Z. 

See more blogs from her at her site https://blessedsinglemom.wordpress.com