Category: Parenting/Single parenting

Celebrating Another Milestone

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Last Friday I was out with my oldest daughter. It was a very rare occasion where just the two of us spent some time together. By the time I had dropped her off and driven all the way across town to my house, it was past 10 pm.

I walked into the house. Not a single light was on. It was eerie quiet. My children were in bed. Asleep.

I sat at the kitchen table and gratefulness washed over me, and it occurred to me that I could have stayed out even later.

I did not have to rush home anymore because there was a babysitter waiting or because I had to pick up my kids at a friend’s house… I did not have to feel bad for staying out past the agreed upon times. And I did not have to feel anxious or stressed because an event had run longer and now I had to face the accusatory looks that I would often get when picking up my kids.

For the first time I felt freedom from this burden of constant guilt I had carried for over 20 years. I sat at my kitchen table and thanked God for getting me through these 20+ years of single-motherhood.

I am a walking miracle, I am living proof of God’s promises in Scriptures. My Bible is marked up with promise after promise. Not just letters on the page, no, fulfilled promises! Like this one:

“…Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:15-16

Peace washed over me, a peace I knew came from God. A peace from knowing He had never left my side, He had never forgotten.

 

Wouldn’t that ruin Christmas?

Postcard for the family to Christmas Felix Schürmeyer | Fotografie | PicturePS98 via Compfight

This post was first published on Dec 19, 2010. I’m re-publishing it after some editing.

 

It’s not even a week to Christmas. I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Christmas A LOT. I used to think that from the whole year, Christmas was one holiday that had to be perfect. I mean, there’s all this glitz and glamour, an array of colours attached to Christmas, nice smells from pine trees to apple cider and Gluehwein to delicious baking, and my favourite songs ever are Christmas songs.

Growing up we did not celebrate the Advent season as we do now. Christmas was a very short affair. There were no Advent calendars to help us with the countdown to Dec 24, and for the first 14 years of my life Christmas was an illegal holiday celebrated “underground” in the former Soviet Union. Read more

A Rough Start to Motherhood

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I wrote this post on May 9, a few days before Mother’s Day, but never hit the “publish” button.

I never liked Mother’s Day, and I never understood why. Until today. For the first time it became crystal clear to me why I don’t like Mother’s Day. Today I’m wondering why it took me so long (26 years and four months to be exact) to realize this profound sadness I associate with Mother’s Day.

Let me back it up a bit. My oldest daughter is expecting. We pray that in a few weeks we will hold a precious little boy in our arms. In a household of only women that is something to celebrate. My boss in Germany jokingly called us “Das Weibernest” because of only females living under our roof.

The more we talk and look forward to this little guy’s arrival the more I have been thinking about my firstborn, my son. Today, it hit me: My son made me a mother. I was a mother way before I held my oldest daughter in my arms.

It was a dark night in January, 26 years ago. Read more

Are you trying to do it all on your own?

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Last month I wrote about my grocery shopping experience. This is only the tip of the iceberg when doing life on your own.

I like to be self-sufficient, plan it all out, and then concentrate on getting it done! The problem with that is I can’t control everyone and everything in my life. There will always be something that doesn’t go according to plan.

Sometimes a child gets sick, Read more

The Crazy Life of One Weird Single Mom

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I have always been reluctant to speak or write about my experiences as a single mom. “Who wants to know about the difficult roads with many a mountain to climb and serious challenges to overcome?” I often pondered. You would be surprised at how messy and ugly, heart breaking and just plain hard life can be for a single mom.

My daughters are adults now. To look on the experienced hardships and challenges now is easier. Looking back I can see so much clearer than when I was knee deep in the trenches. The fog of fatigue and sleepless nights lifted.

Some memories and experiences still hurt. But it’s not raw pain anymore. No. However, have you ever experienced that a scar can still itch and even hurt? Especially after you give in and rub the scar to get rid of itching? A great picture of how I feel about certain experiences. Is this the reason keeping me from sharing my stories thus far? Maybe.

Is there an upside to my story? You bet! I view myself as a living miracle, a survivor with a lot to smile about. Today, I am thriving because of what God did in my life. He turned my mourning into dancing.

Early on I decided not to become bitter. I turned this concern into a daily prayer: Lord, I don’t want to become bitter. I don’t want to become bitter. I prayed this prayer for years every single day.

What did I learn along the way? In order to dance my life doesn’t have to be perfect. I can dance in the storm, I can dance in the rain, and I most definitely can dance on a sunny day. I don’t need to wait for the sun to shine; I don’t want to wait for everything to be perfect in order to dance.

So I’m stepping out of my comfort zone here on my blog. You will find a few posts each month on “The Crazy Life of One Weird Single Mom.”

If you have any topics you would like me to write about, contact me through my contact page. If you find my stories helpful, let me know as well in a comment.

Check in next Wednesday for the next post.

 

Wouldn’t That Ruin Christmas?

This post was first published on Dec 19, 2010.

It’s not even a week to Christmas. I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Christmas A LOT. This phrase “spoiled/ruined Christmas” haunts me. I used to think that from the whole year, Christmas was one thing that had to be perfect. I mean, there’s all this glitz and glamour, all these colours attached to Christmas, all these nice smells from pine trees to apple cider and Gluehwein to delicious baking, and my favourite songs ever are Christmas songs.

Growing up we did not celebrate the Advent season as we do now. Christmas was a very short affair. There were no Advent calendars to help us with the countdown to Dec 24, and for the first 14 years of my life Christmas was an illegal holiday (for us living in the Soviet Union), that was celebrated “underground”.

So here I am, 32 years later, pondering about a ruined Christmas. Maybe because I’ve heard this phrase so much over the last few years.

Why is it that if something bad happens during the Advent/Christmas season I tend to think that it’s ruining my Christmas?

If someone I know passed away around Christmas, I used to think it was ruining our Christmas. My grandma died on Christmas morning many years ago. It was a very different Christmas for all of us. But was it really ruined? If I base my Christmas on all the glitz and glamour, and everything else that goes with it, yes, I guess, that really ruined my/our Christmas.

Where is Christ Jesus in my Christmas? What and Who do I really celebrate on Christmas? He is not a little, helpless baby anymore. He is “seated in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 1:20)

Today I firmly believe, that Christ is especially present on Christmas, when everyone around me thinks that my/our Christmas is ruined. When I have lost a loved one, when someone I know had a really bad accident and is in hospital with severe injuries, when someone I love struggles in their marriage or even goes through divorce.

For all the pain we are facing, Jesus is there. He came into this world to help us deal with life and all that comes with it. “I am the LORD, your healer,” God said in Exodus 15:26. Whether it’s physical or emotional pain we’re facing, HE is our LORD, our Healer! And I think especially at Christmas it’s good for me to remember that.

I know a thing or two about pain and hurt & Christmas. I remember the first Christmas after the divorce. We had moved to Germany a few months before, and it was all new to us: a new place to live, new family dynamics, new Christmas traditions that we were starting…

I remember the girls opening their presents on that particular Christmas, they were so excited, they liked the presents, it was mostly toys those years. They played for hours with their new toys. And after they were in bed, I realized there was not a single present for me under the tree. I cried for hours that night, and I promised myself that would never happen again. And so in the years that followed I would always put a present for myself under the tree. When the girls got older and realized that I was giving myself a present, they joked a lot about it. Actually they still do.

But today, as I look back on that Christmas I KNOW that Jesus was right there in that living room, He was with me while I cried. I did not realize it at that time, but today I know that He was there. He held his arms around me and gave me strength to face Christmas day, and boxing day, and the next day… And the thing is, if you have not experienced pain and hurt on Christmas, than you won’t understand it, you really won’t. Even the best imagination does not help! That’s where Jesus comes in. He knows, he feels our pain, He came to heal us, He came to ease our pain and hurt. I love, love, love Hebrews 4:16:

” So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

And when I look at the news, what’s happening around me, around the world, there is so much more pain that I’ve never even come close to experience. When I think of the people in Haiti, what Christmas they’ll have in their tents, with barely the basics to live… That’s where Jesus comes in. He came, He was born, He lived, He healed, He died and rose again, and He’s at God’s right hand right now. And we are invited to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” That’s the message of Christmas, that’s the meaning of Christmas to me.

If anyone has a perfect Christmas, I say, “Good for you.” I have not had a perfect Christmas in my life yet. Looking back, there was either one thing or the other, that caused some degree of hurt and pain. And that’s because I’m not perfect and neither is anyone in my family, and I am living in an imperfect world. But there is mercy and grace waiting for me, for us, when I/we need it most. And I’ve got the feeling that’s especially true during the Advent and Christmas season. We put our hopes so high around this time of year, that no one on this planet can meet our expectations. No one, except Jesus, born on Christmas many years ago. I’m so grateful to know Jesus personally. He is my Lord, my Saviour!

No, it won’t be a ruined Christmas for me, because Christ Jesus is my Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!