Being pregnant and abandoned opened my eyes to a world had not known before, and I am beginning Single Mom Smiling with an understanding of the world I could not have had before becoming a single parent.
I was five months pregnant with our fifth little boy when my husband suddenly announced he was leaving and moved out only a week later. Being suddenly abandoned while pregnant and becoming a single parent is a painful, shocking experience I would not wish on anyone. It opened my eyes to things I had not experienced on such a level before: fear, injustice, humiliation, insecurity, exhaustion, overwhelm, confusion, and unspeakable pain.
Becoming a single parent also opened my eyes to things I needed to be responsible for: poor choices I had made, how I had accepted mistreatment, and how deeply my decisions affect my children’s lives and the lives of those around me. These choices were by no means limited to the relationship I had with my husband.
More than anything though, this experience opened my eyes to my own value and to the incredible capacity of those around me to love me when I needed them most whether I deserved it or not. There are no words to express the gratitude I carry in my heart every day for so many who have touched our lives. I will keep my promise to pay it forward.
Abuse & Destructive Patterns Lead to Revictimization
As a survivor of child abuse and insecurities, worthlessness, confusion, doubt about my value and where value comes from, I had engaged in a series of destructive relationships. I hadn’t realized that, through the choices I was making, I was asking the wrong people to come into my life.
I had thought my husband was the one right choice I had made in life. When he left so suddenly, my world crashed down around me. I had happily given up a career to put my husband and children first. When he left, I knew I had lost the job that meant the most to me – I had been fired as a wife and full time mother while also losing the person I had thought of as my best friend and protector.
I cannot count the number of times I asked myself, “What is wrong with me?” “Why am I unlovable?” and “Who in this Hell am I now?”
I was coming up with no good answers, and I am sure that, through that experience, God offered me a glimpse of the utter aloneness souls suffer in Hell. It is not a place I ever want to be again.
Who Was I Now That I Was an Abandoned Pregnant, Single Mom of Five Boys?
Then it hit me. This agony was no longer about who I had been, but about becoming who God and I want me to be. Life would, by necessity, become about the union of how God and I together could sculpt me into who we wanted me to be. That is a whole different question.
But I had no answers there either. Who was I?
Mom? Single Mom? Friend? Daughter? Teacher? Citizen? Child of God?
I struggled with the question of who I was, who I was going to be, and how to become that person. There are some days that I still wonder what my Father can possibly see in me.
Two and a half years later, I have discovered I am many things, but I still don’t know all that I am or all that I want to be. I am a puzzle with many missing pieces.
I am a work in progress, but I do now know a piece of the puzzle that is me and who I want to be.
I Want to be the Woman Smiling.
Even on my toughest days, I am now more than that hurt child or that woman who was pregnant and abandoned. I am now the woman smiling to outshine the tears, giving strength to others and loving the strength they give me too. I am the woman smiling to cover the nervousness I still feel sometimes. I am the woman smiling to bring comfort to my children, to my friends, and to myself when I need it. I am the woman smiling just to hide the fact that I want to reach out and slap some idiot (God forgive me, but YES I still have moments like that and need reminding that we are ALL children of God).
And someday, I want my smile to be the greatest smile of all: the peace-filled smile. I want to smile to reflect Peace with my surroundings, Peace with those around me, Peace with my children, Peace with God, Peace with myself.
That is what I want. That is the only thing I am sure of most days. Although I am not sure how to become that smiling woman or to get that Peace, I know with God’s Grace I’ll be her.
I know I want the peaceful, serene smile that comes with knowing who you are. I want to be the Single Mom at Peace, the Single Mom Smiling. I want that for myself and for others hurt by abandonment, abuse, neglect, and the breakdown of the family too. I want that for God and His Glory too.
Thank you for joining me on my first post as Single Mom Smiling. With five boys and an amazing group of people around me, my life is rarely dull. I hope you will share our laughter and our tears, our triumphs and our setbacks and that together we can make this a positive experience, helping others know they are never alone, that life can again be funny and challenging, thrilling and momentous, that they can laugh out loud and later reflect with a peace-filled smile.
That we can all be peace-filled and smiling.
For I well know the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.
Jeremiah 29: 11