Growing up all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother. After a decade of infertility and several surgeries, Harper-Lynn was conceived in 2011. I had one thing I NEVER wanted to be...A SINGLE MOM. Harper-Lynn's father and I were married when I was 18 weeks pregnant. Becoming pregnant out of wedlock is certainly something I never planned and something I deeply regret. I made the choice and I took responsibility for my actions. After Keith and I were married I no longer felt like I wore the "scarlet letter" of SINGLE MOM SINNER on my forehead. Little did I know the SINGLE MOM portion would eventually return. When Keith abandoned us in August 2013, I was devastated. I had a 14 month old daughter, no money and a mortgage and bills I couldn't pay. It was an incredibly low time for me. Our divorce was finalized on January 27, 2014.
I had to be broken for God to use me the way he saw fit. Two weeks after my divorce was final I joined the Single Moms small group at my church. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was admitting to myself that I was really a single mom. Being with those ladies changed me though. God knew it would! I was finally able to forgive myself for getting pregnant out of wedlock and I no longer judged others for being single moms. My heart had changed.
On Feb. 6, 2015, my world shattered. Case workers from the Department of Family and Children's Services came to my home and gave me news no mother should have to learn about her child's father. Since that time our world has been turned upside down. There were so many days I could have just given up, but God used my Single Moms group to hold me up. That group of women showed me God's love every single day. They prayed for me, went to the "war room" for me, encouraged me and, they LOVED ME UNCONDITIONALLY! They listened as I would pour my heart out week after week. I believe I'm standing on the other side of this horrific experience because of God using them.
In the two years since I joined the Single Moms group, I have become a cheerleader for ALL single moms. I've learned God meets us in every situation we find ourselves in. He's always there waiting for us to reach out to him. No one should be defined by their past, their failures or their short-comings. God makes all things new...including me. Our class is a "judgement free zone." Whether you became a single mother by accident or choice, divorce or death, you are welcome in our little group.
Parenting is difficult, doing it alone is even harder. As women we should be encouraging each other rather than looking down on one another. Through God's grace I no longer judge single moms. In fact, I'm trying to grow our group at church. God has given me a heart for the single mom. I think of those single mothers who may be sitting at home on Sundays thinking no one wants them, there isn't a place for them and my heart literately aches. I never would have dreamed this possible years ago. God has a place for everyone. Church is a place for sinners. If I can get past the shame I felt becoming a single mom, anyone can.