Hope is a powerful thing. Sometimes when our life gets shattered, all we can have is the hope to feel hope….the hope to believe that happiness might exist again, even if in moments.
When Life Shatters
This is where I found myself twelve years ago; my life was shattered in a million pieces. I was angry at God, angry at life, and void of hope. I didn’t think I would ever know happiness again, and found myself thinking death would be easier.
Let me back up and fill you in on my life leading up to those moments. I grew up in an amazing Christian home, with 3 brothers, and the most precious mom and dad. I grew up loving Jesus, and doing everything by the book! (Oldest child, overachiever). I was a 4.0 honor student, an accomplished gymnast who received a full scholarship to the University of Oklahoma, a four time state track champion, skilled dancer and chorographer, loved by all, and thinking I had my life together.
I graduated from college and met who, I believed, was the man of my dreams. He was a Christian and the youth leader at our church. He was an amazing speaker, charismatic, and in school to be a teacher/administrator. On paper, we were perfect for each other. We dated and got married in 9 months, and had a beautiful baby girl two years later.
Life was perfect, but when my daughter was one, things started going down hill. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew things weren’t right. I was very naïve. I was pregnant with our second child, when I found out that he had been cheating on me and had a drug problem. He had started using meth to help him get through grad school. He was working as a teacher, and had a new baby, and his cousin convinced him that meth was the answer.
Apparently he had a highly addictive personality and was immediately addicted. This began a battle with porn, sex, opiate, and gambling addictions. It took me a year to figure out. Again, I was naïve, and didn’t think Christians could do these things. I wanted to fight for our marriage. Divorce was not an option to me. I begged him to get counseling or go to rehab. I went to his family, but they did not believe me. He was their star child, and they thought I was lying.
Things were spinning out of control, and then I came home one day, and there were divorce papers on the table. He told me he had quit his job and was gone! He cleared out our bank account and took our daughter with him. I found out my husband had maxed out my credit card with $20,000 in cash advances.
I didn’t know where they were. When I called his family, they said they were going on vacation with my baby and that I should just be happy for them. They wouldn’t let me talk to my husband or daughter.
I was five months pregnant, totally broke, my daughter had been taken, and divorce papers were in my hands. My heart shattered. My world stopped. I called my parents. They came and got me. As we drove to their house, I thought I might die from the grief. We were very worried about my baby boy I was carrying. Even as I cried in desperation, I talked to him and told him to hang in there. I was out of my mind with grief and fear, but I knew for him and my daughter I had to fight for our lives!!!
When We Chose Hope
Those were the darkest weeks of my life. I wanted to be angry and turn my back on God, but I realized I had no choice but to turn to Him. I told Him I was angry, and no longer trusted Him. I had done everything right, and He let my life come crashing down around me… or at least that is what I thought. All I could pray was “Jesus help me to trust you, help me to believe, help me live, and help me to take care of my babies.”
My hope seemed gone. I was just surviving. My daughter was returned two weeks later. There was a knock on my door at 10pm, and there was two year old, looking at me through tears. My heart was broken, but in that moment I knew I had to fight to find hope for her, and for my unborn son. My children helped save my life. It is amazing what we will do as moms to protect our children. I was a single mom, pulling my life together. My picture perfect life was gone.
We moved into our friend’s trailer. I was working as a teacher. We had to make it on my teacher salary. There was no help from my husband or his family. Thankfully, my family was there, all the way through! They also helped save me, as did dance and the precious students that I taught. They inspired in me hope, to have hope.
In the coming year God began to strengthen me, and there were three scriptures He gave me to hang onto. Those scriptures of promise helped carry me through, and they still do!
1) Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
2) Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
3) 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”
These are the scriptures I declared out loud, and the scriptures that began to bring healing and hope.
I brought my newborn son home from the hospital to that little trailer. I no longer had a big beautiful house, to go with my beautiful life. I did have two beautiful children though and hope in my heart. My divorce finalized, and my ex husband was simply gone. He had moved on to a life of drugs and partying. He was no longer a teacher. He was not a part of our lives. I could write volumes on this, but that is for another time.
I decided I wanted to give my babies a sweet and good life. We began to celebrate every little holiday. We planted flowers, did crafts, found little adventures, and my heart began to feel joy again. It took a year and a half, but one day as I held the hand of my toddling son, and watched my daughter skip in the sunshine, I felt happy for the first time in so long. More happy moments began to come, and life began to move on. I chose hope. I chose to trust Jesus. I chose joy over bitterness.
When God Restores
I was a single Mom for four years, and then an amazing man came into our lives. He was our true knight in shining armor! We dated for two years, and got married. We have now been married for 6 years, and once again I live in a big beautiful house with a seemingly picture perfect life. It has not all been sunshine and rainbows.
We lost our first baby boy we had together, when I was 24 weeks pregnant. I became hypothyroid, and have had health issues to deal with. We fought a major court battle with my ex husband’s parents, who tried to prevent me from moving in to live with my new husband. However, my husband was able to adopt my children, and we are free! (Again, I could write volumes about this, maybe someday).
We were blessed with a healthy baby boy together, who is now four years old. He completes our family. My husband and my three children are my world, and my constant source of joy! I still teach dance, and now I get to teach my own children. Life still has its difficult moments, but my faith has been refined in fire!!
At the end of the day, I know this…. God is faithful. My life has not gone as expected, but He has been there every step of the way. He has turned my sorrows into joy, and brought beauty from ashes. Someone once asked me, ‘What if you learn someday, that God is not real?’ I said that it wouldn’t matter. I do know that He is real, but even if He weren’t, I would not regret a lifetime of believing in Him. It would not be a waste of time. You see, He is my greatest hope, and hope is indeed a powerful thing.
Know a Struggling or Single Mom?
Here are some suggestions from Malia on how you can help provide hope in their lives:
- Pray for the person as they deal with loneliness, stress, and exhaustion!
- Encourage!!! Tell them what an awesome job they are doing, and good things you see in their children!
- At social events, single parents can feel very alienated. Talk to them, include them, don’t make them feel left out.
- Make them a dinner. Invite them over for dinner. Take them a coffee. Drop off a pizza! (Anything that makes them feel seen and cared for!)
- Offer to watch the kids!
If you are a single mom in need of some rest or hope, check out this post about a single mom in the Bible who needed the same thing: To The Mom Who Needs Rest
Guest Author Bio.
Malia is a lover of Jesus, the proud Mom of three energetic kids, and the wife of a cool data scientist. With a Master’s degree in arts education, she is passionate about dance and using it to teach kids. Malia loves finding the joy in daily life, and helping others find joy in the ups, downs, and everything in between.
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