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Published on June 6th, 2013 | by Nathaniel

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Strength of a Woman: Single Mothers

Strength of a Woman: Single Mothers

single mothers

According to the 2010 US Census Bureau, the number of children growing up in single parent households has nearly doubled in the past 50 years. Across the board, there have been dramatic rate increases in the amount of single women raising their children. None is more alarming than the now 54% of African American/ Black children growing up in a home without a father. Why is this becoming the common narrative? Are women becoming more independent? Are men becoming more passive about their responsibilities? Or is it just an alternative 21st century approach? While there are some extenuating circumstances beyond one’s control, there’s also cyclical and much too common themes.

I grew up in a single parent household after my father left following their divorce. Unlike a lot of children, I was able to maintain a relationship with my dad and considering the environment and relationship he had with his father, there was considerable progress made. And because of that, it was such a drastic change living solely with my mom. For years, I was bitter. I never understood her struggle. The ongoing theme was, “Nicholas, I don’t have money.” And I couldn’t understand- I mean, my mom worked a lot as a nurse, 12 hour shifts four to five days a week. So when she said she had no money, it didn’t add up. But the reality was she was supporting two boys with piano lessons, boy scouts, extra tutoring, health insurance, mortgage, private school, car insurance, and so on. It didn’t make sense to me and I became bitter. I have no shame in saying my mom and I had a horrible relationship for years. There were days when I would leave and not tell her, yell back at her, refuse to eat her cooking, and so much more. There were a couple of times that I even vowed to run away and never come back.

I couldn’t see that behind the scenes she essentially sacrificed her life- my mom rarely went out except church, driving us around, or work. I didn’t acknowledge that she never refused to spend money on our education or extra tutoring- even if she didn’t have it. And I never said “thank you.” I know my parents didn’t enter their relationship planning to divorce. And I know my dad always had good intentions.

I don’t think God intended for women to have to bare brunt of single motherhood. And unfortunately, a lot of women have to shoulder this responsibility. Some women shoulder it because they were abandoned by their partner. Some women shoulder it because of the lack of a committed relationship. Some women shoulder it because unfortunately, their partner has passed on. And some women shoulder it by choice, electing to raise children or adopt children on their own.

If a father or a strong male presence wasn’t needed, God would have made women asexual, right? There is no perfect home. There is no perfect mother and no perfect father. Yet, there is something in the design of parenting that necessitates a commitment from both, father and mother. There were things that my mom could never teach me, never understand, and never realize because she was not my father. And vice versa, if I had lived with my dad, there would have been things that he couldn’t provide because he was not my mom.

Yet God, in His infinite wisdom can use any situation for His glory. He can buffer the wounds for a child who never knew his or her father. He can strategically plant wise women and wise men in their lives that represent and embody who a father or mother is. He can take the yoke that single-motherhood often brings and ultimately make something that was intended to be beautiful, beautiful.

Psalm 68:4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds  — his name is the LORD– and rejoice before him. [5] A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. [6] God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

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