I sometimes think, as single moms, we don’t want our kids to go through hard things because we feel sorry for the many hardships they have experienced. However, in my experience, I have found the opposite to be true. Whether you are married or single, kids love to be needed. Deep down, kids want the responsibility: suffering and hard work make us stronger and ultimately better people.
I would like to encourage you to do hard things and even have your kids do difficult things alongside you. Make it fun. Put your kids to work. Even toddlers can help with chores. You can exercise together, eat healthy together, learn together, clean together, face your pain together.
I remember like it was yesterday when I went into labor with my 5th baby; I learned some life-changing hard lessons through her birth, as I had the incredible experience of birthing her myself (with a midwife by my side). I had her in a birthing tub at a birthing cottage in Tallahassee, Fl. I know it probably sounds crazy, but I was determined to give it a try. Thankfully, a hospital was right next door in case there was an emergency.
At first, it was very frightening and daunting to face the pain, especially knowing that once I decided to go medicine-free, there would be no turning back. I was still determined, with God’s help to face my fear and go for it.
The coolest thing is, I don’t think I was ever closer to God than when I was enduring my most brutal labor. As the contractions got stronger and stronger, I became so vulnerable, so surrendered, and so desperate that I had no choice but to cry out to God to help me. I honestly thought I was dying. The most baffling thing is that the more I cried out to Him and embraced my pain, the more God’s peace and comfort surrounded me.
When I finally pushed her little head out, I reached down and pulled her out of the water. She took my breath away. Her innocence, peace, and beauty were so humbling. To think that this beautiful human being came out of me was undeniably a true miracle. There was no greater reward for my hard labor than to bask in God’s presence holding my precious healthy baby, all the while praising God for His amazing love and grace.
At the time, painfully birthing my child seemed crazy and quite ridiculous in many people’s eyes. But ironically, throughout my life as a single mom, God has brought me back to my birthing pains many times. He has taught me, and is still teaching me, that facing my pain, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, is where life begins. It might be while exercising, and I want to quit, washing a mountain of dishes that seem overwhelming, getting up in the middle of the night with a sick child, dealing with sibling rivalry, weeding the flower bed, cooking another meal for so many kids, going to a job I don’t love, facing a terminal illness, dealing with difficult teenagers, overcoming an addiction, forgiving someone who isn’t sorry, or feeling so lonely that you can’t take it anymore. I could go on and on about the “suffering” that we are faced with daily.
Through the birth of my daughter, God taught me that the only way to LIVE genuinely is to fall in love with suffering. It is not the suffering that makes you hopeless, but suffering from despair is taken out of it. It is the kind of suffering that makes us desperate for God.
Have you ever considered that the disappointments in our life can be the hidden appointments of love? Like birthing my baby was hard, but my reward of having a healthy baby was worth every pain that I went through.
Sometimes we think that God is against us, and we question why we have to go through rough times, so much so that we end up abandoning the very One who can turn our disappointments into dancing. Our weakness needs HIS might, and our safety lies in letting HIM fight for us.
Maybe God allowed what we are going through so that we would cry out to Him in our desperation. Then and only then will we know and be consumed with His unexplainable love.
As hard as it may be, it is a blessing to have suffering because amid our suffering is where God’s real transformation, comfort, and unexplainable peace are found. Suffering is a chosen power to reveal ourselves to ourselves. The true ME comes out when I am under pressure. I can either run from myself and numb my pain, or I can choose to embrace my pain and let incredible change happen in my life.
I want to encourage you! You are not alone. Choose to face your pain, do hard things, and die to yourself; cry out to God for help because when you do, that’s when you will live your best life.