Building with God: “Come, Follow Me” for Single Moms
Last Sunday I sat in church with my three children contemplating the night before. I had been on a date with someone I really like, with whom I had gone out previously. During this particular date, he told me about a host of addictions and bad choices that were not that far in his past, and which he felt I needed to have all the information about before I decided if I wanted to pursue a relationship with him. Though I was grateful for his courage and honesty in this disclosure, and though I felt sorrow and sadness for him, I ultimately told him I would not be able to continue in the relationship. Every now and then, and especially after a slew of not-so-great dates, I evaluate my situation as a single mother – who I am as a woman and as a mom, and what my goals are for myself and my family.
And so it was that the next morning I sat in church, contemplating my role as a single mother, and particularly the question of whether I felt strong enough to raise these kids on my own. I reflected on a conversation I had had with my brother that had stayed with me. He spoke of the concept of “building” in terms of relationships and families, and what that might look like for us as individuals. Are we building something solid, special, something lasting? Do we think of our relationships and roles as parents in that way? These ideas and questions, combined with my dating experiences, have given me a lot to think about as I enter 2019. Can I build the type of relationship I want with just anyone? Am I laying a proper foundation as I “build” relationships with and teach my children? And can I, as a single mother, build the type of life I want this coming year? The answer to that last question is, of course, yes.
Regardless of our marital status, God wants our happiness and provides tools to help us achieve it.
Ultimately, life is about building our personal relationship with God, and we ALL have a responsibility to rely on Him first and raise our families accordingly. While I don’t know if I will ever get remarried in this life, I do know that, with God’s help, I can be strong enough to raise my children unto Him. One of the biggest tools I have for building the type of life I want for myself and my children this coming year is the new “Come, Follow Me” program, and that is where I want to focus my thoughts today. Although all of us have a responsibility to raise our children unto the Lord, I want to specifically address my fellow single mothers.
Hi, single moms! You are not alone. You are warriors with God and stronger than you think. You are capable of building the type of life you want for yourself and your children. One of my favorite scriptures in Isaiah reads,
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40: 29-31, emphasis added)
We can do this – I promise.
As we start a new year and begin implementing the new “Come, Follow Me” curriculum, here are a few reminders that have helped me as I move forward:
1. Consistency (NOT perfection) is key.
There are many evenings when, after work and school, the very last thing I want to do is gather my three children and read scriptures together. Logically, I know this is the right thing to do, but emotionally I feel drained. Sometimes that means we skip a night, and that is okay. It’s consistency, not perfection, that matters on this one. The Lord will consecrate our efforts. I have experienced that time and again.
2. Be patient with the Lord and with yourself.
Blessings are all around you, and even if you think they’re not coming, I promise you, they will. The Lord promises you also. When we started reading The Book of Mormon as a family last fall, I did so feeling strongly that we needed miracles in our lives. We NEED this, I thought. So we began to read consistently. But instead of miracles, it felt like an onslaught of trials hit us. “What is going on??” I thought. But blessings quickly came after those trials, and they will for you as well. Don’t give up, and don’t forget to look around. Blessings are there! If you can’t see them, hold tight—they’re coming.
3. Be mindful and prayerful about when and how you implement this new program with your family.
This is about what works for you and your situation. Perhaps waking your children up at 6 am for morning study is not the best plan as a single mother, or perhaps it is for you. Do what works for you, and involve the Lord on this. Every family is different.
4. Your children are learning even if you think they’re not.
You are planting seeds and the reaping doesn’t usually come right away. Don’t despair! Keep moving forward. I think the biggest thing we forget as parents is that we are planting seeds every day, whether we see growth or not. We must also recognize that the Lord is planting right alongside us. As you consecrate your time in this effort, He will fill in any gaps that may arise from single parenting. He is laying a foundation for something great with every effort you make.
5. Remember that you are not building alone.
The most important point to remember as you plan on teaching and implementing this curriculum in 2019 is that you are never, ever alone. Yes, in some ways you are single-handedly doing the work that was meant for two. However, as you build your personal relationship with God and truly recognize Him as your partner, you will not have to build alone.
The assurance that came to me that day as I sat in church, questioning if I was strong enough to raise my children on my own, was that really, if I am faithful, I am never doing it alone.
Building my relationship with the Lord is the key to never being alone, and as I do that, I am building the type of relationship that will bear the results I want for myself and my children. The Lord similarly reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:17, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” You can be one with the Lord. With His help, you are strong enough to raise your children and build something special and lasting, regardless of the size or shape of your family.
As we enter a new year, with new goals and with desires to build something special and lasting, let us use the tools the Lord has given us, stay close to Him, and then watch as miracles, strength, and power come into our lives.
Small Seed Copy Editor: Megan Grant
Callie is a single mother to three brilliant, strong-willed children. She recently moved back to Utah after living in Eugene, Oregon, and before that, London England! She loves interior design, spin class, and creating beautiful spaces. She is passionate about helping women find their inner voice and create lives that reflect their love for God, themselves, and others.