The strongest friendships are born out of adversity.
There is so much comfort to be gained from someone who is going through the same things we are. I think that’s why it’s easier for children to make friends. At a young age, we all have the same basic life: school, family, play. As we grow older, of course, our lives veer away from what everyone else’s looks like, and our friends become fewer and farther between, based on where our lives take us.
A few years along this single mom path now, I’ve done a lot of thinking about why some friends can stick with single mothers during their greatest time of need, while others can’t. I really want to say “won’t” there. But honestly, we all have struggles in this life, and walking alongside a single mom is not for everyone.
When some of my friends fell by the wayside, I was shocked even though I’d been warned it would happen. Some left me heartsick, while others overwhelmed me with their love and support. The ones I thought would stick with me forever were the first to go, while the ones I least expected to be a part of my new life rose to the surface.
For the ones that left, I wanted to be angry. I mean, seriously — I could have easily justified it. I’d been with these same people through some rough times. And yet, it just felt like God was telling me to let them go. He was an expert at being abandoned by those he trusted most, after all. Jesus forgave Peter, the most solid of his disciples, even when he abandoned him during his greatest time of need. Why? Because Jesus knew that while he needed his friend desperately, the magnitude of Jesus’ personal situation was overwhelming to his friend.
Some people aren’t cut out for this walk, so don’t force them to take it with you. Forgive them now and move on. There is freedom in letting them go. Besides, you have new friends that you need to focus on along this path. As soon as you possibly can, start reaching out to others to find these women:
A Christian Single Mom
You’re going to get a lot of advice. And most of it will be terrible. The world has a whole different view of what single motherhood should look like, rather than the actual path that is healthy for us and our children. You need another single mom of faith to bounce problems off of, to discuss issues about your children, and to talk about any new relationship opportunities that might arise. As you move through this season of your life, if you take and follow advice from someone who is not also seeking to walk with God, you will likely make some mistakes that you will seriously regret. Not to say that you won’t make mistakes anyway. You will. But this friend will be a reminder of what you should strive toward and the grace-filled arms you can fall into when you stumble.
A Single Mom with a Similar Work/Life Situation
Single motherhood is a crazy ride. Those on the outside think they know what we are going through, but can we all agree that they have no idea? Not even close. You need someone who is not only walking the single-mom path with you, but is also carrying a similar load. Working and raising children on your own is overwhelming. If nothing else, a friend who understands and carries the same load can help you talk through your tough days. If she has the same custody arrangement as you, even better. Having sole custody of your children is a very different situation than a mom with joint custody. While one may feel she’s never allowed to take a break, another might need a friend during the times her children are away from her.
A Single Mom who’s Made it Through
Why is it that wisdom comes on the other side of things, when we so desperately need it in the midst of our struggle? Of course, that’s just the way things work. But, let me tell you, one of the pivotal moments I faced at the beginning of single motherhood was favorably rerouted because of a wiser woman who’d been in my steps a decade or so before I was. There is a sense of desperation that comes at the beginning of this path. It’s in those moments that we most often make unwise decisions. This godly woman, whom I’d only known through women’s groups at my church, spent hours talking me through those first weeks. Not only did I find comfort from the fact that she’d successfully picked herself up from her own difficult situation and rebuilt her life, but also that she’d managed to keep her faith intact. Find a wise woman who’s been there.
Remember: You have to invest in others in order to be invested in. You can’t successfully do this alone. You need your peeps. Someone to stand with you in solidarity. Make finding new friends a priority in your life. Maybe you’ll find all three in one person. Or maybe you’ll find them at different points in your walk. But make the effort. It will change the way you experience this part of your life for the better.