Success Story: Resilient single mom finds Jesus and turns her life around
She showed up one Wednesday night a couple of years ago. There she sat all alone. We connected after the service and she started coming to our Single & Parenting group.
My new friend had a lot of questions and needed people to listen to her and hear her story. Here is what she revealed to us in those first few weeks.
- She had never been married but had two children.
- At one point in her life she had been addicted to meth.
- She had been arrested and her two young children went into the foster care system for a year.
- She went through withdrawals on the floor of the jail with nothing but a mat thrown on the floor.
- While incarcerated she started attending a bible study and came to know Christ as her personal savior.
- When she was released from jail she only had 90 days, to find a job, get a car, and find a place to live in order to get her two children back.
When she came to us she had a steady but low-paying job. She got no child support and no outside help. She was renting a room in someone’s home.
A few weeks after she started attending our group the lady she was renting a room from was killed suddenly in a car wreck. My new friend had to find another place to live immediately. She still didn’t make enough to support herself and her two children. The lady who had been the foster care mom for her children invited my friend to rent a room in her home.
This single mom reminded me of a blow up punching bags from years ago. That toy was usually a clown and when you hit it, it would fall back and then bounce right back up. Satan would knock her over and she might be down for a day or two but then she would bounce back up. She called me many times in tears.
What the Lord led me to do:
- We talked and I’d ask her questions to help her remember how far she’d come
- Sometimes I’d give her a scripture
- Sometimes I just let her talk
- Other times I prayed with her over the phone
- We’d text back and forth in the evenings. Sometimes it was to help her help her children. Imagine disciplining two elementary age kids in one room in some else’s home. It was a sticky situation when it came to keeping the kids quiet and getting them to do their homework
- When I thought she was getting discouraged I’d text some of our other single moms and tell them to call contact her immediately. She needed to feel like she was part of our group
- I’d pray and seek God’s guidance in what our group could do for her
- I’d collect funds to help her
Over the next several months our church stepped up repeatedly to help this single mom get on her feet. While it would have easy to just to say I’d pray for her and let her go, the Lord wouldn’t allow me to do that. I knew she needed hands-on help.
Like my friend Sarah she had two children. Her kids were in elementary school andthey needed to see a church being the hands of Jesus. These two kids needed the Lord and we needed to help usher them into the Kingdom.
One example of hands-on help
There are many stories I could tell about this one particular single mom but there is one story that stands out in my mind and one that really impressed her children. She was working hard to save a meager amount of funds so she could get into an apartment or someplace where she could raise her family and call it her home. After several months she was able to rent a small storage unit where she would keep their extra things, like summer clothes and other seasonal items. She also started collecting items that people gave her. She found things for a home at garage sales. Remember, when she got out of jail she had absolutely nothing.
After months of collecting items she went to her storage unit one day only to find someone had cut the lock and had stolen everything in the unit. There wasn’t even a paper clip in that unit. It was devastating. She still did not have her own apartment and suffered a major setback in her efforts to do so. But she did not give up.
When the ladies at our church, who were hosting a garage sale, heard what had happened they told my friend, “We want you to come up to the garage sale at noon and anything that is left over you can have.” They had me come up the day before and put things aside that I knew she would need. Things like linens, kitchen items like plates, glasses, silverware, etc.
The day of the garage sale we loaded up her car. Then someone brought up a trailer and we loaded up that trailer too. Her little kids were wide-eyed. One child said, “Mom, how are we going to pay for all of this stuff?” The mom said, “We don’t have to pay.” I told them, “The Lord is supplying all of this for your family.”
Never have I seen a happier family pull away from a garage sale as that day.
My friend has worked so very hard to support herself and her kids. She has stayed in the church. Recently she went back to court and the judge was so impressed by her actions that he actually gave her a compliment. She was completely exonerated. Her kids are doing well in school. The oldest child, who was out of control, has made great strides in behavior issues and this past year invited Christ into her life.
When I come across a single parent like this the Lord always takes me to these verses, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go I wish you well; keep warm and well fed.’ But does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:15-16 (NIV)