For me, single motherhood brought joys, trials, and new life. Happy about leaving a marriage of disparage and abuse, I had dreams of sovereign self-sufficiency. I fantasized about being the modern “Mary Tyler Moore” working woman mixed with “Shirley Partridge,” the best single mother on the block.
My imaginings were soon squelched by the mental roar of long-rehearsed belittling tirades from my former husband. I doubted my abilities. Can I really do this?
It didn’t take long for my ideas of being Super Mom to crumble. The only extraordinary ability I had was to continuously make bad decisions, a dubious aptitude that started long before I was married.
As a bored-with-life teenager living in Amish country, I had become well acquainted with partying early on. By the time I was 18, I moved out and enjoyed drinking alcohol alone – lots of it.
One morning at work I had an intestinal attack and drove myself to the emergency room of the only hospital in town. After several tests I learned I had gallbladder issues, stomach ulcers and colitis—all due to my lifestyle. Nearly out the door, the doctor turned and said, “Oh, and you do know you’re pregnant, don’t you?” No, I had no idea.
I got married and soon had a beautiful baby girl. Domestic violence notwithstanding, I soon had an adorable baby boy.
Those children were my reason to carry on each day. I finally found the strength to divorce my abusive husband. I soon discovered the unconditional love of Jesus. I asked Him to take care of my little trio and He so wonderfully did.
Still, I was plagued by nightmares of being hit, choked and kicked. I involuntarily winced if someone raised their hand in front of me too quickly, and that always generated a rosy face of humiliation.
Occasionally the terrifying “language loop” would run again in my head. Names, curses and criticisms that had been a part of everyday life in my marriage, echoed within my mind. Reading the Bible helped — pouring in the positive helped crowd out the negative.
In time, I began to date the man who would become my current husband, Jerry. He knew I had “stomach problems” and bought me a gigantic bottle of my favorite antacid. I was in love!
One night Jerry prepared a special spaghetti dinner for me and my children. It didn’t take long for my colitis to misbehave. “I’d better go,” I smiled. As I rushed around getting the kids ready to leave, he asked why. Blushing, I explained that I had colitis as a result of my previously irresponsible life.
With a puzzled look on his face, he inquired “Have you ever asked God to heal you?”
“No,” I shrugged. “That never occurred to me.”
“Well, that colitis is from your old lifestyle. The Bible says you are a new creation in Christ. You should ask Him to heal you.”
I agreed and quickly left. On the way home, I thought about what he’d said. “He’s right,” I said aloud. Without fancy words or Scripture quotes, I quietly prayed for God to touch my body and heal my colitis. As I drove I felt a warmth in my very lower back and a peace in my heart. I never had another colitis attack. My stomach stopped bothering me shortly thereafter, and Jerry and I praised God for healing me.
Within a few months, Jerry proposed. We were married one year after our first date. On our honeymoon I had a familiar nightmare and woke up sweating and crying. This show of vulnerability embarrassed me. Jerry prayed for me and an emotional healing took place that night. I haven’t had one of those traumatic nightmares since our honeymoon, 27 years ago.
Being free of physical restrictions and emotional baggage, I could hear God more clearly and grow steadily in Him. Through the years He has used me to help reach other single moms and women in high-risk relationships.
It’s almost too easy to comprehend; it all started with the suggestion to “simply ask.”