This week I’m responding to Heather’s questions. She asked, “I only knew you happy and in love with Charley. My question is, what about the in between. How did you know God had sent you Charley? How did you handle waiting until God DID send you Charley. I don’t know how long you were the single mom of 3 babes, but I do know what single parenting is all about.”
Thanks for sending in your questions, Heather. Let’s start with the easy question first, “how long” … I was a single mom from Christmas of 1988 until I married Charley in September of 1995, so I guess you could say a little over six and a half years.
How did I handle the waiting in between? Or rather, “how did WE handle the waiting in between?” There was a period of time when I wondered about any guy I met (“is he the one”) and the kids were ready to marry me off to any guy that said hello … literally (“are you going to marry my Mom?”) … awkward … to say the least. I mean, we all just assumed that I had to have someone in my life, otherwise it was incomplete, kwim. I remember fussing with my aunt about it not being fair that “he” had someone in his life and I did not … she very lovingly put me in my place about what was fair and life was not… but I still pouted and carefully screened potential prospects.
I probably should fill you in on some background stuff. I met my first husband while I was still in high school. He was my first serious boyfriend. Both our families disapproved of our relationship. My parents wanted me to go to college and they felt that he was distracting me from that goal. They also wanted me to marry someone from my own religious denomination. His parents felt pretty strongly about him marrying someone within their own faith, too. There were quite a few hormones involved, so any logical thinking went out the window and, like a lot of teens who don’t want to listen to their parents telling them what’s best, we rebelled. I always say that Mandy was no accident; she was a deliberate rebellious act to get our parents to let us be together. It worked … more or less.
So, until he left our family, ten years later, I had never been on my own. I went straight from the care of my parents to the care of a husband. Suffice it to say that it took a while, but once I got past the idea that I “had to” have someone in my life, I could focus more on the important things going on in my life at that time, like taking care of my kids, going back to school, getting a job, etc. After that, I was amazingly able to enjoy life a little more. I was involved in various “single” groups where I made some really great friends (one in particular had two girls the same age as mine and they became “the four musketeers”). I stretched my wings by getting involved in various soul-enriching activities, like being a mission trip team leader for an entire summer to a group of teens. We were all pretty active in our home church and at school events.
Eventually six years went by, and at this point I knew, through various friendships and encounters, what I wanted out of a relationship … one thing was for certain, anyone who came along would have to accept the fact that they were getting a package deal: three pretty cool kids who also knew what they wanted, who might or might not want to share their mom. Somewhere along the line my prayer changed from a desperate, “Lord, send me a husband!!!” to a more comfortable place where I could say, “Okay, Lord, if you’re not going to bring someone into my life and you want me to remain single, fine, I think I can handle that; but You’re gonna have to help me with that.”
That’s when I met Charley.
How did I know? Well, first of all, this time I humbly included God in all the particulars, unlike the last time when I insisted on my own way and was a snotty, rebellious, demanding brat. I was scared to death of making the same mistake, and scared of hurting my children, so much so that I questioned every little thing and put up so many prayers for wisdom and direction and confirmation. The most important thing to me was honoring God and living in obedience to His will, even if that meant remaining a single mom and just having a really good friend in Charley. God graciously answered all of my questions in such a manner as to leave no doubt, Charley was the one … he really, truly was the one. The most amazing thing about all of this was how God fulfilled my heart’s desire without me really knowing what that might be … sure, I knew what I wanted out of a relationship, but what God gave me was something much deeper and richer than I could ever have imagined.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4
Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21