The Mothers Who…
Honoring 5 single mom stories
Below, read the stories of five single moms of The Single MOM KC featured in this year’s Mother’s Day campaign. To those moms, thank you for sharing your stories and encouraging other single moms in this space! Your transparency is supporting The Single MOM KC’s special Mother’s Day fundraiser.
Each story will be added as they are released throughout the campaign. Check back here for a new story each week!
Julie’s story of sacrifice began the day her girls were born.
For their sake, Julie stayed in a 16-year-long abusive marriage. Her husband served as an assistant pastor in their church, which made seeking help difficult, as church leaders turned their backs on Julie in her time of need.
This was not what God intended for marriage. She sought help from her new church, and this time, her cry for help was answered. With her daughters in tow, she fled to Safe Home.
Because Julie’s husband never allowed her to work, she had no career experience. To make ends meet, she cleaned houses, sold cleaning products, and at one time, worked four jobs to pay rent.
Determined to spend more time with her girls, Julie began studying to become a teacher. Unfortunately, shortly after beginning her student-teaching job, the pandemic hit. She lost her student-teaching and cleaning jobs. She didn’t qualify for unemployment, and she couldn’t live on a minimum-wage job. She and her girls ultimately gave up their home and moved in with her parents.
Julie’s depression was deep, but she still finds beacons of God’s light in her story.
Two weeks after her divorce was finalized, Julie visited Clothed with Dignity boutique after hearing Lori from The Single MOM KC speak at her church. She praises God for His grace in providing new clothing and a place to live.
The day she left her marriage, Julie sacrificed all she knew for the health and safety of her daughters. She hopes her story exposes the realities of spousal abuse, particularly within the church. No matter the neglect she felt, she never lost faith in God.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10
Today, Julie is committed to breaking the cycle for her girls by providing a stable home environment, creating happy memories, and living without regret. In a recent dream, Julie saw herself climbing a giant mountain, exerting immense effort but making little progress. Even as she committed to keep going, the ground crumbled to ashes beneath her. “But from those ashes emerged bright beautiful flowers,” she says, “and I knew those flowers represented my girls and me — the fruit of God’s love.”
Katie’s journey as a single mom began three years ago following a difficult divorce, made all the more painful as she tried to discern how to best provide and care for her two children. She reached out to The Single MOM KC, drawn by the promise of community with other single moms, and was amazed by the generous love poured into her through the Clothed with Dignity boutique. Knowing she couldn’t pay for the clothes she received, she decided she could give back by volunteering at the boutique. This was where Katie’s leadership journey began.
Katie has always desired to help others, and she sees her times of heartache and hardship as life experiences that help her connect to others. For a while now, God has been calling Katie to minister to other single moms and women struggling in unhealthy marriages. Knowing this, The Single MOM KC is equipping Katie with the ministry and leadership skills necessary to walk alongside those single moms. She is taking even more steps to teach and speak into the lives of other single moms like herself.
Katie is in the process of purchasing her first home as a single mom, where she envisions the space will be filled with Bible studies, prayer meetings, and ministry gatherings.
Over the past three years, Katie has strived to keep her promise to trust God no matter what. She trusts God with her single motherhood, she trusts God through COVID-19, and she trusts God to bring opportunities for ministry into her life.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” —Proverbs 3:5
When all else fails, Katie gleans inspiration from the image of her open, empty hands uplifted to God, offering up all that they are needlessly grasping and praying that they be filled.
My story is one always as a single mom. I moved to Kansas City when my son was three months old, leaving my spiritual foundation and family behind. It was incredibly hard and I felt very isolated, but it was in this dark place that my journey with God began. Although the Word of God was in our home and there was a lot of love, there was not a lot of peace. I parented my son from a broken place, paralyzed by fear and shame.
Our journey took a great shift in 2016 when we came into community with The Single MOM KC. From our very first encounter, seeds of hope were being planted in my son and me. The ministry of TSMKC met us where we were and began to pour into us as a family. It was beautiful to know that I was not alone. It was in this community that I began to really understand the relentless pursuit and love of God.
The language and principles of The Single MOM KC, which is the heart of the Father, started to become a part of our everyday, providing a firm foundation and changing the atmosphere in our home. We were being prepared for the upcoming storm. Each Pursuit and event was an additional length of tethered security anchoring us to God.
In 2018, this tether was lifesaving as we encountered the greatest storm of our life. We lost one thing after another. We lost our home, our car, our pets…. We lost everything that we had connected to security. We had nothing to fall back on but God and the TSMKC community He had given us. Much like in the story of Rebekah (in Genesis), it was by remembering God’s faithfulness that we began to be anchored in hope, moving from a place of insecurity to a place of confidence. We believed!
To anyone looking in and seeing our story, it appeared barren and hopeless, but God gave me the word anchor, saying, “I am going to anchor you and your son in this season. A ship only knows that it is anchored when it is being tossed to and fro.” God taught us how to take what we had learned from TSMKC and to activate it in faith. Our security was no longer in earthly things. We learned to trust only in Him. This place of surrender led us to a place of abundance. Today, my son and I can stand firm believing in the GOOD plans He has for us: a future and a hope.
I am the proud mother of two beautiful boys, 11 years apart. I became a single mom when my youngest was five months old. Even though my husband and I were lifelong Christians, our marriage was very unhealthy. I knelt down and asked God for His guidance.
When I asked, God answered: “You are nobody’s God. Only I can fix your husband’s heart. It’s time to move out of My way so I can heal his heart.” Movement became the theme of God’s message to me over the next several years: “Move toward Me. Keep moving.”
Even though I had a nursing profession, I was homeless with an infant and preteen. We slept on a Good Samaritan’s couch and stored our possessions in our car. Why would God let this happen to me? I was an educated woman with a career. I felt like I had failed my kids.
I lived with immense, all-consuming hurt and resentment. Any struggle, even spilled milk, triggered me to think, It’s because of my broken marriage. I regularly woke up in the night, my heart aching and mind ruminating on my broken marriage, my broken kids, my broken home. My throat and chest hurt all day every day. The emotional pain was physical.
It affected my kids, especially my oldest son, who I lashed out at constantly. After almost 10 months, I finally asked God to take away this bitterness.
Once again, He answered: “You’re an overcomer. What will you teach your kids today? How will you let go of your struggle with their dad? He is My creation; I love him too. He is a part of your children. No more moving; it’s time to be still. Listen. Give up control.”
God brought The Single MOM KC into my life. In the midst of my brokenness, I desired to help and teach others. TSMKC fed my soul, teaching me how to pray for my kids and even their dad. I involved my boys in Wednesday night Pursuits. I served food, helped in the kids’ room, and volunteered at the boutique. As I poured into my kids, I realized they needed their dad too. My boys loved him, and I had to allow his love in our lives.
“For even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” —Mark 10:45
Little by little, with God’s help and with guidance from TSMKC, I surrendered my anger and resentment. I saw freedom in my kids too. My oldest is wise beyond his years, and I have learned the most from him. He keeps me grounded and reminds me of God’s fruit.
We tend to focus on the struggles and setbacks in our lives, especially when they come fast and accumulate. If we can focus, instead, on God’s planted seeds, we will find so much worthwhile. God’s seeds can take time, but the harvest is so rewarding! I have asked God for so much throughout my life, and He has responded in kind with my two incredible boys, a family that serves each other, and a heart that has been healed.
Tanya spent eight years in an abusive marriage until the day she realized her oldest daughter was old enough to see and remember the hurtful, unhealthy family dynamics at play under their roof. She didn’t want her girls to see marriage demonstrated in such a destructive way, nor to grow up and fall into the same cycle of abuse that she did. She knew God’s truth, and this marriage was not what God wanted for her.
Tanya’s story is one of hardship, but she tells it so others can see that even in times of hopelessness, God’s love shines through — His love endures.
After Tanya left her husband, she found an apartment that — for the first time — felt like home. But before long, her apartment was broken into, and the thieves took everything, including her clothes. Tanya praises God’s generosity through Clothed with Dignity boutique, which not only replaced her clothes but also became her safe place from her fear and anxiety.
When the pandemic hit, Tanya was unable to balance the demands of virtual school and her workplace. She lost her job, but praises God’s provision in ultimately bringing her a new job, with better pay and more flexible hours.
Tanya lost her transportation to work after a friend totaled her car in an accident. She had to pull together enough money to rent a car while hers was in the shop. She praises God’s abundance through Catholic Charities, which paid her rent that month.
Her anxiety and PTSD from years of abuse came crashing down upon her, but not until the exact same month her health insurance kicked in. She praises God’s timing that she was able to see a therapist.
When she had just given up the idea of celebrating Thanksgiving, Colonial Presbyterian Church members delivered a full Thanksgiving dinner to her door. She praises God’s perfect timing.
Tanya endured blow after detrimental blow, continuing to praise God for His enduring love.
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!” —1 Chronicles 16:34
Tanya sees God in all the glorious community that surround her — individuals, churches, and organizations that support her so she can support her girls. She says, “God is so crazy for me. He’s crazy for all His children. He never stopped chasing me, and I know He never will. He gifted us a place to call home in a hard time. He gifted me with good people and godly women who intentionally love me when I feel alone.”
Tanya is the mother who endures because she knows God is providing a better life for her girls.