Today's guest post is by my friend and fellow writer, Terri Webster.
by Terri Webster
Getting through the holidays can be especially difficult for single parents. Making new
traditions, discovering a new normal, and staying involved and connected were a few ways I dealt with the holidays throughout my single-parent years.
I remember my first Christmas as a single parent, 27 years ago. This memory is etched in my mind with countless others as if hanging on a museum wall.
My daughter was a toddler and her brother was six. The holidays that year were prefaced with the dissolving of my marriage to their father in November. Thanksgiving was a blur.
As I was attempting to pick up the shattered remnants of my life, reality of being a single parent suddenly draped over me like a sopping, wet blanket on a cozy fire.
My kids were going to be with their dad Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. To
add insult to misery, I was sure some of that time would be with his girlfriend, who just happened to be my best friend. It never occurred to me that my kids wouldn’t be with me Christmas Eve.
In the early days of our separation, and divorce, not a day went by that I didn’t throw myself
at the mercy seat of God for strength to get through each day. Sometimes I shook my fist at Him in anger for allowing my family to be ripped apart. When I quit blaming God, I found great comfort and strength, as I depended on His word daily like an IV drip.
When pouring my heart out at His feet during these scary changes, He showed me how to rise above my circumstances and discover new ways to celebrate the holidays as a family.
I went to church as planned that first Christmas Eve. During the dreaded drive home alone, I purposefully focused on the true meaning of Christmas. I thought about Jesus leaving the comforts of Heaven to come to our broken world and become the payment for sin. He made a way for me to have a personal relationship with Him that will last all of my life on earth and into eternity with Him.
I found a big surprise waiting on me when I got home that night. The gift of peace was waiting. Joy was there too, along with comfort. Exhausted, I fell into bed while listening to Christmas music. I woke up Christmas morning to my kids coming home, excited to go see our other family members.
One single mom says, “I always try and do little things with just my daughter and me, like
making funny videos, and acting silly. We’ll take a drive and I let her play whatever music she wants while we sing and dance in the car. I don’t have a lot of money so the cheapest things we can do that will make memories is what’s important to me. We go to my parents’ a lot, as it’s the one thing that has been constant and stable in my daughter’s life. She’s at the age now where she understands the true meaning of Christmas and knows it’s not about a lot of presents.”
The holidays don’t have to be about expensive presents and buying things you can’t afford.
Something else a single-parent family can do together is volunteer at a local food pantry, shelter or other outreach. This will surely put things into perspective if you have a roof over your head, know where your next meal is coming from and have several outfits to choose from every day.
Finally, whether it was December 25th, winter, spring, hot or cold, Jesus was born homeless in a stable. His parents had nothing to give Him that first Christmas. He lived on purpose. He died as penalty for our sin, then rose from the grave back to life so we could be with Him for eternity. That is the reason for the season and plenty to celebrate!
How do you handle holidays when you feel alone? Share your thoughts.
Terri began writing in her private journals as therapy to cope with the pain and hardships of being a single mom. This grew into a passion to write with a purpose.
She published “Markers for Single Moms: Finding God’s Direction in the Chaos,” in 2013, facebook.com/markersforsinglemoms. She wrote and composed “When All Seems Lost”, performed by Sara Oliver, which is the inspiration for her next book, “Prayer Markers for Single Moms: When All Seems Lost.”
Other publications include stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul and numerous feature articles for a local newspaper.
Terri founded Spring Ministries, Inc., in 2011, and is a member of East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers. You can visit Spring Ministries on Facebook facebook.com/springministriesinc.