A letter to single moms everywhere

Ryan Yow

Dear single mom,

As you face the day-to-day struggles of being a single parent, life can feel like an uphill battle and it can be hard to see if you’re gaining ground. As the son of a single mom, I want you to know: What you do matters.

My parents were divorced when I was young, leaving my mom with the responsibility of raising me and my sister. My sister and I are now college graduates beginning lives of our own. But there was a long in-between period where our mom raised two children as a single parent. She cooked and she cleaned. She worked hard, and she paid the bills. She went to ball games and dance recitals. She laughed and she cried. My guess is she was probably a lot like you.

Growing up, God was molding me into the man that I am today through the influence of my mom. I didn’t fully understand everything my mom did or why it mattered. But as I look back, here are a few things my mom did that I wouldn’t trade for anything:

1. My mom prayed for me.

I always knew my mom was a reserved and thoughtful person, but as I got older, I realized she wasn’t just thinking to herself or worrying about the future. She was talking to Jesus, and she did it a lot.

I know I probably made her pray, “Lord, please just don’t let me kill him” more times than I care to think about, but it was more than that. She knew that she was a single parent, and it was OK to ask God for help. I can’t remember a single time where she complained about her situation. I don’t even think she knows how to complain. When things were hard, she just prayed, and I didn’t know it at the time, but she was teaching me to do the same.

2. My mom didn’t keep us to herself.

My mom is the strongest woman I know, and she probably could have done it all by herself, but she was wise enough to know that she shouldn’t. As a single mom, you have tremendous influence in your child’s life, but your child needs other influences, especially male influences.

My mom wasn’t a serial dater. I didn’t grow up with a revolving door of temporary father figures. Instead, my mom made sure that I spent time with men in my church that loved Jesus. She made sure I had coaches who were respected for more than their knowledge of basketball and soccer. But most importantly, she made sure I spent time with my dad.

I knew that neither of my parents was perfect, and I didn’t need either of them to remind me of the other’s flaws. I needed them to make the most of the time they had with me by investing in their relationship with me. Because my mom shared me with other mentors, I have several men that I look to for advice in areas that she only has secondhand experience in. She set me up for success all my life when it wasn’t what she always wanted to do.

3. My mom taught me to read the Bible.

My mom and I both knew Jesus, but life was still hard. Our family needed a rock to hold onto when circumstances were overwhelming. God was that rock.

While I wondered why my parents weren’t together or why my family wasn’t normal, I never wondered what it was like to be fatherless. My mom taught me that God doesn’t leave. He doesn’t stop loving. He has a plan for me. He is proud of me. There’s nothing that can change any of that. He was my mom’s rock in hard times, and because she taught me to read the Bible, He became my rock as well.

You are raising a person Jesus wants to use to change the world. Teach your kids to follow Jesus. Society might label your family as “broken,”  but God has a track record of using broken things to change the world. Find your strength in time with Him and teach your children to do the same.

Thankful for you,

Ryan Yow

Join us at NewSpring this Mother's Day to connect with Jesus and other moms. Find a campus near you. 

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