“It was a really dark time of my life. I knew I needed to get back to church and my faith, but I was also questioning God. I was suddenly a single mom, we were at the beginning of Covid, I had lost my sister, I had a lot of trauma I hadn’t dealt with… Everything felt like it was happening all at once, and I just kept thinking, ‘why me? Why is this happening to me?’” Ashley had her first daughter at 21. She then met and married a man and had her second daughter. After a few years, Ashley found herself divorced and on her own.
Even though Ashley grew up in the church, she stopped going as an adult. During Covid, Ashley started to go to a weekly drive-through dinner a local church was doing for the community. “Even though I never went in for the church service, this was at least one dinner a week I didn’t have to worry about.” Soon, a Single Parent Provision Single Moms Group started up at the church. A staff member that Ashley had met through the carline stopped her in the drive-through and mentioned it. “He told me about the Group that was starting and how he thought I could really benefit from it. I had picked up dinner for my grandparents, as well, so I left. I remember thinking the group is definitely not for me! I don’t want to sit around and have a pity party with a bunch of other single moms. Maybe this is hard right now, but I can get it done.”
After her grandma also suggested she go, Ashley found herself in attendance that first night. “After the first night, I thought maybe it wasn’t so bad. They asked me to come back, and I got to know everyone better. Now, I can’t imagine my life without them!” Ashley has found support, accountability, and encouragement with the other moms from the Group. “It is so good to have community. Anyone can throw out to the group at a moment’s notice they need help with something, and someone will be there. Or someone will offer up resources they found that might be beneficial for others, or whatever. People say it takes a village, and I would tell other single parents to go find it. Your village may just end up being with those you would least expect it to be.”
Ashley can look back and see many ways in which she has grown through her journey. “I’m definitely stronger now and I know myself better. I was really lost after my marriage ended. I didn’t know where to go or who to turn to. [Along with the Group,] I’ve also been in therapy and have been facing my trauma head on. You can’t really move on otherwise and if you don’t deal with it, you end up carrying it into your own parenting. I’m just really content and happy with my life right now. I worked hard to get where I am.” Ashley credits the Group, therapy, and getting back to church with helping her to find her strength. “Getting back to church after basically giving it up for five years was hard for me. But my faith has brought me back and it feels like a full circle moment.”
Ashley’s greatest joys are seeing her kids accomplish things. “It may not mean much to everyone, but it’s the little moments for me. When people tell me things about them that I don’t always see, it makes me so proud. Honestly, I just want my kids to grow up and be the best versions of themselves. I want to be able to give them a better life than what I had, like my grandparents gave to me. I want them to be able to look back and say, ‘maybe it was a hard and bumpy road, but we did it.’”
You are a light, Ashley, and a leader. We pray your walk with God continues to strengthen as you step out more and more in your faith and trust in Him. Get it girl! We are cheering you on!
Published October 2023