Julie was navigating the single parent journey with 3-month-old twins and a preteen son and stepdaughter. She remembers finances being extremely tight, so to avoid the cost of daycare for infant twins, she began in-home daycare until they were able to start pre-school. Julie recalled during that time they had “no money and were super poor but so glad I had that time to bond with the kids.”
Julie didn’t have time for friends, nor did she know any single parents to gain encouragement or insight. Julie spent many years just surviving while experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation. Julie’s parents were her only support and played an active role in her children’s lives. When her twins were in 5th grade, her father had a heart attack. She contacted a good friend who was a pastor at a church who faithfully came to the hospital and supported the family as her dad regained his health. This experience helped Julie realize her need to find and build community. Sharing her desire, her pastor-friend pointed her to a church family and encouraged her to begin attending.
And she did. As Julie settled into this church family, she intentionally surrounded herself with godly women and began to receive support and encouragement that she had longed for. She met another, older, single mother who became a cherished mentor. Julie said, “while attending a life-changing Bible study, I began to truly understand the love that God has for me…that I had been carrying so much baggage for so many years…and I was released.”
While the children were small, Julie shared that some of her biggest challenges were not having community and it being hard to watch her boys’ disappointment as they wrestled with not having a relationship with their dad. She went on to say that she “didn’t have the basic skills that are normally done by a husband.” Now that her children are adults in their 20’s and 30’s, Julie admits that “learning how to single parent in a different way” is a new challenge. She explained, “you never stop being a parent. You are still that person they call when they need something.” The desire to take control, do it for them, or tell them what to do is still there. Julie is learning to make the transition into the support role of “advisor and coach” admitting that she prays more for them now than when they were younger. “I pray every day that my kids and grandkids will have a strong relationship with Jesus.”
As a single parent, Julie never wanted to be treated differently. She did not want to be pitied or for her family to be thought of as “broken”. She did not want anyone to label her kids as being “different” because they were from a single parent home. Her advice to others who are not on this journey: if you see that a single parent is struggling, offer to help.
Julie’s greatest joy is pouring into others by engaging in many volunteer opportunities. She has a huge heart for the homeless, youth, and single parents. She delights in watching her adult children grow in their faith and spending time with her grandchildren as she shares her faith with the next generation.
Julie plays an important role at Single Parent Provision as a group leader for a Single Moms Group, and she has embraced this role as an opportunity to pour into others while on her own journey. She excitedly shared that she is learning just as much with those in her group as they encourage, learn, and grow together. “There are still lots of ways I’m still learning as a single mom, and I’ve met so many amazing people who have become part of my journey!”
With a rich enthusiasm, Julie sincerely encourages single parents to “find a church home; build your community; get your kids involved in youth group – even if you have to get yourself involved and volunteer to get them there – do it. Invest in your own faith so [your children] can watch you grow…and this will encourage them to do it. Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help. God never intended us to do things by ourselves; God will bring people into your lives to help.”
In addition to her volunteer work, Julie is enjoying having more time to do things for herself. She likes learning new things (currently photography) and doing things she is interested in like scrapbooking and reading. Julie loves to try new things and explore different hobbies. She genuinely cherishes the relationships she has with her adult children, spending time with her grandkids, and always has time for rich conversations over coffee.
Julie, your journey is full of grace and courage and is an encouragement to so many others. Thank you for sharing it with us!
Published February 2024