I have been a single parent since 1993; just writing that sentence gives me pause. I’m not sure of all the reasons why, but I know that a significant part of my reflection comes from the fact that I have also been a Christian since 1978. Those two facts juxtaposed create a deep well of emotions, questions, struggles, and perceptions not for me alone, but also for some who have watched my journey up close, and others in the public at large who have very strong feelings about single motherhood, especially when color is part of the story.
Being on the path of single motherhood always involves a story, doesn’t it? Although we are all on the same path, each journey is different, and each journey has signposts and mile markers along the way that tell an individual story.
For the Christian single mom, somewhere along the way one of those mile markers is a cross which represents her conversion from an unbeliever to a believer, a spiritual relocation from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. I represent one of those troublesome, much-scrutinized cases—my Christianity mile marker comes many miles before my marker for single motherhood. People can usually find it within themselves to excuse a woman whose mistake came before she found God, or more accurately God found her. More ready forgiveness is also typically available for those who happened into single motherhood through no wrongdoing of their own. But for those who were already part of the household of faith, and whose pregnancy resulted from intentional non-marital sex…what in the world?! How did this happen?! What went wrong?! Those are often legitimate questions. But they don’t make life any easier for a single mom of faith.