For two weeks, I did little more than the basics of care for my children: bathing, feeding, providing time for play. I was literally stunned, shocked and immobilized. By the second week I did get into my job, just functioning enough to get by. When the little ones went to sleep each night, I was usually in a heap on the floor. I literally felt paralyzed. I never prepared for this scenario in my life.
The first time M left, I had a four-month-old baby who was still breastfeeding, and definitely NOT sleeping through the night. I also had a two year old and four year old and was working about 10 hours a week. When he left, he lost his job which included our income and health insurance. These were not immediately "cut off" as his former employer was compassionate and did give him a severance, which he left mostly with us to manage until he could send some support.
Rallied by the support of family and firends, I finally accpeted that this was the reality in which I found myself - single mom, three tiny ones, little income. I made the difficult decision to apply for government aid and was approved for WIC and Food Stamps. I was shocked at how quickly and easily I received the checkcard for groceries. But what a blessing it was to not worry about our food supply.
I spoke to my employer and was able to increase my work hours. Friends from church volunteered to babysit my children every single day so that I could work and not have increased child care expenses. They encouraged me by loving my children, keeping my home in order and even preparing meals when I returned. I experienced the love of Christ in the practical help of church ladies.
Two months into the separation, it was clear that M wasn't returning soon. I then knew I needed to make more permanent arrangements. I had to step up, but I didn't feel like I could. Still I was no longer able to be paralyzed, my children needed me to act. I hired a permanent sitter (one of those wonderful church ladies) and enrolled my oldest in the state-sponsored Head Start preschool program. I prayed and fasted and prayed some more about decisions regarding our home, schooling, etc.
It was during this time when I first began to realize that somehow, I was enough...not because I really was enough, but because God would complete where I lacked and fill the gaps between my ability and the need of those depending on me. He would make me enough. He had given me these children, he knew much better than I what their needs would be and he prepared me to be what they would need as a mother.
This concept has truly revolutionized my thinking process as I so easily compare myself to others. It means that what He gives me will be made enough. I can stop with the striving, the stressing the worry. Even when I don't see how, what I have will be made to be enough. Maybe this is not news to you, but my false thinking that I could control life left me with so much burden and this concept just set me free.