Leslie heard about the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group on KTIS radio station in Minneapolis, where I have the pleasure of chatting with Andy from the morning show every Wednesday. And what she heard was that we weren’t judgmental. That we were FOR ALL MOMS. That we root each other on no matter our differences. Turns out, we were exactly what she needed at the exact right time. I love when God works stuff like that out.
Here’s what she said, “I'm hoping that this group truly isn't judgmental because I could really use a great group of women for support. I'm 35, separated almost 2 years and going through the divorce process, going through bankruptcy, just started a new job, 10 1/2 weeks pregnant, and going through the pregnancy alone as the father flipped a switch and decided it was best if I terminated the pregnancy. I ended the relationship and am now a bit overwhelmed by everything that's been going on. I recently started attending church services again, which helps, but I'm terrified and struggling with guilt and shame over how this has all come about. Can't say that I would qualify as mom if the year at this point but maybe someday.”
Oh my goodness. If Leslie was looking for support, she got it. More than 60 moms commented to give their shout of encouragement, hope, and prayers to this mama. And she was grateful.
When I reached out to her to get permission to share her story, she was willing, but doubtful that her story could be used to help anyone. And Leslie, friend, this is where you’re wrong!
Here are the two things that stuck out to me about your story that are a lesson for us all:
You are hopeful. Your story is evidence that there is hope for us all. No matter our circumstances, no matter our choices or the poor choices of others that impact our lives, no matter if we’re feeling like we deserve it or not, there is hope for us. You, Leslie, have made it your mission to look for hope in all of the right places. You sought community in a local church and online in our Facebook group. You found hope in and for the sweet, unborn baby growing in your belly. You found hope that was strong enough to end what sounds like a relationship not worth investing in. You found hope that maybe someday you would feel like Mother of the Year. (Of course, as many moms mentioned to you, you are already Mother of the Year because you are a really great mom who shows up for her kids!) From where I sit (several states over and a computer screen away), you are staging an amazing comeback! I’m so confident that you will look back on this hard road and smile because God brought you through it step by step. It won’t be easy. Comebacks rarely are. But it will be so worth it and you are well on your way!
You are vulnerable. Of course, part of being hopeful is being vulnerable. Author Ann Voskamp has this incredible quote that says, “Joy and pain. They are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.” I am a firm believer that our stories are the greatest gifts we can give to those around us. None of us have it all together, but few of us are brave enough to be the first one to admit that. When we are honest with ourselves and others, we are able to free ourselves from the lies that would keep us lonely, shameful, and hopeless. And we get the great joy of freeing others who will speak up second, third, or fourth. Leslie, you are one of the brave that has gone first, and for that, we are all grateful. God is in the midst of redeeming your story, and we all need to see that because it expands our imaginations to see how God might redeem our stories as well. All the hurt, the pain, the good and the bad…my prayer is that as your story continues to unfold, you keep living with the knowledge that your life matters, that fear is your enemy, and when you know your worth, you will change your world. Keep taking that next tiny step, and watch God show up big time!