I became a widow on the third day of my thirty-first year. Widowed at thirty-one and now a single mom to a son who was one year, three months and three days old. The single mom thing wasn’t new as I had been without a spouse for sixteen months. Sixteen months he unconsciously fought for his life in a hospital bed before finally being called Home.
The months after Keith died are a blur, but one day I was finally ready to start thinking about the future. I whole-heartedly believed that there was a future for me as well as for my son, Brooks, but I didn’t know what that future looked like. In my mind I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know if what I wanted existed.
I remember finally deciding that I needed to move on. I didn’t know if the Lord had someone else out there for me, but I knew I needed to allow myself to be open to the idea. I began to think about this possibility and I came up with two options: I hold out for the perfect man – someone who meets my criteria for husband material as well as father material – or I find someone that I am compatible with to be an excellent father to Brooks.
The perfect man would be nearly impossible to find. I wanted someone that had never married before and didn’t have any children. I was hoping there was someone out there that fit that criteria because he was too busy focusing on his career and never met the right woman rather than having some giant character flaw that kept him single. I wanted someone who was sharp and funny and kind and generous. I wanted someone who loved the Lord and loved children. And since I was making this list of the man who probably didn’t exist, I added one final desire that would knock out 99.9% of the male population – I wanted someone who knew Keith. I wanted someone who knew the man that I loved with all of my being because then he would truly understand the heartache that I endured for so long and be able to be patient with me as I lived this thing called life.
The good father would be easier to find. I knew he was out there. I was certain I could find someone that I cared for and who would be a good father to Brooks. I remember wondering if I should just take one for the team. Should I find someone that I could potentially love, not be in love with, so that Brooks can have a father? Should I settle for less than what my heart wanted and marry someone so that Brooks can have that male influence from someone other than his grandfathers and uncles? Or do I hold out for the perfect man who would meet the needs of both husband AND father?
This was a tough decision and I finally realized that I had to let it go. I released the burden of my future and decided to live in the present, knowing and being satisfied that I might possibly live out my days as a widowed, single mom.
There was such freedom in releasing this choice; it was no longer my decision to make because I gave it to God. That’s when I realized that this uncertainty, the uncertainty of my future, wasn’t my burden to bear. I was trying to get through the day with this stress strapped to my back when Jesus was at my side asking to carry it for me.
When I finally gave it to Him, when I surrendered my future to the plans He had for me, there was freedom. There was so much joy and freedom I decided that I needed a vacation. I had quite a lot of airline miles accumulated from paying hospital bills that I could literally go anywhere in the world. Around this time I saw something posted on Facebook from an acquaintance, Patrick, who had recently moved to Australia. Australia. I could visit Australia. I talked to a couple of my girlfriends and asked if they wanted to take a trip over there and they said yes. I reached out to Patrick, who used to live in the same building as I did when I was married to Keith, to see if he could help us plan an itinerary and maybe let us crash at his place for a couple of nights.
As Patrick and I corresponded about my trip across the world, we fell in love. We fell hard and we fell fast. He not only hit all of my criteria, but he surpassed it and I hit all of his. I knew he was the one for me and I knew the Lord was just waiting for me to put the ball in His court rather than keeping it in my own. Without Him and His guidance I would have just been spinning my wheels not going anywhere. I had to release my plans and be satisfied in the present to gain the freedom and blessings that He had planned for me in the future.
And that’s what He wants. I think it grieves Him to see the chains we place on ourselves. Why are we limiting and restraining ourselves when we were made to be free? The sooner we can release things to God the sooner He can put us on the path to His perfect plan for our lives.