I am not a single mom. I wasn’t raised by a single mom. I never really knew very many single moms. And yet when I heard about the single mom’s retreat…  how many women would come, the honesty of the topics the speakers would share about (like abuse, unforgiveness, and boundaries), the things that would be given away, how many single mom’s work and worship in our communities, largely unnoticed… I knew I wanted to get involved.

I thought that I would go to help and offer support at the wonderful weekend, this tribute, to single moms from all over Minnesota. But what I did not know was how it would change me, my heart. And how I would see, firsthand, how truly courageous, hard-working, and selfless these single moms were and are.

I heard stories of mothers who put their needs second to those of their children. They feed their children before themselves. They dress and buy necessities for their children before themselves. They scrimp and save to get the things their children need. They put aside their own desires to meet the needs of the young ones in their charge. And I was moved. More than moved, I was challenged and humbled

Because what I saw in the women who came to the retreat was the very face of Jesus. The very heart of the Father for his children was modeled and mirrored in these beautiful women who came from different places, different backgrounds, and different experiences. They were joined together in their commonality of the joys and struggles uniquely experienced by single moms.

All weekend as women thanked us for helping with the retreat, I simply responded, “thank you for being here with us.” Because it was an honor to be serving, a privilege to hear stories, and a blessing to get to know the women.

What I didn’t know was how much I could learn from the women’s honesty, their struggles, their reclaiming of dreams, and their heart for something better for themselves and their children.

I didn’t know how much God would be there: in the places of honesty and pain, joy and grief,  struggle and triumph. They laid out past hurts, mistakes and missteps, and a renewal towards dreams, new and old. God-given; God-breathed. It was sacred to simply behold what God accomplished. And at times it was too much. With eyes filled with tears, I would turn away, just for a moment, to take a breath and thank God for his grace, his mercy, his love and care for all of us.

By the time the weekend was over, I was tired, but my spirit was renewed. I saw God like I hadn’t seen him for a long time. He is moving and working through a generation of women set on changing their worlds. Determined for change. Destined for more.

If you would like more information on how you can attend or help volunteer at next year’s single mom’s retreat check it out!