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Solo Act

Single mom Angela Thomas reflects on raising kids alone.

"I don't think any woman ever envisions herself a single mom," Angela Thomas, author of My Single–Mom Life (Thomas Nelson), candidly admits. Angela, 45, is a well–known speaker and author who holds a master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. The mom of four—Taylor, 17, Grayson, 14, William, 12, and AnnaGrace, 10—Angela's been divorced for more than six years. Here, she gives readers a firsthand look at the challenges—and blessings—of being a single mom.

Before your divorce, did you harbor any misperceptions about single moms?

Divorce carries such judgment in the church. I'm sure years ago I judged others the way I've occasionally been judged as a divorced mom.
I didn't fully understand the lives of so many women around me. And I definitely didn't realize the loneliness of that life, the difficulty of parenting alone, or the lost feeling of not being able to lean on anyone. When you solo–parent, no one's coming home to take over. No one's there to bounce ideas off, cover your back, or reinforce your decisions. There's no one to hold you through a tough choice and whisper, "I know you're worn out; I'll handle this."

I've learned to avoid making decisions—about spending, dating, or relocating—out of loneliness. I've also learned some good news about loneliness: It won't kill me—even though at times I feel it might.

I love to tell other single moms, "Receive the lessons loneliness wants to teach."

Today's culture rarely blinks an eye at women intentionally choosing to raise a child outside marriage.

True. But I know for sure being a single mom is not God's design for parenting. God meant for children to be raised by a mom and dad who love each other, love their children, and live in the same house.

Several of my never–married girlfriends have adopted orphans from all over the world. I applaud these women's selflessness. But even they will tell you single parenting is hard and a child's ideally supposed to have two parents.

You've written, "'Difficult' doesn't even come close to describing [single parenting]." What's the biggest challenge for you?

It's being afraid—even though I belong to God, trust him, and pray without ceasing. Sometimes I think, The kids seem to be overcoming the damage inflicted by this divorce. Their hearts are tender. God has us. We're going to be OK. But when one of them comes home from school distant and sulky, fear whispers to me, Your children will drag around these wounds forever. Then I begin the spiritual battle to fight back fear again.

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