Finding Belonging as a Single Mom

Out of Place – Kristina’s Story

My son spent his toddler and preschool years rambling around our spacious house and yard in California. Lush, countless mature fruit trees, palm trees, and flowering bushes enfolded our property. We escaped the heat in our backyard pool.

My then-husband spent his time at work, and I spent it in our home, nurturing our amazing boy. He and I used our large outdoor patio for glorious art projects and messy science. We went to toddler music class and preschool piano lessons. Children’s books and educational toys crammed our many shelves and closets. I took Montessori training online to better teach him. He wasn’t weaned until his third birthday.

And we spent a lot of time at our church, my son and I, with the other moms and kids. We built relationships there and I volunteered to help, a lot. I relished being a stay-at-home mom, thankful I could be with him instead of handing him off to daycare. I knew the years were fleeting.

While I had long been desperately homesick for the place I’d grown up in while moving around the country for his dad’s career, that homesickness had finally eased. Motherhood brought more contentedness, more belonging, more connection. It brought purpose.

So when my husband decided he needed a divorce, I couldn’t even imagine what my life would look like. More importantly, I couldn’t imagine what my son’s life would look like. I could only see what we would lose.

My son and I left California behind for South Dakota. I returned home fifteen years after moving away. We rented a house near an open field in a neighborhood with no mature trees to blunt the powerful prairie wind. In many ways, life was simpler. Smaller town, no crowds, a lot less driving, better climate, cleaner air, beautiful scenery.

But, of course, in many ways life was much more complicated and filled with uncertainty. I felt exposed and unprotected, alone in the world with my little boy. Everything was on my shoulders now. Responsibility for both him and myself was fully in my hands, in every sense of the word.

I didn’t have the sweet stay-at-home-mom life in a lovely neighborhood anymore. When my son was up with a high fever or vomiting in the middle of the night, there was no one to run to the 24-hour drugstore for emergency provisions. When I had pneumonia and influenza at the same time, I still had to take care of both of us. I couldn’t devote the hours I once had to my church or hosting mom get-togethers.

But in the middle of this crazy single-mom life, Christ met me at every step of the way. The abundance of grace I experienced during my last year in California awed me and carried me forward. Doubts and questions I had carried for years about God were knocked aside by countless answered prayers, supportive friendships, and providential encounters.

And in this way, my role as a single mom has been overshadowed as my sense of belonging to God grows. The ultimate lesson was about finding a sense of belonging within myself, and with Christ. And married or not, I am still mother to an absolutely amazing kid who really does fill my days with joy. He is the best part of my life. We are a complete, beautiful family.

This spring, I bought a new house. It’s smaller than other houses I’ve owned, but it’s my favorite. We are again sheltered by large trees. I oversaw numerous repairs and renovations and turned it into my own. I ripped out old flower beds and replanted them with new varieties. We’re home and so excited about everything in store.

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, this series is for you! Every Monday, we’ll hear from someone who has also struggled to belong. Be sure to subscribe below to get The Scoop so you never miss a post! As a thank you, you’ll receive access to belonging-themed scripture cards and adult coloring pages in the free for you library!

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Meet Kristina Roth

Kristina Roth is a mental health ghostwriter and a freelance editor with a master’s in English. Her essays, poetry, articles, and photographs have appeared in many publications. She lives with her boy and their scruffy dogs in western South Dakota, surviving on copious amounts of fine tea, dark chocolate, and lots of prayer. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or on her website.

*Feature Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

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