Updated: Oct 1, 2019
A conversation between my dear friend Amy and I about being a single mom and raising kids with the help of the Holy Ghost and a Loving Heavenly Father. This interview is available through video, or you can read the transcript just following the video on this page.
Amy: Tamara and I worked together years ago and have stayed good friends over the years. Definitely one of those relationships that you know was inspired, that we needed each other at this time in our lives. I’m thankful for it.
I’m a single mom raising 2 kids in the gospel, and have a great job where I really feel like the Lord has put me in a place where I can help share my testimony with people in and out of the church. And I really can see that as a huge blessing in my life, being where I am and being able to touch as many lives as I can in being brave to share my testimony.
Tamara: I think it’s important for people to realize that trials are a major part of our growth and becoming more like the Savior and
Amy: and the source of rich blessing that you otherwise wouldn’t attain in any other way.
Tamara: Absolutely. Absolutely. Through the trials that I have experienced I have learned so much and felt my Heavenly Father’s hand in so much of it and learned so much about who our Savior is and his relationship to me and who he is in relation to me and how much he cares about each one of us.
I am wondering today what you feel has been something you have learned from your experience? What is something that you feel other people would benefit from hearing?
Amy: That worry of “Am I providing enough? Am I messing up my kids?”
Amy: Because it is just me. You know there have been a lot of times where the Lord really steps in and helps me see things in a different way. In fact, in a way that I think I may not have had those experiences with my kids had I had a husband. And I don’t mean that it would have been better or worse, it would have been different than it’s needed to be for me and my children.
There are things that we all learn through this experience of raising them on my own. It’s helping them become who the Lord needs them to be, and me to become who he needs me to be. I turn to the Lord a lot more than I would if I had someone to talk to at night about things and share things. In fact, Shaylee my daughter was asking me the other night she goes “Mom, why are your prayers so long?” And I was like “Well” And she goes “ No, I mean like I actually want to know what in the world you are saying for that amount of time to someone?” and it made me reflect like why are my prayers that long? What am I doing when I’m on my knees? And I told her, I said “Well honey, a lot of it’s because I don’t have a spouse or someone to talk to at night about my day, about what happened that day. Or the things that I struggled with, or the things that I lacked, or the things I even learned. So my Heavenly Father is who I talk to about my fears, my desires, my everything. Good and bad, ugly, it's all turning to Him, and I’m thankful to have learned that'.
I think I’m in a situation where, you know, I’ve talked to my other sisters who at times were single parents now re-married and my sisters actually tell me “I almost envy that time that you still have because you ARE relying so much more on the Lord”. That there is just a special closeness, out of necessity really.
What comes to my mind are little things like: I had gotten mad at my kids for fighting one night. I was trying to clean up the house and I heard them fighting and I stopped cleaning and went in to yell at them. I sent my daughter to her bed. And as I kept walking past her room, I turned and I’d look in and she’s just sitting right up with her arms folded. Cause she is that personality, she’s gonna show me, two can play at this game. That’s been her whole life story. And I thought “You know what? She’s gonna be up all night sitting up in her bed all mad like that and I don’t care because what she did was wrong and she needs to know that”. And I remember that I just kept cleaning and I kept walking past her room and I would just see her. And i’m just like “You know what? Not my problem, she’s the one that got in trouble.” I was finishing up cleaning and as I went to grab my broom which was the last thing I had to do, was sweep the floor and then I was totally done cleaning. And I remember as my hand physically grabbed the broom, I heard “ Amy, she needs you right now. I know you are upset at her, but you need to put those feelings aside and you need to stop what you are doing right now because she needs you right now.” and the thought that came to my mind so strong was “Your dirty floor will always be here tomorrow, but she won’t, and she needs you”. So I set the broom down and I went in her room and we just had this great talk, where she opened up to me about how crappy her day was at school that I had no idea about. She laid next to me in my bed and she was talking about her day, and I was able to tickle her arm as she was telling me about her day. It was just such this sweet moment that I almost missed out on because I was so focused on “this house has been a mess for 2 weeks ‘cause I’ve had long working hours. I want to get it done.” Just those reminders of the important things in our lives that we can easily miss.
Tamara: That was beautiful
Amy: You know there are times with my son, you know, things he was going through that I couldn’t really relate to as a Mom to a 12 year old son. And I just Thought, “Heavenly Father, I don’t even know what to say to him, and I don’t even know if what I’m saying to him is going to mess him up. Like is he even going to turn out ok?” and this thought as I was really genuinely worried about how to help him, feeling completely like “I can’t be his dad, I can’t fulfill that roll for him, is he even going to be ok? I don’t even know what to say”.
Tamara: Of course he will.
Amy: And it just came to my mind a little bit later as I was picking up the house, it was like “Amy, he’s gonna be ok because he has a mom that listens. He’s gonna be ok because of that”.
Just those moments and that closeness that I am so thankful for. I know that these are things that people don’t see. That people from the outside think “Man, your a single mom, that sucks! I am so sorry.” And really, over the years, I’m like “I’m not sorry. What you don’t see is all the blessings that I have been able to have BECAUSE of my situation.”
Tamara: Isn’t that so true?
Amy: Yeah! And of course they wouldn’t know if I didn’t share, if I didn’t tell them these experiences that I’ve been so blessed to have because of my situation that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Tamara: It’s so true. These hard things that we go through in life, so often we are so ready to say “ I have the worst life ever” you know? You are just so down on yourself and down on everything around you, that if you looked really closely you would see the multitude of blessings that come through that awful thing that happened. I mean, so many beautiful experiences that never would have ever happened had you not experienced that hard thing.
Amy: So true and that’s something that keeps coming to my mind lately. That in doing this as long as I have, there are times I look around me and I think “Oh my gosh, all I see is everyone’s marriage is struggling, or there aren’t any good people” It is so easy to see the hard things and at times like that when I really get in a, not a depressive state, but losing faith and hope in people and in things and in this life, and in those moments its like “Heavenly Father what do I do with this when everything around me just seems, not good, what do you do?” And the only thought that comes to my mind over the last few years is “Look up, when you can’t see anything around you, look up”. It’s so true, when we just take that minute to step back and see it in the eternal perspective, see people in a Christlike way where it really changes everything. It has the power to change everything. In how we go through things and feel about things for sure.
Tamara:Absolutely, absolutely.Oh Amy, thank you so much for talking to me today! I know it’s kind of awkward to sit and have your conversation recorded but I am so grateful you did because I feel like there is so much that could be learned from your experience. And I don’t even know what to say, it’s just such a blessing to hear from somebody who’s been through it. Especially when you don’t know where to go and you don’t have examples of someone who’s been through it. It’s refreshing and it’s also, it just makes you feel better to know that you’re not the only one. And that there is somebody else out there who is surviving it. And not just surviving it but thriving .. because of it really.
Amy: Yeah. It’s one of those things that I always like to hear from people who aren’t even on the other side. I feel like I’m not on that other side yet. I’m still in the midst of it. Some days it’s hard. Some days it’s hopeless. But I can honestly say that there is that little bit of hope every day. And some days it’s pure joy that I feel when I start to say my usual prayer of, usually after a long day of work and I’m on my way home and I’ve got to do all this stuff at home and I just think “Heavenly Father, I’m tired. When are things gonna change?” And then quickly my prayers change lately where it’s like “But thank you, thank you for letting me know that I can even talk to you and that you can talk back to me, and that I can hear you. And thank you for everything that I do have, because I know a lot of people that don’t even know that, and don’t even have that, and I can’t even imagine getting through this life without knowing what I know.” and how truly blessed. I mean it starts out as this “ugh! Poor me, this is hard!” to “Oh my gosh! I have so much! I didn’t even realize I have this much, and Thank you. Thank you for my life and for helping me to see that!”
I think a lot of that is just prayers being answered to have joy. I want to have joy. I think that’s the biggest thing over the last few years is, I don’t just want to be happy in my life and anywhere I’m at in my life. I want to have joy, we’re meant to have joy. And I want to find it and I want to feel it. And I want to genuinely say that. And it’s being answered every day in those prayers.
Tamara: I totally feel you on that. I feel like that’s been my journey too. I really want, I know, I know it’s there in the scriptures, the gospel is the plan of happiness, it’s right there for us and I know that’s true. And I feel like seeking that, we’ll find it. I mean, we find it every day, we just have to look for it. So thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your situation with me. And who knows? Maybe we’ll have another chat like this in the future.