14: When No One Else Will Do

14: When No One Else Will Do

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!

When No One Else Will Do

When prayers go up, blessings come down.

~Author Unknown

“Mom, can I have some money for the Santa Shop at school?” my seven-year-old son Jordan asked. I sighed. As a single mom, money for non-essentials was pretty much non-existent.

“Please, Mom? The Santa Shop is where all the kids go to buy Christmas presents for their families,” Jordan added hopefully. “And there’s something I really want to get for you.”

“Honey, I don’t need anything,” I said.

But he nodded. “You need this, Mom.”

I sighed again and reached for my purse. “I’ll give you three dollars, Bud. I know it’s not much, but it’s what we can swing right now.”

Jordan grinned. “That’s exactly how much I need, Mom. Thanks!”

On Christmas morning, Jordan was beyond excited about the present he’d bought for me. “Open it, Mom, open it,” he said, jumping up and down.

I ripped off the wrapping paper and inside was a small, plastic plaque. It read, “Mom is the person you need when absolutely no one else will do.”

Tears filled my eyes. “This is what you wanted to buy for me?”

Jordan nodded. “Do you like it?”

“Oh, Honey, it’s the best present I’ve ever gotten.”

“I just wanted to show you how much I love you,” Jordan said.

I hugged him close and thanked him for the gift. “It really is the best present anyone has ever given me,” I told him.

That Christmas night, after Jordan and his sister were asleep, I held that plaque in my hands and thought about the meaning behind its words.

Mom is the person you need when absolutely no one else will do.

My children needed me. As a single parent, I was pretty much all they had. They counted on me for everything. If I weren’t there for them, no one else would be. It was a lonely, overwhelming realization, and the responsibility of it weighed on me heavily.

I loved the plaque, I really did. And I would live up to it. I’d be the person my kids needed me to be.

But who would be there for me? Who was my “when no one else would do” person?

I had my parents, but I was in my thirties, a little old to be relying on Mommy and Daddy. My siblings and I are a close-knit bunch in our hearts, but geographically, we’re spread out across the country. I had wonderful friends too, but they all had families and other responsibilities, and I didn’t want to be a burden or a drag.

For me, life as a single parent was lonely, and scary, and not at all how I’d dreamed my life would turn out. But here I was, both alone and scared, and on Christmas, no less.

And in moments like this one, there are only two viable options: cry or pray. I did the former until my eyes were red and my nose was stuffy, but I didn’t feel any better. So I prayed.

I told God about my fear and loneliness. I told Him that I was worried about being enough for my kids. “I’m all they have,” I reminded God, “and it wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

In that lonely, scary moment, I remembered Bible verses I’d memorized as a child. I remembered that God promised that He would never leave me. He loved me and He always would. No matter what.

The loneliness faded as I realized that I wasn’t really alone. Maybe God could be my “when no one else would do” person.

The thought was comforting, although I couldn’t help wishing for someone special here on earth. “I know You’re here with me, God,” I prayed, “and I thank You for it, but maybe someday, if it’s not too much trouble...”

God heard my prayer that Christmas night and His answer was better than I ever dreamed.

That February, I met a single dad named Eric. He was raising a couple of kids on his own, and he didn’t like it any better than I did. The more time we spent together, the surer I became that Eric was truly the answer to my prayers. We got married that summer, and began raising our four children together. I no longer had time to be lonely, and I was happier than I’d ever been in my life.

That first Christmas as a new family was really special. Eric and I had shopped for the children’s gifts together. We’d bought matching pajamas for his daughter and mine. The girls loved them. I smiled through my tears when I heard them say that all sisters should have matching pajamas.

It was a wonderful day, but God had one more surprise for us. I hadn’t been feeling well, so on a whim I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. Yet another blessing.

At bedtime, I spotted the plaque Jordan had given me the previous Christmas. My eyes filled with tears as I thought about all of the changes over the past year. “Thank you, God,” I said. “Thank you for hearing those desperate words from a lonely single mom. And thank you that I’m not that person anymore.”

That Christmas, I learned that God really is there when no one else will do, but sometimes, if we’re especially blessed, He gives us people who also fit that description.

~Diane Stark

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