Choosing Tristan : The Bittersweet of Single-Mothering

Introducing the lovely Haley and the most adorable little side-kick, her son, Tristan. This hard working, single mama has blessed me with her redemption story and I have the highest honor of sharing it with you today. Haley's desire is that her journey would be an encouragement to you as you keep walking forward in your own story. So without further ado, here's Haley...

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

January 2013, I found hope. Before my very disbelieving eyes—there it was staring back at me…Hope, dressed in the shape of a plus sign. 

After the shock settled, I couldn't help but question, Why? Why now?  The timing scared me. Financially, we were barely making it. Emotionally, I was unstable. My marriage had proven dishonest, slowly revealing lies hidden, and the naive girl I was when we first met was finally forced to attend to the darkness that had become my reality.

I imagined the kind of environment I longed to cultivate for this baby, and soon I realized all that I was settling for. Suddenly, it wasn't about me anymore. I swore in that moment I’d do anything God asked me to do, to have a brighter future for this child…if He’d let me…if He’d just make it clear to me. 

That's when I felt God's pulse leveling my fear…Haley, leaving your marriage for safety is not what would break my heart, it was when you left for this marriage that broke it.

The truth is, my husband was an addict. But I couldn’t accept it. I buried it so I couldn't feel the repeated pain, I buried it because I was embarrassed and ashamed for disregarding the warnings warned from those who loved me. I had no strength for what needed to be done. I could only muster the hard grip around my distended belly as if to protect our unborn child from my mistakes, from what I was bringing him into. 

It was only minutes following that desperate prayer of mine, that my current shifted. Looking over, I saw the drug and needle in his pocket, and in that very moment, my new-found motherly adrenaline, coupled with a nice healthy dose of the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, jolted me to action. I packed my bags without hesitation, swallowed my pride and made my journey home…back to my parents, just like the prodigal I was. After a fight to get out, I realized that my hope was this baby. It was my rescue.

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

 I knew when I walked out those doors, I was choosing to raise this child as a single parent. Statistically, many women would have stayed under such circumstances and chaos in order to avoid the cost of single mothering, and sadly, I understand how that could seem easier.

Even after repeatedly suggesting rehab to my husband, I knew in my heart that I was on my own. My divorce was filed a month before our son was born. And I could tell you all about the exhaustion and the sorrow and what a crying shame it is to have to go at this alone with no husband to share it with and no father around for my son. I could tell you about my feelings of frustration and how life feels cruel and unfair many days, sometimes most days.

And yet, I’m reminded that every mother is in a different place with their own story still being written. And even within our differences we are also similar, linked together doing the very best we can with what we’ve been given. In our strength we smile, and in our strength we also cry. Fighting my tears won’t make me stronger. I've learned to find beauty in the vulnerability, even on hard days. And I’ve learned to give myself permission to fall apart and to prepare room for others to do the same.

Every parent knows the journey that is this road. For me, it has made me better than I ever thought possible. I am like many of you…the bread-winning provider, the sole disciplinarian, the frequent juggler, the vigilant protector, the nurturer and the leader…the mother and the father.  And I admit to you that many days I feel I’ve failed. I feel ill-equipped for the task, for the assignment of my lot. But still, I was chosen for this. It is mine to make with it what I will. So I lift my head—gracious, unashamed, proud. Because at the end of every evening, as I soothe my son to sleep, I receive the gift of remembrance. Remembering the Savior that saved me…saved us. And as my heart often aches for different circumstances, I hold the greatest gift in my arms. The miracle of creation. The fruit of my womb. New life. Hope.

The load may be heavy, but the reward is satisfying.

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle 

Photo Credit: Director & Editor, Krissy Collins; Photographer, Dalton Earle