When I was a boy, I learned that my father wasn’t the father of our household. That responsibility belonged to another person. I understood that my father wasn’t mom’s husband anymore. Mom is betrothed to another person. I knew that my father wasn’t around to comfort mom. That role belonged to another person.
Mom explained it all to me when I was a boy. She was a single mother, but she wasn’t alone. The man of the house abandoned us. But the God of the house wouldn’t forsake us. Mom was a single mother with multiple divine persons who protected her household. Mom was a single mother with a triune God.
Mom always said she doesn’t need a man—she needs God. And that’s true for every single mother. It’s not good for women to be alone. But it’s not bad for women to be single. My mother doesn’t mean women should aspire to become single mothers. She doesn’t mean single mothers shouldn’t welcome potential husbands. She means that men are a poor substitute for God.
God is a father to single mothers who trust in Christ, and he is the father figure of their household. Mom taught me that though my father didn’t want anything to do with me, God wanted a relationship with me. I understood that though I didn’t know anything about my father, I could read all about God in the Bible. I learned that though I couldn’t speak to my father, I could always pray to God. I knew that though my father didn’t love me, God loved me. Mom taught me that though my father rejected me, God wanted to adopt me in Christ.
God is the father of the fatherless and protector of single mothers. He’s the only father I’ve ever known, and he’s the only father mom and I have ever needed.
My father wasn’t faithful to me, but God is. My father wasn’t faithful to mom either, but Jesus is. My father promised to love mom forever, but he abandoned her. Jesus promised to love mom forever, and he’s kept his promise. Mom is betrothed to Jesus; she is part of the Church—Jesus’ bride.
Many years ago, Jesus left his father in heaven to hold fast to his bride, making her one with himself. My father didn’t provide for mom, but Jesus does. Since mom trusts that Jesus paid for the penalty of her sins on the cross, she can trust that Jesus will help her pay her bills too. After all, which is harder: paying bills or paying the penalty for sin?
Jesus was faithful to mom on the cross, and he’s faithful to mom right now as he sits on his throne, mediating and interceding always on her behalf. And though my father didn’t return to mom after he promised he would, Jesus will return one day, as he promised he would. And he will present redeemed single mothers like mom, as one of many members of his holy bride. He will cherish them, the church, forever. He will be faithful to his bride forever. He will wipe away all of our tears and we’ll rejoice forever.
But until then, single mothers like mom will suffer lonely nights. There will be times when they will be full of despair. There will be days when their hearts will be full of sorrow. But they can trust that there is a person who sticks closer than a husband, a person who produces peace that surpasses all understanding, a person who helps and comforts them in their weakness. He’s the Holy Spirit, and single mothers can trust that he is the seal of their redemption, their helper in trials, and the author of the Bible, reminding them to hope in Christ.
Single mothers do not have husbands, they have someone better: Christ. Their children may not have fathers, but they can have someone better: God. They may not have a man to help and comfort them, but they have someone better: the Holy Spirit. Single mothers who trust in Christ have multiple divine persons who protect them and their children. They are single mothers with a triune God.