My parents separated when my brother had just turned three and I was going on four. I have no doubt the years following the divorce were extremely tough on my mum, but I have no recollection of them as painful years. Instead, I remember learning how to swim, how to ride a bike, and even going to Disneyland.
Here was a woman who, despite the circumstances she was going through, was determined to give us everything a child could ask for—and more. My mum spared no effort to provide us with whatever she thought was best, even if it came at a high personal cost. On top of her full-time day job, she took on another job which required her to work on most nights. As if that was not enough, she even volunteered at a nearby church library one night every week, so that my brother and I could enjoy the newest books and toys.
As I look back on the sacrifices my mum has made and how she brought us up, I’ve come to realize that her secret to successful parenting and living was really, no secret. In the early years after my dad left, she hung huge verses written with my kiddy crayons all over the walls of our home. Every day, as she walked past those verses, she would read them out loudly, even before I learned how to read.
Some of these verses have since been etched onto my memory. One of them is Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Another is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Throughout my growing up years, I learnt of the trauma that some of my friends from single-parent homes went through. One of them had a depressed parent who would run away from home, leaving her alone at night. Another was frequently beaten by her father who could not handle his emotions after the divorce. These stories should have resounded with me, but to be honest, I could never understand what they were going through.
My mother might not have been home much to help me with my school work or give me warm home-cooked meals, but she showed me by the way she lived that God is real and His promises are true. I know Psalm 68:5 has proven true in my experience. “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
Throughout my life, never once have my friends or teachers guessed that I was from a single-parent home until I had to declare it on some administrative form or submit the form for teacher-parent meetings. Those who knew were often surprised and even bewildered that I came from a broken family.
I might have grown up with one parent, but my family was far from broken.