Forgiving herself helped her find grace to help others
|Damika Davis is the founder of Daughters Delivered by Grace which supports and encourages single mothers.|
When I found out I was pregnant I was an emotional mess. I was excited about the opportunity to bring life into this world but I felt extremely guilty. I was going to be a single mother.
Not only was I coming out of a failed relationship, but after my daughter was born, I went through postpartum depression. Although I made it through postpartum depression, I allowed guilt to control my life and consume me for many years.
I knew from experience what it was like to be raised in a single family home and I watched my mother endure her struggles raising two children alone. Raised on the South Side of Chicago in the Ida B. Wells Homes, resources were limited, but the love of my strong-willed mother encouraged me to reach for the stars.
As a single mother at the age of 26, I was afraid because I knew the struggles I would have to endure. I chose to hold onto my guilt, not forgive myself and therefore, not allow myself to heal.
In my selfishness, I pushed my child’s father away, not allowing him an opportunity to try to be a father to his child.
My turning point of healing came when my daughter started displaying the same feelings of rejection and emotional aggression that I had. It was a wake up call. I knew it was time for me to set an example. My daughter was my light and path to an understanding of God’s love and despite what I thought to be mess it was His way of using me for ministry. Valuable time was lost but the wisdom learned is a testimony to encourage other single mothers to get over it and endure. I can’t make up for the lost time I blocked, but it’s a joy to see my daughter’s relationship with her father grow.
I started The Daughters Delivered By Grace Foundation in 2010 because I wanted to give single mothers what I sometimes found difficult to find. Sometimes I felt stuck when looking for assistance, not just financially but emotionally. The Daughters Delivered By Grace Foundation is dedicated to impacting the lives of single mothers by inspiring, empowering, and connecting them with other single mothers. The foundation has presented workshops to encourage single mothers to establish a plan to raise a healthy family including in-depth discussions about dealing with hurt, fears, anxiety and guilt. We are here to help mothers continue with education, stay financially stable, pursue a career, raise healthy productive families and build positive relationships with the fathers of their children while allowing them to heal from their hurt in the process.
It's very important for single mothers to stay in prayer, have help with a network of others that share the same experiences, and get counseling for themselves and their child if necessary. This is not something you have to endure alone. God can turn our struggles into testimonies to help someone else.
The following are excerpts from Enduring The Single Mother Struggle. For more information about the book, go to www.enduringsinglemothers.com
Replaying the Hurt
If not for the Lord on our side, where would we be? It’s something to consider since single mothers have some very tough days. There are days when everything starts to fall apart and our children are acting up and being disrespectful. There are days when it feels like everything and everyone is against us.
You spend your nights crying, wondering, Lord, why me? You keep replaying the past in your mind, wishing you could get that moment back to walk away from the relationship when you had the chance. Now you have a child to raise alone and there is no walking away from that. You asked yourself how you ended up with this man in the first place? Why does it seem as if he gets away without consequences while you endure the responsibility of taking care of your child? If you continue to replay the hurt, you will continue to ask these questions. Ask God to forgive you for your indiscretions and move on.
At times it may seem as if you are suffocating with frustration, anger, sadness, loneliness, and depression. Come to terms with these feelings because self denial keeps us from growing. Don’t be shy about getting help through counseling. Do what you need to do to breathe so that you can overcome that feeling of suffocation.
Learn to forgive to free yourself of internal bondage. Not forgiving keeps us from being where God needs us to be and to do what God needs us to do. For this reason, we need to stop holding on to past hurts. Honestly, how often have we taken this to the Lord and prayed about it, and released it? Are we being really truthful when we say we have released it to God? We hold onto so much hurt and pain we can’t seem to look to the future. So, we stagnate all the progress we tried to make toward healing and being whole. When we internalize this hurt we become stressed. We bring that stress to our children, our jobs, our friends, our ministries, and our church.
We can’t emotionally support our children if we harbor bitterness or resentment in our heart toward the fathers of our children. So don’t focus on the struggle, focus on God. God is the author and finisher of everything.
Some of us have allowed our struggles to cripple us for years. We’ve allowed it to consume us to the point where it can feel like a debilitating disease eating at our very core. For us to endure the struggles prayer will be essential. We have to be prepared to have a ready word in our hearts. We have to trust the word of the Lord will not come back to Him empty (Isaiah 55:11). Find a scripture that will help you endure your struggle. Pray for your children and pray for their fathers. Pray in faith knowing all things will work out for God’s glory.