A loud thud jolted me out of my sleep. I sat up on my bed, wide-eyed. My heart raced. My thoughts raced faster. Was there was an intruder in my house?
My hands shook as I grabbed my phone from underneath my pillow and dialed my husband’s cell phone number. No answer. I called again and again till I heard his sleepy voice, “Are you okay? What happened?”
My voice quivered, “There’s someone in our house . . . on our house, I mean. I’m scared. Can you stay with me on the phone while I check on Ryan?”
I tiptoed quietly but quickly to my son’s room which was adjacent to mine. He was sleeping without a care in the world, cuddled up in mismatched night clothes with his favorite plush dog. As I walked back to my room, I took my husband’s suggestion and waited in the hallway for a few minutes. Clutching my cell phone tightly, I strained my ears to listen for more noises and then darted back to my bedroom.
“It must be a racoon. But if you hear any more noises, call the police, and call me back. I miss you. I’m praying for you. Try to get some sleep now,” said my husband before hanging up.
I could not go back to sleep. Simon was miles away in a hotel in Seattle, while I was in our home in California with our son. There was nothing he could do. Still afraid, I prayed fervently, quoting Psalm 23 and Psalm 91. I reminded myself that God was with me. He was present in my house. He was my Protector and Defender.
Ten minutes passed. I reached for my phone again and started aimlessly scrolling on Facebook. A friend’s post caught my attention. It had a screenshot of an earthquake reading with the caption, “I felt this earthquake a few minutes ago.”
The clenched muscles in my body relaxed. I traded fear for relief as I thanked God for protecting me not just that night but for the countless number of nights I slept safe and sound without my husband.
For more than four years, Simon traveled for work at least four nights a week. I was a part-time single mom, a solo wife and parent. Sleeping alone had transformed me from a heavy sleeper to a light one. I went to sleep, searching the silence for foreign noises. I slept on my right side so I could face the bedroom door. I checked to see if my doors and windows were locked and if the stove was turned off at least once every night before retiring to bed.
Just as fear invaded my nights, busyness filled my days. My son, Ryan, was three years old when my husband started to travel. I needed every ounce of energy and patience to keep up with him. I needed to stay alert so I could follow along his routine, so I could deal with his tantrums without losing my mind, so I could play ball with him and discipline him, so I could remember to make him a Johnny Appleseed costume for “Storybook Dress Up Day” at school, so I could stick to the grocery list and meal plan, so I could do devotions with him at dinner time and help him memorize Scripture, so I could fill my role as mother . . . and father.
Solo parenting pushed my limits, both physically and emotionally. Most days, I felt stretched too thin, worn out even before the day began. I wished my husband was around to share my workload, to watch a TV show with me, to eat dinner with me, to talk to me about my day, or to simply hold me.
But on those days when I was alone, tired, and weak, I called out to God more frequently than I ever remember doing. I cried out for help for the simplest things. Parenting by myself kept me on my knees, where ongoing conversations with God became commonplace.
God, I feel sick and I want to sleep in. Please give me the strength to wake up and get my son to school on time.
God, I am so mad at my five-year old son right now. I want to scream. Please restrain me and show me the right way to discipline my boy.
God, I need a friend today to share dinner with me while I watch my favorite show. Won’t you join me?
The more I depended on God, the more I experienced His presence. God, my Father, was an ever-present help when I was needy and weak. His comfort and counsel were available to me night and day. Even at times when I did not display earthquake-proof faith, God never left me on my own. Over and over again, He proved Himself to be faithful and trustworthy.
An absent husband made my heavenly Father’s presence in my life real and tangible. Every time I remembered that my husband was miles away, I turned around to find God present, right there, eager to meet my needs and shower me with His love.
The more I depend on God, the more I experience His presence. -Mabel Ninan: Click To Tweet