The following is an excerpt from All Things Beautiful: 31 Devotions for Single Moms by Nikki Leonti Edgar. Many single parents feel alone, ashamed, hopeless, confused, or just plain tired — tempted to give in to the negative voices that say it’s impossible to fulfill the dreams of their youth. From personal stories of overcoming, to Scriptures that were her anchor during the most difficult moments, in thirty-one devotions Nikki shares transparently her journey of experiencing God’s redeeming grace.
All Things Beautiful in Time
He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. -Ecclesiastes 3:11 RSVCE
One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou is, “If you had known better, you would have done better.” That has resonated with my heart on many occasions. As parents we can always look back and find ways we could’ve done things differently.
I was eighteen when I had my first baby, and boy was I not ready. Nor did I have any idea what being responsible for another human was like. I wanted to sleep till noon and hang with my friends. I had no family living with me in Nashville, so catching a break was nearly impossible.
Sometimes when I look back at the life my kids had, I see the places I wish I could change. Had I made more money, I could’ve given them more things. Or I could’ve afforded to stay in one place and not move constantly. I could’ve not gone through a messy divorce, and they’d not know the pain of a broken family. So many possibilities and what-ifs that I can never change. I think of moments when I could’ve done better, yet my children somehow see things way differently. My daughter is going to be eighteen this year, and she looks back fondly on memories of us “getting by.”
As a born and raised Californian, Disneyland was a big deal for me. I couldn’t afford to take my kids often, but we would go watch the fireworks at night — from outside of the park. One night in particular, we parked at a gas station, sat on the hood with blankets, and blasted some tunes. It ended up being a dance party and a night my daughter has never forgotten. She had no clue or care that we couldn’t get into the park.
On another occasion, we were moving and only one person showed up to help me with a whole apartment of furniture and boxes. That one person had to leave early, and we were left with the rest of the U-Haul to unpack — just me and my nine-year-old. To top it off, halfway through the move it started to rain. Well, we ended up laughing hysterically and started yet another dance party through the puddles and downpour.
My daughter constantly tells me how she loved so many of the moments of what was not the easiest childhood. What I realize now is that our kids just want us: our love, our positivity, our humor, and our time. The real hang-out one-on-one meaningful loving time. You can always look back and see what you wish you could change or how you could’ve done better, but I promise you that simply doing the best you can is always enough. Your children will surprise you with all the things that brought them joy when you were seeing the heartache.
So do your best and make the most of every single moment. What is a fun, lighthearted activity you can do with your family this week? Your children will remember your efforts, and you’ll have lasting beautiful memories you’ll cherish forever.
Lord, help me to live in the moment with my children. Give me clear vision to see all the ways you’re making beautiful moments even through the difficulties. Give me grace for myself as I grow as a parent.
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Copyright 2018 Nikki Leonti Edgar
About the author: Nikki Leonti Edgar is a singer, songwriter, author, and speaker. In 2016, Nikki and her family’s “Edgar Family Band” were semifinalists on Season 11 of America’s Got Talent. She, her husband, Ryan, and her children reside in Los Angeles, California. Connect with Nikki at AllThingsBeautifulBook.com and Instagram @nikkileontiedgar.