My journey to becoming a single mom started when my husband left us, his family. I had no choice but to become everything to my girls when he walked out the door. When my ex’s mother died, our marriage ended. His mother and I never saw eye to eye, so when she passed away, it was like he was avenging her death by leaving us. He became distant and very cold to us. I believe he somehow thought he was honoring her death by abandoning us. At that time, we were both broken and in a dark place, trying to play roles we were not mature enough to take on. Neither of us had any positive examples of healthy marriages in our lives. I remember telling him how much I wanted to be a good wife, but I didn’t know what that looked like. But then God started talking to me. 

'When God Started Talking To Me,' Monique Durham's personal essay about single motherhood.

When God Started Talking To Me 

Being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, I was told never to go to a church. In January 2006, my husband took me to church for the first time. My first time stepping into the church, the choir sang “Because of Who You Are” by Martha Munizzi. My ex-husband whispered and said, “God is talking to you.” Midway into the song, they started singing, “Jehovah Nissi, Lord, you reign in Victory, Jehovah-Jireh, you’re my provider, Jehovah Shalom, Prince of Peace, and I worship you because of who you are.” I thought, “Wow! God, you’re really talking to me.” I knew God had captured my heart when He started talking to me. 

From Saved To Alone

I got saved in March 2006, and my husband and I split on April 1, 2006, LOL, April Fool’s Day, but it wasn’t a joke. And that was the beginning of my journey of becoming a single mom. He instantaneously stopped being a dad and cut all ties to my daughters and me. I couldn’t believe after ten years of being together, he could desert us. I remember days when I would cry, call him, and would never get a response. He didn’t answer the phone or respond to anything I said. And sometimes, he would answer with a woman talking in the background, which drove me crazy. One night, I woke up in a rage and plotted out how I was going to hurt him the way he hurt me. But before I could snap, at 1 a.m., my pastor called me and said Sister Monique, God said don’t do it. I remember crying so hard out of so much anger, hate, and rage. 

My first thought was, “How in the world does he know about me wanting to hurt my husband the way he hurt me? The things I was thinking and never told a soul?”My pastor said, “God revealed this to me.” That’s when God started talking to me even more and became real. 

I Decided To Choose Love

That night, I had to make some hard decisions: I could respond with anger and hate in my heart, or I could respond out of love. I chose love and told my ex-husband I love you enough to let you go, and if you decide to come back, I love you enough to accept you back. Then, I decided to focus on another relationship, my relationship with God. I started reading the Bible repeatedly, day in and day out. I would wake up with the Bible lying on my chest with tears coming down my face and soaking the pages.

One day, God said, “Let me be the lover of your soul. Let me be God in your life.” I remember reading a scripture that said, “I am a jealous God, and no man will take my place.” That scripture literally was an eye-opener because my ex-husband and I were each other gods. 

Monique's daughters say "Our mom is amazing."

Trusting God 

I decided to open my heart to God truly, even though I was full of questions and disbelief. But with every step I took with God, he put my broken heart back together again to the point I looked back one day and noticed I was not crying anymore, and my heartache was not as painful. I knew that my husband and I were over, and I wanted to start loving myself again, and that was another step into my new journey. God removed people, places, and things away from me slowly but surely until I had to stand face-to-face with the living God, the lover of my soul.

God took time with me to show how patient he was when I went through every emotion of the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). He showed me how much it was a death I was grieving, the end of having a husband, the end of our family as a unit, and the end of me as a wife.

Healing My Heart – Between Me and God

God helped me to love myself and love again because all I knew was him. I wanted to heal first before getting married again. I did not want to punish my future husband for the things that my past has done to me. Overall, I wanted to be made whole. Me loving me, taking care of me, and remembering who I am. It wasn’t about my children, family, or ex-husband. It was between me and God.

I started reading scriptures about love and how God sees love. Now, I’m standing here with a firm foundation and a giving heart. And all of this happened because my ex-husband introduced me to Christ. So when I look at him, I might have disappointments about how our relationship ended and his abandonment of our family. I know he could be so much better than what he is, but that’s his burden to bear. 

Monique’s essay was written in March 2018. Read more of our personal essay series here