Today, I prepared a beloved guinea pig for burial.

No part of me wanted to lift up that dear little thing and place her in the tissue-lined box I’d prepared. I didn’t want to feel her weight in my hands or close the lid on the box. At that moment, the tears I had in my eyes were more for me than her. This is the fifth pet I’ve had to bury over the last fifteen years. One of the millions of things I’ve done alone as a single parent. Certainly not the most difficult thing, but it felt exceedingly hard today. 

I’ve said single parenting is not for the faint of heart, but I don’t know…sometimes, I feel pretty faint at heart. It’s difficult to carry the whole parenting load alone. I don’t believe anyone was “made” for it, but then again, were we really made for life like it is here? 

We were created for better things…for a better place. And yet, here I find myself, and maybe you find yourself too. Trying to walk this very difficult and demanding life with some measure of grace and strength.

Sometimes, I’m shocked I’ve been a single parent for fifteen years…and sometimes, I’m even more shocked that I’m still standing.

While I stood looking at sweet Marigold lying still in her bedding,  I found myself taking a step back. Reticent to do this thing I had to do. 

I prayed, “Lord, this feels like something I can’t do. It feels nauseatingly hard. Please give me strength.” And in that moment, I knew that He was right there with me.. 

I took a deep breath and did it. 

I’ve done this a lot as a single parent. Pray. Take a deep breath. Do it. 

No matter my circumstances, I hope I’d live this way. Praying. Trusting, Doing. 

Marigold has been lovingly tucked into a bed of tissue paper. I did what needed to be done. That’s what we do as parents…we do the hard and the heavy. But even though sometimes parenting is silly challenging, it is also full of joy, cheering, laughter, and love. 

Marigold’s delightful personality brought us a ton of laughter and fun. That joy made this part hard, but I wouldn’t have traded the joy to avoid the hard.

Isn’t it just like that with parenting? It can be exhaustingly hard, but the absolute wonder of these five wonderful people who call me Momma is better than anything I could’ve hoped or imagined. 

I might feel life’s heaviness more acutely at times, but I also feel the strength of my Savior carrying my burdens with and for me.

He’s the perfect example of loving sacrificially…of doing hard things for a better ending. For our better ending.

Making hard decisions. Doing difficult things. Facing challenges head-on. I will do the hard and heavy because my Savior is always by my side. With Jesus, I can faithfully pray, trust, and do what needs to be done.