It's time to let go!
Posted on September 07 2020
This is my story. It is a glimpse into my life as a single mother. I am now married to the most wonderful man on earth. I have now graduated and launched my fashion business for African inspired clothing and African dresses. I was once a single parent and I know what it's like. As they say, "Deep calls unto deep," I understand the struggle and I want to make a difference.
As you read this story, you either: are a single parent, were a single parent, have been raised by a single mother, or you know a single mother. I hope my story will inspire a single parent to go for their dreams. I invite everyone to please join me in changing the lives of a single parent and their children.
“It’s time to let go”
“Let go of what, Lord? I asked. “I have nothing to my name except my child, my job and my car. What am I to let go?” This was the conversation I had with God in April of 2010 as I stood naked underneath the shower head. Little did I know that this would mark the beginning of the most challenging time of my life yet, the most beautiful, faith-filled life I ever lived.
Having arrived in the US in ninety-eight, I had great ambitions. My goal was to attend school and obtain a college degree. However, things did not work out as planned and circumstances had me board a Greyhound bus at three o’clock in the morning heading for Chicago. While in Chicago, I worked as a maid not too far from Michael Jordan’s neighborhood. Life was tough.
After enjoying a meal with her family, the lady of the house would call me to eat any of the left overs at the table which I would kindly decline and opt to have a slice of bread instead. This was not the life I had imagined for myself. America was supposed to be glamorous with fancy sliding doors and filled up grocery stores. Not this! However, I took this phase as a stepping stone to where I needed to be, so I did it gracefully.
As life would have it, in 2002 I fell pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and named her Nokutenda (with thanksgiving or with giving thanks). In 2004, my daughter and I moved to Dallas as I sought to raise my child in a safe, Godly environment. We moved into a nice little neighborhood north of Dallas called Plano, TX. Here I was, a strong independent woman who was determined to work hard and provide hot meals and a roof over our heads. Life was becoming a bit more enjoyable as I was adjusting to life in Dallas. I eventually met a team of women who became my support system and my village in raising my child. Things took a turn toward the south when I worked for a family owned company barely making minimum wage. In fact, in 2009 I made a little over $24,000. I struggled to pay bills and every month I often wished I had ten extra dollars to take my baby to Chuck e Cheese’s. Yet this is the time God chose to let me know it was time to let go. I assessed the three things I had to my name and none of them made sense to let go. I could not let go of the most precious thing in my life, my daughter. I could not let go of the one asset that I possessed, my silver 2001 Toyota Rav 4. The only thing left to let go was my job. None of it made sense to me: “Lord, it does not make sense! I cried. How do you expect a single mother, with no other source of income, to let go of her job!” That’s the definition of insanity, I told myself. “How will I feed my baby?! How will I pay my rent and my bills?!
By this time, I had walked out of the shower and laid prostrate in my birthday suit. Tears rolled over the bridge of my nose and soaked gently into the carpet of the living room floor as I pleaded my case before God. I cried deeply trying to make sense of it all. After throwing my little tantrum, I sat up and said, “Ok, Lord. I heard you. You said you would take care of me if I trust and obey you. I TRUST you Lord. I will let go.” It turns out this was the best decision I ever made!
I started volunteering at my local church in the Single-Parent department and that became my solace. Each morning after dropping off my daughter at school I would head to church from 8am until it was time for school pick up. Some months the church would send me an email saying, “we will be paying your rent in full this month.” Other months I relied on God to provide. Things were not always rosy. The electricity was turned off twice for periods longer than a week. The refrigerator was constantly empty and that became our norm. It’s not easy holding on to the belief that God is in control but I did hold on because God always has his way.
"Lord I’m hungry"
As I walked back into the house one morning I whispered, “Lord, I’m hungry.” The hunger I alluded to was deeper than an ordinary hunger. I just wanted to enjoy a hot home cooked meal with my daughter and not have to worry about bills or anything else. I could have easily walked over to a friend’s house and asked for a banana, but I craved for something deeper. I yearned for a certain level of comfort and satisfaction that only comes with a heartwarming meal.
A couple of hours later I received a call from a friend. She asked if I still made clothes and if she could come by at 1pm with her fabric. She wanted a custom-made African inspired dress and asked how much I would charge. With excitement, I told her it would be $100. She did not negotiate nor argue. Around 1pm she came knocking at my door and asked for help with “stuff” in her car. To my amazement, she had bags filled with groceries that she had secretly bought for us. I could not believe my eyes. With joy in my heart and a smile on my face I whispered again, “Lord, you heard me!” When my daughter returned from school and opened the refrigerator she squealed in disbelief. “Mom! What happened?! The refrigerator is full. Where did all this food come from?” That evening my daughter and I sat down and enjoyed our homemade chicken casserole with rice pilaf and vegetables. I had not had that feeling of happiness and satisfaction in a very long time. Our hearts were full. In another month, a young couple whom I had been praying with also felt led to extend a hand. They too bought groceries that covered us for the whole month. I kept on receiving support from all over leading me to believe I had made the right decision.
"Sweetie, have you paid your rent?"
A couple of months down, a police officer came knocking at my door and politely asked if I had paid my rent. “Sweetie, have you paid your rent? Make sure you pay it before the due date on this eviction letter, ok sweetie? He handed me the eviction notice. This was the second time I received an eviction notice. I tried so hard to control my emotions. I smiled and received the white envelope. I closed the door and turned to the Father in prayer. “You promised you would take care of me! I wailed. “Your word says if I trust in you, you would provide for me. What is this, Lord? What-is-this?”
Well, God had a plan. I did not get evicted that month. A young lady who had not heard about my situation was returning from her mission trip. She said she felt in her heart that God wanted her to sign over all her travelers checks in my name. The checks were enough to cover my rent, the late charges and the rest of the bills. That! In itself, boosted my faith to another level. In another month, I received a call from one couple that simply asked if I was working and I told them no. They said, “we will be paying your rent this month.” Other times my brother and sister would call to inquire if I had enough to pay rent and they would each forgo paying their own bills to cover my rent. This humbled me.
As the month-ends came by I became immune to the fact that I had no money for rent for the following month. Each month I became curious to see how God would come through for me. It became an exciting game that grew my faith and eliminated my fears. To eradicate my fear of becoming homeless, one of my prayers was, “Lord, if you deem it fit for me and this young child to live out of a car, then let it be!” I was truly content with living out of my car had God allowed it to happen. At that moment, I faced my fear of eviction and concurred. Prayer and Faith kept me going.
I have come full circle
I am so glad I decided to trust and obey His voice and let go when I was prompted to, otherwise, I would still be in the same predicament to this day. In August of 2011 I married the love of my life Tamuka. I told him of my burning desire to go to college and obtain a degree. I knew education was my only way out. He encouraged me to go to school full-time and not have to worry about paying any bills. He supported every single decision I made with no resistance or animosity. In December of 2018 I graduated Magna cum Laude with a 3.75 GPA on a Triple Major in Marketing, Global Supply Chain and Business Honors.
While in school I landed an internship at an Aerospace engineering company. They hired me as a full time procurement specialist in Supply Chain. I have learned so much in this role but in the meantime I am also going back to my first love.. designing African inspired fashion for men and women. Follow me on Instagram @ panashedesigns and @Gogetter_mom.