Christian Living Relationships/Family Identity Lifestyle

It’s Never Enough

Tameka Lee

Here it goes again. I opened my email to read the results of my lease-to-purchase application. I have settled for a lease option at this time because there is an urgent need to move. I share a bedroom with my two daughters, aged six and twelve. Let me tell you: the twelve-year-old drives me crazy with her TikTok videos, girl drama, and her insomnia habits. If I have to wake up one more time to the sound of her crunching on Cool Ranch Doritos I am going to scream. My son, being the only boy, has his own room, and my best friend/sister has her own room. It just seems to make more sense.

I need my own space. We need more space.

I have been working since I was seventeen. I worked my way through college. I got married at twenty-three and continued to work. Five years and two kids later, my marriage ended. As I single mother, I continued to work.

At the time, I worked in the early education field, a career that I had started at a young age. Teaching has always been my passion and ministry. But as a single mom, it became harder to commit to the field that I loved. I worked hard at my career and moved into leadership positions which helped to increase my income, even though my pay was still very low and often had no benefits.

The American Dream soon became my goal. I wanted to own a home. I wanted my children to have space to make their own. I wanted to have a simple yard to lounge in, to have girlfriends over for a wind-down, to host book clubs, and to host other fun gatherings. I wanted a reliable vehicle. I wanted my kids to able to participate in extracurricular activities without the associated fees creating financial hardship. I wanted to travel at least once a year with my family to expand their knowledge of the world. I dreamed of having a vacation home where we could escape when we needed a break from reality.

It may seem like a simple dream, but working to achieve it has become a nightmare. It seems that no matter how hard I work or what I do, it continues to feel more like a dream and less like something that can become reality. The American Dream was not created for someone like me. Yet, every day I see images of single mothers who “made it.” Who “overcame” obstacles and achieved their goals.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -1Thessalonians 5:23

Many times, I want to give up. It is too hard, and I am putting extra pressure on myself to overcome obstacles to have access to a “dream.”

I want to make it. I am tired of drowning in bills or telling my kids that we cannot afford something. I am tired of paying rent instead of a mortgage, but I don’t qualify for a home loan. I am tired of working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. I am tired of doing it all–alone. Building a life alone is hard at times. It is not the way that I imagined my life would be. I thought I would have a loving man by my side helping me to build this life.

I am not talking about the financial increase of a two-income family home. I am talking about the emotional, mental support of a companion. My reality is that I don’t have a companion, and I must put on my big girl undies and do what I need to do to reach the goals I have for myself and my family.

I felt led to go back to school to earn a Master’s in Elementary Education to aid me in this journey. I thought that education would be the gateway for my family to have a comfortable lifestyle. But when I graduated with my Master’s degree in March of 2019, I wasn’t even happy for myself because I could no longer see how having a degree would change my circumstances. I was convinced that the world wanted to see me fail.

I couldn’t even afford to attend my graduation. The ceremony was 15 hours away, and I didn’t have the resources to get myself there, let alone my entire family. I am used to making sacrifices, but it still hurt not to have my family watch me proudly walk across the stage to receive my diploma.

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”—Isaiah 41:10

After graduation, I fell into one of the worst depressions of my life. I felt stagnant, stuck, and not worthy of anything more. The struggle was getting to me. I wanted my dreams immediately, and the process was taking too long. My faith was beginning to dwindle. My motivation was low. I was ready to throw in the towel–to give up on life altogether.

Then I remembered the three beautiful lives that are my responsibility. I couldn’t give up.

I became more motivated than ever. I was determined not to struggle. I would work ten jobs to do what was needed for my family. And work I did.

My body became weary from the constant work. “Working myself to death” became a little too real. I was absent when my children needed me present. They understood why I was absent, but it was still unfair to all of us.

I wanted to be able to afford rent, pay bills, and take care of other necessities instead of putting them off time and again. It was frustrating to work multiple low-paying jobs instead of finding one job that would pay me enough to take care of my family.

My kids are getting older and soon will be off living their own lives. I want them to get the benefit of all my hard work because I am doing this for them.

In the midst of this trial, I see all of the difficulty, but I also see where God has blessed me. I am moving closer to achieving my dreams. It is taking more time, more sweat, and more tears, but I am making it. God has opened many doors already. I will continue to trust God and believe that I am worthy of achieving my dreams.

You, too, are worthy of achieving your dreams.

 “So, faith comes from hearing; and hearing through the word of Christ” Romans 10:17