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The Short Version: Professional blogger and life coach Kerri Lynn Bishop writes on SingleMomSmiling.com under the pen name Strahlen Grace to share her perspective as a Catholic single mother. Her thoughtful blog articles address the emotional, financial, and spiritual issues that arise when raising children alone. Kerri’s husband left her when she was pregnant with their fifth son, so she understands how isolated single mothers can feel. She started blogging in 2011 to come to the assistance of single parents and show them the transformational power of God’s love. Grounded by faith, Single Mom Smiling offers an empowering message of encouragement for divorced, separated, and never-married mothers around the world.
Kerri Lynn Bishop was pregnant with her fifth son when her husband left her. She was a stay-at-home mom and a faithful Catholic, and she had never imagined she would be in this position. Suddenly, her life became a struggle to survive.
Although she had earned her master’s degree in curriculum development, Kerri’s teaching certification had expired, and she feared no one would hire a single and pregnant woman. Even if they did, she didn’t know how she would juggle her children’s school schedules and daycare on her own. She endured court battles, welfare lines, and many tearful days when she felt as if no one truly understood what she was going through.
Fortunately, she received loving support from friends, family members, and others in the Catholic community, and, day by day, she began to put the pieces of her life back together. Something that helped her work through that tumultuous time, she told us, was writing about her experiences on her blog SingleMomSmiling.com.
“I am a woman of strong faith,” she said, “and I really feel God calling me to do some writing and reach out to people.”
Since her first post in 2011 (written under the pen name Strahlen Grace), Kerri has used her blog to discuss family matters from the perspective of a conservative Catholic single mother. She felt such issues weren’t being talked about constructively, so she has sought to address the struggles of single parents of faith by drawing from her experiences.
Kerri’s blog doesn’t celebrate divorce or offer quick tips to fix a shattered life — instead, she writes from the heart about how faith in God can guide people feeling lost or alone.
“What happened to me was happening all over the place,” she said. “It’s really hard to talk about, but, after being abandoned, everything changes.”
Kerri said she doesn’t plan what she’s going to write in advance. She just writes. About once a week, she sits down to talk about single motherhood, Catholicism, and other cultural matters with love and compassion. Since 2011, this has been her outlet, and her story has inspired countless readers. Every bit of practical advice on the blog is rooted in the real-life experiences of single parents of faith.
When asked where she gets inspiration for her articles, she answered simply, “From the Gospel.” Kerri said she sees messages for single mothers in church sermons and passages from the Bible. Whenever a proverb or an issue stands out to her, she feels moved to share her thoughts with readers. Oftentimes, she weaves in her experiences as a single mother of five to show that the topic hits close to home.
“It’s less informational and more storytelling,” she told us. “I connect to people by sharing my experiences, that gives the blog a more personal feel.”
Kerri feels an emotional connection to her readers because she has been in their shoes and knows the heartbreak of abandonment. She wants to give them a positive message to let them know they’re not alone and that there’s comfort to be had in the Holy Scripture.
“This agony was no longer about who I had been, but about becoming who God and I want me to be,” she wrote in her first blog post. “I am now the woman smiling to outshine the tears, giving strength to others, and loving that they strengthen me too.”
Three months ago, a pregnant woman reached out to Kerri via email to ask for advice. The woman was pregnant and single, much like Kerri all those years ago, and wondered what she should do. She didn’t know if she should keep the baby or get an abortion. Kerri sent back a reply encouraging her to have faith and raise the child.
After her message went unanswered, Kerri sent a second note a few weeks later just to let the woman know she was in her thoughts. The woman responded that she had decided to have the baby. They’ve been corresponding ever since.
“It’s just amazing to think that this child is going to be there, partly, because she read part of my story and saw that I was also pregnant and abandoned,” Kerri said. “The woman made this amazing gift to give this child this life.”
“Your child is counting on you. You CAN do this! Keep up the good work.” — Kerri Lynn Bishop in response to a pregnant single woman
Kerri said she gets hundreds of emails from mothers who were pregnant or raising children when their marriages broke up. Sometimes they describe heart-wrenching situations. One woman said she had two children with autism and felt in desperate need of guidance when she found Kerri’s blog. Such stories come to her from all corners of the globe.
Single mothers and fathers in the US, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East have found comfort and motivation in Kerri’s articles because Single Mom Smiling tackles universal subjects of family, morality, and faith.
After enduring years of loneliness and hardship, Kerri discovered there is hope after divorce. She built a good life for herself and her sons, and now she writes Single Mom Smiling to advise and influence single parents all over the world. Her positive and faith-based message has touched the hearts of many single women struggling to get from one day to the next.
In the coming months, Kerri plans to do even more to support her audience and bring conservative Christian values to the forefront of people’s minds. As a soon-to-be certified life coach, Kerri said she will offer words of encouragement to help people transform their lives. She told us she’s developing a nine-step program that will pair inspirational videos and one-on-one coaching to show single mothers how to embrace the joy and goodness in their lives.
Kerri said she’s thankful that her journey as a single mother has allowed her to create a values-driven online community that supports, consoles, and guides one another.
“All the pain and everything I suffered has been for this purpose,” she told us. “God has taken such a horrible time in my life and made it a gift.”