Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Practices

spritual-practices

 

Spiritual practices, spiritual disciplines, and Christian principles are all different names for the things we do to have a relationship with God and grow in our Christian walk. We each should have those practices that we do alone and then the practices we do as a community of believers. Practices are not meant to be legalistic things that we HAVE to do to be right with God. Some of them are things that God does require, but He wants us to enjoy spending time with Him in worship and prayer. God wants us to enjoy our relationship with Him.

My personal practices are: Prayer, Bible study (just started using the Lectio Divina for this), Fasting (from technology one day a week), giving as God leads, Serving as God leads, disciple-making, worshipping God in my daily life, along with a few others I practice as the Holy Spirit leads.

In a corporate setting, I practice: Worship of God as creator and my Holy Father, prayer, serving, and a few others as the Holy Spirit leads.

The one practice that I learned from this unit was the Lectio Divina. I had heard of this practice, but as with many Catholic practices, I assumed it was some really complicated practice that I would never be able to understand as a non-Catholic. I was amazed at how simple it was to do and what an impact it has had on my christian walk, already. The Associate handbook describes it as the “prayer of the heart.” I wanted to include a simple summary of the steps here, because I have really enjoyed the practice in my private devotional time.

Step 1: Reading: Take a simple passage from your daily reading that really spoke to you. Just a verse or two that you want to delve into further. What is the context of the passages you have chosen? What is going on in these passages?

Step 2: Meditation: Take the time to meditate on the passage. What is God saying to you through the passage? Is God trying to reveal something to you in this passage? Is God telling you to implement a part of the passage into your everyday life? How will you do that?

Step 3: Prayer: Pray about what the passage is saying to you. Talk to God about any emotions you may feel about the passage or what you are feeling led to do. Don’t hold anything back. Tell God everything that is on your heart.

Step 4: Action: What action do you need to take? How is the Holy Spirit leading you to act on the passage you have read?

I encourage you to research the Lectio Divina for yourself and see if it is a practice you want to implement in your life. There are many books and websites on spiritual practices. I challenge you to do some research and see which practices God is leading you to implement in your daily life. Remember: practices are not supposed to be legalistic, but a way to enjoy our relationship with God. If a practice becomes forced, then something is not right and you need to pray for a solution. I have changed my prayer practices many times. I want my prayer life to be a way for me to connect deeply with God. When I feel that something is being forced, I change it.

The two main practices that ALL christians should put into practice are prayer and Bible study. If you are a new Christian then focus on these two practices for now. The main thing is to enjoy your relationship with God. Finding ways to connect on a deeper level to the ONE who created us. If you need guidance or prayer, I am just an email away. Be blessed, my friends!

standing-on-a-line

 

Mark 4:40

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide that my life would be better as a single mom. I doubt that any of us was thrilled at the prospect of being a single mom, but that is where life has taken us and I for one was more than a little afraid. I was afraid of ending up homeless. I was afraid of losing my job, because my car broke down, again. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be a good enough mom. I was afraid that in my own messed up mental and emotional state that I would cause irreparable damage to my kids. I was afraid that I was in this single mom journey alone. I was scared and I felt like no one in the world cared if I failed.

It has not been easy. I still struggle paycheck to paycheck. In the effort of being transparent, 2015 was the first year I made $20,000.00. I live in poverty. I try to baby my car, because it seems to always be on the verge of breaking down. My kids are getting older and their lives are getting complicated, so I try to find the right words of wisdom to parent them by. My youngest is now 15 and I feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit calling me into a new season of life. Life as a single mom is a struggle. It has NEVER been easy. But, in that struggle I see the many ways that God has shown up as my heavenly Husband to provide for us and protect us. Even in the chaos, I see the blessings of God all around me and I am forever grateful that He has had mercy on this single mom.

I know that life as a single mom comes with a certain amount of fear. We are expected to provide and protect our children on our own. We look at families with two parents and think to ourselves, “how am I ever going to make this work?” You WILL make it work. We have too, because no one can do it for us. Our children depend on us to take care of them.

How can you make it work?

Trust the ONE who loves you. Trust the ONE who loves your children. Your heavenly Husband is waiting to take the burden off of your shoulders, if you will let Him. God can take those problems, those worries, those cares, those fears, that you have been carrying around and He will carry them for you. Trust Him to partner with you in this single mom life.

Psalm 34:4

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

If you have read any of my blog posts, you will see that worry is still something I struggle with. I am getting better at knowing what I can’t control and surrendering it to God. He is in control. He controls ALL things. Why worry about something that I can do nothing about? Sometimes, this is an hourly challenge; laying my worries and fears and the feet of the ONE who loves me. The peace I feel when I give it to God is immeasurable. Why do I insist on hanging onto something I can do nothing about? It just makes me crazy in the long run.

Have faith, single mom! Trust God in your struggle. Give the worries and fears to Him, even if it is minute by minute. Eventually, your faith will grow and you will begin to see that God IS faithful. My faith has grown. I am still a work in progress, but I have come a long way in the 16 years I have been a single mom.

My challenge to you: 

I want you to reflect on the question that Jesus asks His disciples, “Why are you so afraid?” I want you to list your fears, as a single mom, in a journal or a piece of paper and give them to God, one by one. Read the fear aloud and say, “I trust you, my heavenly Husband to take care of _________ and I surrender it to you.” If you would rather use your own words, go for it! The point is to let go of our fears and allow God to share the burden with us. He is our partner. A partner who will NEVER let us down.

 

 

A Purpose and a Call

Our calling

 

Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The Purpose

I have lived my life wondering what my “purpose in life” is. I know I’m not alone in this. I think it is something most of us wonder about. It seems to be that ever elusive question, “What is the purpose of life?” I have spent years chasing my tail, running after this and that wondering if “it” was my purpose, only to be left discouraged and frustrated in the end.

So, What is our purpose in life? Our one purpose as humans is to have a relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. God does not want any to perish but to repent (2 Peter 3:9) and accept Jesus as the ONE and ONLY Savior.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior and make the decision to live for Him, we are given one further purpose: to make disciples. We read in Luke 19:10 that Jesus came to seek and save the lost and we are here for the same reason. We are here to share the Gospel of Jesus, make disciples, and teach new disciples to obey everything that Jesus commanded us. This is it. This is our purpose.

The Call

We now know what our purpose is. Next, we need to figure out how we are going to live that out in our daily lives. That is our call. Some people are called to full-time ministry and some people are called to secular jobs. We are all called to different types of work based on our spiritual gifts and skills. God has a place for each one of us. He calls us to different jobs and places so that ALL people will have a chance to hear the Word and accept Jesus as their Savior.

There are many times when God calls us to minister to others from our pain. If we have struggled with grief, poverty, a divorce, etc. God can call us from our pain and use that pain to bring others to Him. We have to be willing to let Him. We have to be willing to step outside of ourselves and trust God to take our pain and transform hearts through our obedience.

I also believe that our calling changes, as the seasons in our life change. As we grow and mature in Jesus, He calls us to different jobs and different places. What we were called to in our twenties, may not be what we are called to in our forties. Life has a way of changing us. And then there are those who have felt for a lifetime that they are working outside of their calling. That would be me. Working menial jobs, knowing that I was called to full-time ministry. Why would God give me this burning desire in my heart and never open a door to full-time ministry? I believe He is molding my character. He is teaching me to bloom where I am planted. Even if you work at McDonalds for now, allow God to use you to make disciples of those around you. You may be waiting (patiently or impatiently) for God to open a door to full-time ministry, but be faithful where you are now. Share the Gospel of Jesus where you are now and I guarantee that God will open the door in HIS timing. I know how hard it is. I’m still waiting. I faithfully write this blog. I love writing this blog. This is probably the one thing that gets me through the days I have to work. I try to be patient and I use the time to grow ever closer to my loving God, because I trust that one day He will open a door to full-time ministry with single moms.

We have ONE purpose: to make disciples. If you are living out your God-given calling, that is AWESOME! If you are working a job that you are merely existing at, waiting for that door to open, don’t give up! If you know what your calling is and are just waiting for an open door, use this waiting time to prepare yourself. Do your research on the field. Dig into the Word and pray, pray, pray. Don’t forget to use this time to make disciples where you are. Even if we aren’t living in our calling, God expects us to bloom where we are planted and that includes making disciples where we are.

When I start a blog post, I am never really sure where it is going to go. I start writing what God puts on my heart and let Him take over. Usually, what comes out teaches me more than anything. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes, because I now get what God has been trying to tell me. In my obedience I gain wisdom. Don’t you love how that works! I hope that in some small way, I have helped you gain perspective on why God does what He does. If you have any questions on your God-given call or need prayer to get through the waiting period, I am always here. fill out the contact form on my contact page or leave me a comment below. Just know that God has NOT abandoned you in this waiting time. He is simply molding you into the vessel He can use for something bigger. Be obedient in this time and He WILL open the door to your heart’s desire.

 

 

god-sees

 

Psalm 17:8

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings

Deuteronomy 32:10

In a desert land he found him,
    in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
    he guarded him as the apple of his eye,

Zechariah 2:8

For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye—”

I was devastated after my divorce. My husband had left me for another woman and I felt alone, angry and heart broken. For a few years, I agonized over the fact that no one seemed to “want” me. I saw other single women who had no problem finding men and I wondered what was wrong with me. I was at a single moms weekend in June of 2006 and Lori Little (21 Principles of a Healthy Single Mom) was there. I ordered her DVD set and went through each lesson many times over the next several months. In Principle #2 Identity, Lori tells us how God really feels about us. In this lesson, I learned that I am the apple of God’s eye. I am cherished by the Almighty God. WOW! These verses really started to make an impact on me and my heart started to heal from feeling like no one could ever love someone like me (a divorced, single mom with 5 kids). I came to realize that it didn’t matter what men thought about me, God loves me and you know what? Nothing else matters. Knowing that God loves me became enough for me. I am the apple of God’s eye, I don’t need a man to tell me that I am worthy of love. I know I am worthy of love!

Genesis 16:13-14

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[b]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

Hagar was a single mom. She had given Abram a son and now her mistress, Sarai despised her. Hagar got a raw deal. It was Sarai’s idea for Abram to sleep with Hagar and Hagar was simply doing what her mistress told her to do. Sarai thought she could build a family through Hagar, instead of trusting God, she made things worse and poor Hagar dealt with the fall-out. When Sarai started to mistreat her, Hagar left and God met her in the wilderness. God saw how Sarai treated her and had compassion on her. Hagar was the apple of God’s eye. Because of this incident with Hagar, God is called “El Roi- the One who sees me.”

The same El Roi who met Hagar in the wilderness is waiting to meet you in your heartache. El Roi (the God who sees me) is waiting to show you that you are the apple of His eye. He sees you in your pain. He sees how you try to fill the void with relationship after meaningless relationship. Our God is a compassionate God and He wants so much for you to know that YOU are the apple of His eye. If you are single right now, I want to challenge you to seek God first, before you jump into another relationship. Do your own research and find out what God says about YOU in the Bible. El Roi sees YOU and YOU are the apple of His eye!

I still struggle as a single mom, but I will be forever grateful to Lori Little for giving me the kick in the rear-end I needed to put God first in my life as a single mom. I highly recommend every single mom to read her book or buy the DVD series, 21 Principles of a Healthy Single Mom. I have both! To visit Lori’s website, click here and to buy the book from Amazon, click here.

God Bless you, single mom!

princess

My granddaughter Ava is three years old. She has been in a princess phase for over a year now and likes to put on “princess dresses,” put on make-up and become princess Ava. I try to tell her that she is beautiful just the way she is, but her reply is always the same, “I’m a princess, Nana.” Yes, she is a princess. She is my princess Ava, daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Somehow, being a princess has become a negative thing in society. We associate being a princess with being a spoiled diva, or a bridezilla. I started thinking about the Disney princesses. They are not spoiled divas. They are women of character and, in a way, role models to girls Ava’s age. Below, I have listed five characteristics of a princess that are modeled by the Disney princesses:

  1. Courage– Mulan is a Chinese princess, who disguises herself as a man and takes her elderly father’s place in a time of war. Time and training make her a princess warrior and she is instrumental in helping her people win the war. Being a single mom can feel like you are in a war zone. The weight of the world is on your shoulders and one dropped ball can mean disaster. Single moms are courageous. Somehow, we manage to get things done and often alone. The saying is that it takes a village to raise a child. I know that many of you don’t have that village to give you encouragement and support. You keep going. Day after day, you keep going forward, often with no thanks or appreciation. This takes courage, single mom. YOU are a princess warrior!
  2. A Servant’s Heart– Cinderella has a true servant’s heart. When her evil stepmother and stepsisters make her do all the chores and treat her like a slave, she doesn’t complain. She does what is asked of her. Her heart aches, but still she doesn’t act out in anger. Cinderella continues to serve with a meekness of spirit and a servant’s heart. I have often felt like Cinderella in my single mom journey. As the single mom of five kids, 8 and under, I often felt like a slave. Trying to keep the house clean, just to have it look like a hurricane hit 10 minutes after the kids got home. I was judged because my house looked lived in and not like the cover of Good Housekeeping. Being a single mom means having a servant’s heart. It means serving our kids in love and knowing that we are shaping their character. It means not grumbling and griping about every little thing. It means cleaning up the spilled milk without making your child feel like a failure because it spilled. It means going to bed completely worn out from taking care of your kids. This too shall pass, single mom. The kids grow up and take on more responsibility. Be patient with your kids. Jesus, Himself, came to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28).
  3. Wisdom– Pocahontas and John Smith want to bring their two worlds together in peace. It doesn’t seem like it will ever happen. Pocahontas uses wisdom when she convinces her father to let John Smith go and to end the fighting between the two groups. She seeks guidance from Grandmother Willow and uses her wisdom to change her world for the better. Raising 5 kids, I have had many times when I needed to use wisdom to guide my kids in the right direction. Pocahontas sought guidance from Grandmother Willow, as I seek guidance from my heavenly Father. I have needed to use wisdom to keep the peace between my five strong-willed kids. I have needed wisdom in knowing how to guide them in becoming adults and dealing with adult issues. Single moms need to be wise. Wisdom comes from God. We need to seek guidance in every situation. We need to seek guidance before we make rash decisions in the heat of the moment. We have little ones depending on us to do what is right. That takes wisdom, single mom. If we want to change the world, it starts with our kids. We need to raise them, using the wisdom God gives us.
  4. Compassion– Belle is compassionate in her dealings with the beast. He terrifies her, but she compassionately nurses him back to health and treats him kindly, despite his appearance and his attitude. Being a single mom means being compassionate even when our kids are messy and cranky. We can’t always see what is going on beneath the surface of our kids attitudes, so we need to have compassion in order to find out what is really going on. Belle uncovered the gentle side of the beast because of her kindness and compassion. We can uncover the gentle side of our kids if we approach them with love and compassion.
  5. Hardworking– Tiana is a hardworking waitress who dreams of owning her own restaurant. Sound familiar, single mom? We work our fingers to the bone at outside jobs, go to school and take care of the household too. Hard work is what gets things done and bills paid. It seems like the work will never end, but it will. Never give up on your dreams. If you keep working, focused on what you want, your dreams will come true. Trust in God, the dream-giver.

You are a princess, single mom! You are a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Remember that a true princess is not a spoiled brat, who expects to be waited on, but a woman of strong character and who carries herself with integrity. Your children are watching. Be a role model that they can emulate. When tough times hit, remember your princess status and act with grace and dignity. Easier said than done, I know. I mess up more than I like to admit, but I do my best and that’s what counts. Call on our heavenly Father in the struggle and He will give you the strength to make it through. He sees your struggle and wants nothing more than to help you, His daughter.

holy-place

 

Psalm 24:3-4

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.

Holy Father,

create in me a pure heart,

a heart that longs for you and you alone.

Help me to keep my hands clean,

free of the stain of greed and unforgiveness.

I want to break free of the idol of judgement and fear.

My trust is in you and you alone.

I want to break free of my dependence on man and money,

they are false gods,

and there is only ONE God.

Give me a burning desire to ascend YOUR mountain,

give me a passion to stand in YOUR holy place.

Convict my heart of anything that keeps me from this,

my one true goal.

I want to grow ever closer to YOU, Lord.

I want to abide in YOU, heavenly Father.

I want to see YOUR face.

Purify my heart until

I am a reflection of you in this world.

Pray For One Another

one-another

 

James 5:16

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Ephesians 6:18

 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Matthew 5:44

 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

 

The Bible makes it clear that we need to pray. The above verses highlight four groups of people that we need to pray for:

In James 5:16, James tells us to confess our sins to each other and to pray for each other. I believe he was telling us to pray for our local body of Christians here. Those Believers that we are in contact with on a regular basis. Those followers of Jesus that we share life with. We are to pray for those we serve God with on a regular basis. It is the local body of believers that gives us our strength as a Christian. We need to be in continual prayer for those in our local faith community as we face trials, temptations, and the schemes of the evil one. Healing comes when we confess our sins to each other and pray for each other.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, we are told to pray for ALL people. We are also, told specifically to pray for kings and all those in authority. The Bible makes it clear that we are to pray for those placed in leadership positions. We are to pray for our leaders, so we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. The Bible makes it clear that we are to pray for ALL people. It doesn’t matter if we like them or not. It doesn’t matter if we agree with everything they believe. We are to pray for ALL people. God wants us to pray for ALL people, because He wants ALL people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

Ephesians 6:18 tells us to be alert and to keep on praying for ALL the Lord’s people. James 5:16 tells us to pray for our local body of believers, but in Ephesians 6:18 we are told to pray for ALL the Lord’s people. We are to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are faced with persecution and other challenges. We are only strong when we pray for one another.

Matthew 5:44 tells us to pray for those who persecute us. It is never easy to pray for someone who has set out to make your life a living Hell. Why should we pray for someone who has caused us pain? God says we must. God can soften the hearts of our enemies through our prayers, but more importantly, He is allowed access to OUR hearts when we choose to pray for those who hurt us.

I think God has made it clear that there isn’t any person or group of people that we shouldn’t be praying for. We are to pray for One Another.