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Life seems to fly by faster as I get older. I have not been posting as much as I want to, but I have to embrace the seasons and realize that there will be seasons that will bring a pause in my writing. These seasons are hard for me. Sometimes I feel that if I am not writing then I am failing. Failing at what exactly? Honestly, I don’t know. This pause has been brought on by my spending time with my kids and grandkids. I house sat for Cherokee and her family during Holy week. I have been spending time with Cree helping Talon paint his new house. Ty, Cree and I drove to Georgia for the weekend to see Kiowa. Baseball season has started up for the grandkids. I have also been blessed with the opportunity this year to be able to watch Madilyn. She is now a 1 year old and requires more attention. I gladly give it because I know that in another month Cherokee will be out of school (she works for the school corporation and has Summers off) and I won’t have my baby girl to watch any more.

Which brings me to some really EXCITING news! I had approached my pastor about starting a single mom ministry at my church in January. Well, I met with the education team on April 11th and they gave their approval. The pastor gave his final approval the next day. I am now waiting to discuss next steps, but my 15 year dream is finally becoming a reality. YAY! I am really excited! And really nervous! I may not be perfect and I am positive that I will make mistakes along the way as God pushes me out of my comfort zone, but I know that as long as I obey HIM that He will turn my mistakes and messes into messages that will glorify HIM and help to build HIS kingdom. I am grateful for the support of the pastor and education team at Terre Haute First Baptist Church. I am grateful for the support of my family. I could never do this alone. We are made for community. We need each other.

In June, I will start to revamp some of the pages here and will start to post more. I will also launch a blog for Life Single Mom Ministry and will be posting ministry updates there, as well as, ways to help the single mom family. I will be starting to work full-time with the ministry to serve single moms in Vigo County and nationally when the opportunity presents itself. I am in awe of how God takes broken people and restores them to the point where they become vessels God can use in the healing of other broken people. I am blessed!

Our pastor recently shared a story that had a profound affect on me. Below is my paraphrased version:

A family was visiting a beach where the young son was happily finding shell fragments. Before long his small hands were full of the broken pieces. A little further down, the family came upon a beautiful starfish that that washed up on the shore. The dad told the little boy to pick up the star fish. The boy looked at both of his hands that were tightly grasping the shell fragments and then he looked at the beautiful star fish. His parents could see the dilemma their son was struggling with. Should he let go of the broken shell pieces in order to grasp the fully intact wonderful star fish? Or should he hold tightly to what he already had and let the bigger prize go?

This story immediately made me reflect on my own struggle to let go of my worry over my finances. This is not a new struggle for me. As a single mom working low paying jobs, I have always struggled with money and I have always been more inclined to keep my money clinched tightly in my fists rather than trust God to work through my obedience. Have I ever gone without? No, I haven’t. God provides as I continue to deepen my faith in Him.

It was easy to trust Him when I had a job and steady income. I knew where my money was coming from. I trusted my own ability to provide through my job. It isn’t as easy when you are working on starting a ministry that God placed on your heart many moons ago and you are no longer employed in the traditional way. God continues to provide for ALL of my needs (and even some of my wants), but I have a tendency to cling to my money. I try to call it being a good steward, but the fear I feel when spending/giving any amount of money says otherwise. I am tightly clinching my money because I am afraid that God will at some point either forget about me or decide to quit providing for me. The idea of either one terrifies me!

God is working on me. I have given to the church and other ministries/family as God has led. I help those in need as God leads. I will admit that there is still that inner struggle as my money passes through my fingers, but I know that if I am giving in obedience to God that I can look forward to seeing that blessing.

In the last several years God has stripped me of many material possessions. I struggled each time I had to let go of a piece of furniture, dishes, a car, and my money. These are the shell fragments that I clinched tightly in my hand. The beautiful star fish in my life is God and the blessings that God pours out on the lives of those who love and believe in Him. I still struggle to some degree with the money. I have yet to fully let go of my grip and trust God to provide. I am getting there. Every day there is progress. Every day I grow in faith. Every day I loosen my grip just a bit. I know that God is patient to wait for me. God loves me and His compassion is unfailing.

What are you holding onto today that you need to let go of?

What are the shell fragments in your life that you are tightly clinching in your fists?

What is God asking you to do to loosen the grasp you have on those fragments?

Will you obey Him?

Is the sight of the beautiful starfish (a relationship with the one and only God of the Universe) enough to get you to let go?

I challenge you to answer the above questions and to let go of the shell fragments tightly clinched in your hand. God is patiently waiting for you. He loves you and He is compassionate. Trust Him to bless your life as you obey Him. It will ALWAYS be worth it!

I was blessed to be featured in a Single Mom Spotlight for Arise Single Mom Ministries. Arise Ministries is based in Oklahoma where they minister to local single moms, but they also have a national presence through conferences and online Bible studies.

Below is the article I wrote for the Single Mom Spotlight:

As reality sank in and I realized that my marriage was over, I became terrified of the future. I was afraid of having to raise my kids alone. As my dreams of a country house with a white picket fence disappeared, I found myself dreading the days to come. What was I supposed to do now? The future stretched out in front of me like a barren desert, and I felt hopeless.

I’ve been a single mom 20 years now. I understand the road you might be walking on today. Like me at one time, maybe you’ve lost hope for the future or you feel your life will never be the same. Well, the truth is your life will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great. In fact, God is doing a new thing!

If you’re finding yourself in the wasteland today, maybe these five truths will jumpstart your journey in a new direction. They helped me, and I know they will help you as well.

1. Forget the former things. This is a direct command from God. Don’t dwell on the past. We’re instructed to let go of the anger, bitterness, hate, and any other negative feelings taking up residence in our hearts. Start looking ahead to the promises the future holds for your household.

2. Have faith. We can choose to believe God wants only the best for us. I can testify that God has shown up for my kids and me in ways that were sheer miracles. He has provided and protected us. He has given me a passion for writing and for serving single moms. This new mission keeps me going when times get tough.

3. Change your perspective. This can be hard, but there are times when we need to make the best of a bad situation and find the good in what seems to be an impossible circumstance. When we focus on the positive, we improve our own mental health and the emotional well-being of our kids. God is providing a new way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The future is a blank canvas, and we get to choose if we want to embrace it.

4. Build community. Community is so important. It can be difficult to walk into a church alone with kids in tow; however, we need a church family to love and support us in our role as a single mom. So don’t give up searching for the right church for your family. Ask God to lead you to the right faith community that will become a village for you and your kids.

5. Create traditions. This new season is a chance to develop new traditions. What a fun opportunity for your family to think of creative Saturday morning activities and new ways to celebrate holidays and birthdays.

Yes, things have changed and the future can look like a wasteland. But remember, God is still at work. This can be the beginning of a new adventure! -Patti B.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:18

To learn more about Arise Ministries click HERE

Galatians 1:10

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

Acts 5:29

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!

I have had to wrestle with this question in my pursuit of starting a single mom ministry.

Am I trying to win the approval of men, or of God?

Am I more afraid of men than I have trust in God?

Am I going to obey God or man?

God has called me to full-time ministry work. I am to minister to single mom families through a full-time ministry. Will I be paid in the conventional way? No, and this is where my objectors come in.

I am being lazy.

I need a “real” job to be productive.

I can’t just live off of people for the rest of my life.

Following God is not easy. Obeying God even when loved ones don’t get it isn’t easy. Having my value as a person based on my income isn’t easy. Right now, I have no value to some people because I choose to obey God whether I get paid or not. I choose to NOT let the possible consequences stop me from following God’s call on my life. At this point in my life, there is nothing else I can do. I have to obey my God and trust in HIS provision.

As a testimony to HIS goodness, I quit my last paying job of 8 years in May of 2019. I have been working on this ministry since then. I have been working to get it to where I can present it to a church as a feasible, necessary ministry. God is opening that door and more than that, I have had a home with family. I have had income enough to provide for my personal bills and my personal needs. I have not gone without. God provides what I need when I need it. I trust in God and God alone. I listen to God and God alone. I will NOT allow the voice of man to distract me from the will of God. I’ve come to far to turn back now.

My questions to you is:

Are you living for God or for man? Are you more afraid of man? Are you trying to gain the approval of man or God? Are you going to obey man or God?

Think about it. It may not seem like a big deal now, but there will come a time when you will have to choose. God or man?

Matthew 14:18-21

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 15:35-37

35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

I love these stories of Jesus feeding the masses, but it isn’t the miracle itself that touches me. It is the simple act of giving thanks. Jesus gives thanks for the miracle BEFORE the miracle happens. He knew how many people needed to be fed. He knew how little food they had to work with. He also knew that His Father in heaven was a miracle working God and that He WOULD feed these hungry people. Jesus had faith in the miracle.

I know what you are thinking. We aren’t Jesus. Maybe that worked for Jesus, but what is the guarantee that it will work for us? There is no guarantee. God does what He wants to do, but Jesus set the example that we are to follow. Giving thanks before the miracle is all about faith. It is all about following the example of Jesus and trusting God to work the miracle according to our faith.

When we give thanks BEFORE the miracle happens, we are building our faith muscle. We are saying to God, “I trust you and I believe that you WILL work in this situation.” When we give thanks before the miracle, we feel the burden lifting and a peace falling over us. God IS at work!

CHALLENGE: Give God a chance! Give thanks BEFORE the healing. Give thanks BEFORE you get the job. Give thanks BEFORE your marriage is restored. Give thanks BEFORE God provides for that emergency need. Give thanks BEFORE your child is saved. Give thanks BEFORE and watch how God works in your situation.

In my studies of the Gospels I have been drawn to the role that John the Baptist played in the story of Jesus. John really had one job. John was called to reveal Jesus and to prepare the way of our Lord, Jesus.

I believe that as Christians today, we have that same role as John. We are to reveal Jesus to a broken world and to prepare the way of the second coming of Jesus. The questions I have to ask myself is this:

How am I revealing Jesus to the world? How am I preparing the hearts of people so that they are ready when Jesus comes back?

In some ways (the less interactive ways) I am doing fine. I write a Bible based blog that encourages others in their walk with God. My main goal with my blog is to point others to Jesus.

In other ways I have failed miserably. I am not comfortable bringing up Jesus in conversation. I pray that my life speaks for itself, but bringing up Jesus with others is not an easy thing for me. I am trying to do better though.

To that end, I am moving forward to establishing an in person single mom ministry. I debated on keeping it online, because of my own social awkwardness, but God spoke to my heart and made me realize that in order for relationships to be built, the ministry must be in person. I am preparing to share my vision with my church’s education team in April and I am both excited and nervous. I have met with a couple of ministry leaders already, sharing my vision and my testimony. Little by little God pushes me out of my comfort zone and prepares me to share my vision on a larger platform. I see the vision evolve as it takes shape in my own heart. I am grateful that I will be able to prepare the hearts of single mom families for the return of Jesus. I am grateful for the opportunity to reveal Jesus to a broken world.

My questions to you:

How are you revealing Jesus to the world? How are you preparing the hearts of the people for the second coming of Jesus?

As Christians, we are called to prepare a broken world for the return of Jesus. This is the ONE JOB for EVERY Christian. We need to be aware of how we can do that in our own lives. I am challenging you to step out of your comfort zone and reveal Jesus to those around you. God does not wish for any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). That is why he calls us to partner with Him to share the Good News of Jesus to those in our own little corner of the world. So, GO! And share what God has done in your life!

I was blessed with the opportunity to write a guest post for faithcoffeeandakid.com. Chere Williams is the founder of a single mom ministry that hosts conferences, workshops, and podcasts. I was so excited to be able to minister to her single moms through the written word!

I was participating in a single parent retreat weekend in June of 2006 when God ignited a passion in me to serve the single mom. That is where it began and now, here I am 15 years later starting a single mom ministry in my church. FINALLY! It’s finally coming together. I will be working full-time serving single moms and it only took me 15 years! I know! I hear you asking, “what took you so long?” To read the rest of the article click HERE.

I’m sure it is no secret at this point that I am super passionate about serving single moms. I have spent 15 years getting to the point where God can actually use me in HIS ministry to single moms. It is my passion to advocate for the single mom, to educate the community about the single mom life, to break down those barriers to resources that are desperately needed in order for a single mom to move ahead. More than anything though, I simply want the single mom and her kids to know how much Jesus loves them. Single moms are judged unfairly by society. They are condemned by the church before they can share their story. They are afraid to ask for help. They and their children may desperately need help, but they put on a brave face until they are at their breaking point. They stay in abusive relationships because that may be easier than the struggles of going it alone. They don’t ask for help because they don’t want to be condemned for their lifestyle. They don’t reach out because they are afraid of being judged. We need to do better to love on that single mom who is leaving an abusive relationship. We need to do better to alleviate some of the physical needs of the single mom so that she can focus on her kids. We need to do better to build that supportive village for these moms and their children. We need to do better as Christians to have compassion on these moms who are struggling in isolation. It doesn’t matter why they are single moms. The only thing that matters to Jesus, is that we take them and their children in, we love on them and we build them up. We simply need to do better. I have shared some statistics below.

National Statistics

According to The Life Of A Single Mom Ministries (February 5, 2019):

  • There are 13 Million single moms raising 19 Million kids
  • 1 out of 5 kids is raised by a single mom
  • There are 300% more single mom led families now than in 1960
  • About ½ of single moms have never married
  • Childcare is sometimes more than half of a single mom’s income annually
  • ⅓ of single moms spend more than half of their income on housing
  • Only ⅓ of single moms receive child support
  • Around 40% of single moms are employed in low wage jobs
  • Snap Program: 59% of all recipients are single moms
  • TANF: 90% of recipients are single moms
  • ⅓ of single mom led families are food insecure
  • Single mom led families make up 60% of homeless families in the United States

Children living in single mom led households are at higher risk for:

  • Suicide
  • Poverty
  • Food insecurity
  • Imprisonment
  • Dropping out of school
  • Teenage pregnancies
  • Drugs
  • Crime 
  • Mental Illness
  • Academic Issues

Of the 13 MILLION single moms in the United States, 9 MILLION of them do NOT attend church. That is 69% of single moms do NOT attend church! (TLSM November 13, 2019)

The single mom family has become a mission field in itself. 

There are over 300,000 churches in the United States and only 1% of those churches have a single mom ministry. 

Basic Needs Of A Single Mom

  • Car repairs
  • House repairs/maintenance
  • Yardwork/maintenance
  • Food 
  • Basic household items 
  • Diapers/baby items
  • Clothes
  • Childcare
  • Financial Assistance
  • Children’s needs (tutoring, mentoring, etc.)
  • Support system (Social Network) for herself and her kids
  • A Discipleship Program/group

Why do we need a single mom ministry?

Raising kids is hard enough when 2 parents are sharing the burden. Many couples are struggling financially to make ends meet on 2 incomes, not to mention the burden of  making sure household and parenting responsibilities are being taken care of. The single mom does not have that extra person to share the burden with. She is paying the bills on her own, along with balancing all of the other responsibilities on her own. Many single moms are also dealing with emotional baggage from past relationships or abuse. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a church to help alleviate some of that burden. When the church comes together to help the single mom and her children, we not only help to alleviate the physical burdens of the single mom journey, but we are also loving that single mom and her children to Jesus and isn’t that the most important thing? 

Single moms should NOT have to struggle alone! We as the Church need to be more proactive in helping single mom families. We need to quit talking and start doing. We need to put compassion into action. They and their children deserve so much better than what we have given them. My challenge to all Christians is to keep your heart and your eyes open to opportunities to serve the single moms around you. Build those relationships without judgement. Be that example of Jesus to these moms and their kids. You will receive your reward when that mom gives you a grateful smile with tears in her eyes or that child gives you a hug that you feel to your toes. It makes it all worth it!

I have been studying the book of Matthew recently. What caught my attention was how many times Jesus had compassion on people:

Matthew 15:32

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Matthew 20:34

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Matthew 14:14

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Jesus was a compassionate person. He didn’t just have compassion on the people though, His compassion always led to action. Jesus felt compassion and because of that compassion He fed thousands, He healed the sick and raised the dead.

When was the last time my compassion led to action?

When was the last time your compassion led to action?

While I am on the subject of compassion, let’s talk about LOVE.

1 John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Matthew 22:37-39

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

God IS love. Love is an action word. It is easy to say the words “I love you” but until you put action to the words, you miss the point. Love means feeling compassion for another person’s situation and putting compassion into action. Love means leaving judgement at the door and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. We all have our struggles that no one else knows about. We don’t know what a person’s past has been like or what challenges they have overcome or are overcoming.

GOD IS LOVE

JESUS HAD COMPASSION

Choose to be like Jesus. Put compassion into action.

It’s been three weeks since my last post. I usually try to do these Discovering Jesus posts every week or two, but life happens and here it is three weeks later.

Week one: I came down with a cold that completely drained me. I didn’t want to post, work on my single mom ministry or anything else. I just felt like I couldn’t do anything. These times can be really difficult. I didn’t want to pray or do my Bible study. I didn’t have the energy for it. I forgot that I can do nothing in my own strength.

Week two: My cold was better, but I still felt drained. I still did not want to do much as far as my blog or single mom ministry. I began to think that it was God’s way of slowing me down to give me “HIS” vision for this ministry. It was in NOT blogging and in NOT working on the ministry that God could tell me what HIS vision was.

Week three: I feel my energy coming back! I am working on a life coaching model to work on the physical areas of life in order for the single mom to create a peace filled, joyful and safe life for herself and her children. I want this to go hand in hand with my discipleship program. I have changed one aspect of the ministry and am ready to launch! It is coming together and I am excited about it! YAY! Thank you Jesus!!!

Matthew 12:25

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

This is where we are as a nation. We are divided in so many ways. Satan has divided us and he laughs at our foolishness. Even Christians are being revealed to be foolish. We are turning on each other and this nation is suffering for it.

PRAY AND REPENT!!!!!

There are so many people afraid of this President and his administration. There are so many that are afraid of President Trump and his administration. We have become distracted. These men and their cabinets are not the ones to fear. They can not harm us. We are not fighting against them, but against the devil. Equally, these men are NOT our saviors. We have ONE savior and HIS name is JESUS! He is the only one who can save this nation.

Do not worry about tomorrow. God is in control. Whatever happens, God still sits on the throne and HE is in control. He has already won the battle. Satan was defeated along time ago. We already have the victory through Jesus!