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The last 2 weeks have been about the 10 Commandments and community. I have officially become a member of the First Baptist Church of Terre Haute. I am excited about this and I can’t wait until the Covid restrictions are lifted and church life and fellowship can resume.

Commandment #3: Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.

Pastor John gave me something to think about on this one. He said that it is not just “using the Lord’s name in a blasphemous way” that is a sin, it is also living in such a way that brings disrespect or dishonor to the Lord. Anything that we as Christians do that would give God a bad reputation can be included under this commandment. I had never thought of it that way.

Commandment #4: Keep the Sabbath Holy.

This is a tough one and one in which I have heard Christians say isn’t valid anymore. I believe it is. God rested on the seventh day. He knows that in order to be healthy and perform at our peak levels that we need to rest. I think we have flexibility in that, but I think we need one day a week of rest and moments every day where we can rest our bodies and our minds. If God rested and I’m sure that Jesus rested than why would He expect anything different for us?

The Fall is upon us and the wind is blowing and their is a chill in the air. A wonderful time for family and community. God is around us always and I see Him in everything I do.

 

James 1:13-15

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Dear Single Mom,

Temptation is a part of life. Some temptations aren’t necessarily going to lead you into sin (if you splurge occasionally and buy that item that makes you smile). Other temptations WILL lead us into a lifestyle of sin and should be avoided at all costs. According to James 1, God does NOT tempt us. It is when we are led astray by our own evil desires that Satan gains a foothold into our lives and sin is able to slip in the door of our hearts.

We have to be constantly on guard.

1 Peter 5:8

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 

We need to be alert and of sober mind. Do not allow anything to alter your mental capacity to think straight.

How do we fight temptation?

Luke 22:40 tells us to pray that we will not fall into temptation.

We trust God:

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

James 4:7 tells us to submit ourselves to God and to resist the devil and he will flee from us.

There are 3 questions you need to ask yourself when facing a temptation:

If I do this will I bring glory and honor to God?

If I do this will I be setting a good example for my children?

Is this something I would want my children to do?

If the answer to these questions is NO then DON’T DO IT!

I know that facing down the devil when he is tempting us is not always easy, but allowing him to lead us into sin will only lead to a life of chaos, pain and emptiness. Do not give in to his manipulation tactics, his lies and his deception. He does not want what is best for you. He wants to separate you from the one who loves you, GOD.

If you are facing temptation today, submit to God and resist the devil. Resist him and he WILL flee. I am always here to pray and encourage if you need the extra support.

God loves you single mom and so do I!

Late Bloomers

 

 

Psalm 92:12-15

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

 

I had been waiting all Summer for our Morning Glory to bloom. About the middle of September, I decided that it wasn’t going to happen. I still occasionally took a peek to see if maybe, but I really wasn’t expecting it to happen at this point. AND THEN…IT DID!

It is what is called a late bloomer. I started thinking about how I could be considered a late bloomer. I am 50 and I have yet to live out my purpose/career/mission that many people discover in there 20’s. I have often been envious of those people. They just seemed like they had it all together and I have spent my younger years desperately searching for my “thing”. I am now working hard to start a single mom ministry, but I do still get frustrated because it seems like it is taking forever. My passion for this ministry began in 2006 when I was waist deep in the mud of my own single mom journey. It has taken 14 years to even get to this point. I have had to remind myself that…

ALL GOOD THINGS HAPPEN IN GOD’S TIMING!!!

Maybe…

I had to be pruned

The timing wasn’t right yet

Other people or situations weren’t ready yet

We never know why God holds certain people back. I realize now that it is sometimes less about me and more about circumstances/timing that I have nothing to do with. I have found that I am in good company:

Noah was 500 hundred years old when he started building the Ark

Abram was 75 when God him from his home land to the land of Canaan

Moses was 80 when he led the Israelites out of the promise land

I am waiting patiently for this ministry to take off. In the mean time I write, I create and I pray.

If you are a late bloomer, don’t give up! God has a plan, a purpose and a perfect time to use YOU for His glory! Keep believing, keep deepening your relationship with God and keep praying. The time is coming for you to bloom!

 

 

Matthew 6:24

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

This past Sunday, we started a sermon series on the Ten Commandments. Commandment #1 is: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. It gave me something to reflect on this week. Do I have other gods before the ONE true God? Do I serve 2 masters?

Honestly, I have to ask myself if my worry, anxiety and fear is a god? Do I have more fear than I have faith? Does my worry outweigh my faith? I have to answer yes to both. I can not serve fear and step out of my comfort zone to do God’s will. I can not worry about tomorrow and have the faith that God will provide. I can not seek the approval of man (or woman) and also seek the approval of God. It is one or the other. It can not be both.

In other news, I became a member of the First Baptist Church of Terre Haute, Indiana this past Sunday. It is the church that Cherokee, Chris and their 5 kids attend. It has been exactly 10 years since we made the difficult decision to leave our family home church of 7 years. I attended other churches on my own, but none of them felt right. Churches are NOT one size fits all. I like a church that is in a traditional church building. I like a traditional sanctuary where light pours in through windows and there is no darkness to be found. I felt uncomfortable in the churches where the sanctuaries were dark and painted black. I felt like it was sacrilegious to have spot lights, smoke and treat a worship service like a rock concert. Sanctuaries are supposed to be filled with light, not darkness. It bothered me. I like the traditional church experience and sense of family/community. That’s just me. The most important thing is that I have to feel Jesus. It was not easy to make a commitment, but when I moved back from Georgia I knew that in order to move ahead, I needed to make that commitment. I needed to find that church home. I feel at peace with my decision. I am putting God first in all things and I am trusting Him with my life.

What Would You Ask For?

 

 

1 Kings 3:5-10

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

 

When God asked Solomon to name one thing that he wanted, Solomon said that he wanted discernment (wisdom). He knew that in order to lead the Israelites, he would need discernment. God was pleased with Solomon’s request and gave him what he had asked for.

If we could ask God for one thing and be assured that we would be granted what we asked for, what would you ask for? Be careful! Think carefully! Once the request is granted, there are no take backs.

1 Kings 3:11-14

11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

As a struggling single mom, it would be easy for me to ask for riches, a brand new car and a fancy house. I haven’t asked for those things. I do ask for guidance as I pursue my purpose. I ask for protection for myself and my kids. I ask for provision (our basic needs met). I ask for discernment. If I asked for riches, it would be to help other single moms. I would still live the same as I do now and I would use the rest to benefit other single mom families. There have definitely been times when I wanted the security of having a few more dollars in the bank. There have definitely been times when I have cried out in frustration for a brand new or near new car. As I have reflected on this question in my own life, I have to ask myself what would happen if I had the riches, the nice house and the brand new car. The answer? I would depend less on God. I would turn away from God in my comfort. Having a car that breaks down or needs tires replaced all the time keeps me dependent on God. Living in a house that is older and  simple keeps me focused on the simplicity of following Jesus. Having a ton of money would allow me to help other single moms and would allow me to live more comfortably, but there is a danger in being self sufficient. We start to rely on ourselves more and rely on God less. I tell myself that I wouldn’t turn from God, but I already know that I like to try to control things. I like to have MY own way. I am a people pleaser. I like to get the accolades of a job well done. In my praise seeking I would forget that it is God that deserves the glory. Not me. If it wasn’t for God I would have and would be, nothing. If I was really comfortable would my relationship with God be the same. No. It is my dependence on God that builds my faith and my prayer life.

CHALLENGE:

I challenge you to reflect on the question: If I could ask God for anything, what would I ask for? Remember to be careful what you ask for! Is what you asking for going to bring you closer to God or separate you from God? Is what you are asking for in God’s will? Anything that will cause a disconnect between us and God is NOT worth it! God will give you what you want. He answers prayers every day for His people. Make sure that what you are asking for will bring glory to the Father. That is our #1 priority in this life.

 

 

Article #4 is up!

This is my last article with The Life Of A Single Mom Ministries. It has been a blessing to be able to love millions of single moms for Jesus through their website. I am looking forward to where God will lead me next!

It has been a tough year for so many people, but it has been especially difficult for the single mom. This has been a year of job losses, financial hardships, child care issues, homeschooling, etc…Read the rest of the article here.

 

 

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

Isaiah 7:9

…If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

 

God continues to refine my character. I’m sure that will always be the case, since I am human and will continue to make mistakes and sin. These last 2 weeks, God has given me these 2 verses in my Bible study time to reflect on.

Search me God, and know my heart – I can not hide anything from God. He already knows my secrets, my sin, my hidden skeletons that I try to keep from everyone else. God knows it all! I don’t want to keep anything from God and I don’t want to live in a way that would make me want to hide things from God. I want to live with a pure heart. I want to live in such a way that God is glorified in everything I do.

Dear Lord,

Search me and know my heart. If there is any sin lurking in the dark recesses of my heart, reveal it and give me the strength and courage to confront the sin that separates me from you. I don’t want to live a lie. I want everything laid bare before your throne. Forgive me for those things that do not please you and purify my heart.

Test me and know my anxious thoughts – The Word of God says that we are not to be anxious for anything. When we become anxious about a situation, the devil wins. When we allow anxiety to creep in, we are disconnecting ourselves from God, because we are believing that God can not work in the situation that we are facing. I have written before about my anxiety. God knows every anxious thought that I have. He knows what causes me to worry. I want to live a life free of the anxiety and worry. I want God to test me and find the faith that I write about. I want God to find me faithful in living my Christian life.

Dear Father in heaven,

Test me, Lord, and find me faithful and not fearful. Help me to face my circumstances from a faith-filled perspective and not a fear-filled perspective. I know that you are all powerful and are more than capable of performing life changing miracles on my behalf. Help me to live that out in my Christian walk. Faith over fear. 

See if there is any offensive way in me – Sin keeps me disconnected from God. He will not answer my prayers when there is sin in my life.

Dear Father, 

Convict me of any sin that is living in me. Despite the discomfort, prune me to bring about the fruit of the Spirit that will glorify you. I don’t want to live a life disconnected from you. I don’t want sin in my life. I am willing to do the hard work. Transform me. Purify my heart. 

Lead me in the way everlasting – I want to always be on the narrow path. I don’t want anything to lead me astray. It isn’t easy. I get distracted by the shiny things in life and need the Holy Spirit to redirect me and bring me back to the path of life.

Dear Abba Father,

Guide me down the narrow path. Please don’t allow me to be distracted by the things of this world. Those things keep me from obeying your commands and doing your will. You are my #1 priority and my focus needs to be on you always. 

If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all – I want to stand firm. I don’t want my fear of man to keep me from standing firm in my belief in God. I do not want to be the person who spouts her Christianity, but then falls to the world when push comes to shove. That possibility bothers me and it is something that I wrestle with.

Dear Holy of holies,

I want to stand firm in my faith. Give me that courage to stand firm in my relationship with you. I know that you have covered me with your wings and that you are my refuge in the day of trouble. Help me not to give in or run, but to stand against those who challenge your name. YOU are the ALMIGHTY, the ALL POWERFUL, ONE AND ONLY GOD and no one will ever change that. 

Amen

Sometimes, I like to break a verse down and pray it back to God or apply it to my life. The Word of God is ALIVE and can transform our lives if we allow it too. I love my Bible study time and my prayer time. Whatever brings me closer to God is a good thing!

 

Dear single mom,

I know how long your to-do list can get. I know how hard it can be to be torn between work, household chores, the kids school/after school activities and other obligations. There were times when I felt like someone had placed me on a hamster wheel and I would never get off. It’s hard to say NO when you are faced with activities/events that are important to you or your kids.

Reality check: 

You can’t do everything. Trying to will drive you crazy and keep you from enjoying quality time with your kiddos. It’s important for everyone to set priorities, but even more so for the single mom who is juggling more plates by herself. Some of the top priorities for me are listed below:

  1. God– He is #1 period! Nothing else matters if He is not at the center of our family and our daily lives. Everything I do revolves around my relationship with God. Every decision I make is made according to what will glorify God and be in God’s will. I prioritize prayer, Bible study, and church. I am not perfect. I mess up, but I am determined not to let my relationship with God fall by the wayside.
  2. Myself– This might sound selfish, but realistically if you are not healthy how can you take care of your kids? I try to find time for silence and solitude. I always loved taking bubble baths after the kids went to bed. I went to a community college and obtained my Associates degree in Human Services. I found time to get together with other adults. I tried to eat right, sleep right and exercise. I struggled emotionally, but tried not to let that affect the kids. I have to be honest, it did affect the kids. There were times when my emotional struggle was out of control. If we don’t take care of our own issues, we won’t be fully aware of our kids needs. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, our kids will suffer for it.
  3. Children– Typically, our kids are our #1 priority. I take care of myself, but even if I am sick, my kids still need to be taken care of. I had pneumonia for 6 weeks a few years ago. The doctor eventually told me that either I stayed home from work or I was going to be hospitalized. I agreed to stay home, because I had 5 kids to take care of. I did what I had to for the kids, trying to take care of me at the same time. Remember though, the only way to make it through all the activities, appointments, and kid issues is to take care of ourselves. I have found it easier to take care of the kids when I center my life on God and take care of myself.
  4. Home– I was completely overwhelmed with housework. I had 5 kids in a 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom house. There were toys everywhere, laundry was piled up and it was lived in. There were times when it was a mess and I did the minimum of keeping the trash picked up, doing the laundry and doing the dishes. There were also other times when it was organized and orderly. I encourage you to find a way to make housework easier and involve the kids. It doesn’t have to be immaculate. Make housework a team sport and make it fun. Create new family traditions with your kids. Create a family night where you do crafts, watch movies, have a Bible study, etc. The main thing is to make the home a safe place for you and your kids to come to when life gets tough. Whatever you need to do to create that space for all of you, I encourage you to do it.
  5. Others– The above 4 should be your top priorities. After that you can decide where your attention needs to be.

 

Setting priorities is not always easy. There will be times when things overlap and you have to make the hard choice. There will be times when work has to come before a child’s activity. There will be times when a child’s illness will prevent you from going to work or a social event with friends. There will always be choices. The only priority I do not change though is keeping God #1. If God is not at the center everything else falls apart. What are your priorities? Do your normal activities fall into those categories? I encourage you to take a look at your activities and how they align with God’s word. I also encourage you to see where your life may be out of balance. A balanced life is a peace filled life.

 

I have been reading You Are The Girl For The Job, By Jess Connolly. In the book she talks about overcoming the fear of not being good enough to pursue whatever God is leading us to pursue. She reminds us that throughout the Bible God chose the unequipped, uneducated, every day, ordinary people to accomplish His goals.

Moses had a stutter and had murdered a man

David was a shepherd, had an affair with a married woman AND had her husband killed so he could have her as his own

Rahab was a prostitute and is now in the genealogy of Jesus

Paul killed Christians

Peter denied Jesus 3 times

The disciples were known to bicker and argue about who was the most important of them

The disciples were also known to lack faith at times

Matthew was a tax collector (a job that was looked down upon in Bible times)

The women in Luke chapter 8 who traveled with and supported Jesus and the disciples had all been healed of some ailment/demon possession

The list goes on…

None of these people or any other person in the Bible was perfect, besides Jesus Himself. God can and does use people of all skill levels, walks of life, social status, education level, etc. It doesn’t matter who I am. It doesn’t matter who you are. God has a purpose that is tailor made for me. God has a purpose that is tailor made for you.

I need to let go of the I’m not good enough mindset and remember the God who created me does NOT make mistakes. I have to quit listening to voices around me that say that what I am pursuing is a waste of time. I need to tune out those who tell me that I need to get a real job, because that is the only way to have an income, that somehow I am lesser than because I am choosing to pursue God’s work instead of joining the others on the hamster wheel of life.

I choose to put my faith in the God of all resources. I have faults, idiosyncrasies, quirks, and imperfections. I also have certain skills, passions, and gifts that make me who I am. God challenges us sometimes. He pushes us to do what we feel we are not equipped to do. And we doubt our own ability instead of focusing on HIS ability.

Maybe that is because the Church itself judges us and our abilities instead of letting us serve where our passion lies. We can not serve on the worship team unless we are a good enough singer/musician. We can not be a speaker unless we are eloquent and do not stutter. We can not share unless what we are sharing fits in with the agenda of the leaders. Jesus chose those who were willing to follow Him. The Church of today says that if we are to serve then we need to at least appear to be perfect. A willingness to serve is not good enough. A passion for a specific area is not good enough. For all intents and purposes Paul was an enemy of Jesus, but God used him anyway. God chose Paul to be the role model of the apostles.

Never let anyone tell you that you aren’t the girl for the job! I may not have a paying job right now. I may be socially awkward and I get tongue tied when in public, but I don’t care. I am 100% focused on God and what He says He needs me to do right now.

I AM THE GIRL FOR THE JOB!!!

YOU ARE THE GIRL FOR THE JOB!!!

Don’t let anyone tell you differently. God’s opinion is the only one that matters.

*I started doing these Discovering Jesus posts to discuss what I am learning on a weekly basis as I grow as a Christian. Life as a Christian is a process and we are ALWAYS growing and learning new things. These are posts from my heart and may seem fragmented at times as I am working through and trying to grasp issues myself. I hope that they help you as well.

 

 

 

Numbers 13:28-33

28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” 30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

 

Are you afraid of giants? The Israelites were. They were so terrified of the giants that they almost forfeited the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. The Israelites took their eyes off of the God who had performed numerous miracles on their behalf and started to focus on the giants in the land they were to conquer. They forgot one little piece of information, IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT, HE WILL BRING YOU THROUGH IT! Their fear cost them 40 years!

Do you have a dream? A goal? An every day struggle that won’t go away? Are you facing a circumstance of giant proportions? Are you tired of fighting only to have that giant look down and laugh at you? Are you more like the Israelites cowering in fear, afraid to claim what God has promised to you?

If this describes you in any way, don’t worry! I know exactly how you feel! I have been afraid of giants and truth be told, if I came upon a giant standing in my way today, I would probably be very tempted to run. Except that, running doesn’t always work. Those giants have a way of catching us or keeping us from our promised land.

There were two who gave the opposite report of the other spies. They didn’t deny that the giants would be formidable opponents, BUT they knew that God had already given them the land AND that God would fight for them. Their FAITH was BIGGER than their FEAR!

Challenge:

Make a list of all of the giants that you are facing right now. Ask yourself, are you the Israelites and cowering in fear? Or are you Joshua and Caleb, believing in the promise of God? If you are cowering in fear, I encourage you to pray for courage. If we ask for what we need, God is good to answer those prayers. God is in the battle with you. You are NOT fighting alone! Channel that inner Joshua and Caleb and go get what God promised you!

We will fight many battles in this life, but we do not have to fight alone. The Israelites ended up facing the giants and claiming the promised land. God was with them and He is with you too!