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Church was cancelled for the foreseeable future. We are facing restrictions again due the spike in Covid 19 cases in Indiana. It seems like it will never end. We live in fear for ourselves and our families. It has been a tough year, but God has NOT left us!

Thanksgiving is next week! We usually do a community Thanksgiving meal for the family, neighbors, homeless, those alone and we deliver to those who can’t get out, but this year we can’t do our dinner. We will be doing a smaller version for our kids and their families. Last year we served 101 people. As much as we are disappointed to be giving this up, we are also weary and ready for a smaller, simpler holiday.

This has been a year of changes and transitions. We are finding ourselves having to do things differently and re-think the way some things have always been done. We have had to find a new normal. There is goodness. In the midst of the negativity and sadness, we have to choose to find the goodness. God is good. God is love. We have to choose to find the positive in life or we will die. Maybe not physically, but our hearts and our spirits will gradually die from the negativity and harshness of the world. We have to choose to unplug from the negativity and plug into what is good.

GOOD NEWS! I found a local non-profit that is willing to work with me on creating my single mom ministry (L.I.F.E Discipleship program and Blessing Boxes) in the new year. I am really excited about this! I am also very nervous! God is pushing me out of my comfort zone and it scares me. Will I have the knowledge and skills to develop a full fledged ministry? Taking it one step at a time I can do this. With God by my side, I can do this.

Remember always, choose faith over fear. Choose God over the hate in this world. Be blessed my friends!

I have had a passion to disciple single moms for 14 years now. At the time that God started to plant this seed in my heart, I was in the middle of the storm myself and was not ready to minister to other single moms. I have now been a single mom for 20 years. I have raised 5 children to adulthood. I have grown in my own walk with God and am now in the place to disciple and serve other single moms who may be struggling. As I was writing the steps of this program I found myself wishing that I had had a program like this while I was stuck in the mud of my single mom journey. For the first years of my journey I was so caught up in my own anger and bitterness that I could not see that my kids were dealing with their own emotional stuff. I was not able to effectively help my kids navigate their own issues, because I was carrying a burden of my own. This was a major factor in my wanting to create a discipleship program that not only addressed building a lifestyle of prayer and Bible study, but would bring healing of present and past hurts through the love of God, allowing single moms to parent from a place of wholeness which in turn will bring healing to their children.

L.I.F.E stands for Living Intentionally For Eternity. As Christians we choose to live intentionally for Jesus. Every decision is intentionally made to glorify the God that created us. Our reward for living intentionally for God? An eternal life in the presence of our Lord and King, Jesus.

The 10 steps of the L.I.F.E Discipleship program:

  1. Discover who God is– In order to grow in our relationship with God, we need to know who God is. We can not build a strong, intimate relationship with someone that we do not know well. Intimate relationships take time and nurturing. My own relationship with God has taken years of prayer, Bible study, obedience and trust to grow to the point of faith that I am at now. I know who God is in every season of my life. I trust Him to be an ever present refuge in this life of uncertainty. The Christian walk is a journey. I am not perfect. I still have days when I feel disconnected from God. This is always do to something on my end causing the disconnect. In those times, I pray harder, dig deeper into the Bible and search my heart for issues that need resolved. But because I know that God will never leave me nor forsake me(Deuteronomy 31:6) I can work through the issues and maintain my faith that God is still present in my life.
  2. Discover your identity in Jesus– When I became a single mom I did not know that God loved me. My marriage of 7 years had just failed. My husband had left me for another woman and I felt alone and abandoned. I felt unworthy of love. If my husband did not love me enough to stay, why would God love me? It took me many years to realize that God loves me more than I could ever imagine. He loves me so much that He has counted every hair on my head (Luke 12:7). In time I have come to fully realize how valuable I am to God. You are valuable to God too! God looks upon us and our struggles with love and compassion. We need to know who we are in Jesus in order to live lives of confidence and courage, knowing that we are victors because God is the one fighting for us.
  3. Identify sin patterns– We can not grow in our relationship with God when we are living a lifestyle of sin. We will continue to feel disconnected from God until we recognize the sin in our lives. Being the imperfect person that I am, I had to own the sin in my life and deal with it in order for my relationship with God to grow. We are creatures of habit and it may be necessary to assess the activities in our lives on a regular basis to make sure that we are not falling back into sinful patterns.
  4. Find freedom through repentance– Once we identify the sin in our lives, we need to repent of that sin. This is not an easy step. It means confessing our deep dark secrets to God and trusting that He will understand and forgive. The good news is that He is a God of grace and will forgive when we confess and repent. He understands our human nature and knows that we will continue to sin. That doesn’t mean to give up and not try. It simply means that we will occasionally fail in our attempts. The bad news is that God already knows when we blow it. When you sleep with that guy that you aren’t married to, God knows. When you get drunk with your kids in the house, God knows. God sees it all! He is that light in the darkness and there is nowhere that you can hide.
  5. Find freedom through forgiveness– There are 2 sides to this one. We have to be willing to forgive others(even when they don’t ask!) and we have to be willing to ask God and others to forgive us when we sin against someone else. Forgiving others frees us of the burden of anger and hate. Asking forgiveness frees us of the shame we feel when we know that we have wronged someone. I have had to do both and neither one is easy, but both are necessary in order to move forward in peace.
  6. Heal the wounds of the past– Let’s face it, we carry our pasts into our present. How many of us will blame present lifestyle choices on our childhood or past relationships? At some point, we have to let go of the past and take responsibility of our choices. Somewhere in our growing up we reach that point where we have to surrender the past and start to choose our own values and how we want to live. Letting go is difficult, but we will never move forward when we have one foot stuck in the past.
  7. Overcome fear and anxiety– I have been paralyzed by fear and anxiety. Life as a single mom comes with uncertainty and hardship. I don’t know a single mom who hasn’t worried about how she was going to pay the bills or living with anxiety that the car will need tires or other repairs. We fear that our kids will grow up and repeat our mistakes. God does NOT give us a spirit of fear(2 Timothy 1:7). We can rest in the assurance that nothing escapes God’s notice. He sees all and He has whatever you are facing taken care of. He has your back, now and always.
  8. Discover your God given life purpose– God has a plan and a purpose for all of us. He has a special calling for each of us that call Him, Lord. This will be the fun part of the program. Searching your heart to find what you are passionate about. What is it that tugs on your heart? For me, it is serving single moms. It has been a long time in the making, but God is faithful and everything happens in His timing. It is exciting when God puts things together in a way that only God can. It gives you that push that you need to move forward. When we have confidence in God, mountains begin to move.
  9. Transform your life– God can and will transform your life, but He expects us to be partners in this journey. He expects us to do our part to transform our lives. We need to make a habit of prayer and Bible study. We need to find time to spend alone with God in prayer and worship. We need to find a community of believers to share our lives with. We need to simplify our lives so that God is our #1 focus. We need to make a plan that incorporates these disciplines into the fabric of our daily lives. We need to be intentional in our thoughts and activities. God needs to be at the center of our lives and family, not material possessions or a schedule full of energy draining activities. When we simplify our lives and focus on Him alone, we will see a peace and calm come over our homes that only God can bring.
  10. Maintaining a Godly lifestyle– In order to maintain any type of lifestyle, we need to make a commitment to the plan. We also need to be accountable. We need to check-in on a regular basis to see how we are feeling and if any changes need to be made. We need to remember to stay intentional in our pursuit of God. We also need to remember that this life is a journey, but the end goal is an eternity in the presence of God and Jesus. To me, that is well worth the effort.

As you go through the steps, you will use a journal to document your journey. Writing down our thoughts, Bible verses, experiences, and prayers helps us to “get out of our heads.” It also allows us to go back and see how God has transformed our hearts, lives and families.

This program was definitely a labor of love for me. I prayed over each step, wanting each single mom to find healing, as well as, implementing the necessary disciplines that allow us to grow in our relationship with God. This is not a Bible study that I expect single moms to do alone. I am here as the discipleship coach 100% of the way. I am in this for as long as it takes.

For more information on the L.I.F.E Discipleship Program please visit the program page here.

This has been a year full of anxiety and uncertainty for everyone. We have been dealing with a pandemic that is not showing signs of going away any time soon. We have seen racial tensions and hate destroying cities. We have been political pawns in a Presidential race that has become a war of Democrats vs. Republicans. Now we sit and wait to see what will happen to this beautiful country in the next 4 years.

We can sit and wait in fear or we can take time in this month of Thanksgiving to remember the good things that have happened. There have been good things. Here are 5 things that I am grateful for:

  1. My Family – I love my family. I am grateful for a family that sticks together and never gives up on each other. We are not perfect, but we accept each others imperfections and show each other grace.
  2. Technology – I am so grateful for the ability to video chat my daughter when she is stationed overseas. I am grateful for the ability to watch our church services online when in person services are suspended. I am grateful for the ability to write my blog posts that reach people around the world and hopefully will encourage someone.
  3. Simplicity – I am grateful for the simple things in life. I am grateful for the freedom that is gained in not being trapped by material possessions. I am grateful for the ability to pursue my God given passion.
  4. Provision – I am grateful to a God that provides for me even when I wander aimlessly. I am grateful for the miracles that God works on my behalf.
  5. Life – I am grateful for life. I struggle with a few health issues, but I am ALIVE!!!

These are only 5 of the things that I am grateful for. I challenge you to take some time this month or next month to find out what you are grateful for. What good things have happened for you this year? What are you grateful for?

This week has been a tense one as we waited impatiently to see who our next President would be. We are a nation divided over which man will save us from ourselves. We are asking a lot from one person. We expect one man to become our savior that will make this nation a utopia. It would take a lot to make it what it never was. From this nations birth, we have struggled with racial tensions. We pride ourselves for being a nation of immigrants, but we stole land from the Native Americans and forced them onto reservations where they have lived in poverty and deal with generational issues like alcoholism. We forced them to assimilate to the white culture that began to surround them. We brought Africans over to become slaves on plantations. They were treated horribly and forced to segregate because of color. The Japanese were forced into internment camps in the West. Those with Middle Eastern roots are ostracized because of our fear of radical Islam. Those from Mexico and South America work 7 days a week in the fields struggling to feed their families and forced to live in squalor. This is our history as a nation.

We have a history of division. North against South, Christians against non-Christians, Christians against Christians, whites against every one else. Throw in a pandemic on top of all of it and we become a nation of exhausted and weary citizens. We are tired of fighting oppression, fighting a pandemic, fighting racism, and fighting each other, but we refuse to embrace the only answer to our problems.

1967 Detroit, 5 days of violence, burning, and looting ended in 43 people dead, 342 injured, nearly 1,400 buildings burned and some 7,000 National Guard and U.S. Army troops called into service. Racial tensions were high, along with tensions with the police. Same scenario, different decade. We repeat history, fighting the same issues, the same way and we expect different results.

There is an answer.

His name is JESUS.

We keep fighting hate with hate and it doesn’t work. Why don’t we try something different? Why don’t we try love? Why don’t we try compassion? Why don’t we try to find unity instead of finding reasons to hate each other? Why don’t we give Jesus a chance?

If we want change in this nation it is time to start fighting differently.

We need to start fighting the hate with love…

JESUS!

Dear single mom,

Have you ever prayed about an issue or a circumstance, just to have God say no? It can be frustrating. Especially when God gives no reason behind the answer.

I have been praying non stop for over 2 1/2 years for my son-in-law to gain full-custody of his 2 sons. Without going into detail, I will say that the boys would have a more stable environment with my daughter and son-in-law. They have spent the last 2 1/2 years in a custody battle with his ex-wife. 2 1/2 years and $16,000.00 later the ruling is that everything will remain the same. This “same” arrangement has not worked in the past and I don’t see how it will work any different now, but this is how God answered my prayers.

WHY?

I still ask this question. Where is the justice for my son-in-law? Where is the justice for the boys? Why? We are to pray for justice for the oppressed and when we do, God leaves things the same way. Why?

God does not owe me an explanation. Part of being a Christian is trusting in God’s will. We have to believe that despite the way things seem, God is still in control and is working all things for the good for those who believe in Him.

This has been a difficult year. We have struggled with a pandemic, national division, fear and anxiety over who will be President, and division in the Church of America. We have seen anger and violence in the streets. We fear for ourselves and our children. We watch as Satan seems to gain more ground in this nation that was founded on Christian principles. We watch and we pray.

Luke 22:42

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Jesus did not want to die, but He was willing to do the will of His Father. He trusted His Father. He could have changed His fate, but He did not. He trusted the will of God.

We can not change who will be President. We can not change the ebb and flow of a pandemic. We can not change the hearts of those that are hell bent on violence and destruction. All we can do is:

PRAY…and

BURY OURSELVES IN THE BIBLE

Jesus prayed…and

Jesus buried Himself in God’s Word.

It is okay to pray for what we want, BUT we have to remember that God knows best. Praying God’s will should be our #1 priority. Ask for what we want, but ultimately we need to be willing to surrender the outcome to God.

When we bury ourselves in the Bible, we can stand on God’s promises and we grow in our faith. We can pray God’s Word back to Him, trusting in the outcome.

When God does not answer a prayer the way we want or think it should be answered, we have to trust in the ultimate goodness and love of God. There are times when we will not understand the answer to our prayers. We have to have faith that God has our best interest at heart. He knows ALL and sees ALL and only He can protect us from an unknown danger or set up a future miracle.

I am challenging myself to pray one simple prayer in ALL situations: Thy will be done.

I urge you to do the same. We can not change the outcomes of events. If Something is God’s will, we can only trust that He will be with us in the times of trouble. Do not worry!

Keep praying! Don’t let the chaos of today cause you to doubt God’s will for tomorrow. The schemes of the devil can not change God’s will. God may say NO, but we can stand firm trusting that it is for our best.

Commandment #6: You shall NOT murder!

Matthew 5:21-22

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

According to Biblestudytools.com Raca is a term of reproach meaning “worthless” while fool in this passage means a downright wicked person.

Pastor John picked a perfect time to remind us that murder is not just a physical act, but can be an act we commit in our hearts. I am weary of the hate and anger that is dividing this country right now. Even Christians are being divided by political ties and bashing each other for belonging to the “wrong” party. We call each other names because we don’t agree and even wish death upon those who don’t think as we do. Yes, even Christians are acting this way and it breaks my heart.

As Christians our only concern is to follow the will of God and God’s Word. If we seek God’s will on all of the issues then we will know who to vote for. God’s will is not going to be one way for some and another way for someone else. The Bible does not change. If we as members of the Church of America follow Jesus and do what is right by Him then we shouldn’t be divided. This division and hate is caused by Satan and we are falling into his trap. We used to be a nation based on God’s will and Godly values, but we allowed Satan to gain a foothold and now we think that it is okay to follow the ways of the world.

WAKE UP CHURCH OF AMERICA!

We are murdering each other with our name calling, disrespect, and judgmental attitudes. Any time we bash someone or judge someone because they belong to a different political party, we commit murder. Any time we look down on someone because they live in poverty or are homeless, we commit murder.

I have allowed this election to stir up my anxieties and fear. I have allowed the hate to cause me to live in fear about the future of this country. The hate that is coming from every corner (Christians can be the worst offenders!) is exhausting and I tend to internalize it all.

I allowed my focus to be taken off of my King Jesus. I allowed Satan to cause me to live in fear of the future. It doesn’t matter who wins this election, God has been and always will be in control. HIS will is all that matters. I have to keep my focus on God and not on the things and circumstances of this world.

Instead of murder in our hearts, can’t we live with love and compassion in our hearts. As Christians, can’t we drop our grudges and allow love to bridge this great divide that is causing the Church of America to implode.

I am tired. I am tired of it all and I pray that we can survive this. Will we ever learn? Maybe. I don’t know.

There is always hope in Jesus!

 

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.