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Luke 7:11-17

11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.”17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

There is one phrase that really jumps out at me: When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” His heart went out to her! She did not approach Him, but when HE SAW HER His heart went out to her. Jesus has a heart for the widow. Jesus has a heart for the single mom. He knew her circumstances and He cared about her. He told her not to cry, revived her son and gave him back to his mother.

There have been many times in my journey as a single mom when Jesus has worked on my behalf before I prayed about the situation. There are times when I don’t think about praying for a specific situation and God works in that situation anyways. He does it because He loves me. He does it because He knows my heart. He does it because His heart goes out to those who are in need of a miracle.

There are so many single moms in the world, who are in need of a miracle. Are you one of them? Are you a paycheck away from becoming homeless? Are your kids heading down the wrong path? Are you simply overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn? Turn to the one whose heart goes out to you. Jesus can and will work a miracle in your situation. Why? Because He loves you and His heart goes out to you. You may feel that you are going to drown in your own tears, but hear the voice of our Savior. He is whispering to your heart, “Don’t cry.”

Whatever the circumstances of your life, know this single mom: Jesus has a heart for you and He is ready to perform a miracle in your life and the lives of your children. Dry your tears, hold your head up and trust in the miracle maker.

 

Martha And Mary

 

Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I am a Martha. I worry and get upset about many things and these things keep me from sitting at the feet of Jesus. I am a perfectionist. If everything is not perfect, I give up and start over. I can’t even count how many times I have started over in my attempt to read the Bible through in a year. The busyness of life would get in the way and I would give up. There is always a reason not to spend more time with Jesus, but in all reality, nothing else matters but that time sitting at the Master’s feet.

When our time comes to an end, everything else will pass away and the only thing that will matter is the time we spend with Jesus. I want to be a Mary. I want to be able to let everything else go and simply focus on my relationship with my Savior. I want to be able to let go of the busyness, the distractions, the worries and the fears and simply be able to abide in Jesus. I want to be one with Jesus. To let everything else slip away and simply BE with my Jesus.

How? How do I become a Mary in this world of chaos and distractions? It takes prioritizing our time. What can we give up in order to put Jesus first in our lives? For me technology is a big distraction that takes up too much of my time. I need to let go of my need to sit in front of my laptop and spend that time abiding with Christ.

What can you give up in order to spend more time with Jesus? What do you need to do in order to be a Mary in a Martha world? How can you make Jesus the #1 priority in your life?

 

 

Relationships can be hard. They cause you to be vulnerable. They cause you to trust that someone else will accept you imperfections and all. That they will be there, even when you blow it big time. That they will forgive you when you cause them pain. Relationships cause you to forgive when that someone else hurts you. Relationships cause you to open up your heart to the best and the worst in someone else and know that the relationship can withstand the tests of time. Relationships are not easy for me. I usually run before I can get to close. Other than my kids, grandkids, ex-husband and his wife, I have no other close relationships. I have no close friends, because I am afraid of opening myself up to that level of vulnerability. I am afraid of being judged. I am afraid of being rejected. I am afraid of being abandoned.

God is calling me into deeper relationship with the Sisters of Providence. I have tried to run from this relationship in the past, but God keeps me here. I have so much to learn from the Sisters and I have so much to give.

I do not make commitments lightly. For me, a commitment is a dedication of oneself to someone, a community or a cause. Honestly, I have made commitments and have backed out because of my fear of failure. I have made commitments and then have run because those commitments involve relationships.

In this process of becoming a Providence Associate, God is molding me and shaping me into something beautiful. It is sometimes painful though. During my time with God this morning, He spoke these words to my spirit, “Until you are fully committed, I cannot use you here.” These words broke me. To know that I am standing in the way of God using me fully breaks my heart. I have fought for so long to be away from this place that is called Terre Haute that it has become second nature. The grass is always greener in another city, or another place. God cannot use me until I become fully committed to being here in Terre Haute and to the Sisters of Providence. God also spoke to me through my daily Bible reading; Proverbs 12:11 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense. There are times in our lives when God has to be real with us or we may never get it.

The questions I have to ask myself are: am I ready to fully commit myself to the Sisters of Providence as an Associate? Am I ready to fully open myself up to that vulnerability that comes with building close relationships? Am I ready to open up my heart and share myself, imperfections and all with these Sisters that I love? Am I ready to trust them with my heart?

YES! I am ready! Every day is a challenge. There are times when I feel that I have shared to much and I want to run. There are times when I don’t get the reaction that I was looking for and I take it as rejection, so I want to run. My challenge is to allow those times to draw me closer to the ONE who loves me UNCONDITIONALLY and allow Him to mold me as I learn to be vulnerable.

There was one other impression that God implanted on my spirit today. God wants me to quit trying to plan my life around the needs of other people or my need to want to be around certain people in my life. I am to put HIM first. I have to be fully committed to God first. I am guilty of this. Unintentionally, I have tried to shove God into my need to be closer to so and so. It doesn’t work that way. I have to be fully present and fully committed to God and what is in my life right now. I have to stop trying to run away and focus on those who are in my life right now. Okay, I’m listening God.

I am excited and scared to see what is around the corner as I fully commit myself to God and as I fully commit myself to this relationship with the Sisters of Providence. But, I am ready. The Sisters have opened up their hearts and their community to me and I am ready to trust them with who I am.

ty-and-ava

 

 

large-4-wheeler

 

Matthew 21:22

And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Psalm 91:11-12

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

 

I am blessed and am praising God for protecting my 15 year old son, Ty. Ty (pictured above) was on a 4 wheeler about the size of the one pictured above Saturday, when the 4 wheeler flipped as they were going down a steep hill. Ty was thrown clear of the 4 wheeler. I am sure that had it landed on him, it would have killed him. Ty is not a very big guy and could have been killed. He scraped his leg up a bit and it is sore, but I thank God for answering the prayers of this mom and sending His angels to keep Ty from being pinned under the weight of that machine.

I am here to tell you not to give up on praying for your kids. Whatever the situation, God can and will protect your children. Never stop believing. Never stop praying. Our kids walk into situations everyday where God may intervene without our knowing it. We can’t be with them 24/7, especially when they grow up, but God is with them always. This is not the only situation where God has protected one of my kids. I trust Him to take care of my kids. I hope you do too. God is the only one who can protect them always. I, for one, am a very grateful mama!

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.