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I did my absolute favorite thing Tuesday morning: I went to the LIBRARY! I was so excited! I love the library. I love the smell of books. I love the comfortable feeling of being among friends who are just waiting to take you away to other lands if you just have the imagination to go along with them. The library is my happy place!

I had done some research the night before and decided that I wanted to start reading Jan Karon’s The Mitford Series. It is a series based in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The main character is a 60 year old Episcopalian rector named Father Tim. The book outlines the problems and shenanigans of a quirky bunch of characters that inhabit the town and how they affect the life of our dear rector. I am on chapter 8 of the first book, “At Home in Mitford” and I have been sucked in to a world of small town simplicity and charm. The best part, though, is that the series is a Christian based series and the nuggets of wisdom found within the stories is priceless.

Father Tim had dashed off a note to his brother Walter (who lives in Father Tim’s childhood home of Mississippi) and in that letter he had quoted Hebrews 4:16 Let us, therefore, come BOLDLY (with confidence NIV) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Father Tim then reflects on how he needs to Preach BOLDLY! Love BOLDLY! Jog BOLDLY! And most crucial of all, do NOT approach God whining or begging, but boldly—as a child of the King.

This really spoke to me, because on occasion I have been known to whine a little. I have also been known to beg when things get really rough. This passage reminds me that I can pray BOLDLY and with confidence because I am a child of the King of Kings. I can boldly and with confidence pray and trust that God will faithfully hold to His promises. I can Live BOLDLY! I can Serve single moms BOLDLY! I can Share my testimony BOLDLY! I can do all these things with the confidence that God has my back.

Luke 11:9-13

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

We can trust our Father to give us good gifts. We can approach Him boldly and with confidence. We don’t have to whine or beg like a petulant child. We can put our trust in His promises. We can live life boldly when we live for HIM!

I celebrated my 51st birthday on Tuesday. I have always loved my birthday, but this years lack of fanfare left me feeling forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, all 5 of my kids acknowledged my birthday, but I’m still not sure if it was simply out of obligation. No presents and I am planning my own birthday dinner for Monday night when my daughter, Cree and her husband get back from California. I was disappointed, to say the least. I have had other years like this and it never really bothered me before. I guess the difference is that this year my kids are adults with lives of their own. They are supposed to move into their own lives and be productive members of society.

BUT THEY AREN’T SUPPOSED TO FORGET THEIR PARENTS!!!

At least that is my opinion. Before you think that I am throwing my kids under the bus, the Holy Spirit used my pity party to convict me of my own relationship with my parents and asked me a very disturbing question, “What do you do for your parents?” Yep! I was quickly humbled and had to admit that I haven’t done near enough to celebrate my parent’s birthdays or their wedding anniversaries. In my defense, my parents live in California and I live in Indiana, but there is no excuse for the many years when I didn’t send a card much less acknowledge their birthdays. The last few years I have sent a card and sometimes a gift card for a restaurant that they like, but honestly I have not done near enough. My parents are in their mid 70’s and have been married for 52 years. I need to do more for my own parents. I need to set the example.

I also need to remember that the world does NOT revolve around me. They have their own lives. They have or will be creating their own families. As much as it hurts, I have to remember that this is all a good thing. I realize that it hurts because I lived on my own with the kids for many years. In a way it seems like I am losing them and that I will be alone. I guess that’s why the lack of fanfare for my birthday really hurt me this year. It’s a transition and transitions can cause discomfort and even some emotional pain.

SO WHAT WILL I DO WITH ALL OF THIS?

I’m definitely NOT going to wallow in it! I will enjoy my belated dinner Monday night and accept the little gifts of love that my kids do give all year round. I will enjoy being a part of my grandkids lives and watching them grow in their own relationships with God. Ava, who will be 8 on Sunday has talked to our church Children’s Director about being baptized! THIS is what I get to be a part of EVERY DAY! I am building a single mom ministry and a single mom community as well. I am now part of a loving church. I am reaching out to community agencies and have had wonderful responses from several of them. I will be reaching out to other local churches in the near future and as I reach out I know that my own community/support system will grow. What do you do as a single mom when your kids grow up and leave you behind? You find that one thing that you are passionate about and create a community around that. You reach out and create a new you. You do what you had been putting off for years. You quit feeling sorry for yourself.

I love my kids abundantly and I am so proud of who they are and are becoming. My intention is never to make them feel guilty for growing up. This is about my having to deal with emotions. We CAN control our emotions. We CAN control how we feel. If we focus on God and allow His Spirit to abide in us.

I have shared a little about my financial situation as I step out in obedience to God and start LIFE Single Mom Ministry. I had a full-time job for 8 years and I was miserable. I knew that I was called to do more, but I lived in fear of failing. I had more fear than I had faith. In May of 2019, I left my job and moved to Georgia to live with my daughter, Kiowa, for 10 months. Although, God brought me back to Terre Haute, Indiana the move was necessary. It was a time of discomfort and pruning, but it was also a time of a deepening of my relationship with God and a growing of my faith. It has been just over two years since I left my job and I have not run out of money as I have worked on establishing LIFE Single Mom Ministry. I have lived frugally and I have/am living on the kindness of others. I give and I contribute as God leads. I also pay for all of my own personal needs. In two years I have not been under $1,200.00. God provides as I step out in faith.

I do NOT have an income as I step into the role of full-time ministry leader. I have at times allowed the negative comments of the naysayers to plant a seed of doubt in my mind. Words like, “You can’t live like this” or “It isn’t Biblical” or “You are just lazy” and “You need to get a job and contribute”. In those times, I have to trust in what God tells me and NOT in what those around me say.

In my study of 2 Corinthians chapter 9 this morning, God blessed me with this promise:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

If we give generously, remembering that ALL THINGS belong to God, then the promise is that God is able to bless us abundantly, so that in ALL things at ALL times, having ALL that we need, we will abound in every good work. This is the promise that I hang onto.

The other promise that I hang onto is Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

And Malachi 3:10

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

And Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

And 1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

And Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And John 15:7

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

I obey God, not man.

I live for God, not man.

I seek God, not the approval of man.

I trust in the promises of God, not in the words of man.

This is my testimony. I will step out in faith and obedience to the one and only God, trusting Him alone.

We can ALWAYS put our trust in the promises of God. Seek God’s Word and know that He will never lie to you!

I have officially launched LIFE Single Mom Ministry! I have launched a ministry blog, but I will still be posting here to share whatever God lays on my heart. I will also be continuing my posts for single moms on this blog. The ministry blog will be completely ministry related with a post thrown in here and there on single mom statistics and how we can serve the single mom family.

To visit the LIFE Single Mom Ministry website click HERE

To visit the LIFE Single Mom Ministry Facebook page click HERE

1 Philippians 1:6

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

I have been seeing this verse quite a bit lately and it popped up again in the children’s sermon at church this morning. Is God trying to tell me something?

I love this verse! Any time I get overwhelmed or discouraged by the amount of work I need to do I remember that God will finish what He started. Any time I get worried or anxious about my financial situation I remember that God will provide and equip me to do the work that He has called me too.

I am turning 51 tomorrow and I start to wonder if it’s to late. But then I remember that I am more equipped now having been through the fire of single motherhood. My faith has grown so much through the last few years as I learned about God and really started to lean on God.

This verse says that I can be confident that God will finish the good work that He started in me. The definition of confident is having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something, being certain of your abilities, or having trust in people, plans, or the future. I know that I won’t succeed on my own. I do, however, trust in God to give me the ability to succeed. I am CONFIDENT in God!

Luke 1:45

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

When God says that He will complete the good work that He has begun in me, I BELIEVE IT! I believe that He WILL fulfill His promises to me. He is a good and faithful God. I trust in Him and Him alone. To emphasize His point yesterday, we sang the Lion and the Lamb. The one phrase that keeps repeating itself in my mind is, “who can stop the Lord Almighty?” No one can stop the Lord from completing His will. NO ONE!

I love receiving lessons from the Lord. He speaks to us in ways that encourage and motivate us. It’s in the quiet whispers of a sermon or a song or a Bible scripture that He speaks to us. My heart is open. Is yours?

Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God!

This is one of my favorite Bible verses and probably the one I struggle with the most. I don’t like to wait. I don’t like the feeling of being stuck in difficult situations. I don’t like feeling like things will never change. My response to these situations is always to try to control the situation myself. I try to speed up the process. I try to manipulate God until I think MY will is HIS will. It NEVER works! I end up feeling frustrated and desperate on top of everything else I was originally feeling.

BE STILL!

This does not mean to sit on our bums and not do anything. This is the time to pray, read the Bible and prepare to fulfill God’s call. If we already know our purpose, then this is the time to prepare to fulfill that purpose. This means doing research in the field of our purpose, obtaining formal education in that field, talking to people already in the field to see what we need to know before we make the leap. This is the time to seek God and to prepare. If we do not know our purpose, but feel God’s call on our life, then this is the time to dig in and seek God on this matter. This is the time to pray through until we get an answer.

We also need to ask ourselves if God is making us wait because of our own sinful lifestyles or characteristics. Is He wanting to prune us before He moves us forward? What is He trying to teach us as we wait?

This time of stillness can be a very productive time. It gives us time to reflect. It gives us time to seek God with ALL OF OUR HEARTS as we wait on Him. It gives us time to ask ourselves the hard questions about our own character.

What am I waiting on?

I have finally been released to start LIFE Single Mom Ministry after 15 years of waiting. In that time of stillness I prepared and I sat at the throne of God seeking Him desperately. I allowed God to refine me into a woman that He could use in this ministry. This is a journey, but I am not near as stubborn and bull-headed as I once was. I am not near the whiny, petulant child that I once was. I have come a long way and I still have a long way to go. The ministry is moving forward now and for that I am grateful.

I am still waiting on God’s answer for an income. This is truly an exercise in faith building as I see my savings dwindle and nothing on the horizon. I trust God. I know that He has called me to run this ministry full-time and that my “income” will come from Him. God has provided for me AND 5 kids and He will NOT turn His back on me now.

What are you waiting on?

If God has called you to a season of stillness, seek Him first. We will only prolong the season if we rebel and refuse to cooperate. Believe me! I know from first hand experience how long God can keep us waiting until we decide to submit to His will. It’s a hard lesson and I want to save you the pain of learning the way I have. Rebelling against God will never work. God loves us and wants to use us in bringing the love and peace of Christ to others here on earth. He can not use us if we choose to be defiant.

AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

This is a command! We are to always remember that our God is in control of ALL things. There is nothing that He does not know or has not seen. There is nothing on this earth or in the heavens that happens that is out of His control. He stops some things from happening and He allows other things to happen. Remember in the beginning of the book of Job (If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to) when Satan and God were having a discussion about God’s servant Job? God gave His permission for Satan to strike Job. God also put conditions on what Satan was allowed to do. Even Satan can NOT act outside of God’s will! Let that sink in! Because He gave us free will to choose right and wrong, God does allow bad things to happen. That does NOT mean that He is not in control. HE IS!!! He is now and He ALWAYS will be! When you are in this waiting season, remember that He may be working behind the scenes to set things up for you. I can look back at the last 15 years and see where God was working on my behalf, even when I knew nothing about it. Pastor John told me that He has received complaints in the past of how the church treated single moms (parents). This is why he was so on board with starting a single mom ministry. God was working behind the scenes. Don’t ever think that he will leave you in the stillness. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He knows where you are and He is diligently working on His will for your life. Be patient! God is in control!

LIFE Single Mom Ministry has been launched! YAY! The ministry has found a home at Terre Haute First Baptist Church. I have just launched and am working on the Facebook page, website, single mom group, ministry cards, etc. but I was able to partner with my daughter Cree and her high school students to make Mother’s Day care baskets for 10 single moms at a local addiction recovery house. They are going through the hardest fight of their lives and they would have been ignored otherwise. I was also able to connect a disabled, single mom in another county with a church close to her to help her with some yard/housework. I am excited to see how God uses this ministry and the local community to reach the single mom.

I will be starting in person LIFE groups the 3rd week of August as long as pandemic restrictions allow. I am excited and nervous about this. I am excited because I believe this will be the real launch of the ministry. It will be so much easier to minister to these single moms and their children when we can meet together and build those relationships. It is so much harder to reach out when you can’t have that face-to-face connection. I am nervous because I will be leading the group. I keep pushing myself and God shows up, but it is still a day to day decision to choose faith over fear.

I will update as I get some things accomplished. It is a process and I am learning as I go. For now I invite you to visit the LIFE Single Mom Ministry Facebook page.

My daughter, Kiowa, gave me two devotionals, PRAY LIKE THIS: A 52-Week Prayer Journal and Trusting God day by day, by Joyce Meyer. I have spent the last two weeks devouring every scripture and every word, every day! It was definitely a gift from God because they have intertwined so much! They also have touched me right where I am right now.

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer

Psalm 34:4

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

1 John 5:14-15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.

Mark 10:27

Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Matthew 6:27

Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

2 Timothy 1:7

For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

It never ceases to amaze me how God uses His Word (the Holy Bible) to speak to us. The Bible is the LIVING Word of God and it breathes life into us. God speaks to me about prayer and worry. He reminds me that I CAN control my thoughts. I CAN renew my mind. I CAN CHOOSE to focus my thoughts on Him and not on the negative things going on around me. We need God’s Word. We need the Bible and sometimes God sends us devotionals to bring out the life of those words.

It was a gift that spoke to my soul and has lifted me up. Kiowa didn’t know how her gift would impact me, but God did. I love how He does that!

Are You Married?

As a single mom, the one thing that has always bothered me about the Church as a whole is the focus on marriage. You can walk into any church and know that couples will be accepted more readily than a single person. This makes sense I guess. Through the ages, marriage has been the normal progression of life for the majority of people. But, times have changed. People are NOT getting married as quickly as they once did, marriages are dissolving at an alarming rate and parents raising children alone are now the norm. Society is changing. The Church, however, is not.

There is one church that is trying to change the perspective of it’s congregation and I am blessed to be a member there. This past weekend at Terre Haute First Baptist Church, we met the candidate for our Associate Pastor of Discipleship position. He has experience in working with different age groups and I was very impressed by him. He was giving us some practical advice to carry with us in the week ahead and I was struck by the wisdom of his words.

He said (paraphrased):

“When you meet someone new this week, instead of asking, ‘Are you married?’ say, ‘Tell me about your family’.

Something so simple can break down those barriers to building a relationship that God can work through. When I approached our pastor about starting a single mom ministry, I mentioned the apathy of the Church towards the single mom. I mentioned that the majority of single moms do not feel welcome in the Church. He answered that (again I am paraphrasing here) the Church has held tight to the tradition of marriage and has a difficult time accepting anything different.

When a single mom walks into a church with kids in tow, the assumption is that she is married. If you ask, “Are you married?” you will push her away. If you say, “tell me about your family” you will open the door to a conversation. I can tell you this because of my own experiences with the dreaded “are you married?” question. My typical answer now is, “I’m married to God.” This answer is my truth.

The latest statistics say that 85% of the 15 million single moms (raising 22 million children) in the United States do NOT attend church. We need to do more to bring in the single mom without adding shame. Marriage is the ideal for many people, but not for everyone. Without knowing the single mom’s story, that one insensitive question can remind her of the pain of an abusive marriage, a failed marriage, the shame of a one night stand, etc. We need to have compassion from the moment a single mom walks thru the doors of our churches. We need to build a relationship with her. Yes, we may have to confront the sin, but from a place of compassion and love following the example of Jesus.

“Tell me about your family” Gives her the option of telling you what she wants you to know right now. Help her to feel safe in the conversation. The rest of the story will come when she feels comfortable enough to share it.

The Church should NOT treat the single mom as someone to ostracize. She should not be shamed and made to wear an invisible, but still flesh burning scarlet letter. Her children should not be treated as though they are “less than” because they are being raised by a single mom. The Church MUST do better if we are to change the heartbreaking statistics.

Traditions can be changed. Ideals can be changed. Sometimes they must be changed to keep up with an ever changing society. The Church can change, but we must be willing, as Christians, to change our perspectives. We must be willing, as Christians, to embrace other lifestyles that may challenge those long standing traditions of the Church. It can be done. If we are open to showing the love and compassion of Jesus. If we are open to letting go of our own preconceived ideals of what a family should look like.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAMILY

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!