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

National Statistics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Basic Needs Of A Single Mom

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

Why do we need a single mom ministry?

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

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

I think most people around the world are reeling from the chaos that has been 2020. Here in the United States, we are emotionally overwhelmed from the pandemic, the racial/police tensions, and the election. We are a nation divided. I think we always have been, but we experience times of peace, as well as, times of discord. Are we a nation ready to implode? I don’t know. Will we recover? I hope so. I am afraid though that if we continue to stray further and further away from God, recovery may not be possible.

But all of that is beside the point. This blog post is about the lessons I have learned from 2020. This has been a tough year for me, but also a blessed year. I moved back from Georgia in March after saying that I would NEVER return. I had a shoulder injury that bothered me much of the year. We welcomed a precious granddaughter in March. My parents were supposed to visit in July for their bi-annual visit, but the pandemic happened and now it will be 3 years between visits. I have been blessed to be able to watch my grands this school year. So, it hasn’t been a horrible year. It has had it’s challenges, but what year doesn’t?

Now for the lessons I have learned in 2020:

  1. Change is inevitable – Change is part of life. Transition happens ALL the time. I have had to adapt to change this year. I moved back from Georgia after 10 months. It was a tough decision. I had determined that I was not moving back to Indiana, but it was a better place for me. When I returned, I moved in with my ex-husband Howard and his wife Tami. I struggled with this. Tami and I are best friends, but it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted. I have learned to embrace the changes in life, instead of fighting them. Change happens. Fighting only wears you down to the point of missing all the good stuff that is mixed in with the bad.
  2. God still performs miracles – I had an MRI on my shoulder in February that showed a partial tear in my rotator cuff. It caused me a significant amount of pain and I didn’t have full range of motion for several months. I prayed for healing in my shoulder. In July, another MRI showed no tear at all. Since then I have regained full range of motion with just a little discomfort and the pain is 95% gone. If I over stretch, I feel some pain, but it is so much better. I can use my arm again and I am so grateful for that! Miracles DO still happen.
  3. God knows best – When I moved to Georgia in May of 2019, I had planned on a happy life soaking in the sun and warmth year round. That was MY plan. That was NOT God’s plan. Because I did my own thing and was out of God’s will, life became pretty difficult there. I struggled in a way that I can’t even describe. God allows us free will. God allows us to make our own decisions. I wanted so badly to escape Indiana that I read into the open doors as a sign that I was in God’s will. I needed to know for myself that the grass was NOT greener on the other side of the country. God allowed that and now I am back in Indiana where I belong. God allows suffering to bring us closer to Him. It is often in our suffering that we seek Him the most.
  4. Be grateful for the simple things – I am a simple person. I don’t own a lot of material possessions. I don’t need a lot of things. I am grateful for what I do have. I am grateful for what I have access to through family and community. Who knew that we would ALL be thankful for a simple package of toilet paper or cleaning supplies. Some stores still have empty shelves where what we thought were necessary items once lived. We have ALL needed to prioritize what is absolutely necessary. I have become grateful for the basics. I am not taking anything for granted, because in a heart beat, it can all be gone.
  5. I need my family – From my dark place late 2019 and earlier this year, I thought that my family did not want me and that I would be better off somewhere alone in another community. I realized that my family can not be replaced. We bicker. We don’t “hear” each other when we should. We don’t always understand each other, but we are family. I need my family. In the midst of social distancing I have realized that my family is where I feel safe from the chaos of the world. My family is where I feel loved. My family knows me and accepts me, quirks and all. My life would not be the same if I was not with my family.

In this last week of 2020, I reflect on what I have learned. I encourage you to take a few minutes to do the same. 2020 has not been all bad. What are you grateful for? What good has come out of this year? What lessons have you learned?

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?

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.

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!

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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!