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Posts Tagged ‘dear single mom’

 

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.

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Dear single mom,

Have you ever picked up the Bible, but put it back down feeling overwhelmed? I have! The Bible can be intimidating! You have this BOOK of 66 separate books that somehow fit together and point us to Jesus. The New Testament is easier to read than the Old Testament, but where do you start?

There are experts and non experts who swear up and down that EVERYONE MUST read through the Bible at least once. I actually did that one year. What did I retain or get out of it? Absolutely nothing. WAIT! WHAT??? Okay, I’m sure I got something out of it since it is the Bible and it is alive and all, but really, it was such a fast paced plan that I felt that it became something to check off of my to-do list rather than something I WANTED to do to learn more about my God. I got bored and bogged down somewhere around Numbers and almost gave up. I continued to muddle through, but my passion for the project was gone and I don’t remember much about what I read.

So, what do I suggest? 

Study one book at a time – With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, choose a book of the Bible to start with. As you read through it, answer the main questions: When, What, Why, Where, Who, and How. How does this book fit into the overall scheme of the Bible (God’s plan to bring restoration through Jesus)? Are there verses in this book that are commands that you can apply to your daily life? How is God speaking to you through this book? I like studying one book per month. Some books will take longer and there are those that are short enough that you can study 2, 3 or more in one month. Read 1 or 2 chapters a day or whatever is comfortable to you. This is NOT a race! Remember, the goal is to RETAIN what you study. The goal is to FEEL the Holy Spirit as He works through His Word. The goal is to GROW in your relationship with God as you read through His Word.

Journal – There are different methods of Bible journaling and you can look them up on the internet, but I find that I get the most out of my study when I answer the questions that I listed above. I also, like to pray scripture. I will write down the verse(s) in prayer form. Praying God’s Word back to Him can be powerful. When you read a scripture that speaks to your heart or a situation that you are dealing with, write it down and reflect on how God is using this verse to encourage you, guide you, or speaking to you in any other way and then pray that verse back to Him.

Listen – If we pay attention, God will speak through His Word. The Holy Spirit works through the Bible bringing it to life for those who believe. The Bible has the ability to transform lives like no other book ever written. If we listen, God will use the Bible to speak to us and give us the wisdom we need to muddle through this thing called life.

I encourage you to start reading the Bible today! Start in the Gospels where you can read about the life and ministry of Jesus from those who walked with Him. The 4 Gospels are written by 4 different men, to 4 different people groups, from 4 different perspectives. I am always here to walk beside you in your single mom journey. Contact me if you need encouragement, prayers, support, or anything else. Be blessed single mom!

 

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Dear single mom,

I know that prayer can be intimidating, but think of it as a conversation with your best friend. God wants to hear about our lives. Yes, He does already know everything, but He wants US to share our lives with Him. He wants US to WANT to share our lives with Him.

Prayer is a conversation with God. God hears us when we pour our hearts from a place of desperation, pray for our kids, intercede on behalf of someone else or a situation. God is also a loving God who wants to bless us. He wants to give us good things, but we need to ask first. We need to pray in order for God to work in our lives and our situations. We need to pray according to His will, making sure that our motivations are in line with His word, 1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. James 4:2-3 You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

It took some time for me to really get comfortable praying. It isn’t something that you can “learn” how to do by reading about it. You simply have to dive in and “Just Do It!”

Here are 3 ways of praying that have transformed my prayer life:

  1. Continual Conversation – As I go about my day, I focus on the presence of God. I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in everything that I do. I carry on a conversation as I go about my business. I thank God for the good, the blessings as I come across them (they can be little things, like a rainbow, harvesting vegetables from the garden, flowers blooming in our garden, or the simple kindness of a stranger). I cry out to God when I read about injustice or an accident that has happened. I pray for the victims of crimes as I read about them. I pour out my heart when someone hurts me or I am facing a situation that causes me heartache. I also, pour out my heart when I know that I have acted in a way that dishonors God. I start my prayer when I get out of bed and I end it at the end of the day, when I ask for protection during the night. When I carry on a continual conversation with God throughout my day, it reminds me that God is with me always. I can feel His presence in a very real way and it is AWESOME!
  2. Journal – I love to write, so journaling is a given for me. I don’t have a fancy journal or do any fancy artwork in it. I have a five subject spiral notebook (they have more pages) and I simply write as my heart desires. Some days, I write pages and pages or some days I write half a page. There may be 2 or 3 days when I don’t write. Because I am in continual conversation with God, I am still praying, but there are times when pouring out my heart in a journal helps me process better. It’s just the act of writing it out that seems to bring some peace. Sometimes getting it out of your head and on paper can make something that seems complicated seem pretty simple. Sometimes we get a different perspective when we get out of our heads by writing down our thoughts and prayers.
  3. Listen – As I go about my day focusing on the presence of God, I listen to what HE has to say to ME. I keep my heart open to the little ways that He may be leading me or the whispers of advice that He may be giving me. Conversation is not just about talking, it is about listening too. God will speak to us, but we need to be listening.

I used to be intimidated by people who prayed the big, eloquent prayers. I’m not any more. God is going to be more willing to answer the simple prayer of a single mom who sincerely prays, “Lord, help me” than the long, flowery prayer of someone who is just looking to build him/herself up. God is not looking for perfection. He is looking for a sincere, obedient heart.

I encourage you, single mom, to get a notebook and write out a prayer to God. Don’t think about what you are writing. Allow your heart to speak from the experiences of your life and you will be surprised at what flows out. It may feel awkward at first, but it will become more natural the more you focus on God. Open your heart and allow God to become real in your life and you will see the miracles that believing in Him can bring.

 

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Dear single mom,

Isaiah 54:5-6

For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.

When I first heard this verse, it opened my heart to a new perspective of God. I was at a single mom weekend in 2006, when the speaker, Lori Little, shared this verse. I had always known of God as my Father, but when I heard this verse, God met me in my pain and it changed my life. When I started to see God as my Husband, my perspective on earthly relationships changed. Earthly relationships are good, but they can not take the place of our relationship with God.

What is a husband’s role? 

Provider

Protector

Comforter

Listener

Companion

Guide

Wise Counsel

 

Did I leave anything out? These are ALL things that we can find in God.

Provider – God has provided for me and my kids for the 20 years that I have been a single mom. We have never gone without clothes, food, transportation, housing, etc. We have always had what we needed. There were times when I would start to notice that one or two of the kids were outgrowing their clothes and before I had time to address the need, I would come home to trash bags full of clothes for the child in need plus the others. We have never been without. In what way is God, your husband, providing for you and your kids?

Protector – God has protected us individually and as a family. I completely believe that He has His angels surrounding us during the day and as we sleep, because I pray protection over us. There have been situations that could have been so much worse without God’s intervention. I feel His presence on a daily basis. In what ways has God, your husband, protected you and your kids?

Comforter – Life as a single mom is littered with tears. There have been times when my only prayer was, “Don’t let me go.” In those times I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit like a cozy blanket that allows me to grieve and heal. God wraps me in His love and whispers His love to my heart in ways that allow me to believe that despite my circumstances, I am worthy and I am loved. In what ways has God, your husband, comforted you lately?

Listener – God listens as I pour out my heart. He listens as I pour out my prayer requests. He knows my heart and He cares. He listens and He answers in the rainbows, the songs of the birds, the sighting of a Cardinal, the beautiful hue of a sunset, the babbling waters of a creek and in so many other ways. He answers in simple but deeply meaningful ways. In what ways has God, your husband, shown that He is listening to you?

Companion – God is a 24/7 presence in my life. He is my companion. He is the one I share random conversations with as I go through my day. He is the one who is there when I am heartbroken over bad news and He is there when I am rejoicing good news. I rest on the promise God gives us in Hebrews 13:5 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. I know that I can take God at His word. I trust Him completely.

Guide – Just as God guided the Israelites by cloud during the day and by fire at night, I know that the Holy Spirit guides me in my single mom journey. In any decision I need to make, the Holy Spirit, is a prayer away and ready to step in to guide me. He is not going to let me hang in the wind. He will lead me in the way I must go.

Wise Counsel – I know that if I am burdened by any issue or am living in sin, the Holy Spirit, in love will deal with my heart. If I listen, He will tell me how to restore any situation that I might find myself in. He is always present to tell us how to navigate life as a single mom.

Soon after the single mom retreat, I realized that the role God played in my life had changed. No longer was He the Father that looked after me as I grew up. He was now my Husband and I knew, instinctively, that He was ALL that I needed. I made a vow to remain celibate not long after the retreat and I have never looked back. I don’t expect you to follow me into celibacy! I am asking you to give God a chance today to be the husband that you need. Maybe forever or until He brings a Godly man into your life to fill that role. You NEED Him, single mom! Whether you know it or not.

Challenge:

I challenge you to research the ways in which God (Holy Spirit) fills the role as husband in our lives. Start by finding scriptures for the roles listed above and expand from there. If you find others that aren’t listed, please send them to me! I love feedback and hearing from other single moms!

 

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Dear Single Mom,

I know! I know! Who has time to think about healing? You have been tossed into this new life of being a single mom, possibly blindsided to boot, and you are barely able to keep your head above water. Who has time to heal? Let me tell you something right now, IT’S OKAY TO FOCUS ON HEALING!!! You need to heal to be the best mom possible for your kids.

I wish I could tell you that I made healing a priority early on. I did not and my kids suffered for it. I was a HOT MESS of emotions and they were the ones who had to see their mom seething with rage, trying to beat up their dad’s new girlfriend (they have been together now for 20 years and she is my BEST FRIEND). I was so overwhelmed with guilt, fear, hate, rage, bitterness, you get the point, that I failed to see that they were affected too. I made it all about me and it wasn’t all about me. Their dad has ALWAYS been in their lives and he has ALWAYS been about his kids and taking care of them, but they had to adjust to a co-mom, 4 new brothers, and a new house for us. I wish that I had focused on my healing at the beginning. If I had then I could have been there as a whole person for them. I wasn’t whole. I was a broken mess and I added to my kids burdens.

Living in regret doesn’t solve anything, so I am using my experience to tell you to focus on healing NOW! Don’t wait. I wish someone had told me that at the beginning. I learned the hard way. I am fortunate that I renewed my faith in God and began to heal the pain of my past. My kids are fine for the most part. I am blessed to be able to share my testimony with you and walk with you in your journey.

REMINDER:

You know that heartache and anger that you are feeling? Imagine what your child must be dealing with. Add confusion to the mix, because they don’t understand, and you have a child who may act out when he/she never did before. Your child may become withdrawn or depressed. I know it seems selfish to think about our own healing first, but until we are whole we can’t appropriately help our kids heal.

Don’t let any more time go by without focusing on your healing, single mom. Your kids need you mentally and emotionally healthy. If you need guidance in your healing, visit my L.I.F.E program page. It is an e-coaching program that focuses on healing and transformation. I will be there 100% of the way. You are not alone in this single mom! It’s time to heal!

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Dear Single Mom,

I know how easy it is to feel anger towards or even hate your kid’s father. I know how easy it is to stay in that defensive position of, “Well he did such and such. He deserves every bad thing that happens to him.” I know how easy it is to get stuck in that resentment and bitterness. I’ve been there! I have been eaten up with hatred and bitterness. I had so much rage inside me that I became physical and went after a woman who is now my ex-husband’s wife and my best friend. I’m here to tell you that anger and hatred just eats you up inside. It doesn’t stop the other person from moving on and being happy. It hurts you and in extension, your kids.

Forgiving a wrong is never easy. It may take daily reminders to let go of the negative feelings and forgive the wrong. Heck, it might take hour by hour reminders, but you deserve the peace that comes with letting go. Your kids deserve to have a peace-filled mom who can model forgiveness and grace.

Here’s what the Bible says about forgiveness:

Colossians 3:13

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Matthew 6:14-15

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Ephesians 4:26
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Psalm 4:4
Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
While we are talking about forgiveness, is there anything you have done to cause someone else hardship or pain? It goes both ways single mom. I challenge you to do some research on your own and see how God feels about un- repented sin. God expects us to ask for forgiveness when we wrong someone else. We need to ask God’s forgiveness and then make things right with the other person when appropriate. If you wrong your child, repent, and ask forgiveness. When we confess our sin and ask forgiveness, we are setting an example of how a Christian should act, in front of our kids. And don’t think for a second that they don’t see your sin. I hate to tell you, friend, they see more than we realize or want to admit.
Real peace comes from the act of forgiving and from making right a wrong that we have done to someone else. Allow your kids to see forgiveness in action and you will be setting an example that they will carry for the rest of their lives.

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Dear Single mom,

Did you know that you are beautiful? YOU ARE! I know that it is hard to feel beautiful when you are exhausted from juggling job, kids, homework, housework, and the to-do list. It is hard to feel beautiful when you are up to your ears in dirty diapers, piles of laundry, a sink full of dishes and the other daily messes that kids of all ages tend to make. But, what you see as the dirt and mess of an overwhelmed mom, God sees as the beauty of a mom who has made the decision to do the hard thing. God sees the beauty of a mom who is there for the long haul and who is not going to quit when the days are long and the kids are sick.

This is what God says about YOU:

Zechariah 2:8

For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!

Galatians 3:26

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 

Romans 8:17

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Genesis 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

This is not all that God says about you. I encourage you to do your own research to see what else God says about you. You are STRONG! You are WORTHY! You are LOVED!

If you need prayer, a compassionate ear, or an encouraging word, please contact me. I am here for you, single mom! I have been where you are and I am here to walk your journey with you.

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Dear Single Mom,

This has been a crazy year and it isn’t over yet! I know that many of you have lost your jobs due to the Coronavirus and many of you have struggled to balance job and e-learning. As we head into a school year that will be an adjustment period for parents, teachers and students, know that you are NOT alone in your struggle.

Your life has been tough enough already, without the added stress of a pandemic. On a normal day, you balance job, bills, housework, discipline, homework, meals, demands from the ex, and other miscellaneous responsibilities. You are stressed out, depressed, and lacking sleep. I have walked in your shoes, single mom, and I am here to tell you that certain situations may not change, but life can be better!

If I did not have Jesus in my life, I would not be here. I am being real with you. Will having a relationship with Jesus suddenly make the Coronavirus disappear? No. Will you still struggle in some aspects of your single mom journey? More than likely. Life is not perfect. Welcome to a fallen world, where sin and evil lurk, waiting to snatch whatever happiness we have been lucky enough to grasp.

The answer, plain and simple is Jesus! When you have a deep, abiding relationship with Jesus, this is what God promises that you will have in your life:

HOPE

Isaiah 40:31

But those who hope in the Lord, shall renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. 

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” Declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

LOVE

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

1 John 4:9-11

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Romans 8:37-39

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

JOY

Romans 12:12

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

Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Nehemiah 8:10

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

PEACE

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Phillipians 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.

Psalm 4:8

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

REFUGE

Isaiah 54:10

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Psalm 91:9-13

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 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. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

I offer these verses as encouragement in these precarious times. I challenge you to continue the search for other scriptures on the above topics. The verses I listed are in no way exhaustive and much comfort can be found in the pages of the Bible. You may wonder if these promises are really meant for you. In Mark 9:23 Jesus tells us that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE FOR THE ONE WHO BELIEVES! Have HOPE that you will find JOY and PEACE in the ONE who LOVES you and HE will be your REFUGE!

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