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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

 

I have spent 18 years as a single mom. That is more than twice the amount of time that I was married. There have been good times, as well as, bad times. There have been moments when I felt like I was nailing this single mom thing and then there have been times when I knew without a doubt that my kids would need some serious counseling because of me. My kids aren’t kids any more. They are adults who are growing into their own lives. My youngest, Ty has 11 months until he is 18. It is a bitter sweet moment for me. I’m not going to lie, I have had moments when I wished my kid’s childhoods away. Times when I thought that life would be so much easier if they were all grown up. Have I done enough to get them through the challenges that they will face in life? I hope so. I tried. I have always made them my priority. Amid the failures, God has blessed me by being ever present in this single parent journey. I wanted to mark this bittersweet moment by reflecting on the lessons that I have learned as a single mom.

  1. I Have Learned How To Pray – Through the ups, downs, tears, tantrums (not just from the kids!), joys, sorrows, anger and overwhelming love, God has taught me to pray. Not just the run of the mill prayer list prayers, but deep, heart wrenching, conversational prayers that has drawn me closer to God. I have learned to listen to that soft whisper of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is everything. Prayer is the number one thing that draws us to the heart of God. As a single mom, prayer has truly become my life-line.
  2. I Have Learned To Have Faith – God has shown me many, many times that HE LOVES ME! God has also shown me that HE LOVES MY KIDS! He has answered prayer after prayer (some spoken, some unspoken) and He has provided for us in ways that are truly miracles to me. At times when I felt like I was at the end of my rope, God was there for me. There were many times when I felt God’s presence comforting me, wrapping me in that peace that only God can give us. I will admit that there are times when my faith wavers, but God knows my heart. My faith in God is what keeps me going when I want to give up.
  3. I Have Learned Life Lessons From My Kids – I have learned so many lessons from my kids as they have grown and matured into responsible, compassionate, loving adults. They never cease to amaze me. They have had their bumps, but they always bounce back and as I watch them become adults, I gain wisdom for my own journey. Click HERE to read a series of posts I wrote on lessons I have learned from my kids.
  4. I Have Learned That They Are All Different – As they have grown into adults, I have learned that my kids are all different. Once upon a time I thought that they would ALL go to college/tech school, have great careers and live a happy life. I have learned that life and purpose are not one size fits all. They have each taken different routes, as far as, school and work. They each have different passions, strengths and weaknesses. The other part of the lesson for me has been to allow them each to figure things out for themselves. I give advice, but ultimately they have to figure out what is right for them. So, I encourage them each to do what only they can do.
  5. I Have Learned That Quality Time Can Be Simple – When the kids were little, we ate dinner at the table. We would share how our days were, share positive insights about each other and laugh much. We would go to the park and have picnics. At times, simply being together was enough. We didn’t have to be doing anything exciting or expensive, sharing life seemed to be enough.
  6. I Have Learned That I Am An Example Of Jesus To My Kids – It took me forever to get it through my head that I am a role model for my kids. I am that person that they will emulate. I am that person that they will get their values from. I behaved badly in the first few years. I was wracked with anger, bitterness and overwhelming hopelessness. No excuses though. I was setting a horrible example for them. Thanks to my friend, the Holy Spirit, I finally figured it out and started to be a role model that they can emulate. Am I perfect? Not a chance! Do I mess up? Absolutely! Every day! But I try. I don’t always get it right, but with God by my side, I do my best and leave the rest to Him.
  7. I Have Learned That Kids Have Feelings Too – I never really considered how the divorce affected the kids. I was so caught up in my own feelings that I never considered that the kids were hurting too. I never considered that they might be confused or have fears of their own. I have learned that, but a little late. Our kids feel the same emotions adults do. We all to often dismiss our kids feelings, but I have learned that if we ignore those feelings they will manifest themselves physically and usually not in good ways. Our kids deserve to be heard.
  8. I Have Learned To Apologize – I have already said that I have made mistakes. My kids have seen me at my worst and I have learned that even moms need to apologize. It shows that we are human. If I expect my kids to feel remorse for a wrongdoing then they need to know that there are times when we need to apologize when we blow it.
  9. I Have Learned That My Kids Aren’t Perfect – If I’m not perfect, why do I expect my kids to be perfect? As parents, we all to often, expect our kids to be perfect, to never misbehave, and to never fail. Why do we do this? We aren’t perfect! We misbehave! We fail! Why do we put these unrealistic expectations on our kids? We want better for them, but placing unrealistic expectations on them creates unneeded stress. My kids have had hard times. They have made bad decisions. I have learned that I have to grant them room to grow and learn from their mistakes.
  10. I Have Learned The Art Of Surrender – In my single mom journey I have had broken down cars or no car, I have worried about my kids, I have lived in poverty and I have wondered how I will ever survive. It has not been easy. I have struggled with trying to control everything. I have placed unneeded stress and anxiety on myself by thinking that I had to control everything. There are some things beyond our control. I have had to learn to surrender the challenges to the only one who controls ALL things: GOD.

It has been one heck of a roller coaster ride! It isn’t over yet! I will always be a single mom. My kids may be adults, but they will always need me. I still have Ty to guide into adulthood. I’m sure that as they grow they will continue to teach me life lessons. You are never to old to learn and grow and my kids have been my best teachers. Thank you Cherokee, Kiowa, Cree, Talon and Ty. You five are my heart!

 

 

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Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

I was at work this week and a Sister asked me how my daughter, Kiowa was doing. Kiowa has been stationed in Japan for 2 years now and with the threat from North Korea, the Sisters have been faithful prayer warriors. This question led to a conversation about world events (such as the school shooting in Florida and the mass killings in China) and how much hopelessness there is in the world. I mentioned how all of this despair can cause anxiety and worry and she mentioned the Bible verse that mentions the Proverbs 31 woman who can laugh at the days to come. I reflected on that verse for the rest of the day and looked it up as soon as I got home.

Having the ability to laugh at the days to come takes faith in God. Something that comes and goes with me. I can be the epitome of faith at one time and completely lack faith at another. Thinking about the days to come can cause me to shake in my shoes. Why is that? If I have complete faith in God like I’m supposed to, then why is it so hard for me to trust God with the days to come? Aren’t Christians supposed to have faith in God at all times? WHY IS IT SO HARD?

I want to be the woman who laughs at the days to come. I want to be the woman who has no fear of the future. I want to be the woman who trusts God with every situation that comes my way. How? How do I keep my faith from coming and going like leaves upon the wind? I know of two ways to strengthen my faith:

  1. Pray: God blesses us when we pray. God gave King Solomon wisdom when he prayed for wisdom and God will give us faith when we pray for faith. When we pray, God moves mountains on our behalf. He will answer our prayers for faith.
  2. Read the Bible: The Bible encourages us to be strong, to be courageous and to have faith. When we read the Bible we fill ourselves with the promises of God. We fill ourselves with the power of God through the Holy Spirit.

I remind myself that even King David’s faith wavered at times. The disciples didn’t always have faith. Peter denied Jesus 3 times, because he didn’t want to face the persecution that came with being a disciple. I am human. There are times when I may not have the faith of David facing Goliath, but the Bible says that if we have the faith of a mustard seed that NOTHING will be impossible for us (Matthew 17:20). Certainly, I can summon the faith of a mustard seed!

As the enemy continues to create chaos around the world and we see the pain and heartache caused by the evil he unleashes, I know that I really need to focus on becoming that woman that can laugh at the days to come.  I need to be in constant prayer and I need to be meditating day and night on the Word of God, so that I will be able to trust God completely with whatever the future holds. I don’t want to be that Christian that is found cowering in the corner, biting my nails, fretting over what may happen. I want to face the future with courage.

My challenge to you: if you find yourself lacking faith, I challenge you to pray and dig into the Bible. The world is a scary place and things aren’t getting better. We all need to find the faith to face these events with courage and faith. We all need to be able to trust God with our future. The goal of ALL Christians should be to have the faith of the Proverbs 31 woman and be able to laugh at the days to come. If we can not summon that faith then we will find ourselves locked in a prison of worry and fear.

If you find yourself struggling in your faith, or suffer from anxiety, worry or fear, contact me. I am here to pray with you and encourage you. I will walk with you as you build your faith in God. I know how hard it is. I’ve been there and on some days am still there. You do not have to suffer alone.

 

 

 

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steps of faith

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:7

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. 

Hebrews 11:29-30

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

The scriptures above are found in the faith verses of Hebrews 11. They all have one thing in common: God performed a miracle when Noah, Moses and Joshua stepped out in faith and obeyed what God told them to do. They could not see the future, but they trusted God to protect them. In faith, they took physical action and the miracles happened.

The story of Noah can be found in Genesis 6-9. God told Noah to build an ark, because He was going to wipe out mankind. He was done with their sinful ways. Noah was a righteous man, so God told Noah to build an ark to house Noah’s family and the animals. Noah could have sat in disobedience, thinking God was crazy, but he didn’t. Noah took that step of faith, built the ark and God saved Noah’s life and the lives of his family members. Not only did God save their lives, He sent a rainbow as a covenant between Himself and Noah, that He would never wipe out all of mankind again. We wouldn’t have the miracle of a rainbow, if Noah had not taken that step of faith.

In Exodus 14, we see the Israelites running in fear from the Egyptians. God tells Moses to tell the Israelites to move on. I can almost see the confused looks on the faces of the Israelites as they look ahead at the impassable Red Sea and wonder if Moses has gone insane. God tells Moses to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea. Moses obeys and God parts the Red Sea, so the Israelites cross on dry ground. As soon as the Israelites had crossed over, Moses again stretches out his hand and the sea goes back into place drowning the entire army of Pharaoh that had pursued them. Because Moses took that step of faith and raised his staff over the Red Sea, God performed a miracle in parting the sea and saving His children, the Israelites.

In Joshua 6, we see the Israelites marching around Jericho. When Joshua found out what God wanted him to do, he could have said, “God, these people will never do it. They will think I’ve lost my mind,” but he didn’t. Joshua takes that step of faith and the walls came tumbling down.

God wants us to partner with Him. He gives us a chance to be a part of His miracles, but we often miss the miracles, because we don’t take that step of faith. God is still in the miracle making business. We simply need to have the faith to take the physical action that God is telling us to take, before a miracle can happen.

What is the “ark” God is asking you to build to save you from the floods of life? What is the “Red Sea” in your life that God is asking you to stretch your arm over? What are the “walls” in your life that need circling before they will come tumbling down?

The Challenge:

No matter the circumstances in our lives, God can and will perform a miracle. Take the time, right now, to sit in prayer and ask God what action He wants you to take, so that He can perform a miracle in your life. Whether you are facing a flood, a “Red Sea” or a wall, God will bring you through it, just as He did with Noah, Moses and Joshua. What steps of faith is God asking you to take to deal with situations in your life?

If you need more inspiration, read the rest of the testimonies of faith found in Hebrews 11 and allow God to strengthen the faith muscle in you. Take that step of faith and watch your own walls come tumbling down.

 

 

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On The Edge: A Poem

 

 

girl on edge

On The Edge

Standing on the edge

Will I take the risk?

Heart pounding in my ears

Seeking peace

finding fear.

Giving up everything to follow God’s will.

Standing on the edge

and

time stands still.

The whisper of Jesus

soothes my soul

reminding me

that

I’m not alone.

God will provide

all that I need

and so

with faith and trust

I JUMP…

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blacksmith horseshoe

 

 

Isaiah 48:10

See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

When I read this verse, I am reminded of how a horseshoe is made.

Shaping

  • Horseshoe manufacturing begins with cutting steel into appropriate-length bars. The length is determined by the type of horseshoe being made. This is based on the kind and size of the horse, and whether stance (also referred to as horse conformation) issues need to be addressed. The bars are then heated to between 2,200 degrees and 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit, placed on a mold or horseshoe shape outline, and a machine bends them into the familiar U shape.

Forging

  • Most manufacturers use drop forging to press the bent metal into a horseshoe. The metal is forced into the die or mold using a powered hammer that is dropped on the metal, and then exerts a tremendous amount of force to form the final shape. The amount and length of the applied pressure is monitored and determined by a forger who operates that particular piece of equipment.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8783508_horseshoe-made.html

Just think about it…bars of steel are heated to between 2,200 degrees and 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit, placed on a mold, and then they are forced into their final shape by a machine that applies a tremendous amount of pressure to force the steel into the mold.

Sound familiar? We are those bars of steel that need to be bent into something that God can use. Sometimes the pressure God uses to bend us to His will can be uncomfortable or downright painful. He uses difficult circumstances or heartbreaking situations to mold us into a person who will glorify His name.

As a single mom, I have dealt with the fire of poverty for years now. I have struggled to pay the bills. I have felt the guilt over not being able to give my kids everything they want. I have never had the money to buy a newer, more reliable car, so I constantly worry about my vehicle breaking down. I am still in this situation. I am still being molded by this fire. I know what God wants from me, but it doesn’t make things any easier.

God is using my circumstances to mold me into a person who trusts HIM with every aspect of my life. I am a born worrier. I am working on this, though, because I want to glorify God with all of my heart. God wants me to be willing to step out in faith and surrender EVERYTHING I worry about to Him. Surrender my vehicle. Surrender my kids. Surrender my finances. My heavenly Father is getting me to the place where I am willing to let go of everything, believing that He will provide what we need. I really struggle with this. It is an every day battle, but I am growing in this area and I am learning every day to open my hand a little more and let go of what I can’t control. I have to have complete faith in the one who is in control: GOD. I’m a work in progress, but aren’t we all?

If God has placed you in the fire, there is a reason. He will not leave you there and you are not alone. Go to Him in prayer and ask Him what it is that you need to learn. Ask Him what heart issues need to be resolved before you can be that vessel that He can use. Then quiet your spirit and listen for the answer. Our loving Father will tell you what you need to know. Your situation is not hopeless. God is in control and ALWAYS will be. You WILL survive this and you will come out of it someone that God can use to glorify His name.

If you are in need of prayer or just need someone to talk to, contact me. I am here to walk through the fire with you. You are loved, my friend!

 

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single mom hand

My life as a single mom began with the bang of the gavel, in a quiet courthouse room on August 9, 2000. My life has been anything but quiet since then!

We had 4 kids at that time. The kids and I stayed in our home until I was accepted for Section 8 through our local Housing Authority. We moved into our own home in March of 2001. I was going to school full-time, working part-time and taking care of 4 kids 7 and under. I received a shock that same month that I was pregnant! It shouldn’t have been a shock. I was still involved with my ex-husband and was struggling to let go. The announcement that we were having another child was the end of our intimate relationship. He moved on with another woman and I was left with anger, depression, bitterness, hatred, fear, etc. You name it, I felt it! We still remained friends and he has been the family and support group that I did not have otherwise. My family lives in California and we live in Indiana. I was terrified of being left alone with 5 children. My ex-husband has always been determined that we would remain family. I have been blessed in that respect. Our oldest had just turned 8 when our youngest was born.

There were several times when my fear and anger consumed me and I behaved in ways that I hope I wouldn’t have otherwise. I attacked this woman physically 4 or 5 different times. These are not times that I am proud of. I set a horrible example for my children and certainly was not the example of Jesus to the world that I want to be. Fortunately, these were the early years and I’ve grown up since then.

I remember times when I just wanted to crawl in bed and never come out. My loneliness caused me to find comfort and support from a married co-worker. It never progressed passed an emotional affair, but it was still an affair. I knew it and God convicted me of it. I finally found another job and cut ties with this man.

I worked 20 hours a week, went to school full-time, took care of the household duties, and raised 5 children. I lived in poverty. I struggled to make ends meet, but they did meet. I was on section 8 and food stamps, but we had shelter and food. I can’t say that I was always faithful about tithing, but I did my best and God blessed us. I very rarely had to buy new clothes for the kids. When one needed clothes, clothes would show up in the way of friends or simply sitting on the porch from an anonymous benefactor. I shared vehicles with my ex-husband, because we always had vehicles breaking down.

13 years later, I am still a single mom and grandma. I have lived with my ex-husband and his now wife (the same woman I had attacked; we are now best friends, believe it or not!) since 2008 when our rental was sold unexpectedly. This arrangement has provided security for the kids. They have 3 adults that love them and support them. I was able to attain my Associates Degree in Human Services. I have a job that I like and am moving forward in starting a ministry for single moms.

This arrangement has been beneficial for us. I am still a single mom though and am feeling the need to stretch my wings and get my own place with my 4 children that are still at home. I have a feeling that God is working on opening some doors for us and I am really excited to see what is around the corner.

Through it all, God has been there. He has been my provider, my healer, my protector, my peace. I would not be here if it was not for my heavenly husband. I rest in His arms and I know I am safe. If you are struggling as a single mom and don’t know where to turn, contact me. I would love to help you navigate the waters of single motherhood. God loves you single mom!

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Fear Not

 

If we are honest with ourselves, we can ALL confess to being fearful of something. Dictionary.com defines fear as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined. Certainly, there are real dangers in the world that we have a right to be fearful of. On the other hand, many of our fears are imagined or we live in fear of what MIGHT happen. I have lived most of my life dealing with social phobias, panic attacks, partial agoraphobia, worry, and paranoia. I have let fear control my life to the extent of allowing my social phobias keep me from God’s will of sharing my testimony with other women and encouraging them in their relationship with God. I recently discovered that there is a “Fear Not” in almost every book of the Bible. God does not want us to live our lives trapped in a prison of fear. I was so afraid of being hurt and rejected because of past hurts and heartaches that I built a wall around my heart and became a prisoner of my fear. I am so much better now, but it is sometimes a day to day struggle. Will I “Fear Not” or will I allow my fears to control my life? Below are 10 of the “Fear Not” scriptures I have found. I pray that they encourage you as they have encouraged me.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Isaiah 35:4

say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Isaiah 43:5

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.

Isaiah 54:4

Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

Luke 2:10

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Luke 12:7

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Luke 12:32

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

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.

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