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Posts Tagged ‘God is in control’

 

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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I received a call from Kiowa (my Air Force daughter) one afternoon, which is not unusual in itself, but she had an interesting story to tell me. She lives about 40 minutes from her base and along her route there is an intersection with stop signs that Semi’s don’t like to stop for. She had told me this before when I visited in May and had added that there are many wrecks due to the Semi’s running the signs and hitting other vehicles. She continued to tell me that on her way to work that morning, she realized that she had forgotten her rain gear and it was supposed to rain. She works outside and rain gear is a must. She was already half way to work, but turned around and headed back home. On her way back to work, as she approached the above intersection she realized that there had been an accident and clean-up was underway. A Semi had hit another car. She did the calculations in timing and realized that had she not gone back, that it could have been her. She drives a small Mazda Miata. Her little 2-seat sports car would not have fared well if it had been hit by a Semi. She said the other car was a larger vehicle and everyone was okay.

Kiowa knew that this was a “God-thing.” She recognized that God had sent her back and had probably saved her life. Many times when we are inconvenienced in any way, we become impatient. We rant and possibly become hazards on the road because we have been inconvenienced and are now in a hurry. We become angry with everyone in our way. We struggle to find God in the situation. I have learned two things from Kiowa’s story:

  1. Be Patient– God won’t always tell us why we are being inconvenienced. He expects us to trust Him and be patient. Our inconveniences may not always be to save us from harm. God may be putting us in a position to minister to someone else. God may be using us to save someone else’s life. There is always a reason for wild goose chases. Be patient when God sends you on one and look around you to see if there is someone who needs a helping hand or simply an encouraging word.
  2. Be Obedient– If Kiowa had not been obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, this story could have ended much differently. I thank God for keeping her safe! We need to be obedient in ALL situations. We may never know when God is saving our life or someone else’s life, but when the Holy Spirit starts to lead us down an inconvenient path, Be obedient. God knows exactly what He is doing and sees everything that is going on. Trust Him! He may be saving our life or using us to save a life. Either way, we need to trust that He is in control and be obedient to that nudging of the Holy Spirit.

I learned from Kiowa’s experience. I am not always patient when God sends me back for something I forgot or something comes up at an inconvenient time. I have a tendency to whine and complain. I need to be more like Kiowa. She saw God in the situation. She was able to see the bigger picture.

Dearest Lord,

Give me a patient heart. Help me to see the bigger picture when I am inconvenienced. Help me to see YOU in the wild goose chases of life. Help me be patient when I am inconvenienced and give me eyes to see the “someone” who may need a helping hand or an encouraging word. Give me a heart to love those who so desperately need someone to love them. Help me to realize when you are using me to save a life and more than anything, Lord, give me an obedient heart. Give me a heart that follows the nudging of the Holy Spirit no matter what. I long to do your will. Praise you, Father!   Amen

 

 

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Pray Always

 

 

I have recently read 2 passages of scripture that are very similar in context. I believe there may be more than these 2, but I decided to focus on these 2 passages for this post.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I was struck by the similarities in these 2 passages and realized that if God is repeating himself, then it must be important. These passages had 3 common instructions for every day living:

1. Rejoice– According to http://www.vocabulary.com, rejoicing is celebration or festivity. In Thessalonians 5:16 we are told to Rejoice always. I know that this is not easy in this day and age. On a daily basis, we are dealing with the demands of work and kids, all while trying to get everything done on a to- do list that’s a mile long. Believe me, I understand. As I was thinking about this concept, I realized that if “to rejoice” means “to celebrate” than rejoicing is simply a celebration of life. I don’t have to like some of the aspects of being a single mom. I don’t have to like when my kids act up or the car breaks down, but I will continue to rejoice and celebrate this life God has given me.

2. Pray– Philippians 4:6 tells us that in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, we should present our requests to God. We are also told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we are to pray continually. How often do you pray when you are at work or running errands? Do you remember to pray for that annoying co-worker, the guy that cuts you off in traffic, or that cross cashier? Do you remember to pray when you are in a traffic jam or when things aren’t turning out the way you expected? Honestly, I forget to pray for the people that irritate me. I forget to pray for patience while standing in a check out line. I forget to pray for God to use frustrating situations to mold my character, so that I can be the woman He wants me to be. I have found that I have to be intentional about praying in every situation. The question I ask myself is, “Why is it so easy for me to run to my kids to complain about so and so or this and that, but not communicate with a God who wants to hear about every aspect of my day?” It is something I need to pray about and change so that I am in obedience to God.

3. Give Thanks– Philippians 4:6 tells us that by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, we should present our requests to God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances. I have to admit that sometimes I find God’s commands downright hard to obey! Give thanks when my kids are screaming at each other? Give thanks when my car has a flat and I am flat broke? Give thanks when the roadways are iced over and I have to go to work? Are you kidding me, God? You expect me to give thanks? Yes, He does. Honestly, I would much rather complain about my circumstances, but where does that get me? Feeling miserable, negative and toxic. I don’t like feeling like that. I give thanks that I have 5 kids with healthy lungs. I give thanks that I have a car in the first place. I give thanks that I serve a God of unlimited resources. I give thanks that I serve a God that has a legion of angels that protect me on the roadways when the roads are one slick sheet of ice. I am so thankful that I serve a God that is in control of all things!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that these 3 commands are God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. We live our lives seeking God’s will for us, but never bother to look in the one place where He actually tells us what His will is: the Bible. I’m guilty of this myself, so I’m not pointing fingers. If you want to know God’s will, read the Bible!

In Philippians 4:4-7 Paul, also gives us 2 other principles to apply to our daily christian walk:

1. Be Gentle– Philippians 4:5 tells us to let our gentleness be evident to all. I have always tried to teach my kids to be gentle with their belongings, with animals, and with their younger siblings. As a mom, have I been that model of gentleness that I want them to see? I hope so. I know there are times when I have failed miserably, but I try. Knowing that God gives us a direct command to be gentle, I will try harder to be that role model of gentleness that not only my kids and grand kids need to see, but the world as well. We live in a world of harsh words, hate crimes, and evil intentions; we need some gentleness in our lives.

2. Do Not Be Anxious– Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything in Philippians 4:6. Living in a world of terrorism, war and evil, it is hard not to be anxious. My kids are growing up and going out into the world and I worry about them. At the end of the day, I know that there isn’t anything going on in the world that God doesn’t know about. My worrying isn’t going to help anything. I have to let God be God and live my life knowing that He is in control. I can hear Him telling me, “Go on about your day, I’ve got this.”

When we obey God’s commands, He has promised certain things:

1. He Is Near– Philippians 4:5 tells us that the Lord is near. In every situation and circumstance that we find ourselves in, the Lord is near. He knows intimately our heartaches and our joys. He is near when our children leave home for the first time. He is near when we find ourselves broke and homeless. He is near when our loved ones pass away and we are drowning in our grief. He is near. He knows what we go through on a daily basis and He wants to walk through this life with us.

2. We Will Have Peace- Philippians 4:7 tells us that when we obey the commands that God has given that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. When we rejoice; when we pray; when we give thanks; when we practice gentleness; when we give our worries to God: God promises that we will have a such a peace that we will never understand it and this peace will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. I know there are days when I could use some peace, how about you?

I hope I have given you some food for thought, as you discern who God is to you. We each have our own unique relationship with Him and He relates to each of us differently, as I relate to each of my 5 kids differently. In this relationship, our heavenly Father does have certain commands that He wants each of us to follow for our own benefit. He loves us and doesn’t want us to suffer needlessly. We make rules for our children, because we love them and want to protect them and God makes rules to protect us from the harshness of the world.

He never expects us to walk out His will alone. He is always with us and He gives us others to help us up when we fall. If you need a hand up today, let me know. I am here for you as you seek God’s will for your life. I am here for you as you start to implement God’s commands into your life. You never have to walk alone. How can I help you? How can I pray for you?

Remember always, that God loves you and so do I!

 

 

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