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Posts Tagged ‘single moms’

I have had a passion to disciple single moms for 14 years now. At the time that God started to plant this seed in my heart, I was in the middle of the storm myself and was not ready to minister to other single moms. I have now been a single mom for 20 years. I have raised 5 children to adulthood. I have grown in my own walk with God and am now in the place to disciple and serve other single moms who may be struggling. As I was writing the steps of this program I found myself wishing that I had had a program like this while I was stuck in the mud of my single mom journey. For the first years of my journey I was so caught up in my own anger and bitterness that I could not see that my kids were dealing with their own emotional stuff. I was not able to effectively help my kids navigate their own issues, because I was carrying a burden of my own. This was a major factor in my wanting to create a discipleship program that not only addressed building a lifestyle of prayer and Bible study, but would bring healing of present and past hurts through the love of God, allowing single moms to parent from a place of wholeness which in turn will bring healing to their children.

L.I.F.E stands for Living Intentionally For Eternity. As Christians we choose to live intentionally for Jesus. Every decision is intentionally made to glorify the God that created us. Our reward for living intentionally for God? An eternal life in the presence of our Lord and King, Jesus.

The 10 steps of the L.I.F.E Discipleship program:

  1. Discover who God is– In order to grow in our relationship with God, we need to know who God is. We can not build a strong, intimate relationship with someone that we do not know well. Intimate relationships take time and nurturing. My own relationship with God has taken years of prayer, Bible study, obedience and trust to grow to the point of faith that I am at now. I know who God is in every season of my life. I trust Him to be an ever present refuge in this life of uncertainty. The Christian walk is a journey. I am not perfect. I still have days when I feel disconnected from God. This is always do to something on my end causing the disconnect. In those times, I pray harder, dig deeper into the Bible and search my heart for issues that need resolved. But because I know that God will never leave me nor forsake me(Deuteronomy 31:6) I can work through the issues and maintain my faith that God is still present in my life.
  2. Discover your identity in Jesus– When I became a single mom I did not know that God loved me. My marriage of 7 years had just failed. My husband had left me for another woman and I felt alone and abandoned. I felt unworthy of love. If my husband did not love me enough to stay, why would God love me? It took me many years to realize that God loves me more than I could ever imagine. He loves me so much that He has counted every hair on my head (Luke 12:7). In time I have come to fully realize how valuable I am to God. You are valuable to God too! God looks upon us and our struggles with love and compassion. We need to know who we are in Jesus in order to live lives of confidence and courage, knowing that we are victors because God is the one fighting for us.
  3. Identify sin patterns– We can not grow in our relationship with God when we are living a lifestyle of sin. We will continue to feel disconnected from God until we recognize the sin in our lives. Being the imperfect person that I am, I had to own the sin in my life and deal with it in order for my relationship with God to grow. We are creatures of habit and it may be necessary to assess the activities in our lives on a regular basis to make sure that we are not falling back into sinful patterns.
  4. Find freedom through repentance– Once we identify the sin in our lives, we need to repent of that sin. This is not an easy step. It means confessing our deep dark secrets to God and trusting that He will understand and forgive. The good news is that He is a God of grace and will forgive when we confess and repent. He understands our human nature and knows that we will continue to sin. That doesn’t mean to give up and not try. It simply means that we will occasionally fail in our attempts. The bad news is that God already knows when we blow it. When you sleep with that guy that you aren’t married to, God knows. When you get drunk with your kids in the house, God knows. God sees it all! He is that light in the darkness and there is nowhere that you can hide.
  5. Find freedom through forgiveness– There are 2 sides to this one. We have to be willing to forgive others(even when they don’t ask!) and we have to be willing to ask God and others to forgive us when we sin against someone else. Forgiving others frees us of the burden of anger and hate. Asking forgiveness frees us of the shame we feel when we know that we have wronged someone. I have had to do both and neither one is easy, but both are necessary in order to move forward in peace.
  6. Heal the wounds of the past– Let’s face it, we carry our pasts into our present. How many of us will blame present lifestyle choices on our childhood or past relationships? At some point, we have to let go of the past and take responsibility of our choices. Somewhere in our growing up we reach that point where we have to surrender the past and start to choose our own values and how we want to live. Letting go is difficult, but we will never move forward when we have one foot stuck in the past.
  7. Overcome fear and anxiety– I have been paralyzed by fear and anxiety. Life as a single mom comes with uncertainty and hardship. I don’t know a single mom who hasn’t worried about how she was going to pay the bills or living with anxiety that the car will need tires or other repairs. We fear that our kids will grow up and repeat our mistakes. God does NOT give us a spirit of fear(2 Timothy 1:7). We can rest in the assurance that nothing escapes God’s notice. He sees all and He has whatever you are facing taken care of. He has your back, now and always.
  8. Discover your God given life purpose– God has a plan and a purpose for all of us. He has a special calling for each of us that call Him, Lord. This will be the fun part of the program. Searching your heart to find what you are passionate about. What is it that tugs on your heart? For me, it is serving single moms. It has been a long time in the making, but God is faithful and everything happens in His timing. It is exciting when God puts things together in a way that only God can. It gives you that push that you need to move forward. When we have confidence in God, mountains begin to move.
  9. Transform your life– God can and will transform your life, but He expects us to be partners in this journey. He expects us to do our part to transform our lives. We need to make a habit of prayer and Bible study. We need to find time to spend alone with God in prayer and worship. We need to find a community of believers to share our lives with. We need to simplify our lives so that God is our #1 focus. We need to make a plan that incorporates these disciplines into the fabric of our daily lives. We need to be intentional in our thoughts and activities. God needs to be at the center of our lives and family, not material possessions or a schedule full of energy draining activities. When we simplify our lives and focus on Him alone, we will see a peace and calm come over our homes that only God can bring.
  10. Maintaining a Godly lifestyle– In order to maintain any type of lifestyle, we need to make a commitment to the plan. We also need to be accountable. We need to check-in on a regular basis to see how we are feeling and if any changes need to be made. We need to remember to stay intentional in our pursuit of God. We also need to remember that this life is a journey, but the end goal is an eternity in the presence of God and Jesus. To me, that is well worth the effort.

As you go through the steps, you will use a journal to document your journey. Writing down our thoughts, Bible verses, experiences, and prayers helps us to “get out of our heads.” It also allows us to go back and see how God has transformed our hearts, lives and families.

This program was definitely a labor of love for me. I prayed over each step, wanting each single mom to find healing, as well as, implementing the necessary disciplines that allow us to grow in our relationship with God. This is not a Bible study that I expect single moms to do alone. I am here as the discipleship coach 100% of the way. I am in this for as long as it takes.

For more information on the L.I.F.E Discipleship Program please visit the program page here.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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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,

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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Luke 9:1-3

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.

Luke 10:1-4

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

Luke 22:35

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

I read Luke 22:35 as part of my daily devotion time and it stuck with me. In Luke 9, Jesus sends out the disciples, telling them to take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, and no extra shirt. In Luke 10, Jesus repeats the command not to take a purse, bag or sandals. Jesus wanted His disciples to trust completely in God to meet their needs. When they return, Jesus asks them, “Did you lack anything?” They answer, “Nothing.”

This passage brings to mind the Israelites in the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 29:5 

Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.

For Forty years God kept the clothes and sandals of the Israelites from wearing out and in Exodus 16, God provides manna and quail for the Israelites to eat.

I know that I have lacked faith on more than one occasion. No matter how many times God provides for me, I always wonder if He will continue to do so. It is in those moments that I hear Jesus in my heart, ” Do you lack anything?” “Have you ever lacked what you truly needed?” “Have I not always provided for you and your children?”

I am reminded that God has always provided for me and the kids. He has provided in ways that I can only describe as miracles. I still at times let the doubt creep in like a thief in the night. I let that doubt (fear) keep me from God’s will for my life. I allow my Anxiety (fear) to keep me from taking that giant leap of faith. I let that worry about the future (fear) keep me from stepping out of my comfort zone to obey God’s direction. WHAT IF GOD SUDDENLY DECIDES TO STOP PROVIDING?

He could decide to stop providing. I’m not anyone special. I don’t deserve any special blessings. God COULD at any time stop providing for me, BUT I know that He won’t. How do I know that?

In Mark 5:36 Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Jesus was speaking to Jairus, the synagogue leader. Some people had just come and told him that his daughter was dead. Jesus spoke those words of comfort, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He speaks this word to us today, as well. What giant leap of faith is God asking you to take? What mountain is God asking you to move? How far out of your comfort zone is God pushing you? Are you afraid that God will decide to stop providing? As long as you don’t give up on Him, He will ALWAYS provide for you!

DON’T BE AFRAID; JUST BELIEVE!

HAVE YOU LACKED ANYTHING?

If God provided for those grumbling Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness, He will take care of you. Pray for the faith to conquer the fear that holds you back. Not every day is guaranteed. If not now, then when?

 

 

 

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My second article is up!

The road of single motherhood is paved with a million tears. My kids always tease me because I can cry at the drop of a hat. Sometimes, we would be watching a movie and they would look over at me to see if I was crying. I am a sensitive person, and I feel every harsh word, every criticism, and every cold shoulder intensely. I have often felt that no one understands me…click here to read the rest of the article.

To learn more about The Life Of A Single Mom Ministries, click here.

To connect to The Life Of A Single Mom Ministries Facebook page, connect here.

 

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I have been blessed with the honor of being a 2020 featured expert for The Life Of A Single Mom Ministries. This is an international ministry that has served 406,000 single moms in the last decade through Single Mom University, Conferences, and other programs, as well as, reaching out to churches that want to start a single mom support ministry in their community. Founder, Jennifer Maggio, is THE leading expert on single moms and how children who are raised by a single mom are impacted. Jennifer leads the way in educating and empowering single moms and Jennifer leads the way in empowering churches to start support ministries that bring the love of Jesus to single moms and their children.

I was honored when I was asked to be a 2020 featured expert. I had thought of being on the featured expert panel, but never dared to dream of actually making it. I never believed I was good enough. But, in doubting myself, I doubt God’s power in me and through me. Every word I write is God breathed. I am simply the pen in the Author’s hand.

Being a single mom is the hardest job that I have ever had. But what happens when things start falling apart? Click HERE to read the rest of the article.

To read more about Jennifer Maggio and The Life Of A Single Mom Ministries, click HERE.

To connect to TLSM Facebook page, click HERE.

 

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