For Single-moms on Mother’s Day

hiking

As I woke up this morning…I really felt like, so what, it’s Mother’s Day…just another day.  I know, that is a bad attitude to have and it sounds worse than what I meant by it.  I guess I just felt like, I am a mom every day and today isn’t any different.  I am still going to have to do laundry, cook dinner, argue with kids to take their showers and all the other things that I have to do on a daily basis.  So when I thought about writing a Mother’s Day post, I thought, I don’t feel very encouraging today!  So I looked back to what I wrote last year.  It is amazing how God uses our own words sometimes to speak to us.  I have said it a lot of times, I truly believe that God had me write this blog to talk to myself as much as to try and help others.  So since I know I needed to re-read this, I thought perhaps, this will encourage another single-mom as well again today!  Happy Mother’s Day!

One of the greatest gifts that God has ever given me is the gift of being a mom.  If you knew me back in my 20’s that statement would probably shock you.  You see for years, I swore I would never have kids.  Honestly, I thought that I would make a terrible mother. But thankfully, God knows us far better than we know ourselves.  I can’t imagine my life without my kids and I certainly never want to.

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate our moms, but I also think it is a day to celebrate being a mom and celebrate other moms!  So today, to celebrate all the single-moms out there, I wanted to remind you of a few things you might have forgotten along the way of trying to raise your kids alone, being both mom and dad to them. I know the secret pain and stress you go through each day, because I go through it myself.  I know you doubt, you worry, you cry, I know.  But I also know that:

You Are Brave

Being a single mom takes a lot of bravery.  Whether it is dealing with spiders, mice, or bumps in the night, you are there.  You handle it because you have to.  You take those “man” jobs and you own them.  While your own heart is pounding you check everything so that your daughter who has super sonic hearing can go back to sleep knowing everything is ok.

When you have shut yourself in your room because tears are streaming down your face and you just don’t know how to go on, you bravely get up at the knock on the door, when a little voice follows saying “Mom, I need you.”

No matter how many nights you cry yourself to sleep, the next morning you get up, hold your head high and do it all over again.  You are BRAVE!

You Are Known

I love Psalm 139.  So much of this passage in The Psalms reminds us that God knows everything about us.  He has known us before we were even born, before the creation of the world.  He knows every word we say before we say it, every thought we have.  No matter where we go, He is there.

He also knows about all our hurts and holds all our tears.

Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

” You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
  You have recorded each one in your book.”

Sometimes as single-moms we feel like nobody knows what we are going  through, nobody sees our hurt, but the truth is, we are fully Known and Seen by the God who created us and knew every page of our story before it was written. He knew that we would go through this season in our lives and He gives us the strength we need to not only get through it, but to be a light to others in the process.

You Are Loved

I think one thing that many of us feel as single-moms is unloved.  Many of us have been either betrayed, abandoned, or abused by the person we were meant to spend our lives, by the person who was called to love us as Christ loved the church.  And often times, we may be the one that our children yell at because they can’t yell at their dad.  We may take the blame and be the ones who have to hear the “I hate yous and you’re the worst mom ever” and even though we know where those hurtful words come from, we always worry that they are true.

But I am here to remind you today that You Are LOVED! Not only are you loved by those precious gifts that call you mom, but you are loved by the God of the universe.  The One who created  you and all that you see.  The One who has unlimited power loves YOU intimately and He will NEVER EVER hurt you, abandon you, or betray you!

You Are Amazing

Today I want you to remember that you are Amazing!  You may be  walking a difficult path right now, but you are crushing it!  Regardless of what your past held for you, your future is bright and God has a great plan for you and for your children. Focus your attention on Him today and celebrate!  Celebrate the woman He is leading you to become, celebrate the beautiful children He gave you that made you a mom, and celebrate all the moms you know by letting them know how awesome they are!

 Happy Mother’s Day!

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Through the Fire

shadrach meshach

“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.”  Isaiah 43:2

All of us at some point in time have been through tough times in our lives.   Sometimes, God delivers us from these things immediately and sometimes, He walks through them with us.  There are times when we will go through the fire and God will allow it, but we never go through it alone and as Isaiah 43:2 shows us we won’t be burned.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about this in my life.  It has been nearly 4 years since my husband left and to be honest…I never thought this was a fire I would walk through.  When I first realized that my husband was thinking of leaving, I cried out to God,  sure that He would intervene and my husband wouldn’t leave, but then he left.  I was sure that God would bring him home quickly.  But as week turned into month and month turned into year and our divorce dates were looming I began to pray that God would keep me from walking through the fire of divorce.  It was not something I wanted, but the fire raged as I walked through and the divorce became a reality.

Now that all sounds pretty hopeless and sounds like maybe God ignored me, left me and allowed me to be burned in the fire.  But the truth is the exact opposite was true.  Every step of the way, God was with me and every step I take He still is.  My hope is in Him, regardless of my circumstances.  This isn’t always easy, and at times I felt like I was barely holding on by a thread.  Sometimes, I still feel that way.  It is in those moments that I feel God the most.

When I heard the new MercyMe song Even If.  I thought, wow that song totally explains exactly how I feel.  If you haven’t heard the song, you can watch the lyric video here.

The song talks about when we cry out to God to save us from the fire and instead he allows us to go through it.  The lyrics come partially from the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  In Daniel 3 we read how King Nebuchadnezzar made a statue of gold and demanded that when the music played everyone had to bow down before the statue.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused and because of their refusal they were to be thrown into a blazing furnace.  Their response to  this is read in vs. 16-18

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

The faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was amazing.  They went into the fire knowing that God could save him from the fire but it didn’t matter if He did or not, they would serve God alone regardless.  Of course as we know, they did go into the fire and they could be seen walking around in there with a fourth person.  God did not leave them alone in the fire.  When they came out, they were not burned and did not even smell of smoke as the bible tells us.

As I said at the start of this post, there are times in our lives where we are going to have to walk through  the fire.  Times when God is going to allow the river to rise and we are going to have to cross it.  We may not understand why He allows this, but we have to trust in His sovereignty.  He promises us, that He will never leave us.  Our hope is in who God is and in what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.  Nothing can take that away from us.  Our future is secure regardless of what we walk through in this life.

 

 

 

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Peter or Judas

2 corn 7.10

We all have times in life when we do something that we regret, something that we are sorry for.  But, there are different kinds of being sorry and which type of sorrow we have will have a lot to do with the course our life takes from that moment forward.

The bible talks about two kinds of sorrow,

2 Corinthians 7:10
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow
Repentance or regret
Life or death

The bible also shows us what each of these look like in the stories of Peter and Judas.

There are many similarities to Peter and Judas.  Both were apostles, both followed Jesus for 3 years, listened to the same teaching and saw the same miracles.  Both were told by Jesus that they would fail him. Both turned their backs on Jesus, Peter in his denial and Judas in his betrayal.  Both were sorry, but that is where the similarities end.  The kind of sorrow they each had was very different and led to very different outcomes.

In Matthew 26 starting in vs 69 we read the account of Peter’s denial.  In the courtyard, as he denies Jesus for the third time, swearing that he doesn’t know him,  he hears the rooster crow and immediately remembers what Jesus had told him in vs 34 of the same chapter.

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Matthew 26:34

The Bible says that Peter went outside and “…wept bitterly“(vs.75).  They were not just tears of sorrow, they were tears of godly sorrow, tears of repentance. Sorrow for what he had done to Jesus.  Humble tears that would bring healing and put him in the position to be reinstated by Jesus in  John chapter 21.  Repentance brings restoration, it brings healing, it brings life.  We know the kind of man who Peter went on to be, bold, unwavering in his life and in his death.

Then we have Judas.  Judas, who in Luke 22 goes to the chief priests and officials and works out a plan to betray Jesus.  They agree and even offer to pay him to do it, which he consents to do.  He then awaits his moment and after being sent away from the last supper by Jesus, who predicts his betrayal to him, he infamously leads the guards to the garden where Jesus is praying and betrays him with a kiss.

I often wonder what Judas thought was going to happen to Jesus. The Bible tells us in Matthew 27 that after Jesus was condemned he was “seized with remorse and returned the silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.” vs.3. He turned to the chief priests and elders admitting his guilt and what did they do? Nothing! They placed the blame totally on him. Then Judas, feeling hopeless, went out and hung himself.

The kind of sorrow that Judas had was worldly sorrow, overwhelmed in his guilt and regret, he saw no way out but death.  How very sad. What he truly needed was Jesus!  He missed as we so often do what Jesus had been telling them for the past 3 years.  He watched Jesus forgive sins, heal the sick, feed the 5,000, and drive out demons.  He watched Jesus raise the dead, yet in his moment of remorse, he didn’t turn to the only one who could save him!

It is no different in our own lives.  So often when we have done something we regret, we turn to everything but Jesus.  We run from him when we need to run to him.

As we get ready to celebrate Easter, let’s remember what Jesus accomplished for us through his life, death, and resurrection.  Jesus already paid the price for all our sins, past, present, and future and because of that we can run to Him when we have sinned.  With the help of the Holy Spirit we can respond to our sin with godly sorrow and repentance going forth with no regrets.  The other option, respond like Judas and go down a path that leads only to death.

Lord help us!  Open our ears to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling us to repentance that leads to salvation so that we can go forth with no regrets!

 

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For Good Friday

cross

I push through the crowd
Trying to get away
Taunts now turned to terror
As the ground gives way

Midday it may be
But it’s black as night
What once seemed like justice
Is now a gruesome sight

I heard some say
They now think it’s true
This man named Jesus,
King of the Jews

They say he truly was
The very son of God
But now he is dead
I guess evil has won.

How could they do it?
Nail him to that tree
Were they so very sure
His claims were blasphemy?

I am glad it wasn’t me
Who put those nails in his hands
I’d hate to be the one who killed the son of man
So I push through the crowd though I can barely stand
I guess it’s hard to run with this hammer in my hand.

 

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When God Says Stay, Stay!

The other day as I was doing my Bible in One Year devotion, the Old Testament reading was in Numbers chapter 9.  As I was reading through and got to vs 15, it was talking about the cloud over the tabernacle.

 “15On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up,the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.” Numbers 9:15-23 via biblegateway.com

The Israelites waited on God…when he moved, they moved, when he stayed, they stayed.  They didn’t know when they set up camp if they were going to be there for a day or a year, but when the cloud stopped and covered the tabernacle, they set up camp and when the cloud lifted,  they set out.  As we see in vs 23, “..at the Lord’s command they encamped and at the Lord’s command, they set out.  They obeyed the Lord’s order… ”

Reading this really hit home for me.  It is hard to put into words what I felt.  Sometimes, God speaks to us and  it is so clear what he is telling us, but it speaks directly to the core of our being and trying to express that in words is hard.  However, I also thought is was important to try to explain.

When my husband left 3 1/2 years ago, I felt God tell me that as far as that part of my life was concerned, I was to “stay”,  just like when the cloud was covering the tabernacle, that was how I felt, like God came down and wrapped his arms around me.  He told me that for a season, He would be my husband.  I know that sounds weird, we already know that we are the bride of Christ, but this was a bit different.  It meant that the hole that was left from my husband leaving and trying to tear apart what was never meant to be torn, needed to be filled with God.  When our divorce was finalized two years ago, I prayed and asked God for direction, still he said “stay”.

You may at this point be asking yourself, what does “stay” mean or look like.  Well to me it means that while the laws of this world may say that I am released from my marriage, that doesn’t mean that God says that.  To me it looks like  still wearing my wedding rings because God has not released me to remove them.   Well, that isn’t fair you might say.  Or maybe you think I am crazy and wasting my life.  I didn’t say that I was just sitting still in a corner waiting for God to bring my husband back through the door.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I try to live every day of my life to the fullest.  I enjoy all the, too many to count, blessings God has showered so generously upon me.

What I don’t do is look for some other man to fill the void in my life that can only be filled by God.  There is only one thing in this life that we truly can not live without and that is God.    It isn’t my job to question God’s command, is it my job to trust him. When God told me to stay, I said ok Lord, I will follow you on this path, I don’t worry about how long it has been or what the future holds for my life in that area.  I trust that whatever it is, it will be the best for me because God knows me better than I know myself.  Tim Keller says it best when he said

If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what he gives.” 

The Israelites didn’t know when they stopped how long they would be in one place and  I may not know how long either.  But I know this…the Bible clearly shows how things went for the Israelites when they followed God’s command and how they went when they “..did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

 

 

I don’t know about you but  I don’t want to do what is right in my eyes or what is right in the eyes of the world or those around me who tell me it is time to “get over” my divorce and move on by finding someone new.  Why is that people seem to think that having someone new is the only way to show that you are moving forward??   As if I am stuck in one place because I don’t have a man in my life.  I want to do what God calls me to do.  I want to follow His commands.  I want him to be the love of my life.  Is this easy?  NO not at all! Can I do this on my own?  No way!  I need the power of the Holy Spirit to be with me and the strength of Christ to get me through each and every moment of each and every day.  But is it worth it?  Absolutely!!!

 

 

 

 

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Fix Your Gaze

eyes-on-jesus

One of the things I do every morning before I get out of bed is  read a quick devotion.  Nothing long or elaborate, just something quick to get my day started on the right foot.  I don’t know about you, but I KNOW there is no way I will make through each day with out the supernatural strength and peace of God.

Yesterday morning and this morning, I read from a devotion book called Jesus Today written by Sarah Young.  One of the things Sarah does, is she writes devotions from the perspective that Jesus is talking directly to you.  I love reading them.  They are always timely and I so often feel like she wrote them just for me.

The thing she talked about the past two days was what we are gazing at.  The first line of yesterday’s devotion was

Gaze at me; glance at problems” (Sarah Young, Jesus Today March 2)

As I read that I really took a minute to think about what that meant.  There are so many times throughout my day where I get fixated on my problems.  Then, not only do I fixate on them, I start to try to come up with ways to solve them on my own and in my own strength.  If I continue down that path, before I know it, I have left God in the dust, I am running rampant, trying to fix something that I have largely exaggerated in my mind to be a huge problem when it probably isn’t even something I need to worry about right now.

Then as if she read my mind, this morning’s devotion said this

“Invite Him(The Holy Spirit) to alert you whenever you get overly focused on problems so you can redirect your attention to Me” (Sarah Young, Jesus Today March 3)

One of the things that I think we all need to remember is that we need to fix our eyes on Jesus.  Romans 12:1-3 says this:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Roman 12:1-3

When we gaze at our problems, they begin to take up more space in our mind than they should.  When we are fixated on them, we start to obsess about them. When we do this, we then do nothing more than glance at God.  This can be a recipe for disaster.

The more time we spend with our eyes fixed on our troubles, the more alone, afraid, and overwhelmed we feel.

However, the other side of that is, the more we fix our eyes on Jesus, the more, joy, peace, and secure we feel.

The truth is that gazing at our problems, really doesn’t solve anything.  However, gazing at Jesus sure does!  When we are so in tuned with Him, when we are listening for His voice, He will let us know when it is time to act and when it is time to just rest in Him.  Then when we do need to act to fix something, we aren’t doing it in our strength, we are doing it in His.  That is when problems get solved!

So today fix your gaze decidedly on Jesus and do nothing more than glance at your problems.  Invite the Holy Spirit to be the voice of guidance to keep your eyes where they need to be.  Let Jesus be what consumes you as you go through this day and watch and see how the problems and troubles of your life fade into the background,  shadowed by his glorious light.

 

 

 

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A Valentine’s Day Reminder For Single-moms

you-are-loved

This morning I got up and thought about what I wanted to write today that would encourage single-moms this Valentine’s Day.  After a less than enjoyable morning of getting kids off to school I sat down to write feeling less than loved. I then looked back at what I had written last year and I realized it was something that I really needed to be reminded of today.  So I decided to re-post this blog entry from last year.  Whatever your morning has looked like so far this Valentine’s Day and whatever this past year has brought into or out of your life…know that no matter where you are today….YOU ARE LOVED!

A Valentine For Single-moms

Here we are, Valentine’s Day again.  And maybe this morning, all you wanted to do was hide under the covers and not even think about it.  Personally, I have never liked Valentine’s Day, whether I was single or not.  To me it just seemed such a sad thing to put one day aside to show people you love them…shouldn’t we do that every day???

But regardless, today I wanted to take a minute to let you know something that perhaps, in the craziness of the life of a single-mom, you have forgotten.  YOU ARE LOVED!

It’s true!  Did you know that you have the most amazing valentine that anyone could ever ask for?

Well let me tell you a bit about him,

He loved you from before you were born, even before the creation of the world.
He knows everything about you, the good, the bad, the ugly and He loves you anyway.
He loves you at your worst and at your best
He loves you in such a way that he even knows the number of hairs on your head
He gave up everything, including his own son, so He could be with you forever and
nothing, Nothing, NOTHING can separate you from His love.*

Wow, someone actually loves me like that?  YES! God does and He has shown us all this through Jesus.

Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

And all of these words aren’t something out of a card, they are truths, promises that God has given us in His Word.

Maybe today, you didn’t receive a Valentine’s Day card, or flowers, or candy but in truth you have something far better.  You have an entire book(The Bible) reminding you of how much you are loved.  You have greatest gift ever given to you, JESUS, and you will have the sweet hugs and kisses from those little miracles you were blessed with that made you the best thing you could be, a mom.

So get out from under those covers, and boldly declare today, YOU ARE LOVED! then show all those around you the same love!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

*Bible references: Ephesians 1:4Psalm 139, Luke 12:7John 3:16, Romans 8:38-39

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