Do you ever feel as though you are literally surrounded by weeds? It may seem like everywhere you turn something or someone is trying to strangle your growth, hold you down, or get in the way of your light, but you can bloom even amidst the weeds. On my walk today, I came across this lovely purple beauty blooming in a not so nurturing spot. But yet, there it stood. A gem among weeds. It found a way to not only grow, but to be vibrant and stand tall in it’s environment despite the obstacles it probably faces in that spot.
You are that flower! Whatever weeds you’re fighting against, you can bloom right where you are in this moment. Just as this flower seeks the sun, you too can seek the light. The light of Jesus that lights the way in the dark, that pushes the weeds aside and allows you persevere in the most difficult circumstances. You are resilient and with the love of God, you’re unstoppable! Be that vibrant flower that makes people pause and see the beauty that can come even through the weeds.
I try to take a daily morning walk for about an hour after I drop Anya off at school. This hour has become a precious part of my day. During my walk I listen to inspirational podcasts, pray, get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors. It’s incredible the beauty that surrounds us and what it triggers inside of us. Today, I was walking and noticed how the trees are beginning to change and the leaves are quickly falling. It made me think about how quickly the season is changing and how the seasons of our own life are continually evolving. While walking, I came across a leaf on the street. Its colors were lovely but it was curved up. I haven’t seen many leaves with fall colors seeping through, so I thought I’d take a picture. I was about to flatten it out, and then I thought, why am I trying to force this leaf to change its shape. But, isn’t that what we do naturally?
When there are curves in our life we try to bend everything back to the way we want it as soon as possible. Often times we become restless in the season we are in, unable to allow it to take its natural course . Today’s leaf reminded me that in every season there is imperfect beauty, whether it is a season of difficulty or joy. Just as the leaf was released we too are released in our own different seasons if we are patient enough.
If you’re like me then you love your kid(s) to the moon! So it should be easy to show them kindness right? Well, yes and no, not really no but, when life gets hectic and there are a million things tugging at you, kindness can fall by the wayside. Luckily for us, our kids are pretty forgiving. Kindness doesn’t have to come through grand gestures, it doesn’t cost money, it’s the simple things that you can do that will speak volumes to your children.
Here are 5 Simple Ways to Show Kindness to Your Kids Everyday:
Be Present: Put down the phone, shut the laptop, stop doing 10 things at once and simply sit in their presence. Maybe it is just watching a movie with them without being distracted by the text coming through, or talking to them without running from one room to the next finishing up chores, or sitting down with milk and cookies and being completely absorbed in what they are saying without your mind racing. Simply just practice being in their presence and being present with them.
Show Them You’re Interested in Them: Being interested is more than just being present, it is being curious about their very essence. It is asking questions, digging below the surface, and developing a bond with the person they are evolving into as they grow through childhood. It’s easy to get caught up into routine and have the same stale conversation day in and day out. When this happens we miss out on discovering who our child really is. When you show your child you are interested in them you convey that you care about them as an individual.
Give Them a Hug and Kiss: I find one of the easiest and sweetest way to show my child kindness is with a big hug and kiss. Don’t underestimate physical contact! Your body language says so much to your child. I know the older they get they might shy away, but I say do it anyway! Sneak it in whenever you can and I believe they will appreciate mom’s touch.
Be Forgiving and Show Grace: When we give our children forgiveness and grace we show them our pure unconditional love for them, not to mention we model Jesus. Forgiveness is kindness. It says yes, there may be consequences, but I love you anyway. When we give our child grace we show the softness that Jesus shows us.
Say, “I Love You”: These three words so simple yet so full of kindness and power. Tell your child you love them, whenever you can. Let them know how you feel and that they are loved. There is no greater gift to a child then to say those words.
I was watching a show on Netflix and one of the main characters was evaluating her life after a series of unnerving events. She asked her daughter if she felt loved unconditionally as a child. Her daughter’s answer was a resounding…no, but then she softened her reply by saying, “But, it’s okay mom, I understand because you are not unconditional with yourself.” Wow! I could totally relate. I love my daughter unconditionally, but I’m remiss at showing that same love to myself. How many of us when we do something wrong, fail, or just simply don’t live up to our own sometimes unrealistic standards are particularly harsh on ourselves? Not loving yourself unconditionally is such a sad way to live this precious life.
Why? It strips you of your confidence, it doesn’t allow you to take risks for fear of failing, it keeps score in the most relentless and excruciating way. Not loving yourself for all your imperfections keeps you in the chains of perfection…a standard that no one can ever reach. When you embrace who you are and love yourself unconditionally you give yourself the freedom to simply step fully into life. You give yourself permission to make mistakes, to learn and to move on from them to something better. We can be harder on ourselves than any judge and jury.
When your children misbehave badly or fail, do you hold it against them? Of course not, because they are more than their accomplishments, failures and actions. You love the true essence of them. You find them incredible, beautiful, amazing, and exquisite with all their faults. You can forgive them even when they are at their worst, because your love isn’t based on performance it is unconditional.
My prayer is that you love yourself unconditionally, that you give yourself grace and that you see your beauty through your imperfections and embrace them because it is who you are…wonderfully and perfectly created by God.
Do you have a groove? I have a groove and it isn’t my awesome dance moves 🙂 it’s my rhythm as a single mom. I found my rhythm and it works for me, but it didn’t come without some trial and error. Finding your groove takes time, practice and the ability to think outside the box, but your life runs so much smoother when you do, doesn’t it?
Today, I want to give you 10 Tips that may help you find your rhythm as a single mom and make life a little easier.
- Spend Time With God. Nothing, nothing, nothing made a bigger difference in my life than strengthening my relationship with God and spending time in the word and prayer. He is your partner, so go to Him every day and let God be your number one priority.
- Get Organized. You don’t have to be all OCD, but a little organization in your life will help you keep your head above water. There are different areas of your life that need to be organized, so start out with the one that seems to give you the most headaches. If it is your house, start a plan to organize it in a way that works for you. Then practice maintaining it by creating boundaries for you and the kids. Put systems in place that will make your day go smoother. Write lists, put up a central calendar with everyone’s activities and appointments, put a meal plan together, whatever will make your life smoother do it.
- Create Your Community. You need your people! It’s important to have good, reliable and kind people in your life. Reach out and create a community! Don’t go it alone. It’s important to have a support group and to be a support to others. Don’t be afraid to reach out because I can bet you some mom out there is needing you as much as you need her.
- Don’t Run on Overload. You are one person don’t try to be everything to everyone it doesn’t work. Know your priorities, don’t feel bad about saying no, and know your limits. Saying yes to everything all the time will exhaust you and leave you feeling resentful. Evaluate what is important to you and spend your energy in the appropriate places.
- Don’t Compare Yourself. Comparisons are the devil. When you start comparing yourself you lose focus on your blessings. You lose the gratitude for all that God has done for you and instead you spend time wishing for a situation that isn’t yours. I’ve seen this time and again with single moms comparing themselves to other families and not believing their family is whole. Your family is as whole as you believe it to be, don’t allow your perception of others to form your reality. Listen, focus on creating the life you want for you and your family and do it!
- Keep Your Dreams Alive.Before you were a mom you had a life. You still have a life and it is enriched by your beautiful children, but don’t forget about the desires of your heart either. Go for your dreams! Be a role mode for your kids by teaching them to be tenacious in doing what they love.
- Stop Complaining About Your Ex. Listen, things happen, people get hurt and relationships end. All of it is hard. But, at some point you either make peace with your situation or you live in a state of conflict. This can be a long, arduous and painful process, but complaining doesn’t resolve anything it only keeps the hurt alive and leaves you angry and bitter. You are so much better than that! Take action, be an adult and remember what momma said, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.” Keeping the strife going isn’t healthy and keeps you stuck. Also don’t get sucked into friendships with other single moms who make it their life’s mission to complain about their ex because it becomes contagious! Know when to move on.
- Communicate With Your Children’s Father. Communication is key and not always easy, but if you want your children to have the best life they can in this scenario then it is key. Follow the schedule, communicate about activities, and allow flexibility when it can be accommodated. Everyone’s life will be better.
- Take Care of Yourself. Everything falls on your shoulders, but if you aren’t physically, mentally and emotionally healthy everything will fall apart. Ladies, take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and rest. Your kids need you more than anything so make loving yourself a priority and you will take care of everyone else by doing so.
- Think Outside the Box. When I become a single mom I started seriously thinking about how I wanted my life to look. My heart wanted to be at home. So, I started looking for telecommuting positions. Most people didn’t think it would work, but 3 contracts in and 3 years later it is working. Working at home has posed its own challenges, but I’m happier and I’m content with my lifestyle. Create the life you want and don’t allow anyone to discourage you on the journey. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try new ways that work for you.
Well, there are my tips! I hope you groove your way through this journey and find the rhythm that makes your life work for you!
Read 10 Resolutions for Single Moms to make in 2016 that I believe will make life a little lighter:
1) Make a Date With God Everyday: Regardless of how hectic and crazy life becomes make a promise to yourself and to God to spend time with Him in prayer, in His word, and His presence. Take a least 15 minutes to just sit with God and BE… You will be refreshed and reconnected in a way that will give you the energy you need to get through the day.
2) Say No and Don’t Make Apologies For It: If you find yourself overwhelmed by your responsibilities and other are asking to add more to your plate, say no and make no apology for it. Knowing your boundaries makes you happier and your life a lot more easier. Let your yes be yes and your no be no, kick maybe out of your vocabulary.
3) Take One Step Everyday Towards Manifesting Your Dreams or Goals: If you have a dream that you put up on the shelf, I want you to climb up that ladder, dust it off, and start making concrete steps to manifesting your dream! Too often single moms especially, tend to give up on their dreams because they don’t seem practical. Don’ worry if it seems impossible, if you think you don’t have the funds, or if you think you lack the talent all you have to do is take baby steps toward making it happen. When you change your perspective and pursue your passion, you’ll be surprised at the doors that start swinging open!
4) Be Present: Life is going by every so quickly, so give yourself and your family the gift of being present. Be aware of the things that distract you from the ones you love and remove them when i is necessary. Whatever it is you find yourself doing, give it your full attention… be present.
5) Don’t Compare Yourself: You are a flipping fantastic mom! Don’t compare yourself to anyone and don’t cave into any type of guilt or pressure to be something that you are not because you are simply exquisite the way you are. Comparing yourself only distracts you and takes away your light and your uniqueness!
6) Be at Peace with the Father of Your Children: I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you are stuck in a dark place with the father of your children, prayerfully ask God how you can turn a corner in this relationship. Nothing will steal your joy quicker than anger, resentment, or bitterness. There is no quick fix for this and I know there are complex situations that only God can intervene and change, but make the first step it will change your life.
7) Accept Help: If you have the single supermom complex like I sometimes do, than you know that asking for and accepting help is anything but easy, bu think of how much more pleasant life would be if you could humbly ask and accept help when you need it? Don’t make life so hard! We all need help sometimes and it is OK!
8) Strengthen Your Community: Get intentional about creating community and being a support to other moms, especially single moms. Show hospitality, be open to meeting new people, and find your community!
9) Don’t Overcompensate with The Kids: Your kids just need your love, your time and your presence. I hate when I hear a single mom say, “Am I being a bad mom?” What constitutes a bad mom? Or I’ll hear, “I’m trying to be mom and dad,” well that’s not going to work because you are mom and you can’ t be 2 people and were never meant to be! Focus on your relationship with your children and know that you are enough! You don’t have to be anything more than who you are… MOM. Rest assure your kids love you for being mom.
10) Let Your Hair Down!: Give yourself the permission and freedom to do and try new things, to have fun, to be spontaneous and to enjoy life! Jump in the car with your kids and drive to a new destination in a moments notice, take that voice class you always wanted to take but felt like you had other more serious things to do, accept that date and open your heart up, just live a little and have some fun!
Are you excited for 2017? Have you already started jotting down your New Year’s resolutions with gusto? Or have you given up on resolutions that stick for the first couple weeks than fall quietly to the wayside? My resolution is not to make resolutions! Instead I want to focus on making better choices. Awhile back I attended a Ladies Bible Class and we were reading Donna Partow’s book, “Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be.” Day 8 was, ‘Being Consciously Selective,’ which really resonated with me, especially the verse below.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life
she selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands
I got to thinking, what do I want to reap in my life? What do I want to sow? And how can I bring good and not harm into the lives I touch? How do my choices reflect how I view myself? These are the questions I’m reflecting on.
I believe becoming the woman God intended me to be starts with the choices I make daily, regardless of how big or small. I realize that my position in life right now is an accumulation of my choices. .. some good and some bad. I haven’t always used discernment or smart judgement and because of that I’ve hit some serious potholes along the road more like craters! I’ve experienced more consequences for poor choices than I care to admit. Looking back I realize those poor choices are often a reflection of how I was feeling about myself. Your choices are a clear reflection of how you value yourself.
Choices can lead to a harvest or a famine if we don’t use wisdom. I’ve experienced both and I can pinpoint the specific choices I made when I decided to forego wisdom and discernment that led me to a wasteland. The thing about a bad choice is they aren’t always easy to bounce back from and can lead you down a rabbit hole of more destructive choices.
I want my choices to reflect my values, self-care, my love for God, and my faith. Are you following me here? Maybe you’re in the same boat. If so then you’ll agree with me that it is utter insanity being aware that you’re making a foolish choice, but you choose to do so anyway. I’m over it to be honest! So in 2017 what I want most to do is some serious self-examination and reflection on how I currently make choices and how I want to proceed.
Here are my personal guidelines that I intend to follow:
1) Does this choice reap or have the potential to reap a harvest or be fruitful?
2) Does this choice fall in line with God’s word?
3) What are the consequences of this choice?
4) Is what I’m choosing to do a wise investment of my time?
5) Can I be lead into sin by this choice?
6) Does this choice honor who I am? Does it disrespect me or cut down my self-worth?
7) Will this choice lead me closer to God’s will for my life?
8) Does my choice hurt or impact another person(s) in a negative way?
9) Am I being honest?
10) Does this choice bring me closer to accomplishing my goal or take me further away from them?
Our choices can either lead us into a peaceful life with integrity and fulfillment or drain, frustrate and exhaust us. When we choose well we honor who God and we stop shortchanging ourselves. We are precious, capable and virtuous women who have the God-given potential to create the beautiful life we desire, we just have to intentionally and carefully select it!
I shudder when I think of how many opportunities pass us by because we say, “I can’t.” Why can’t you? Why can’t you be happy? Why can’t you create the life you want? Why can’t you pursue a dream that’s been stirring deep inside? You can! But, when we focus our attention on all the reasons we can’t do something it becomes a colossal waste of time and energy. Instead of focusing on why you can the can’ts get you caught up in doubt, fear, anxiety and the impossibility of making something happen.
When I was working in the office I hated it, it wasn’t the people or the boss, but I knew my heart was at home. I wanted to be able to pick my daughter up at 3:15 and not 6:00, I wanted to work in the comfort of my home and not spend hours of my day commuting and I craved the flexibility as a single mom. For years my mindset was that those work at home jobs were scarce and most likely I would never find one. So although I searched for them I never had faith that I’d find one. But, God has a way of pushing us out of our comfort zone and he did that with me, big time! I found a virtual position, but it was nothing that I ever did before and I was worried! But, I did it and then I got laid off! Oh no the idea of going back into the office and changing our schedule literally made me feel ill. But, this time around I decided to say, “I can.” I can find another virtual position.I prayed and took on the attitude that there was no other option. Guess what? I interviewed for 3 virtual positions and landed one!
This isn’t a post promoting telecommuting, but what I want to get across is that if there is something you desire, that is in God’s will, stop saying I can’t and start saying you can and you will. Start investing that energy in pursuing whatever is you want to do and stop pouring it into the, “I can’t attitude.” Nothing is impossible with Christ, the only impossibilities come from our own insecurities. Think about a time in your life where a situation seemed impossible and God turned it around you in your favor or any other time when you thought there wasn’t a chance something you wanted would come to fruition but it did. We can be our own worst enemy!
The “I can’t attitude,” will leave you stuck, stagnant, unhappy, and unproductive. The “I can attitude,” will push you beyond your limits, inspire you, and give you hope and fulfillment. You’re a child of Christ and his spirit dwells within you remember how powerful that is! There is no can’t in Christ! So today say, “I can,” because YOU CAN!