I’ve had women approach me and say, “you seem really happy,” or “you make being a single mom seem not so bad.” In fact for the most part I am happy. I’m content and I got my groove down as far as the single mom part goes. It doesn’t mean I don’t experience my share of struggles and trials. I’m just like every other woman who is raising children, because let’s face it whether you are a single mom, married mom, whatever your status is…parenting is serious and sometimes scary business and we all got the scars to prove it! For me, arrving at a place of contentment was and is an intentional journey that I work on because I refused to accept a story that didn’t fit the life I was living, so I changed it.
I can genuinely say that I do feel complete and so does my daughter. She doesn’t feel like she’ from a broken family or a statistic. She feels loved, secure and part of a family regardless of the size. When I first became a single mom I worried about creating a sense of family in our home and at times I allowed outsiders to shape the narrative of my life instead of creating my own. What a disservice we do to ourselves and our kids when we permit others to tell us what’s going to happen in our lives. What’s dangerous is when we start believing them and our actions and thoughts begin to reflect this preconceived notion of what is most likely going to happen to us as ‘single parents.’ If you’re struggling with insecurity about being a single parent, ask yourself if you’re creating the narrative you desire for your life or are you allowing the whispers of naysayers and to take root and wrap itself around your family.
Only you are responsible for creating the narrative of our life. You are planting the seeds of what you want to cultivate in your garden. If you believe your family is broken then it is! If you believe your children are lacking, they will be! If you rely on feeling whole by your marital status instead of on your relationship with God then you will always feel a void, regardless if you’re single or in a relationship. You are the storyteller of your life so don’t leave it in the hands of another narrator or in the shadows of the past.
A major stumbling block for single moms is refusing to let go of a life that no longer fits who they are instead of embracing what remains. They keep trying to breathe air into it and in turn they get breath sucked out of them. Trying to relive an old story never works. It’s like quick sand, every step you take sinks you further in, putting a halt to your progress to move forward until it eventually suffocates you. God doesn’t want you to sink, he’s reaching out his hand to pull you out of the quick sand of an old story because he wants you to rise to the purpose he has in store for you as a woman, a mother and a child of God. He wants your narrative to be based on his truth for you not in the lies of Satan.
God can redeem and restore any situation. Do you think God looks at you and your family as being incomplete? I don’t believe that for a minute. God doesn’t work that way! Step into the narrative God has for your life. Let your story be filled with pages of grace, determination, endurance, love, forgiveness, laughter, family and purpose.
How do you perceive your story? Are you relying on someone else to write the pages? Do you have confidence in who you are as a mom? Are you happy with the family dynamic you’re choosing to create? If you aren’t then change the narrative, it’s your choice. Speak to yourself differently, create another vision for your life, and think about years from now when you look back, will you say your time was well spent or did you spend a lot of time trying to live up to a narrative that was never yours in the first place? If you live in a place of I can’t instead of I can then you won’t.
I believe from the bottom of my heart that God has a purpose for you, but your narrative has to match what a child of God deserves. It isn’t always easy because you have to change your thought and belief pattern, but it is possible. Maybe it requires healing, forgiveness, or something only God can do, but go to him in prayer and ask him to change your story. God is listening! Know that you are capable of creating the life you desire in God’s will, but how you view and speak of yourself and your family will determine if you get the life you want or you settle for less. We only live once, live well!
I messed up. Like really messed up. It’s the type of mess up that makes me ashamed of myself and makes me question who I am as a Christian and if there isn’t some secret fleshy part of me that still is able to dip my toe into the darkness. It’s the kind of screw up that made me feel completely unworthy to partake in communion. It’s in these messy fleshy moments that I’m reminded how desperately I need my Savior because if left to my own devises I surely would fail. Today, Resurrection Day holds even more significance to me as I grapple with my shortcomings. I am so humbled and grateful that Jesus bore my sins on that cross in Golgotha. He loved me and took me as I am…a sinner and wrapped me in his grace, forgiveness, love and led me out of darkness onto a path of light.
Today, as I sat in tears in church he tenderly reminded me that this is why he died for me. He died for my messiness, my mistakes, my sin, my disobedience and he covered me with his blood and his grace. There is no sin big enough that can take his love away for me. I love how God gently teaches us even when we deserve his wrath. My lesson came when the Lord rolled back the curtain. He gave me a glimpse into my past, the pain, the shame and the emptiness of living in a world that I outgrew through the love of Christ and asked, “Do you really want to go back?” The answer in my spirit was a resounding no. Just like a forgiving Father he restored me. He stripped away the guilt and shame and allowed me to rest in him fully and securely. The ultimate sacrifice on cross gave me the ultimate freedom. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus!
This election season has unfortunately brought out some unprecedented nastiness. Our nation is undeniably under attack not by another nation, but by our very own citizens. We have turned against one another in the most unloving of ways. It is as though a dark cloud filled with anger, frustration and fear is about to burst with an intensity that I haven’t experienced before in my lifetime. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that when we respond to each other with a gentle answer we can turn away wrath.Words carry power and that power can be used to build or to tear down, to draw near or to separate, to show respect or to disrespect. In this season of our nation, I pray that regardless of your political party affiliation, that we remember that our primary affiliation is being followers of Jesus Christ. As followers, let’s reflect his love towards all people, let’s answer with kindness and gentleness. If we have an opportunity to diffuse anger than let’s do it because we are all here together. So, before we get all fired up, let’s step back and ask, “What would Jesus do?”
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 can’t believe 2015 is coming to a close! Usually around this time I start evaluating my year. What did I do? What were the highlights? Did I make good choices? Did I make poor choices? Am I happy with my spiritual growth? It’s basically a year in review recap of my life. I find myself asking God to reveal to me areas of my life he wants me to work on, to give me a clean heart, and for wisdom. This was an interesting year full of peaks and valleys some very unexpected dips that shook me up a bit. But, as always God has a way of pulling me through and giving me exactly what I need when I need it, I bet he does that for you too, right? This time it has come in the form of a Ladies’ Bible Class at my church on Sunday. There are a few reasons I already love this class. First are the teachers. They are so down to earth and facilitate the class in a way that makes you want to stay for a couple hours more long after the bell has rang! Of course there are the lovely ladies I get to fellowship with in class. Then the material was really a hook for me! Have you ever heard of Donna Partow’s book, “Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be, A 90 Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life,”? If you haven’t then I’m so glad you are reading this post because you need to run out right now and get it so you can dive in with me! Donna takes you through a 90 day journey and challenges you to stick with it while moving you towards the path of living a better life…one that God wants you to live!
This book gives a holistic plan that covers all areas of your life…spiritual, physical, relational and emotional. With a new year upon us this is the perfect book to read to make those changes we all say we want to make when December 31st hits. More than ever I’m realizing how fleeting time is and that I have a purpose that needs attention! Have you been feeling that way? I know that change starts with me growing closer to God, but I love how He keeps putting his helpers in my path. There is something so powerful about women’s bible studies and women getting together in general to discuss and support one another in their spiritual walk. I’m going not just into 2016 with an attitude of renewal, but into my life with the confidence that God is working in me to do his will and that I am capable of doing it! That is the life I want to live.
If you live in the DC metro area I want to invite you to join our bible study on Sundays at 11:15 AM to 12:00 PM, at the Silver Spring Church of Christ at 100 East Franklin Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20901. I would love to see you and study the word together!
Lately I’ve been going through somewhat of a difficult season in my life. I’ve been feeling attacked on many fronts, but my spirit has taken a beaten. Without going into too much personal detail I will say that I’ve felt distant from my church, I’ve questioned friendships, and even my own spiritual disciplines have been lacking. The enemy loves to distract us, plant seeds of doubt and make us question our very own spiritual foundation and relationship with Christ and our brothers and sisters. He’s been busy with me and to be honest he’s been having a good old time. Last night I asked God to give me peace and to guide my footsteps. I feel like a big old vacuum has just sucked the joy sucked away from my heart and it has left me completely exhausted, drained, and sad.
Well, when God speaks to you, boy does he speak to you. Last night I had a dream that I was in church and all the seats were taken. Even my daughter was sitting down, but there were no empty seats for me. I was left standing and just looking around. Finally, I thought I’ll just leave. I wasn’t going to take my daughter away from her seat, I planned on waiting for her (which is so significant because my daughter loves church) I was turning to walk away and my minister in a loud voice said, “Don’t you dare to quit church.” WOW! I knew exactly what God was saying to me! God spoke directly to me on a prayer that my heart was so conflicted about that only God could guide me on and no one else. In my spirit I know that God isn’t only talking about the physical church but my relationship with Him. In my heart I have no doubt he is telling to me to stay grounded, to keep strong in my faith, and not to give up and let enemy get a foothold.
I hope in sharing this with you that it is a reminder that God does speak to us. Be still and wait… then my sweet sisters listen to him and find rest in his answers. God is awesome and this morning I was reminded that he is right next to me in all his love and grace in abundance.