While studying Advent I stumbled across this quote by Matt Tullos and fell in love with it!
" Happiness is an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it rises to the surface. Joy, however, is a choice."
Choosing joy is not just a way to go through life, it is the way of the Savior.
Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of The Lord is our strength.
Christmas can be a season of love, hope, peace and joy. However, for some, joy doesn't come easy during this season. It can be a time of year where sadness, grief or loneliness are intensified by all the " Christmassy" things going on around you.
As a single mom it is very easy to get wrapped up in the negative feelings that can come during time of year.
Maybe you work so hard to pay all the bill, provide food & clothing for your kids, but there isn't enough money left for that one special gift you desperately want to get for them.
Maybe you have to split the holidays and that means your home will be dead silent on Christmas day because the pitter- patter of your little's feet will be heard at your exs house this year.
Maybe you skip the office Christmas party because you just find it to hard to go alone.
The things of this world will quickly tie us down if we doesn't keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!
This Christmas season I'm inviting you to Choose Joy!
Choose Joy when the lines are long and the nights are short.
Choose Joy when your heart is heavy and your mind is full.
Choose Joy in the darkness, the loneliness and remember that there is a great Joy in our Heavenly Savior, who came from heaven to be born of a virgin and ultimately to give his life so that we may never know a world without Him.
But the angel said to them, " Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
I am wishing you many blessing this Christmas, but above all I wish that you find Joy in Jesus and his many blessings!
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
We all struggle with loneliness at times.
Sometimes it feels like I am going to suffocate from the silence.
Tonight I'm refusing to give in to the loneliness!!!
After working a 12 hour shift(while I'm terribly sick).
I came home to a dark, quiet house because the kids decided last minute to go camping with some family members. I fully expected loneliness to rear its evil head! It's really easy for me on nights like this to let loneliness trap me and steal my joy!
But tonight I say NO to the struggle bus! Sorry(not sorry)...not getting on!
Tonight I'm remembering there are some things worse then being lonely...
*Like being in a marriage were you mean so little to your spouse that their cheating is a constant reminder of how replaceable you are.
* Like being so afraid of people's reactions that you lie about your own thoughts and emotions.
* Like not being understood.
* Like watching your children as they deal with abandonment.
* Like having someone make a mess of your finances, only to be blamed for their mistakes when confronted.
Tonight I'm sitting here fighting the loneliness!
Yet, I'm more confident than I've ever been in my entire life 😉
I'm honest with people about what I think and how I feel.
I don't hide me!
I have more money in my bank account than I've ever had in my life :-) and its ALL MINE LOL!
And I have a small group of friends who I could call if the loneliness got too bad.
I have my precious children who I love more then anything.
Tonight Im chosing joy. Because there are worse things sometimes then being lonely ❤
I remember that day so clear.
That first Friday that I had to let my kids go visit their dad.
Visitation was now what seemed to define our life.
Our schedules revolved around that annoying question of who's weekend was it?
That first time, watching them get out of the car, we were all so uncertain. Non of us knew what it was going to be like.
My children seemed so small and broken to me at that time in life.
We all were.
Trusting them with the person who had just torn our family apart seemed impossible for me. Turning them over to someone who had proven time and time again he would not put them first. I still get knots in my stomach just thinking about that day.
I smiled and gave hugs, trying to reassure with my words. More for myself then them possibly.
It was horrible.
Heart breaking pain.
I felt cheated out of these two days I was losing over a situation that I would have never chose to put us all in.
I remember feeling more anger and pain then I had ever felt in my life.
But I also felt a comfort there with me.
Later that night when sobs shook my body, loneliness and worry over taking my me, I could still feel His presence.
I was not alone.
God doesn't always take away the pain.
He doesn't always command worry and anxiety to leave you.
Sometimes he just wraps his presence around you while you cry.
Loving you through it. Lifting you up through His word.
A few weeks ago I was at one of my lowest moments.
I was driving home from the grocery store, on the phone with a friend, crying. I was beyond exhausted, stressed both emotionally and financially. I was questioning everything about my life and myself.
My friend, although she has not had to walk in my same shoes, listened with understanding. Then she asked " how can I help?"
Please understand that this friend asks how she can help quite often and I am SO thankful for that!
I'm blessed to have a group of family and friends who are always willing to help out with anything at anytime.
Sometimes I don't even see the need before they have met it!
But on this day when my friend was asking how she could help all I could do was sob into the phone and say I don't know!
Sometimes the needs are so great I cant begin to ask for help.
According to U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families in 2014, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. The median income for families led by a single mother in 2013 was about $26,000, one third (⅓) the median for married couple families ($84,000). Nearly half with an annual income of less than $25,000.
Single moms are rapidly becoming the new normal. A lot of people don't know how to help single parents. They don't want to overstep so they often do nothing. Or worse, they get caught up in the stereotype that we are all lazy and living off welfare & child support payment (ha!).
Speaking from my own life, I see how single moms are not easy to help. We are often hardened and have a deep need to feel independent .
We know some days we need help but don't always know what to tell others when they ask how they can help. Or we are worried about what you will think of us so we just don't ask for help
Here are 10 ways you can reach out to us Single Mama's:
1. Offer to pick up kids or drop off kids at their extracurricular activities.
As a single mother I feel like I live in my car. There is nobody to share the stress of shuffling kids & there is nobody to complain to about it either. Some days it is nice to have a friend offer to do the running either one way or another so I can cook, clean, work on school work or go to the grocery store.
2. Check on her. I know that a little after 9am each Monday morning a sweet lady from church is going to call just to check on me and my kids. She will ask about our weekend and our week ahead. This is something that wards off loneliness and takes only a few minutes.
3. Running into town anyway? Why not call up that single mother and ask her if she needs anything. I promise, if she does she wont give you her entire shopping list!
Chances are she wont let you get anything for her ( we can be kinda hard remember).
But the gesture will truly make her feel less alone for days to come.
If she does let you grab some much needed household items go with your heart on letting her pay you for them. Her pride is a powerful thing, but so is the love that you are showing.
4. Don't assume anything. Ever. Please.
Don't assume just because shes single that she doesn't like to have married women for friends.
Don't assume a single mom wont want to join in functions or activities with the non-singles.
Don't assume we are to busy or broke to help or take part in things.
Don't assume shes depressed.
Don't assume shes fine.
Don't assume shes happy.
Don't assume shes stressed.
Instead take the time to get to know her and her kids and don't judge her.
She needs your friendship more than anything.
5. One time a friend had offered to pick up my kids from practice while I went to the doctor. I had been horribly sick for several days. When I came home she & my sweet kidos had picked up the living room, done the dishes that were in the sink, taken out the trash and wiped down the counters. Now, my kids are amazing, however with out her thoughtful nudging and supervision I doubt these things would have gotten done.
I still treasure her for seeing a need and meeting it. No money spent. No questions asked. Just showing love.
6. Speaking from recent experience car troubles can be the worst kind of troubles for single moms! We are hard working, intelligent creatures who can usually figure out how to change the oil, fix the headlights and put air in the tire. But when the wheel bearings go out or you have engine trouble it is very nice to have a knowledgeable person to diagnose the problem or even offer to fix it!
7. Think practical. Although a gift card for Bath & Body Works or Target is very nice most of our needs are practical, every day things.
Gas cards, grocery store coupons, hardware stores and pharmacy gift cards are more useful.
Even though we can usually get assistance for food and clothes sometimes we need things like over- the- counter medicine, trash bags, light bulbs & other things government programs don't cover.
One of the best things a friend has done for me was to give me her Kroger gas points so I could fill up my tank for cheap! Its not about the money. Its about showing that she is not alone.
8. Compliment her kids and let her share their accomplishments with you. Something that is hard for me is that I cant share the joy of my kids accomplishments with their dad. Its just nice to have someone notice your kids good behavior. I love having close friends and family to share in the good times not just the bad.
9. Shes not perfect, but shes not just a statistic either. See her as a person. See her family as a real family even though they are lacking another parent.
10. Let her repay your kindness. If your kind gesture moves a single mom to repay you by a gift card, good deed or other small token of gratitude. Just accept it with joy. Again....going back to # 4....don't assume shes poverty stricken or that shes being unwise with her budget should she decide to bless you for blessing her.
As single parents we need to show an attitude of gratitude for those who are brave enough to reach out and see through our hard shell.
Good Morning all my Single Mama Friends!
Today I feel called to just reach out and say this is for you!
This is for the Mama who feels alone.
This is for the Mama who is tired.
This is for the Mama who has been up all night caring for a sick child.
This is for the Mama who has to work while she'd rather be with her babies.
This is for the Mama who has run until she is ragged.
This is for the Mama who is struggling with money.
This is for the Mama who's children aren't listening.
This is for the Mama who is worried.
This is for the Mama who is trying to provide what her sweet kidos need.
This is for the Mama who is scared.
This is for the Mama who is sad.
This is for you!
Jesus knew about tired. He knew about scared. He knew about worry.
He knew about loneliness. And he came to forever be with us.
"Teach them to obey everything that I have told you to do. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of time.” ~ Matthew 28:20
As we go about his work and raising the sweet children he has entrusted to us he promises that he will be with us until the end of time!
If you feel alone, remember He is here.
If you are tired remember that the Joy of the Lord is your strength.
If you are worried remember that God cares for the flowers & the birds but his love for you is far greater so of course he will take care of you!
You are not alone!!
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Single Mama For Jesus
A family can be made many different ways but
will grow better with God & his love in the center.
We were very fortunate to be able to take a vacation at the start of the summer.
One of the things my daughter desperately wanted to do was to go parasailing. The day we started off on this adventure she was VERY excited. My son, not so much. He was the one going up with her ( because that is what EXCELLENT big brothers do) but he has some anxiety over it.
When my children went up in the para-sail my son was frowning and my daughter was smiling. When they came down he was smiling and she was crying!!
Things had changed in the air and she was afraid. It was noisy and the harness popped and cracked. She was very afraid. My son kept trying to calm her but finally she had to just face her fears and realize she was not in control here. Sometimes that is how it is being a single mom.
We have fears, we aren't in control and although some of us have people by our side while we are going through things it is still scary.
Dating as a single mom is scary. It is not for the faint of heart. Its tough. We tend to come across as hard, but what we really are is just hard shelled. We have a good heart inside but it may take a while for it to be seen.
We are insecure and putting our heart out there makes us feel a vulnerability that scares us.
But there cant be relationship without putting your heart on the line.
So when I came to see this I took it before God, his answer to me was in Philippians.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice
~ Find joy in me no matter what!
Let your gentleness be know to all men
~ Be nice to him Christy. Let him see your heart. Take down some of that wall that makes you seem tough and uncaring. Deal gently with him. Be understanding and show compassion.
The Lord is at hand
~ I've got this(God speaking)...really...I've got this. For as long as you let me stay in control. Just remember I'm working, seek me on this.
I am here.
Be anxious for nothing,
~ Seriously, that anxiety is not from me. Get away from there! Dont let it live in a heart that you say belongs to me.
But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
~ Talk me to. Tell me what you feel. Reach out to me for help. Ask me for what you want. Be thankful for everything I give. Be sincere in what you're asking me and be humble by my great ability to give it to you if it is within my will.
And the peace of god which surpasses all understanding
~ My peace is amazing, my peace has no limit to timing, emotions or situations. My peace is here in the storm and it is the most ultimate and fulfilling thing you will ever feel. Allow me to give it to you. Choose to take this gift while you wait and follow my.
Will guard you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus
~ I will guard your heart. I will guard your mind. You are my child and I will protect you. Dont allow the enemy thoughts to enter your life in these ways.
Finally brethren whatever things are true
~ Focus on what you KNOW to be true. Dont over think and believe things are true unless I revel to you they are not.
Whatever things are noble.
~ Focus on the higher things. Focus on your moral character.
Whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely
~ Choose to see the joy in all good things. Even the simple things there is joy. Do not let negative thoughts enter your mind and heart. Will them away with my love and my word. Think about only what is fair, nice and good.
Whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things.
~ Be happy with the things I am doing in your life. Give me praise for the what I am doing in your heart. Focus on the virtuous things in life. Meditate on all my positive goodness.
To that woman looking in the mirror wondering if you look "sexy" I want to say that your worth and extreme value are in more then just your physical body.
Your worth comes from a Heavenly Father who loved you so much he sent his son to ensure your home with him forever.
He created your human body and knew you before you were born!
He loves us enough that he wants us to allow him to protect our hearts.
So...when you are looking at yourself in the mirror...wondering how men will look at you in what you are wearing...remember your extreme worth!
Nothing is worse then a broken heart.
Don't throw away Gods protection of your heart for a moment of passion.
Don't allow the enemy to deceive you into thinking that you are not in total control.
Don't throw away the respect that you should have for yourself along with the becoming a stumbling block for someone else.
Seek God and surround yourself with godly women who will lovingly hold you accountable to the vow you made to follow God with your whole heart.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
She is like a merchant's ship, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day's work for her servant girls.
She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
She has no fear of winter for her household
for everyone has warm clothes.
She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in find linens and purple gowns.
Now tell me ladies...is this not most of us to a "T".
"She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household "
I'm at a point in my child rearing where I have teens that are fairly self sufficient in the mornings (thank you Jesus) however I remember the days of having little ones who wake at 7am (if you're lucky lol) and they are starving! I know the feeling of being up all night and still rising at dawn to fix breakfast, put on a happy-mama smile and go about your day.
This verse applies to my life and was meant for every woman with a family not just the married ones.
"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker"
I could just say nuff-said right here.
Single mama life is hard. Not only are you mom & dad but most single moms have to work multiple jobs to keep the family going.
Hard work? Yep. We are familiar with that.
We work all day on the job then come home and have to be a rock-star at night on the mommy job. But God is here with us through it all and will supply the strength and energy we need if we ask. Or he will show us that we need to re-prioritize to be kinder to our mind and body that is a precious gift from Him.
"...her lamp burns late into the night"
Shuffling sweet kidos from practices or games, then supper, home work, baths, bed times. Then after that there is always dishes, laundry, cleaning, paying bills, managing the budget, fix the sink, making lunches, remembering that the gas light came on when you pulled in the drive tonight, planning meals, and heaven forbid someone get up and say
" oh mom... I just remembered I need to make brownies to take to school tomorrow". Or " mom I forgot about a project and its due tomorrow". No...a single mamas lamp does not go out early that if for sure!
"She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy."
I know when you are doing everything on your own it is hard to even think of finding the time to help others. Now I'm not saying you need to be volunteering in the community soup kitchen every week ( unless you feel God calling you to). But what a bout taking a small bowl of chicken noodle soup to a friend who is sick? What about keeping a couple granola bars and a water bottle in the car to give out to the man or women standing on the street corner?
Here's another for you. We often see "needy" as those with physical needs but there are people with emotional needs that we can reach out to. I know what you're thinking....most of us single mamas can be an emotional wreck at times...what do I possibly have to offer someone to meet this kind of need?
Well what about the elderly people at church? Maybe there is one sweet person who always makes a point to say hello and ask how the kids are every week. Sometimes elderly people can be lonely and that is a need you can fill. Invite them over for dinner one night! Even if they don't come they will generally be tickled pink to be asked. And if they come this gives you and adult to talk plus bridges the generation gab between them and your kids!
And trust me ladies cause I know where your mind is going....they are going to be less picky about your possibly messy house then you think!
My great aunt used to say when my kids were little that there SHOULD be toys all over my floor all the time an if there wasn't something was wrong :)
I know that most of the time when we read Proverbs 31 it talks about qualities of a wife. I hope after reading this, if you are like me and not married, you will realize you are a still a Proverbs 31 Woman!
God still gave us an example in Proverbs 31 of what a Godly Woman looks like. This is still a fine example of a mother that we can look to.
So today I encourage you to seek Him, search Him, get to know Him, spend time in His word and study his teachings.
Accept the great love that he has for us all and model yourself after Him.
" I love you"
As a divorced single mom I have one major fear... the fear of having my heart broken again. It creates in you a vulnerability that can cause you to distance from anything, and anyone who might bring out your insecurities.
Love can be wonderful but it a scary 4 letter word too.
God tells us to guard our heart, he also tells us how powerful love is!
So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
1st Corinthians 13:11
The GREATEST of these is love. That is a powerful statement. So why do we throw the word love around so carelessly when God obviously sees it as something with great power?
I decided to take my relationships very literal when talking about love.
When you look at the word it says that God is clear.
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”
God did not create love just for us to be afraid of it. He created it from His amazing love for us, showing us His love so that we can learn from it and share it with others.
So today I chose not to be controlled by fear.
Love is way more powerful then fear.
Thank you for this new friend who you have allowed to enter my life.
God I pray that the words from my mouth and the meditations of my heart will be pleasing to you.
I ask that you surround me with godly men and women to draw influence and inspiration from.
Allow me to seek you and hear your voice clearer then anyone else right now God.
Don't let my heart be open to the wrong things, things that are not of you. Let my actions and thoughts be pleasing to you.
Please help nothing to take away from the person you have grown me into and only let positive connections happen that will add to my growth in your name.
I ask that you help me not to be distracted and not to distract anyone from you.
Be with me in my heart as I move forward with this. Guide me and help me to see others the way you do.
Help me to relinquish all timing and control to you knowing that your awesome power is what is needed to lead my life.
I'm a single mama of 2 great kidos seeking and searching for Gods will in our lives :)