Teaching Your Children the Importance of Prayer.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

-Proverbs 22:6

I remember when I first started making prayer our bedtime habit.  My oldest was about 5 years old and my youngest was 3 and I had just moved out of our low-income housing and purchased a home that was built in 1954.  It was an amazing ordeal for me because it was something I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to do as a single mom. Little did I know that purchasing such a fixer-upper would be more than I could realistically handle, but we’ll leave that story for another time.

My daughter was in her new bedroom and I had just tucked her in when she told me she was scared.  She was in an unfamiliar house and there were new sounds associated with the neighborhood as we lived off a fairly busy street.  I knelt beside her bed and from that day forth, we have prayed together every night before bed. I came to a realization that evening when I was on my knees before her little bed.  You see, I had never planned on being a single mom and I certainly wasn’t planning on being the spiritual leader of our home.  But that is exactly what I had to become and what I needed to step up to be.

As a Christian, we are taught that the man is the head of the house and that he is the one ultimately responsible for the spiritual welfare for his family.  I wasn’t really prepared to take on that role when I first went through divorce.  I took my children to church and I prayed FOR them, but I wasn’t doing much more than that. 

That evening, after I had prayed with my daughters – I had an enormous burden on my heart.  I realized that it was time for me to step up and be the spiritual leader of my home and for my family.  My kids needed it and so did I. 

I soon began to read a children’s bible to them every evening.  I started in Genesis and I would read one little story each night.  We would then pray and we would sing “This Little Light of Mine”, it’s a childhood favorite of mine and I wanted my kids to know the song.  Creating this routine with my kids brought about more than I could have ever imagined.  It was a time of bonding and it created security and safety…for us all.

I would encourage every single mom to commit to being the spiritual leader of your home, pray with your children and teach your children God’s truth.  If they don’t see us living it out and making it a priority, how then can we expect them too?  I promise that if you begin to pray with your child and read a short bible story every evening…even when you can barely keep your eyes open, (trust me- I know) you will not be disappointed for the Lord’s word will never return void or empty. 

 

It’s okay to Grieve

John 11:35 – “Jesus Wept”.

The first few months after I left my husband are a bit of a blur.  I couldn’t afford to keep our condo, so I had to sell it.  I was busy trying to put on a good face for my toddler and keep my blood pressure down so I wouldn’t hurt my pregnancy and end up in the hospital like I did with my first (pre-eclampsia).  I was also trying to keep my job, find a new place to live, and slowly get my life back together.

One thing I do remember about those first few months are the tears, the pregnancy hormones certainly didn’t help – but I was grieving.  Don’t get me wrong, I was relieved my children and I were safe, but I grieved over what didn’t happen.  I was grieving over what was not to be mine, a Christ filled marriage .I had grown up listening to programs on Christian Radio such as “Focus on the Family” and “Family Life Today” where amazing stories of God’s intervention took place in people’s lives and marriages.  I couldn’t help wonder why that couldn’t have happened to me…it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying on my part.

Although I am embarrassed to admit this, I still have times where I weep and grieve over that which was lost.  It happened tonight as a matter of fact.  I had just finished tucking my kids into bed and I looked out my window to watch the sunset and I saw a father out on a walk with his children.  They looked so happy and his daughters were beaming.  That precious site of that father out with his children hurt my heart because I wish my girls had that.

I would consider myself very content with my life and I truly believe that the Lord has allowed me to thrive as a single mother, but my heart still hurts for what God’s perfect plan is for children – to be raised by their mom and dad.  Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world and God’s perfect plan isn’t a reality for many of us, however – it’s okay to still grieve and weep over what has been lost.

I love knowing that my Savior also wept when he saw other’s grieve over their loss.  The last mention of tears in the Bible is Revelation 21:4, and “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”.  This is our hope and our comfort.  There will be weeping here on earth, but someday – we will weep no more.

 

Don’t Dwell on the Past

Brethren, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13 – 14

One thing I committed myself to from the very beginning was to move beyond being a victim.  Yes, I was in an abusive marriage – but that wasn’t going to define me.  Even in these blogs, I refuse to reveal specific details about the abuse.  Why?  Because I have moved on from that and I have found complete and total victory!

I would be lying if I said that I NEVER think about some of those things, but I try to move quickly on and remind myself of what I truly need to be focused on…raising my girls.  This has been my focus and my greatest joy.

I have had many people in my life who have given me a hard time because I have chosen to not date.  This was my decision and one that I have been firm on.  Co-workers, bosses, friends, and anyone else who wanted to chime in, would poke fun at me. I have even been asked if I was a lesbian or if “something” was wrong with me.  I will have a whole blog on this topic alone because it seems to just baffle people that someone might CHOSE to not be involved with someone or to date.  I am not saying that this is for everyone, but it is what seemed right and best for me and my kids.

I was pretty confused about what plans (if any) the Lord had for me when I first found myself a single mom.  But there was one thing that was crystal clear…my children needed me and they needed the best of me.  This meant that I had to move beyond my grief, low self-esteem, fear, and heartache and “strain” (to force one’s self to make a strenuous or unusually great effort) towards that which was before me…single motherhood.

When you move beyond your past and reach for that which the Lord has put before you, it is there that you will find joy.  You don’t have to know all the pieces to the puzzle, just focus on what you do know and the Lord will present the rest when we are ready.

Where Does Help Come From?

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip—
    He who watches over you will not slumber”

Psalm 121:3

There were many problems with our marriage, but there was one particular thing  I couldn’t ignore any longer, abuse.  I did try to ignore it, for a while.  I told myself it “wasn’t that bad” and sometimes, I even blamed myself.

Before I really left my husband, I had actually “left” twice before.  Each time he would apologize and tell me he wanted to be better, he would ask for my forgiveness and tell me that I needed to forgive him.  The only way I would go back is if he would agree to go to counseling with me.  He would, for a few weeks and then he would quit.

To be honest, the counseling with Pastors didn’t help much.  For one, I couldn’t be completely honest about exactly what was going on.  I was ashamed and scared.

I even went to a crisis center for women fleeing abusive relationships and spoke with a counselor.  She told me I wasn’t ready to leave that day, and she was right.  However, she gave me some ideas and tools to help me become ready.  She told me to get some cash stashed away and to pack a small bag to have ready in the car, and the most important things – to make a plan.  And I did.  But it was still scary.

Having a plan helped, sort of.  But what really helped me was this verse.  I read it every night and memorized it, it brought me great comfort in some of my darkest times.  My help came from the Lord…truly.  Leaving wasn’t just scary because I was worried about what he was going to do to us, but because I didn’t want to be a single mom.  I had always wanted to get married and have a family.  Never in my wildest thoughts did I think that I was going to have to raise my children on my own.  But, as his mood swings worsened and the consequences I received from them intensified, I knew I didn’t want this for my children.  I had to protect them, no matter how scary it was.

I also realized I had to be honest, with my family and his.  It was one of the hardest things I had to do – to admit and confess what was going on.  It was absolutely heart wrenching, I felt like I had failed.  It was in that moment though that a tremendous burden was lifted and I received love and support.  My parents were relieved, they didn’t know exactly what was going on, but they knew SOMETHING was going on.

When I left my husband, he was filled with rage and acted upon it.  He followed me to my parents house and assaulted me and my folks.  He spent a year and a half in jail for his crime and I was relieved that I and my daughters could be safe, even if for just a time.

Two weeks before this happened, I had accepted a part-time job at the YMCA.  I wanted to do something outside of the home and where my daughter could be with me, so I applied for a job in their nursery.  I was making $7.50 an hour when I suddenly found myself a single mom of a 16 month old and pregnant with my second.  How was I going to make this work? The Lord stepped in and he helped.  Within a week of my separation, the CEO came to me and offered me full-time and $9.00 and hour.

There is so much more to this story, but the point is that the Lord was with me and my daughters through it all and he still is.  I have many stories of His protection and provision in my life.  Our Lord doesn’t slumber, and he certainly won’t let your foot slip.  He is our help and he will send the help we need when we need it.

First blog post

Proverbs 19:20

Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days.

A little over 10 years ago, I found myself standing in our local Bible bookstore shaking and fighting back tears.  I was searching for help, guidance, ANYTHING really to help me with what I was about to face.  I recently had been through a terrible ordeal and found myself faced with something I never thought I would…single motherhood.

It was that moment in that Bible bookstore I realized that there wasn’t a lot of resources for someone like me.   I had a 16th month old and was 5 months pregnant when I left my husband.  I had only been married for 4 years, but had endured much during that time.  I clung to my Bible, but was hoping for more.  I wanted to read about someone who had gone through what I was going through now, I wanted to learn from someone who had “walked in my shoes” so to speak, maybe because I would then know that I too could make it as a single mom.

I never did find a book or resource to guide me and I vowed that I would do all I could to help others like me in the future.  Not that I have all the answers, because I don’t, but I have been there and am still there 10 years later.

It is my greatest desire to walk with you and to encourage you with my story, all the while pointing to Jesus.  My girls are now 10 years old and 11 years old.  I am beginning a new phase in my journey as a single mother.  My children are beginning to leave their childhood behind and are beginning to enter into a new stage – as preteens.

I miss those early years dearly, but they were really hard and I learned a lot.  I desire to pass this knowledge on to someone who may need it – and if I can help just one single mom find hope and encouragement to go on just one more day, then it’s all been worth it.

Let us walk this journey together, and together we will seek to be wise.