WHEN A MOMMA MOVES ON: Part 2

We all need hope and a sense of purpose. A good prescription for hope and purpose is when we can make:

A. (new) CHOICES

Sometimes choices are left in our lap and quite frankly didn’t want! I had to re-enter the work force, take on all household chores, and pay the bills. The kids and I had to work through life changes.

I am sure, like you, there were so many new choices. I had to decide my next steps and define my attitude. I definitely didn’t want to bitter placing blame all the time because I knew I would never heal.

Bless those that encouraged me to trust God to help me in all my decisions. I had a choice in my conversations, and choosing a positive attitude when I really didn’t want to have one.

At the end of the day, I wanted to be at peace with my choices that were God-honouring and God-centered.  These kind of new choices will make a Momma Move Ahead!  What kind of choices do you feel would help you have a healthier lifestyle for you and your children?

B.  (new) CHALLENGES

Step One is to make new choices, but the challenge comes when it is time to turn that into an action plan.

For me, that meant going to night school, working full time, packing up and moving to another city, seeing a counselor to get some REALITY focus, and heal in positive ways.

I know some have shared if they should pack and move somewhere else.  Should they start to date again? What about starting a brand new career and how to go about it?  Some have children that are not dealing with the marriage break down and wonder what to do. Legal issues never seem to end.

No wonder God said He hated divorce.  It is not just two people splitting apart, it is a rippling affect and brings many challenges.  For me, I had to take a step back and evaluate, evaluate, evaluate.  I asked:

  1. What is good and in the best interest for the children?
  2. What will be good for the future in employment with benefits, retirement plans, what skills do I need to accomplish taking care of my little family?
  3. What about dating? How are the kids reacting? Do they need me more than I need a boyfriend? Am I just trying to show up my ex that “I still got it”? Am I running to a guy because I am lonely? I see many single parents start dating right away. I would really encourage you to take time to heal, take time with the kids, and take time to found out who you are now.  Don’t be afraid to be alone. If you feel you are in a good spot and the kids are OK with it, then enjoy the ride and bless you in the journey!
  4. Another challenge is to set some positive boundaries for you and the kids. Working to keep everyone in a good routine and a good schedule will go a long way in reducing stress.
  5. Would you consider some family counselling or individual counselling for you and your kids? Something to think about. I did it for all of us and it was helpful.

Some days my body ached just trying to make good choices and facing challenges. Don’t despair and keep having HOPE.  It will pay off.

C. (new) CELEBRATIONS

Life can be tough day-in and day-out…so take some time to CELEBRATE!  Healing and positive decisions in your family means celebrations!

Do something special with your kids, have a girl’s night while the kids are away, or go see a movie. When you finish a hard task, do something fun!  It doesn’t have to be big, but it’s a WAY TO GO moment.

It’s Time Dear One!  ….to make (new) CHOICES and (new) CHALLENGES and that lead to a time to CELEBRATE.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • Try the 3 C’s….CHOICES, CHALLENGES, CELEBRATE! It will be amazing.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

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When a Momma Moves On: Part 1

It’s Time!  After life have settled somewhat, there comes a decision.  Drum roll please! ….

WHAT STEPS CAN I TAKE TO MOVE ON?

I have seen single parents react in two ways.

  1. BITTERNESS, BLAMING, and BUNGED UP (I don’t mean needing fiber!)
  2. (new) CHOICES, (new) CHALLENGES, and (new) CELEBRATIONS                                              Their choice will not only affect themselves but their children.

I don’t have all the answers but I’ve walked the walk.

Those that live with bitterness in their heart are trapped as they place blame on others and everything that touches their life.  End result: This type of poison leaves them Bunged Up! On the other hand, I have seen those living out #2 option and reflect as Scriptures says,

And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Fact #1: MOST TIMES LIFE IS UNFAIR leading to painful situations.  Truth is, I hate that!  Some can handle it way better than me and their faith and trust is such an example. I have to work at it step by step.

When my heart was crushed due to a broken marriage, I wanted it fixed but it didn’t happen. Just getting myself out of bed, getting the kids to school, making meals which made me feel nauseous, and continually wiping my stream of tears had me weary.  I didn’t bounce out of bed one morning, put on a cheer leading outfit and decide to turn everything around.

It was a process. With positive choices, I began to fight for new challenges, and celebrate when I had victory.  Some were small, while others were huge. The truth is, we all struggle with negative thoughts and feelings.  Other days, we feel like we can take on the world singlehandedly.  It’s human, it’s normal.

FACT #2: IDENTIFY YOUR FEELINGS

I find it good to ask questions. How am I feeling these days; is it positive or negative?  What situation has brought this on?  That is the start….

I can’t even begin to know what you have gone through. For some, you are working through infidelity, some  have had emotional or physical abuse, others are left alone penniless, countless court fees, new health problems, loss of old friends, and helping your children through their pain. On and on…. Nothing can sugar coat it.

We need to own and identify our thoughts, realize what they are, and then work through them. We can live a much bunged up lifestyle when we live with guilt because of our thoughts and feelings.  We can also let our stinkin’ thinkin’ be a part of our every day.  Don’t stay there or it will have you emotionally paralyzed. I called a friend, talked to my Heavenly Father, saw a counselor, and CHOOSE to make positive steps for myself and my children.

For some, just writing your feelings down or talking to a wonderful friend, will not be enough. It may mean some professional help and perspective. Don’t be ashamed or afraid of it.  Dialing that number could be the greatest decision for true healing. It changed my life for the better.

Don’t know where to start?  Try this link.  www.findchristiancounselor.com

Sadly, I have listened to single parents (both men and women) years later who are so trapped in past pain that every decision and every attitude breathes bitterness.  Their stance and facial expressions have become hard. They used to laugh but now everything is a chore and I hear comments like, “Why did this happen to me? Life isn’t worth living? He/she ruined my life!”  I am saddened that they live a bunged up life because everyone has good news!

FACT #3: THERE IS HOPE!

We all have new choices, new challenges, and new celebrations.

To make that happen, it means we all have to take some time to identify the thoughts and feelings we are facing–head on.  If you are bitter, or blaming everyone for your life situation, step back and see if you can see some positive steps that will leave you less bunged up. You will feel a ton better!

We all need Hope with a capital H. Would you be willing to write down some of your feelings? If you pray, begin to pray over this list. Find a friend, pastor, or counselor to start working on your list. God wants you to have victories in your life!  Remember Isaiah 61: 3… crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

This blog has been long enough, so next time we will continue with Fact #3. Then let’s see what new choices, challenges, and celebrations can come from it! Questions like; to date or not to date, moving or staying where you are, setting some boundaries, and how to react to challenges…and then a time to party!

OPEN YOUR TOOLBOX

  • Accept that life is sometimes just plain unfair
  • Identify your feelings
  • Live with HOPE

You can do this! Until next time. When a Momma Moves On:  Part 2

When a Momma Encourages Her Kids

Do these situations sound familiar?  You have stood, in the pouring rain, at your kid’s school field day cheering them on.  Proudly took pictures of the ballerina performances and music recitals.  Do you remember watching in horror as your child got flattened on the soccer field and you reach for your phone ready to call 911?  It’s was the time when you wiped the tears from your face as they head off to prom, or you found yourself on your knees in prayer watching them leave the driveway alone for the first time.  It’s watching them graduate from college as proud as punch, or clinching a tissue watching them say their wedding vows hoping and praying things will be just fine.

The scenarios are endless, but as parents we would give our right arm to encourage our kids to be the best they can be. Some children may never say thank you, some won’t ever understand the impact, and others will be very grateful.

Whatever the situations, encouragement is so important to every child.  It is important to understand that giving true praise is not making our kids prideful.  It is helping them see their giftedness and giving them confidence so when things come up in life they are able to handle it better.  Encouragement isn’t about the dollar amount, the size of the home, or the latest fashion sense.  It’s about the heart condition and making our kids realize their important worth.

I hear adults saying how a school teacher said that could be anything they wanted to be, or momma’s (and dad’s too!) being so proud of their kids and telling them they are so special. I can still remember the positive words spoken to me. They are tucked in a part of my heart that beats for part of who I am today.

Raising my girls, I wanted them to know they were important. By no means was I perfect. In retrospect, I missed some important discussion times, timely hugs, and there were times I gave more advice when I should have just listened.  However, they knew I loved them and we were a Team.

How can we encourage our kids? Here are some suggestions that I try and implement.

  1. Learn about each child’s dreams and aspirations. Help them to define it and ask them all kinds of questions. Engage in who they are. Why not work together to research and communicate about those dreams?  As they kids grow older their dreams will change and their life passions will become more defined.  Not every girl will want to become a princess or every boy a transformer! Ha Ha
  2. Commit to praying for your individual children and their passions for life. (Don’t forget to pray for their possible spouse as well!) Share Jesus with them. Help them understand the wonderful eternal journey they can have and let them know that God is the author of dreams and goals!
  3. If they fall, let them know you are there. Keep encouraging them for the next chapter in their life. Sometimes, we can only stand at the sidelines feeling like our hands tied. Truth may be that kids don’t want help, so respect that. Assure them you are always there so they know. That is a hard thing for Mommas to do. So…. go back to #2.
  4. Keep on giving words of encouragement. Technology is wonderful so we can talk back and forth instantly. My one daughter is overseas right now and I am very grateful for the tools to not only talk but see her wonderful face and hear her laugh.

Encouragement is a precious gift we can give our children. We all need it. It helps us move ahead, to help define who we are, and can give us the push to be all we can be.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • If you are able, check in with your child and give them a word of encouragement
  • Pray for each of your children to grow into who they were created to be
  • Help your kids to dream
  • If your children are not speaking with you, pray for them. Ask God to open doors so you can encourage them in small ways.  Pray for truth.
  • Understand your encouragement is a wonderful gift to give each of your children

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Next Time:  When a Momma Moves Ahead

When A Momma’s Heart Hurts

I had three similar conversations this past week while waiting at my appointments. Three different locations with three different women who didn’t know each other.

I asked a casual question not knowing it was like an anchor hanging around their necks. I asked them how their kids were. In that moment, a flood gate of words gushed from their mouth releasing what was on their heart. They want the very best for the children. I am sure you feel the same way about your kiddos whether they are still at home or are adult children living elsewhere.  We love our children and we are momma bears trying to protect and nurture each one.

A momma’s heart beats to the same drum.  There was sacrifices and total investments raising our kids to be the best they could be.

These three women shared how their children had made some unwise and life-changing decisions.  They watch as their children struggle along.  Their adult kids don’t want to listen to advice and have stopped speaking to them.  I listened to these moms say to me, “I didn’t bring them up that way”.

Again, they are standing on the sidelines but this time in the journey called life; clinging to their heart. Tears flow knowing their hands are tied.

Our world has many views about life that have turned people away from God. They are angry and even though some were raised in Christian homes and went to church, they have left it all behind.  They comment, “What does it matter anyway.  I like to believe what I want and do what I want.”  Truthfully, life is so much more. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts but a relationship with God who wants them to enjoy life in the true sense.  He wants to fill their empty hearts.

Momma’s (and Grandmothers, you are not alone.  All around the world, mother’s are living with hurting hearts. I know this because I have had many other conversations just like the ones I had last week. The feelings of helplessness is very real, but be encouraged you don’t have to feel hopeless.

May I encourage you to:

  1. Not give up on them. Let them know you are there but you may need to give them space.
  2. Love them even if they aren’t talking to you. Have you thought of just sending a card saying ‘thinking of you.’ No questions, no advice, just signing, Mom   (or Grandma)
  3. Pray for them. God loves them too!

I found this website that gives a free printable sheet how you can pray for your kids.  It might be worth the time to read over this.  https://club31women.com/12-powerful-verses-pray-children/. Whatever you decide, I encourage you to make prayer a priority asking God to work in their hearts and ask God to surround you with His peace and comfort in this waiting room of life.

Claim this verse, My children, I am in terrible pain until Christ may be seen living in you. Galatians 4:19

I am glad I had those kind of women in my life who continued to pray and love me despite the choices I made and some painful roads I had to travel.

Do you have a hurting heart?  Do you feel helpless and hopeless? You are not alone. There is power in the prayers of a momma’s heart.  Don’t give up…

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • Write out your children’s names (at whatever age) and pray for them daily
  • Despite them not acting like you ‘raised them”, love them and let them know that
  • Find someone who will pray with you
  • Ask God for wisdom in how you should deal with each of your children. Never give up praying for them and being an example of love.
  • If your child won’t talk to you right now and they want space, continue to pray, pray, and pray!
  • Claim Galatians 4:19

YOU CAN DO THIS!

A Stone in my Shoe

Recently I was hiking in the mountains. Somehow a little stone got into my shoe. I knew it was there and quite aggravating, but I never stopped to take it out. The views were so breath taking, I got distracted. Can you believe it, the next day I felt that same stone which I had not taken the time to remove.

Isn’t that just like bitterness? It begins small.  It is irritating and it affects what we are doing. If not dealt with, it begins to gnaw at our life. Each step I took, I knew the stone was there.  When bitterness is harbored in our lives, it stays with us throughout the day. It controls our thought life, marriage, home life, our day to day relationships and our work suffers.

The Apostle Paul saw this in the life of fellow believers.  He understood that bitterness takes hold of our minds and controls our existence.  He wrote,

”For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” (Acts 8:23)

This is not a new concept.  King Solomon knew from his God-given wisdom that bitterness zaps us of joy. Because of this, we can’t enjoy day to day life.

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” (Proverbs 14:10)

Life is not an easy hike in the forest. We hit bumps and stumps with level and uneven places.  No argument from me.  However, we also have some wonderful breath-taking moments when we can see though despite all the unevenness of our life, there is time for reprieve and healing.  When we can sit back, empty the stone in our shoe, and begin again, our heart will heal, the bitterness will subside and we can move ahead.  Bitterness can easily creep back in so we have to continually be aware of that ‘stone in our shoe’.  Throw it out….ask God to help walk without this stone of bitterness.

”Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)

Is there a stone in your shoe?  What is hurting your soul right now? Ask God to release you from it.  Begin to enjoy life and all its breath-taking moments again and let the stone dribble out.  Start to see the quiet things in your life that are important…a touch of a pet, an encouraging word from a co-worker, or maybe a walk in a park to see the handiwork of God.  Flip your shoe over and release the bitterness out.  Slowly begin to see the joy in life.

OPEN YOUR TOOLBOX:

  • Write out 3 positive words or phrases to help you face today.
  • Figuratively, take your shoe off and dump out that stone that is controlling your life.  On goes the shoe and on goes your day.
  • Realize the victory you have when you can take control and release bitterness.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

I wrote this for ‘Power to Change’, https://powertochange.com/blogposts/2011/08/21/a-stone-in-my-shoe/.  Why not stop by and check out their resources and helps.

The Simplest and Greatest Things: FAITH

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could get faith like gas at the Gas Station?  I’d be there every day.

Faith is hard. You can’t touch it, you can’t see it, you just have to believe it! The good news is that God said we just need the size of a mustard seed.

Jesus replied: It is because you don’t have enough faith! But I can promise you this. If you had faith no larger than a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move from here to there. And it would. Everything would be possible for you. Matthew 17:20-21 (CEV)

 I admire people that have such a deep faith and live it. They give me encouragement when my faith is the mustard seed size. I enjoy reading about people from history who lived and breathed it. I read books and articles of those in present-day who testify to wonderful things God is doing.

Truth is, it is accessible to everyone who has faith in Jesus Christ from the size of a mustard seed to a mountain-size trust.

When I try and do it on my own, it is a flop, but when I come to my Heavenly Father and say I need help to determine what to do and ask for help…He’s got me covered.

 God will bless you, if you don’t give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as he rewards everyone who loves him. James 1:2

Spending time with God regularly by reading and praying will help us build up our faith.  He is the gas who can fill our faith tank. He longs for us to trust Him and begin to have faith even the size of the mustard seed.

He is not the image of a genie in a bottle, or the on-demand television programs we have; though He can help instantly.  He will always be constant, faithful and true. When you let your heart beat with His, He will reveal and help you in your faith walk.

Hebrews 11 talked of those who walked the walk of faith.  Abraham, Issac, Moses, Rahab, David, Gideon and Samuel to name a few.  They were human just like us and life was filled with hard challenges and mistakes. However, what they had was faith that God would see them through.

When my burden is heavy and the road seems way too bumpy and unending, having faith in God, pushes me through. It was times when I got a much-needed call from a friend, and positive email, a gift of money to help at just the right moment, and my child was helped with an issue at school. God will for you too.

He will help in your faith walk even when:

  • You don’t believe God wants to help
  • You prayer list seems to be unanswered and hitting the ‘outskirts of heaven’
  • You have feelings of being spiritually dry
  • Life feels blah and uneventful
  • Life is so busy and crazy you don’t have time to even think
  • You used to have faith and are afraid to believe again

Let God be your Guide and help you with your mustard-see faith.  God does work behind the scenes of our life we have no idea about. I can guarantee you will be amazed and that seed will become bigger and bigger each step of the way!

Well, that sums up the saying on my plaque. It will hang on my wall but it will be my choice to live out each word to live a life of not only survival but success.  HOPE, LOVE, JOY, & FAITH. These define simple yet profound life qualities that will be great if we live each word out.  Will you join me?

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • Ask God to help you start out with mustard seed size faith.
  • What can you ask God for this week?
  • Read Hebrews 11 and then reference them to their faith stories in the Old Testament. A great study!

YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

 

 

 

The Simplest and Greatest Things in Life: JOY

I did a series on the Fruit of the Spirit a while back and thought I would share this one again since it is about JOY.

To be honest, sometimes life doesn’t dictate a lot of joy during the seven days of the week. Or…does it?

Remember the little song we sang as children?  If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands?  Many times, I felt more like the second verse asking us to stamp our feet!

In this Bowl of Life this fruit is called Joy. What is Joy? Galatians 5 says that God’s Spirit gives us Joy because He knew we needed this important fruit.

Kay Warren in her book, Choose Joy, Because Happiness Isn’t Enough, said Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things. pg. 32

http://www.amazon.com/Choose-Joy-Because-Happiness-Enough-ebook/dp/B00702M3F6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458246599&sr=1-1&keywords=choose+joy

How is Joy working for you? Can you honestly say you believe that God is in control of what is going on in your life and it’s going to be OK?

It is easy to struggle having Joy because life is full of topsy turvy events. As human beings, none of us can control much of what goes on in the world or family life. Single motherhood can leave you feeling drained of any type of joy.

You can’t buy it, jump for it, or trade it. It is a gift!  A gift from God. True Joy comes from within that only the Lord can provide.  Having the Lord’s Joy will give you strength in the days when you feel overwhelmed, sad or perplexed.  He can place a smile on the inside of your soul. Asking Him to give you this Fruit called Joy will be a blessing.

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10(NIV)

Then…. it is time to praise Him!  Even when you don’t feel like sending up words of praise, praise Him anyway.  It will be an encouragement. In a society of negativity and an all-about-me philosophy, God can give you His Joy. Life will be more positive.

Surrendering to God’s control and trusting that He is going to work things out will result in TRUE JOY. Keep asking God for this much needed Fruit.

Joy means

  • when the wash machine breaks with piles of laundry to get done
  • when the company you work for is downsizing and that means you
  • when your children are testing you
  • when you are served divorce papers
  • when life seemed to be just routine

It is like another little song that says, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart….to stay.

Joy is more than a fuzzy feeling and a fake smile. It is knowing God in Heaven is in control, and that, my dear ones, gives us cause to have The Fruit of Joy in our Life Bowl. Put your hand in Life’s Bowl and grab this Special Fruit of the Spirit.

When your heart is full of true Joy, your face will show it.  Let the joy, joy, joy, joy down in your heart STAY!

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX: I see the letters Y J O spelling JOY!

  • Do you believe that God is in control of your life? Will you let Him in?
  • Praise Him! I prayed to the Lord, and I praised him. Psalm 66:17
  • Remember that True Joy comes from within and it is there ‘to stay’.
  • Trust God that He is working things out

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Next Time: Faith