About Linda McCutcheon

A Single Mom who survived successfully- and found who God intended her to be while raising two girls.

An Amazing Love Card

Did you look at yourself this morning in the mirror and tell yourself you are amazing!  I know, I know, the kid’s lunches need to be made. Then a fight broke out with two of your kids as you are trying to get them out the door for school. You realize you have a button missing on your blouse and are looking for a safety pin. Your desk at work as a massive pile of projects to get accomplished and its Valentines day.  Bah humbug!

I hated Valentines every year as a single parent.  Couples were going out for dinner, some friends were getting engaged, the card isle at the gift shop was crowded and they weren’t picking one out for me. I was always glad when Feb 15th came around.  I hear the same sediment from other single people too.

What made my heart skip a beat was homemade cards from my kids. This was from my one daughter when she was little and it’s a keeper. It always made my heart feel better. I knew they loved me.

We need to feel loved and appreciated and not just on Valentines Day.  We have this amazing Love card from God called the Bible? It is filled with verses that say, without a doubt, how much He loves us.  Let me share some to encourage your valentine-shaped heart and help fight the blues (or reds I should say!)

Here are a number of wonderful Love words.

  1. God won’t abandoned you

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-30 (NLT)

  1. God loves to bless you

Matthew 5:3–10
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3-10(NLT)

  3.God Longs for Your Heart

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:17-19(NLT)

4.God loves to Help

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

5. God is love EVERY day

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22–23 (NLT)

  1. God loves to share His wonderful Resources

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NLT)

 God is Love!  You are special to Him and He wants to celebrate and walk with you. Isn’t that awesome!

 OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • God is Your Valentine every day of the year!
  • Remind yourself how loved you are
  • Pick a verse and put to memory
  • Shout Hurrah when February 15th comes around! 😊

YOU CAN DO THIS…REMEMBER YOU ARE LOVED!

 

 

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Up and et ‘EM

Winter months can seem never-ending.  I live in a place where our heating bill could be a mortgage payment and putting on layers upon layers of clothing takes more time then the actual time outside!  Well almost…

I find during these months, it is good for me to have an action plan or I would just lay on the couch with a heavy blanket and watch the days go by waiting for the first sign of a tulip!

I make myself get “up and et ‘em”. I sharpen the skate blades, tighten up my snowshoes, and turn off the Television.

One of my goals this year is to watch less television. I used to hardly watch any tv, then it began as an extra hour, then two…. So, its time to get off the couch. I just recently went on a  trip to the library to get a good book  so it gets me out of the house and try new authors. I know it can be easy to download one, but for me it is nice to get out walk through the selves of books, chat with people (quietly) and choose something different.

I am taking an aqua fit class with a friend.  It literally does my heart good, I get to have some good laughs with my girlfriend, and the library is in this complex!

I am taking a Bible Study with some girlfriends.  This increases my faith, gives me good support in my life, and lets me encourages others and think beyond my own life box.

Lazy habits can hold me down. Just sitting around can sometimes be easier but certainly not fulfilling for a purposeful life.  Life has a lot to give us if we can look for possibilities.

Here are some ideas off the top of my snow-covered head that might help all of us get off that comfy couch. Don’t worry you will be back.

  • Craft class
  • Night school interest course
  • Walking group in your town (we have one in our high school which I attend) or a volleyball group (we have one at our church)
  • Healthy food instead of those fat-laden snacks that we feel will comfort us in the dreary months of winter
  • Host a ladies group if you have health issues or can’t find babysitting that can’t get you easily out the door. A breath of friendship is great for the soul.
  • Non-profit organizations could use your volunteering time. Take the kids with you if they will allow it for some family team work
  • Shut down the social media stuff for an hour a day then two and realize life is more than that
  • Take the kids outside for some fun. I used to take the girls out occasionally for a tobogganing outing for about an hour in the evening during those frosty nights. That was the last thing I wanted to do after a long day at work, but once we got out there it was fun.  We laughed, we got some fresh air, and spent time together.  I did land on my head one night trying to do a daredevil stunt so I put a note to myself…’don’t act like you are 16 years old!’ 😊
  • Check out the community board and see what is being offered for free this time of year. It may only be for an hour but it is accumulating memories in the memory box. Sometimes they have a little craft club for an hour at the local library for kids
  • Meet someone for coffee, or invite them in
  • For some who have weekends alone because your ex has them, plan something fun other then sitting on the couch. Visit friends, take a trip to another town for window shopping, check out some skills you would like to learn (with the kids away you don’t have to pay for babysitting).  Join a book club, visit seniors in a senior’s home, grab a coffee and go for a walk in the park and breathe.
  • Maybe it is time to start writing those articles or book you have always wanted to do. Perhaps you might want to join a knitting club to knit your first scarf, join a bowling league, grab some books on different places in the world that you always want to know about…then maybe start saving for a trip there even if it takes 5 years to save.
  • God has placed you here for this time. He wants you to enjoy life amongst the stresses of life.

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. Psalm 20:4 (CEV)

Life is tough with stressors that seem to hit us sideways from week to week.  Allow yourself to experience some relief from that.  Pull yourself off the couch and like me grab your warm coat, mittens, hat and open the door.  There is a new adventure out there. It doesn’t have to be big…but start somewhere. Your couch will be waiting for you when you get back.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • Make a decision to get “up and et ‘em”.
  • What would you like to learn or do?
  • Understand you are worth it to enjoy some time to refresh yourself.
  • Is there an activity you can look into for you and the kids?
  • Enjoy your couch time while you are reflecting on some enjoyable things you have done and are doing.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

FEAR of the Unknown

I found myself wondering what happened to our little family. It was like a dream (aka nightmare) and felt so unreal.  Surely this broken up family would get fixed?  It was broken and the feeling of intense pain couldn’t seem to go away. Have you ever felt that way?

Over the years, as I talk with women, I am reminded that we all have our own personal situations that feel so unreal. During those times, FEAR can grip us like a vice disabling us to move forward. The Fear of the unknown can be downright gripping.

  • A child has an incurable illness
  • An older child has made unsafe choices and you pray daily for them
  • Financial pressures that leave you in a panic of how to meet deadlines
  • A Spouse has passed away
  • Your job isn’t stable
  • Your ex has walked out and said he/she has found their true soul-mate

I don’t know your life situation, but I do know about dealing with the fear of the unknown. When my ex first left, I wasn’t sure what was my first move.  I thought he would come back.  How was I going to pay the rent? How was I going to be an emotional stability for my kids in all the changes?  How would I be able to survive alone? What employment could I get? How could I make it through the day? How could I heal my broken life?

One week felt like an eternity to get through with so many issues to deal with. What was ahead?  I was so afraid of the unknown. I know I am not the only one who has ever felt this. It seems to be a part of many lives whether a single parent, a child, a senior, a teen, or a single person. Many are taking panic attack medication because of fear issues and trauma in their life.

I get it. Life is not in a neat little package. The truth is that this life package rips, the tape doesn’t hold, and well the ribbon, it was long gone.  In my book, Single Mom Survival Success, Tools and Tips for the Journey, I dedicate a chapter entitled, The Monster Called Fear.  I have mentioned fear in previous blogs because it is a real issue in dealing with how to deal with this monster.

There is hope!

We can begin to stomp it out by facing that fear. Maybe it is the fear of being alone, or a fear of making ends meet, the fear of child custody, or what people think of you. Take some time to identify it so you can move toward a solution that will help ease your fear.

I feared being alone and having to do this single parenting by myself. I had to find employment and learn new skills. I feared what people thought of me and feared moving forward. The list went on. I had to release each fear of the unknown. I am glad for the victories I had (and still do) because I didn’t want this monster to win. I still have to fight this monster and gain victory.  Life is just that, isn’t it?

A song by Bill Gaither called Because He Lives says, “Because He lives I can face tomorrow…. Because I know He holds the future. As those that have a faith relationship with Him, we have assurance that He will help us face the unknown, face today, and face tomorrow.

Take some time to stand back and realize our Heavenly Father wants to take your fear and help you take a step in the right direction to fight that monster to the ground. As Timothy says

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

God’s word has so many scriptures to encourage us to let go of the unknown. (using CEV version)

  • And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure. Psalm 94:19
  •  Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry about what people might do. 1 Peter 3:14
  • Our Lord, we belong to you. We tell you what worries us, and you won’t let us fall. Psalm 55:22
  •  Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories. Isaiah 41:10

Let’s fight this monster and believe God can help face the unknown.  God has gone before us and He can lead us to victory!

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • Take one of the above Scriptures and put it to memory.
  • Begin to take each of your fears and dissect it and work toward a solution.
  • Believe that this Monster does not have to have control over you.
  • Trust God to help you walk through this with His power and of love and of a sound mind.

YOU CAN DO THIS!  So Long Monster!

 

The Tap On My Shoulder

Can you believe it!  We already have 7 days into the new year!  I think I can safely say, most of us desire to move ahead in positive ways making new goals for the next 12 months.  It is wanting to putting one foot in front of the other.

Each year, I write out goals and it looks so nice and neat in my booklet. I am ready for the challenge.

However!  Yes, however, the words written down on a piece of paper don’t always fit into some unexpected life situations.  I can see you nodding your head in agreement.

Life is going well in most areas of life and then one comment can take our breath away or bring us to our knees.  Sometimes it does seems one step forward and 12 back? Oh! It can frustrate me.  There are times when our past keeps tapping us on the shoulder, all the while whispering “remember when”.

It is the voices of the past that keep bringing up hurt and crippling us from moving ahead.  It’s those “maybe” situations:

  • Maybe it was words you have heard and believed but in reality, they are total lies.
  • Maybe it was an unkind comment from a co-worker because they were jealous of threatened by you.
  • Maybe a comment from your ex-spouse that has you believing things were all your fault or words saying you could never be what you wanted to be.
  • Maybe even a close friend has turned on you for whatever reason and said some painful things about you and to you.
  • Maybe words from family members that have been said and done stuff to you because of their own painful past.
  • Maybe you believe lies about yourself that you need to work on.

There is hope!  There really is.

  1. I would encourage you to take some time in the next week or so and identify those painful words and situations.
  2. Then write them down.
  3. Make a decision to begin to take each issue and work through them.
  4. Next, See the TRUTH and cross out the lies.
  5. Then, you may want to call a trusted friend, a pastor, or a counselor and begin to bring the truth to light if you are struggling with how to bring resolution.

Please understand, there may be some issues that will take quite a bit of time and hard work. I bet you are up for the challenge.  Just don’t give up.

Let 2019 be one of Truth and healing. God is rooting for us.  He wants us to engage our life with Him. He wants us to believe and trust Him with our life.  For some, you may not know much about God and the work of Jesus Christ.

Check this out. www.allaboutgod.com/prayer-of-salvation.htm

For others, you have placed your trust and life in God, our Heavenly Father. God is ready to help all of us as we journey in 2019.  No need to delay.

For me, every once in a while, a comment will bring me to my past.  I have to stop, question it, and make a choice to deal with it in positive ways. I can take that finger tapping on my shoulder off and tell it to get lost.

Truth will set us all free!

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 (CEV)

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • See Truth for what it is. Get some help if you need it….it will be worth it.
  • Stop listening to lies.
  • Memorize John 8: 32
  • Believe 2019 can be your year of freedom!

YOU CAN DO THIS!

HE CAME!

It happened just as it was told. What we call the Christmas Story from the pages of the New Testament came true from the pages of the Old Testament.  Check a few of these out!

  1. Old Testament: Genesis 17:7 I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God.

New Testament: Luke 1:55 The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his family forever.

  1. Old Testament: Isaiah 9:7 His power will never end; His peace will last forever. He will rule David’s kingdom and make it grow strong. He will always rule with honesty and justice.  The Lord All-Powerful will make certain that all of this is done.

New Testament:  Luke 1: 31,32 and you will have a son.  His name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.

  1. Old Testament: Jeremiah 33:15 I promise that the time will come when I will appoint a king from the family of David, a king who will be honest and rule with justice.

Micah 5:2, Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the Lord will choose one of your people to rule the nation—someone whose family goes back to ancient times.

New Testament: Matthew 2:5,6 They told him, He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote, Bethlehem in the land of Judea, you are very important among the towns of Judea. From your time will come a leader, who will be like a shepherd for my people Israel.

During the rush of this Christmas season, I drove by some beautiful nativity scenes of Joseph, Mary, and in the crudest of managers, Baby Jesus.

HE CAME

Their first visitors were Shepherds.  These men weren’t educated, nor respected in the city council, and most likely smelled. (I know this because we have sheep). God choose these unassuming shepherds the first opportunity to worship Jesus the Lord. I would have loved to have been a shepherd that night.

About two years later, highly educated men from the East, called the Wise Men, arrived to worship Jesus and brought every expensive gifts.

Centuries later, we still have the opportunity to visit the manager scene as we read the story in Scriptures.

Just like the Shepherds,

“They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.” Luke 2:16

Just like the Wise Men,

When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him.  They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and gave them to him. Matthew 2: 11

HE CAME

to earth for all.  Status doesn’t matter to Jesus.  Single parents, the elderly, homeless, rich, poor,blue collar workers, white collar workers, babies, teens, adults to name a few. His mission was to save His people from their sins…and that began in a stable.

 HE CAME

Will you spend a few minutes reflecting on this amazing arrival of the Son of God–Baby Jesus? The prophecy was fulfilled.

HE CAME

Will you spend a few minutes rejoicing?  He gives us victory in whatever life situation we are in.

All because….

HE CAME

♪♪ JOY TO THE WORLD…THE LORD HAS COME! ♪♪

Christmas PAST

I found myself reflecting on Christmas memories as I hung up the stockings, fought with those crazy strings of lights, and looked over recipes that I hope to bake…and EAT!

Growing up as a kid, our family had little money for extras but I never felt cheated out of Christmas because of their love and their many homemade gifts. There was a lot of family celebrations with cousins and other relatives skating on the pond and playing games. Oh yes, and lots of yummy food!

When I became a single mom, money was super tight and I had to share the holidays with my ex.  From past experiences, I knew it wasn’t about the gifts but about making special memories with my girls that I still keep tucked in my heart to this day. Believe me there were some years I just wanted to skip Christmas.

For some of you, Christmas time can be very painful.  Memories of your childhood, of your marriage and family break up, and constant financial burdens can be downright overwhelming to say the least.  Getting together with the extended family can be stressful.  Someone drinks too much, yelling matches of past issues that they just won’t let die, and gift expectations from some. Sure makes for anything but fun. Your ex has the kids this year and it is going to feel lonely. Fa la la. Believe me, I bet you are saying you want to skip Christmas.

A couple thousand years ago, Mary and Joseph struggled with “Christmas”. Angels came to them to tell them that the virgin Mary was to give birth to God’s son, Joseph was engaged to her and wondering what to do, and the Shepherds and Wise Men were visited by angels telling of a coming Messiah. And yet there in a non-assuming stable, The Saviour was born. I am so glad that God choose not to skip Christmas!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:20-23 (NIV)

Whenever I become perplexed, stressed or sad over Christmas issues, those verses give me hope that this PAST event will trump any past that I have. Because of Jesus’ birth, His saving power to forgive my sins, and His help for today and tomorrow gives me His ultimate peace. I can rest in Him, I can work through the past, I can accept that I can’t change the past and then work toward how I will deal with this Christmas.

Want to skip Christmas?  I get that.  Would you like to try and work through some positive Christmas steps? That would be awesome. Are you glad God didn’t skip Christmas?  I can say without a doubt, YES! YES! YES!

O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

 

 

 

Open your gift:

  • Be thankful for that Christmas Past over 2000 years ago.
  • Reflect on Jesus’ birth, His sinless life and His ultimate Sacrifice for you.
  • When painful Christmas situations come up, know you are not alone. Jesus’ is there.
  • Begin to prepare and work through some past issues so you can face today and tomorrow.
  • Create a new Christmas memory with your kids.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

NEXT TIME: Christmas Present

 

Freedom, TRUE Freedom

We recently had a day to remember our country’s freedom.  How grateful I am for those veterans that fought and sacrificed their lives so we could live in the ‘land of the free’.

Lately, I was thinking about another type of freedom.  It is freedom from things in life that seem to trap me from living a more victorious life.  It involves the worries of this world, the pressures that seem endless and the past scars and hurts that like to surface again and again.

Do you struggle with the same?  What makes you feel defeated and pressing down on your heart while walking in imaginary cement shoes?

I have heard some share

  • It is the words from their past that they aren’t good enough or never will be
  • That dreams are only for daydreamers
  • Life will never change.
  • Some that feel because their marriage broke down, it was ALL their fault and they live in that guilt.
  • Others share that co-workers are cruel
  • Fair-weather friends have left them feeling hurt and abandoned
  • Those that were an example and in leadership have failed them
  • Do you worry a lot and can’t seem to let it go? That worry feels like a chain around your neck, your ankles and your heart? It can be debilitating.

Truth is, we are all human, we make mistakes and life hurts sometimes.

GOOD NEWS! DON’T STOP READING. The great and awesome news is that God can break those chains. He wants to give us TRUE freedom despite what is going on around us and in our hearts.

Jesus’ sacrificial life made it possible to be free from bondage’s in our life.   Sadly, I don’t reflect on that as much as I should. It needs to be a continual Remembrance Day for me.

True freedom is allowing God to show us His Truth and help us work through each step of our past, our present situation, all while moving toward the future.

Jesus said, “A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.”  John 10:10 (CEV)

Maybe you don’t even know where to begin. How about grabbing a notebook and begin to list bondage issues, worry issues, and scary unknowns. Many share they are dealing with pornography and want to break the chains.  Others have no boundaries in their life and are walked on by others. Some have anger issues, others  spending issues, while others continue to spread gossip. You have your list. Begin to pray that God would help you heal. That is a beginning to start your way to Freedom.

Consider this: Do you need to consider counselling?  Do you need to begin to dream again and start the steps to make that come true? Do you need to forgive in your heart those that hurt you and don’t want you to succeed? Do you need to have a more positive attitude and tell Winnie the Pooh’s, Eeyore, to take a hike?

I struggle with issues that trap me from having Freedom. It is important for me to acknowledge those chains and release them to God….and yes sometimes a lot! When I do work with God, I begin to know an inner freedom that only He can give. Pretty amazing!

From experience, when a situation comes up; take it directly to God.  Ask Him to control your mind, your thoughts, and remember He wants us to live life to the fullest. If you have a good supportive friend reach out and ask for prayer and encouragement.  Crack open the Word of God and let His words comfort and empower you.  Take that list of yours and begin to make small steps.

Don’t give up, there is freedom….true freedom.

OPEN YOUR TOOLBOX:

  • Do you feel a lack of freedom in life? Make a list.
  • What positive steps can you take with this list?
  • Reach out to those that you feel you can trust to walk alongside you.
  • Let God help you gain True Freedom. He is only a prayer away.

YOU CAN DO THIS!