My Story..and Encouragement for Single Parents

Here is a bit of  my story with a time of question-and-answer to some of life’s challenges I went through as a single parent. The station is  AM 700 The Light.

Paste this link into your browser on FRIDAY, MARCH 29TH AT 6:30 pm Mountain Daylight time or 8:30pm Eastern Daylight time….or whatever your time is! 🙂

https://www.cjli.ca/

May you be encouraged and blessed.

YOU CAN DO THIS!  Linda

 

 

 

Advertisements

C.H.A.N.G.E

For most of us, day-to-day routines and doing life become like a pair of well-worn slippers or a comfy sweatshirt. Most times, we can adjust to upcoming changes and work through it. Other times well, it is pretty tough.

Sometimes life hits us sideways, knocking the air out of our lungs. Single parenting is not for the faint of heart and changes can come faster then the speed of lighting.  It happened to me when my ex-spouse said he loved someone else, had found his soul mate, and left.

Changes can come in a variety of ways.

  • Your spouse has decided to ‘leave the building’
  • You can’t make him/her love you
  • You and your kids struggle with grief and adjustments (that can be an understatement)
  • Financial hardship
  • The gossip people say about your family
  • The emptiness and loneliness inside your heart
  • Loss of friends and his/her side of the family
  • Feelings of shame and feeling not good enough
  • A move or giving up a home because of the divorce negotiations
  • Health issues appear and you don’t have someone to be with you
  • Learning to do things on your own without a spouse

I have just touched the surface, but I think you understand and know that change is part of your life for a time.  It was for me.  It was like starting at ground zero to figure out who I was, how to parent alone, and what on earth would I do for a career as the bread-winner for the three of us.

I have to say, and I know it is hindsight, but the CHANGES that happened in my life made me who I am today. I will never agree with the choices I was left with but I took these changes and began to make a new life. Many times, changes have been forced because of someone else’s choice and that can be a hard pill to swallow.  News Break! You don’t have to be defeated, but a winner!

Changes made me realize

  • Who I yield To. My life is about being a Christ-follower. That is first and foremost and I can work through life with Him. It was during that time, I learned what my faith was all about, learned from the Bible, and trusted God to help me move forward.
  • Who I am Today. I am divorced, single mom, re-married now, author, mentor, business owner, farmers wife and book reviewer. This change gave me the opportunity to spread my wings and learn to fly as the God-gifted Linda I could be. New opportunities continue to come and I am forever grateful.
  • Who I can Encourage. With my past, I can help others who are walking this journey. I believe I understand some of their heartache, their struggles, and their new journey. I also mentor women who are struggling with life and pray with them.  What an awesome opportunity.  I wrote a book to help single parents (and for those who are walking beside them) to help them understand they are not alone.

Single Mom Survival Success: Tools and Tips for the Journey. (Check out Amazon)

A lady approached me a few weeks back and said she had bought the book for her daughter but read it first because she was a widow and had been in a new relationship that didn’t pan out. She said it really helped her in her Christian walk.

Dear ones, changes can be so positive and exciting.  Single Parent, you have a journey ahead of you that is unknown and it may be tough right now.  Don’t give up!  There can be so many positive changes despite the negative ones.  Soon they will outnumber the yucky ones.  Use this time to build up your life, make new choices, and let God be your Tour Guide.  He is awesome!

We can be assured as it says in Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ never Changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Let Him help you through all these C. H. A. N. G. E. S.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • Identify your hardest change
  • What steps can you make to make some positive changes?
  • Understand that some changes are not your doing
  • Do you trust God to help you through these changes?

YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

 

Dust Bunnies and Clutter

I have a colony of dust bunnies in my home and they are only to happy to take up residence. I am often astounded when I get down on my knees to vacuum under the bed and couches.  It seems as soon as I get rid of a family of dust, more arrive. With busy schedules and appointments, sometimes they accumulate and I have to take them head on!

Isn’t that just like life.  It is so easy to collect dust bunnies and clutter which take up unnecessary space in our heart. With that dreaded chore of spring cleaning (what is that anyway?) why don’t we also take time to de-clutter that unnecessary life dust and clutter that keep our heart from healing and bringing a ‘spring’ in our step.

Do these dust bunnies clutter your heart?

Dust Bunny #1: Bitterness– allowing painful and hurtful situations to harden the heart without dealing with it.

Dust Bunny #2: Bondage to lies – not believing what is Truth so issues are kept in bondage.

Dust Bunny #3: Beauty-less– feelings of worthlessness and comparing to someone else.

Dust Bunny #4: Blaming God- not willing to accept that God isn’t to blame despite unfair situations.

Dust Bunny #5: Brashness (attitude)- Letting stinging thinking cloud perspective on life so there is no option to see beauty and positive situations.

Corrie Ten Boom, a Jewish victim of the Nazi Holocaust, experienced horrific life experiences but chose to get rid of dust bunnies in her life.  She said,

Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings…it’s something we make inside ourselves.

Life isn’t all rosy and many times unfair.  We know that for sure. Honestly, there are days when I am tired of fighting the dust bunnies and clutter that keep true freedom from reigning. It’s too hard, too much work, and too painful. I want to throw up the white dust flag of defeat.  Sometimes it is hard to remember the past positive experiences that brought peace. Do you feel that way?

God never promised us a perfect life  here on earth but a life He would walk alongside us and help us through it. It is with that belief, we can be well on our way to clearing the clutter whether of bitterness, brashness, blaming, and selfless-love to understand we are worth fighting for.  Each victory, whether small or large is a success.

Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. Ephesians 4:23

Spring cleaning can begin right away even if the wintry weather is still fighting to stay. If we can let the Holy Spirit change our way of thinking and look at what life can be, Springtime has arrived!

So instead of:

  • Bitterness  choose Joy.
  • Bondage to lies choose Truth
  • Beauty-less choose inner Beauty and Self-worth
  • Blaming God choose Trusting in His goodness
  • Brashness (attitude) choose a Positive outlook

It’s time to fight the Dust Bunnies and clutter….

GRAB YOUR VACUUM CLEANER AND DUST RAG

  • What dust bunny do you struggle with the most?
  • What steps can you take to begin to vacuum up and get rid of it?
  • Do you trust God to help you de-clutter and have victory?
  • Begin to know and believe you can have victory, one step at a time.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

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!

 

 

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!