Living for God as a Single Mom

SSU Mom Special Edition

Personally, the last thing I want to read when I log onto my Facebook account is some drama somebody has with the other parent of their child. Even if the cops were called, he/she trash-talked you in front of your kid or is taking you to court for the 5th time in 2 weeks… please refrain from the temptation to spread it across social mediaRead more

 

Single Moms: Pause & Reflect

SSU Moms Special Edition

There always comes a time in our lives when we need to pause and reflect. Sometimes we get so caught up in the routine, that we forget to examine the course of things or ourselves. As Christians, it is important to evaluate ourselves to see whether we are walking according to God’s Word or perhaps our own judgment (1 Corint 11:31). And it’s even more essential for single moms to pause and reflect in order to learn from the past (especially when singleness status is due to divorce or separation), progress in life, and set the right example for children. It’s often common to see single moms quickly going back to the dating scene for emotional attachment or financial need . This generally leads to experiencing additional heartbreaks when the new relationship doesn’t meet the expectations. Another attitude that single moms can take on is to nurture a vengeful heart toward the ex-partner and we all know how this at times can cause anxiety and depression. Hence, it is crucial to pause and reflect to honor the Father, have dignity, avoid repeating the same mistakes, and be an example to children. Continue reading “Single Moms: Pause & Reflect”

The “X” Factor – Dealing With Our Exs

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Image: DrPhil.com
SSU Moms Special Edition
by Teri Worten

When we have children with another person, that person is a part of our lives forever. Even with uninvolved fathers, somehow conversations come up about them, their names are mentioned and some of them even “pop” into our lives at different times. Whether directly or indirectly, we might as well face it, they are a part of our lives forever. Hating these ex’s does not help. It changes nothing. Further, constantly regretting the past relationship with them serves only to depress us. Our only reasonable option is to change how we perceive them and look at the new co-parenting relationship through a different lense…Read more

 

Finding Time For Studying and Parenting

 

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image: US News
SSU Moms Special Edition
By Will Erstad

Earning a degree while raising kids is not for the faint of heart. Keeping your kids fed and at least somewhat clean can seem like a tough task on its own some days, but when coupled with the demands of college level coursework your daily responsibilities can seem daunting. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled the advice of students with children and have come up with some tips to help improve your study skills and make your life a little easier…Read more  

Living For God As A Single Mom

By Margaret Mangrum,

 

Woman praying to god at sunset
image: ennings wire

Being a single mom is hands down one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. I went through nursing school as a single mom after I had my daughter, which was pretty challenging to say the least, but it still doesn’t compare to being a single parent. Being a single parent (and I would say being a parent in general) is a job that never goes away. There is no clocking out, no handing the pager off to someone else for their weekend on call, no calling in sick or using that vacation time you have accrued for an actual vacation. Even though this is not the life I had planned for myself, I would not trade it for anything. I have come to know God in a way I never thought I would and have seen Him do some pretty amazing stuff in my life and my daughter’s life, which would have taken years of therapy and medications otherwise. That being said, I would like to share with you a few things that have helped me in my life as a single mom serving the Lord.

YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER!

I have been a single mom for almost 12 years now. My story is every bit the story of the prodigal son. I was raised in a minister’s home and in my first few years of college I decided to strike out on my own. I came back to the Lord in 2009 after spending about 10 years running from God. I can tell you right now it is a whole lot easier to be a single mom serving God than it is to be one not serving God. There is no price tag you can place on the peace of mind and the security that comes from knowing He is with you.

Recently my pastor, Rev. Carl McLaughlin, preached a phenomenal message entitled, “From a Wound to a Witness.” For years, even after coming back to the Lord, I carried guilt, shame, rejection, depression, and whatever other oppressive feeling you want to throw in there on my shoulders. It felt as if it were an inseparable part of my identity. Over time, layer by layer, God has performed a miraculous healing both in my life and in my mind to the point where I no longer view myself as some sort of rejected person who made a complete mess of her life and doesn’t have a purpose.

In the sermon my pastor preached, he talked about being an overcomer and how the enemy would love for us to stay bound in our wounds because if we are never healed then we will never be a witness. This is where the enemy would love for us to live: going to church but not healed. God’s plan is for you to be healed. It is not God’s plan for you to walk around with a victim mentality, constantly nursing old wounds from your past. If there is anything you glean from this, I want you to know you are an overcomer! You cannot live with the mentality that the enemy has destroyed your life. God has a plan and a purpose for your life, no matter the situation you are in. Let go of the past, forgive and move forward.

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.”

ESTABLISHING A DAILY WALK WITH GOD

One of the hardest things for me in being a single mom is not so much the work that comes with it, but the simple fact there is not another adult to share daily life experiences with. Even though I am blessed to have my parents close by who are very involved in my day to day life, there are times when I wish I could just have someone else to talk to. But the truth is that we do have someone to talk to! Which is why it is of the utmost importance to establish a time each day to spend in the Word and in prayer, preferably first thing in the morning before the day begins. No matter our relationship status on earth, establishing a relationship with God is what will always sustain us. The Psalmist David said it best in Psalm 63, verses 1 & 2:

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.”

It doesn’t have to be this long drawn-out session where you go into the third heaven but just commit daily to reading a chapter or two in the Bible and take 10 to 15 minutes to spend in quiet prayer time with God. If it means waking up 15 minutes earlier, then that is what it takes. I cannot tell you the number of times God has given me direction and guidance in those quiet moments I spend with Him each morning. It does not mean each day is filled with sunshine and ice cream, but it means I have given Him that day to guide my footsteps according to His will. The days where I don’t make time to spend with Him are the days that feel unraveled and out of sorts.

FAITHFUL CHURCH ATTENDANCE

Aside from establishing a daily prayer and Bible reading routine, something that has tremendously helped me is having a made-up mind to be at church for each service. While this may look good on paper, in reality it can feel next to impossible at times. If you are the parent of a girl, you will know firsthand what I am talking about. There are days where it seems like getting ready for church can be this major dramatic ordeal. You feel as though you are preparing for a Broadway production of some sort with 15 wardrobe changes, 10 hairdo styles, etc. And Wednesday nights seem to be the hardest. After a long day’s work, fixing dinner, making sure homework is done, walking the dogs, etc., getting ready for church can bring on the feeling that the entire world is against you. Still, it is so important that you go anyway! It is often in those times when I have the biggest struggle to get to church that I receive a much-needed Word from God or something miraculous happens. Faithful church attendance goes beyond just getting your soul fed, but simultaneously you are instilling in your children the idea that making it to God’s house is a priority. You are also getting your kids involved and rubbing shoulders with those who are Kingdom-minded.

REMAIN FAITHFUL IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS

Being solely responsible for all financial aspects of my house, I can tell you every dollar and every penny have a name. There have been plenty of months where I did not know how certain bills were going to get paid, but I made a vow to God I would remain faithful in my tithes and offerings and I can tell you He has never left me nor forsaken me. I may not have everything I want, but I have more then I will ever need. God’s desire is that we trust Him completely and totally with everything. Do not skimp out on the promises of God by withholding tithes and offerings.

GET INVOLVED IN SOMETHING BIGGER THEN YOURSELF

Make a decision to involve yourself in a ministry in your church. When we get involved in something much bigger then ourselves and give of ourselves to others, we realize just how blessed we are.

KEEP YOUR DRAMA OFF OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Personally, the last thing I want to read when I log onto my Facebook account is some drama somebody has with the other parent of their child. Even if the cops were called, he/she trash-talked you in front of your kid or is taking you to court for the 5th time in 2 weeks… please refrain from the temptation to spread it across social media. We all have family issues and drama but social media is simply not the place to air these problem. What you post online can actually affect your chances of getting a job or even keeping the one you have. Many employers, if not most, before even glancing at your resume will Google your name. Do you really want the first thing that pops up to be your long rant on what a horrible person your child’s other parent is? What does that say about you? Would I want someone working for me with that kind of attitude? What you say on social media does matter in real life, so if you are trying to make a better life for you and your kids, think twice about what you say both on and off line.

COUNT IT ALL JOY!

While this may be a simple list, it contains some of the most important things that have helped me on my journey of single parenthood. They have guided me through difficulties and continue to carry me through. Some days it can be downright hard and occasionally it feels as though everything in the world is against me, but I’ve learned I just have to keep on! My dad always says,

“Living for God easy is hard, but living for God hard is easy.”

When you have a made-up mind to serve the Lord, coupled with the mindset of an overcomer, He will work everything out for your good; just trust Him. My ultimate goal is to make it to heaven and when I put that into perspective, life just seems more bearable. It’s gonna be worth it all when we see Him face to face!

Romans 8:18 – “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Co-Parenting with a Non-Believer

By Matt Haviland, Crosswalk

coparenting
image source: life matters

 

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. -James 3:18 (NKJV)

Co-parenting with a non-believer has to be one of the hottest topics in single parent ministry today; but is it one of the most disciplined? From a personal standpoint, I completely understand how frustrating it can be, but the way we handle an adverse situation such as this is a reflection of our own personal relationship with Jesus. Whether you are the full-time or non-custodial parent, your faithfulness and devotion to the Lord in bringing your children up, in Christ, when they are in your care, solely your responsibility. The rest we must entrust to God. As is the case when we are faced with any sort of opposition or trial, we are called to be obedient and trust in His Word; keeping in mind that it is not just our walk that is being molded, but our children’s as well.

He Said, She Said.
As the opening verse states, the fruit of righteousness comes not by vengeance – but through peace. To start, we should make sure to drop the mindset of who is wrong or right and focus on whether we are remaining in the right. Paul instructs us in Philippians 3:16 to “keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” In other words, keep modeling Christ no matter what comes our way. If you do decide to correct the other parent, do it with gentleness (2 Tim 2:25) and be sure to pick and choose your words and motives carefully. In our single dad small group, our “Golden Rule” is we never slam our children’s mother. This helps to protect both ourselves and our kids by not allowing anger or resentment to creep into our hearts. Otherwise, the bitterness will eventually control other areas of our life if left unguarded. Keep yourself focused on your own relationship with Christ and your kids and turn anything beyond your control over daily in prayer and petition.

Prayer
The power of prayer is by far one of the greatest weapons of warfare we as believers possess. Where are your prayers focused? Is it for God to change the other parent’s heart and not to let your son or daughter be tainted by their beliefs? Or, is it a much more Gospel-centered approach, one that shows complete trust in Him and selflessness on your part? Even in His greatest moment of pain and agony, Jesus still cried out for His Father’s forgiveness on behalf of His murderers. Stephen did the same. When we align our heart with God’s and pray according to His will, we are assured that He hears us and our petitions (1 John 5:14-15). Standing in the gap and praying for our children’s other parent is extremely Scriptural, and vital if we are to grow in our own walk. Instead of asking God to change them or not manipulate the kids, pray instead for His love and mercy to be poured upon their household; to forgive them for they know not what they do. By doing so, your heart will be kept soft too and the kids will be blessed in their lives through your authentic Christ-centered love.

Keeping Our Side of the Street Clean
If we read the story of Saul and David in the cave (found in 1 Samuel 24) we get a very clear picture of mercy, humility, and obedience – all on David’s part. Despite the obvious advantages that had seemingly just been delivered into his hand, David was well aware of his position with the Lord and made the conscious decision not to alter God’s sovereign plan. He did not consider an act of disobedience to be God-ordained and even showed sorrow for his cutting of Saul’s robe. Are we acting accordingly? Are we as believing parents actively showing grace to the other? Are we humbling ourselves in obedience in order to grow ourselves? Psalm 25:9 says, “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” If we allow ourselves to be teachable along the way, God can do great things in our households. If we don’t, then He can only do so much. Even though we may have the best intentions at heart when it comes to ministering to our children, let’s be sure that we are doing it according to His will and not our own.

Co-parenting can be a challenge by itself sometimes, but co-parenting with a non-believer is a completely different ball game. Consistency on our part in every aspect will be a key component in raising our kids in Christ. We may not be able to change the other parent’s beliefs, but the authentic light of Jesus cannot be ignored by our children. Be sure to look through the obstacles that may be laid out before you in this regard, and stay focused on the One who will lead you so you can lead your son or daughter in the same way.

Matt Haviland is the founder of “A Father’s Walk” single dad ministry and the author of the book, A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resources for Single Fathers. He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, is the co-founder of the Grand Rapids Single Parenting Expo, and is a single dad to a beautiful little girl himself. For more information on the ministry and how to form a single dad small group in your own church, please visit http://www.afatherswalk.org.
Publication date: August 8, 2013

The Relationship Between The Single Parent, God and Money

By Krisi Davis

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image source: debt.ca

The first 10% of my income is a tithe. My children and I decide together where the tithe goes; church, Salvation Army, Red Cross etc…Enlisting their participation in the tithing process is an important way to model tithing for them and let them see where the money goes. The pastor of our church has said on more than one occasion that if you come to the end of the month and are unable to pay your bills because of the amount that you tithed, to come to him and he will return the tithe amount. God is an amazing provider and we have never had to make that request! Read More

Eating Healthy on a Single Mom Budget

Each single mom has her own unique experience and challenges. My only real challenge as a single mom is finances. There just never seems to be enough money. Ever. Feeding a family on a single mom budget isn’t always easy, but I’ve found what works for us. It is entirely possible to feed a family healthy foods on a tight budget. In fact, I spend approximately $65 each week. Here’s how.

Cooking from ‘scratch’ saves money.

I grew up eating minimally processed foods because that’s what was available. people cooked. As a part of a big southern family, I most certainly learned to cook.
Always practical, I never began buying processed foods when they came into fashion. I just didn’t see the logic in spending more for less. Today, I realize it’s not only less expensive to cook my own food, but it’s also healthier… Read More

Learning to Accept and Let Go of What You Can’t Change

By Pam Kanaly, Arise Ministries

Being a single parent is difficult. Though life is whirling by faster than the Spinnaker at the city fair, who has time to stop and figure out all of the unresolved emotions a single mom or dad should be handling, emotions such as accepting a circumstance you didn’t ask for or letting go of what you can’t change.

When I was a new single parent a friend gave me a money order for counseling. As I was leaving the counselor’s office one afternoon, he commented, “Well, Pam, it looks like you have unresolved emotions.” I thought, “What in the world are those?” After all, who had time to decipher codes like that? All I had time to think about was the next emergency to be taken care of by a two or a three year old like, “Help, Mommy, help! Gimme a gink of juice.”

Friends, there are many books on the market about single parenting and tips on how to raise the children alone, but few about your own emotional health. That alone, along with my counselor’s remark about my unresolved emotions, led me to write The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, endorsed by Focus on the Family, due for release March 30, 2014. And though it primarily addresses single mothers, the principles of wholeness apply to all of us.

So what about emotional fullness, and how do we find it? In my book, you’ll uncover eight debilitating emotions single parents face along with the answers found in God’s Word. Two of the emotions mentioned deal with the aftermath of devastation and the challenge of accepting the present and letting go of whatever it is that holds you back.

Acceptance
I recall sitting on the curb crying after my first husband left me. Carol, my neighbor across the street, saw me through her kitchen window and came to my side. Her words did not give me the words of hope I desired. But they did jolt me into another mindset that began my process toward recovery. “Pam, it’s time to let your marriage dreams die and ask God to bring about His something new.” It was time for me to accept what “is” – I am single… and trust God with “what wasn’t” – I’m not married anymore. Acceptance means throwing yourself into the river of God’s will and entrusting the outcome to him. Some things have to die through the process of acceptance; next comes the challenge of letting go and seeing life from God’s helicopter view.

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image source: parentingthepresence.com

Letting Go
Years ago I read this poem at Scope Ministries. I’ve read it not once, not twice, but hundreds of times. In its truest sense, “to let go” means to give up control (whether it concerns a relationship or situation you can’t fix), and releasing all expectations and speculations to God. Accepting what is and releasing the results to God serve as the catalyst for emotional freedom. To let go is not what you think.

To let go is to admit powerlessness
Which means the outcome is not in your hands
To let go is to be settled that I might never get what I want
But that God is more than enough
To let go doesn’t mean to stop loving
It means I can’t do it for someone else
To let go is to admit some things are out of my ability to repair
It is to disband the tiring belief that if I perform a certain way, something will change
To let go is not to sever the relationship
But to realize that my efforts to control only wear me out
To let go is not to enable
But to allow learning from natural consequences
To let go is not to fix another
But to be an encourager
To let go is not to judge
But to allow the other person to be a human being
To let go is not to deny the problem
But to accept it
To let go is not to rehearse the past
But to realize it can serve as a tool measuring how far I have come
To let go is to not experience inner turmoil
But to take on the mind of Christ, that inner rest that affords relaxation in the goose-down comfort of God.
Friend, God is working this moment in those hidden places called unresolved emotions. So relax in the Father. Entrust all that you know and don’t know to him. It is God’s resolve to lead you into a state of full-powered wholeness and joy. Take heart. God is always at work in you.

Pam Kanaly, popular author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions and one of America’s leading advocates for single mothers, serves as cofounder of the single mothers’ conferences – Survive ‘N’ Thrive. Pam exudes with a God-given passion in seeing women know their value in Christ the King. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries, having been featured on the 700 Club and other national programs.