Thinking about dating after going through the trauma of a broken relationship is not an easy step. Maybe you’re at the point where enough time has passed and you’ve been asking yourself, “How do I even know I’m ready to date?” After being in a marriage for 26 years I never thought I would be asking myself this question. This is not an area I took lightly, it’s sobering. Before I ventured out into this new territory I wanted to prepare myself. I wanted to be a WHOLE package, with a healed heart, EMOTIONALLY and SPIRITUALLY. A great place to start was by doing some self-examination. I asked myself some hard questions.
Let’s just start with, “Am I the kind of person I want to attract?” I had in mind the kind of man I wanted to attract but was I that person who would be attractive to him? This is where the years of hard work and character building come into play. If I’m not willing to make myself who I want to be I can’t expect someone else to make me better. (I said these were hard questions)
Do I love and respect myself? Jesus sums up the commandments in Matthew 22:37-39 with,
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
.You can’t love your neighbor unless you first love yourself.
In practical terms, I have nothing to give anyone else if I’m not taking care of myself.
Do I know who I am? I needed to rediscover my identity. Maybe like me, you were married for a long time and had really given up my identity for being just a mother or wife. God created individuals in Adam and Eve. Individuals get married. That’s right, we’re still are individuals even in relationships. We don’t give up our identity for another person. I am, first and foremost, a child of God. I invite you to spend some time on this list of who we are in Christ. I have found my identity in Him and knowing Him.
Have I let go of the Past? As we go through life it’s like our brains are backpacks holding all of the memories, thoughts, feelings, and hurts from the past. It’s all tucked into our DNA and shapes how we respond to life. Do I have any bitterness and forgiveness towards my ex? This is a biggie. If not dealt with, you’ll be dragging the old relationship with you. Wherever you go there you are. This is a good area to do a self-exam to see if there’s anything in yourself that caused the failure in your previous relationship.
Psalm 139:23-24- “Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me.
I can trust my heavenly Father to test my heart and see what I need to own up to. None of us is perfect, we all have areas that can use improvement. I’m sure we would all agree we would not like to repeat our failures so let’s do everything we can to be honest with ourselves and make changes if we need to.
Another question I had for myself is how in touch am I with my own emotions? Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a buzz word I’ve heard a lot about lately. It’s simply defined by these attributes:
Lastly, Have I made the most of my singleness? Develop your singleness first and make the most of it. Vacations, mission trips, living out your dreams, pressing into God in an extravagant way, you’ll never get that time back when married. Be content with your singleness.
Here’s a truth bomb- If you can’t be happy in your singleness you won’t be happy in marriage.
I heard a saying years ago that marriage is only good as your singleness. Marriage doesn’t take away your aloneness, it exposes who you really are. I had to overcome this area of lost identity and get ME back.
Are you embracing who you are in Him and allowing yourself to just be? Just be uniquely you? Cultivate who you are.
I am not an expert in dating by any means. I was just lead to ask myself the hard questions. Are you at a place where you feel lead to ask the hard questions? Ask the Father to help you with the tough questions. Invite a trusted friend out for coffee and ask them to weigh in on the questions too.
Let’s pray: Lord, thank you for your leadership in my life. Thank you that you have created me just as I am and I am good. I am complete in you. I am made uniquely in your image and I have a unique purpose on this earth. Examine my heart and show me the areas where I need wisdom and understanding. Show me any unforgiveness and bitterness I’m carrying. Prepare me for my future spouse. Build me and shape me into the person you have created me to be. Show me how to be content and filled with joy in you first. Let me be a gift to the person you have chosen for me.
Many single mothers find themselves singing the blues on Valentine’s Day. The reality of our aloneness presses in. Friends receive flowers from significant others, going to the grocery store can remind us that there is no one to bring chocolates, no candle light dinner awaits. Quiet emptiness echoes through our soul as we long to BE-Loved in a special way by a special someone.
I am 20 years into this journey of going it alone for the holiday and in all honesty, I still feel the pang of longing as the day approaches. The ache is real, we can’t run FROM it so over the years as my journey with Jesus has matured I have learned to run INTO it. Yes, you heard me right, I run into the ache; I don’t deny it or brush it under the carpet. I choose to feel the sadness, sorrow or longing and I know that I am made to be loved. The ache just reminds me of how important love is to me, that my heart, my soul, my emotions are created to be loved and Valentine’s Day is a strong reminder of what God put in my DNA.
We can allow our emotions to control our actions.
These moments of longing can be very powerful. Without good spiritual guidance, they can lead us to destructive relationships, or into a place of depression and isolation. These places of pain can also open the door to the onslaught of the lies of the enemy. He loves to harass us with lies such as, “no one will love you, you are unlovable”? Or the lie that I get trapped in, “you are too much.” These voices in our mind can lead down a slippery slope as well. When we give ourselves permission to feel, especially if it’s a new practice, it’s a good idea to be aware of our weaknesses and invite a prayer or accountability partner into our lives.
Is there any HOPE
We can’t repent our way out of these feelings.
We are made to BE-Loved. As this truth has hit the bulls-eye of my heart time and time again over the years, I have been awakened to the caverns of my soul that are dark and longing for love. I must admit, in my earlier days, my darkness, and my longing to be loved could be overwhelming at times. Through a happenstance encounter with a godly woman, I learned to cry out in those moments; “What must I do to be saved.” (Acts 16:27-30)
This idea of asking to be ‘saved’ came years ago, in my living room:
A wonderful woman of God sat in my living room after an incredible worship service at our church. With a broad smile on her face she exclaimed, “I got saved tonight.” We laughed but one of my daughters later asked, “Mom, I thought she WAS saved.” I went on to explain that although we are saved from our sins, God continues to save us, redeem us, restore us, heal us, deliver us, it’s a PROCESS of salvation and receiving His saving Grace. I learned that night the magical wonder of continually being saved.
When we FEEL the ache, the sorrow and the suffering our HOPE is in Christ.
HE WANTS TO SAVE US
What does this ‘saving process’ look like?
The answer to that question will be as individual as each of us. In the Song of Solomon 4:6, the maiden in the love story cries out, “I will go MY way to the Mountain of Myrrh.” In other words, I have a way that is unique, not the way that others have gone because I am unique. Yes, I will learn and glean from those who have ascended the hill of the Lord before me, however, I must not expect my journey, or my experiences to be the same.
I have learned that the best way to ascend this hill, is by simply saying, “YES, LORD”. Really, it’s as simple as that. Our journey into healing, into knowing we are BELOVED is simply to say, “Yes, draw me after you.”
We position ourselves to receive His love by saying yes.
We give Him permission to show us the way by saying yes.
We courageously say, ‘not my will but Thine be done’ by saying yes.
We choose to lean not on our own understanding, but acknowdege His way is good by saying yes.
gives Jesus the ability to change our Valentine Blues into Valentine Red
we come under His banner of love,
the work of the cross,
His redeeming love.
Our YES has the power to shut the door to the accusation of the enemy and open the door to the truth of His love.
Time and time again, when I have been lost in despair, hurting and sad, I have simply whispered, “yes, Lord.”
Let’s take a Selah moment (pause and think about it) to agree in prayer.
“Lord, you see me, you know me, you created me to BE-Loved. You know my weaknesses and you God are able to keep me as I open my heart up to you. On this Valentine’s Day, I give YOU permission to love me. I say, YES LORD, come and make your name known in me.”
Our journey, much like Mary (the mother of Jesus’ journey) BEGINS with a yes (Luke 1:38), it continues with a yes. However, the Lord will illuminate our steps (His word is a light and a lamp) Just like Mary took steps, we too will be invited on the journey to learn in the deep parts of our soul that WE ARE LOVED.
Steps might involve
Keep in mind that it is YOUR Journey and the Holy Spirit will guide you. These are just ideas to get you thinking, considering, and asking.
This Valentine’s Day, how will you allow Jesus to change your blue into red?
LEARNING TO LEAN WAS NOT A GOAL
The idea of learning to lean on another person does not seem to be a goal worth achieving. As a believer, and a woman I have been taught that it is important to be strong, sufficient, and capable. From an early age I learned the benefit of depending on myself and not others then life circumstances built on this foundation of self-sufficiency. My belief system said “the more able you are to take care of things, to keep it all in control, the more mature you are”. As a small child I learned that to convey need was a sign of weakness. I learned to suck it up and move on and to pick myself up and move forward. “I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR” was my motto! I was an overcomer by MY OWN WILL.
My Life Had Been Built On A Faulty Foundation
You can imagine how unnerving it was to seek God in His word and discover that my whole life had been built on a faulty foundation; that in reality God’s ways are completely opposite. The more we learn to lean on Him, trust Him, rely and depend on His ways and wisdom the more mature we are!
This truth is displayed clearly in the book the Song of Solomon. Over 15 years ago I set my heart to understand who Jesus was as my Bridegroom or Husband. I began to discover the riches of the word in passages such as:
Hosea 2: I will allure you to the wilderness; You will sing as in the days of your youth; You will no longer call me Master, you will call me Husband; I will exchange your valley of trouble for a door of hope, etc.
Revelation 19: there is a marriage supper of the Lamb coming and the BRIDE has made herself ready. She is clothed in fine linen. Who is the Bride I wondered.
I learned that Jesus is returning for a Bride, pure and spotless and that God in his kindness draws us to the wilderness by speaking kindly to us, and in the wilderness He transforms our understanding of who He is from Baali (Master) to Ishi (Husband). God began to awaken my heart to seek the understanding of who I was as the beloved of Christ. I desperately needed to know this love.
Over the next 4 years the Word of God would transform my life. I would discover that there really was power in the Word and His Word brings life. My wounded heart, and lie-filled mind were slowly transformed into a new identity.
HOLY DISRUPTION…AN INTERNAL EARTHQUAKE
One thing that really impacted me was at the END of the Song of Solomon; as the Schulamite who represents us as believers had gone through the journey of discovering the power of love she came out of the wilderness LEANING on her beloved. My paradigm of a beautiful, powerful woman of God was amiss; according to the Word, trials and difficulty equip us to lean on Him and not our own strength. Trauma develops faith and trust if we allow it. Unfortunately, many who have experienced trauma, disappointment, pain and suffering have learned like me to depend upon themselves.alone
GOD’S VISION FOR A MATURE BELIEVER…
God’s goal in maturing us is to help us develop a level of trust that we will continually choose to trust in Him and lean not on our own understanding. As a single mother I spent countless hours and energy on figuring things out, leaning on my own understanding and strength while all the while the Creator God desired to teach me to lean.
LEARNING TO LEAN
So what how do we develop the strength to lean? As we look into the word of God there are biblical steps that lead us up to the maturity of leaning:
Desire: we have to want a deeper place of knowing Him as the All-Sufficient One.
Draw Me After You and let us run together…we want to run without being drawn.
Acknowledge our beauty and darkness: “I am dark but lovely”. Your Maker has made you beautiful; so often we are so overcome with our darkness that we cannot even think it possible that there is beauty. This is a challenge for many women but necessary if we are to move through the journey of discovery.
Commit to the process: We live in a quick fix society. However, for a lifetime we have been taught and developed the muscle of “I AM ENOUGH, I CAN TAKE CARE OF MYSELF”. We must commit to the process of learning to lean. It’s like learning to use a muscle that we have never exercised…a leaning muscle.
Ask Holy Spirit for HELP. We want to figure it out and work it out on our own. But God has given us One called The Helper…ASK and it will be given unto you, seek and you will find. He is waiting for us to ASK.
I am committed to seeing a multitude of women arise out of the ashes into the beauty of maturity. Let’s learn to lean together.
Are you in the midst of a situation where you are troubled because you can’t figure out how to move past it? Is God calling?
DON'T STARE AT ME
I don’t know how many times I walked into a room as a young(er) single mother and felt everyone was staring at me and all of my sin was on display. My inability to ‘keep’ a husband was a reproach I had to bear.
I WANTED TO SCREAM “QUIT STARING…IT’S NOT MY FAULT”
But I didn’t, I let that silent scream of ‘you don’t understand’ remain tucked away and it began to grow into a root of bitterness and judgment of others. I was abandon by the husband of my youth and I wanted to blame and find fault with everyone and everything else. I pointed my finger at others, until the day when I realized that my own bitterness, judgment and unforgiveness were keeping me from the One I needed more than anything else. I needed and desperately wanted to know love; my heart was becoming dull and hard and I was ready to be delivered from the pit of despair.
So like the Schulamite in Song of Solomon 1 I cried out “tell me oh you whom my soul loves…where can I find you”. I spent myself trying to please Him and make myself acceptable to others, but none of this satisfied my heart and the desire I had to be wanted.
It was during this time that I found myself mentoring 4 college girls and as I have looked back over my journey into wholeheartedness, I realized that mentoring those young women was one of the BEST things for my heart. I was in search of a loving Bridegroom and these young ladies wanted to know Him too.
I discovered a key to finding Jesus; He gives us that key in response to the cry “WHERE CAN I FIND YOU“. We are told by the good Shepherd in Song of Solomon 1:8
If you yourself do not know,
Most beautiful among women,
Go forth on the trail of the flock
And pasture your young goats
By the tents of the shepherds.
In other words: “pay attention and care for those younger and more vulnerable than you”. Maybe your young goats are your children; if so, tend to their hearts, help them discover Jesus, feed them on the Bread of Life, help them find rest in His loving embrace. Care for those who are less mature than you.
God was so jealous for me to understand HIS LOVE that He placed these young women in my life so not only would I be praying and studying the Word, but I would be SHARING it too. If you want to get the word of God IN YOU start sharing the little you know and then go learn more truth and share another little nibble.
Giving to others what Jesus has given to us multiplies it IN us.
So don’t be afraid to discuss your morning devotional with your children, or pray with them on the way to school. Over dinner discuss what they dream about at night and ask the Holy Spirit for interpretation (God used to speak a lot to a few of my children through dreams).
Or grab a friend at work and start to discuss what you are reading in the bible; take a college girl out for coffee and listen to her story and how she is pursuing God. Commit to writing a few encouraging e-mails or texts to a friends each day. Sent a photo of a devotional that means a lot to you and a short prayer. The key is be intentional about feeding others who are seeking the Bread of Life. You will be amazed at the exponential growth in your own life as a result.
What is one way you can commit to give to someone this week?
MAKING MEMORIES CREATES CONNECTEDNESS
When we create good memories with our children we become connected. This was so evident in my life as a new single mother. My oldest daughter (13 years old) became angry, apathetic, and withdrawn when her dad left. I tried everything to reach her: my own angry responses, kindness, threats, my own form of withdraw but nothing seemed to reach her.
I decided early on in the process of my divorce that I would be committed to taking time away with my children. I needed it for my own well-being. Our lives were so intense and we needed a break, even if it was only for a long weekend. It was during one such long weekend that I had an AH-HA moment with my daughter. We were in a cabin (during off season…it’s cheaper) and she came and sat on my lap. I realized she was still the same little girl; in that moment God opened up my eyes to see the impact and importance of time away. She was tender again, she longed for love and affirmation no matter what her walls said and it took pulling her away from friends and the familiar for her to open up and connect with me and her siblings.
Making memories was monumental in our journey as a family.
Although getting away on a trip together is a great way to build memories as a family, the reality is many single mothers can’t do this. However, we serve a creative God who wants us to make memories, memorials with our children. All throughout the word of God, He directs the fathers to ‘tell your children’ about the miracles of old, REMEMBER He says. I believe He wants us to create those impacting, important, fun times with our families.
AS YOU LOOK INTO 2016, THERE ARE SOME WONDERFUL WAYS YOU CAN BEGIN NOW TO BUILD MEMORIES AND STAY CONNECTED TO YOUR FAMILY AND THEM TO YOU.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
God wants us to be connected with our children more than we do. He is CREATIVE, He is the GOD WITH A PLAN, He has ALL RESOURCES. Let Him know the desires of your heart when it comes to making memories with your children and ask for His help.
Put it in your calendar now
Plan a weekend a quarter or a night a month…just set aside the time NOWDSCN5721
WRITE DOWN A LIST OF IDEAS
If you don’t have some ideas down on paper it will never happen. Include seasonal ideas such as a trip to an apple orchard for the fall etc.
PREPARE YOUR FAMILY
Depending on the ages you might get some complaints, especially if you have not intentionally connected with your kids in the past.
Sit everyone down together (Family Meetings are GREAT). Be INTENTIONAL with them.
Don’t let anything get in the way of follow through. Our kids must know our word is true. Many have been hurt time and time again by unkept promises. It is better to start small with something doable than to promise a trip to the beach when you have never left the city.
This is JUST as important as the planning and preparing. We want our children to learn how to think, to engage in the world around them. Ask two simple questions:
What did you love.
What did you learn.
(from John Maxwell Intentional Living: Day 16 Create a Memory and Visit it Often)
Don't Stop to Ride The Camel...it will cost alot of money. Don’t Stop To Ride The Camel…
It will cost big bucks!
Thank God for what He gave you, for what you learned. Thank Him for being a Good Father.
I believe Single Mother Families can thrive
I believe that our children can have a solid hope for the future
I believe that we as mothers can do small things such as being intentional about connecting with our children that will increase their chance for successful marriages, careers, and family life.
Let us know how you create memories with your children?
WORSHIP WHILE YOU WORK
When I was young and raising my kids, one of the hardest things to do was find a space or pocket of time where I could sit quietly with the Lord. Someone was always getting hurt or waking up early and it became a season of frustration with myself. I felt like I didn’t measure up with the Father, because I wasn’t having a successful “quiet time”. I began to not want to approach God because I was feeling the need to “catch up” because it was sometimes days in-between a real connection time with Him.
One day I was listening to my late husband teach on Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to the Father through Him,” and Colossians 3:23, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people”.
All of a sudden I realized that I could be communing and talking with God while I was doing my work at home! This verse didn’t just apply to someone with a full-time job outside the home – but it applied to any of my work in the house! I began to make my prayer time when I vacuumed, did the dishes, or folded clothes. I would ask the Father questions, as well as giving Him my thoughts and petitions for others.
I began singing with my kids and singing to Him in the car. I kept worship music playing in the house to remind me to stay vertically connected. I also would dialog with Him while driving and as the kids got older, this became my children’s question, “Mommy – are you talking to me or to God?”
Like the song, “Whistle While you Work” from Snow White, “worship while you work” became my theme in those years with small children. This not only impacted my attitudes and responses to my kids, but also began to tear down the performance mentality I’d had for so many years growing up. It also was simultaneously teaching my family that the Father dialogs with us in a normal manner. My prayers were not limited to church, quiet times, and grace at the table– but were a part of the normal rhythm of life. He was a part of their normal and it cultivated awareness of Him not only being present with us, but also involved in the mundane of our lives.
The other area I saw lacking during this season was my reading and memorization of the Word of God. To solve this issue, I found children’s CDs – or cassettes back then -that had scriptures put to music. I’d play these and learn them with my kids, so that I was continuing to sow the Word into my heart and mind, as well as theirs. To this day, I remember the scriptures I know from songs better than any other way I have memorized them.
So be encouraged in this season of the chaos and constant movement of your younger ones! You can connect with Him and cultivate a lifestyle of prayer and worship even in the busyness! He knows exactly where you are in your season.
Written by: Laurie Morris
SINGLED OUT OR CHOSEN TO WORSHIP?
Let’s begin with a rhetorical question: As a “single mom” have you ever felt “singled out”? In the midst of loss, upheaval, and the complete overthrow of life the way it once was or the way you thought it would, be has the question: ”Why me?” or “Why my kids?” ever crossed your mind? In my particular case, as I watched a 10 year old marriage go from a comatose state to it’s final breath, I had a surreal sense that in the mercy of God, my children and I were being “singled out,” “called out” and in some strange way “chosen.”
With the Word of God as a backdrop, deep down inside I believed that if my boys and I were eating “the bread of adversity,” like the Biblical accounts of so many others, surely it couldn’t all just be in vain. Nevertheless, the question “Why me?” waited at the door of my mind for me to open, and allow its invasion of accusation, condemnation, guilt and shame to walk right in, and take a seat.
There are perhaps as many ways to approach the question “Why me?” as there are possible answers. I can’t answer your “Why?” any more than I could my own, but my prayer is that this blog will connect (or reconnect) your heart with that of your Heavenly Father, and His “big picture” purpose for your pain and suffering. As single mom’s we have indeed been “singled out”, but the grace to connect, and stay connected with the redemptive, eternal plan of God was, for me, the difference between joy and depression, hope and utter despair, faith and unbelief. Let’s take a look at a few others who were also “singled out” to see what God’s redemptive purpose was for them.
Abraham was chosen, and “singled out” from among the idolaters in his society. The first test of Abraham’s love for God was his willingness to leave all and go with God. “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)
God’s purpose for Abraham and the Jews was to have a people set apart for Himself so that He might have true worship in the earth until His Son returns. Where there is “true” worship, there can be no worship of idols.
Likewise, Ruth was “singled out” from among the idolaters of her society in Moab. As Ruth chose to follow her bereaved mother-in-law, Naomi, back to the land of Israel, and join herself to the God of Israel, she was grafted into His master plan of uniting Jew and Gentile which gave birth to the royal line of King David, leading to the first coming of the Messiah, Yeshua.
In Ruth 1:15 Naomi says to Ruth “Look at your sister-in-law. She has returned to live with her people and to worship her gods; go and follow her.” But Ruth replies “…your God will be my God.” Her willingness to leave all behind in order to follow the Living God takes her from emptiness to vindication to redemption. Her very life becomes worship unto God, because her heart was connected to the truth of God as her Redeemer.
In the summer of 2013, I answered the call to “Go from your country, your people…to the land I will show you.” Sure, moving to an underdeveloped country with God as my sole supporter, to help establish a House of Prayer meant letting go of everything familiar. I knew this would bring with it many challenges. What I didn’t know was that there was an idol among us that we weren’t aware of: ME! I wasn’t aware that my sons “worshipped” an “image” of me as the organized-responsible-make things work-make things happen-problem solving-full-time working-money earning-has it all together with dinner on the table mom. However, the day one son asked the rhetorical question: “Do you realize you make less than the average Dominican?,” I suddenly realized I had been “dethroned.” And if feeling like I’d just lost the respect and admiration of my sons I’d so treasured up until that point wasn’t enough, I then realized I had “worshipped” the fact that they worshipped me! So The Eternal One, in His infinite wisdom “called us out” of our land of idolatry, and stripped us of the “false or incomplete perceptions” we had of each other, that we might worship Him, and Him alone.
“Leave all” is for all
In some way God designs a “leave all” experience for all those He loves. We tend to apply God’s command to “Go from your country…” to missionaries or others who are moving geographically. But the command God gave to Abraham is much the same for each of us. He calls us “out of darkness into His marvelous light” by using the circumstances of our lives to cause our natural affections to come into submission to His divine grace. He has reserved you and your children for Himself, that your lives would be worship unto Him, developing trust and obedience so that when Yeshua returns, the faith He is looking for on the earth will be found in you!
A life of worship
As we submit to His leadership and allow Him to bring us out of “the land of our idolatry”, we reflect and share in His divine nature more and more. “Worship “in truth” connects the heart or spirit of worship with the truth about God and his work of redemption. David understood the importance of worshiping in truth when he wrote, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear [i.e., worship] your name” (Psalm 86:11) (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary)
God clearly states why He “singled out” the Jews, and delivered them from idolatrous Egypt when He says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” If you’re a “single mom”, you’ve been “singled out.” If you’ve been “singled out”, rest assured He has a divine plan to make your life one of worship unto Him. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (1 Corinthians 15:50)
No matter how desolate the place you’ve come out of has been or how empty life may sometimes seem, as you read this I pray the Holy Spirit will cause HOPE to arise in your heart, that you will embrace God’s eternal perspective for your life, and like Abraham and Ruth you will allow your heart to connect again and again with your Redeemer God, and the truth of His plan of redemption for you and your children. In Yeshua’s Name, Amen.
ROADBLOCKS AND BARRIERS
ob·sta·cle ˈäbstək(ə)l/ noun
barrier, hurdle, stumbling, block, obstruction, bar, block, impediment, hindrance, snag, catch, drawback, hitch, handicap, deterrent, complication, difficulty, problem, disadvantage, curb, check;
fly in the ointment, monkey wrench (in the works) “blindness is not the worst obstacle I’ve had to overcome.”
Roadblocks and Barriers! It seems that for as long as I have lived in Kansas City, they have been making repairs to the infamous Red Bridge Road. This road is a main road to get to and from the north and south sides of town. I travel it daily some days, more than once. You can always expect the “flag man ahead” sign, or the bright orange “Detour” Which invariably is over the river and through roads. LOL
Recently, I came upon my usual “detour,” it was night and there were no “flag men” or sign warning me what was up ahead. I was caught off guard, I slowed down, it was dark and could barely see ahead. Without hesitation I instantly and methodically, made the usual turn and by memory took the detour.
When I came out on the other side, I looked back and realized that while there had been road work going on during the day and all the equipment was out, none of it was actually in operation everything was parked, while the road was not smooth, it was indeed unobstructed and clear. The workers had “closed” down for the night, which allowed drivers the ability to go through.
As I drove on, I began to think about how easy it is for us to gravitate to the “usual” and how we allow obstacles and detours in our personal lives to dictate to us whether or not we should go forward. We don’t even try to move on.
Instead, we make the “usual stop, or the usual turn” and never realize that the road had long since been cleared. I wonder, could it be that such familiarity with delay, disappointment, and obstacles has become second nature to us and we have become accustomed to our own mindset obstacles?
Could it be that we have set up these “life barriers” and “fortresses” in our minds and they have been in place for so long it has stopped our inability to move forward?
We find ourselves out the gate, anticipating that something won’t work, that something is holding us back or that there is an obstacle ahead that can’t be overcome and simply won’t allow us to move forward. What if the obstacle isn’t really there or it’s there but it’s not “our” obstacle; much like the parked utility vehicles on Red Bridge Road? What if we ignored it or walked around it or even right through it? Would we, could we advance forward; accomplish our goals; fulfill lifelong dreams? What if we focused on our intentions and abilities, our strengths and are past accomplishments instead of the boulders in our path, or doing it “the way we have always done it”?
I don’t know about you, but the year is soon coming to a close. I’ve set new and lofty goals for next year. I plan to
Some of these are goals, others are dreams all, are possible. I know, there are a lot of obstacles, decoys and detours in the way: ability, money, confidence and mindset. Can I recognize them for what they are “temporary?” and get my eyes off them? Can I work around and through them? I believe I can. I suppose there will always be a “Red Bridge Road” to face in life but I take confidence in knowing The “ONE who built a BRIDGE and covered it in Red” It’s the Red Bridge Road of the Spirit and I can cross over, I only need to be willing.
What about you?
What is a goal you’d like to achieve but think there are too many obstacles in the way?
What if they are temporary, momentary or simply parked but not in your way? Are you going to let those obstacles hold you back?
Why not take a moment today and rewrite on a fresh clean page new
goals, dreams, hopes, aspirations.
Why not believe again? You’re a single mom, and while it was a detour, it is NOT your obstacle. You are strong, courageous an overcomer.
You can do it and Christ will be glorified in your accomplishments and your successes.
You are a Warrior Bride. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! Philippians 4:16. Let’s go forward in 2015 as an Isaiah 57:14 Army of Single mom’s who dream, who build, and remove every obstacle. Women who have made a way in their own lives and prepared a way for The Lord!
“Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
COMBATING THE HOLIDAY BLUES
In this season of holiday celebrations, a common tactic of the enemy that hits us as single moms is depression. Our aloneness can be highlighted by all the family gatherings and parties. We see couples together at gatherings and talking about gifts they are receiving and giving, and this can really bring a sense of isolation and feeling unloved. Our financial situations are emphasized by the extras needed to get gifts for our children and families. Some of you, like me, have had painful things happen at this time of year as well.
In my journey – Christmas in particular was also a time of great loss. My late husband David was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on Christmas Eve of 2001. We told our kids Christmas day. My dad’s sudden death also happened on December 20th when I was 12 also has caused this time of year to feel like I was sinking into sadness and quicksand of depression and isolation. These events colored my view of this time of year for years….that’s the bad news.
The good news is that the Father always wants to redeem our places of pain and loss and make the places of death come to new life like a flower in the desert. But we have to LET Him do this and ask for His perspective of our wells of despair. He did this with my story and my childrens….
Ten years ago, I began asking the Father to redeem the holidays for me and my kids. The following year, my first granddaughter was born on Christmas Day! My step-dad, Tim, had a dream a few months before her birth that she was going to be born on Christmas day as a sign of new life and hope for our places of loss…..and she was! But I had to let her be a promise of hope and joy, even though life didn’t look like what I wanted or expected. I could have continued to partner with self-pity and the colored lens of grief. But I didn’t – I opened my heart to the Father’s perspective and redemption. It was a process of coming into joy and I’m not saying there were no more tears ever this time of year…but they were minimal and I was able to quickly cross over into hope and joy and thankfulness. Here are some things I did, and you can as well, to move from isolation and sadness to joy:
I encourage you in this season – if you are lonely reach out to someone else. If you are not lonely –then reach out to someone else as well!
Father I ask that Your comfort and hope would surround the one reading this. Bring creative ideas for them in their giving to their kids, and to themselves. Heal the pain of their past. Bring springs in the desert of their isolation. Restore and renew the way that You faithfully do! In Jesus name
-By: Laurie Morris
GOD’S CHOSEN HUSBAND AND FATHER
There is a song from my high school days called, “I Need a Hero” that asks the question women have asked through the ages: Where have all the good men gone?
The song goes on to list the qualities of this hero that so many women are looking for: a white night, strong, fast, fresh from the fight, sure, larger than life, a super-man.
I see so many single mothers searching and longing for this hero to sweep her and her children off her feet, to rescue her. My question is, what is it that we SHOULD be looking for in a man? What are the qualities that are important to our Heavenly Father that should be important to us.
This year as I began reading the story of the conception and birth of Jesus, I realized that God the Father has given us the qualities that are important to HIM. He has shown us the kind of man that He looks to, a man that He chose to raise His Son, Jesus. It would do us good to pay attention to the Lord’s leadership in this arena of life…What are those qualities that are so important to our Father in heaven?
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
What does your list for the ‘dream man’ look like? Does it include these qualities that are so important to the Father?
By Misty Honnold