I was my daddy’s girl.
He had a way of making me feel special. My dad also had a way of teaching my siblings and I life skills without us knowing that’s what he was doing. He invited us into his projects. If he was painting the house or fixing holes in the wall, we were standing next to him holding tools and taking directions. Over the years, we picked rocks out of the pastures, painted the cabin, finished a basement, laid acres of fencing - the projects were countless and we kids were included for all of them.
When I bought my first car, he taught me how to change the tire AND the oil.
When I moved out on my own, he gave me a set of tools. I still have them.
He took care of me and made sure I knew how to take care of myself. (He also gave the best foot rubs ever.)
Relationships with family members can teach us how to respond to God. Children look to fathers to show them protection, to give them financial security, and to give them their identity. I always knew I was special to my dad, but… life happens.
My heart was torn right out of my chest when my parents announced they were divorcing and daddy would be the one to move out. I was 10 years old at the time and I didn’t understand what was happening.
My protector and sense of security were gone. It would be later in my teenage years when we regained our relationship.
Even in the best families, children can believe lies and draw wrong conclusions about themselves. I grew up in a traditional church but I had no relationship with God. My perception of God was that He was real but He was busy taking care of the world. He didn’t care about little me. He had more important things to do.
I lost my identity when my daddy left. I felt very vulnerable and unsafe. Insignificant and unimportant. On top of that, God didn’t care about me.
I didn’t know then, but here was the truth: God is the only perfect Father. Our earthly fathers will let us down at some point because they are human. It took me years to realize I had a thought patterns based on beliefs formed in childhood.
Based on lies.
The enemy wants us to believe lies. He is the master of lies. He doesn’t want us to see the truth about God and who He is. Even deeper…he doesn’t want us to see who we are in Christ. Our identity is in Christ.
Now, Christ is my comforter, my protector, and so much more.
How do we change the influence of the enemy’s lies in our lives? We call on our heavenly Daddy to reveal the lies to us. God is a great revealer of what’s happening in our hearts if we’re open to it. Seek Truth.
John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.God can reveal truth to us in many ways. Through dreams, through friends, through worship songs, through teachings and sermons, and especially through scriptures. We can spend time getting to know who He is by drinking deep of the well of His living water.
When we spend time with God, we learn to discern truth from lies. And something happens when the lies are brought to light: we don’t agree with them anymore. A shift takes place where we no longer look to our earthly father for our belonging and security: we look to our heavenly Father.
It’s funny how our view on the past changes when we look to Jesus. Maybe we have harbored hurts from our earthly fathers that were just miscommunications and now we need to forgive them. For example, there was a situation when I was younger where my dad spanked me and not the guilty party. I carried that hurt for years but when I saw the truth my heart softened and I forgave him. It was only then that I remembered my dad had cried later, when he found out I had not been the one who committed the punishable act. I first had to forgive him to remember this.
I want to end by saying I think it’s easy to give fathers a bad rap. Can we also remember the good things they do?
All the things I started with in this article are the very things I shared at my dad’s funeral. He wasn’t a perfect man, but he was MY dad.
This month, let’s celebrate fathers for the good they do! Your heavenly Father will be there too.
I love men…
I am not talking about a romantic love; I’m talking about a amazement at the fearful and wonderful way they are created, a fascination with the way they process and think, an admiration of their ability to have fun.
In all honesty, I don’t think I used to love men. My poor ex-husband can probably attest to that. We were young and I wrestled continually with what it meant or looked like to ‘respect’ him. Yet, at the same time, I did not trust, honor, or remotely understand him. Oh, I wanted to be protected and provided for by him - but I don’t think I loved or appreciated who he was as a man.
I grew up with a mom that felt the same way. She had been physically, emotionally and mentally abused by men. She wanted a man, but oftentimes she bashed men. My family is highly matriarchal - women rule. So, not knowing differently, I did not like or understand or care to understand the value of men. Down deep in my soul, I believed that men were out to hurt women and, at some point in life, they would inevitably abandon, abuse, or just check out.
Fast forward. I get saved and begin to grow in the knowledge and the love of the Lord. I long to be alive in who I am as a woman and raise my children to love who they are as women and MEN…yes, I had 2 sons and my vision for them as a parent was that they would live freely as MEN OF GOD.
Fortunately for me:
With God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
How did I ever get from the place of wanting to rule over men to loving men?
How oh HOW DO WE LEARN TO RIGHTLY LOVE MEN?
For me, it was a PROCESS. And, I believe it is a process that we, especially as single mothers, would be wise to engage in and say “YES LORD, be it unto me as you have desired.”
Let’s take a few steps together.
We first must realize there is something amiss in our own hearts. In all honesty, if you have ever been hurt by a man, had an absent or abusive father, or have had trust broken by a man…chances are there are pockets of mistrust, anger, rage, and even hatred towards men.
Be willing to INQUIRE of the Lord: “see if there be any offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:24).
Allow the light of Christ to illuminate the hidden places where you might have been wounded – the places where a heart-infection has set in due to unforgiveness, vows, or bitterness.
Realization came to me bit by bit: I remember the one time that I fell absolutely in love with men was when my oldest son was probably 15 or 16 (that was about 10 years ago) was being quirky about something. He had a completely different perspective than I did, WE WERE NOT SEEING EYE TO EYE AT ALL. Suddenly it was like lightning struck me and my eyes were opened. I thought “I LOVE the way you see things different…I NEED YOUR PERSPECTIVE IN MY LIFE. I realized in a moment how narrow my thinking had been and how radically different my son perceived something because he was a MAN.
Confess to the Lord for sure, but go one step more (remember: we are after freedom, wholeness and making a place for men to arise) Confess to a friend, pastor or counselor that can walk with you through the process of repentance and accepting the forgiveness of God.
Confess to your sons when you realize the truth (and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance you WILL realize). Confess to your daughters when you realize you are not behaving in a way that a godly woman behaves.
Holy Spirit, give me eyes to see where I have not walked in the light in this area of my life. Give me grace to walk in humility as you teach me the right path. Show me where I have missed the mark so that Your name can be glorified in the marriages of my children. Empower me from the inside out to raise up a generation that walk in freedom of who they are created to be as men and women.
we are making a place in our lives for our sons, fathers, and men
to step into the fullness of who they are as men of God.
I know this is HARD WORK but it’s worth it…THEY are worth it.
This will certainly keep you humble. Allow friends the privilege of sharing in love when they notice you operating in a way that is unbecoming to a woman of God. Of course, that means we need to be in relationships with others who are either pursuing righteousness, or are ahead us in the journey.
I long for generations of men of God to arise. But that means I have to be faithful as a woman to walk in the fullness of my role, my call, and my identity as a woman.
LETTING THE MAN JESUS LOVE YOU
Jesus had to love the uglies right out of me.
"I will plant a new heart and new spirit inside of you. I will take out your stubborn, stony heart and give you a willing, tender heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26 - The Voice)
Jesus loved me in every one of the desperate places of my aching soul. He stepped in and revealed His love and fascinated my heart.
This is the longing of His heart; to LOVE us.
He died so that we might know how much He absolutely loves us…
NO ONE has ever died for me (or for you) before
THAT’S LOVE and that was the love I needed to know
As Jesus began to love the hurt, broken and rebellious places, my ability to love increased. I fell deeply in love with Jesus first. As my love for Him grew, so did my love for the things and people He loves.
Jesus loves MEN. He created them to be different than us. When men arise (just as when women arise), and when the glory of the Lord manifests fully in His SONS and daughters, THEN “the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea”. (Habakkuk 2:14)
Ladies, let’s let the Love of God consume us so that we might learn to love men into their rightful places as sons, brothers, and fathers.
My earthly father passed away when I was 10 years old.
He was in and out of my life when I was younger and battled his own demons. I don’t have that many memories with him. He loved me to the best of his abilities, though.
Isn’t it amazing how when we have a relationship with the Lord we can oftentimes look back on people in our past and look at them differently?
My father was not always there physically, spiritually, or emotionally but he loved me the best he could. He was far from perfect, but it was the best that he knew how. The loss of him left me fatherless.
Or so I thought.
I remember being about 4 years old and asking Jesus to make a home in my heart. It was on Easter and I was at my grandma’s house. They had Easter specials on T.V., and at each commercial break they would have a pastor come out and lead his audience in the sinner’s prayer. I accepted Jesus during every single commercial break.
God became my Father. At an incredibly young age I knew He was protecting me. He was guiding me. Through the constant conflict of my home life - through my confusion, and through my insecurities as a small child - He was my Father.
As I got older and into my adulthood, I learned more and more of what it meant for God to be my father. Prayers as simple as “Our Father who art in Heaven” impacted my heart.
I saw how my Heavenly Father encouraged, guided, guarded, loved, protected, lifted, and provided for me. I saw time and time again what a good Father He was. And although I did not see that in my earthly father, God showed up in my life and reminded me Whose I was.
I am a daughter of the King.
I am a daughter, and God is my Father.
I truly started to learn what it meant to be a daughter again. Knowing that allowed me to learn what it meant to be a woman, a friend, a sister, and mom; but I had to first rediscover what being a daughter meant. A daughter who would run to her Father in times of sadness, in anger, in confusion, in frustration. I could lay it all out there and know that He would catch me every single time I fell.
Now, I am a co-parenting single mom to two precious little boys. Their dad is active in their lives, thankfully. But… their father is not perfect and he never will be. I am so glad that my children have the same incredible Father I do.
I want to instill in them the understanding of having a Heavenly Father.
A Father who will have compassion on them. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:13
A Father who will provide and take care of them. “Look at the birds of the sky: they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?” Matthew 6:26
A Father who blesses them with every spiritual blessing. “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.” Ephesians 1:3
A Father whose kingdom will come. “He said to them, ‘Whenever you pray, say: Father, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come.” Luke 11:2
I am raising future fathers. I want my boys to see those truths in God so that they will become image-bearers of their Heavenly Father, even as earthly fathers. Someday they will imitate what they have learned and my largest prayer is that they will see Jesus and imitate Him. Not even that they will imitate what I am doing… but that they will learn to hear the voice of the Father and they will follow and replicate His words and actions.
Mommas, God is the Father to the fatherless - “God in His holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows.” Psalm 68:5.
He is the Father to us.
He is the Father to our children.
Whether you are co-parenting with your children’s’ father or not, fret not… God hears you. He sees you. He wants you to invite Him in to Father you.
Sometimes as moms we forget that we are also daughters.
You are a daughter.
You have a Father in Heaven who wants to give you good gifts.
This month, while we reflect on Father’s Day, I pray that each one of you will receive the love of the Father that is waiting for you.
It’s simple. We want life to count. We don’t want our time on this earth to be wasted; we want it to mean something. We want to leave an impact. Without realizing it we ARE impacting those around us every day. Our children, our co-workers, our friends, our extended family…everyone we come in contact with we impact.
We’ve all heard the saying “caught not taught.” Our kids are watching us. Emulating us. They can’t help it. There have been studies showing how kids imitate adults. They are subconsciously watching us. Have you ever noticed how family members dress alike, look alike, have the same mannerisms, humor, like the same music or movies? We are weird creatures like that.
Our kids will grow up following our lead even if they don’t show it as teens. It will happen in the simple things for instance, the way you cook or clean your house, the way you handle friendships and treat other people, your love for certain music and entertainment. Your behavior will be handed down to the next generation naturally. This can also be negative so if there’s a habit that needs to be nipped in the bud do it now. A friend of mine recently shared how it’s been fun to watch her grown children take on the family traditions with her own family without even thinking about it. How we choose to live will be emulated. Choose how you want to live.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Sometimes our training is intentional; other times it’s not, it’s caught. Let’s look at some things we can do intentionally to leave a legacy for our kids. It may not be as difficult as we think.
Love God. Two simple words with so much power and depth; love God. When we live our lives loving God we are setting an example for our kids. I need to be honest here. This article was very hard for me to write. The topic of leaving a legacy was on my heart but every time I sat down to write it nothing would come out. I finally realized I was struggling with guilt. As a single Mom I carry loads of guilt, thinking I’m not doing enough for them; after all, look at what they’ve been through. How can I write an article on leaving a legacy?
C’mon, I know I’m not the only one stuck here. Somehow, we think we are less because we are single parents. Or we need to work twice as hard because we are playing the role of both parents. Or we carry the burden of someone else’s sin. The enemy was glaring his religious eyes at me burning with lies about how can a single Mom leave a legacy for her broken family. Lies, lies, and more lies. Let me tell you how you can leave a legacy for your kids single mommas…..by loving God, that’s how! I’m loving God in the midst of brokenness. He’s my anchor, my salvation, my hope. I’m clinging to my savior and exchanging those lies for truth.
The truth is my kids are really not mine, they belong to God. He can speak to them and guide them so much better than me. He has plans for them far beyond what I have dreamed and can orchestrate their lives as only their Maker can. He can use me and equip me on their behalf, but ultimately they are His babies.
Let your kids SEE you loving on Jesus. Loving on Jesus doesn’t magically make us perfect people. Loving on Jesus looks different for everybody. For me it looks like a real person doing the best they can while leaning on Jesus for strength and wisdom. It’s ok to let them see us fail. It’s going to happen. They may even see us having to pay some natural consequences for decisions made by us. Just push delete and keep on loving Jesus. Let them watch as our character grows.
Romans 5:3-5 - Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Live with purpose. Everything we do has eternal value. I recently heard David Green, Founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, speak at my church. He said every accomplishment he would bring to his mother she would ask if it had eternal value. We don’t always think about the fact that everything we do here has eternal value. Earth is not our home we’re just passing through. I really appreciate the simple question “does what you’re doing hold eternal value?” It can. It’s all in our perspective. This can be applied to any part of our lives.
Something I started for each of my kids before they before they were born is a journal. They each have a personal journal that I’ve intentionally kept for them. Through the years I’ve written prayers, cute stories of things they have done, thoughts I’ve had about them, even some of the hard times and how I see God working on their behalf. It’s intentional, not perfect, not consistent, but nevertheless a legacy of my prayers for them. It’s never too late to start this one.
Give back. Serving and giving extravagantly. Giving with a grateful heart and do so unto the Lord, not trying to earn favor or approval is a sign of health. We may not feel like we have what it takes but I guarantee it does something uplifting when we give back. Want to break out of victim mentality? Start serving somewhere. Out of our weakness He is made strong.
Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Let your actions be caught and not taught. Character matters in life. Remember they’re watching how we live and will naturally imitate us. What we do and how we respond to situations all reveal the degree of character in our hearts.
2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Colossians 3:12-15 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Every single day brings with it plenty of opportunities to make right decisions and building character. Make a mental note this week while doing life. How are you talking to or about your ex-spouse in ear shot of your kids? How do we respond when we get cut off in traffic? (Gets me every time!) What was the tone of your voice when you asked the kids to clean up the kitchen? Your list will look different from mine.
How do we do it Mammas? The dirty diapers, endless hours up at night, nursing, tantrums, and fixing owies…… the list goes on and on. The older women in my life, the ones who had been there and done that, would tell me, “this too will pass”. Guess what? They were right. In the blink of an eye those cute little babies are full grown adults living their own lives. The reality of raising children is at the end of the day I just want them to be decent people and good citizens. That will be my legacy. What's yours?
Cheryl is a single mother of 7 young adult and teenage children. Originally from MN, Cheryl has lived and worked all over the Midwest in broadcasting. Missions brought her family to Kansas City in 2007. She sspent 17 years homeschooling and raising 7 children. Find her busy creating something from nothing. Currently resides in Lee’s Summit.
As I looked at myself in the mirror I thought “you’ve got it together, Misty”. I was a new single mom of 4 children, ages 2-13. I had lost weight, dyed my hair and looked better than I had in a long time. I felt pretty confident that I had it all together and could figure out this journey of single parenting. Then through the caverns of my mind I heard, “it’s time to grow up”. I decided to ignore the whisper because, after all, I was grown up. I was the mother of 4, home-schooling, and now doing it alone. What more did I need as a badge of honor that I was grown up; a woman and a mother. Then another thought raced through my mind as if out of nowhere. “when I was a child I thought like a child.”
I didn’t like where this was going because I knew that was a part of a passage from the Word, so I knew these thoughts about growing up were not my own, they were thoughts that the Holy Spirit was speaking, getting my attention.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
So, I began my dialogue with the Lord that morning as I looked in the mirror.
“What does it mean to grow up, Lord?” I inquired.
I heard in my mind, “it’s time to be a woman of God.”
At that moment, I kind of freaked out on the inside. I felt my temper rising as I pointedly asked the question; “And JUST WHAT does a woman of God LOOK LIKE LORD?”
In the flash of a moment, as I asked the question, images of every woman I knew raced through my mind. I searched to find ONE that I could look to that would show me, help me, lead me and guide me. Who was in my life that could show me what a real woman of God looked like. I obviously was going to need HELP.
Sadly, there was none. Not one woman I wanted to emulate. Why would God ask me to be something, do something and not give me the resources to do it, or become it. It seemed too much of a demand.
God knew my thoughts. He was in them, helping me navigate my emotions and frustration. I considered His request outlandish at best, and felt betrayed by the church, women, friends and God. Why would God ask me to be something when the resources didn’t seem available?
Then God began to speak to me about Naomi. I challenged Him because Ruth is the hero of that story. But He insisted that I study, and identify with Naomi to learn what it means to be a woman of God and grow up. God had the resources available for me; He wanted me to learn from the best…from HIM. He wanted to be my teacher and my resource before the things of the world. God would and is teaching me about true spiritual motherhood.
As I continued to gaze in the mirror, confronted with all of my shortcomings, knowing the Lord wanted more for me, with a heavy heart at the reality of lack in my own life, I asked the Father: “Lord, give me the grace to be a woman of God and a true mother, PLEASE GOD don’t let any generation coming up after me stand in the mirror looking for women they can call mentors and mothers and find none. USE ME GOD, make and mold me into the Woman you say I am.”
This request would lead me into the study of Naomi first, then an in-depth study of the Song of Solomon, Esther, Deborah and other such women. This request has led me time and time again to turn to Proverbs 31 and hold my life up against the Woman of Excellence mentioned there and study what her attributes mean and pray that the Father would make me this powerful woman who laughs at the future.
I believe God is calling the matriarchs, the spiritual mommas to arise in this time
and raise up a generation that KNOW THEIR GOD.
Unfortunately, some of us are still struggling with our own identity as children of the Most High God, and as children, we cannot raise children.
Let’s explore what spiritual adulthood is all about so that Mothers can and will ARISE.
Bob Sorge, in his book “In His Face” lays out the 3 stages of maturity that John points out in 1 John 2: 12-14
ii.Provision: they trust God for daily bread
iii.Identity: children take on the surname of their father. The emotional nurturing of a father gives a child a healthy sexual identity and a proper self-image
Unfortunately, because many of us did not receive this from our own fathers, we struggle to allow God-the Father be this for us. Many of us continue to struggle with our identity as children of God, resting in His redemption. The enemy continues to keep us tied to our past; guilt and shame keep us in bondage.
As LITTLE CHILDREN of God, we are confident and secure in these three things, even if we didn’t have them as a part of our past we can find them in Christ.
This is often seen as the highest goal, to attain Spiritual adulthood. Bob Sorge goes on to say, “it is sad to acknowledge that many believers never grow to this spiritual level, and it is not even the highest plane of maturity.” (pp. 151)
If we want to raise spiritual sons and daughters, our own in our house, we must set the vision before us of Spiritual Adulthood. We can’t be children raising children.
The journey into Spiritual Adulthood is not about defining our destiny
…it is about building a dynasty;
Learning to GROW UP IN GOD
1.Realize it is HARD
We are made for it but not trained for it. My story at the beginning of this article conveys what I have heard over and over from women my age. That was 20+ years ago. Paul told Timothy (his spiritual son)
For although you could have countless babysitters (tutors, teachers) in Christ telling you what you’re doing wrong, you don’t have many fathers who correct you in love. But I’m a true father to you, for I became your father when I gave you the gospel and brought you into union with Jesus, the Anointed One. 1 Cor 4:15
There are many who want to teach, preach and share the gospel, but not many who are willing to change dirty diapers, love through rebellion, believe in God’s faithfulness when things don’t look like they should. THIS is a spiritual mother/father.
There are stages of development for all things. We must be willing to acknowledge where we are at in the journey and ask the question, “Lord, where am I still behaving like a spiritual child, where do I need to embrace growing up?”
3.Understand the Journey
We must embrace the crisis and use the crisis to lead us to the Lord.
Bob Sorge says,” every new level of spiritual maturity is developed through PAIN.”
Shelley Hundley from the International House of Prayer once said, “allow your pain and suffering to escort you into His presence.”
Spiritual Mothers know that pain is God’s refining fire, they rest in the love of the Father during difficult seasons and understand that the absence of His presence does not always mean something bad.
Spiritual adults have walked through a season of darkness where the Lord has withdrawn His presence, not because of sin, or ignorance, but because of His kindness. They have walked through the fire and come out not even smelling like smoke (Daniel 3)
As we say yes to all God has for us, the journey won’t always be easy but the fruit (our sons and daughters walking with Jesus as spiritual adults some day) is worth the price we pay.
Let’s join together in one accord and raise a “YES LORD may it be unto me as you desire.” Let’s sign up for the journey of spiritual growth and be willing to let the Lord raise up matriarchs (Spiritual Mothers) that will in create the atmosphere for spiritual sons and daughters to arise.
Misty Honnold is the President and Founder of the international organization Mountain of Myrrh Ministry (M.O.M.). She is a Visionary Leader, national speaker, writer and transitional life coach. Her greatest life work has been loving and leading her family well. She has raised 4 amazing adults and is lovingly known as Grammy to her 2 grand-daughters. Misty has blogged for over 8 years on the triumphs and trials of being a single mom. She currently blogs for Crosswalk on all things related to our spiritual journey. Misty's passion for life is infectious. Misty loves to lead leaders, equip women and impart value to others. Misty has learned through experience how to dance through the rhythms of life and loves to invite others into the joy of learning how to celebrate in every season.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30
Sisters, I am weary. Are you?
I have a difficult person in my life and at times, the challenges I face with this particular relationship seep into every single other aspect of my life. Everything is affected, and the burden feels incredibly heavy. Unbearable even, in those weakest moments.
I have been having a lot of those moments lately.
But last week, as we celebrated our risen Savior on Easter, I was reminded about where my hope comes from. During worship, the mood in the auditorium was joyous, victorious, and grateful, and slowly I felt my heart filling up with those things, too. Truthfully, I came to the cross this Easter out of a sense of duty - I just wasn’t feeling it. Life is full and sometimes hard and I wasn’t making room for Jesus, and let me just tell you how well that was going. It wasn’t.
So on Easter morning, I was sitting in my seat thinking about the prep I needed to do for our meal and still a little mad about having to force my children into their dress clothes. As the music started, I tried to find those Easter feelings, and they just weren’t there. I couldn’t find the joy, and I certainly wasn’t in the mood to celebrate anything. The weight of the burdens I have been carrying had left me too weary for any of that. And so I just sat, and tried to turn off my brain, and wait. The Eastery feelings weren’t there, but do you know who was?
Jesus walked out of that tomb, and straight to my seat. He came to me with arms outstretched, and as I let the music take hold, I realized something. Because of Jesus, there is hope. There is hope for that difficult relationship. There is hope for resolution for any challenge that I face, big or small. Because I have my faith, because I believe that God is the way, the truth, and the life, there is always hope. There is also rest, and there is a promise that we do not have to shoulder our burdens alone. Jesus rose, so that we can rise, too. With this knowing in my heart, I found my Easter feelings.
It’s not magic - my challenging relationship is still challenging, and it probably will be until God sees fit to mend it. This is still a difficult season, and I am still weary. BUT, it is not a weariness without hope. I trust my God, and I know I am not alone. Sisters, you are not alone, either. Jesus walked out of that tomb and straight to wherever you are, with His arms outstretched. He wants to share your burdens and offer you refuge. All you have to do is let Him. How beautiful is that?!
I really cannot imagine a life without the hope that God has promised us, and I am so very thankful that I don’t have to. The hope I have through my faith has sustained me over and over again, and encouraged me to press on when the load gets heavy, as it is now.
God often reaches me through music - and so I am sharing a few favorite songs which speak hope and encouragement to me when I don’t have the strength to do anything else but listen.
Jesus Paid It All
Behold (Then Sings My Soul)
Great Are You Lord
Erin is an administrator, freelance writer, photographer, and former single mom. She contributes regularly to HERLIFE Magazine and KC Parent Magazine. She has been a mommy blogger (Single Mom REVEALED, This Heart and Mind, and Life and the Outcome) for many years, focusing on providing an authentic depiction of life as a single mom. She is also currently working on her first book - part memoir and part single parenting survival guide.
Erin is married now, but after over 10 years on her own, she will always have a heart for the mamas going it solo. It is a privilege to walk alongside and equip single moms to not just survive, but to THRIVE.
HOPE … something we all want. Many of us seem to be on a life-long journey, searching for Hope. We begin to believe, and hope, then life happens and hope is sucked out of us. How do we bring this search to an end? How do we settle our soul in hope? One dear momma recently wrote to us about her personal challenge with HOPE.
Hope...I'll be honest and tell you all that the past few days I've been struggling with hope.
Issues with my oldest son seem at times to get worse than better. "God, do you really hear my prayers...do you see the pain in this mama's eyes and heart?" ....You are my only true hope, Jesus...help me not to lose hope but to stand firm and trust you IN the process.
Two days ago, a co-worker’s sister-in-law, a single mother of 2 small children took her own life. She didn't have hope.
That same day, my friend, a 50-year old single mother of two teen girls, came by to talk to me. Her voice trembled as she told me some unexpected news. She felt a lump in her breast. She went for a scan. The doctors were concerned. She went for a biopsy...alone. They casually told her they would call her in 48 hours. Her entire life could change in two days. I hugged her tightly. I prayed with her and told her I loved her. I can't begin to imagine what she feels. She has no family here and her mother passed away 2 years ago. The fact that she went for the biopsy alone gave me a deep ache in my heart. My heart still hurts. I wish she would have called me to be by her side. I told her when they call and if they ask her to come in that I want to come and hold her hand.
Today they called her at work and simply said, 'your results are in, it's positive, you have cancer.' As if she was just the next person on the list to call. She came to my office, I closed the door and held her as she wept in my arms. I begged Jesus to hold her and to speak to her through me...He did. I prayed with her. I told her I loved her. I told her she was brave and strong and she wouldn't walk this journey alone. I prayed that God would prepare the hearts of her daughters and to give her wisdom of what to say when she tells them. She is searching for hope.
Today I'm clinging to hope.
I've been thinking about a lot. The fragility of life. Nothing is promised. How we fight in the dark as we desperately listen for the voice of God to calm our fears and restore our hope when the strong winds of life try to blow us down. ~Val
We can live without hope…and die, spiritually, emotionally and even physically
We can live in search of hope…choosing each day where we will land, in hope or outside of hope
Or like my friend, we can cling to the One who is HOPE.
Over and over, it boils down to C-H-O-I-C-E. God has given us a choice, He continues to give us choices. 4000+ years ago, Joshua, preparing to lead all of Israel into the promised land said “choose this day whom you will serve.”
In the journey of HOPE, we get the same choice, who will we serve? We can place our hope in what the world has to offer:
We are invited to HOPE in a God who cannot disappoint.
We are invited to HOPE in a person, not a situation.
Unfortunately, there is no HOPE 101 class for us to take. But, we are not left without hope! Jesus gives us the keys to help unlock the right door in our search for hope.
Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope! Romans 15:13 TPT
God, you are the inspiration and fountain of hope, I draw close to you in my time of need. Fill me with this uncontainable joy and perfect peace. I choose to trust in you. Show me where I am not trusting in you and develop my ‘trust muscle’. Holy Spirit, you live in those who have submitted their lives to you. Surround me with those who know you, surround me with your super-abundance. I am created to radiate HOPE. Let your will be done, let your Kingdom of HOPE come in me and through me. Let my search for HOPE always end in You, Jesus.
Misty is the President and Founder of the international organization Mountain of Myrrh Ministry (M.O.M.). She is a Visionary Leader, national speaker, writer and transitional life coach. Her greatest life work has been loving and leading her family well. She has raised 4 amazing adults and is lovingly known as Grammy to her 2 grand-daughters. Misty has blogged for over 8 years on the triumphs and trials of being a single mom. She currently blogs for Crosswalk on all things related to our spiritual journey. Misty's passion for life is infectious. Misty loves to lead leaders, equip women and impart value to others. Misty has learned through experience how to dance through the rhythms of life and loves to invite others into the joy of learning how to celebrate in every season.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. – Psalm 13:12
I have known that heart sick feeling deep in my soul.
My hope had seemed to have left without an explanation. Leaving without a note, last correspondence, or “good bye”.
It was like one morning I woke up and that hope was gone.
Bitterness took its place.
Because, really, it feels like we all get a little bitter after going through a divorce.
My bitterness was quiet. It wasn’t showy. It wasn’t something that other’s may have even noticed. But my heart felt sick.
When I saw other people were living out the dream that I had prayed for, the bitterness whispered to me that I wasn’t good enough.
When friends announced life events on social media, the bitterness took that opportunity to point out my lack.
After time I started to embrace Bitterness.
It became this strange friend that I took comfort in.
Hope would come home and knock on the door but Bitterness would tell me how Hope would never stay. Bitterness was there for me. Bitterness was easier to hold on to.
I would tell Hope that I would call them back but it never happened.
My heart was sick.
But I had decided I could learn to live with this sickness. It was a part of me now.
The Single Mom KC was invited to a Valentine’s Day luncheon by a local church.
Bitterness and I attended together but Hope and I left the luncheon hand and hand.
During worship God stepped in. I was singing with my hands high and tears running down my face. Hope came bursting through my heart and I could not postpone them anymore. Bitterness had no choice but to pack their bags and leave.
That day, in that moment, Hope flooded my life.
Nothing in my life had changed.
I was still a single mom.
I was still struggling financially.
I was still sometimes insecure.
I was still in need of a Savior.
But my heart was no longer sick.
I started to cling to those promises of God. Declare them over my life.
God’s plan for me is to prosper me and not to harm me. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Nothing can keep me from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39)
God formed me with intention and knows me intimately (Psalm 139)
God has given me strength to get through anything. (Phil 4:13)
God will restore my life. (Deut. 30:3)
To keep Hope, I must make a home for Hope.
Hope lives in those promises. Hope lives in my faith. Even when my circumstances don’t add up to what I want in my life…. My faith is bigger than that. Hope thrives in my thankfulness. Hope flourishes in my trust in God.
And my heart is well.
Monica is a BoyMom, lover of Jesus, appreciator of all things pink, and a self proclaimed romantic. She is navigating through life as a single momma to two little ones with coffee in her hand and grace in her heart. Monica's desire is to inspire and be inspired; sharing hope as she clings to it as well. She is California-raised but now resides in Missouri with her two precious boys.
How could this be happening to me? Hadn’t I been through enough? My day started on December 18, 2015 with excitement waiting for the return of my daughter from a missions trip until I heard the words, “I’m sorry to tell you but you have breast cancer.” Wait, did I just hear that correctly? Cancer?! Triple negative, grade 3 tumor, fast growing breast cancer. How could it get any worse? Are you kidding me? Just a couple of months before that my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. And just a few months before that my 26 year marriage ended. With all that had already happened I had to gather my seven children around me and tell them their mom had breast cancer. Where is my hope?
No partner, no health insurance, no plan whatsoever. Things were dark. I went through that Christmas with the attitude that I wasn’t going to make it to see the next Christmas. It was scary for all of us. During the holidays I watched a video with some experts talking about cancer and how to survive it. One of the doctors shared that attitude had a lot to do with it; cancer patients with an attitude of hope, joy, and thankfulness were the ones who survived. Something in my brain flipped a switch. I had a choice about how I handled this. I choose joy, and gratitude. Where the enemy wanted to kill and destroy, the spirit within me shouted, “This is not how I’m going down. I’m not afraid to meet my maker, it’s just not my time yet.” I set out on a journey with my new friends, Joy and Gratefulness, to figure out how I was going to survive this.
Part of finding joy in this journey meant reaching out for help. For years and years I had been the person serving everyone else and now I was the one in need. It was hard to switch gears but I felt like it was a lesson in learning how to receive. I contacted church leaders, friends, and neighbors who gathered around me. Not only did I receive an abundance of prayer but also abundance in the area of finances. I was able to get insurance and have the surgery to remove the lump and get the proper treatment that I needed. Every medical need was provided for me through several different sources of gifts.
During this time my faith was tested for sure. I knew His name is Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals. If that’s who He is then that’s who HE is! Period. How can He NOT heal? Do I even need to ask if I know that’s who You are and what You do? I asked but I sensed healing was already mine. Even so, doubt and fear crept in. After several months of treatment I questioned the Lord and asked Him, “How will I know when I’m really healed?” The very next day all financial sources came to a halt. All of them, one by one emailed or called me to let me know they were ending for various reasons. I didn’t understand why this was happening. As a matter fact, I took offense in my heart and I thought God didn’t love me because He was not going to provide my medical treatment anymore. I had a major pity party that entire weekend.
That following Monday I had a scheduled doctor’s appointment. When I got there I asked him what they do if the patients run out of money for treatment. He smiled and said sometimes God answers your prayers through provision or lack of. At that moment it hit me, God HAD answered my question. Three days earlier I had asked him how I would know if I was healed. He gave me my answer by drying up the funds that I didn’t need anymore. I had exactly enough money, almost to the penny, to pay for that last doctor’s appointment. He had shown Himself to me as Jehovah Rapha the healer, Jehovah Jireh the provider.
It’s now three years later and I am totally cancer free and healed. I can look back and thank Him for cancer. That sounds a little strange but I’m grateful for cancer and all He taught me during that dark time. Not that God gives us diseases, but he allowed me to go through that dark night so that I could see another facet of my God and King. I am so grateful for all He’s done for me. I couldn’t have gone on this journey without the hope that He has given me.
Is there an area in your life where you need hope? There are over 120 times where HOPE is used in the Bible. Here’s just a few. I invite you to do a word search and look some up for yourself. Read them, sing them, write them, recite them, hang them on your walls, anything to let them sink into your heart and mind. He is the God of HOPE.
Acts 2:26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Psalm 119:116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I would consider myself a girly girl.
I think doing my make-up and hair is fun. I like to dress up. Tea parties are my thing. Anything princess and I am all over it.
But I have two little boys.
I have a four year old son and a 2 year old son.
They are total all-around boys!
They like to jump around the furniture, play in the dirt, be super heroes, wrestle around, and constantly throw things.
I am raising young men. I am molding, teaching, and training up men of God. Boys who will someday become leaders, husbands, and fathers.
This is a huge responsibility – especially as a single mom.
These are some of the prayers I have for these little, wild, loud, rambunctious, boys.
1. I pray that they will learn strength is not just physical. So often I think that we view strength as something that is only physical. Its about big muscles and being the boss. Strength is shown as who is the leader. Strength is even shown as manipulation.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7
My hope is that my boys will see the strength in being kind. The strength in sharing their feelings. The strength in praising the Lord. The strength in working hard. The strength in honoring one another. The strength in patience. The strength that is found in God.
2. I pray that they will find their confidence but not suffocate others with it. I want my boys to know their worth. I feel like we tell our little girls over and over again about how they are worth more then rubies (which is totally true!) but our little boys get the pass over on that. Boys still need to learn their worth. They still need to know they are valuable. Boys need to learn from a young age that they matter. That they have a voice. They need to learn that they are also priceless. And not in a way that encourages them to be cocky. It’s not about them being better then anyone else or above anyone else. It is not about their looks or their “swag”. Their worth is not based on how popular they are, how good they are at sports, or on how many girls like them. Its about knowing WHO they are because they know their identity in Christ. They have found that confidence in God. The boys know how precious they are because they know how precious they are to the Lord.
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. – Isaiah 32:7
I don’t want my boys to run around with a “look at me look at me” attitude but I do want them to know their worth. Because when we know our worth and how to be treated… we in turn treat others that way.
3. I pray that they will love the Lord. I do not want my boys to follow Christ because of a set of rules or because I TOLD them to. I want them experience God on their own. I hope that my children will see their single momma holding it together, praying, fasting, worshipping, crying out to God, treating others kindly, serving the body of Christ, donating time and energy, trusting the Lord, giving Him praise, reading the Word, speaking about all that the Lord has done, and so they will desire to live that out too. I don’t want them to have a religion because their mom brought them to church… I want them to have a RELATIONSHIP because they experienced it for themselves.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
Its not about rules or regulations or following orders or any of that. It’s about love. And at the end of it all I want my boys to know that.
Raising young men is not easy. It’s actually very messy (you should see the walls in my new house).
It can often feel overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I have no idea how to raise boys… especially not on my own. Which is why I am so so thankful that I have God as my foundation.
When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher then I. – Psalm 61:2
I would have never pictured myself as a “BoyMom” and although I still beg the boys if we can watch Frozen from time to time….I would say I am learning to rock at it!
Monica is a BoyMom, lover of Jesus, appreciator of all things pink, and a self proclaimed romantic. She is navigating through life as a single momma to two little ones with coffee in her hand and grace in her heart. Monica's desire is to inspire and be inspired; sharing hope as she clings to it as well. She is California-raised but now resides in Missouri with her two precious boys.