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?
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.”
By Selenia Vera
WHERE ARE THE MENTORS? WHO HAS GONE BEFORE ME?
I desperately sought a mentor when I became a single mother, I looked for ‘one that had gone before me’ in this road into the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus directs us in the book Song of Solomon to search out or follow those that have gone before us.
So what does it mean in Song of Solomon 1:8 to “…go forth on the trail of the flock…”
Let me start by giving a little background in the Song of Solomon. This particular book is a love story, or poem. It is between a king, or someone of esteemed background and a Schulamite maiden. Many people shy away from this book because it is somewhat provocative. However, as much of the bible, it can interpreted different ways. It most assuredly is a story of a man and a woman and their love and attraction for one another. However, in this dialogue we can also understand it individually to be the love our Bridegroom King Jesus has for us, His bride. We are ‘dark but lovely’. And we can also understand it corporately to mean how Jesus the Bridegroom feels and what He is bringing about in His corporate Bride the church.
For our purposes we are going to look at this book on an individual basis. Not a romantic love between Jesus and us, but a love most of us can’t comprehend. A pure undefiled love that calls forth our destiny; what HE sees in us.
That being said, let’s look again at what He (Jesus) means when He gives the instruction “…go forth on the trail of the flock…” What is He responding to? Take time to read Song of Solomon 1:7-8. You will see that He is responding to the cry of the heart…”TELL ME, WHERE ARE YOU.” Much the same thing David cried in Psalm 63:1 and Psalm 42:1. This is the cry of a hungry and thirsty soul, one that has tried to live her life according to what others thought she should be doing but it has all been in vain. This is the cry of one who is at her end (but the beginning of her journey with the King). This is the one who has lived the veiled life of shame or reproach. This, my dear sister is you and me.
I cannot fathom HIS kindness toward us in that place of desperation, when we have tried all the pleasures of the world and we come to Him broken and dark and burned by the world. He says “If you do not know MOST BEAUTIFUL AMONG WOMEN”. Do you need to pause here, look around and say “What? Who are you talking to!” We must let these words work their way into our heart. We must let the healing balm of Gilead be massaged into our hearts. Sit and let His truth unlock your heart then receive His instruction.
Jesus invites us to find Him by following the trail of the flock and pasturing our young goats by the tents of the shepherds.
This is a HARD pill to swallow for many single mothers I know. After all, it has been the shepherds, or the older men and women who have often been the ones who have caused great pain. Oh but dear woman of God, it is necessary.
I found myself at a time desperately seeking these ones that had gone before and could find non I wanted to emulate my life after. So, I was mentored by books and by a long distance mentor. But I sought them out and instead of becoming bitter, I cried out to God that I would become one of those that ‘had gone before’ and be able to help direct the steps of younger women.
So my dear dear sisters, I want to say to you “seek them out”. Our ministry is about being this for the younger single moms, even though some may be older in years, many in our midst have been on this journey of raising children as a single parent for a number of years.
Who are the mentors in your life? How can you seek one out?