God Does Not Have a Plan B for You :: from Single Matters Magazine

God Does Not Have A Plan B For You

When I became single for the second time in my life, it wasn’t part of the plan. Life had taken an abrupt turn, and single motherhood became my new reality.

I grieved in the beginning. Not only for the losses my family would suffer, but because it didn’t match what I believed God was calling me toward in ministry. You see, I had a passion for the women in my church. I wanted to help them flourish in God’s calling. I wanted to be known as a godly woman they could rely on. I wanted to serve God in the ministry He was so obviously laying on my heart. Women’s ministry.

I wasn’t happy with God at the little turn off my path. I mean, the plan was moving along quite smoothly up to that point. I was the co-leader of women’s ministry in my church. I was a writer for women’s ministries across the nation. I was well on my way with plan A, when a boulder in the road forced me to instead choose plan B.

In my anger, I went to church one Sunday, ready to talk to God about this change in plans. And when I say talk, I mean complain. Because, let’s face it, it just wasn’t fair.

So you can imagine my surprise when a guest pastor spoke about our plans, and looked me directly in the eye — really, he did — and said:

“God doesn’t have a plan B for you. He has a plan A. And you’re living it.”

Read more here . . .

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Single Parent: Stop Living Moment to Moment–From Single Matters Magazine

Single Parent-Stop Living moment to moment

If single parenthood has taught me anything in life, it’s this:

It is possible to live your life in 24-hour spurts.

In fact, in the beginning of my single mom status, it was literally all I could handle emotionally and physically. I prepped and was ready for the next day, and had no energy left to plan any further than that. If it didn’t fall within the next 24-hour window, I gave it little thought. I couldn’t let myself. Life was about survival. Moment to moment.

But, nearly two years into this, I’m beginning to get a firmer grip on this new life. I’ve done the work to try to heal and move forward, and I’m starting to see that there is room for a bigger picture. It’s time for me to expect more from myself. More from life.

Maybe you should too.

Read more at Single Matters Magazine . . .

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This is me: A Single Mom Stereotype

Single Mom Stereotype

Once, I had a dream. Of finding love, and getting married, and having a family.  Of cooking meals in a kitchen full of children, and building traditions, and holding hands through the hard times. Of growing old together, and enjoying grandchildren, and kissing each other goodbye as we left this world for something better.

A dream that ended too soon.

So this is me now. And, I am a stereotype.

I had a dream of teaching Sunday school, and Bible studies, and leading the Women’s ministry. And though we once worked hand in hand, your eyes no longer meet mine in the hallways of the church I love. Because now, I am a stereotype.

I had a dream of reconnecting with my girlfriends as my children grew. Of time to slip away and go enjoy some down-time laughing, and reminiscing, and enjoying the company of other moms. And though I’m still the same person who stood by you when life threw you curve balls, you can’t relate to what I’m going through, and have slipped away as quietly as you can. Because now, I am a stereotype.

I had a dream of cookouts with our families. Of our children running through each other’s yards, and us bringing baked goods covered in plastic wrap to the table. Of swatting mosquitos, and mending scrapes, and all the things that neighbors do. But I see the way you move in now when I speak to your husband, even though we were all friends at one time. Because now, I am a stereotype.

I had a dream of cheering our children on at school events. Of being on the sidelines with you at field day. Of class parties, and field trips, and parent lunches with you and your children by my side. But, I’ve heard the comments you make about the problem children at school, and the way you turn from me and suggest under your breath that it’s simply because they are being raised by a single mom. Because now, I am a stereotype.

But you are wrong about me. You are wrong about all of us.

You see, I haven’t changed. Though the things in my life certainly have. My kind of tragedy is common, and expected, and unnoticed. My kind of pain is overlooked, and shooed away, and not even recognized. I should have seen it coming, after all. Because it is all a stereotype.

Now, I am a single mom. And I’m chasing my dreams anyway.  I’m rebuilding my family. And my home. And my finances. And my self-esteem.

I’m connecting with new friends. And ministering to a different group than I ever thought I would be. I’m building a new idea of family. I’m giving my kids every ounce of me. And they are watching in real time what it looks like to fall to the very, very bottom in life.

And then, to overcome.

Because I refuse to be your stereotype. So,this is me. I am a Single Mom. But, I choose to live free.



Stop by Proverbs 31 Ministries, Suzie Eller’s, blog this Live Free Thursday to discover more stories about living free. <3


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When You Don’t Want to Trust Others with Your Child

The first time I had to leave my child with a sitter, I brought enough bottles of milk to feed a small baby army, packed six changes of clothes for a half day away from me, and silently scanned the home with the trained eye of a CSI agent looking for suspicious activity. Grandmas can be dangerous, you know.

The truth is, moms are often put in positions that they would rather not be in. Positions where we have to trust others to play a part in our children’s lives—when honestly, we’d rather do anything but:

  • Like the first time you drop your child at daycare or the nursery
  • Like the first time your child enters the hallway full of tiny people at school and goes into a classroom without you
  • Like the first time you have to rely on a doctor to correctly diagnose and then fix a problem
  • Like the first time as a single parent that you have to allow your ex care for your child alone

It can be a scary thing, this letting go. And, I don’t care how many times you sing that adorable song, or add a snowman to the mix, it doesn’t make it any easier.

What it more likely does is strike fear in the heart of a mom:

  • What if something goes wrong and no one is there for your child like you would be?
  • What if the person in charge of their care makes a poor decision that jeopardizes them in some way?
  • What if they are scared, and alone, and cry out but no one hears them?

It’s enough to make me want to build a bubble around my home at times. And, believe it or not, I’ve been a mother for 16 years. You’d think I’d have a handle on this by now, right? But, I don’t. And, I’m fairly certain at this point that I never will.

But, what I do have a grip on is this:

My belief that my children are not just my own, but God’s as well.

And in that belief is enough promise to help me get my mind around the things I fear most:

  • Because I know that He is there to care for and protect my child in ways that no one else can.
  • Because I know that other’s decisions about my child will never trump God’s plan for them.
  • Because I know that while I may be out of reach, God never is.

Not only that, but He’s there in the same way for me. To walk with me through the times that I fear. To show me that He is in control. To hold me when I feel alone in it all.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91: 1-2

And that, is worth putting my trust in, sweet friend.

Do you trust Him with your child?



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Guilt-Free Underwear

If I could have been born into a different family, I think I would have fit in well with a large Jewish clan. The mothers, I’m told, are masters at laying on the guilt. And I, sweet friends, am a sponge.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been able to put myself first without repercussions of serious guilt. If there was a last cookie on a plate, I couldn’t eat it without feeling it should be someone else’s. If there was extra money available to buy something I desperately needed, I still couldn’t buy it without guilt. If there was a work trip that took me away for more than twenty-four hours—even though my job was providing for all of our needs—I’d feel terrible for leaving my kids.

As a mom, guilt followed me like a shadow, ready to taunt me at a moment’s notice if my thoughts moved even one centimeter off of others and onto myself. When I became a single mom, that guilt somehow (as if it was even possible) magnified. And no matter how often I heard it, or how many voices in my life suggested it, I couldn’t seem to put even the tiniest focus on myself.

On the selfish act of taking care of me.

Until one day, I went to pack for a work trip and realized that I didn’t own a single pair of underwear that didn’t have holes in them. And, I don’t mean tiny ones from initial signs that I needed new ones. No. I mean, big, gaping, embarrassing holes that made them so ratty, they might have looked like lace from a distance. Ok, they didn’t. But remembering it that way makes me feel better.

And it was that drawer full—and I mean full—of expired underwear, that made me realize the truth: though my family never had to worry about running out of toilet paper, milk, deodorant, clean socks, or bread, I was living as if I didn’t deserve to have my basic needs met. As if taking care of me somehow took something away from someone I loved.

The real kicker? I realized the number of times I’d literally walked past the underwear aisle in my local Wal-Mart (hint: did you know that they sell it for just a few dollars?), perusing the aisles three to five times a week while locating items that the rest of my family needed—and didn’t take care of my own needs.

“Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

I closed that drawer, determined that I had to start taking better care of myself. One look down the hallway would show three children who were continuing to grow, who would someday leave my home. When they did so, I didn’t want to be a deflated balloon that they had spent 18 years sucking the life out of. Because leaving behind a shell of the mother they once had, would only cause me to fill that empty space with mourning for what I’d just lost.

But, if instead, I began to fill myself up by taking better care of myself, becoming healthy both on the inside and the out, and even spoiling myself from time to time, I would still mourn the loss, but would have so much more to offer them as we each went into the next season of our lives. I would be so full of other things I’d allowed into my life, that the passing of that season wouldn’t consume me.

Sweet girls, don’t buy into the lie. We are called to take care of ourselves so that we can set out to do the work God has for us. We honor those we love when we respect ourselves enough to take care of our own needs (and sometimes wants).

So you know where I started?

With new underwear.

And you know what? It was the most fun-filled shopping trip I’ve ever had. Hands down. Because not only did I get rid of that drawer of undies-past-their-prime, but I got rid of the guilt. I refused to accept it anymore. And decided from that day forward that it was ok to take care of myself, to remember the things I once enjoyed, and even to make a plan that went beyond mothering my children.

And the undies? Some even had lace on them, people. Actual. Lace.


Stop by Proverbs 31 Ministries, Suzie Eller’s, blog this Live Free Thursday to discover more stories about living guilt free. <3


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Why I Won’t Chase Him (Anymore) :: From Single Matters Magazine

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Dating in today’s world is almost too convenient. At any moment of the day or night, you can log onto your choice of dating sites and connect with literally hundreds of men. When I started this second season of dating in my life, I was fascinated by the opportunity to send someone a quick note and start pursuing getting to know them. It was so easy. No awkward face-to-face letdown. If they weren’t interested, they’d simply move on — and you would as well. No harm done.

It began to feel like my old school playground where I could pick any boy I liked and simply chase him around the chain-link fence . . . until I saw another boy I liked better, and could chase him next. Should I change my mind again mid-chase, I could always return to boy #1.

But after a few months of dating, I remembered something I’d forgotten from my earlier dating life. It was the cardinal rule in dating. The one my grandmother whispered to me at the dinner table. The one my girlfriends swore by. The one I knew — knew deep down — to be the one sage dating advice I’d ever been given:

Read more at Single Matters Magazine

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When Questioning Your Faith is the only Faith You Have Left

Questioning your faith


Being a Christian is not a cake walk.

If you’ve ever met someone that made you feel as if being a follower of Jesus meant that everything fell into place, your burdens no longer existed, and that you were somehow part of an priveledged inner circle, you were being misled.

Christian’s struggle with their faith at times.

The past few months have been one of those times for me. If hearing this from another believer somehow makes you nervous, or worry that you’ll question your own faith to the point that you can’t bear to read on, then stop now. Because I’m a truth talker. Not a glazer.

Because the truth is that sometimes—especially in a season of long suffering— the only faith we have remaining, is our ability to question our faith.

When we’ve been through the ringer, too many times than we can bear.

When we’ve witnessed tragedy in those around us that send us reeling with questions.

When we’ve looked heavenward and wondered if anyone is there. If anyone was ever there.

And you know what? God is okay with that. Because questioning your faith can actually be an act of faith. Questioning your faith, questioning God, and even railing in anger over your situation is still among the actions of the faithful.

Because it means that you still believe enough

to question the reasons you believe.

And that, sweet friends, is the core of our faith: Believing in what we can’t see, even when all other indicators would suggest that it’s not there.

You see, sometimes even Christians get to the end of a long hard road, thinking that they are about to come out on the other side, only to realize that there’s a cliff they didn’t see. Sometimes they hit bottom so hard, so fast, that they get angry that the road wasn’t what they expected. And, if they are honest with you, sometimes they question the role God is playing in their lives.

Kinda like a guy in the Bible that no one ever wants to read about—yeah, that guy named Job.

So, I started reading Job. Because I was pretty sure we were soul siblings, to be honest. And while my loss and pain of divorce and single motherhood did not come anywhere near his losses, it did show me one thing:

Job is proof that bad things can be redeemed.

Maybe like me, the one thing you feared most in life has actually become your day-to-day reality. A slap in the face it seems. Maybe you feel like Job when he said in 3:25-26,

“What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; only trouble comes.”

But, what if the thing you’ve dreaded like the plague, is actually the one thing in your life that can lead you to the most real relationship you’ve ever had with your Creator? If you become so close to God that you feel you can get real with him? That you can even—dare I say it?—question him. Isn’t that a gain?

Job thought so. At the end of his rants—though he didn’t accuse God, he complained relentlessly—he sat back and realized that the situation had put him in a position of relationship with God that very few were allowed. Job said,

“I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” 42:5-6

While we may not always understand why things happen, they don’t mean that we’ve lost God’s love, companionship, or protection. In fact, he may be using the situation we are in to show us those very things.

Job wasn’t punished for anything he did wrong, just as we are not being punished. No guilt = suffering as the world would like us to believe. God works differently.

  • Job was good man, loved by God.
  • Job was hurt by unimaginable losses and felt defeated.
  • Job was abandoned by those he thought loved him most.

But, the true showing of Job’s faith was that despite his situation, despite the fact that he didn’t like it, or even understand it, he didn’t turn away from God. Nope, in fact, he got real with God. He questioned him.

Did God then magically remove the trauma Job had suffered? No. But, he drew near to Job, even in his misinterpretation of what was happening. And he blessed him again.

Give him the chance to do the same for you.

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When You’re Not Loved Because You’re Not Beautiful — from Single Matters Magazine

Photo courtesy of Andrew Wilson via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Andrew Wilson via Flickr

I was an ugly child.

At least, if you’d asked me, I’d have told you that. I was reminded of it in a thousand little ways. The way my dad ignored me when I’d try to talk to him. The way he shook his head at everything I did. The way he never came to any of my performances. The way he commented about how I looked.

I felt ugly.

Though my relationship with my father was always hard, I never thought it really swayed my feelings toward the male population. I grew up in a large neighborhood where I was the only girl, and I learned to speak their language, to care about what they cared about. I was always surrounded by boys. I wanted to be like them.

I admired the way they said what they felt, then moved on. The way they approached life with wild abandon, and no fear. The way they built friendships that lasted, and even allowed in a girl or two.

But the older I grew, the more I realized that while their self-esteem was based on what they accomplished, mine was based more on the idea I had of beauty. More specifically, my own beauty. If I beat them at baseball, or built a better fort, it never seemed to measure up to the thrill I felt if someone — anyone — in my life complimented me or made me feel beautiful.

The older I grew, the more noticeable it grew. It became a hole in my life that clung to me like a shadow. I needed to feel beautiful, and felt terrible when I didn’t.

I hated that about myself.

Read more at Single Matters Magazine . . .

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Do Your Child’s Manners Reflect Their Faith?

You’ve seen them.

The child at the playground that nearly knocks over someone as they rush to get to the slide first.

The child who takes the drink you’ve just offered without a word of thanks, but complains because it’s not their favorite.

The child who talks back to their mother in a way so disrespectfully, you consider the ramifications of you saying something about it.

Where have all the manners gone?

Growing up in the South, manners were drilled into me just as deeply as my school work. It was expected, and brought to my attention if I didn’t use them. Children who didn’t have manners were not looked well upon, and parents who didn’t teach them were considered reckless. They are such a part of who I am that I’m no longer me without them. But the longer I explore faith, the more I wonder if manners were born from Biblical teachings.

Although manners aren’t specifically discussed in the Bible, the concepts they include are Biblical. As Christians, we are called to rise above what the world does, and treat people in a way that stands out. Teaching our children basic manners is also teaching them a lot about the way Jesus treated others.

Manners teach the habit of respect. Whether you are opening a door for someone else, offering your seat to another, or simply thanking someone who is serving you, manners teaches you the habit of being respectful to others.

 “Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.” Titus 3:1-2

Manners teach us to serve others. Whether we are asking questions about another person, complimenting something we admire, or simply apologizing when we have hurt someone, manners teach us to keep the other persons needs in mind—ahead of our own.

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

Manners teach consideration for others. Everything from our smart phones to TV-shows-on-demand encourages an instant gratification mindset. Teaching our children to say please for the things they would like shows consideration for those who would provide it, and puts them in a position of thoughtfulness instead of a demanding mindset.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10

Manners teach thankfulness. In a society where entitlement rules, people who are thankful are rare. Teaching your children to say thank you shows appreciation and gratitude, and makes a habit of realizing that what they are receiving is not owed to them.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Choosing to teach your children manners—regardless of what others are teaching their children—is a great way to instill faith values as well. Start making basic manners a part of the expected behavior of your children, and it will become a habit that will serve them well in life. As they begin to explore their faith on their own, they will soon discover that the manners you taught them only compliment what Jesus is teaching them as well.

And stop by Moms Together today to join in the conversation about manners, our children, and how it reflects our faith. I’d love to see you there!



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Single Parents – There is Life Beyond Your Loss :: from Single Matters Magazine


Photo courtesy of Thomas sauzedde via Flickr

The year after my marriage fell apart was hands down the worst of my life. Most days were a blur as I stumbled through them trying to contain my emotions and take care of my children.

It was the pinnacle to a life full of loss that seemed unbelievable, and undeserved, and just … unfair. It left me shaken, literally, as I noticed that I could no longer hold my drawing tools steady for my job as a textile designer. I felt like a shell of the person I’d once been, and wondered if I even knew that girl anymore.

I took a year off from life — as much as I could. I still lived through it, but cut out anything “extra” from my days, knowing that this girl had some serious healing to do. Not only from her marriage, but from the loss of her family growing up, being disowned, a devastating job loss, and apparently every dream she’d ever held dear.

I clung to God’s hand as if it was the sole thing that could pull me through. And it was. Day by day, He seemed to gently nudge me from my bed, push me along my tasks, and catch me when I crumbled into a pile of tears. He was so close — so close — that I felt the covering over me. He was protecting His daughter when she could no longer stand up for herself, could no longer fight, could no longer move forward.

As the months went by, the burdens eased. I began to poke my head above the bedsheets and wonder if there might be life outside the four walls I’d been hiding within.

At some point, you will do the same.

Read more at Single Matters Magazine . . . 

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