- 2016Jun 15
I recognize that holidays can be a difficult time for anyone, but particularly if you are parenting alone. My hope is to equip you with tools that will encourage you along your journey.
If not careful, Father’s Day for a single mom can be a disaster. What is often a celebration in May on Mother’s Day can become a tragedy in June on Father’s Day, unless we are mindful of our thoughts and actions. Mother’s Day is a celebration of all things mom. It is a time to focus on the great mothers in our lives – mom, grandmother, sister, friend, or aunt. It is a time to give thanks to God for those precious kids he has blessed us with.
Sadly, Father’s Day can be a time for single moms to focus on lack, e.g. lack of an active father in their children’s lives, lack of what you had hoped would be a forever-marriage, etc. Now, of course, this isn’t all single mothers, but if you do happen to find yourself there today, here are a few tips to encourage you:
- Focus on what you do have. Maybe your children do not have an active father in their lives. Do they have a male mentor? A grandfather? A youth group leader? A pastor? A neighbor? Choose to focus on the positive male role models in your children’s lives and honor them. And if there is a shortage of male role models, we can absolutely turn the focus on an amazing Heavenly Father!
- Your Heavenly Father fills the gap. Maybe Father’s day is hard, because you know that you couldn’t possibly fill the role of mom and dad… and frankly, you are exhausted from trying! Know that God is an amazing Father and he is strong, where we are weak. He can and will fill in the gaps in your home, in your children’s lives, and in your weaknesses.
- Don’t discount the value of your child’s father.Okay, so this one is a toughie. Maybe your child’s father isn’t Father of the Year. Maybe you are really struggling with forgiveness, because there have been times (maybe many), when your children have been disappointed by a missed visit or broken promise. If their father is in their life, even if the situation isn’t great, choose to honor their father’s position in their life. Your children love their dad, even if he has made some poor choices and disappointed them, and even if they are older and act out! He is part of them. And there is little worse you could do than destroy their father verbally in front of them. Choose the high road, even if the same courtesy hasn’t been done to you. God (and your children) will honor you for it.
- Be active today. Maybe your children are with their father today and you are alone. Do something worthwhile. Invite friends over for a barbecue. Read a good book, that you wouldn’t otherwise have enjoyed with the kiddos there. Clean out a flower bed or rearrange your living room. Don’t sit by and let the day pass you by, feeling sorry for yourself. The same can be true, if your children aren’t with their dad. Choose to make this day a great one!
Jennifer Maggio is the CEO and Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. From her personal experiences of tragedy and single parenting, she has a deep desire to show others the love of Christ in a tangible way. She is author to four books and mother of three. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.
- 2016Jun 01
It was Christmas Day and my first Christmas alone. Well, I guess I wasn’t alone. I had my 11-month old with me. It was the darkest of days. I woke up to the inevitable – no money, no family, and a baby who toddled around, not knowing the difference. I cried most of the day. I eventually went to a friend’s home for a couple of hours, but I ultimately finished the day on the sofa in tears, alone.
Perhaps one of the biggest struggles for any single parent is loneliness. It is easy to compare families who are shopping together on weekends or strolling their precious toddler on a bright Sunday afternoon. It is easy to imagine our lives much different than they are, hence feeding into the loneliness that endlessly lingers.
Loneliness is dangerous. It can assuredly lead to compromise. How many times have I sat holding the hand of a mom who was regretful of a decision that stemmed from a lonely night? How many times did I stumble in my single parenting years for that very same reason? Loneliness can lead to further isolation and even depression or alcohol and drug use. It can attribute to bitterness and anger and a myriad of other not-so-positive emotions. So how do we fight it?
One of the first keys is to recognize you are never alone. God promises that he will never leave you. “Yeah, that sounds great, but I want human interaction!” You may be thinking. The Lord created us for relationship – relationship with each other and relationship with Him. However, the latter is the most important part of our life. The development of our relationship with the Lord is above all else our strength, our comfort, our peace. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7 about how his singleness has allowed him to serve God better. Next time you feel loneliness creeping in, consider serving someone else. How can you use your time and talents to serve God by serving others? Can you volunteer at a local soup kitchen or babysit for a fellow single parent? Can you offer dinner at your house for some neighborhood friends?
Be certain to stay connected to a local church. I am a huge proponent of this one! The Life of a Single Mom Ministries exists for this very reason. We believe that if we can keep single parents connected to a local support group in a church, we can help with those struggles of loneliness. Support networks give us perspective. It helps for us to hear others’ problems or to hear wisdom from someone who has been where we are. Satan’s plan is one of divide-and-conquer strategy. If he can isolate us from church and loving Godly friends, we begin to see the glass as half-empty. No one will ever love me. I will always be alone. How could the church treat me that way? I don’t need God anyway. On and on the negative thoughts go. Staying connected with a local church helps.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author of four books and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a global nonprofit. She is also the founder of Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.
- 2016May 18
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance. Col. 3:23-24
Have you ever been somewhere and you weren’t sure you were supposed to be there? Maybe you were new to a church and you couldn’t find your Bible study group. Or maybe your children are new to the school and you are trying to find their classrooms. Whatever the case, there is certain awkwardness when you stumble into a new environment, unsure and nervous.
Lack of planning and preparation in ministry can be similar. You don’t know where you are, what you are doing, or if you are really supposed to be there.
Ministry is serious. It’s God’s work. It’s about bringing others into relationship with our Savior. God works through people. He works through us – you and me. We are examples of his grace. We show others God’s love through how we treat them. Ministry is about Heaven or Hell. It’s not to be taken lightly. And make no mistake. Whether you work full-time at a church or simply volunteer on the weekends, you are in ministry. We all are.
Taking time to plan and prepare for your ministry assignment is important. If you are leading a Bible study, pray, seek, plan, pray, read, re-read, make notes, and practice your lesson. Those who have come to be part of your program, class, Bible study, or support group deserve as much. If you are serving on the greeter’s team at Sunday services, then arrive early, spend time in prayer, and make preparations to do it with excellence. Are you babysitting children in the nursery? Prepare a great craft or activity.
Are you launching a new program in your church? Take the time to plan the logistics. Take the time to think through the what-ifs in hopes of being better-prepared to handle challenges that will surely come. Take the time to do some online research. Be sure to attend training classes, if possible.
Some of the worst support groups or connect groups or classes that I’ve been part of were not because the leader wasn’t gifted to share or teach, not because they weren’t fully capable, but because they hadn’t taken the time to prepare. Allow God to minister His plan in your ministry. Seek Him so that His face is the face that your attendees see. There is no power like the power of God to change lives forevermore.
Jennifer Maggio is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is an award-winning author of several books and has appeared in countless media venues. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.