- 2015Sep 15
I was eighteen years old when I had my first child and had no clue how to parent, much less, how to do it all alone. I had never boiled bottles (do people even do that anymore?), changed diapers, or dealt with cholic. Fear quickly permeated every area of my life. What if I couldn't do this right? What if I didn't have enough money to feed him? How was it going to affect him to not have a father around?
Those early years were not the end of my fears either. As time went on, I became increasingly worried that my children may choose the wrong friends, fail a test, or make the same mistakes I once did. Fast forward several years. I met and married the man of my dreams, secured great employment, and purchased a lovely home. Occassionally, I feared that that man would one day leave me, like so many in my life had, or that I would lose that great job and not have the ability to pay my mortgage. What was this? Fear. Fear. Fear. I was inundated with the What-ifs of life.
Fear can grip our very soul. It can dictate how we live our lives. I was completely oblivious to how much fear I was carrying, until I sat in a sermon one Sunday morning by a local pastor. He asked us to write down the things we feared. He, then, asked us to share our list with a neighbor sitting next to us. Tears streamed down my face. I was embarrassed that even though I had been on my Christian journey for years, I had lived a life of bondage to a long list of fears.
2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear is faith in the wrong things. What you fear the most reveals where you trust God the least. Learn to take authority over your fears:
1. Acknowledge the fear and choose to trust God with it. If you fear that you will always be alone, confess it to the Lord and trust that he knows far better than you what you need. If you fear you will never purchase a home, trust God. If you fear your children may be killed in a plane crash, trust God. Begin to openly acknowledge what you are carrying.
2. Seek God until he takes away all your fears. (See Ps. 34:4). Keep pursuing freedom. Keep Praying for him to deliver you from it. Keep professing God's truth over your life, not your feelings.
3. Recognize that they can't do anything to you. You belong to the Lord. Do not listen to what they say. Do not listen to those who say you won't make it, you won't win, you can't do it. Satan whispers in your ear that your forgiven sins will hinder you from future successes. Don't listen.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who travels the country sharing her personal story of homelessness, abuse, and teen pregnancy. She is founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom, and has appeared on countless radio and television programs. For more information, visit http://www.jennifermaggio.com.
- 2015Aug 18
How can we, as loving, compassionate, members of the global body of Christ, reach out and show love to single parents? Maybe the single parents in your life seem like they have it all together. There are some amazingly, strong single parents today, and many are achieving success parentally and emotionally, while finding great freedom in their walk with the Lord. But even those strong, amazing single parents, could use an occasional helping hand.
Here are a few practical ways to brighten a single parent's day:
- Babysit for free and do it often. Single mothers often work many hours per week and do not want to ask for help. They may even work a second or third job, or be attending a local college, too. Babysitting can be expensive. Encourage single mothers in your life to take the night off. They need it.
- Offer to grocery shop for them. Shopping is a simple task, but shop alone with three children hanging from the buggy and you'll see the challenge many single parents face weekly.
- Give her some girl time. Sometimes the best way to serve a single mom is to invite her for coffee for some adult conversation.
- Start a single parent support group in your church. What a way to be the body of Christ! Start a Bible study or Sunday School Class just for single parents. Give them a place to feel comfortable and welcomed inside your church walls.
Other Ways to Serve Single Parents:
- Wash & fold clothes.
- Offer a word of encouragement.
- Buy them a free car wash & oil change.
- Create a homemade inspirational book of Scriptures.
- Rent a movie & provide popcorn for a movie night.
- Yard work.
- Perform carpentry, home repairs, and odd & end jobs.
- Provide gas money or groceries.
- Save your travel-sized toiletries from hotel rooms and donate them.
- Clean house.
- Cook a meal, or even help plan meals for the week.
- Buy her lunch.
- Write a handwritten, personal note.
- Start a run/walk group where single moms can bring their kids for exercise & girl-time.
- Give a single mom a rose.
- Bring cookies & baked goods.
- Bring a gift basket full of goodies.
- Offer cleaning supplies. (They are expensive!)
- Offer a day of window shopping, coffee, and a ride through town.
- Visit them!
- Offer tutoring service for her children.
- Cut her grass.
- Pray for her.
- Play dress up with makeup, hair, & clothes.
Author/speaker, Jennifer Maggio, is one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents and women’s issues. She is an award-winning author and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She currently oversees one of the nation’s largest single moms support groups and has helped to launch more than 1500 others in churches around the globe. She is a regular on radio and television. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.
- 2015Aug 04
1. Have fun with your kids. Get crazy. Relax. Giggle. Dance. Sing karaoke. Enjoy time together. If you are such a rigid, unyielding, disciplinarian, your kids probably hate to see you coming! Enjoy your kiddos.
2. Mean what you say. Don't be fickle. Kids crave stability. Give it to them. If they know you can be easily manipulated into changing your mind, they will definitely pursue it!
3. Have expectations for your children. Even toddlers can put away toys. Teens can clean their room, vacuum, take out trash, etc. Chores are only part of your expectations. Line out what you expect from them in their academics. Push them to achieve their very best -- whatever that may be. Challenge them. Stretch them.
4. Hug them. This is such an easy one, when we have precious toddlers. They are cute and cuddly. But what about when our toddlers turn into sassy-mouthed teens? How often do we hug them? How often do we tell them that we love them, that we're proud of them? Your kids need no less "atta boys" when they become pre-teens and teens. They need words of affirmation.
5. Write them letters. Whether you choose to give them to your kids now or simply store them for later in life, document their growing pains, accomplishments, and your thoughts. My kids have thoroughly enjoyed going back and reading some of my thoughts of their early years. It tells them you care enough to take the time to do it. Sometimes, it is just easier to write those special thoughts on paper.