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Jennifer Maggio Christian Blog and Commentary

Jennifer Maggio

Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and serves more than 1,500 churches and 71,000 single mothers annually.  She is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She also hosts the podcast Single Mom 101, which you can find at LifeAudio.com. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com or check out her Facebook and Instagram pages.

Mother’s Day. A beautiful concept. A day of honoring mothers, grandmothers, aunts, mother-figures, mother-in-laws, and mentors who have shaped mothering in your own life. A day to honor those who have gone before you. A day to recognize the gift of motherhood.  I’m so thankful to the the one who started Mother’s Day – whoever you are.  Thank you for recognizing the significance and importance of motherhood. Thank you for recognizing that we, as mothers, should have a day to be honored.

But Mother’s Day is not without its challenges, so today I write to the mother who is hurting.  I write to the mother who finds Mother’s Day to be a pretty hard day, to the mother who has had some good Mother’s Days, but today, for whatever reason, you are finding it hard to trudge through.

Mother’s Day isn’t always boxes of chocolates, balloons, roses, and spa gift certificates.  It isn’t always welcomed with the fanfare that the commercials portray.  There are mothers who grieve the loss of babies and yearn for ones they may never carry.  There are mothers who grieve the complicated relationship they have with a wayward young adult child or teen.  There are mothers who grieve the loss of their own mothers or the mothers they never had.  There are mothers who didn’t wake up to breakfast in bed, because they are parenting alone and there was no one to spearhead such an effort.  There are mothers grieving the loss of a marriage and the husband who once facilitated a special day from the kids.

Today, to the hurting mom, I sit with you in your pain.  Sure, I’ve had many fantastic Mother’s Days, but I’ve also had many that weren’t.  There were Mother’s Days when I was greeted with breakfast in bed and some when I was greeted with two siblings fighting over who’s turn it was to wash dishes.  There were days when I was greeted with handmade cards and sweet hugs and days when Mother’s Day was all but forgotten.  And today mom, I want to acknowledge for you, if you are hurting, that others have gone before you and been there, too. And even in the hard Mother’s Days, when I didn’t feel as joyous or celebrated, as I might have hoped, I learned some things I wanted to share with you today.

  1. God is always working.  He is working in the details of our lives, even when we see no evidence around us. He is working when we are hurting and sad and overwhelmed and bitter. He is working a perfect plan, when difficulties have loomed and the road has been harder than it should have been. He is weaving a story, that only He can.  He is always orchestrating beauty for ashes with seeds planted just beneath the surface of a grieving hurt – that will one day sprout and grow.
  2. There is always purpose in the pain.  The pain of loss of a loved one or hope of what could one day be has purpose. The pain of complicated relationships with children or the loss of a marriage that hurt so deep has purpose.  God is the ultimate restorer. He will restore all the locusts once ate. He will give beauty for ashes. He will use your darkest days as hope for another. He will give the pain of your yesteryear a purpose that will bless you, your children, and theirs.  There will be a time – many times – when you will be able to say to others, “Come and see. The Lord is surely good.”  There will be holidays, maybe even more Mother’s Days when you grieve alone.  But there is one day coming a time when you will laugh and dance on that very holiday….and there will be something far more special about that laughter, because you have experienced the painful days.
  3. There is always joy in the morning.  To everything there is a season… (Ecclesiastes 3:1). There is definitely the mourning season, when tears abound. But there is likewise joy in the morning. There is hope in the morning. There is peace in the morning. There is restoration in the morning. There is renewed perspective in the morning. There is refreshing in the morning.  Hold on, momma, for joy is surely on its way.

     

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  4. I have a choice in my response.  Sure, there have been Mother’s Days (and Christmases and Thanksgivings and more) that were hard.  There were days, when I was dealt the raw end of the deal. There were days, when it didn’t quite seem fair.  But I, like you, had a choice.  It’s the same choice I have every moment of every day of every season. It’s the choice the stay in the disappointment and pain, or the choice to choose gratitude for what I do have.  Yes, there are many who grieve today and Mom, make no mistake, I hurt with you and for you. Your journey may not have been fair.  You may have gotten the lion’s share of hardships and difficulties.  But our God is good and He does good. Our God is a provider who will see us through. Our God has held our hand, when we couldn’t even see Him there. Our God continues to show up and part Red Seas for us, when we don’t even give Him credit. We can choose to rejoice today, even if our pain.

Today, despite your pain, your loss, your hardship, and your grief, God is working things out on your behalf. He is providing breath and plans for your future. He is restoring good health and financial provision. He is making crooked paths straight and setting feet on solid ground. He is calling back our sons & daughters from the furthest corners of the earth, restoring families, opening wombs, and giving beautiful stories from hard places.

 

Jennifer Maggio 2020 Headshot

Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker, whose personal journey through homelessness, abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies is leaving audiences around the globe riveted. At 19, Maggio was pregnant for the fourth time, living in government housing on food stamps and welfare. She shares with great openness her pain, mistakes, and journey to find hope in Christ. She ultimately became an 11-time Circle of Excellence winner in Corporate America. While a vocal advocate for abstinence, and sustaining today’s marriages,  Maggio recognizes that single parenthood exists and is passionate about seeing these parents thrive. She left her corporate successes behind to launch a global initiative to see single moms living a life of total freedom from financial failures, parenting woes, and emotional issues.  Her passion is contagious and her story has been used to inspire thousands around the globe. For more info, visit her website at jennifermaggio.com.

Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and serves more than 1,500 churches and 71,000 single mothers annually.  She is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She also hosts the podcast Single Mom 101, which you can find at LifeAudio.com. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com or check out her Facebook and Instagram pages.


“As I sit here in a room filled with hundreds of other Believers, I couldn’t feel more alone. I feel invisible in a sea of faces. Somehow, I feel very unseen. How did I get here? What did I do to deserve this level of loneliness? How will I ever move forward? My life isn’t going as I planned, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back.” These words were penned by a friend of mine several years ago. She had written that note to herself while sitting in a church filled with almost a thousand other people. It was during worship service, and that sometimes awkward part of the service where the pastor encourages everyone to meet and greet their neighbors had just transpired. She looked around the room, and seemingly everyone else knew someone but her. Having just given birth to her second child, she found herself unexpectedly a single mom, and the loneliness associated with that journey filled her with tears as she shared that letter.

Fortunately, she was able to find a small Bible study sometime after that, and the friendships she made there have lasted more than a decade now. Loneliness is not a condition that only affects the single mom or even a single person. It impacts us all. Sometimes, we can be sitting in a room filled with others, just like my friend so many years ago, and feel completely and utterly alone. It is in the time of loneliness that God can grow us in ways that we could have never imagined. Consider the following:

1. Our intimacy with the Lord can increase during our times of loneliness.

Think about the times in your life that you have been busiest, possibly during high school or college or a work deadline. It is likely you were surrounded by groups of people. It is during our busy season, maybe when there are lots of friends – or at least warm bodies – around, that we often think we just do not have time to have devotionals. Sadly, we can all get “too busy” focusing on other things and forget to focus on the main thing – a relationship with the Lord.  It has been during my times of loneliness that I have learned to greatly lean on the Lord for everything. I have learned that Jesus truly is my best friend – not simply some cliché terminology that Christians like to use. Those times of intimacy were intensified during my times of loneliness. The same can be true for you.

2. We learn more in the valleys.

First, let us acknowledge that there are things to be learned both on the mountaintops and in the valleys. Let’s face it, there are just certain things that we seem to learn better on our worst days. When a child is small and repeatedly reminded not to touch the hot stove, it is not quite as effective as when they do actually touch the stove and suffer the consequences!  There have been relationships I have entered into with friends who were not leading me down a godly path or a boyfriend that was doing likewise that I should have never been with in the first place. I knew better, but I did it anyway. The loneliness and heartbreak that followed were unlike any other. I learned some things in that valley of loneliness that have been useful to me many years later.  Of course, I am not suggesting that your loneliness is a result of something you have done wrong, as was my case.  I am simply highlighting that the depths of loneliness can fill us with an increased appreciation for relationships once that season is over. Mountaintops can teach us humility. But valleys teach us perseverance, dependence on God, and endurance.  The meaning and love of true friends, there is something to be learned in the valley.

3. Loneliness can be a time to work on ourselves.

If I were to get a pen and paper out this very moment and list the things that could be worked on, the list would be pretty long. There is the physical, such as a few more sit-ups and push-ups—my role as an employer and the many failings and shortcomings I exhibit there. Then, there are my roles as wife, mom, and friend.  And finally, my spiritual journey. The fact that I am often too quick to anger and talk way too much – sticking my foot in my mouth more often than not.  That’s my 30-second list right there. Trust me, there are many more! The same is likely true for you.  Loneliness can be an honest time of self-evaluation. What are the things that you can work on in your own life right now? Could you improve your exercise routine or eating habits? Might this be a good time to take a financial education class or invest in a hobby you enjoy?

Times of loneliness can be times of self-exploration and improvement. Maybe there was a time in your life in an old dating relationship that you made an idol out of man. Perhaps you put more value on the relationship with a person than you did on your relationship with God. This season could be the perfect time to evaluate those behaviors to ensure that you can prevent them in the future. Perhaps this time of loneliness is a time of pursuing and discovering God’s purpose for your life. God has given us all unique talents, skills, and gifts to be used to improve the lives of those around us. What are yours? How can you use them for the glory of God? What are the things in your life that you could give back to others, and how would that, ultimately, improve your own life and sense of being.

4. Being lonely can often promote a powerful quiet time.

Okay, so I admit it. There have certainly been times in my own life when my prayer time with the Lord has been habitual and mundane, and other times when it seemed the power of God was raining down from Heaven on me like fire. The difference is my expectation and willingness to see and hear from God. The times when I have been most desperate for Him – the times when wailing and crying and screaming for a breakthrough were most prevalent – are the times when I have most assuredly seen Him. Your time of loneliness may be an intentional stripping away of all things by the Lord so that you can grow in your walk with Him.

By no means do I minimize the pain or heaviness that can be associated with loneliness. Not at all. Nor do I even insinuate that a lonely season is not a hard season. It surely is. I think about Jesus out in the wilderness being tested by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). I think about how hard that season was for Him – how lonely He must have felt. Yet, even in that loneliness, He never lost sight of His purpose for being on earth and what He had been called to. The same can be true for you.

Being alone is not a punishment. Actually, sometimes it is necessary. As Christians, we often say God created us for relationship. I believe that to be true. There is great power in the gathering of believers. However, the first relationship has to be our one with the Lord.

This season of loneliness you are battling right now is merely a season. It will pass. While you are in it, choose to see the growth opportunities. Circumstances can sometimes create isolation or unavoidable loneliness, but what if we began to view our times of loneliness as opportunities for growth?

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Marjan_Apostolovic 

Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and currently serves more than 1,500 churches.

The Life of a Single Mom has served 406,000 single mothers over the last decade and counting.  Maggio is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.

Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and serves more than 1,500 churches and 71,000 single mothers annually.  She is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She also hosts the podcast Single Mom 101, which you can find at LifeAudio.com. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com or check out her Facebook and Instagram pages.

The battles we have faced are many. We battle through the ugliness of death, lost relationships, addiction, financial ruin, parenting challenges, and wayward prodigals. Sometimes, we face seemingly insurmountable obstacles that threaten to suffocate the life from us at any moment. The weights are heavy, and if we are not careful, we begin to feel hopeless. The hopelessness can creep in with ease, at first, that feels uncomfortable, but sadly, it becomes all-too-familiar, as we drown in the sorrow of one more disappointment, worried we may lose it if one more thing happens.

I am writing to all the exhausted, hopeless, and ready-to-throw-in-the-towel out there. I do not know your no-hope moment. I have no idea how long it took you to get here, how many “no’s” you had to hear, battles you had to fight, or the wounds and scars that you hide. I cannot begin to imagine what pushed you to the brink of hopelessness that you would decide to allow it to reside within you because you have decided it is just too hard to keep fighting. But, there is one thing I do know. That is, I am well acquainted with the God of hope, and that God of hope has sent me to tell you that it is time for your faith to arise. We must stop living like those with no hope. We need a battle plan that will adequately fill us with faith and hope when those no-hope moments arise. We need an encounter with the God of all hope. 

I Know What it Is to Be Hopeless

When I was sexually assaulted for many years, there seemed to be no hope for rescue.

When I had two kids outside of marriage as a young single mom, there seemed to be no hope for a loving husband in my future.

When my son was an angry teenager who was kicking holes in the walls and cussing me out, despite traveling the country teaching and writing parenting books, there certainly seemed to be no hope for godliness in his life.

When my credit cards were maxed out, and there was no money in the checking account, and I was living in the projects, there seemed to be no hope for provision.

When a flood came and took everything that I ever owned in a matter of minutes, ravaging my clothing, home, and children’s baby items, and all that I held dear...there seemed to be no hope of restoration...

When the weight of my hundreds and hundreds of sins were too heavy to bear, there seemed to be no hope for redemption...

I do not know what your "no hope" moment looks like today, but my deepest prayer is that your hope would be restored and that the God of all hope would fill you to OVERFLOWING.

1 Peter 5:10 says, "So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation." This is new hope for those who have been suffering for a while. Your little while may seem like a long while right now, but....he will restore and strengthen you. Today is the day for renewed hope and rising faith in this place. It's time to call things as if they were, not as they are.

What are the things that we have lost hope in? Where have we grown weary? Here are just a few:

Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Ahmed Hasan

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1. Finances

Finances are hard! No doubt. When it seems like there is more month than money, creditors are mounting, and the car breaks down, it’s hard. It’s frustrating, and you may be in a season right now where it looks bad. A job may be hard to attain today. Money is tight. Meals are being skipped. Things really are not looking good. But check out what Deuteronomy 28:1-6 says:

"If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God: Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed.  Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed."  

Make no mistake. God's Word says He will supply all our needs. When we seek God's Kingdom first, all things will be added. Seek His will for your life. Honor Him with your first fruits through the tithe.  Live holy and pure lives. Live unapologetically unoffended by the battles that you continually face. Serve His people and His church.  He will provide. Sometimes His provision will look like a friend inviting you over for a meal or offering you a couch to sleep on when you just lost your home. Sometimes His provision looks different than what we hoped or imagined, but make no mistake about it, it's provision nonetheless. There are lessons in the providing.  

Learn to be faithful with the fishes and loaves in your hand.  Tithe on the $10, so you can be free to tithe on the $10,000.  Give the widow's mite freely.  Now, let me be clear, I am not suggesting that God is your magic genie that you rub and make demands on once you throw your $10 bill in the offering plate.  What I am saying is your God will rain manna from Heaven in unexpected ways.  He will meet your needs.

2. Future

Sometimes, because of the weights we have carried and the disappointments that we have experienced, we can lose hope in our futures. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray I will listen."  You do not have to figure it all out.  Many of you have worried yourselves literally sick. God is not sitting in Heaven scratching His head, debating on His plans for your life. He says, “I know the plans.” He is not trying to figure out the plans! He already has it figured out! The question is, have you asked Him what His plan for your life is?  

Philippians 4:6-7 needs to be an anthem for which we live our lives when we are losing hope.  "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for what he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ."  

Peace is the fertile soil on which your faith can grow.  Chaos breeds roots of bitterness, offense, and confusion. But the peace of God will plant you firmly in soil that will allow you to grow like a great oak, unwavering in your faith, despite the storms of life.

3. Families

This one is especially for you ladies.  No, let’s just be real about reality now, women; we are makers who help keep the world going around. We are the hands that rock the cradle. We are the chauffeurs, counselors, and dishwashers extraordinaire. We are the kissers of all boo-boos.  And we are exhausted from trying to fix everything and everyone around us.  When we offer help to a sister, a child, a parent— when they refuse to take it— we get angry and frustrated. When a family member messes up again, we get disappointed. We become exhausted trying to be everything for our families.  We are spending so much time trying to fix people.  But let me give you some freedom....we are not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the “fixer.”  We lose hope when we are in charge of the fixing, but truthfully, we cannot fix anything.  It is only in our weakness that God is made strong. If we fix every part of our children's lives, how do they learn to lean on a good God?  

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:30 that “His yoke is easy and burden is light.”  Why do we keep trying to carry the load?  We can't.  

Psalm 27:13 says, “I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  This is the God of all hope that we know!

Some of you just need to be reminded today that your God is a mountain-moving Savior.  He is a way-maker, a hope-giver. He is an earth-shaking, enemy-scattering God.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He says He puts the lonely in families. He makes a river in a dry wasteland. He upholds you with His victorious right hand. He has created you to be the head and not the tail, a city on a hill, a light in a dark world.  He did not create you to clamor in a corner like someone with no hope. It is time for the people of God to let hope arise, to let their faith arise, to begin to pray like you believe He can do it.

Your God is not fretting about your singleness, your credit card, or your health. He is resting comfortably on the throne, making a way where there seems to be none.  

To those of you who read this, who have lost all hope, God has sent me to tell you it is not over. Calvary is on the way. Those in Christ stand with you.  Just like an exhausted Moses who had no more left to give, we stand with you today, like Aaron, ready to hold up your weary arms, that you may be victorious in the battle. 

Be reminded that the God of all hope promises you a deep, spiritual rest. Rest in knowing that He has you in the palm of His hand, working things out for your good, even when you don’t know how, when, or why. He is always good.

Hebrews 4:9-11 "So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest."

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Hassan Saleh

Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and currently serves more than 1,500 churches.

The Life of a Single Mom has served 406,000 single mothers over the last decade and counting.  Maggio is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.

 

Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and serves more than 1,500 churches and 71,000 single mothers annually.  She is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She also hosts the podcast Single Mom 101, which you can find at LifeAudio.com. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com or check out her Facebook and Instagram pages.

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