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Jennifer Maggio Christian Blog and Commentary

Jennifer Maggio

 

Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.

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 you 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 our strength, our comfort, and our peace. It is where our joy is found. 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 and make it a game night, helping others who may be battling loneliness?

Be certain to stay connected to a local church. I am a huge proponent of this one! If single parents can stay connected in a local church, they are better equipped to battle loneliness. Support groups and Sunday School classes help us to get 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 a 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 will go, if we aren’t careful. If Satan can steal our joy, kill our hope, and destroy our plans for the future, he’s one. We are no longer a threat to him. We are no longer focused on what we can do in the Kingdom of God, but rather what we can’t do.

Single moms, you are not alone. There are support groups blossoming all over the country to see that you are encouraged and equipped in the body of Christ. I leave you with one of my all-time favorite Scriptures:

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Is. 43:2 NLT

Jennifer Maggio is the founder and CEO of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a nonprofit that has planted more than 1,500 single parent support groups in churches globally. Maggio’s story of homelessness, severe abuse, and years of parenting alone has been featured in The New York Times, The 700 Club, Power Women and others. She is author to several books and has a passion to encourage single mothers and hurting women. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com

 

                What a joke! Refresh?! Relax?! It’s almost an insult for this type A, take-charge, got-a-million-things-to-do girl! I mean, doesn’t resting, relaxing, and refreshing, mean that you aren’t getting anything done?! I start to get anxiety just thinking about resting. Let me be honest. I LOVE the idea of rest. I love the word refresh. I immediately think “spa day”. But the truth is, for me, I often struggle to allow myself the luxury of rest.  Maybe there are a few of you busy moms that are out there, just like me, wondering how you can possibly take the time to refresh yourselves, when you already have too much to do each day.

                Here’s the deal. You cannot afford not to take care of yourself. And yes, I know you have heard it before. But many of us, don’t do it the way we are supposed to. For me, I have to have achieved a checklist of things to allow myself to rest. Did I help the kids with homework? Is dinner cooked? Are my clothes ironed for tomorrow? Did I plan for that business meeting for next week? Did I cut the grass? My mind goes 90 to nothing – All. The. Time. So this article is as much for me as it is for you.

                One of my favorite Scriptures is:

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. Heb. 4:1

Later in the chapter, tt goes on to say:

So let us do our very best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.” Heb. 4:11

                There have been so many times in my life that the busyness of life has overtaken me. And when that happens, my attitude stinks. I’m rude to my kids, my co-workers, and my friends. I am tired, overwhelmed, and exhausted. But when I do my VERY best, to enter His rest, things shift. All of a sudden, I’m getting things done without even thinking about it. I’m moving through my to-do list with ease. So what’s the difference?

                The difference is that I’ve intentionally taken the time to my with my Savior, in communion with Him. I purposefully set aside time to read the Word, journal my thoughts or prayers, pray throughout the day. And do you know what happens – every, single, time? My day is longer. Not literally, but spiritually. There is somehow, through no other explanation but the Holy Spirit, more time in my day to get done what needs to get done. Ladies, let your prayer time be your purposeful, positioned, time to hear from the Savior and to allow him to ease the load. Please.  Read this with fresh eyes. Because I believe there is breakthrough in simply implementing this into your life.

View your daily devotion, not as a to-do list checked off, but as an encounter with the King. 

Jennifer Maggio is a national author and speaker, mom to three, wife of Jeff, and CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is chauffeur, chief dishwasher, carpool queen, and duct tape aficionado. But more importantly, she is passionate about teaching women how to find complete freedom in Christ. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com

                Do you ever feel like you never get any thanks for what you do? Do you feel like you are juggling 18 different balls and you are doing your very best to keep them afloat, but fear that if just one thing – just one- goes wrong, all the balls are going to tumble down around you? If you are a mom, then the answer is yes. And if you are a mom AND lead in ministry in some capacity, the answer is double yes!

First, thank you. Thank you to all of you for answering the call of God on your life to minister to those around you -- whether it be babies or sisters or single moms or special needs or someone else. I know it isn’t easy to minister. I know there are days, when you just want to give up or throw in the towel. There are many days, when you likely feel that you don’t know what you are doing, wonder if you are doing it right, and feel like quitting. That is EXACTLY how Satan wants you to feel. 

When I first stepped out to minister to single moms, I was so insecure and afraid that I could barely move. I felt that I didn’t know enough of the Bible. I feared they would ask me a question that I wasn’t sure about. Or that they may even judge me for my past! And I was supposed to be LEADING! It was awful. And I also didn’t feel like I had many people to talk to about those feelings, since I didn’t know anyone else who was doing single mom’s ministry.

That’s why it's important for the encouragers in our body of Christ, our churches, to receive encouragement. The work you are doing is important. It is changing lives every single day. There are those in your life who may not commit suicide because you do what you do! There are some who make new friends because of your faithfulness.  There will be some who will come to know the Lord more deeply, because you have carried the burden for them for years. Don't give up! The list goes on and on and on of the impact you are making in other's lives. And you may not truly ever know how much impact, this side of heaven!

And even if you only impact one life for the next 10 years --- how valuable is a life?! To that one person, it saved them. It set them free. It gave them the ability to see God through your hands, your feet, your mouth. So be encouraged today that even if you never get a thank you, even if you never hear the end of the story, you are planting seeds and impacting lives.

Be aware that Satan’s ploy is to kill, steal, and destroy. It means he wants to kill your confidence, steal your joy, and destroy your desire to lead others in ministry. Always be aware. You may have a bitter mom who becomes critical of you. Maybe you have a pastor or accountability partner who says something a little too harsh to you and you take it the wrong way and become defensive. You may get frustrated, because volunteers who said they would help don’t show up. All of those things are tactics used by the enemy to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants you discouraged, so that you quit. Why? So that single moms walk alone, so that their children become a statistic, so that you become helpless.

But greater is He that is in us, than he that is in this world! Praise God! When it gets hard…and it WILL get hard…know that Jesus is near. Know that you are enduring for a reason. Know that a mom needs you to be strong, so that she can be strong. You may never know how you’ve changed a life, but it doesn’t matter. Just do it anyway. Because one day, all will be revealed, and someone will surely thank you later!

Jennifer Maggio is a national author and speaker, mom to three, wife of Jeff, and CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is chauffeur, chief dishwasher, carpool queen, and duct tape aficionado. But more importantly, she is passionate about teaching women how to find complete freedom in Christ. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com