Tag Archives: Single Mom

Please HELP!?

One of my dear friends is going through a “rough patch” in her life and sent me a text asking for urgent prayer. The basic content of her situation is that she just returned from a trip to find a message that her job had ended abruptly. On top of that, her savings are depleted, her 401k has run out and her daughter’s braces are only half way through the process and the payments will be due soon.

With this sudden loss of income it’s only a matter of time before they lose their apartment. She has plans in place if they lose their home, but they are FAR from ideal. Her son (a junior in high school) would have to stay with his aunt near the school and my friend and her daughter would have to move an hour away to stay with a friend, until she’s able to get “on her feet” financially, which means their family would be separated and her daughter would have to go to an unfamiliar school in another district.

After I got the text and asked more questions to clarify the situation, I immediately told my husband about it and started preaching a sermon right in our kitchen saying, “We as Christians are to take care of our own, we’re called to take care of the poor, the widows and the orphans. We are so stingy with our money and possessions and we need to knock it off. I’m so sick of people not helping those that really need help or saying, I’ll pray for you as a cop-out verses helping them in a practical way. We should just pay for her rent…all of it. I wish I had a stage right now to tell people that this is our duty…to take care of people who really need it. I want to spur people on towards good works. We need to be DOERS of the word not just HEARERS.”

His gentle response surprised me, “You do have a stage.”

Puzzled and a little flustered I responded, “What do you mean?”

He said, “Your website and Facebook. Tell her story and ask them for help.”

So here I am on my virtual stage asking for your help…

I took what my husband said and went to work on it right away, by putting the call out for help late Friday night…I posted a prayer request and a plea for financial help on Facebook and now I’m writing a blog to reach more people. I went to bed thinking about it  and woke up doing the same.
“What can I do? Who do I know that could help her? Lord, please, please help her through Your people.”

So far, only two women have stepped up to help out financially and one is a single mom and the other used to be. I don’t mean to condemn you, but I do mean to shake you up a bit and even upset you to the point that you will choose to help people when they need it. You never know, it may be you that needs the help someday and I could be posting a plea on your behalf.

This is my friend’s greatest fear coming true…losing her home and being separated from her kids. Now I know that there are those that “work the system” but this is not one of them. I run across these situations all the time and I’m pretty discerning about a person’s authenticity. This woman is a classy go-getter who is going through a difficult time in her life and just needs some help to stay afloat. She’s a respectable woman, who doesn’t use drugs or even date. She’s a hard worker, a dedicated mom and an awesome friend to those who get the privilege. She is down to nothing and needs a little time to get a new job, so she is able to support her family again.

Their rent is due on September 1st and is $1, 350. Will you help this family?

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” Proverbs 3:27-28.

To help them out financially:
Please write a check to “Purely His, Inc.” and mail it:
PO Box 656, Medford OR 97501

These are the types of things we do with donations…meeting practical needs is a part of mentoring sometimes. All donations are tax deductible.

Single Mom Situation

Being raised by a single mom was hard, being a single mom myself was even harder. I just kept thinking “Get it together Michelle. Women do this all the time.” I had to bring home the bacon AND fry it up. I was the nurturer AND the disciplinary. I used to think “It’s so nice to not compromise with a man on how I raise my boys” but that also left ALL the decisions up to me and that wasn’t nice.

My boys went without material things and opportunities that they really wanted, because I couldn’t afford them. More was required from my children, especially my oldest who became the man of the house at a very young age. That’s a lot of pressure for a kid, but that’s the way it had to be. I depended on him to help me with his brother and do the “man chores.” I always knew that I wasn’t just raising little boys, but men. I just wish they didn’t have to grow up so fast, but that’s the way it is when you’re surviving through life together.

When we went to church, I felt out of place as a single mom, like an outcast or marked woman. I felt like people looked at me and thought “Well you made your bed, now lie in it.” I felt like married women pulled their husbands closer when I was around and I wasn’t invited to the small get-togethers, however I probably would have been too uncomfortable to attend anyways. It made me feel like I needed to get married, before I would fit in with the whole “God thing.” Now I realize that those are a lot of assumptions, but they were my truths at the time.

Sometimes married women would say “I don”t know how you raise your kids on your own. I have a tough enough time and I have the help of a husband.” Well, if raising kids with a husband is hard too, then raising kids alone is brutal. When questions or comments came up like that, it dawned on me that even though we live in a society where being a single mom is common, it wasn’t God’s design for families. The reason it was so hard for me was because it was never His intention for my life or anyone else’s.

The Lord loves single moms and we as the church should too. I want to challenge you to look up the words “widow, orphan or fatherless” in the Bible and see how many times He mentions them. Just to clarify, when the word “widow” is used in the Bible it is not just referring to an old women who’s husband died, it speaks of single moms and how they are greatly loved by God. In fact, the Bible even says that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” James 1:27. Now, does that sound like a God who looks down on single moms?

No matter what the circumstances were that led to your single mom situation, please know that the Lord is there to be a Father to your children and a Husband to you. I know that sounds really weird if you’ve never heard it, but it’s true. He is The Great I AM. He can provide protection, guidance, finances and comfort. He can be the head of your household, if you will allow Him to take that place and all it takes is a decision to surrender everything to Him and then to walk out that decision with Him. He knows that you’re having a hard time and He wants to help you through it all. Won’t you let Him today?

Sharon’s Story Part 2

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Continued from Monday…

Of course, some choices were made with careful thought, and a tremendous weight of uncertainty about what the right decision would be. But that care and concern came WAY too late. Years into the marriage I agonized over whether I should stay with this man, knowing he was an alcoholic and verbally abusive to my girl, but not wanting to have another failed marriage and raise another child without her daddy. I had discovered a real relationship with God a few years before this day, prayed that He would change my husband and asked for whatever it took to make him realize his need for God. I had no idea it would take the devastation of ugly truth for him to understand his desperate need for a savior.

The awful day that truth was revealed, our life – our whole family’s life – came crashing down around us and I saw clearly just how widespread the devastation was. And there was absolutely nothing I could do to fix what my choices had a part in destroying.

That’s where I was on May 9, 2011. I was no longer that youthful 23 year old wearing rose-colored glasses, believing life would work itself out just fine. Instead I was 45 years old, once again a single mom living in an apartment, now afraid to make ANY decision, knowing how dangerous wrong choices could be. On that day I believed I was not going to be able to keep my daughter from killing herself – eventually she would succeed. I was so overwhelmingly exhausted, afraid, and hopeless. The promise in that pill bottle called to me. I tried to think about my daughters and my granddaughters with hope for the future, but the despair blocked my thoughts of them. I tried to remember God’s promises that had carried me through the past year, but I just couldn’t feel His presence. I kept telling myself that even though I didn’t FEEL those truths, I needed to remember to ACCEPT them anyway…but the feelings were winning. That night I opened the bottle and began swallowing the pills.

This is where you can be, if you think you’re the only one who will pay the consequences for your choices.   It can lead you to a point of desperate awareness of all the hurt you’ve caused and your inability to go back and fix it. When you make decisions, be certain that you’re okay with taking everyone you love on that path. You can be assured they will be forced to walk it with you! If you chose wrong you’ll be left with regrets, lots of regrets, and destruction all around you. Whether you chose a pill bottle, alcohol, sex, food…whatever method of forgetfulness you choose, the consequences will still have caused destruction.

Let this part of my story be the warning sign that catches your attention. If you’re the woman making a decision you know in your heart will be harmful to someone, hear my warning and STOP! If you’re the woman who was hurt by someone like me, please know that my heart hurts for the destruction that’s happened in your life. My prayers are with you both, and my desire is to help women understand how terribly destructive our actions can be when we make decisions with such casual disregard for others.

Yes, God rescued me from myself that night but the consequences I had wanted to escape were still there and we still had to walk through some incredibly difficult days. However, over time I’ve experienced His redemption of my broken life. My life now, is hugely different and I don’t take any of these blessings for granted. My precious daughters are alive and well and just six months ago, they BOTH walked me down the aisle and gave me their blessing as I started life with an amazing man that God chose just for me! Our God can and DOES restore broken lives, even if you’re responsible for the brokenness. I don’t deserve what He’s given me, and I will be forever grateful for the mercy and grace He’s given to me so freely! Let this part of my story bring you hope that all can be forgiven and even used for His honor and glory. This is why I have decided to take part in the ministry of Purely His where I am blessed to walk alongside women who are also desiring to make healthy choices. Writing this blog was a big step for me…this is what it looks like to truly “Drop your mask and keep it real.”

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie Thorne FamThis blog was written by one of Purely His Mentors-Stephanie Thorne.

In December 2007, I discovered that I was pregnant. After my initial reaction of panic wore off, shame set in. I feared being labeled a “slut,” because I was recently divorced and it was not my ex-husband’s child. I disappointed my family, friends and myself. There I was, a Christian in my darkest hour…I turned from God to do my own thing and I ended up getting pregnant out of wedlock. I chose to keep my daughter, even though the biological father didn’t like that idea, because he wanted me to abort her. I left him when I was three months pregnant, because he physically abused me in hopes of terminating the pregnancy.

I needed help, so I decided to have coffee with an upstanding Christian woman who had been my mentor for a couple of years and I had believed that she cared about me. I poured out my trouble and how terrified I was of the man I had invited into my life. She callously told me that I reaping what I had sown, because sin has consequences. She basically told me that I needed to “suck it up.”

REALLY!? I already knew that…I already felt convicted and even believed that God had turned His back on me. I didn’t need anyone to point out that I screwed up…that was pretty obvious. Her comments and icy demeanor convinced me that I was right. I needed someone to SPEAK LOVE, not condemn me. I didn’t come back to the church for quite some time after that meeting.

In a month and a half at the ripe old age of 22, I had become a divorcee, an alcoholic slut and an unwed mother with a bastard child. I felt like I lost everything…including my faith and even my own family turned on me. I felt unlovable because I acted out of the hurt in my life and made poor choices. The way that others treated me at that time, made me believe that I had failed at life. This is why people who “get it” need to teach others how to effectively mentor, so we can stop hurting others. What does that look like? I’m so glad you asked, let me share with you.

We need to be intentional, by speaking LOVE AND TRUTH over these Girls and their children. Walk up and talk to her, ask about her week and wait for the answer. If you’re not sincere, she’ll know it and you just wasted your words. Make sure that you tell her that God loves her and her child, no matter how the baby was conceived. She needs to know what God really thinks of her and her child. SHOW LOVE to them. STEP UP and be a friend by offering to babysit, maybe become an auntie or uncle to her child. WALK BESIDE them and make sure they know that they’re not alone. INVEST time in her and her child and be stubborn about it, because she will likely try and push you away, because she feels rejected and abandoned, so to protect herself she will want to reject you first. Don’t let her, aggressively pursue her on behalf of our Lord.

I know that this message may be offensive to some of you, but I’m okay with that…because I love you enough to offend you in hopes to be like Jesus and get down on my knee and write in the sand on behalf of these Girls. This is part of the reason that I am so excited to be a part of Purely His, because I can be part of a movement to reach young moms who are heavy on my heart. I am learning how to effectively mentor alongside a group of awesomely diverse women who “get it.” With the Lord’s help and our commitment to helping each other, we’re ready change the world one Girl at a time!

Jesus doesn’t want us to just help a pregnant Girl choose life for her unborn child and not abort. He wants us to help her choose LIFE for her CHILD and HERSELF. He wants us to bring her back into the fold, His fold. Let’s make sure that my story stops repeating itself within our churches, by teaching mentors how to speak to the Girls who have lost their way and draw them back to our Lord, The Father, Healer and Great Redeemer. They may not have anywhere else to turn-they should be able to turn to us.

 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11 (NLT)

Lead the Way

Our kids are watching our every move curiously wondering, if we believe what we say. My mom used to tell me “Do as I say-not as I do.” We can all look at that statement and think “That’s ridiculous,” but haven’t we all been guilty of the same statement? Oh maybe we didn’t say it outright like she did, but we’ve told our kids “My faith is in the Lord. He is our provider and we should trust Him in everything.” However, our actions don’t match our words, even our eyes appear worried and void of any peace. They can tell, if we believe what we say or not, just like we could with our parents. We aren’t fooling anybody, especially them. Our kids are not looking for coined phrases and the scriptures to back them up, on the contrary, they want us walk out our beliefs, not just talk about them. We all know “Actions speak louder than words.”

One of my “little” Girls who’s 13, recently came down with her mom and several siblings to stay the weekend with us. I “caught wind” of an issue she’s been having and decided to talk with her to see if I could help? I’m not one to beat around the bush, so I went right for it. “So I heard that you’ve been struggling with fear at night to the point of feeling tormented. What’s going on?” She started sharing with me at the kitchen table, but then we decided to move to the stairwell for a little more privacy. She told me that she’s been tormented with the fear of a sudden tragedy, causing her to be afraid to fall asleep unless her mom is in the room with her. She said “I know I’m supposed to trust the Lord and that He is our provider, but I am having a hard time believing it. I can’t settle into our new house, because I’m afraid of being suddenly uprooted again, even though we have a contract to stay in the house until 2015.”

We talked for quite a long time, but as she shared that last part, I remembered her mom and I having that exact conversation that morning. She was actually repeating “word for word” what her mom’s greatest fear was. It was making her unable to settle in, because she was now just as concerned about the future as her mom, which showed me that her mom’s restless fear was rubbing off on her. So I helped her separate her feelings from her mom’s feelings and encouraged her to go back to trusting in the Lord, not her feelings or circumstances. I was able to speak truth into her and it set her free. I’m happy to report that she was able to sleep peacefully in a room without her mom that night and has been doing better ever since. I caught up with her today to ask how things have gone since our little chat and she said “It’s been pretty good at night. I’ve been trusting the Lord pretty well.”

Later that night her mom came and sat on the corner to hang out for a bit, so I shared a little bit of my conversation with her daughter and included part of my story to illustrate the point I felt compelled to make to her. “I remember saying several years ago ‘I won’t go any further in my own healing until my sons are healed.’ That bold statement was driven by love for my boys and sounded honorable at the time, but in reality it wouldn’t have worked. I am their parent, therefore I am the leader and needed to go first in my own healing, so they had someone to follow. The further I went on that journey-the further they went. The more I trusted the Lord and lived out my faith, the more they did. I haven’t had to teach them very much about growth, because they just followed right behind me, while God taught them and healed them. So I just want to encourage you to truly trust the Lord with your living situation and start settling in, so that your daughter is able to also. She is looking to you to show her how to trust Him as her provider and protector.” We had a great talk that night and I know she’s going to  do it. She just needed a little reminder like we all do at times.

If the Lord is convicting your heart to “Practice what you preach,” then ask Him to help you with your unbelief and learn to “keep it real” with your kids by sharing your experience of growth with them, while you’re learning. They don’t expect you to know everything or have it all together. Remember that we as parents are the leaders of our children, but God is the ultimate leader of us. We play a part in our own growth and helping others grow, but He is the One who ultimately makes us all grow.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9