Single Mom Survival SUCCESS | Tools & Tips for Your Journey by Linda McCutcheon
My desire is to encourage you in this new journey. I called this blog Single Mom Survival Success because I know without a shadow of a doubt, you are going to make it , not only survive, but have great success. I want to encourage you along the way.
I have a colony of dust bunnies in my home and they are only to happy to take up residence. I am often astounded when I get down on my knees to vacuum under the bed and couches. It seems as soon as I get rid of a family of dust, more arrive. With busy schedules and appointments, sometimes they accumulate and I have to take them head on!
Isn’t that just like life. It is so easy to collect dust bunnies and clutter which take up unnecessary space in our heart. With that dreaded chore of spring cleaning (what is that anyway?) why don’t we also take time to de-clutter that unnecessary life dust and clutter that keep our heart from healing and bringing a ‘spring’ in our step.
Do these dust bunnies clutter your heart?
Dust Bunny #1: Bitterness– allowing painful and hurtful situations to harden the heart without dealing with it.
Dust Bunny #2: Bondage to lies – not believing what is Truth so issues are kept in bondage.
Dust Bunny #3: Beauty-less– feelings of worthlessness and comparing to someone else.
Dust Bunny #4: Blaming God- not willing to accept that God isn’t to blame despite unfair situations.
Dust Bunny #5: Brashness (attitude)- Letting stinging thinking cloud perspective on life so there is no option to see beauty and positive situations.
Corrie Ten Boom, a Jewish victim of the Nazi Holocaust, experienced horrific life experiences but chose to get rid of dust bunnies in her life. She said,
Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings…it’s something we make inside ourselves.
Life isn’t all rosy and many times unfair. We know that for sure. Honestly, there are days when I am tired of fighting the dust bunnies and clutter that keep true freedom from reigning. It’s too hard, too much work, and too painful. I want to throw up the white dust flag of defeat. Sometimes it is hard to remember the past positive experiences that brought peace. Do you feel that way?
God never promised us a perfect life here on earth but a life He would walk alongside us and help us through it. It is with that belief, we can be well on our way to clearing the clutter whether of bitterness, brashness, blaming, and selfless-love to understand we are worth fighting for. Each victory, whether small or large is a success.
Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. Ephesians 4:23
Spring cleaning can begin right away even if the wintry weather is still fighting to stay. If we can let the Holy Spirit change our way of thinking and look at what life can be, Springtime has arrived!
So instead of:
Bitterness choose Joy.
Bondage to lies choose Truth
Beauty-less choose inner Beauty and Self-worth
Blaming God choose Trusting in His goodness
Brashness (attitude) choose a Positive outlook
It’s time to fight the Dust Bunnies and clutter….
GRAB YOUR VACUUM CLEANER AND DUST RAG
What dust bunny do you struggle with the most?
What steps can you take to begin to vacuum up and get rid of it?
Do you trust God to help you de-clutter and have victory?
Begin to know and believe you can have victory, one step at a time.
I found myself wondering what happened to our little family. It was like a dream (aka nightmare) and felt so unreal. Surely this broken up family would get fixed? It was broken and the feeling of intense pain couldn’t seem to go away. Have you ever felt that way?
Over the years, as I talk with women, I am reminded that we all have our own personal situations that feel so unreal. During those times, FEAR can grip us like a vice disabling us to move forward. The Fear of the unknown can be downright gripping.
A child has an incurable illness
An older child has made unsafe choices and you pray daily for them
Financial pressures that leave you in a panic of how to meet deadlines
A Spouse has passed away
Your job isn’t stable
Your ex has walked out and said he/she has found their true soul-mate
I don’t know your life situation, but I do know about dealing with the fear of the unknown. When my ex first left, I wasn’t sure what was my first move. I thought he would come back. How was I going to pay the rent? How was I going to be an emotional stability for my kids in all the changes? How would I be able to survive alone? What employment could I get? How could I make it through the day? How could I heal my broken life?
One week felt like an eternity to get through with so many issues to deal with. What was ahead? I was so afraid of the unknown. I know I am not the only one who has ever felt this. It seems to be a part of many lives whether a single parent, a child, a senior, a teen, or a single person. Many are taking panic attack medication because of fear issues and trauma in their life.
I get it. Life is not in a neat little package. The truth is that this life package rips, the tape doesn’t hold, and well the ribbon, it was long gone. In my book, Single Mom Survival Success, Tools and Tips for the Journey, I dedicate a chapter entitled, The Monster Called Fear. I have mentioned fear in previous blogs because it is a real issue in dealing with how to deal with this monster.
There is hope!
We can begin to stomp it out by facing that fear. Maybe it is the fear of being alone, or a fear of making ends meet, the fear of child custody, or what people think of you. Take some time to identify it so you can move toward a solution that will help ease your fear.
I feared being alone and having to do this single parenting by myself. I had to find employment and learn new skills. I feared what people thought of me and feared moving forward. The list went on. I had to release each fear of the unknown. I am glad for the victories I had (and still do) because I didn’t want this monster to win. I still have to fight this monster and gain victory. Life is just that, isn’t it?
A song by Bill Gaither called Because He Lives says, “Because He lives I can face tomorrow…. Because I know He holds the future. As those that have a faith relationship with Him, we have assurance that He will help us face the unknown, face today, and face tomorrow.
Take some time to stand back and realize our Heavenly Father wants to take your fear and help you take a step in the right direction to fight that monster to the ground. As Timothy says
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
God’s word has so many scriptures to encourage us to let go of the unknown. (using CEV version)
And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure. Psalm 94:19
Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry about what people might do. 1 Peter 3:14
Our Lord, we belong to you. We tell you what worries us, and you won’t let us fall. Psalm 55:22
Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories. Isaiah 41:10
Let’s fight this monster and believe God can help face the unknown. God has gone before us and He can lead us to victory!
OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX
Take one of the above Scriptures and put it to memory.
Begin to take each of your fears and dissect it and work toward a solution.
Believe that this Monster does not have to have control over you.
Trust God to help you walk through this with His power and of love and of a sound mind.
Can you believe it! We already have 7 days into the new year! I think I can safely say, most of us desire to move ahead in positive ways making new goals for the next 12 months. It is wanting to putting one foot in front of the other.
Each year, I write out goals and it looks so nice and neat in my booklet. I am ready for the challenge.
However! Yes, however, the words written down on a piece of paper don’t always fit into some unexpected life situations. I can see you nodding your head in agreement.
Life is going well in most areas of life and then one comment can take our breath away or bring us to our knees. Sometimes it does seems one step forward and 12 back? Oh! It can frustrate me. There are times when our past keeps tapping us on the shoulder, all the while whispering “remember when”.
It is the voices of the past that keep bringing up hurt and crippling us from moving ahead. It’s those “maybe” situations:
Maybe it was words you have heard and believed but in reality, they are total lies.
Maybe it was an unkind comment from a co-worker because they were jealous of threatened by you.
Maybe a comment from your ex-spouse that has you believing things were all your fault or words saying you could never be what you wanted to be.
Maybe even a close friend has turned on you for whatever reason and said some painful things about you and to you.
Maybe words from family members that have been said and done stuff to you because of their own painful past.
Maybe you believe lies about yourself that you need to work on.
There is hope! There really is.
I would encourage you to take some time in the next week or so and identify those painful words and situations.
Then write them down.
Make a decision to begin to take each issue and work through them.
Next, See the TRUTH and cross out the lies.
Then, you may want to call a trusted friend, a pastor, or a counselor and begin to bring the truth to light if you are struggling with how to bring resolution.
Please understand, there may be some issues that will take quite a bit of time and hard work. I bet you are up for the challenge. Just don’t give up.
Let 2019 be one of Truth and healing. God is rooting for us. He wants us to engage our life with Him. He wants us to believe and trust Him with our life. For some, you may not know much about God and the work of Jesus Christ.
For others, you have placed your trust and life in God, our Heavenly Father. God is ready to help all of us as we journey in 2019. No need to delay.
For me, every once in a while, a comment will bring me to my past. I have to stop, question it, and make a choice to deal with it in positive ways. I can take that finger tapping on my shoulder off and tell it to get lost.
Truth will set us all free!
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 (CEV)
OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX
See Truth for what it is. Get some help if you need it….it will be worth it.
It happened just as it was told. What we call the Christmas Story from the pages of the New Testament came true from the pages of the Old Testament. Check a few of these out!
Old Testament: Genesis 17:7 I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God.
New Testament: Luke 1:55 The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his family forever.
Old Testament: Isaiah 9:7 His power will never end; His peace will last forever. He will rule David’s kingdom and make it grow strong. He will always rule with honesty and justice. The Lord All-Powerful will make certain that all of this is done.
New Testament: Luke 1: 31,32 and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.
Old Testament: Jeremiah 33:15 I promise that the time will come when I will appoint a king from the family of David, a king who will be honest and rule with justice.
Micah 5:2, Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the Lord will choose one of your people to rule the nation—someone whose family goes back to ancient times.
New Testament: Matthew 2:5,6 They told him, He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote, Bethlehem in the land of Judea, you are very important among the towns of Judea. From your time will come a leader, who will be like a shepherd for my people Israel.
During the rush of this Christmas season, I drove by some beautiful nativity scenes of Joseph, Mary, and in the crudest of managers, Baby Jesus.
Their first visitors were Shepherds. These men weren’t educated, nor respected in the city council, and most likely smelled. (I know this because we have sheep). God choose these unassuming shepherds the first opportunity to worship Jesus the Lord. I would have loved to have been a shepherd that night.
About two years later, highly educated men from the East, called the Wise Men, arrived to worship Jesus and brought every expensive gifts.
Centuries later, we still have the opportunity to visit the manager scene as we read the story in Scriptures.
Just like the Shepherds,
“They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.” Luke 2:16
Just like the Wise Men,
When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and gave them to him. Matthew 2: 11
to earth for all. Status doesn’t matter to Jesus. Single parents, the elderly, homeless, rich, poor,blue collar workers, white collar workers, babies, teens, adults to name a few. His mission was to save His people from their sins…and that began in a stable.
Will you spend a few minutes reflecting on this amazing arrival of the Son of God–Baby Jesus? The prophecy was fulfilled.
Will you spend a few minutes rejoicing? He gives us victory in whatever life situation we are in.
I found myself reflecting on Christmas memories as I hung up the stockings, fought with those crazy strings of lights, and looked over recipes that I hope to bake…and EAT!
Growing up as a kid, our family had little money for extras but I never felt cheated out of Christmas because of their love and their many homemade gifts. There was a lot of family celebrations with cousins and other relatives skating on the pond and playing games. Oh yes, and lots of yummy food!
When I became a single mom, money was super tight and I had to share the holidays with my ex. From past experiences, I knew it wasn’t about the gifts but about making special memories with my girls that I still keep tucked in my heart to this day. Believe me there were some years I just wanted to skip Christmas.
For some of you, Christmas time can be very painful. Memories of your childhood, of your marriage and family break up, and constant financial burdens can be downright overwhelming to say the least. Getting together with the extended family can be stressful. Someone drinks too much, yelling matches of past issues that they just won’t let die, and gift expectations from some. Sure makes for anything but fun. Your ex has the kids this year and it is going to feel lonely. Fa la la. Believe me, I bet you are saying you want to skip Christmas.
A couple thousand years ago, Mary and Joseph struggled with “Christmas”. Angels came to them to tell them that the virgin Mary was to give birth to God’s son, Joseph was engaged to her and wondering what to do, and the Shepherds and Wise Men were visited by angels telling of a coming Messiah. And yet there in a non-assuming stable, The Saviour was born. I am so glad that God choose not to skip Christmas!
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:20-23 (NIV)
Whenever I become perplexed, stressed or sad over Christmas issues, those verses give me hope that this PAST event will trump any past that I have. Because of Jesus’ birth, His saving power to forgive my sins, and His help for today and tomorrow gives me His ultimate peace. I can rest in Him, I can work through the past, I can accept that I can’t change the past and then work toward how I will deal with this Christmas.
Want to skip Christmas? I get that. Would you like to try and work through some positive Christmas steps? That would be awesome. Are you glad God didn’t skip Christmas? I can say without a doubt, YES! YES! YES!
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord
Open your gift:
Be thankful for that Christmas Past over 2000 years ago.
Reflect on Jesus’ birth, His sinless life and His ultimate Sacrifice for you.
When painful Christmas situations come up, know you are not alone. Jesus’ is there.
Begin to prepare and work through some past issues so you can face today and tomorrow.
We recently had a day to remember our country’s freedom. How grateful I am for those veterans that fought and sacrificed their lives so we could live in the ‘land of the free’.
Lately, I was thinking about another type of freedom. It is freedom from things in life that seem to trap me from living a more victorious life. It involves the worries of this world, the pressures that seem endless and the past scars and hurts that like to surface again and again.
Do you struggle with the same? What makes you feel defeated and pressing down on your heart while walking in imaginary cement shoes?
I have heard some share
It is the words from their past that they aren’t good enough or never will be
That dreams are only for daydreamers
Life will never change.
Some that feel because their marriage broke down, it was ALL their fault and they live in that guilt.
Others share that co-workers are cruel
Fair-weather friends have left them feeling hurt and abandoned
Those that were an example and in leadership have failed them
Do you worry a lot and can’t seem to let it go? That worry feels like a chain around your neck, your ankles and your heart? It can be debilitating.
Truth is, we are all human, we make mistakes and life hurts sometimes.
GOOD NEWS! DON’T STOP READING. The great and awesome news is that God can break those chains. He wants to give us TRUE freedom despite what is going on around us and in our hearts.
Jesus’ sacrificial life made it possible to be free from bondage’s in our life. Sadly, I don’t reflect on that as much as I should. It needs to be a continual Remembrance Day for me.
True freedom is allowing God to show us His Truth and help us work through each step of our past, our present situation, all while moving toward the future.
Jesus said, “A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.” John 10:10 (CEV)
Maybe you don’t even know where to begin. How about grabbing a notebook and begin to list bondage issues, worry issues, and scary unknowns. Many share they are dealing with pornography and want to break the chains. Others have no boundaries in their life and are walked on by others. Some have anger issues, others spending issues, while others continue to spread gossip. You have your list. Begin to pray that God would help you heal. That is a beginning to start your way to Freedom.
Consider this: Do you need to consider counselling? Do you need to begin to dream again and start the steps to make that come true? Do you need to forgive in your heart those that hurt you and don’t want you to succeed? Do you need to have a more positive attitude and tell Winnie the Pooh’s, Eeyore, to take a hike?
I struggle with issues that trap me from having Freedom. It is important for me to acknowledge those chains and release them to God….and yes sometimes a lot! When I do work with God, I begin to know an inner freedom that only He can give. Pretty amazing!
From experience, when a situation comes up; take it directly to God. Ask Him to control your mind, your thoughts, and remember He wants us to live life to the fullest. If you have a good supportive friend reach out and ask for prayer and encouragement. Crack open the Word of God and let His words comfort and empower you. Take that list of yours and begin to make small steps.
Don’t give up, there is freedom….true freedom.
OPEN YOUR TOOLBOX:
Do you feel a lack of freedom in life? Make a list.
What positive steps can you take with this list?
Reach out to those that you feel you can trust to walk alongside you.
Let God help you gain True Freedom. He is only a prayer away.
Do you remember when, as a child, you were told to sit still when it seemed like there so were so many ants in your pants? Learning to be still in our world can be like catching the wind!
For the last two years, my theme words have been, BE STILL. Yep, I needed to work on it again this year. I find it hard to be still. It isn’t so much physically being still, which I do find hard to do, but working on being still in my spirit.
When life’s arrows are being shot every which way and life is demanding being still can take a back seat many times. I have a card seating on my window ledge in my office that says, BE STILL. I want to see it often making me stop to breathe and ask God to still me. Do you find that?
It’s not only trying to be still, but to do as the rest of the verse says below.
“Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a (NIV). The Contemporary English Version puts it this way, “Our God says, Calm down, and learn that I am God.”
Every day, week, month and even years I need to claim that verse. It may seem funny to say that being still is an action word, but it is. It is a conscious effort to stop and work at being calm. It is also an action word to know and learn who God is. When we understand how awesome, how powerful, and how loving He is, we can begin to calm down and be still.
Life circumstances may or may not change, but for sure God never changes. We can rest in the fact that we need to trust Him.
This past year, my one daughter moved overseas to work and travel. There was times I found it hard to be calm, especially when she was pick- pocketed in a country with a different language. My other daughter and her husband did some traveling this year overseas as well. I told them I was giving them a crocheting hook and yarn and they need to do that for excitement instead of all this travelling. Ha ha
I know of many others who are going through a separation or marriage break up. I know of those that are standing by their spouse’s palliative bed wondering when their loved one will leave this earth. Others are heavy heart-ed with children who are living a life not up to their potential. Some children don’t have faith in Jesus and parents long for the day when their children will see how important they need Jesus in their life. Others are in dire need of financial needs met.
It is tough to BE STILL and trust God. You know, nothing gets passed Him. We just have to keep taking His promises, pray, and learn more and more about God. He will help us be still. I have found just finding a quiet spot to pray and talk to God has been a wonderful comfort for me. This was one of my spots. Maybe you have a place you go to be still. A favourite chair, a walk in the park, a drive or a quiet place in your home. (if you have small kids it may mean your locked bathroom door!)
Jesus and his disciples were out in the boat when a terrible storm came up. The disciples were terrified and felt they were going to drown. Jesus had it all under control.
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be Still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Mark 4:39 (NIV)
Let’s allow Jesus to take our storms of life and work on these two words, BE STILL. Know that God asks us to BE STILL and is waiting to hear from you. He has wonderful things to teach us.
OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:
Feeling like it is hard to breathe? Its OK, you are normal
Ask God to help you breathe and be still before Him
Talk to Him about your storms of life
Be still and learn who God is each step of the way