“Sometimes, Cassie, in order to fully understand how to give, you have to have received much.” That afternoon, as soon as her words rolled off her tongue and hit my thirsty soul, I knew this carved out sentence would be the beginning of new understanding for me. There are many gifts to receiving.
Because I’ve been abundantly blessed to have been given so much during my single motherhood journey, from finances to favors, to an outpouring of God’s mercy and forgiveness, the words of my friend hit my heart hard. She, too, had been in the same place of great need. Coming all the way from Indonesia, her family was very well taken care of and comfortable in a variety of ways. Upon her arrival to America, life was unfamiliar and incomparable to the life she had known.
Maybe you have experienced this too. The vulnerable place of dependence. A need to receive.
I walked through those doors pretty certain of the outcome. If I had to put money on it, I would’ve bet a win. For me. As I set waiting for the judge to come out to deliver his truth, I wrote this one line, “God, your will be done. Not mine.”
Then our turn came. The request I was asking for would be decided. The peace I was trying to give my daughter would be on the line. And it was in the hands and at the mercy of a Los Angeles County judge.
While on hold for the court’s lunch break, I had hoped while enjoying his pb&j sandwich or milk and cookies, this judge would be hit with the epiphany of truth. I was hoping his stack of cookies would give him the wisdom to ask the right questions and my girl would get an extended break from the emotional rollercoaster that she so desperately needed.
But that wasn’t the case. That wasn’t the case at all.
“It’s not about the cards you’re dealt.”
With a gorgeous desert backdrop and rarely hesitating to shovel some of his savory life tips my way, he leaned back in his patio chair relishing in a favorite cigar.
“It’s how you play your hand.”
At thirty-eight, I enjoyed more than ever hearing my dad’s superpower — wisdom. My dad’s always had a sweet way of pouring into my hungry heart.
I know there is pain that I do not know, nor will I ever know all the pain delivered by this worlds heavy hand. I’m a firm believer we all suffer in deep places of discomfort to a degree that is painfully hard for each of us. The point of which we feel that pain arrives at different seasons and ages for each of us.
It is what we choose to do with the cards dealt us that separates, as they say, the wheat from the chaff.
One of the saddest days for me, as a single mom, was the day my daughter saw her father for who he really is. The day she could no longer lie to her heart. The day she called it for what it was. That was almost 6 years ago. That day, life for us didn’t get any easier. It actually got harder.
Today, I’m speaking to the single moms who are raising their littles with a father who’s been a perpetual heartbreaker to your babies. And you, mom, continue to catch the tears on your shoulders over and over through the years.
I have walked away from too many articles like this one and this one . I’ve come across too many books, like this one and this one. I’ve left one too many front row seats where “professionals” held the mic and delivered the age-old message of the negative impact of “bad mouthing” the other parent. I’ve left those books, articles, and speeches fighting back the shame of my emotions from the truth I have spoken to my daughter through the years about who her father is. Feeling ashamed that I didn’t try hard enough to parent with crazy.
For too many years, I’ve listened and entertained the idea that my child will be eternally damaged by my words of poor expression.
I call total bull shit on this theory and for the record, parenting with crazy doesn’t exist.
The concept of a zero-based budget may be an easy achievement for some, but for those that feel their financial situation is getting the best of them and struggling to gain some ground, I am here to tell you there is life beyond the misery.
I’m also going to tell you it’s more rewarding than painful.
A zero-based budget is one of the first and most simple steps in working towards a debt free life and forever changing the trajectory of your family’s financial story.
For all families this is important but for the single mom, it is — crucial.
A few months back I was in a heated conversation. I wouldn’t call it a debate. I wouldn’t call it a fight. Simply, it was a conversation. But it.was.hot. because we were both sharing our hearts that had been storing up some serious thoughts and emotions.
The person I was having the conversation with isn’t so much the topic here…but rather a statement that was made in the middle of the mess and heated moment.
In the go around of words that seemed a perfectly orchestrated storm of emotions I clinched my fist and leaned in with an invasive shout, “I need you to DIG DEEP!”
With a pause and short hesitation, the response back was..
Cultivating Contentment. Can I just start off by saying this has GOT to be a life-long learning lesson that presents unique challenges with every new and old season we encounter.
It has proven this way for me and many of my friends. Even those that I think have mastered life’s problems, seem to land in places of discontent.
Like an unfinished piece of art.
I struggled with finding contentment most when I…
Boundaries. For some this concept is simple. Easy. A no brainer. They whip these things out like CHUDAN ZUKI — a wild karate chop delivered straight to their opponents gut. You’re welcome.
For others? It’s a disaster. An emotional debacle in it’s purest form.
I fall into the later category. Depending on the season I am in, the idea of setting boundaries can make my skin crawl. I am by nature the co-dependent, emotional nurturer to the state of depleted and broken. As a busy single mom with too much on my plate, the word made my head spin with one thousand three hundred and forty-two excuses.
But once I typed that seven letter word into Google and began to process the little fella, it all started to make sense. Now, six years later, I have become nearly dependent on them. They keep me safe. They keep my home in order by providing structure, guidelines, and expectations. When things get out of control around these parts I can usually track it back to slacking off on not carrying through with the boundaries I have already established.
Because starting something new and unfamiliar can be overwhelming, especially when you are inundated with so much as a single mom, I thought it would be nice to walk you through a few of the benefits you can expect to see as a result of putting a few simple boundaries in place.
Benefits that will give you more freedom and control over the mess you might currently be dealing with.
Few things in life we learn are worth mentioning. Like tieing your shoes. We’ve all done it. Right? Boiling water. Not exactly brain surgery material. Taking out the trash. Ya. Good job.
And then there are the life lessons that come in time. Like enduring multiple storms and seasons of laborious heartache and pain to finally understand that in the middle of the storm, in the waiting rooms of our lives, it can be very easy to waste precious time.
We do this all too often.
When we are in the muck and mud of things, trying to dig ourselves out, why do we often pick up the wrong tools? Or just the opposite, when we are in a time of ease and good transition why do we not take notes and prepare our hearts for hard times, as if the hard seasons won’t come and go.
A lovely and very wise Indonesian friend of mine said it like this…
I had fought relentlessly for this day to arrive. I had worked hard to see it through. With duct-tape, band-aids, a bulletproof vest and little one in tow, I made my way through college. And I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of graduating in the next month until I hit what seemed like a steel wall.
How was I going to wrap up this last quarter of college when I couldn’t type my papers and do the research from home. Cause who wants to take their 5-year-old to the library? How was I going to pay rent with no money? How was I going to maintain a clear mind to do all that is required to participate in life AND provide love and care to a 5-year-old little girl who just needed her momma? Too many things were falling apart and I wasn’t able to fix them all.
I wasn’t enough.