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…
Sometimes it takes a wild journey down the slow road of heartache for one to understand the power of prayer. I was no different.
In fact, despite my grandma’s repeated efforts to tell me otherwise, I thought my relationship with The Man upstairs would suffice. In other words, it worked well, or so I thought, with the little to no effort I was contributing.
Looking back on the years I can almost smell the bitter fruit that fell from my tired little self. Sadly, those many years I lacked building my repertoire of prayers left me hungry.
Or starved rather.
If you are finding yourself exhausted and wore out as a single mom, one of the most powerful and significant gifts I can give you is the age old secret of applying prayer to your life, especially in the areas you seek relief.
There are too many good words in the Big Book of Life. From my heart to yours… here are a few of my favorites:
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.
Stretched in too many directions, single moms have got a tall order of hectic on their plate. This plate, full of life’s stresses, doesn’t actually fill you up, instead, if we’re not careful, it will leave a momma hungry — and starved. I can recall a long season of being in desperate need of some good food. Not for the usual burger, slice of pizza or carton of ice cream, although that was and still is always welcomed. I was hungry for food that would feed my soul. Not fried chicken, chicken noodle soup or greens. No. Not that kind of soul food. But the kind of food that would set deep into my being and provide me the strength and hope to persevere the tough season I was moving through.
Being a single mom can do that to you. Turn you into a crazed and starving mad woman.
Looking back on that season, I didn’t consciously realize that I was barely hanging on. I didn’t know I was running on empty. I had been doing it for so long that it had become my new normal. Life was hard, but it was doable. I was doing it.
But I was barely doing it and at times I bet you are too.
So often, as a single mom, I was convinced I was standing in the middle of a large lake of quicksand. Regardless of the direction I stepped, it didn’t matter. It was as if I were just hanging out in this spot, sinking in the middle of the mess. Getting ahead of the grind felt like an unobtainable task. Like sitting in a classroom waiting to take a test I never studied for over and over again. Then…..Replay. Replay. Replay.
Does what I am saying sound familiar to you? Do you know that overwhelming emotion that sits in the pit of your stomach and drives you to a nervous wreck?
Because I love you and want to see you rise above your own storms, I sat down and wrote out what tools I gathered in those many lakes of quicksand. What I walked away with and how I could help you. So here are eight of my BEST strategies to help you rise above the single mom grind. Hand delivered to your heart in hopes you won’t struggle as long as I did!
It may have been a 30 or 40 feet walk to that church altar that early Sunday morning. In time, it would become my shortest walk making one of the biggest decisions of my life. I was somewhere around five years old. My mother wasn’t as convinced. Presenting me with questions hoping they might sink in and I would wait till I was a little older to make such a big decision.
Surprisingly and so unfitting to my character ;), I resisted her advice.
Thinking I knew full well what I was getting myself into, I marched down the aisle layered in a faded burgundy carpet to announce my decision to give my life to Jesus. Oh, the brave and innocent faith of a little child.
That faith and innocence didn’t last long…
**DISCLAIMER: if you are the awesome parent of a teen who is in the 1% population with straight A’s and no cell phone or no cell phone struggles: stop here. Least your judgment burn through and wreck havoc on my fragile ego.
For the rest of you, especially single moms, let’s talk about the headache of social media, parenting, and what we can do to gain control of it.