A Spirit Not of Fear

It’s a desperate place to be as a mother, knowing that my children are not safe in this world. There are always dangers, have been since the beginning of the time– but the dangers of living in this present world seem bigger, scarier, and less predictable.

In light of the recent shooting at Umpqua Community College, which happened just an hours drive from the where we live, I just want to hug my children close and never let them go. In my extremely illogical moments I wonder if I can create a huge, armored body suit with one big body but 14 arm holes, 14 leg holes, and 7 head holes that we can all wear in order to never, ever be apart. I want to be like Sally Field in Steel Magnolias and break down, screaming “I wanna know why! Why, why, whyyyyyyyyyyyyy??” Why is there so much hate buried deep in the hearts of so many people? Why is hate able to grow organize and gain strength, and why does hate think it has the right to break laws?  Why are there so many people with mental illness going without help and support? Why is it a trend in America to shoot up schools? Why did he think he had the right to rip ten innocent lives from this earth?

And the scariest question in my mind is, Where will it happen next?

My days since the shooting have been a mess of fear, sadness, and anxiety.

But I know it will not help me or my children to live in fear and paranoia. I will not live in fear, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control. (2 Tim 1:7)

Power. I have the power to make the best decisions I can regarding the safety of my children. I vow to know where they are and who they are with, and I vow to keep them safe to the best of my ability. I have the power to prepare my family the best I can for whatever might come our way. I have the power to live my life in such a way that will remind my children and those around me that God is still at work in this scary world.

Love. I will love my children fiercely and forever. I will read to them, sing with them, play games and do puzzles with them, be silly with them, listen to them, hug and kiss them, and teach them about God, goodness, love, light and truth.

Self Control. I will not let my mind wander down rabbit trails of worry and paranoia. I will  cast my fears at Jesus’ feet. I will do something productive when I feel anxious.

As a mother and as a woman of faith I cannot let this tragedy scare me any more. The spirit of fear is not helpful or beneficial, and it’s not of God. Lord help me and all the mothers of America live in your spirit of power and love.


Combating Loneliness as a Single Mother

When I first divorced and became a single mom, it wasn’t just a husband I lost. Because of my personal situation, I lost my church community and many friends after my divorce. It was absolutely devastating, and for a long time I felt extremely lonely and depressed. Not only did I live with the guilt of being half of the monster that split my own childrens’ parents up, I had very few local friends who stuck around to help me through my grieving process.

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Yes, I said grieving process. Recently divorced people grieve, even if the divorce is mutual, and ESPECIALLY if there are children involved. In fact, there are times now, three years later, that I still grieve over what was lost in the un-coupling of my childrens’ parents. I still wonder what the effects will be on those sweet kiddos now that they are raised in two houses instead of one. But to dwell in the past is pointless, so I keep my head up and keep doing the best I can with what I have to go with now.

It’s Lonely Being a Single Mother

Back to my point: Life can be tough for a single mother. It can be solitary and heartbreaking. At times I felt so completely alone, even while I was mothering my most precious children. Looking back now on the times that my heart was wrenched with loneliness, regret, sadness and more, I can’t even believe I was so low during that time. But I am so AMAZED at what God has done for me, and I am so happy with my life now. I still have that handful of true friends who stuck by me when the world didn’t, I have my kids who are growing healthy and strong despite multiple life strains, I still have my parents who are hours away but love me and my kids and pray for us, and I have found the most wonderful man whose genuine love permeates my very soul, daily.

And, the most amazing thing is that through everything–my sins, my shame, my trials, my poor choices, my loneliness, the times I fought with God for allowing me to be in that dark place, the times when I tried to do it all on my own without God’s help–He was STILL there, rooting for me, waiting for me to turn my eyes back to Him.come to meAs a single mother who was once lonely, depressed, and doing it all completely on her own, I know it can be hard to reach out. It’s hard to admit that we are lonely, and that we need help! But do it. It’s worth it, trust me! Here are some ideas, some more obvious than others, but sometimes we just need that push to do something we are hesitant to do.

Combat the Loneliness

If you have friends around you already, that’s a great place to start. Tell them you need a girls night. Have it at your house if need be. Sometimes the people around us are completely willing to be there for us, they just don’t know how to be and they need us to show them. You might be surprised to find that one or two of your girlfriends will thank you for reaching out to them.

If you have preschoolers, join a MOPS group. Seriously, you will not regret it. It is a faith based organization, but don’t let that scare you off if you are not a believer! You would be hard pressed to find another more loving group of women to surround yourself with. They provide childcare, mentoring, fun activities just for moms, and more! Find yourself a local MOPS group here. Get yourself over to the MOPS website here.

Visit blogs and websites with information you can relate to. One site I found by accident during one of my roughest periods is Not Consumed. Kim, the author, is a single mother who has loads of great articles on coping, motherhood, faith, raising children, and life in general. She even has a section just for single moms. Go and read up, and be comforted by the realization that you’re truly NOT ALONE!

Find a group to volunteer with. Your kids can be involved, as well. What a great way for your children to learn humility, and volunteering just might boost your mood, too! Check Craigslist for volunteer opportunities, or even do a Facebook search for local volunteer organisations. Sometimes taking our mind off our own struggles to help others with theirs works wonders in our lives.

Being a single mom and doing it all alone can seem like an impossible job. I know many mothers who look back on their time as a single mom and wonder how they even did it all. I encourage you, single moms, to get out in the world and partner up with those around you. Doing life together makes it so much better!!