About Christian Single Moms

Writing a blog and using photography to encourage Christian single mothers!

Happy Mother’s Day

Numbers 6:24

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.”

Happy Mother’s Day dear friend! Lift up your eyes to the Lord today and be strengthened by Him; may you feel His love fill you and encourage you today. You are precious to Him, you are loved!

God bless you,

Shannon

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Come Forth As Gold

Job-23-final

 Endless fire and invisible knives mercilessly attack my joints. With no relief in sight, I cling to the Lord for His strength and grace, and my own sanity. Most of my larger joints (wrists, knees, ankles, back) are wrapped in soft freezing gel packs, which only dulls the pain. Some of the packs are not very cold as I have already used them throughout the day. I am supposed to be sleeping, but my joints are on fire. What did I do today to make make the pain so bad, I wonder to myself. Oh, yes, I picked up groceries. It is so late, I cry out to God for mercy and finally He brings me sleep.

 These past many weeks have been a time on my journey where the Lord, while focusing on the Him and His word, carries me through a deeper level of yet another adjustment period.

 Up until my mid-twenties I was strong and very physically active. I loved the feel of pushing my body, the sweat, the burn, the strength. Being the third and last daughter of a farmer, with no sons, I constantly pushed myself to prove that I was worthy of my place. This pressure did not come from my parents, but from my own insecurities. You could say I was prideful then, but that was slowly carved out of me, and replaced with compassion and understanding the more limited and pain-filled my body became.

 Now for over the last 20 years I have lived with the chronic pain of arthritis (Ehlers Danlos III, Osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease through-out my spine) and it’s limitations and challenges that it adds to being a single-mom of 2 boys.

Psalm 68:19 ” Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

 My boys pay close attention to how I am feeling throughout the day. They are like little, now big, thermometers that take readings of my well-being. I believe young children do this naturally since they are completely dependent on a parent for their own emotional and physical well-being. Taking a reading of us, their parents, can determine how their day will go. Have you heard the saying, “A mother sets the mood for the family.” ? A child who has been through any trauma (divorce/death/absence of a parent) seems to have a heightened sensitivity in response to their environment.

 I worked hard to put my own emotional trauma of divorce aside and walk with them through theirs. (The Lord walks with me through mine) But chronic pain/arthritis, and debilitating migraines, they notice. I have kept every “feel better” card or picture that they have made me and I cherish them. ❤

 My boys, Evan and Madi,  have learned compassion. One day, when Madi was four years old, I was flat out on the couch while some mean, invisible person hammered on my head. Ok, it was a migraine, yet that is how it felt. The boys played quietly on the floor. I just closed my eyes to block out the light and then felt the sweetest little kiss on my forehead. I smiled and opened my eyes to see Madi. He said, “Just like you do to me!”, with an adorable grin all over his face. It was such a blessing to me!

Philippians 4:13 ” I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

 It is a fact, Christians suffer. Whether it be a consequence of sin or from God’s Hand to bring repentance, or to bring Him glory and live as Christ’s hands and feet. We live in a fallen world. When I was a little girl, in the 70’s, my church showed the Joni movie. To say that Joni Eareckson Tada’s faith and dedication to God, in-spite of of her quadriplegia, inspired me is an understatement. Her excellent and Godly example has prepared me, encouraged me and taught me how to face the disabling pain that I now live with. But many years ago, as a young christian, I thought suffering would never happen to me. Or rather, I just had really hoped that it would not because I did not want it and I thought I could not handle it. How scared I was then of “something” happening. Well, many “things” have happened since then and I have felt his tender mercy and love, His very real presence through every trial.

Do not misunderstand, I have fallen before Him on my knees time and time again overwhelmed because

  • I can’t write or edit photos due to the pain in my fingers and hands
  • light house work or throwing a ball or playing with my boys brings sharp lasting  pain in my elbows
  • when I can’t go for a walk today because my legs are still in pain from whatever I did yesterday
  • when climbing the stairs takes so much effort and time
  • when I need to lay down, missing time with family, due to a migraine caused by the osteoarthritis (and degenerative discs) in my back and neck
  • whatever I use, I loose

 I collapse and cry and I want to say  ” No…How much more? I can’t do this.                         I just want to be able, again.”

Then He comforts me. He holds me. He dries my tears and surrounds me with His love. He knows. He knows my heart. He knows suffering. He suffered, for me.

The Lord tenderly wraps His arms around my pain-filled body and lifts me up. He will carry me in my weakened body and lend me His strength (mentally, physically, spiritually) making me stronger than I would be in an “able” body. (2Corinthians 12:10)

 He is kind. He is caring. He is gentle and compassionate . I trust Him, He is worthy.       God has never, ever forsaken me.

 I am willing, my life is Yours my Savior! I will fight for You, my King. I will walk the path that You have created for me. You will give me the ability to do Your will, and I keep at the front of my mind the endless joy that is to come!

Lamentations 3:21-24 ” “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. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.””

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

Psalm 28:6-7 “Praise  be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”

 I do not know if these new physical limitations will become my new normal, but I know that God will help me. He has so many times before. And I do not know how limited I will become, now or in the future, but I know whose Hands my trials are sifted through. God is Sovereign over all and faithfully loves me.

 I now need to live as an example for my boys. They also have Ehlers Danlos III, which is a type of arthritis and most who have it will develop early onset osteoarthritis. God knows our path, and He is worthy of our trust and our faith, no matter what.

He is our Sovereign loving God whose desire it is to see us all come forth as gold.

  Dear friend, be encouraged and may the LORD bless you today!                                 Check out some of my other favourite spriptures! ❤

  • Zephania 3:17
  • Psalm 42:8
  • 1 Peter 1:6-7
  • Deuteronomy 31:6
  • Isaiah 26:3
  • Hebrews 4:15-16

 

 

So Many Blessings

Psalm 13: 5-6  But I will trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD; for He has been good to me.

9 kitties loved web

Kitties names; Top – Graygee, 2nd row- Georgie, Ringo (brothers), 3rd row- Marty, Miss Kitty, Misty, 4th row- Boots, Kaysee, 5th row- Monster (he loves his hugs)

I love animals, all animals. I remember Sunday afternoons as a little girl, on my grandpa’s farm. At the end of the day we would cozy up and and watch National Geographic on the tv. And of course, my family had a dog and many cats over the years. My mum always joked that we had a sign over our house welcoming all stray animals.

Naturally as my children grew, I wanted to give them the special blessings of loving and caring for a pet. Yet for the last 13 years, the landlord from whom we rent our home does not allow pets. It is a sad reality for many families.

One November day a Tortoiseshell kitty sat on our front step and decided not to leave. Since it was a winter day, I put out a basket with warm blankets and some food. Yes, we happened to have cat food on hand because sometimes the neighbor kitty came over to play with my boys and eat some crunchies. I think I have a sign over my house too! The kitty was still there the next morning. We drove around looking for ‘lost kitty’ posters, but found none, so we made ‘found kitty’ posters and put them up around the area. After a couple days, the nights were getting cold so I brought her into the house. I could not bear to close the door on her again.

If you are an animal lover, or even a ‘liker’ (if that is a word), you will be able to predict what happened next. We named her. Cally became relaxed and comfortable with us and her sweet nature began to shine. It did not take long for our hearts to grow attached to her. Seriously, she played fetch up and down the stairs! What could I do? If it was reported that we had a pet, then we could be evicted.

I was at a fork in the road. Do I take the left or the right path.

Psalm 32:8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

The right path always begins on our knees, so I sought the Lord. These are the “hindsight is 20/20” moments and are important teaching moments in your journey. Remember that your children are watching and taking notes!

Since everything is better left in God’s hands, that is where I left loving Cally. God had always provided everything that we needed so I knew that if He wanted Cally’s home to be with us, then He would allow it. I wrote to our landlord asking permission  to be able to adopt this sweet kitty that had found us. After all, there were many families in the complex that owned pets, even though they were not supposed to and yet were never evicted. It was very tempting to use the excuse, “Well if they can own pets here then why can’t we?”.

But that would be a child’s excuse and who’s will was I trying to follow anyway?

Romans 8:5-9 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Ephesians 5 :17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is

We know that God granted Nehemiah favour in the eyes of King Artaxerxes to be released as his cup-bearer for a time. He allowed Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem to lead in the repairing of the wall (Nehemiah 1:10). Remember, although someone else may have authority over our lives, ultimately God is in control and all are under His authority. In the end God gave me peace in my heart that I was on the right path, whether or not Cally was ours to keep.

We did not have to wait long for an answer. The answer was no. We could not keep and love Cally as our own. My heart plummeted. Of course I could not understand how adopting Cally could not be God’s will for my little family. Yet I knew my human mind just did not comprehend the ways of God and I had to obey. God is faithful, loving and just, we cannot forget His character.

Soon after we drove her to a centre where she would be adopted out to a family. Oh how our hearts were hurting and sad. That night at bedtime, Madi said, with tears in his eyes, that he missed Cally. We all started to cry and I just held both my boys.

Now many years later, I look back and understand (for the most part) why God had said no and also blessed us for obeying. Everyone around us has pets; my sisters, my parents, extended family and even my neighbor (though it is not allowed). My boys and I have become kitty caretakers and we love and are loved by many kitties now. We have so many special memories and funny stories and have been filled with joy because of God’s many blessings to us. We have all the blessings of loving and caring for pets without the cost of ownership and the threat of being evicted.

Every choice or decision has consequences and God knew better than me what they would have been if we had kept Cally.

The right path isn’t always the easy choice, but we have to trust in God and submit to Him and His best for us. Believe me He will surround you with His favour and blessings and fill your heart with joy. ❤

Psalm 5:11-12 But let all who take refuge in You be glad;  let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.  For surely, O LORD, You bless the righteous; You surround them with favour as with a shield. 

Whatever is heavy on your heart this week bring it before our Lord and give it to Him. He loves you and desires His best for you.

May God bless you and fill you with His amazing peace!

Shannon

 

 

You are loved!

Ephesians 3:14-19

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  NIV

God-Loves-You-Web

 I will confess, I used to dread Valentines Day. For any single, it can be a difficult day. But let’s just take this day with its root meaning – love.

As mums, our children need our unconditional love. It is crucial for their well-being to know that they are loved and that they are love-able! What makes your child feel loved? When my oldest son, Evan, was 9 years old, he told me that it made him feel “so loved” when he would crawl into his bed that had freshly washed sheets and blankets. I was really surprised.  Ask them today, “What makes you feel loved?”, or “When do you feel loved?” Then pour your love all over your kids today…no matter how old they are!

And now for you dear friend. There is some-One who loves you more than you could ever imagine, and you are on His heart today.  His love will meet all of your needs. You are never alone!

Meet with God today; express your love for Him (or ask Him to help you love Him more)  and celebrate His great love for YOU!

May God’s peace and joy be with you today! And remember you are loved! ❤

Shannon

He Will Lift You Up.

His Shelter websize

Psalm 28:7  “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.”

    Dear friend,  often I have heard people say, “being a single mother has to be the most difficult job there is.” Those of us who are (or who have been) a single-mom, mindfully nod in agreement. I have likened it to running a marathon, only one that does not end.

While running, we carry a load that was never meant for just one. No matter how we became single-mothers, there is healing that needs to occur. Something broke, changed, died, shattered; it happened, so we gather all the pieces of our lives and begin to carry on.

The pieces loosely fit together and feel jagged and painful as they rub. We lovingly cradle the broken pieces of our children as we run, our hearts absorb their tears. Our own pillows are wet at night and the burden of balancing the finances nearly makes us trip. Responsibilities and obligations grab at us from the sidelines as we struggle to keep up the pace. The weight of everything, once manageable, is now too heavy to bear and the pieces we are desperately trying to keep together begin to fall, one by one.

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Psalm 34:18  ” The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

When we taught our children to walk, we stayed close and were ready to catch them when they fell. We didn’t roll our eyes when their chubby little legs gave way, requiring our strength to stabilize them. We encouraged them, because we knew that one day with practice they would gain their own strength to walk and run.  Our Abba Father takes even more tender care with us, staying close, ready to catch us and lift us up. Call out to Him. He will lend you His strength and guide you in how you are to walk this path. The  difference is that we need to continue being in His word (practicing) and relying on His strength so we may grow into who He has called us to be.

Psalm 63:6-8    “On my bed I remember You;  I think of You through the watches of the night.  Because You are my help,  I sing in the shadow of Your wings.  My soul clings to You;  Your right hand upholds me.”

Throughout the bible, God reminds us that He is with us at all times. And for those who are broken, God is closer still. During the beginning years of single motherhood, the worst time of day for me was in the evening, after putting the boys to bed. It was lonely and quiet, too quiet. It took a lot of effort not to become overwhelmed with sadness, yet I wasn’t always successful. My tears would flow, and there went another box of tissues. At times I felt like I was drowning in grief. But our God has such great compassion for us. When my heart would call out to Him, He would fill me with His indescribable peace and any sorrow quickly disappeared. Not only did it reassure me of His presence, but also of His great love and power.

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Psalm 4: 11-12 ” But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. For surely, O LORD, You bless the righteous; You surround them with favour as with a shield.”

When your children have been sick, did you tend to them more than usual? When my son, Madi (in 2008, at age 7) lay in a coma, I rarely left his side. Even though I could do nothing for him, I wanted him to know he was not alone, if he woke-up. We, God’s children, are just reflections of our maker. Would God be any less attentive or compassionate than us? Never. Oh, He is so much more!  He is our Almighty Comforter, our Rock, our Provider, our Sustainer, our Healer, our Fortress, our Shield, our Refuge, our Counselor, our Strength, our Hope……

Cry out to Him, cling to Him and ask Him to heal your heart and the heart’s of your children and to shower you with His grace. Surrender yourself each day to Him and find refuge in His word.

Isaiah 41: 10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with  my righteous right hand.”

He will sustain you, and He will lift you up with His Righteous right hand and lead you into tomorrow. I know, because He has and still does this for me.

Friend over the next two weeks, put these verses to memory so that they will be planted in your heart. Also check out Psalm 145!

The LORD bless you,

Shannon