I’m Pregnant


The test was positive.  What should have been a moment of sheer joy was instead unbelief then panic.

I’m pregnant.

I just found out I’m pregnant…in my on again, off again boyfriend’s bathroom.  This was not how I imagined this moment would unfold.  A million thoughts were filling my mind and then the final thought I focused on was he’s going to leave me.  I wasn’t prepared to leave the bathroom.  Close my eyes, deep breath.  Open.  Still positive.

A day later Planned Parenthood confirmed the pregnancy with a free test and quickly informed me that it would be difficult for me to raise a baby on my own and decisions would need to be made quickly. He said he would support whatever decision I made.  What?  There was NEVER a doubt…I am going to be a mom.  Underneath this panic and fear, excitement began to bubble!

He didn’t break up with me but he should have.  Better yet, I should have.  He was never around.  I caused all sorts of problems if I showed up unexpectedly.  I was an embarrassment.  His friends hid the girls he would mess around with from me in other rooms or pretend they invited her.  His friends hated me for ruining his life or ruining the party.  I was alone and desperately trying to hang on to him because I wanted my child to have a father.  I would spend hours driving around at night trying to find him or catch him in another lie.  As I look back, it sickens me to see how low my self-esteem truly was.  I’m embarrassed of the girl I once was.

I desperately wanted someone to share in my joy but very fearful of what my parents would say.  I hid my pregnancy for six months with tight clothes under loose-fitting clothes.  I was small so it just appeared as though I had put on a few pounds.

As my belly grew, my anger and jealousy of happy soon-to-be parents grew as well.  I hated them.  I hated watching them smile and shop together for baby items and baby clothes.  I watched him touch her belly and smile then go back to holding her hand or gently touching her back as they shopped. I spent hours in those baby specialty stores wishing I could afford the cute baby clothes and furniture.

Instead, I spent my weekends hitting every garage sale and second-hand store.  I was thankful for lay-a-way to give my baby something new but struggled on the assembly part.  I never had the right tools and I always had left over nuts and bolts.  The rocking chair tilted to the side a bit and the metal crib wouldn’t go down all the way on the side.  It was the best I could do.

Morning sickness, sleepless nights, and extreme exhaustion.  Calculating the cost associated with a newborn kept me awake at night.  My full-time, $12.00 per hour job wasn’t going to support us.  I took on a second job at night doing inventory for various big stores so I could have money to save.

There was something I hated more than the happy soon-to-be parents at the baby stores.  Happy, soon-to-be parents at the ObGyn.  She would look so cute and fashionable in her beautiful maternity clothes.  I sat there uncomfortably in my tight jeans with a rubber band looped through the button-hole and then looped over to the button.  Long tank tops so my belly and open zipper wouldn’t show.  The open zipper was sharp against my growing boy.

There’s another glance at my empty right hand ring finger.  Yes, I see you looking and I hear your whispers.  I’m young, unwed and pregnant.  You feeling sorry for me disgusts me.  Please stop staring.  I never could get used to the looks of pity or disapproving judgment.  It crushed my heart and wrecked my spirit.

It’s a boy!

The first sonogram.  Listening to the heart beat.  Finding out it was a boy.  All on my own.

I talked to him, read to him, and sang to him.  I prayed for him constantly.  He was my everything.  We were a team.  He was my reason for breathing.  I cherished every kick, turn, and hiccup.  I couldn’t wait for him to arrive.  I couldn’t wait to be a mom to this sweet boy.

My feet were so swollen, my back ached.  How I would have loved a good foot rub or massage or to have a meal cooked for me.

I was with my parents on a dark, rainy October day in 1998 when my baby alerted me that he was ready to enter this world.  I was terrified.  I left him messages that I was in labor.  He was out-of-town with some other woman.  It took me over 19 hours, severe vomiting and body shakes, and unbelievable pain to deliver my handsome 10.3 pound son.  Plenty of time for him to drive back and witness his son’s birth.

It is extremely difficult to describe the clash of emotions I felt that night in the hospital.  I was alone, now with a son.  Could I really do this?  I was in so much pain – physical and emotional.  I was terrified yet full of joy.  Thoughts raged between wondering what kind of life was I bringing my son in to with how much I was in love with this little guy.  I didn’t want us to leave the hospital for fear of the unknown.  But I wasn’t alone with my son.  As I prayed over my son and asked that God bless him, watch over him, and always keep him safe….did I realize that God was with us.  It was comforting, peaceful and encouraging.  When my parents arrived the next evening to take us home, I was ready.

I gave my life to God a few months before I found out I was pregnant.  I left the drinking and the partying behind.  One wild ride of a lifestyle for another.  I was a baby Christian about to have a baby, who knew nothing of the bible, nothing about God, and with no Christian friends.  But He was speaking to me.  It was a promise that I was meant to be a mom and to raise kids who would have a better life.  It was my purpose in this world.  If I knew then what I know now, I certainly would have trusted God more instead of relying on what I wanted to do.

God destined me to be a single parent during their early years so that their entire upbringing would be shaped by me and God’s word.

I survived on His promises.

Thank you God for your love, grace, and for knowing me so well.  Better than I knew myself.

Promises over Problems

Yesterday, I got a message from our receptionist about a woman who called several times that day trying to reach me in the office.   I didn’t recognize her name.  Messages left by one another… and brief texts back and forth.  Who was this lady and why was she urgently trying to reach me?

Finally today, we connected.  I spent close to two hours on the phone with this precious single mom. She doesn’t attend my church but her co-worker does and she told her she should call me. I asked her a few times if there was something specific that she needed help with, to which she would just avoid my questions altogether.

It was then that God hushed me and told me that what she needed, was someone to listen.

I listened to her tell me about her day, her story, her past, and the circumstances that led her to single motherhood.  As she shared the hardships of her past, I thought to myself how incredibly upbeat she sounds.  I’m confused by this call.

She described the pride she has in her children.  They work so hard.  They have heard the word “no” from her so many times over the years that they no longer ask for much.  Maybe they stopped expecting something better.  Maybe the number of homes they have lived in and couches they have slept on has taken its toll on them.  Another night of cereal for dinner or donated clothes in contrast to their friends designer labels.  Maybe they are no longer filled with hope.

This is where I caught a quiver in her voice and my stomach sank…I knew what was coming.  Oh, please no.  I’m ashamed to admit this but as she slowed her speech to compose herself, I was thinking why did she have to call me, Lord?  My day was busy…good…productive…until this call.

As quick as those thoughts came, they quickly left as God gave me a hefty yet loving, spiritual slap.  He wanted me to listen and to stir up some distant memories.

She said she hates being the “not fun” parent, the one who has to make and enforce the rules.  No child support means working one full-time job and a part-time job at night and on the weekends.  She runs home in between jobs to make a quick dinner, grab the mail (more bills), and spend an hour with her kids.

Her voice sounds upbeat again as she joyfully tells me how they now have a small, but nice, town home with a garage to keep them safe when they park late at night.  She signed up for months of overtime hours to save up enough to surprise her daughter with a cheap, little car for her sweet 16.  My chin starts to quiver.  At this point, I am thrilled that I am the one listening and not the one talking.

She’s trying to hide it but I can tell she is crying.  My thoughts are begging her stop.  Other people’s tears hit me hard.

I want to do more, Shaylah.  I want to be more.  This wasn’t the life I imagined, she says.  I’m tired.  So…very…tired.  Beyond exhaustion.  I work so hard with so little gain.  What is it getting me or my kids?  One more day of… this?  So often, I just want to quit.  I am so very lonely yet zero time for friends.  My free time is for my kids and that time is going by fast.  I’ve already missed out on so much.  I just want someone to understand, to see me, to appreciate me, and to love me.

Lord please help me with the right words to say to this sweet mom.

I understand.  More than you know.  Sadly, I have pushed those thoughts and memories to the deepest depths of my mind when God wants them at the forefront.  He reminds me how my heart is deeply burdened for single moms, how I have been praying for ways to reach those who have lost their hope, strength, and their fight to make it.  And here she is.  This is what I prayed for, right?

I tell her God loves her.  More than she can ever possibly imagine.  He wants to live in her heart.  He wants to take away her fears, her worries, and her stress.  He wants her to rest her body and mind and to rest her soul with His word.  He wants her to know that He sees her and all that she does for her children.  He is with her.  Trust Him.  Allow Him to guide her decisions…it doesn’t all have to rest on her shoulders.   The fruit of her hard work and sacrifice will come as He understands sacrifice for love of others more than we can ever comprehend.  Christ has a purpose for every setback and the wisdom for every decision to be made.  He is asking her to see His promises over her problems.  You are loved sweet single mom.

Send Me

Isiah 6;8

I am currently co-leading a single mom small group with some really incredible young women from my church.  Our small group is based on the study of an amazing book my pastor, Jeff Little wrote called It’s Worth It – A Fresh Perspective on Faith, Religion, and Relationships.  The topic of our last session led us to an area that has always been difficult for me…leading the lost, hurt, and lonely to Christ.  As a Christian, as a leader, and for someone who’s on staff at a church, that is not the easiest thing to admit especially when I’m surrounded by incredible leaders who seem to always say the perfect thing, at the perfect time, and with the perfect applicable scripture quoted.

That’s not me.

I am very much an introvert with a horrible memory for quoting scripture, who is happiest at home. Who feels anxious around people and even more so in large crowds of people.  I dread small talk and most often come across as an awkward person who may even be perceived as standoffish.  Who was saved only 17 years ago, with only the past 7 years fully dedicated to pursuing and loving Christ and hungry to know Him more.  Even with all this, strangely enough God gave me a massive and at times overwhelming burden for hurting people, especially those who happen to be single moms or teenagers.

When I turned to God all those years ago, I learned over time that He speaks to me through my thoughts and a profound pressure in my heart and soul to do or say something.  It won’t go away.  His constant command has always been to use my past to help others, no matter the cost to my ego.  Not easy for an introvert.  But with the encouragement and push from my beautiful mentor and friend years ago, speaking of my past to help others has become one of the easiest things for me…easier than small talk!  I never could have imagined the joy at watching another’s life change through Christ based on sharing my most humiliating and lowest moments in my testimony.

But just walking up to someone God is urging me to approach….well, that’s the difficult part for me.

The ladies in my small group have diverse personalities and perspectives and I believe, based on where we are all at in our walk with Christ, we were relieved to hear that this is a difficult area for all of us.  We had some really great discussions about obeying Christ to reach out to someone who’s lost…maybe we know this person, maybe we don’t. The fear of being shot down, rejected and laughed at was a common worry amongst everyone.

It’s helpful to know and to understand that yes those things may happen but what’s important is to really listen and then obey.  After several encounters that didn’t go so well for me (or the person involved!) and many where I disobeyed and just walked away…I had a long talk with God.  I’ll spare you the details of my whining but after so many prayers of “come on God – please ask someone else” He responded by saying to me “You need to listen to Me.  I did not ask you to SAVE them.  I did not ask you to quote scripture or try to persuade them to love Me.  What I asked you to do was to plant seeds.  To love them as I love with absolutely no judgement.”  Now, I can do that.

I used my memories of past encounters with Christians to help me understand this better.  The lost don’t always consider themselves “lost” by Christian terms.  So attempts to tell them they are and they need to be saved can be fruitless and perceived as critical judgement.  As a former non-believer, I had been approached by several Christians over the years since I was a young girl. Those who know me well, know that my memory is not the greatest.  But I will tell you that I remember every single person who shared the message of Christ with me over those years. Maybe not their names but I remember their face, the encounter and what was said.  When I felt judged, I felt unloved which gave me moments to feel good about NOT having a relationship with God.  I would think to myself “well, who wants that?”  Certainly not me.  But those who spoke of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness through their actions and THEN their words...those who took the time to listen, to care, and to share… are the ones who made the most impact.

When I gave my life to Christ 17 years ago, there wasn’t someone there with me sharing the message of salvation, telling me I will go to hell if I don’t believe, praying over me or trying to persuade me to believe as they do.  Nope…it was just me on the floor, too tired, too stressed, and too overwhelmed to continue on.  Those seeds that were planted by many different people over the course of many years had grown into branches that were now strong enough to lift me up as I was at my lowest.  I remember the seeds of love, their strange perspective on life and joy, the seeds of grace and forgiveness…and as I continued to cry out to God, I whispered to myself… “I want that too.” And immediately I felt the presence of God saying, “it’s yours.”

I promise you, this decision to choose God was a monumental game changer for me in trying to survive and to exist in this world with purpose and meaning.  One I am eternally grateful for.  Now upon this acceptance did my circumstances drastically change for the better?  No.  Did I suddenly have money to pay our bills? No.  Did I suddenly have a good, kind and loving man in my life?  No.  I found myself pregnant, alone and with little money just a few months later.  This was not quite the grand and glorious change, I thought would just miraculously occur when I accepted Christ.

I continued to do life my way and on my own terms.  I’ve always been stubborn and most often my own worst enemy.  There would be two more times in the past 17 years, where Christ picked me up off my floor, in a mess of tears and at a point when the stress and exhaustion were just too much to endure and He reminded me that we were not created to do this alone.   That I would need Him in order to succeed. The third and final time of giving my life to Christ, it finally stuck.  And as I look back I can see all of the doors he opened, the opportunities and possibilities He provided but I had allowed my pride, stubbornness and my issue with obedience to get in my way.

God never once PUT me on the wrong path.  I had continued to CHOOSE the wrong path.

The funny thing about planting seeds of Christ in people, is that once they are planted, they create permanent roots.   They can never be permanently washed away from one’s thoughts.  I may choose to disobey, to sin, to blame God or be angry with Him.  I can push those seeds way back in the furthest part of my mind.  I can fall off the proverbial Christian “wagon” for a season and yet the roots remain.  “He” will never leave me.  Only when I embrace Him and His word, I obey, I spend time in prayer, I ask and receive forgiveness and grace…when I choose a personal relationship with Him only then can those branches grow, strengthen, blossom and eventually produce the most amazing fruit.

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:  Who should I send?  Who will go for Us?  I said:  Here I am.  Send me.”  Isaiah 6:8

I love this quote by author Mark Batterson – “God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time, but it’s up to us to see and seize those opportunities that are all around us all the time.”  Are you recognizing and seizing the opportunities God is strategically positioning in your life?  If this resonates with you, I pray that you will ask and truly listen to God’s instructions.  He is providing opportunities and moments for you to plant seeds that produce lasting fruit in other’s lives all the time whether at work, at church, school or out to dinner.  This fruit can change generations long after you’re gone.  I challenge you to step back and look around…really look at the people around you and ask God to identify who He wants to speak to through you and then step out and say “send me Lord.”






Praying for an Epiphany

open my eyes
Over the past few months, I have run head first into a writer’s roadblock.  My clarity and focus has not been on point.  Maybe summer is to blame.  Maybe I’m easily distracted.  And maybe, at times, I feel I need to contain what I really, truly, deep in my heart want to say.  Regardless of my excuses, I have several posts started but not a single one completed.  It’s been frustrating.
A dear friend asked me recently what were my greatest take aways and wisdom from my time as a single mom.  I was unable to answer her right away.  It wasn’t that there were no words but that there were too many.  A hundred or so different thoughts immediately flooded my mind and I could not form them into coherent sentences.  All I could get out was that I would let her know.
So I sat up late that night organizing my thoughts on to paper.  What did I learn most from my time as a single mom?  My “time” as a single mom.  My mind immediately jumps to thoughts of serving time in prison.  The analogy imagined is actually very fitting.
Countless times, I would wonder, is this our life?  Day in, day out, same thing.  Is this how things will always be?  I couldn’t escape.  Never a break from our reality, constantly stressed, always sad and always worried.  Depressed.  Every day, on the verge of breaking.  I was trapped inside this world I wasn’t prepared for nor equipped to handle.
My biggest dream was always to be a mom.  And then when I finally “was” a mom, I couldn’t really “be” a mom.  At least, not the mom I wished and dreamt to be.  I worked all the time just to make ends meet.  And it still, was never enough.  I did my best to ensure my kids didn’t see how stressed or how scared I was but at random times the tears would just flow.  When we would come home to no electricity, the tears would flow.  When there wasn’t enough food, when there wasn’t enough gas to get to work, when our home was broken in to…the tears would flow.  I hated the prison single motherhood created for me and my children.  This wasn’t the dream I envisioned for us.
It was an epiphany, a God-given realization that this chaotic mess of our life was created by my own personal choices and that alone is what broke us free from our prison.  That’s not an easy pill to swallow.  But, it is life changing.  And that was my goal…to change this life.  So…I put my big girl panties on and I walked through the consequences of my choices and actions like a mature woman of God.
I love Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word Epiphany.  It is so very, very fitting.
1 : a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.
2 : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
3 : a (1) :  a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) :  an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) :  an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
3 : b :  a revealing scene or moment
Doesn’t that sound beautiful?  A key moment for massive life change that can only flow through Christ?  How, you might ask?  Simply by ASKING Him for it.
Soon after this epiphany and release of everything to God, I lost everything.  And it was ok.  I was ok. We were ok.  I say this because for the first time, I could feel Christ breathing life into me.  I was accepting my consequences for my choices and actions from years, months and days ago.  From this moment on, it would be God’s way.
Time served.  From the walls I built as my prison to the rubble I created trying to break free on my own, birthed these little gems as I opened my eyes to Christ:
  • I stopped blaming others.  I stopped feeling sorry for myself and my situation.  I shut down the pity party and sent everyone home.  I stopped thinking the world and others owed me something because of the way the world and others had hurt me.  This allowed me to see that everyday I have a choice, regardless of how I was treated or hurt in my past.
  • I asked Christ to open my eyes to see every area where I made poor decisions, displayed selfish behavior and areas where I was consumed with pride. (ohhh….there was so much pride!!)
  • I asked Christ to help me learn from my mistakes and guidance to make better choices.
  • I accepted and acknowledged the consequences from my own choices and actions.
  • I asked Christ to help me forgive, to see the benefits to forgiving and the benefits to no longer blame others for my disastrous life.
  • The bible says to forgive others the way Christ forgives me.  I realized that I struggled with forgiving others because I didn’t have rock solid faith that Christ had or could really forgive me. The acceptance that I have indeed been forgiven provided me with the faith I needed to forgive others the way He so lovingly forgives me. (serious life changer!)
  • I asked Christ to heal my emotional state and provide me with clarity and wisdom. When my emotional well-being was always on the verge of breaking, it blocked clarity and wisdom and provided an excellent pathway for the enemy to infiltrate my mind.  As a result of believing the enemy, bad choices and impulse choices were made.  For example, what can I do to save us this very minute and not what steps can I take now to ensure a better future for me and my kids.
  • Listening and learning from Christ on the RIGHT QUESTIONS to ask.  For example, I feel my problem is I don’t have enough money to pay my bills this month but the real problem is that I never have enough money to pay my bills.  So the appropriate and correct question to be asked is who can I ask for help on budgeting, saving and planning instead of asking for help to pay my bills or borrow money from.  The same thing applies if I never enough money to buy food, or my job doesn’t pay enough, or I always end up in an unhealthy relationship.  I realized I had to ask the right questions for the appropriate help to change my future not just solve my immediate problem.
  • I switched from a consumer mentality to a producer mentality.  I wanted to make a difference in this lifetime and not watch my life pass me by because of my bitterness, pride and self-pity.
  • Meditating on and believing God’s truths about me.  This increased my self-esteem and self-worth in ways I can not even begin to describe.  I was the daughter of the almighty King and worth being treated as such.

“Open my eyes, that I may behold the wonderful

things from Your law.” ~ Psalm 119:18

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open

his eyes that he may see.” ~ 2 Kings 6:17


He Is The God Of Hope


Two night’s ago, God stepped in (IN A HUGE WAY) and made a connection YEARS in the making.  These are the kinds of moments I try to explain to others about using your past pain to help others.  Only this was WAY BIGGER!

A family pet with an upset stomach, resulted in a late night trip to the grocery store for someone very near and dear to my heart.

He ran in, made his purchase and ran back out…eager to get back home and back to bed.  But….God had other plans.

As he stopped at the red light, he watched a young woman run across the street and on to the overpass bridge.  What seemed odd soon turned to terrifying as she quickly moved over the protective barrier from the pedestrian sidewalk and to a possible long leap onto the heavy interstate traffic below.

He quickly jumped out of his car and in a matter of seconds he had a hold of her.  At this time of the night, he was one of the few people out and he was hoping that someone…anyone…was calling the police because there was no way he could risk letting go.

Words spoken were not remembered.  In the warm night, she was shaking with tears streaming down her face.

What mattered was the connection.  The streetlights were there for a reason bigger than just guiding traffic that night.  Because for just a few moments she was given a glimpse into his eyes.   His eyes shed light at an accumulation of a lifetime of struggles, joys, sadness and severe depression all within his eyes.  The eyes can give away so much, they are a view into a person’s soul.  She looked into his soul and his eyes told her that he had been there too.  Not this exact spot on a bridge late at night but that he had once been in this same dark hole full of no purpose, tragic despair and no reason for going on.

His eyes not only told her that he had been there once before but it gave her a slight glimpse of HOPE.  Hope that things, though not always easy, WILL get better and that life is worth hanging around for, even with all of its ups and downs.  She was now the one holding on to him.  Squeezing his hands so tightly, he could feel her nails.   That tiny ray of hope helped her back over the wall.  Soon strangers gathered around and began to pray over her as the police finally arrived.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 15: 4-6

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15: 13

He is the GOD of HOPE.

His life was forever changed.

This was no random event.  This was an appointment made only by our Father, Christ Jesus.  An appointment made many years earlier.

Let’s go back five years.

Five years ago he reached his lowest, deepest, darkest hour after decades of sadness and depression. He was ready to leave this world.  He felt the world was a better place without him in it.

I sat at his kitchen table and cried with him.  I spoke to him of God’s love for him, His forgiveness and His Grace.  That each and every one of us has a purpose in this life.  Our Lord has set every one of us on this earth for a very special reason.  Our life is His…and it is not for us to take.

He told me he had no purpose.  And I told him that one day, someone will need HIS past pain and experience to get thru THEIR darkest hour.  He made a promise to me that night around his kitchen table that he would not take his life.  That he would search for hope in the darkness and would use that to fight through the pain.  It was never easy but he did it.

God’s timing is not always understood by us until after the fact but it is ALWAYS perfect.  His timing is difficult for us to comprehend.  We want answers now and we want to know why.  We want Him to remove the pain and torment.  He is the easiest one to blame when things go wrong in our lives.

He gave this world the gift of free will.  We are all free to choose.  The enemy uses this to his greatest advantage.  The enemy banks on the idea that when things go wrong, someone hurts you, you lose someone or if you are suddenly facing the consequences of your own choices and actions…that you will blame God.  Thus distancing yourself from Him even more.  This gives the enemy an enormous amount of pleasure.  He can increase your sadness, anger, pain and ultimately depression.

But our God takes our blame, He takes our anger and He waits.  He waits because He knows what our future holds.  It’s not always about us….but about something much, much bigger than us.  Our pain, shame, sadness….it’s all deeply personal.  It’s hard to imagine that He can use our personal experiences to help another….but He does and in doing so, it helps us heal as well.

Now….had he (who was on the brink of suicide) not searched for hope and fought through his pain and sadness, not only would he have missed out on an amazing life over the past five years…..but this woman’s life would have ended.  The drivers of the car or cars that would have ultimately struck her would be forever changed in the worst possible way.  Her family would have suffered for years with the anger, torment and pain known only by those left behind when a loved one commits suicide.

There truly is power in His name.




He Came Out Of Nowhere

lostsheepjesuschristparable (1)


He came completely out of nowhere.

There were no prior thoughts or stories of Him from a memory long ago.  Not a single memory verse to cling to.  There was no turning to Him in times of trouble.  No songs of worship or praising His name.  Never a bible to read from.

But suddenly He was there.

What the hell for?

was all I could think.

He struck me with the force of hurricane winds as if He had been running after me for sometime and finally caught up but couldn’t slow down.  Initially, I didn’t like it.

What was happening to me?  Suddenly my lifestyle seemed wrong and out-of-place for my character.  What character was this?  Where were these thoughts coming from?  Christian people started coming into my life suddenly doing things for me that no one had ever done before.  Their kindness…overwhelming.

The pressure on my heart and on my mind was at times too much to bear.  So I did what I was best at doing and I pushed Him away.  When you’re not wanted, you are pushed away.  It is as simple as that.

Where most would gladly flee, He would not.

Still stubborn and unwilling to give it all to Him but willing to move slowly, step by step, closer to Him…taking His hand.

My desire for a bible was strange but I bought the first one I could find.  Full of a strange hope, I began to read.

Where does one begin to read if they have never opened a bible before?  At the beginning, of course!  And so I did.  I read and did not understand but strangely enough I landed on Genesis 16:1-16.  I read it over and over again.  The bible has a story about an unwed mother? Seriously?  And it’s in the very first book of the bible?

Isn’t God clever?

Genesis 16 tells us the story of Hagar and Sarai.

Hagar did not have a beautiful life.  She was a slave to Abram’s wife, Sarai.  Even though this was the norm for this period of time, it can not wash away the feelings that I’m certain consumed Hagar.  She was the property of Sarai and if Sarai told her to allow Abram to sleep with her, then she must comply.  Can you even imagine?  Sarai was unable to have children of her own and in her desperate need to be a mother, she chose her slave to provide those children for her.  Yet she began to despise Hagar once she knew she was pregnant with her husband’s child.

Verse 6 tells us that Sarai “mistreated Hagar.”  So much so that Hagar decided to risk it all and run away from this life.

Verse 7 says “The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert.”  What stood out to me was that the angel of the Lord sought out and found Hagar.  Proving God’s love for us all, regardless of our situation and current place in life. And it provided the explanation I needed as to how God suddenly found me…He has been seeking me out all along.

Even though the angel encourages her to go back to Sarai, it was out of concern for Hagar’s well-being.  Pregnant and alone in the desert was not going to provide a positive outcome for Hagar.  God knew she would be ok by returning and thus provided her the encouragement to go back.

It gets even better in verse 8.  “And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”

I felt as though God was asking me…”you have focused too long on where you came from. Now where are you planning to go?”

Those questions really struck a chord with me.  God wasn’t looking for answers from me that day.  He already knew the answer.  Same thing with Hagar.  He was asking the question to make me stop and think about my life.

It was then that I knew the only logical answer to “where are you planning to go” was…

I’m going to follow You.


The Best Teenage Girl Birthday Party Idea…EVER!



I have been meaning to share this with all my moms for sometime now but after sharing the idea with a friend from church the other day and her loving the idea for her daughter, I knew I had to get this on my blog to share with everyone.

Okay…so you have a pre-teen or teenage daughter with a birthday quickly approaching.  What do you do that hasn’t been done a thousand times before?  How do you create the most fantastic party for your daughter while staying within your budget?

I have got the greatest, most fun, most amazing birthday party idea in all the world!!!  My daughter attended a birthday party a few months ago.  I arrived on time to pick her up but the party was running a little behind schedule so they invited me in…and I am so very, very happy they did!!  The mom said I could steal and share her idea anytime.

The party was themed “The Fashion Challenge”.  And here are the details:

Instead of purchasing and giving away party favors, you give each girl who arrives a pretty envelope with $20.00 inside.  You may be thinking right away WHOA $20!!  I thought this was going to be “budget friendly”.... so just follow me for a minute and you will see.

The idea of the challenge is for the girls to shop and put together an amazing outfit with only $20.00!!  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it??

Keep the number of party guests small.  Before the day of the party, decide on what inexpensive girls clothing store you are going to use.  Some great ideas are Rue21 and Forever21 – both are super inexpensive yet carry all the fashions teens are in love with.  But you can only select one store so make the decision well before the girls arrive.  You will also need to create an easy to understand document that outlines the points values for each girl to use.  Once you have created this document, I would print several on one sheet of paper, cut it out in little squares and place inside each money envelope.  They can use it to assign points to the other girls as well.

For example:

Most Creative Outfit – 10pts

Ability to purchase a top and bottom – 10pts

Accessories plus a top and bottom – 20pts

You get the idea.  Just make it super easy for the girls to be able to rate each other once you are back home.

Inform the girls of the following rules before they begin to shop.

Here are the rules:

  • 1 hour total to shop and purchase
  • Keep your receipts
  • Do not go over your $20.00
  • You can not use your own money

Not using your own money is a big rule for me.   Just as we keep our family on a budget, some of the girls attending the party may have limited funds or their parents have limited funds.  

Once the shopping is done and the time is up, take all the girls back to your home for food, cake and presents. Sometime in between those activities, tell the girls they can go change into their new outfits or they can just display them.  Each girl votes on the other girls outfits.  The girl with the highest score wins a prize you have purchased before hand.  But they must be able to provide their receipt showing they did not go over $20.00.  Each girl then gets to go home with their new outfit!

(I thought of an alternative to assigning points and naming a winner, if you choose not to do that.  If each of the girls follows the above 4 rules they each get a mini prize.  It could be a small lotion or just an oversized candy bar.  Then just have a fashion show with the girls in their new outfits!)

If you have older teenage girls, you could take them to the mall, assign them into teams (they must stay together) and allow them to each use their $20.00 in multiple stores.  They must meet you at the assigned spot within 45 minutes.

So where does “budget friendly” come into play?  Think of how much you typically spend on your daughter’s birthday party.  You can easily do “make your own pizza’s” or pick up a bunch of Little Caesar’s pizza’s at about $6.00 a box. We always make our own birthday cakes each year for each kid.  We have done this since they were old enough to talk. They pick out the flavor of cake, icing and design and I always allow them the opportunity to help me bake it. Many times we add cupcakes too!  I’ve always thought our homemade cakes tasted so much better than grocery store cakes….and it has become a bit of tradition for us…a memory maker, as I like to call them!

Most years I try to make their invitations as well because I’ve got a creative side to me that must be allowed out every once in a while…or….I…will….explode!  You can also check out Pinterest to get some inexpensive ideas on decorations.  Your daughter may even enjoy helping you create and decorate the perfect party (a memory maker!)!  One of these days I’ll post my decorations from my wedding…using some of my most favorite wholesale price stores!  (I’ve got two words for you….Koyal Wholesale!!!!)

So here is just a basic possible breakdown:

  • 6 girls (including the birthday girl) – $120.00
  • 3 large pizzas – $18.00
  • 1 case of water bottles from Costco – $4.00
  • Homemade birthday cake and icing (box from grocery store) – under $10.00
  • Party favors – already taken care of!
  • Invites – create your own!

Not too bad when I think about the money spent on previous birthday parties!  

If you use this idea for your daughter, will you please share with us the details of your party?  Any ideas or suggestions to add to this?  Best wishes to you on an amazing birthday party!!


Turn North



I continue to see photo quotes like the one above posted everywhere.

I think it’s baloney.  Actually, I know it’s baloney.  And at times I just want to shake the next woman I see posting this on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, especially so, when I’m aware of the reasons why she has posted it..  There are so many things I would like to say to her.

I spent the first 25 plus years of my life using this as MY anthem...my theme song, if you will.


What a waste.

It allowed AND encouraged me to tolerate and accept bad behavior from men.  It allowed me to believe that a man could treat me as if I was nothing, he could lie, he could cheat and continue to lie some more. But if we worked things out and told me all the things I wanted to hear and things would be different and then of course it must mean that we were “meant to be”.

It upsets me at times to think of the woman I used to be.  How I could tolerate and put up with so much?  How could I allow a man to fill my head with so much self-doubt?   Looking back it would have been such a blessing to have someone shake me or give me a good smack and tell me to WAKE UP!  It wasn’t until I started to read the bible and to begin to understand and believe what God had to say about me that I began to develop some much-needed self-esteem and a much stronger backbone.

If the woman who wrote this or the women who post this, were/are anything like me from my long ago past, then I believe she was trying to justify her mixed emotions, her doubts and make excuses for her man’s actions.  Maybe she didn’t want to be single again, did not want to be alone and didn’t want to risk finding another relationship just like this one.

Maybe she grew up in a home where the male figures in her home and in her life were less than appealing when it came to how they treated women.  She was programmed to believe that what they said to her and about her, to be true.

“Couples who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart…”  What does this even mean?  Things that are meant to tear a couple apart are usually happening for a reasonbecause you are NOT meant to be together.

God has blessed us women with the gift to sense when things are just not right.  So why do so many of us ignore this beautiful and protective instinctual gift?  And even when the truth is blatantly in our face, many times we give him another chance. You don’t need to listen to his lies.  Your boyfriend’s actions will tell you anything and everything you need to know.

So where do you draw the line with behaviors and actions that are meant to “tear a couple apart”?

  •  Cheating?

  •  Lying about insignificant things?

  •  Lying about significant things?

  •  He doesn’t make you a priority?

  •  He only texts you or calls you late at night?

  •  He doesn’t value your thoughts or opinions?

  •  He raises his hand to you?  Threatens you?  Hits you?

  •  He stays out all night, without you and not answering your calls.  Makes you doubt your instincts?

  •  He makes you feel like you’re stupid, inadequate and/or crazy?

  •  He criticizes and humiliates you at home and in front of others?

  •  He is often jealous and angry?

  •  He has no respect for you as a single mother whose time is so very precious?

When a woman is secure, confident and knows her worth through Christ, the above instances WOULD BE reasons to tear a couple apart…FOR GOOD.  She would consider the break up a BLESSING!  She would leave this relationship immediately (after the first offense) and SHE would come out STRONGER than ever before.  I can say this with certainty because it took me many years to learn it!

Christian or not, I believe most people have read this.  It’s a great verse to put on a plaque, to read and feel that it’s a great verse to live by but yet so many women still justify bad behavior from the men they are dating and turn to the first photo quote as their source of encouragement.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us the following:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not say that love is a verbally and physically abusive man.  It does not say that he will push you into behavior and a relationship you are not ready for.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not say that love is a jealous man who is eager and quick to tell you how much better he is than you or make you feel like you are less than him.  It is not a man who loves attention from other women and has no issues with flirting in front of you.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs.  It does not say that love is an insulting and condescending man nor does it say that love is someone who only cares about his own needs with little to no regard for yours.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It does not say that love is a man who enjoys creating drama and stress in your life.  It does not say that love is a man who continually lies and then tries to make you feel like you are the issue, you’re crazy or jealous.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.  It does not say that love is a man who puts you in dangerous situations.

When my children were both under the age of one, Jesus pressed deeply into my heart and told me “it’s no longer about me.”  My purpose was to my children.  I would not bring a man into their lives who did not exemplify the type of man I wished my son to one day be. And I would not bring a man into their lives who did not behave in a manner that I would wish for my daughter’s future husband.

Some single moms who continue to make excuses for pathetic men and keep these men in their lives, are in a sense part of the problem.  Don’t get angry if that defines you.  It once defined me too.  Son’s are learning how to treat women and daughter’s are learning what to tolerate, what’s acceptable behavior and how to think of themselves.  Thus perpetuating the problem.  Maybe, just maybe God is telling you as well that your purpose during this season of your life, is to your children.

There is an incredibly powerful verse that I used over and over again years ago.  It was ingrained into every fiber of my being.  With this verse, I was able to spiritually move past huge mountains in my life and eventually God blessed me with the most amazing husband and father to my children.

Deuteronomy 2:3 – “You have circled this mountain long enough.  Now turn North.”

So what mountains have you been circling long enough…a bad relationship?  It’s time to turn North.  Continually believing that you are less than deserving of an incredible life?  Turn North.  Negative self talk and continual self-doubt?  Turn North.  Relying on love and attention in any form to fill your needs?  Turn North towards Christ...only He can truly fill your needs and He will move your mountains.  Jesus is always the best match for any mess in our lives!

Dear Lord,  Thank you for placing seeds of ability and super-human strength in each of us.  I know you see the greatest potential in each and every one of us.  Help the ladies reading this to see themselves through your eyes.  Please provide each of them with the wisdom and encouragement to turn North from their repetitive and troublesome “mountains” by placing their trust in you.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.



By Your Side


By Your Side.

Where could I go from your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there.  If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there.  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me and Your right hand shall hold me.  ~ Psalm 139:7-10

Do you ever feel alone?  I mean, really alone to the point where you feel God is no longer listening nor providing you with the supportive lift or guidance you desperately need?

The above verse emphasizes that even those who do everything possible to escape God’s presence have no possibility of EVER doing so.  So in understanding this to be true, we would also have to accept that it would be even more unlikely for someone who is deeply and actively pursuing God to not be able to find Him.

At times, when you feel you are slipping further away from Him, your faith may become neglected. When you sense your faith beginning to slip, push forward and really begin to intentionally nurture your faith.  Reach out to your sisters in Christ.  Keep your mind focused on prayer, worship and quiet time with the Lord.  Think of Him as your spiritual oxygen.  

There are a lot of things in life that are difficult to understand.  Faith allows the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see. ~ John Maxwell

God is with you always.  Even when you don’t want Him to be.  Even when your life feels scarred by sin.  Even when nothing is going your way.  Even when you are at your deepest and darkest moment.  You may not be able to see Him, hear Him or physically touch Him but He is always by your side.

Faith can be difficult.  We want to see… and touch to feel… and to experience His presence.  Christ’s presence is different from that which we would expect from a fellow human being.  You can hear Him through scripture.  You can see Him through answered or unanswered prayers.  And when you feel comforted and at peace, know that you are feeling His touch and are wrapped in His loving arms.

When you feel the distance between you and God is too great, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Have you allowed the enemy access to your thoughts and behaviors?  Has this created unresolved sin? Acknowledge your sin, ask for forgiveness, pray and move forward not back.
  • Are you trusting the enemy more than you are trusting God?
  • Assess your own personal choices or actions.  Could your bad luck really just be the consequences of those choices or decisions?  (You must be painfully honest with yourself)  If so, accept the consequences and make a plan through God to move forward.  We encourage our children to accept the consequences of their choices and God wants us to do the same.  There are so many lessons and opportunities for amazing personal growth when you do this.
  • Could your unanswered prayers really be for your benefit?  Is there a lesson to be learned?   God knows the plans He has for you and your prayer request may not fit in to those plans.  Trust Him and eventually you will be so extremely grateful.
  • Are you intentionally looking for signs of His presence and listening to His voice through scripture or are you consumed in your stress, worry and misery?  When you hand your worry over to God and trust in Him, the stress and the misery will alleviate.  You may be surprised of all the signs you have been missing of Him actively at work in your life.

If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all. ~ Isaiah 7:9

When I look back at my rough, stressful and miserable past…I can see that God was with me all along. For example, as a single mom He did not create my financial problems.  I did that on my own.  I expected to make a big mess all on my own and then say “Hey God, fix this for me.”  These were the unanswered prayers that I am now so very, very grateful for.

I learned that the only way to not make the same mistakes again was to be the woman and mother God fully expected me to be and walk through and extinguish the fires I created.  Learning the lessons as I go.  He was with me by opening doors of opportunity for me, placing people in my life to encourage and support me and constantly building my character and spiritual strength.

He was with me always.

And I promise you that He is with you too.


“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand and I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mineYour grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine


10 Reasons why failure was the best thing to happen to me

10 Reasons Why Failure Was the Best Thing to Happen to Me 


I am known as a deep thinking type of person.   At times, I think too much or I over think things.  I will even think my way through what should have been a good nights sleep.    It is a curse at times but as each birthday passes (40 to be exact – yikes!) I’ve come to appreciate this little quirk about me.  Writing has been an outlet for the thoughts that wish to take up a permanent (party all night) residence in my head.

In my past, I listened to other voices telling me I was worthless.  A failure.  Soon the other voices no longer mattered because the one in my head was stronger than all others.  The supreme voice.  I failed to realize there is only ONE supreme voice…and it was not me.

The failures slowly rolled in at first and then they cruised into overdrive.  Sure there were a few successes along the way but eventually most everything ended in failure.  Why?  For me, the answer was a lack of faith.

I have yet to find that person who believes failing is the best thing to happen to them, while they are failing.   Over the years it has become easier and easier to see God’s lessons in the midst of my mistakes.  So my past nine years shall be named “The Retrospect Years”.  Sounds so cool, doesn’t it?  Well that’s me…super cool chic.  (I am so not serious about that.)


So in retrospect, failure really was one of the best things to happen to me for the following reasons:

  1. It humbled a proud single mom who relied solely on herself and not God.  “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” ~ Proverbs 3:27-28
  2. Learning from my failures and understanding why I kept failing brought me closer to God.  When I spent my time justifying my poor decisions or blaming others, I avoided God and continued down a path to further destruction.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
  3. I learned to trust God in all circumstances.  My fear of failing was actually a lack of faith which caused me to fail even more.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5&6
  4. I learned that it was okay to feel weak which allowed Him to work more effectively through me.  Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”  ~  Psalm 62:8
  5. The voice of Christ become much more vocal then my voice of fear, doubt, self hate and blame.  “For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of his tent; He will lift me high upon a rock.” ~  Psalm 27:5
  6. I learned how crafty and deceitful the enemy can be.  This encouraged me to stay mentally prepared for the enemy’s attacks and to seek God’s council…always.  “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”~  Ben Franklin
  7. As a “failure”, I learned that I was in good company and that gave me hope.  There are numerous biblical characters and leaders who failed.  God is not so concerned with how many times we fail as long as the lessons are learned, we get back up and accept His outstretched hand.  “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”  ~ Proverbs 24:16
  8. I matured by accepting responsibility and the consequences for my choices, actions or inaction.
  9. Acknowledging my failures as learning opportunities, provided me with encouragement.  “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father disciplines the son he delights in.” ~ Proverbs 3:11-12
  10. And through failures, I became a much better mom and role model to my kids.  My mistakes have provided my children with real life examples of the difference between a life doing things “my way” or a life doing things “God’s way.”  “This God–His way is perfect;the word of the LORD proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” ~ Psalm 18:30

   How has failure helped you to succeed?

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