The illusion of mediocrity is that something is okay because everybody does it. But that’s also why everybody is not always okay.

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Single Mom Lesson – Foundation in Christ

My church asked that I give a special session for single moms at our annual ladies’ day event. As a single mom, this was very exciting and humbling. God wastes no experience and He was already using my situation as a single mom to help me share His love and victory with other women.

In a room of nine ladies, including two single grandmothers raising their grandchildren, I shared this lesson as tools for single moms on how to build their lives according to God’s design. The prevalent verse was I John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” (KJV)

As single moms, we are very busy and in charge of a lot of decisions. We feel pulled in different directions and are constantly balancing priorities. With all the exertion, do we forget to let God love us?

Bible reading is good. Attending church is good. Serving the Lord is good. All these require energy and we can get wrapped up in showing God, “Look how much I love you by all these things I do. All these things I don’t do. Look, Lord. Look how much I love you.”

While our efforts are important, may I remind us to frame our to-do lists as opportunities in how we LET God love us. You can picture the arm motions of bringing something big and tall INTO and ONTO our bodies as a way to illustrate how we can allow to love us.

The first point is salvation. To a room of Christian women, this might seem basic. But I urged them to revisit the basics. The building of block of salvation means that we have a:

A. Foundation in Christ

B. Foundation for Our Home

The big task is already done: that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. That means that our experiences are filtered through Christ. The status of a single mom may carry a stigma. Sometimes we are slighted in subtle ways. Being a single mom through widowhood also has its unique wounds. But it is so important that we root our identity in CHRIST and not our circumstance or the sting of culture.

We shouldn’t  get tired of the act of love that has already been given through the gift of salvation. To add, if there are children in the home who haven’t accepted Christ, then we don’t want to get in the way of bringing them to the Lord. We must make it as easy as possible for them to hear the Gospel and to be nurtured with a loving and godly church community.

Salvation is also the foundation for our home. The choices and boundaries we make in our homes change when Jesus is the head of the home. The expression of love and enforcement of discipline, training and forgiveness take on a new dimension when the Holy Spirit is involved. I Corinthians 3:10 summarizes this foundation principle beautifully, as it reads, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

More lessons to come.

Blessings,

Mahal

Stephanie Fast – how she healed from childhood trauma

I’m sharing this wonderful and moving broadcast from Focus on the Family with speaker, Stephanie Fast. She was a war orphan from Korea, living on the streets for the first few years of her life. She has a phenomenal story about adoption, salvation and healing. Enjoy this message here. For more detailed stories on Stephanie’s amazing journey, please visit her website, Destiny Ministries.

Side-view mirror reflection of my mentor.

We all need mentors in our life. Some people are put sharply in our path to warn and wake us up. Others are set nicely in the living room at sunset and will stay with us for a lifetime. I’ve had the blessing of having mentors for a season, to coach, guide, counsel and correct me through complicated times.

One mentor is my mom. Through her life, through her fight, through her abruptness and overwhelming instinct to give and provide for people, she taught me sacrifice. Perhaps at the expense of learning prudence, discretion, firm and clear boundaries and seeing something through and through. But childhood, in its essence is a season, though we’re told to carry the fascination from that time to explore new things.

The diagnosis with cancer in 2012 brought on a difficult time in my life. The effects and blessings from that season, as you can imagine, have many layers. God uses times in our lives where He shaves down our perspective of what’s important and turns our gaze to what really matters. I raced to God in that season. I had matter-of-fact conversations with my daughter about what her choices are and how to discern them, if she comes to a point in her life when I’m not there. Can you envision the chain of motherhood, a link from my mom to me, then another from me to my daughter?

I would probably be too selfish to understand what my mother went through during my recovery. Seeing me groggy from a 7-hour surgery, slowly pushing myself out of the hospital bed to steady my body for a walk down the hallway, the labored turn of the body to get into a position to sleep, the pain and change of color on my face when I dealt with demons in the bathroom from radiation damaging my nerves. It is one thing to bring your child into this world. It’s another thing to fight to keep them in it.

I’m not the kid who finds ways to nestle next to mom. For the unconfessed co-dependant, it’s a nightmare.

I can go days without contact. I get quiet in discussions that might rouse emotion in someone else and I voice my opinion when it doesn’t want to be heard. I’m not the one to invite to a dinner party.

God showed me compassion. He showed me how to take into consideration how it must’ve been to grow up in a home with eight siblings, the expectation and attention of good grades, the rush of a mistake with an unplanned pregnancy, a wedding to a man with too much uncertainty, then moving to a foreign country as a single mom. Then, facing the cost of underestimating the impact of those life choices in later years. Most of all, going through all of that without experiencing the presence of Christ and the reassurance that she can be redeemed through Jesus.

I would have bought a luggage full of bitterness and manipulation during recovery, if God didn’t walk with me and stay with me. I can’t imagine how other people face the biggest mountain in their lives without God. But I can see the effects.

There is a difference between acknowledging God’s presence and wanting to believe that He’s in control and actually inviting His son, Jesus, into our heart and life. My prayer is for my mentor to see more than just the umbrella of God. But to come forward and ask Christ to be her Savior. After all her sacrifice, she can know the greatest Mentor of all.