Dear Single Mom…

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I have a client who is a single mom and she is going through, well, hell. Recently, as I listened to her recite everything that has transpired since we last spoke, my heart just broke for her.

The life of a single mom can feel crushing at times. So many things to juggle, swallow and manage. In her case, things like a divorce she didn’t want, kids in almost every age group, being cut off financially after decades of marriage, mountains of paperwork/inquiries/depositions, college loan applications, selling her home, lawyer bills, medical bills, going back to work, counseling for the kids, friends who are distancing themselves from her ‘mess’ and the constant reminder that she was and is still being betrayed by the one who took a vow to love and protect her. All of this is on top of her regular mom duties! She feels like she is drowning and it’s no wonder. It all seems like too much for one woman to bear.

Listening to her made me feel all of the feelings I felt as a single mom with 10 of my kids still at home: the exhaustion, the inadequacy, the desperation, the lack, the fear, the despair. I instantly thought–

Oh, if I knew then what I know now!

Which led to this thought:

What if I tell the single moms who are in the trenches now what I needed to hear when I lived there?

In that spirit, here is my letter to you, Single Mom (or moms who feel alone for any reason).


Dear Single Mom,

First of all, you are GLORIOUS. The way you fight for your family with love and perseverance literally reflects the glory of God! Did you know that you reflect His love and light by your very existence? Oh, yes. You do. Like the God of Heaven, you are an advocate for the hurting, for the children He has trusted you with and for righteousness for your family.

You want what is right so badly! You want what your children deserve with all of your heart! And they deserve so much more! Why should they have to suffer for the mistakes of their parents, you wonder? God Himself feels your angst. And He sees your huge heart for your children. That is why He is near to them. Nearer than you could ever be! Trust Him, He protects them, watches over them and He will use it all for their good, Praying Mom. I promise.

I know you are exhausted at the end of every day. You cry yourself to sleep sometimes (all the time). You can’t possibly cover all of the bases by yourself. Things that you are normally right on top of are slipping through the cracks by the minute. You must know: THAT’S OKAY! It is so okay! This isn’t a normal life so you are not going to be the normal you. Let that be okay. And believe that you will be ‘back to you’ one day soon. Because you will! And if you trust, keep the faith and forgive, you will be an even better you! Your God is the God who makes all things new. (And your new life is going to AMAZE you!!)

I want you to know that your brokenness isn’t too much for Him. Neither is your family’s. No matter what anyone does to break you down, or bring destruction, God can build you back up. You are being shaken, that is for sure, but you are also being established. Established on a firm foundation and rooted in TRUTH. Some of the lies you lived with have been exposed and now you are living in the LIGHT! Rejoice in that because light is worth far more than financial security or false peace.

Single Mom, your courage in the face of adversity is AWE-INSPIRING. Do you know that? Few people could stand up under the pressure you are under. And you do it as if it is second nature. You have not backed down. You will not retreat. You will take your stand and find solutions. In fact, you have become the solution! And that is because God made women to be a solution in this world. And the Heart of God has joined in with your heart. How can that produce anything less than awe-inspiring results? You, my Dear, are a Champion. A Warrior. A Queen. A Hero. No matter how defeated you feel.

Above all, I want you to know that you are not alone. Although the betrayal stings, you are NEVER alone. You ALWAYS have a Comforter, a Counselor, a Source of Peace, a Husband, a Heavenly Father for your children, a Friend and a Savior. And you WILL look back and see His fingerprints all over this time in your life. Why? Because He is FAITHFUL and you are LOVED! You are His delight, and He delights to guide you out of this place and into a pleasant place. He WILL guide you there. He WILL show you how good He is, if you let Him.

In the meantime, be more kind to yourself than you would be to an injured person. Lower your expectations of yourself and others and RAISE your expectations of God. Choose to love and serve the One who is ALWAYS trustworthy because He will NEVER let you down! Know that even on your worst day, God is for you and He fights for you. Trust Him to bring the justice you cry out for. Only He is worthy of that trust- not a man, not an attorney, not a judge.

Know that Someone knows every single struggle, pain and tragedy you have endured. It is the Father. He knows…He knows how hard it is to be us. And He will bring good into your life like to one else possibly could. Why? His heart is for the afflicted. He runs to the rescue of the lost and abandoned. Your suffering moves Him to action!

I will leave you with this Promise for you and your children from Psalm 72:12-14.

“For he will rescue the needy when he cries for help,
The afflicted and abused also, and him who has no helper.
He will have compassion on the poor and needy,
And he will save the lives of the needy.
He will redeem their life from oppression and fraud and violence,
And their blood will be precious in His sight.”

So my dear, Single Mom, take heart… (and while you’re at it, get a massage).

With So Much Love,

Kim
xoxo

happiness is not an accident

 

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Happiness is not an accident!

It is not someone’s job (like your husband, wife, boss or kids).

It is not random.

It is not a pipe dream.

It is an art.

It is a daily and deliberate decision.

And it takes some work to attain, but it is well-worth-it work!

Are you willing to do the work to get happy? Here’s where to start:

1. Determine what it is about your life that you don’t like.

2. Do the homework you need to do to learn what skills are required to better cope with or rid of those parts of your life.

3. Practice those skills over and over again.

4. Never make excuses. Take 100% responsibility for every decision, action and word spoken.

5. Make restitution for your wrongs and forgive all who have wronged you. Find peace with God.

6. Set out to help others in some way. (Not in a codependent rescuing kind of way.) Find out what your unique contribution to the world is and as Nike says, just do it.

 

Now go get happy!

xoxo,

Kim

what to do with contradiction, opposition and scrutiny

We have goals, ideas, plans, dreams….

For who we want to be.
For what we want to do.
For who we want to help.

For the life we long to live.

 

We believe it is possible (mostly) so we set out to make it a reality. We pray like it’s all up to God and we work like it’s all up to us (most days). We are on our way… And then…

Opposition.

It comes and it comes in many forms. Someone or something contradicts your dream. Or people come against you by telling you that you are the opposite of who you dream of becoming. They put you under their microscope and scrutinize you. Or maybe your finances crumble, making you doubt your ability to ever build your dream. Or you get bad news about your health that weakens your body and cripples your faith.

Or maybe you are like me, and you dreamed of helping families heal from their worst brokenness… and your own family completely crumbles.

 

I know opposition first-hand. I know scrutiny and I know what it is like to have every promise of God contradicted by the violent storms of life and the cruel words of people. Do you know what else I know? I know how to deal with it. And I want you to know how to, too! I DO NOT WANT YOU GIVING UP!!

 

First let me define it for you. Opposition is a “standing over against; the act of opposing; an attempt to check, restrain or defeat.”

 

So, pretty much anything that stands over you and against you to restrain you and your efforts or defeat you completely is opposition.

 

But it will have no power over you if you OPPOSE IT, CONTRADICT IT & SCRUTINIZE IT right back!
Watch this video to find out exactly how to deal with the opposition in your life.

To continue on to your destiny, you MUST contradict the contradiction, oppose the opposition and scrutinize the scrutiny. Whatever you do, don’t let the things you SEE or DON’T SEE stop you from pursuing the things you BELIEVE.

 

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I wrote this because it was on my heart that some of you really needed this. It’s for you if you are wondering if the things that are opposing you and your dreams are some kind of evidence that you are on the wrong path and should give up and retreat. I say NO! The contradictions and opposition are there simply to solidify your decisions, deepen your convictions and make you STRONGER. 

Now go and take the steps I told you about in the video! Oppose the opposition, contradict the contradictions, scrutinize the scrutiny! Stand on your promises, declare the truth and remind yourself daily that what God says about you is the TRUEST thing about you!

xoxo,

Kim

 

a life like this slowly destroys the one living it…

Self-care? What’s that??

That is exactly what I would’ve said if I saw this blog back in my 20’s and 30’s.

During that time, I was a mom of eleven *yes you heard me right* eleven kids. I cooked three meals a day for a double-digit-sized family, educated seven of my children as a homeschooling mom, kept my house clean (to a fault) and even attempted scrap-booking (never again!!)…all on a shoestring budget and as a wife whose husband had an addiction problem.

When hearing all this, does the work pressure come to mind?? How about crazy?? Yep.

Honestly, I can’t tell you how it all happened every day – how the kids were always fed, how they all learned how to read, how the laundry got done, how the bills got paid – I have no idea. I give the credit to God who gives His Grace for what we need, when we need it. I certainly needed it and He did give it! But what God did not do, and won’t do, was force me to take care of me.

So, while I was taking care of everyone else, I put myself last. While He gave me grace to live my daily life, I applied none of it to myself.

I did not buy myself things.
I did not spend quiet/alone time.
I did not take time for the things that I enjoyed.
I did not stop each day to think about what I needed to refill my ever-emptied tank.
I did not rest.
I did not forgive myself or show myself grace.
I just kept pushing myself to give and give, take care of it all, solve everyone’s problems and fix whatever was broken.

Sound familiar?

If so, please read my words carefully today. Especially this part:

A life like this slowly destroys the one living it.

I know this because I lived with the consequences of this life. I slowly brought myself to the edge of a total breakdown. I definitely brought myself to total burnout. And then, thank God, I learned a very powerful lesson.

Self-care is not a luxury. It is a responsibility.

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In my effort to be a better mom, wife and Christian woman, I denied my own needs for the sake of others. That left no one to take care of me. The body I was given: neglected. The heart I was given: ignored. The energy I needed to replenish: an afterthought. I was setting it all aside to take care of everyone and everything else. I was taking responsibility for everyone but me.

While drowning in this sea, I cried for help and found it. Someone wonderfully wise told me this:

The very best moms, wives, dads, husbands… take really good care of themselves.

What????

That didn’t sound very sacrificial. But I knew it sounded like something I desperately needed to do. So I listened. I began in small ways to take care of myself. I knew that I would be no good to anyone for much longer unless I did!

So, for the first time in my adult life, I put my emotional, mental and physical needs on my list of things to do.

And ya know what I discovered? I had more energy for the ones I loved. I had more patience in times of stress! I had more wisdom for tough situations. By taking responsibility for my own care, I cared for others more effectively. Kind of a paradox but oh, so real.

What about you? Are you approaching burnout? Do you need more energy, patience and wisdom? If so, then you need to take the responsibility of self-care more seriously. I mean, if you don’t do it, who will? And the job really doesn’t belong to anyone else, ya know what I mean?

How can you take care of your self today?

 

a cure for the disease to please

Last week I had coffee with my Ladies and it was fabulous! If you weren’t there, I wish you were! We dug into the subject of People Pleasing and learned SO much. Wise women shared their pearls with each other and we all left with a deeper understanding of ourselves while being equipped to take ACTION.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Reasons women get caught up in the trap of people pleasing:

1. We get our worth from being needed so we must make sure they will always need us (THAT IS NOT WHERE OUR WORTH COMES FROM. IT COMES FROM THE ONE WHO CREATED US. HE SAYS YOU ARE PRICELESS and APPROVES OF YOU EVEN ON YOUR WORST DAY!)

2. We believe it is our responsibility to make others happy, secure and stable (IT’S NOT! EACH PERSON’S QUALITY OF LIFE, HAPPINESS AND HEALTH IS THEIR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY)

3. We fall for the lie that if I give ‘my all’ to someone, they will give ‘their all’ back to me (THE TRUTH IS, IF I VALUE ME AND LOVE ME, OTHERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO TREAT ME WITH THAT SAME VALUE AND LOVE.)

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Here are some fantastic ideas we came up with to cure this disease and say NO to people pleasing crack!

1. Find your worth outside of any person or thing in this world. People and circumstances cannot be the foundation for your worthiness because they change like the wind. Remember that what God says about you is the TRUEST thing about you. He says you are worth it all- on your good days and on your bad days! Seek to know how He sees you and you will not care how anyone else does.

2. When you are tempted to people please at your own expense, stop and ask yourself this question: “What in this situation am I really accountable for?” This will help you to stop ‘owning’ other people’s problems, emotions and responses and to take charge of your own.

3. Watch for twinges of GUILT. You might be getting good at saying NO, but then that old bugger GUILT keeps lingering. Excessive guilt indicates that you have been taking on too much responsibility for how other people feel, think or act. LET IT GO, Sister. What other people think about you is none of your business, anyway. Keep your side of the street clean by taking responsibility for YOUR feelings, thoughts and choices. 🙂

4. Ultimately, it is only a deep sense of security within that cures the Disease to Please. It is my prayer for you that you would grow in security by understanding who you are to God, who He is to you and just how LOVED by Him you really are. If you understood those three things, you would truly be FREE from the Disease to Please. My absolute best advice for conquering this thing? Learn to live for an Audience of One. If you are pleasing the Father, you won’t care who says or thinks what. There is no peace in this world like the peace you get from following the Lord and doing His will.

xoxo,

Kim

 

 

what to do with judgement, criticism and haters…

Recently, I posted a comment about haters on Facebook. A dear friend of mine replied,

“Oh no! Kim, you have haters??”

Um. Yes.

We all do. No one is immune to criticism and judgment. People will do that….some will do it to your face and some behind your back (and then you get the joy of hearing about it later).

Either way, you need to know how to handle this WITHOUT allowing it to cripple you!

Here are some of my best tips for handling judgment, criticism and haters:

1. Choose what you will and WILL NOT listen to. Words have power. You are not obligated to listen to a litany of reasons why you suck at the hands of an angry or resentful person! Some of those people need to be cut out of your life completely. If it is a person you live with, well, that’s different. You will need strong boundaries and a plan for when these ugly scenes start to go down. Choose not to engage in the conversation and get out of there. Hurtful, angry, bitter words are hard to remove once they go into our minds and hearts.

If someone has a real concern that they want to address with you it is OKAY to require the conversation to be calm and respectful! Try this: “I will talk about this when you can tell me how you feel in a way that is respectful to us both.”

2. Accept the fact that you cannot control other people’s perceptions of you. People judge and they judge harshly. Have you heard the saying that people look at themselves through a telescope and at others through a microscope? I have found that to be true. For me, freedom comes from this: just plain accepting that some people will perceive me or my actions inaccurately and there is nothing I can do about it. I’m actually okay with people being wrong about me and I don’t go to the ends of the earth to change their minds. People who really value me take care to understand who I am and why I do what I do. Those are the relationships worth the investment.

3. Take a look at your side of the street. Hearing about how horrible or inadequate someone thinks we are is emotionally upsetting. So, once you have settled down emotionally, maybe a day or two or ten later, get objective. Take a step back and assess your side of the street in the situation. Were they pointing out some garbage that is really there? If so, clean it up. Were they pointing out garbage that is on their side, but telling you it is actually on your side? Or worse yet, were they blaming you for all of the garbage they have created? Do not take responsibility for what is NOT yours. Allow them to own their garbage while you are committed to owning yours. (Bonus tip: It doesn’t hurt to show them some empathy for how tough things are for them even if they blame you for it. I’m still working on this one.)

4. Remember that the 80/20 rule applies here. Even at your VERY BEST, using your BEST GIFTS, 20% of people just aren’t going to like you. You’re just not their flavor! You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches. So what? Most people love peaches! According to the 80/20 rule, 80% will join your tribe enthusiastically. So celebrate the 80 and allow the 20 to sharpen your personal sense of security and ability to deal with criticism. You need a thick skin in this life, y’all. (Thicker than that of a peach.) It can be a cruel world.

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5. Don’t let harsh criticism or judgement stop you – keep on growing. As you grow, you will learn to love and accept yourself. (You know you’ve accomplished this when you treat yourself like you would your best friend.) Strong, secure people learn to celebrate their gifts and find things to like about themselves. As you become this person you will value your time, energy, ideas and resources. You’ll invest in your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development and become a person you can be proud of. Yes, you’ll still screw up and have bad moments, but you will learn to give yourself the grace you give others and more readily accept your own humanity. Ultimately, you will learn to leverage your weaknesses and failures to take you to the next level. Who knows?? You might even be thankful for the haters one day! Grateful that their criticism and judgment fueled your commitment to greatness and forced you to dig your heels in and not budge about living your best life.

Still growing,
Kimberly
xoxo