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This year, on July 15th, 2011, we’re encouraging people everywhere to be an encouragement to a single mom they know.

Here are some of the ideas that have been posted on the facebook event page:

“If you know her personally, volunteer to babysit. Make her something special: a desert or craft. Single mom’s don’t have a lot of time to fuss over special treats or crafts. Take the kids to the Library, or a kid friendly science museum, the pool or park. Mom can have a break, get a facial, or nails etc.”

Our family is taking some grocery items to a single mom and little girl….

help her clean house! I know that I’d LOVE for someone to offer that to me!

I found one in India serving the Lord, sending her a card today.

“Just let her know she is doing a good job with a little note or words. it always helps to encourage someone doing an incredibly hard job on her own.”

$20 in gas or groceries. Also, have a meal sent to the family.

Take her shopping and buy her a new something….

A gift certificate to a spa treatment { nails or hair or whatever you can afford.} They need to feel beautiful too. they are more than a “mom”

I think I’ll have my husband watch all the kids at our house and take my friend out to a chick flick.

Have her kids over for a playdate 🙂

These are some fabulous ideas……the possibilities are endless.  Please click on our event page link and let us know how you’re planning to encourage a single mom.

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From all of us moms at Koinonia With Kara, have a very happy and safe 4th of July!

Sitting in the police station, handcuffed, with one phone call to make, my friend Lynn faced the monster of her single mom life.

Who should she call?

Because of an error in court scheduling there was a warrant for her arrest. Driving past an accident scene was all she had to do for the cops to run her plate and pull her over. The officer was apologetic as he placed handcuffs on her. She was so compliant that he felt guilty having to use restraints.

Arriving at the police station of the sleepy town the officer in charge said he would not wait long for her to post bail. He wanted to go home and he would give her 30 minutes and no more before he would take her to lock up at county.

It was not an option to leave her three teen aged children at home alone all night. She had to make that one call count.

Did she call her father who lived ten minutes away? No, because he is not always discreet and has said things in the past that , she would prefer to remain private.

Her mom? That would put her into a state of indebtedness that Lynn does not have time for right now. Her mom needs lots of love deposited in her love bank, but Lynn does not have time to hang out and do normal social activity.

All of Lynn’s friends and family live in her little town. Yet she did not feel comfortable calling them. Why? Because of the strings attached. We cannot afford an equal exchange of favors. We still want to feel vital and needed, but we simply do not have the time or resources to invest in relationships that need time and resources.

Sometimes the single mom wants to express adamantly that she doesn’t need anything. Usually this is to avoid indebtedness or judgment. It’s simply easier to go it alone.

So who did Lynn call? Her former boss, the owner of the restaurant where she was a waitress. She knew he would ask no questions, send no judgment, and all he would require would be a few days of waiting tables to pay him back. That was the easiest “favor” she could afford.

This is just one reason why single moms isolate.

It was a horrible weekend.  I was absolutely miserable.

Monday would be Valentines day, and I had several fun things planned for me and my little girl to do:

*  Have a Valentines “date night” together at Red Robin on Sunday night (a friend had given us a gift certificate to go there 🙂 )

*  A Valentines treasure hunt.

*Shopping together for her to pick out her Valentines present.

It was going to be lots of fun, just spending time together all weekend….at least that’s what I had planned.

Friday went well for the most part, we had a girls day out…..got haircuts, had lunch and went to the chiropractor together, and baked Valentines cookies.  I had been invited to a party on Friday night by a lady at our church and I told her that I would go because I had promised God that this year, I would start connecting more with the people around me. I would stop saying “I’m so busy.” and make myself go.

Friday afternoon, I started playing the piano and recording an arrangement.  I got so engrossed in it that when I looked at the clock, I said…..“we should just stay home tonight so I can finish this.” Then I remembered my promise to God, and I made myself turn off the piano and the software and get ready to go.

The party was fun, I met several new people and I ended up buying myself a Valentines day present, a new purse 🙂

We got home and decorated our Valentines cookies and started getting ready for bed, only I couldn’t sleep……it had been a good day in many ways and we had lots of fun, but inside, I was miserable. I was only smiling and being strong for my little girl.

I had been seriously dating a guy for the last 2 years, and we broke up right before Thanksgiving……I thought I was over it, but I found myself getting angry that night and wallowing in self-pity.  I was up until 3AM trying to sort it all out and get myself back to normal.

Saturday, I was bound and determined not to let it be another bad day of fighting emotions, so I got up, started cooking for the church dinner, painted my toe nails, opened the windows, and put on a bright yellow shirt, a pair of capris and some flip flops…….it was a BEAUTIFUL day.

As I stood in the kitchen cooking for the church dinner, there came the emotions again……I started trying to fight them off, and then it dawned on me…..I wasn’t fighting my emotions or having a bad day……I was fighting the devil.  Satan was attacking me and had already wasted a good part of my energy on Friday, I wasn’t going to let him do the same thing today.

We had tons of fun, got all the Valentines ready for Sunday School and School, got lunches packed for the week, took care of our neighbor’s dog, and spent another great day together……I had kicked the devil in the rear and sent him on his way.…..or so I thought.

I started working on some blog posts and I had a question for Kara.  I saw her online and asked her my question about the blog post and we started chatting.

I told her about what had gone on this weekend, and Kara asked me…….“What do you think the root fear is that’s causing this?”

“Rejection?” I replied.

“Are you willing to ask Jesus to help you go back to the first time you experienced rejection?” She asked me.

“Yes.”

So, Kara prayed and asked Jesus to help me go back to where I first experienced rejection. She told me to wait and that Jesus would help me and to just tell her what pops in my mind.

I went back to my college days……my roommate told me once that her friends thought I was rude because when I saw them on campus, I didn’t stop and talk to them.  I didn’t even think they knew who I was.  I was a freshman and they were seniors, but I made an effort to start talking to them when I saw them.  I didn’t want them to think I was rude, but sometimes, I don’t talk to people because people laugh at me when I’m talking and say that I’m funny.  I don’t like to be laughed at.

Then I told Kara, “Wait…..let me back up and explain that.”

“My entire family is funny.  Very funny.  They tell funny stories and jokes, and people are always laughing at what they have to say.  I’m no where near as funny as they are, so I don’t even try to be funny, and I don’t like people to laugh at what I say.”  (While I was telling Kara this, Satan popped up again and said…..that’s silly…..why even bring that up?  It has nothing to do with what’s been going on this weekend.)

“How true would you say this statement is?” Kara asked me.  “I only attempt to do the things I know I’m going to be successful at?”

“Very true.”

“So, if something comes along in life and you don’t feel like you’re going to be successful at it, you don’t even attempt it?”

“Yes.”

At this point I was crying.

Kara said,“Are you willing to pray and ask Jesus what His highest truth is for you regarding this?”

“Yes.”

So, we prayed and asked Jesus to show me what His highest TRUTH is for me in this area.

I closed my eyes and sat in silence.  Nothing.

“What’s happening?” Asked Kara.

“Nothing, I’m just sitting here with my eyes closed in silence.”

“K.  Keep doing that and Jesus will show you.  He’ll either tell you something, or show you a picture.”

I sat there a little longer.

“I can do ALL things through Christ!” That’s the truth He gave me. (Although, when I told her that, the devil said…..that’s just a memorized phrase that you pulled out…..you’re grasping at straws here.)

I was crying again.

We prayed and asked Jesus to seal this truth in my heart and to fill the place in my heart where the lie was with His truth.

Immediately, I felt lighter.  A huge burden had been lifted and I had a big smile on my face, once again.  Not the Mona Lisa smile that I had plastered on my face for show.  A true smile that came from deep inside me.

“I hate the devil,” I told Kara. ” He’s wasted 2 whole days of my time on this.”

“He overplayed his hand with you this time……he took a wound and exploited it, and this time, he went too far with it and was found out.”

I can look back in my life and see how when and where he put this lie in my head, and how he’s used it in many different areas of my life.  The lie grew and grew until it absolutely consumed and paralyzed me this weekend.

Not anymore.  Because I know the truth, and Jesus’ truth set me FREE!!!!  In Him, I can do ALL things, not just the things I think I’ll be successful in.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me………Philippians 4:13

It had been 3 long months since I had heard His voice and that was not by any means fair.

I had been willing to go on this journey with one very serious stipulation, that He would go with me. For several years it had felt like His Shepherd hands were gently steering my shoulders, “This way, that way, go here, go there.” It was my prize, and it was worth everything.

So why would He take it away?

Nevertheless, no matter how much I did our familiar things, sang my songs to Him, cried out for Him, the heavens were silent, I heard nothing.

I came across something in a biography I was reading. Madame Guyon revolutionized the Catholic church by believing she could talk to the Lord herself, without a priest. She was jailed for her teachings and people lined up outside the jail to seek answers to their own personal walk with God. She said there was a period of seven years in her life when she heard nothing back from God at all. But she learned that this was a final step of faith. Would she trust Him even if He hid himself from her?

This gave me some consolation that maybe I hadn’t failed Him or gotten off course. But I was desperate still for some kind of guidance, comfort, reassurance. I had to make several decisions without Him. I moved into a different house. In order to afford it, Tommy and I added a roommate. She is a precious soul, and my friend. She had several seizures a day. With my migraines, we were like the blind leading the blind.

The girl who had been part of our little family for several years was home from college and I worried that there wouldn’t be enough food for all of us. I offered to watch my sister’s kids for a few weeks. And my migraine did not go away. It lasted a total of thirty-one days. It felt like there was chaos in my house as all those personalities tried to blend. And more than once, I ended up with my face on my bedroom floor, crying out to a distant God for relief.

A new and strange thing occurred. I began to dream of getting remarried. It was bliss to sink away into dreamland and picture a man coming to my rescue. And then I actually heard of one. A real, live, eligible man, and now the dream began to take more shape. I put his face on my screen saver.

(I want to say that I am not making a general statement against remarriage here. I am speaking of the fact that I had been walking contentedly with the Lord until this time. Then I wasn’t. Then I wanted a man. You can see my heart was in an unsafe place for this imaginary world.)

One of those hot summer nights I found myself wandering the streets of my neighborhood. I was in so much pain I could not make sense of where I was or what I was doing. I hadn’t formed a complete sentence in days. It felt like I was losing my mind. It was 4 a.m. and I remember some dry lightning lit up the sky from time to time. I pointed to a tavern across the street. I said, “God, if I had any hope at all that I would find relief from this pain and this life in that bar, I wouldn’t hesitate a second to go there. But I have put all my eggs in this basket, (and here I mixed metaphors in my jumbled mind) and if this ship sinks I’m going down with it.” Or something like that. It was more of a thought than a real sentence.
Then I said, “I don’t know if YOU keep YOUR word. But someone does. ME. I do. I said I would stay. I said I would give you everything. And even though NONE of your promises have come true to me, at least ONE of us will keep their promises. ME!”

This was no dialog. This was completely one-sided. And I was angry. It was the angriest I have ever been at Him. I punched out each word through gritted teeth. I couldn’t cry or my head would pound even worse. I forced back the tears.

And suddenly….the GIFT. He still did not speak to me. I did not get to hear his voice. But He put my words to music. He actually put my irreverent, angry words to a beautiful melody. It poured into me, word after word, line after line. It was my emotions, only in a beautiful, poetic form.

“Lord, remember at that altar, when I gave You everything?
With child-like faith I’ve followed, You made my spirit sing.
But this thing you’re asking of me now is more than I can bear.
I can’t believe you’re asking me to Stay. It seems unfair.

But I’ll Stay. I’ll stay in this dark place
Only if you’ll keep me by your grace.
Oh, I know you’ve kept me safe this far, and I promised I would stay
Long ago I made that promise, so I’ll Stay.”

I saw a grocery store turn it’s lights on. It was 6 a.m. I stumbled in the store. By now, tears were streaming down my face. I grabbed a comment card and a pen and scribbled the words as they came.

“Lord, you promised if I’d wait on You with eagle’s wings I’d soar
But it doesn’t feel like soaring with my face down on this floor
I am seeking like you told me to to understand your ways
But it’s no use, I can’t see it, but I promised I would stay.”

I finished writing and walked 2 blocks to my church. I went in, sat at the piano and the arrangement, the melody and the words poured out for the first time exactly as we recorded them months later. No mistakes, no rewrites. A gift. My angry words, set to music.

I knew it had to be Him. But I still had no direction, no clear guidance from Him. I still dreamed about being married. My headache went away. And a funny coincidence occurred. I was going to have a chance to meet that man on my screen saver. We would both be going to the same church conference even though we lived in different states.

The trip down there was horrid. But by now I had gotten used to not having the Lord’s direction and I just took it in stride. I was in the parking lot. I could see the church doors open and many people buzzing about inside. The music was joyfully blasting out of the outdoor speakers. I spotted my good friend who had been on deputation for 2 years and she was heading toward me for a hug.

When suddenly my world went still. I have never had an experience like it. I could see, like through a bubble, all I just described. But I was in my own little world. And I heard a voice, the tone of which sounded like a boyfriend, a flirtatious lover whispering in my hair.
“Who is this?”

Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?
I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth:
there she brought thee forth that bare thee.
Set ME as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm:
for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave:

I thought the words might be the Bible. Or a Shakespearean play. I had heard them before, but I didn’t know where. I had never memorized them. Yet they came to me in perfect form.

My heart melted. I felt as though I had just been proposed to. I heard in his voice, “There she is. There’s my girl. Set ME as a seal upon your heart. Save your heart for ME.”

Tears flowed down my face. He spoke to me!

As the service began and all the voices were joined in song, I sat flipping through my Bible. “Where is it? I know it’s in here somewhere!” I looked and looked never thinking of Song of Solomon. But when I finally did and came upon Chapter 8, I found the words verbatim.

Five more times that week this same thing happened. The bubble, the whisper, the endearment, the tears. He saturated me with all the love I had missed.

And now, over my heart I picture the word “Jesus” written in script. I belong to Him. And He is mine.

You can listen to I’ll stay by scrolling down on the “my shared box” to the right, and clicking on “I’ll Stay”

Tommy does this thing where he can remotely access my computer. With this program called CrossLoop Connect I give him authority to see the insides of my computer. He does this so he can clean it up for me. Last time, he sat in the cafe he runs in Salem, Oregon and I watched him move my mouse all over my files and clean them up. Suddenly my computer was running faster than I ever remembered it running.

Now it’s running slow again. And my battery seems to die much quicker than before. So I imagine this stupid coupon program I downloaded is running around the insides of my computer a million miles an hour, taking big bytes of my precious hard drive and drinking up all my power juice. (I think I just heard it chirp. Seriously, my computer just started chirping at random intervals.)

I’m reading a book that talks about the power of the human mind. Its a mystery novel, but uses science to prove that the human mind is more powerful than a computer. This book was even suggesting that human minds, agreeing on one thought, can actually transform things in the physical world. But, more on that later….

I recently squashed a pretty big bug that has been eating up a lot of my brain power.

My physical brain has the power to construct new cells in my body, send pain relief and healing to my wounds. It has the power to learn things that could transform my life forever. That’s what God made. The human brain.

But I had a big ole bug running around it eating up precious bites of stored knowledge and hiding truth when it came across it. It also drank up a lot of my power.

It was called Self-Condemnation. It directed my attention to thousands of crippling thoughts.

“I should be doing this and this and this.”  “I should lose weight.” “I should try harder.” “That went wrong because I messed it up.” “There must be something wrong with me.” “It’s my fault.”

Which is interpreted:   “I’m not good enough.”

It also gave me certain glasses to look at the whole world with. “What does he/she think of me” was the prescription. Terribly distracting from the REAL stuff of life.

Jesus remotely accessed my brain and cleaned it up. Now he is filling in all that clean space with powerful, life-changing thoughts. It is running cleaner and faster. The power supply is huge.

Now, what to do with all that clean, fast, brain-power?

And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

It seems the idea of people who agree-with-one-mind… being able to… do-the-unimaginable originated with God.

And He doesn’t say it’s a bad thing. He’s just one move ahead of us. He made us with that much power, but He didn’t want it to reach it’s full potential in those days, so he went ahead and confused the languages.

~~~~~~~~~What can we do with these brains God gave us if we agree with one mind….and speak the same language…the language of Love~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How about turn the world upside down? How about relieve the burden of the fatherless? How about let the whole world know that we are His disciples?

Koinonia, baby. And it is about to EXPLODE.

Here’s a nugget of truth for you today.  Not a word from Kara, not a story from one of our Koinonia moms, but a message from God for you this morning……

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”

Psalm 84:11-12