When I was 9 years old, my twin sister and I sat alone in a church service on a Sunday morning in a small Baptist church in rural Louisiana. The pastor delivered a message and when he began the altar call, I got up and timidly walked down to the front of that church. It was in that moment that I realized the weight of my sin and my desperate need of this Savior he spoke of. It was a deep realization (as deep as a 9-year-old could have) that I needed Jesus’s help to get through my life. Life had already been quite hard for me. My mother had been killed. My dad was an alcoholic who had married many times. I had endured much abuse. And there was something about this Sunday morning that was made clear by the power of the Holy Spirit that I could not do life without Jesus. Life’s weight was far too heavy a burden to bear.
I’m not certain that I understood the brevity of my decision way back then. I’m not certain I fully understood what it was to be a Christian or how do that well. I assuredly did not understand what it was to walk in my God-given calling, to live a life set-part, or to operate with the fullness of the powerful authority of the Holy Spirit. No, that journey would be a life-long one. It’s been a journey that has taken many twists and turns, no doubt. It’s a journey that I’m still on – to learn, to grow, to rest, to lean in.
As I sat down to write this letter of holiday encouragement to the many single moms out there who may stumble upon this, the Lord reminded me of that motherless little girl sitting on a pew a long time ago and the pain I endured, even at such a young age. And He reminded me of the many pains I have suffered since. I immediately thought of you – the single mom who is juggling a few gifts under the tree with mounting bills alongside, the single mom who feels lonely today, the single mom who carries unspeakable weight and feels unseen, the single mom who sits silently hurting. I asked the Lord what I could say. He brought me here:
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! Luke 2:8-11, NLT
Single Moms, the birth of that Savior – the one we celebrate this holiday season – is the hope of the world, and He changed everything.
- He came to shine light in darkness. Some of you sit in a dark place today. There is hope for you.
- He came to restore sight. Some of you sit blinded in grief & pain. There is hope for you.
- He came to heal the sick. Some of are sick in body, others in spirit. There is hope for you.
- He came to set captives free. Some of you have been bound for too long. There is hope for you.
Jesus came so that that 9-year-old little girl would find strength to endure hard seasons. He came so that you – single mom – could find joy and peace in the middle of your hard season, too. He came to restore right standing with the Father. That is the type of hope that endures – the type that lasts beyond the fleeting moment of a hard holiday or a difficult season.
So often, we struggle during the holidays, because we’ve lost sight of the hope that was brought a long time ago – the hope we encountered with Jesus, perhaps as a little girl. Jesus isn’t a band-aid on a bleeding wound of pain or disappointment. He’s the Great Physician who comes to heal it. His intention isn’t to leave us suffocating and drowning and limping and bleeding all over the place. His intention is to set us free. His intention is that we’d have hope – despite the challenges that persist.
Mom, you are seen by the hope of the world. He values and loves you. You are royalty – a daughter of the Most High King – and it is time you start living like it. Your life’s portion isn’t depression, rage & anger, bitterness & unforgiveness, anxiety & worry.
Your portion is:
- abounding peace
- hope & wholeness.
You may have been knocked down countless times. You may be bloody and bruised from the weight of multiple jobs and countless disappointments. You may be exhausted. And you may be tired of suffering. But hear me.
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10 NLT
This Christmas season I want to challenge you to walk in the fullness of the joy of the Lord. Rise up with great expectation. He is restoring, supporting, and strengthening. He is lifting your foot to a firm foundation, planting it on solid ground. He is giving future beauty where ashes lay now. He is redeeming, transforming, and renewing. There is never a hopeless moment, when you know the Savior of the world. Sit in His presence today. Walk in intimacy with Him. Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t. Focus on His promises, not the broken ones of man.
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. A former single mom, her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO and Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and ministries, totaling over 1,750 roups currently. The Life of a Single Mom has served over 750,000 single mothers over the last decade and counting. Maggio is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.
Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others.
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