Sole Providers

by Lisa M. Simmons

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”   Matthew 11:28

Providing tools through Christian education on biblical ways to heal the broken, strengthen, and restore the soul.

I want to talk to those caring for a child without a mate.  This includes men, women, and even grandparents.  The world calls us single parents, I call us sole providers.  I will come to you monthly sharing ways God’s word helped me deal with and eventually overcome the emotional and spiritual challenges of being a sole provider.  I pray I can help you do the same.

Have you ever asked, how did I get here? Why me God? How do I care for a child alone? What about me?  I’ve asked these questions many times. Being a sole provider is a challenge like no other.  The load can get heavy causing you to feel like giving up.  This is when I reach for God’s word.  In our scripture, God offers rest to the weary and burdened IF you go to Him. The rest He promises is love, healing, and peace right in the middle of these times.

It’s not the load that breaks us down, it’s the way we carry it.  How are you carrying your load?  Have you tried the One that gives peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of your storm? Why not go to him? He is waiting to give us the peace our soul longs for.

Prayer:  Lord, this load is too much for me, I feel like I can’t go on.  I come to you today Lord seeking peace.  Thank you for your peace.

There is Something Great Coming Out of Me

Luke 2:3-7

Pastor encourages the people of God to remember that something great is coming out of us.  God knows exactly what He is doing in your life.  You may not understand all of His directions, but God is up to something in your life.  God did not make any mistakes when He made you and God did not place greatness in you just for you, but so that others may be blessed through you.

One can tell that there is greatness in them based on the amount of opposition and challenges that they are having to endure.  In this text, we find that God has spoken a word over Mary, not because of who she is but because of what was in her.  Mary was pregnant with Jesus and He would impact the world in an eternal way.  When God is calling you to something special in your life, it is not because of who you are, but what you have on the inside of you.  God wants to use you to impact this world for the kingdom of God.

God has given us all the power of the Holy Spirt to do what He has called us to do.  No, you can’t do it on your own, but with God, all things are possible.  It may seem like life is unfair, and that crazy people are able to make decisions that ultimately affect you and your family, but remember God can use anybody anytime and in any place to bless His children.  God can even use folks that don’t have your best interest at heart.  God used the Roman Empire to get Mary and Joseph to the place of blessing and promise.  It didn’t make sense during the journey, but by and by it all started to come together.

Isn’t that how God works in our life?  He can take the good, the bad and the ugly and work it out for our good and for His glory.  Let’s take some time this week and thank God for the journeys in our life; understanding that God is leading us to a place that He has already predestined for us.

There is something in you that God wants to get out of you.  You just have to keep on walking even when you feeling like stopping because like Mary, when you get to the place God has ordained for you, that’s when you birth your blessing.

A Love That Never Fails

Psalms 107:10-15

What an amazing word we received on Sunday from Pastor Jackson!  When we say we love someone, oftentimes there will be a trial or test to see just how much we love them.  It reminds me of when a couple stands before the preacher and gives their vows to one another.  You can see the love in their eyes and hear it in their voice.  Then after some time has passed, it goes from I love everything about you to I love you, but…  God’s love is incomparable because there are no restrictions to His love towards us.

There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves in a dark season, and it’s not because of a situation or circumstance but rather a choice we have made.  I have learned that doing things my way can often land me in some dark places.  These are the moments when God gives us an old school lesson like our parents would do.  There were times when our parents would say that it’s time to teach us some tough love or this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.  It did not mean that they didn’t love us, but we had to learn a lesson for not listening and rebelling against their instructions.  That is the same with God when we refuse to follow His plan for our lives.

It is in these moments of life when there is no one else that can pull us through but God.  God will set us in isolation so we can receive revelation and instruction.  Darkness is when we must trust God even when we can’t trace Him.  God may not change the situation or circumstance, but He will change us.  If you feel that you have been dealt a bad hand, it could be God just trying to get your attention.  If you can still love God through the storms of life, it is then that He will deliver you.  Family, never put a period where God intended a comma.  Always remember there is another chapter to God’s unfailing love.

Don’t Worry About a Thing

Philippians 4:6-7

What a timely and profound word from Pastor Jackson this past Sunday.  In a time where uncertainty is looming in the lives of people causing a rippling effect of emotional, social, financial and spiritual anxiety, worrying can get the best of us if we don’t handle it in a healthy way.  These are moments when we may not know what tomorrow holds, but we as believers can rest in knowing who holds tomorrow. The text speaks of the power and purpose of prayer in the lives of those who put their faith in God.  Paul is encouraging the church of Philippi to not worry, but instead pray. I once heard someone say if you are going to worry don’t pray, but when you pray don’t worry. This makes sense in the spiritual because we can find peace in knowing that God is working things out for our good, but in the natural there are those who pray and still worry.

Paul helps us because he is not encouraging the people while everything is all well with him.  In fact he is writing this letter of encouragement while he is in prison not knowing what his outcome is going to be. This is a testament of his faith and love for others even while enduring a trial himself.  Paul states in verse 6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  This brings back memories from my childhood of hearing my mother say when correcting me was, “What you’re not going to do.”

Paul is saying do not allow anxiety to get the best of you.  It may come, but it doesn’t have to control you.  God has equipped us to handle certain things, but there are some things we must leave in the hands of God.  This is why it is so important to be careful of who we connect with along this journey. People can either make you or they can break you.  I’m grateful that God specializes in putting back together what the enemy or immature people have broken in our lives.

Another statement that our parents would say to us was “what you are going to do.”  Meaning I have told you what not to do, but now I’m giving you instruction on what to do.  I love this because here is where our worrying goes to worshipping.  The text says that in everything we should give thanksgiving. This is what confuses the enemy when we can give God adoration even in the midst of what may seem like devastation.  This is where as believers we can find peace in the midst of the storm.  Family, there are people watching you and trying to figure out how are you making it.  It’s because you have learned to PUSH – (Pray Until Something Happens) your way through the storms of life.

Hold On, Help Is On the Way

Isaiah 40:28-31

There are times in our walk with God that it seems like we are in a vicious cycle of ending up in one predicament after another only for God to deliver us and find ourselves in another predicament. This is what was going on with the Israelites in this chapter of Isaiah. They were in captivity once again and crying out to God for His help and losing faith.  God began asking two questions. Have you not known? Have you not heard? God was reminding the Israelites of who He was and what He is capable of doing. These are the moments in our lives that strengthens our faith and encourages us to put our trust in God; knowing if He did it back then He can do it again.

The enemy will use people, problems and predicaments to keep you from your potential, possibilities and your promise. It’s in the season of isolation that God gives revelation for your destination. God said in Psalm 46 “Be still and know that I am God”. I believe as Christians we spend too much time trying to figure it out and should just faith it out. The text says God’s understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 55:8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Don’t focus on the problems, but rather His promise. This is where we draw our strength from in knowing that God has a plan beyond our current pain. It’s good news to know that our current location or situation is not our final destination. The text says in verse 31 “but those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles”. God said I have equipped you as a believer to rise above your situations and distractions. Family, it’s impossible to reach new levels and expect eagle blessings while hanging with peacocks, turkeys and chickens. Let’s keep growing!

We’re in this Love Together

Galatians 3:25-29

As we continued in the series regarding what it means to be in Christ, Pastor Jackson really brought it home for us as it relates to how we see ourselves in Christ.  The context of the text suggests that at one point in the lives of the people of God, they were in bondage to the law and rules. It was that law and the fact that we could not keep the law that showed us our need for a Savior in Jesus Christ.  The law was given to us to guide or to lead us to Jesus. The law could only condemn and never give life, but when Jesus came, He did what the law could never do which was giving us life through Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He clothes us with His characteristics and values. No matter what type of character or value you were walking around wearing in this world, when you get placed in the body of Christ, God does a new work in you that will start to manifest on the outside of you.  People will be able to say that brother or sister is really wearing that grace, mercy, forgiveness, humility, longsuffering, joy and peace and it looks good on them.

It is wonderful news to know that there is no distinction between those who are in Christ. I don’t care who you are, where you have been, what you are dealing with or even how long you have been dealing with it, in Christ there is neither, Jew or Gentile, slave or free.  Nobody can claim spiritual superiority.  From the big house down to the outhouse we are all in this love together in Christ.  There is absolutely no room to compare and contrast one another in the body of Christ.  I’m not the standard, but neither are you. God is the standard in which we should try to line up our lives.  If we are not careful we can fall into the trap of the “not as bad as you syndrome” that seeks to determine how good you are based on somebody else’s lifestyle and not the word of God.  If you are in Christ, we are all God’s children and because we are God’s children, we have access to some blessings that money can’t buy.  We are His children and we don’t have to be jealous when another of God’s children get blessed because sooner or later it is going to be your time and your turn for God to bless you.  So let’s start helping our brothers and sisters celebrate what God is doing in their lives and just know that the same God that knows how to bless them also knows how to bless you.