“If you don’t use it, you lose it.” It’s a common cliché I tend to forget until I need it. I forget it until an older student asks about a math equation and I have to tell her I haven’t done that level of math in years and will need to think about how to solve the problem. I forget it until I until I try to tell my son how to get to a specific destination and can’t remember how far down the road that tricky, easily missed turn is. I forget it until I need to do something and have to search my way back to figure out what once I knew so completely.
That’s how I felt reading through old Single Mom Smiling posts recently.
I started writing in secret almost three years after my husband left. I told no one of my little blog but felt God calling me to write and reach out to others. I followed His call in a cowardly fashion, telling no one. Instead, I asked the Lord to do the hard work of sending those He wanted to hear my story, or rather, HIS story of my salvation, to Single Mom Smiling. It was safer this way. I was already stretched so thin and pushed so far from my comfort zone. I believe God knew I couldn’t handle more and honored my weakness by sending amazing women who shared their grief and pain with me. I pray our story helped them.
But God doesn’t leave us in our weakness. He gives us a few moments to lean into Him and collect ourselves, but He hopes for more than weakness and easy ways out. He hopes we pick up our crosses, rise to our challenges, and answer His call to know, love, and serve Him and His beloved people.
The Lord then opened doors and asked me to leave my safe space and try something new. He asked me to let our story be known to those who knew us. It is infinitely harder to be vulnerable with those you care about than it is with strangers on the internet, but I did as asked and was rewarded for my fidelity.
Sometimes though, even rewards come with a price, and for one reason or another, I stopped writing. I slid into life and other priorities. There was no drastic, deciding act that made me stop. I simply fell to temptations, distractions, and the busy-ness of this world.
I began to question whether God had asked me to write after all.
I was like Jonah hiding in the belly of the whale, except I had nothing so dramatic to keep me from my calling. I was simply hiding in the belly of my own life. I had fallen to the call of this world rather than rising to life in the next. I had gotten caught up in what I want and in my desires and perceived needs and had lost focus on what God called me to.
If you don’t use it, you lose it.
I hadn’t used my gift of writing in months. I had gotten into a safe routine. I hadn’t gone out on a limb, or taken a risk, or been vulnerable. God had trusted me with a task, and I had proven untrustworthy in fulfilling it.
This is why I began to doubt. This is when I began to lose my faith. This is how I started to wonder if God had actually called me to Single Mom Smiling.
If you don’t use it, you lose it.
I began to lose the certainty I once had of God’s desire for me to share His hope and healing. I hadn’t used His gifts so I began to lose His gifts. Losing the gift of writing is one thing. Losing the gift of certainty of God’s call is something else entirely.
What to Do with Single Mom Smiling?
I considered pulling Single Mom Smiling from the internet. Did I really want our story out there? Had I overshared? Had I put myself ahead of God’s message? Was I damaging my children? Was I bringing God’s Goodness to the world?
I decided to read and pray on some old posts.
As I read, I saw insight that cannot be mine. I read of pain and suffering, unfulfilled dreams and timelines I preferred to speed up, but I also saw God’s Goodness, His fidelity, and His certainty even when I am not.
Maybe I was called to reread now, because, in today’s crazy world, even I still need reminders that God has a plan and His plan is Good!
As I read, I was reminded of the call to write and share and love, even when it is difficult or the path is not the one I would have chosen. I found comfort in posts like those I read before writing today:
- “So Perturbed and Deeply Troubled, Jesus Let Death Happen,” which talks of waiting for healing and cause and effect,
- “23 Years Ago I Didn’t Get Married, But I Did,” which talks about the annulment and what Marriage should be, helping me take responsibility for my choices and empowering me to do better if love presents itself again,
- and in many others too.
I knew I could not have produced those pieces without the guidance of the Holy Ghost giving me glimpses into Jesus’ Love and Mercy.
Single Mom Smiling and God’s Message for America & the World Today
I will not delete Single Mom Smiling after all. I will instead ask the Lord to bring those who need to hear messages of healing and forgiveness, Love and redemption, beauty and resurrection here as He did 10 years ago.
I will use my gifts to publish messages I hope God gives me for our hurting world. The messages may be different now as our world has moved beyond the trauma of divorce and broken families to an even more intense trauma involving enslavement through critical race theory, sexual confusion, and immoral mandates.
You may wonder why I feel called or qualified to write on these topics. It’s a fair question. Here’s my honest answer.
Single moms are in a unique position to understand fear, confusion, identity loss, mental, emotional, and spiritual imprisonment, overwhelm, financial ruin, health scares, manipulation, and other evil traumas plaguing our world today. At some time point, each of us has bowed to these factors in ways those with gentler lives have not had to until recently.
I made a difficult but conscious choice to not bow for long, but to submit to God’s will and humbly seek knowledge and growth, joy and resilience, optimism and opportunity. I do this imperfectly, but I do it day in and day out. It is another gift God has given me. It is a gift I want to, not just use, but share so this gift is not lost.
For over ten years, I have studied struggle, post-traumatic growth, and overcomer strategies used by elite military personnel and great thinkers throughout the ages. I have learned much about trust, vulnerability, self-awareness, and personal value as well as the ability to be brave and loving and find peace in difficult circumstances.
I have been given the Grace of God to imperfectly but consistently apply what I have learned to my own life and the lives of others through my coaching. I believe God is now calling me to invite others to learn about His gifts and to take a stand for what is right and good in our lives, schools, communities, country, and world.
I believe our hardships can be our greatest Blessings. They help us realign our sights to focus on what is treasured. They require us to think on a level we haven’t had to before so, together with our Savior, we can solve today’s difficult problems. They help us recalibrate when we have missed the tricky turn leading us to the destination our souls long for.
Our hardships are often God’s way of pulling us back on course when we repeatedly, nonchalantly move one tiny degree off our path and find we have travelled way off base.
When we realize the battle we fight is not against physical, but spiritual, we stop shooting at distractions and shouting at each other. It is then that we focus our attention on real issues and can hope to open hearts and minds, change lives, and conquer evil. That is what our world needs today, and I believe we are in a unique position to bring Goodness back to America and the world. It will not be easy, but it is simple. We simply need to let Truth bravely live and breathe in us. We need to seek to Love and live fearlessly. We need to stand strong in Grace and Mercy.
I believe faith-filled children of all makes and models know how to do that and we are called to share our gifts so humanity does not lose its gifts.
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