By Jennifer Maggio, Crosswalk.com
By the time I was 21 years old, I had suffered a lifetime of disappointments. Both of my parents were dead, as well as all my grandparents and most of my aunts and uncles. I had seen more death than most do in a lifetime. I was pregnant multiple times outside of marriage, which carries its own shame and embarrassment. I had been homeless, lived on government assistance, and struggled to put food on the table as a single mom. I had already parented alone for several years and had no way of knowing that I would go on to parent even more years alone. And all of those things shaped me and molded me with fear.
But the journey I embarked upon a few years back was far worse than I could have even imagined. Ten years ago, I decided to walk away from my comfy job in Corporate America and accept this call on my life to minister to single moms nationally. I was scared and felt ill-equipped, but I did it anyway. Three single moms showed up in my living room. I didn't know what to say to them. They looked at me. I looked at them. It was hard.
3 moms, turned into 75 single moms, then 75 single moms, turned into 500 single moms. And the ministry quickly grew. Before long, our ministry was ministering to multiple thousands around the globe, but for every success, I experienced in ministry, there was an even bigger attack personally.
First, there seemed to always be more debt than dollars. Then, my children were plagued with countless unforeseen surgeries, and there was even less money. And then there were the difficult teen years that I was parenting through, where I failed miserably, many days. And the times I secretly wanted to quit ministry altogether, because I didn't feel I measured up.
And then there was that time, in August of 2016, when I lost everything I owned in the historic flooding that happened in Louisiana that you likely didn't even hear about. Standing in soiled clothes, crying, as you work 18 hours a day to drag every piece of furniture you've ever owned to the street, is hard. Looking at baby pictures of your children that you know you will never own again is hard. And if I'm being honest, fear swept over me. In all those instances, fear suffocated me.
Fear had beaten me down and strangled the life from me. It was gradual, and I usually masked it well. But most days, I spent my time crying uncontrollably. That's what fear does. It strangles, immobilizes, subtracts, withers, crushes, and shatters. It grips our soul and snatches every dream. What once was the joy of the Lord somehow becomes replaced with anger and hopelessness. Fear encourages us to give up and accept the misery of existence versus the excitement of a God-led pursuit.
Many single moms are struggling with fear and allowing it to take your voice and strangle you today. Yet, your Father in Heaven paid for you to have an abundant life, free from fear and worry and anxiety. There are three things that we can do that will allows us to master fear and move into the freedom Christ paid for us to have.
Acknowledge what fear is // If fear didn't come from the Lord, then who gave it to us? As Christians, we must understand that fear was given to us by Satan as a mere tactic to keep us distracted and, of course, for the plans the Lord has for us. We must understand it for what is, then realize we have the authority to dispel fear with the power of Christ's shed blood.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and sound mind.” (1 Timothy 1:7)
Seek God until he takes away our fears // Keep pursuing freedom from fear, even when everything around you seems scary and hopeless and endless. Keep asking God to deliver you from the fear that is being forced upon you.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will open.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Speak the truth. Speak truth over your fear, even when you don't feel like, even when it seems impossible, and even when it's the hardest thing you've ever done. When Moses died, I am sure that Joshua was afraid of what God was now calling him to do in the book of Joshua. I am sure he had no idea of how he would lead the Israelites. He never expected to be in that situation. Do you find yourself in an unexpected situation today? Are you fearful of your future? Your kid's choices? Your finances? Your marriage? Your singleness? God's word promises you victory, authority, and strength.
“No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” (Joshua 1:5)
Don't clamor in a corner like one with no hope. You are a daughter of the King of Kings. You are more than a conqueror in Christ. That challenge, that thing you are facing, is not bigger than your God. He will never leave you. When fear comes for you, don't retreat and allow it to strangle you. Get ready for war. Wage war against the evil one who has attempted to lie to you and steal the joy God has paid for you to have. Take authority and stand against it.
First seen on iBelieve.
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.