Spirit of Shut Up!

Hey y'all!!!

I had to get on here and "spill the tea" as people say. On who? ME!!! Yes, Me! I'm a mess y'all. lol Well, I can be a mess at times. As many of you all know I like to encourage single moms and encourage them to develop healthy coparent relationships with their kids dad. But just because I talk about it doesn't mean I am perfect and get it right 100% of the time. What Im about to tell you is a time where I completely got it wrong.

My kids dad and I were talking about a coparenting issue. He was making some totally ridiculous statements about coparenting that I knew were utterly incorrect. However as he was saying it you could tell that he was just having a horrible morning and more than likely what he was saying was not even accurate in his eyes, but he was upset so he was just rambling a bit. Now, as he was talking, I began to say, well, that's not right and that sounds crazy, and started to break down the situation from a different perspective. He completely blew me off and started yelling at me and told me I couldn't comment on the situation and I didn't know the full story behind what he was speaking on and etc, etc.  Well, I kept at it I said well I don't have to know the full story to tell you that you sound crazy right now! Needless to say this became a whole argument where he ended up hanging up on me. I was PISSED! Now, I've told you him and I have come to a place where we have mutual respect for each other so I was livid he would revert back to his old ways and hang up on me like a kid in high school.  You think I let it go??? NO! I called back a couple of times. No answer. Then I texted him and tried explaining myself in a very nice nasty way. SMH… Then, I told him I felt like we were just having simple conversation and if we couldn't have a simple conversation about this articular issue then he shouldn't talk to me about it at all. WOW!!!!!

 

WOW! Y'all I am so ashamed at myself. Really I am. I was so wrong. So so wrong. Let me explain. First off, when he called he sounded like he was already having a bad day.  The Lord showed me a powerful lesson in this scenario. EVERYTHING doesn't need a response! Sometimes your kids dad may just need to vent about the kids or dad issues and that's ok. Sometimes you may need to just let him say what he's going to say about the situation and just listen. In this case the situation didn't really effect me personally. He was just expressing an opinion on something. You don't have to necessarily agree with his point of view. Just listen. Let me tell you, I'm not that great at it when it comes to my kids dad. See, the kids live with me. Im with them more often. Nobody knows them like I do. Nobody sees them through the lens I see them in. He doesn't know their thoughts, feelings, quirks, or anything else better than me so what could HE possibly tell me about MY kids????

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WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! They are his kids to, he knows them. He may not know them the way you do, but he knows them. I don't believe parents will every see their kids in the exact same manner even if it's a two parent household.  Theres a difference in a moms relationship with the child and the dads relationship with the child. There are things the kids share with mom they may not share with dad and vice versa. So, give dad some credit. He knows the kids to. And if you are dealing with an absentee parent, then believe by faith and pray for dad to truly know you all's child. So yes, this message can still apply to you as well.

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Where I was wrong is I didn't allow the Spirit of Shut Up to come up on me. ha! seriously, I should have just listened and just said a quick prayer. What is the spirit of shut up? It's that moment when you want to pop off at the mouth and tell him about his self or speak your mind, but you know that's not what God is telling you to do and it wont help your situation. That's when you have to get you some Spirit of Shut Up!

Wait Andrea, I thought you said we need to set boundaries with dad?? So why is he talking to me about something that doesn't directly affect me anyway??? Well, you have to remember there will be times you all are going to converse and when a situation comes up you have to be able to discern when its the right time to have that conversation. That is where your relationship with God comes in. I told you guys a few blogs back that its important to pray about your coparenting relationship. Ask God to show you how to navigate it, what to say, how to say it, and to help you discern the appropriate times to have  productive conversations. I didn't do it in this scenario and look where it got me. I was mad and aggravated and so was he.

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Some of you may be saying, well why do I have to be that considerate of him. He aint my husband! Well look at like this. It's really good practice for marriage. I'm not married but I talk to many women that are and all of them have told me about times where they had to  allow the Spirit of Shut Up to fall on them. LOL  Everything just isn't worth an argument. Every time something comes up it just isn't always the best time to address it. You have to start looking at some of your difficulties as opportunities and lessons you will one day need. The Spirit of Shut Up can be applied to many situations you may go through in life.

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God tells us in 2 Chronicles 20:17 "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you." See, there are battles (arguments) we just don't have to fight. People look at those scriptures and often times apply them to giants they're facing but it may not be a giant. Your battle may be that small irritating thing in your life such as dealing with someone who hurt you, upset you, or just can't seem to agree with. Let God fight the battle for you. You just sit back and discern when its time to have that conversation. Even then there may never be a right time. Some situations may need to sit dead for God to work out only.

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Be encouraged single moms in your coparenting relationships. Dad is someone you should always have some sort of relationship with and an open line of communication with. You won't  handle every situation correctly but I believe God honors your sacrifice in trying. He will honor your sacrifice in trying to make thing better and more civil for your kids.

So the next time you guys are talking and you feel the conversation going in a way you can see become an argument just remember to ask the Lord to allow the Spirit of Shut up to be on you. and remember its practice for your one day spouse. Just be grateful for the preparation. ūüôā

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Love ya'll

Always praying for ya.

Andrea F.

 

Do The Work! 

Hey Yall!!!! I’m back! Whew! Its been a long, long time since I blogged. But the Lord has really been putting on my spirit to start the blogging again. So, I’m going to be like Nike and JUST DO IT!

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Lately the Lord has placed several women in my life who I have inadvertently ended up ministering to. I don’t really seek out people to tell my story to but somehow the Lord always has me sharing with someone the spiritual nuggets he has given me over years. As I listen to these women my hearts breaks because most of their stories are very familiar to me. Our situations may not be the same but the emotions and feelings are very similar and I can feel and relive that pain through our conversations.

Of course I will not get into anyones personal stories, but I will share with you that many of them are going over the same mountain over and over and over again. We talk, I share what the Lord has me to share and then…. many times, nothing happens or changes. Why? Because they didn’t do their work!

I remember being in this cycle for many, many years. I wanted to be free from the hurt, pain, bitterness, anger, and frustration I was feeling but I kept doing the very thing that brought me all the frustration and pain.

What are you struggling with? What do you need God to heal you from?

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I like to watch Iyanla Vanzant, Fix My Life. Its a show about emotional healing. During the credits she talks about how she made it big, but lost everything and went through a lot of emotional turmoil. But shes ends credits by saying ¬†“but I did my work”! In other words, she did the hard stuff to help herself reach a higher level of emotional healing. I JUST LOVE THAT!!! It’s such a simple concept but its something many of us don’t do. We do not do our work! The work we need to do on ourselves to get us to that level of emotional healing.

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What mountains are you climbing over and over again? What is the Lord telling you to do? Have you prayed about it? If so, did you listen and ACT on what God has told you to do?

Whatever God is telling you to do I encourage you to DO IT!!! No questions asked. Walk by faith and trust God knows what He is doing and He’s telling you for a purpose. You may not see it or understand it now. But God knows.

I recently started going to a new church and I came at just the right time. The pastor is preaching a series on Spiritual Maturity is a choice. Wow!

When I heard that it was eye-opening for me. You always hear trials and hardship come to make you stronger. I’ve always thought that was where spiritual maturity come from. But no, spiritual maturity is ultimately a conscious choice we have to make. It’s just one of those things where we have to DO THE WORK!

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I’ll give you a couple examples, one of the things I struggle with is discipline and self-control. Specifically in the areas of food, working out, and time management. Like, for real y’all, the struggle is REAL! lol I’ve been on a weight loss journey for a few years now, I started off great the first year or so. Lost 50 lbs, got off diabetes meds, and was looking and feeling great. Somewhere along the way, I got way to comfortable and slipped back into my old eating habits. Before I knew it I was up 20 lbs!!!! Yikes! I had bought all new smaller clothes, but those smaller clothes no longer fit me. I was soooooo sad y’all. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†I was sitting there thinking, what is going to help me stop and get myself back on track? I started praying about it. Lord, help me to get myself in control of my eating habits. And guess what? He started helping me. He started putting that tug in my spirit, “don’t eat that, put that down, that serving was enough.” But guess what else? ¬†I DIDNT LISTEN! I kept on eating all the wrong stuff and ignored His leading. AAAANNNDDDDDD, guess what else y’all.. I kept praying! (Crazy, right?, hey don’t judge me lol) I kept praying about it asking the Lord to keep helping me. Finally one day the Holy Spirit told me, “look, you’re asking for help, I’m giving you help, but you aren’t listening. This isn’t some magic formula, the Lord isn’t just going to crack the sky and smack the donuts, pizza, chips, from your mouth. All He can do is lead you but you MUST listen!” Dang Jesus, did you really have to check me so hard, like I felt totally convicted. ūüė¶ ¬†But that’s when I realized. I had to DO THE WORK! No one could do this for me. I simply had to put the donuts down, not order the pizza, and make the tough choices even when all my feelings and emotions were screaming otherwise. And let’s be clear, those feelings and emotions are so hard to ignore sometimes.

Galations 5: 13 says: “For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh…” ¬†

1 Corinthians 10:23¬†¬†“All things are legitimate [permissible‚Äďand we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character]¬†andedifying [to spiritual life].”

In other words we are free to make any choices we want to make in this life but it doesn’t mean those choices are good for us. We must choose wisely. We have to make those hard decisions and listen to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit above our flesh. In other words we must DO THE WORK! It’s a choice. Sometimes its a hard choice. But nevertheless its a choice we must make daily to listen to God. Trust God. Have faith In God. God doesn’t make us bow down and worship Him. He wants us to CHOOSE Him. Deuternomony 30:30 “I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore CHOOSE¬†life, that you and your descendants may live.” (My emphasis on choose)

We must DO THE WORK! I’ve realized that this whole concept actually¬†boils down to one attribute, and that’s SELF CONTROL. Good ol’ fashion self-control. #Sigh You mean to tell me Jesus just won’t sprinkle a little self control on me?! haha! Nope, it doesn’t work like that. Self control is one of the fruits of the spirit listed in Galations 5. I started asking God, how do I develop in self control? He gave me this. Galations 5:16 “But I say, walk¬†and¬†live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to¬†and¬†controlled¬†and¬†guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings¬†and¬†desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).”¬†So, from there, I’m like ok Jesus, I have to seek the Holy Spirit and be led and guided by Him. But most of all, I have to listen.¬†

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Y’all, know this blog is for everyone but as a woman, my heart is for women to be whole, complete, and content in Gods loves. So let me give you a different type of example on practicing self control.

Like when that complicated relationship/ex creeps back up calling and telling you they miss you. Do you respond? ¬†OR do you block the number and trust God obviously protected you from that relationship. Remember, Gods “no” is for our protection. If that guy/girl was the one for you. Yall would still be together.¬†Lets be real, most of us are still entertaining that ex. They keep calling and texting because they are getting a response. This minister I follow says, what you feed will grow and what you cut off will die! That’s where some self control has to come in y’all! God is not going to smack that phone out your hand for you. But he will tell you, this isn’t good for you. Lets be honest, getting those messages might feel good, it might make you feel loved, or ¬†wanted, or fill a void you might have. But in the end, ask yourself is it good for me to get wrapped back up into something that God has already freed me from?????¬†Remember, you have a choice, you have freedom, but will you DO THE WORK? Will you allow that situation to die? Stop feeding your situation! Let me repeat that, Stop feeding your situation. Whatever “It” is. Many of us are carrying around a lot of emotional baggage. We are praying to God asking him to heal our hearts and help us but we keep entertaining the very thing we need healing from!

I have no idea what some of you guys are facing, but I can tell you that whatever it is, it’s real. Its big and It’s personal to YOU. You may be facing sexual temptation, food, an ex, time management, etc… whatever it is, if you are asking the Lord to help you, know that he is there. He is helping you. That quiet still voice, that feeling you have to go right when all your emotions are telling you to go left, That’s God. It’s the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Listen to Him. DO THE WORK!

I want to leave you with a scripture I have been saying a lot lately. “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully¬†and¬†worthily¬†and¬†accurately, not as the unwise¬†and¬†witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),” Ephesians 5:15

You can do this! You’ve got this! DO THE WORK! ¬†¬†do-workI’m praying for you guys.

Love y’all,

Andrea F.

 

 

SINGLE PARENTHOOD AND COPARENTING GODS WAY

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I wanted to shift gears and talk to you guys about a little something different. Its something that is very near and dear to my heart and I don’t see a lot of blogs, or books about it. I want to talk to you guys about single parenting and co parenting.

Most of you guys know I am the mother of 2 beautiful children. My children are 14 and 3 (soon to be 4). They are 10 years apart and they are by the same man. No, we were never married. He was my childhood sweet heart and I thought I was in love.

Although we aren’t dating¬†each other we now have two children that we have to raise. Being a single mom is really hard. But I am grateful that I do have help. He’s a really good dad. Financially, physically, and emotionally, he is there for our children. However, being¬†a single mom and co parenting can still be really rough!

Some days I find myself upset or angry just at the situation itself. Just for me simply being a single mom. Its not what I wanted out of my life but I often have to remind myself that it was a choice that I made to sleep with someone that I wasn’t married to. The bible tells us that sex is for marriage only. Although we are free to make our own choices, we are not free from the consequences of that choice. Therefore, when Im frustrated, I have to remind myself that I made a choice.

My kids dad and I get along very well for the most part and it wasn’t always that way but co parenting is still extremely hard! I once wrote a Facebook post about how I felt like co parenting was a lot like a marriage. Theres a lot of compromising involved.

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There is a misconception about compromising though. People seem to think that it means 50-50. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Compromising at times means you don’t get what you want at all! Here’s the thing to remember, when you are in a coparenting relationship¬†its not about what YOU want anyway!! Its about whats best for the children involved. There so many times that I go along with things that I don’t necessarily agree with and he does as well. ¬†If it isn’t going to hurt my children mentally, physically, or emotionally, there are things I just have to let go. You pray about it and move on.

One of the best things you can do for your children is to get along with the other parent. Not just tolerate them, but truly get along. You may be dealing with a parent that isn’t contributing like they should. They come around when they want to, send money whenever for the child and phone calls are few and far between. That doesn’t mean you can’t get along with the parent. ¬†Im not saying its easy. But it is definitely possible, Understand that it is the best interest for your children if you get along well. Getting along means that when you all are in each others presence you are still able to smile and make small talk. It means your body language is open and inviting.

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I watched a documentary called Fatherless Sons. It was talking about how men in particular don’t know how to navigate through the hurt and the anger that many women hold on to. So even if they aren’t ¬†the best dad in the world, they have a hard time coming around because they know they aren’t doing what they should be doing for the child, but they don’t know how to handle the hurt and the anger , the snark comments, the rude body language that the mother gives off. Listen, Im not saying you don’t have a right to be upset if the opposite parent isn’t doing their part. But what I am saying is that ITS NOT ABOUT YOU! You have to let go of how you feel and understand that child just wants to be able to see and/or talk to their parent even if it is only once in a while.

You may be dealing with a parent that¬†has much different views than you. That is where I encourage you to pray about each situation and ask the Lord to lead and guide you on what to do. The bible says in Proverb 3:6 “In all your ways know, recognize,¬†and¬†acknowledge Him, and He will direct¬†and¬†make straight¬†and¬†plain your paths.” In other words tell the Lord you need His help and he will lead and guide you on what to do.

Instead of nagging and complaining about what their dad doesn’t do, I’ve learned to pray about it. Not asking God to change their dad but asking God to show me how to handle the situation. Most of the time God changes me, my mindset or my attitude and while Im being changed, somehow their dad heart is changed ¬†and things somehow end up running smoothly. On the flip side there are times when I walk away frustrated but always knowing this will work out for my good. Romans 8:28

My biggest issue was letting go of the past hurt, anger, and resentment and things that were done to me. He broke my heart, and when I would get upset about something concerning the children, all of that would come back up and I lashed out horribly. It made it very hard to coparent. (I know Im not the only that has dealt with this and I still struggle with it from time to time.)

I remember a while back after one argument with my kids dad, I was so upset all I could do was pray. I started praying asking God to change their dad and help him to see how he was wrong, and the Lord told me You need to change. I was like what???? I’m a single mom, I have these kids full time, why do I need to change. But the Lord showed me I was handling our parenting disagreements from a place of hurt and anger and not from a place of peace and love. I had to learn to let go of all that to effectively co parent. The Lord truly changed me that day. If you are struggling in this area I encourage you to give that hurt and pain to God. Let Him heal your broken heart. Its a process, and it takes time. Although, I still struggle with it from time to time, I always remind myself that its not just about me, but its about my children and whats best for them. I don’t want them to see their parents arguing, fussing and fighting all the time. I want to always create a peaceful atmosphere for them. I want them to feel whole and complete and never torn between their parents.

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Another issue I had was throwing it in his face how little he has the kids vs how much I have the kids. I always feel like I have them more than him. For example, My children are with their dad one day a week and every other weekend. Although it may not seem like a lot. Im grateful because some parents done get that. Let me let you ¬†in on a secret. The parent that the children live with is typically the parent that will have the kids the most. Its just the way it is. You can’t focus on the quantity of time spent because it won’t be equal. I enjoy being a mom and I enjoy having them full time. I’ve learned to focus on that¬†fact.

I used to always feel like ¬†if we were married, I wouldn’t be so tired, or I would have more help, or this or that. But when I hear other married women talk, many times they have the same issues as me! As a mom and/or wife you are the keeper of the home. Titus 2:¬†4-5 says ¬†“…train the young women to be¬†[a]sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children,¬†To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting¬†and¬†subordinating themselves to their husbands…” ¬†If you aren’t married, I look at the husband part of the scripture as your home. I have to submit myself to what my home needs. I can’t run and go and do all this stuff and leave my home unkept. Also, please stop and take a moment to read Proverbs 31: 13-31. It talks about the role of a wife and mom.

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Disclaimer- Please understand that I am NOT saying that a father does not have responsibilities for the children. What I am saying is that many of the responsibilities you have as a single mom are responsibilities you would have even if you were married. I can’t speak on a fathers role because Im not a father. But what I can tell you is even if he isn’t doing his part for the kids it doesn’t mean you aren’t going to do your part for the kids.

Being a single parent is not how I imagined my life would be. I had the same picture in my head that every other little girl has. I wanted the husband, 2.5 kids, big house with the white picket fence. LOL  But I made a choice, and because of my choice my life is a bit different than what I imagined. But guess what? THATS OK!!! Single parenthood did not stop Gods purpose for my life! And for that, I am so very grateful.

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Thats what I love about serving God is that even when we stray, He is still right there holding us. Just waiting for us to come back to Him. Ever since I ¬†truly gave my life to God my coparenting relationship is a lot easier, that doesn’t mean that things run smoothly all the time. It doesn’t mean I don’t get upset or have to compromise.

When I say that it is easy it means that now, I know that whatever happens, God has my back. I pray for my children daily, and I pray for their dad as well. I pray for his well being because if He is well, I know my children benefit too. Our road wasn’t always easy but with maturity and prayer I believe we are raising children that know both of their ¬†parents love them dearly even though we aren’t all in the same household.

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Even if you don’t have a good relationship with the opposite parent, still lift them up in prayer daily.

You might be saying, well Andrea, my kids opposite parent is a deadbeat. They don’t call or come around. My advice to you would still be to always speak life to your children regarding the other parent and still keep them lifted in prayer. Seek God on what to say to your children and allow the Lord to guide you.

I really hope this helps someone. It was on my heart to talk about single parenthood. Its not always easy, but you can and will get through it. You can have joy and peace through the process.

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Blessing to you all! Praying for you always

Andrea F.