As a teen/single mom, I heard every negative thing in the book. I was told (by a high school guidance counselor, no less) that my son wouldn’t amount to anything and he would probably end up in jail, because he was a minority, poor, born to a teen mom, with no father in the picture. I could have used this as an excuse to sit and wallow in all the obstacles I had before me, and not made anything of myself or my kid. Did I? NOPE. I didn’t let what she said get to me. This made me set out to prove her wrong. I also had men in my life tell me nobody would want me with a kid, how valuable could I be if I were dumb enough to get pregnant so young, etc. I was bullied in high school. I didn’t have many friends. I let it all roll off. Why?
Because I was not going to allow someone else’s opinion of me change where I wanted to be in life. People’s opinions of you are their business, not yours. We can choose to go where we want to go. I was raised by my grandmother to strive to be the best at everything I did. So, I got my GED, earned my bachelor’s degree, and am halfway through my master’s degree. My son is now in college and I am so proud of him. “We won’t get anywhere, she said”…. NOT! Jesus affirms our worth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John (3:16.) If God loves you this much, who can be against you? No one. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do what you have to do.
– Develop a relationship with God.
How do you develop a relationship with God?
– Pray. Some people might not know how, but what I do is I just talk to Him like I would talk to anyone. God wants to be part of your day. Tell Him what you’re grateful for, what you need, what you worry about, what you need help with, etc.
– Read the Bible. Everything you need to know about life is in the Bible. Learning about Jesus will help you:
- Modify your thinking “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
- Let go of past hurts “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
- Encourage you through your struggles “Weeping may last through the night, but joy will come in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5).
– Find a church home. This can be difficult. It took me years to find my church home. A good rule of thumb is to visit a different church home every so often. Pick the one you feel most comfortable with. There is no right or wrong answer here; pick the one that works best for you and your family.
– Surround yourself with people who are of God. You will probably not notice the Lord working in your life in this respect, until after the fact. I found that when I began my journey of becoming a Christian, that is when absolutely everything went wrong. Family members became very ill, I lost loved ones, my relationship became strained, etc. Nothing was going right. However- the Lord was strategic about putting people in my life that would work on me, and I didn’t even realize it. I was hearing Scripture, being encouraged, being exposed to new thought processes. Eventually I started to venture away from what was my ‘norm’. Hanging out didn’t appeal to me anymore. Being around certain folks didn’t appeal to me anymore, either. I started gravitating towards people who were of God and could help me reach a place that was better than where I was before. I started surrounding myself with people who would be a good influence. Be mindful of the company you keep. A good rule of thumb is: Evaluate your relationships. Let’s say you have been around a certain person for one year, and that person has not benefited you, encouraged you, influenced you in a good way. If you are not a better person as the result of your friendship with them, it is time to cut them loose.
Single motherhood is so challenging! You might struggle to pay bills, juggle all the responsibilities on your own, rob Peter to pay Paul, loneliness, and feeling inadequate because you can’t provide all of your kid’s needs, wondering why your life can’t improve, getting discouraged, giving up hope. I remember the frustration of working overtime, not having food in the house and dealing with a screaming child alone. It’s rough. But as a single/former teen mom who made it, I want you to remember that you can choose success, and you can choose a better life for yourself if you remember that you are not alone. God is with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6).
The keys to success are simple and I will summarize them for you according to what worked for me in the next few posts.