I am Single, But I Want to Be Married

bride and groom

Oh, the thought of being in love, the excitement of the proposal, and the preparation and  experience of the wedding, followed by a honeymoon!  It just makes you smile, doesn’t it?  Or does it?

Maybe this was not your experience at all.  Maybe you got married in a chapel in Vegas or at the Justice of the Peace, or in your parents’ back yard.  Maybe you eloped.  We all have a story.  Many of our marriages have brought great joy over the years and some of our marriages didn’t last.

You may have gotten a divorce and now, a few years later, you are really longing to be married and spending the rest of your life with someone. You want the companionship, the day to day conversations, the closeness and intimacy and building memories with someone you deeply love.  Loneliness is no fun and can bring us to isolation and depression.  How do we get started in finding and having a love relationship that could result in saying “I do?”

First of all, take some time to pray and ask the Lord to guide you toward your own healing from past experiences and get the necessary help to find that healing.  If you step into another relationship still dealing with past issues, you will bring those issues into it, and chances are you will probably not be successful.  Work on  yourself first.

On Tuesday, April 25, at 2-3pm, at www.toginet.com, Kris Swiatocho, Director of The Singles Network, will be our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio.  Her topic will be “I Am Single, But I Want to Be Married.”  She will talk about the concerns and fears singles have when it comes to “looking for someone.”  She will talk about singles of all ages and both genders and the different issues with all.  She will also share about her new area of ministry called, “Pray for a Mate”, and how it works.  Don’t miss it!

Take some time today and evaluate yourself and what you would like to have your future look like.  Do you have trust issues, fear, anger, insecurities, abandonment or betrayal issues that haven’t been healed yet.  Don’t run down the aisle before seeking healing, so you don’t “make your new love pay for your old love.”  Don’t forget to pray!

Modern Day Babysitters

teen on cellphonekids onm computers

It used to be that, as kids, we spent most of our time outside playing.  We built tree houses, ran spontaneous races with our friends, and played hide and seek.  We searched for worms, looked for little daisies to link together in a chain and sometimes, we just laid on the grass and looked up at the clouds.  Simple days and simple times.

When we  had kids, the television became more of a babysitter while parents were busy doing things around the house, paying bills or working in the yard.  If we were an attentive parent, we would involve our kids in the chores, and become more involved in their activities at school or in the community.  Family time was still important and valuable.

Today, things have changed from family time to disconnected family time.  Each member has a screen on, whether it is the phone, the t.v., tablets, video games or just looking at Youtube or Facebook.  There is a lot more silence in the house than there used to be because each family member is in their own little tech world by the hour.  Conversations are done without lifting their eyes from the screen they are absorbed with.  Sentences are short and with very little engagement or emotions.

There is quite a price to pay for this tech overload taking over our American families.  Marriages are disconnected, kids are emotionally detaching from the rest of the family.  Kids don’t have to ask their parents to explain anything anymore because they can just Google it or ask Siri.  Kids and parents alike are becoming addicted to screens; so much so, that there are actual counselors trained to help kids with tech addiction.  Seriously?!

So, the question, Gary Chapman asks in his book, “Growing Up Social”, is “Is technology bringing your family closer together or driving you farther apart?”  Like television, one generation ago, parents are sitting their toddlers in front of a screen to “keep them occupied” for just a few minutes, at least.  I saw a couple of parents with a child under 2 come into a restaurant, sit their little girl in the high chair, put an I-pad in front of her and barely talked to her during the entire meal!!!!  Are you kidding me?!

I would much rather have an eye-to-eye conversation with our kids than have to compete with a screen and only look at the top of their head!  Same with my husband.  I am guilty of staring at a screen too, readers, but have set up some boundaries for the sake of my relationships.  I had to.

This week on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest Rob Reinow, Founder of Visionary Family Ministries, will be talking on this very subject.  His topic will be “Parenting in the World of Tech.”  Tune in for some real talk about this  important part of family life in America.  2pm ET  www.toginet.com    You can download the podcast later that day at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

Take a bit of time and evaluate the amount of time your family members are on screens of any kind.  Now evaluate the time you spend talking with your kids and spouse eye-to-eye.  Does there need to be an adjustment for the health of your family?  Could you replace hours of screen time with table games, playing outside, putting a good puzzle together, serving together, enjoying community activities or events, riding bikes, going to a movie or a pool together…or just having a meaningful conversation?  Make your time count with your kids today because before you know it,  they will be gone.

Kids and Rainbows

rainbow and children

Today was the day I was going to write about different types of childhoods; the good bad, and the ugly.  How the many colors of our lives are like a rainbow; some dark and some vibrant and fun.

I turned the t.v. on and the news was about the shootings in a San Bernadino elementary school today.  It was a domestic  violence thing where a guy came in, shot his girlfriend, shot two children, and then turned the gun on himself.  Tragic!

I can’t imagine the trauma this caused in these children who witnessed such a crisis.  Once again, “the kids pay the highest price.”  They will live with this memory all of their lives.  My hearts hurt for them.  When I turned the t.v. off, I immediately prayed for those children, their parents, the clergy who would be involved, and the teachers who have lost one of their own.

If we were honest, we can all think of things from our childhood that have left an ugly mark on our lives.  Maybe it was parents who divorced, abuse, injuries or disease, homelessness, etc.  Most of us lived through them, but still remember.  Many times childhood damage sticks with us for all of our lives, if we don’t find healing.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and are burdened, and I will give You rest.”    Matthew 11:25

Tomorrow, April 11 at 2pm ET, our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio will be Tam Hodge, author of “And Now I Choose”, which tells her childhood story and the many unfortunate choices she made as a young adult.  It will be a compelling and inspiring show for our listeners.  You can hear Tam Hodge LIVE at www.toginet.com or download the podcast later at wwwtoginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

Tonight is a good time to connect with your children/grandchildren, hug them if you can, and let them know how much you love and treasure them.  This world is full of hurt and anger.  Please take some time to pray for the families in San Bernadino tonight.  Today, they lived the dark colors of their rainbow.

One,Two, Buckle My Shoe

buckling shoes

Remember those cute Mary Jane black patent leather shoes we used to wear with ruffled ankle socks or pretty white tights?  To tell you the truth, I dressed our little girl, Tami, in  the same thing.  I also added more ruffles on her dress and in her hair.  She was a girl, after all!  People at church looked forward to what she was wearing each week.  To be honest, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so I would look for the sweetest clothes at the lowest price at all the discount stores.  She was  my living doll to dress up and play with.  If our daughter would have had a daughter, she would have done the same thing,  because she is a girl through and through.

I have ministered to single parents for a very long time and it is always fun to see what their kids are wearing too.  Even though they don’t have much money either, they work hard at making their kids look nice for a day at church.  I remember single dads coming up to me with a couple of rubber bands at church and asking me to do their daughter’s hair.  They just had no clue, and their daughter was crying because her hair was a mess.  The little girl and I would find a chair and I would French braid their hair and send her off to Sunday School. So much fun for this mother’s heart!

I have always looked to see if a child’s shoes were tied or buckled so they didn’t trip and many a time, I would bend down and fix their shoes. “One, two, buckle my show.” I have always respected single parents and the job they need to do for what should have been the job of both mother and father. When a family splits, life gets so much  more difficult as single parents take the sole responsibility of the kids and household, the finances, and raising their children well, as they try to heal from divorce damage themselves.

If you know some single parents, keep an eye out for how you can assist them.  That might look like taking the kids to a movie or out to eat while the parent relaxes and gets things done.  Maybe you can go and enjoy one of the kids’ games.  Maybe take the family to the beach,  out for pizza or mini-golf, to a lake to swim, a museum or anywhere else to help them build positive memories.  Maybe surprise them with a gift card to the grocery store or a gas station.  There are endless ways to encourage single parents and their kids, so why not become a hero and a cheerleader for a single parent family this year?

This week on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest will be Matt Haviland, the co-author of “The Daddy Gap.”  He has a huge passion to help single dads become the dad their kids need and to help single moms allow that to happen with healthy boundaries and guidelines.  He was a single dad for 9 years and now heads up a ministry called “A Father’s Walk.”  Tune in on Tuesday at www.toginet.com at 2-3pm ET to listen LIVE.  You may also download the podcast later that day at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  Eph. 5:1,2

“One, two, buckle my shoe.  Three, four, open the door….”  How can you be an imitator of Christ to a single parent family today?  Keep your eyes, your heart and your arms open.  You can be a big blessing today!

Writing Your Story…Chapter by Chapter

writing a book

Have you ever thought of writing your story, beginning with your childhood, your teen years, college days, young adulthood, and ending where you are now?

What would you include?  Maybe you lived in a “bubble”, like I did, and you don’t think you have much to write about.  Maybe your childhood was filled with trauma and drama and you have a hard time looking back.

We all have a unique story and through the years, we may have found healing, learned lessons, found things we want to change, or maybe we are proud of our accomplishments.  What would your story look like?

In our Chained No More classes, we have our participants tell us their story and through that, we can see what some of their issues are that have kept them from flourishing in their lives.  Some of our participants have very little memory of their young childhood because it included too much trauma.  Some remember exact details such as the color of dress they wore for Easter when they were 6 years old,or the time they stole candy from the market, or the day their daddy walked away.  We all have many memories; some we wish to forget and some we can’t help but recollect.

The important thing, as we become adults, is to look damaging experiences in the face, see the power they have had on our decisions, relationships, etc., and then find healing from them, forgive them and live life freer than ever before.  It is worth the look back.

This week, on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest is Katariina Rosenblatt, the author of “Stolen.”  The topic is:  “Kat’s Story: From Trafficking to Escape to PhD.”  She will tell her story of being recruited, groomed and forced into sex trafficking, beginning at the age of 13.  The next chapter of her life is about stepping into forced prostitution, drugs, and an abusive marriage.  Kat will give her testimony of how she found God and is now involved in preventing human trafficking in America at the federal level. 

You will be drawn in, inspired and blessed as you hear how God lifted her up and how He is using her today.  Don’t miss it!  To listen to it LIVE, www.toginet.com at 1-3pm ET.  To download the podcast later that day, go to www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

Like Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Your story may not be as dramatic as Katariina’s, but you can use your pain and experiences for good to encourage and give hope to others.  Maybe begin writing your story of inputting it into the computer and who knows what He will do with it?!

 

Walking on Eggshells

eggshells

We have all gone through times when we felt we needed to “walk on eggshells” around someone or in a situation.  Maybe it was at work, when employees were not secure in their position. Maybe it was a romantic relationship when there was great tension.  It can just seem like you can never say the right thing and there is always tension.  Sometimes it is just better not to talk at all than take the risk of having another argument.

Children feel that way a lot with their parents when they feel like they can do nothing right.  It seems like the more tense the parents get, the more the kids pay the price and the more eggshells they have to walk on.

Another layer of this is when a parent suffers from alcoholism; no, when the entire family suffers from a parent being an alcoholic.  A child never knows what it will be like when they come in the door after school, or the parent comes home after a night “out”, or after their parents has been drinking at home all weekend.

I know children who have poured their parent’s booze down the sink because they didn’t want them to get drunk again.  Kids will also purposely stay away from home as much as they can and they would never bring a friend home because they didn’t know  what condition their parent might be in.

More times than not, when a parent is an alcoholic, they get abusive with their family members in various ways, and the children suffer all of their lives to heal from that damage. Alcoholism is so destructive and hurtful to families, but there are resources to help get someone off of this destructive cycle.

This Tuesday, March 21,  Lacey Anne Black, the author of “Dandelions to Daffodils: Chronicles of a Child with an Alcoholic Parent”,  will be our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com  Her topic is titled:  “Lacey’s Story:  Adult Child of an Alcoholic to Therapist.”  She will tell her compelling story of having an alcoholic parent, but also discuss how children are affected by an alcoholic parent, future addictions in the children, how to help an alcoholic, etc.  If you have or are living in this difficult situation, tune in and be blessed.  If you want to be informed about something that affects millions of families, we hope you will listen to learn.

Mom and Dad, maybe it is a good time to evaluate how open your conversation is with your children; especially teenagers.  It is a harsh world out there and you can promote an atmosphere of peace, happiness, and open communication in your home so you kids can thrive. Do they avoid talking to you?  Do they avoid you altogether?  Are they afraid of you?  Are they always in trouble with you?  Evaluate for the sake of your kids and your family.  Take a look at your use of alcohol in the home to see if it is affecting your relationship with your family members.  Don’t be the reason your family has to “walk on eggshells.”

 

 

Looking In the Rearview Mirror

rearview mirror

We can all look back at our past and see why we are where we are today. Living poorly may have either have caused us to work hard to live well or just made us give up and think that is all we were meant to be…poor.

Maybe we lived in an abusive, alcoholic home and we have worked really hard not to have our own kids live in that environment.  Maybe our father was a vet and taught us to be proud of America, so we too stand with our  hand on our heart when the national anthem is played.

Go ahead and look back; we may understand more about ourselves with each glance.  Now, we should spend more time looking out of the windshield to see where we are headed.

“It is, in essence, “looking out of the windshield instead of the rearview mirror.  Think about that for a moment.  If you were driving a car and and all you did was look out of the rearview mirror, you could bump into things, run off the road, or could be fatally injured.  If you just looked out of the windshield and never checked your rearview mirror, you might be hit from behind and not see a potential danger approaching.

The same thing goes for our lives.  If we just look at our past and live in its issues, we cannot move forward in safety and strength.  If we only look forward, but not remember what was before, we could fall back into the same traps and patterns we were in.  The past needs to be dealt with, but not completely forgotten.  It is part of who we are, but it doesn’t have to have power over us or define us as we drive away from it.”  Does that make sense?”  (from Chained No More…A Journey of Healing for Adult Children of Divorce/Childhood Brokenness)

This month on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guests are telling their compelling stories of where they came from and where they are headed today.  Our guest on March 14, is Tam Hodge, a young woman who lived through abuse, an eating disorder, abortions, suicide of her husband, drug addiction, etc.  She will tell her story of looking through the “rearview mirror” and then share where the Lord has called her as she moves forward and looks out of the” windshield.”  She is the author of the book, “And Now I  Choose” (amazon.com).  Please join us on Tuesday, March 14 at 2-3pm ET on www.toginet.com.

You can also download the podcast at www.toginet.come/shows/chainednomore anytime following the LIVE broadcast.

 

“Forget the former things; do not DWELL on the past.”  Isaiah 43:18

Friend, you may never be able to completely forget the past, but you do have the choice to dwell on it or not.  Think about it.  Set your negative past issues free and look out of the windshield with new hope and purpose.

Out of the Tunnel; Into the Light

tunnel

Do you remember a time when you felt like you were caught in a tunnel  and you could see no way out?  You tried and tried to find solutions and answers, but you kept running into a brick wall, it seemed?  Finally, sometimes, we just give up and try to accept that this is the way our life will always be.

One of the most beautiful things that increases my faith in the Lord God is seeing Him change lives and heal hearts.  He can take a life shattered from childhood and broken from crisis after crisis, use His Holy Spirit to capture their attention and soothe them with Himself and the promises in His Word.  The next thing you know, this wounded person’s eyes begin to rise, they begin to feel a flicker of hope and they see the little light at the end of the tunnel of their despair.

We see this time after time in our Chained No More classes (www.robynbministries.com/chainednomore) and I will never tire of watching the Lord God transform a life before our very eyes!  Praise His Name!!!

Our participants come from all walks of life, their childhoods severely damaged them, and they began to define themselves by what was said to them and what they experienced.  The enemy defined them and covered them with issues such as fear, anger, abandonment mistrust, betrayal and abuse of every kind.  What a horrid “tunnel” they have lived in for so long.   Now, what a joy to share with them who GOD says they are and who He created them to be.  The light at the end of the tunnel becomes brighter and brighter and closer and closer as they realize they are nothing like they thought they were!  What a thrill to watch!!

This week on Chained No More Talk Radio, we begin a month of interviewing guests who have lived in great trauma and just when they thought there was no hope, God lifted them up and is using them for His glory and purposes.  These stories may not be easy to hear, but their testimony of what God did will make us want to shout “hallelujah!”  We also hope that hundreds of thousands around the world will hear these guests and find hope that they too can find that light at the end of their “tunnel.”

For those of us who have not lived a lot of trauma and don’t really connect with people in crisis much, these stories will help us to have more compassion, less judgment. and teach us ways to minister to those still in their “tunnels” and guide them out to His Light.

Please join us each Tuesday at 2-3pm ET at www.toginet.com or you can also download each podcast at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore to hear each incredibly riveting story.

This week’s guest will be Brian Cole and the title of his show will be “From Darkness and Addiction to Preacher.”  His story will blow you away!  Join us and hear what God has done.

 

“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”  Ps. 18:28

Help! We Don’t Want A Divorce!

making up

Life gets busier and busier and tougher to manage.  Many times, our marriages get left in the dust between work, the kids, sports activities and extended family.  Add health issues, financial struggles and past issues rearing their ugly heads. and we can see why the divorce rate in America is still over 50%.  It used to be that the divorce rate was less within the church, but that is no longer the case.

I headed up a large single parent family ministry in our area, and the devastation I saw in the kids as well as the adults was heart-breaking, to say the least!  Many times a couple will have so much animosity, bitterness and anger at each other that they don’t see what they are doing to their kids.  Parents may even know how they are hurting the children, but because they don’t know how to resolve conflict effectively, or they hold onto past offenses or even keep hurting each other, they sadly separate and divorce.

The damage on the children is immense and will last a lifetime from the effects.  Feelings of insecurity, abandonment, betrayal, fear and great anger will follow them most of their life, if they don’t find healing.  They did nothing to deserve any of it!  The stats are high that children of divorced parents will also divorce…another result of parents unable to resolve their conflicts and be true to each other and the vows they made.

Well, help is one the way!  Dr. Rick Marks will be our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio on Tuesday, February 21 at 2-3pm ET at www.toginet.com.  His topic will be “Help!  We Don’t Want To Divorce!”.  Dr. Rick specializes in bringing critical marriages back to wholeness and holds groups around the country as well as private sessions with a couple to help them stay married and find joy in the reconciliation.  An incredible expert and resource for our listeners!  You can also download the podcast anytime at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

So, if you find yourself at a crossroads of staying married or leaving, please get to Dr. Ricks’ interview.  It could save your marriage and spare your children great damage in the process.  Aren’t they worth it?  You and your spouse are the examples of what marriage looks like, after all.

“Love is PATIENT, love is KIND, It does NOT ENVY, IT does not boast, it is NOT PROUD.  It is NOT RUDE, it is NOT SELF=SEEKING, it is NOT EASILY ANGERED, it KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS.  Love does NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL, but REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH.  It ALWAYS protects, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, ALWAYS perseveres.  LOVE NEVER FAILS.”  I Corinthians 13

Look at your marriage.  What elements are missing?  What can you personally improve on.  How will you pray for your marriage or do you?  If you are saying, “Help!  I Don’t Want A Divorce,” then beginning today, “do the work to make it work.”

Hearts and Flowers

valentines

Notice anything red or pink around the stores lately?  Notice the hundreds of heart-shaped cardboard boxes of chocolates?  Notice the many jewelry ads in the paper lately?  Yup!  It’s Valentines Day tomorrow.

For some of us, it is a wonderful day to celebrate love with our spouse or significant other. For children, it comes with cute little valentines given out to schoolmates with frosted sugar cookies in the shape of hearts and little conversation heart candies.

For my husband, Ivan, and me, it is our 43rd wedding anniversary.  Forty-three years of wonderful; of highs and lows, of moves, of the joys and challenges of having children, and the many joys of ministry.  Forty-three years of “better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live.”  Period.  It wasn’t too long ago that I asked my Ivan what he thought about renewing our wedding vows.  He looked intently at me, took my hands and said, “Babe, I meant those vows the first time.”  sniff sniff

Now, let’s look a different point of view.  There are many who dread this holiday because either they are alone because of divorce, death, or just haven’t found the right Valentine in their life.  For these people, they may try to keep out of the stores, not listen to love songs , and just try to ignore all the “love” they see.  If that is you, and you are unhappy this week, I want to wish you a day that you feel loved by your family, by friends, and especially the Lord God.

“I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart;  I will glorify Your name forever.  For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths of the grave.”           Ps. 86:12,13

There are also married couples who are barely living in the same house together and this holiday just doesn’t line up with how their relationship looks.  It may have been a long time since the words, “I love you” have been said, a hug was given or kind words were uttered.  Marriage takes a huge amount of commitment, compromise, patience and adherence to the vows that were said at the wedding.  It takes a lot to nurture a lifelong relationship; sensitivity, a desire to have a close bond, and all the things that are spoken about in I Corinthians 13; God’s ideal of love.

This Tuesday, our expert guest on Chained No More Talk Radio is Dr. Rick Marks, a man who is passionate about helping marriages to become all they were meant to be.  He will talk about what it takes to nurture a marriage and keep it vibrant and as sweet at those conversational heart candies.  Please tune in on Feb. 14 at 2-3 pm ET at www.toginet.com to hear all of Dr. Rick’s practical tools and let him encourage you on that very special day of love.

I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day, whether you are celebrating it with a husband, wife, friend, child, or a neighbor or alone.  Give love away and that love will come back to you.  Most of all, remember that God loves you, values you, cherishes you, and wants His best for you on Valentine’s Day and beyond.