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Learning to Dream Again
Jennifer Maggio
What Are You Passionate About?
Courtnaye Richard

About Jennifer Maggio

 

Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.

Jennifer Maggio

Jennifer Maggio
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Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.

Learning to Dream Again

Twenty years ago, I found myself curled in a ball in the middle of my cold, bathroom floor, crying hysterically. I was convinced that no one could possibly understand the depths of my pain. When would this misery end? I was broken. I had no money, few friends, and no hope. How was I going to raise these children alone for 18 years? How could I make it financially? Would my circumstances every change? How could I ever get over all the abuse from my past?

There were a million questions and I had no answers. That is my story – the story of a lonely single mom, living on government assistance, running from God, and feeling I couldn’t push through. The next several years brought a winding road of highs and lows, victories and defeats. But I did push through. I made it through those early years of parenting alone. Although I hadn’t been in years, I became involved in my local church, rededicated my life to the Lord, and slowly began the journey of digging myself out of a financial and emotional hole. My heart found rest. I leaned on the Lord, when everyone else had failed me. I learned to dream again. I learned that God planted things inside me that only I could do, that my past didn’t have to dictate my future. And I never forgot what it was like to be that lonely, overwhelmed single mom.

Moms and dads, the best thing you can do for your children is dream again!

Employers, the best thing you can do for your staff is dream again!

Daughters, the best thing you can for your future husband is learn to dream again!

When you were a kid, do you remember dreaming of becoming the next world-champion figure skater or the next President of the United States or the coach at the high school? When did we lose that dream? I understand it's difficult to get excited about dreams, when you're barely keeping your head above water. When our kiddos are small, we do our very best to encourage them to dream, to hope? So why then, do we allow our own dreams to die?

We can dream! Maybe it has been years since you've thought about those things God placed in your heart, oh so long ago. Maybe you feel you are too far off course or the dream is too far gone. Maybe you are too scared to even utter aloud the hopes you have for your future. Learn to dream. Learn to ask God for big ideas and vision! There are things He wants you to do in this life, so go back to him and ask him. 

 

Jennifer Maggio is a national author and speaker, mom to three, wife of Jeff, and CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is chauffeur, chief dishwasher, carpool queen, and duct tape aficionado. But more importantly, she is passionate about teaching women how to find complete freedom in Christ. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com

 

 


The Truth about Lysa TerKeurst and Ministry

Like many of you, I read Lysa Terkeurst’s blog last week regarding the recent loss of her 25-year marriage. Through tears, I read the devastation and pain in Lysa’s words, as she had tried hard to salvage the marriage, suffered through the pain of infidelity, and walked the hard walk of addiction with her husband. I knew what courage it had taken to share that story with the world and how hard that letter must’ve been to write. I wanted to hold her hand, hug her, and let her know she wasn’t alone. I wanted to write some earth-moving comment on her social media page that would speak to right where she was and take the pain from her. There was no such comment. Words alone cannot possibly rectify the situation. Words alone cannot bring healing to the broken places of her story. Her journey will likely be a long and hard one. But the truth is her journey, behind closed doors, has already been a long and hard one.  Lysa is walking a road that millions of women in this country are walking.

Having been in single mom’s ministry for more than a decade, unfortunately, I can tell you that Lysa’s story is not unique. Our ministry fields hundreds of letters, emails, and social media posts from women whose lives have been turned upside down by the devastation of divorce – women who are drowning in sorrow and shame and financial disparity and disappointment and grief, women who never expected to be where they are, women who were abandoned by a spouse they loved, women who walked the walk of infidelity.  This isn’t new news, sadly.  We know that the evil one is roaming this earth seeking relationships that he can kill, searching for dreams that he may steal, and destroying thousands of lives along the way.

For those who have been called to full-time, vocational ministry, the truth of the enemy’s plot for our lives is that much stronger. He is infuriated every time we take a step to minister to the needs of others and to bring the hope of Jesus to hurting people. He is angered when an altar is filled with women who have now found the love that only our Savior can bring. My prayers are with Lysa and her family during this difficult time.

This news, however, has fueled my ministry passion even more, as I’ve seen how the Christian community responds to this tragedy.  I scrolled through hundreds of comments on Lysa’s social media page and read the stories of the women whose lives mirrored Lysa’s.  I read the pain in their words – many of whom are left to raise children alone. First, thank you for the prayers for Lysa and her family. Thank you for the encouraging comments that will hopefully offer some sense of peace during a difficult time. Thank you for committing to lift her up, not only this week, but for many weeks and months to come.  But what will you do for the millions of “Lysas” in the nation? How can you make a real impact?

Did you know that there are 15 million single mothers in the United States, raising approximately 25 million children? Did you know that they often fall prey to staggering statistics and a sense of exhaustion and overwhelm that only a single mother could know? Were you aware that an estimated 2 out of 3 single mothers aren’t going to church anywhere? But perhaps more sad than all of that is the fact that many churches, in fact most churches, do not have a formal single mom’s ministry and outreach program. Single motherhood is the modern-day widow and orphan. Single mothers are the mission field, both locally and abroad. So, what are we going to do about it?

What can we, the church—the collective body of Christ, do to minister to the needs of those, like Lysa, who are hurting in our communities?  How can we serve practically, offer hope, and give solace, as they parent their children alone? What impact can we have that could change the future of a child?

If you are reading this and you attend a church that does not have a single mom’s ministry that meets on a regular basis, start there. Begin the dialogue with a pastoral team member who can begin a program. Single mom’s outreaches begin the evangelism process. Single mom’s ministries begin the discipleship process. We must have both to change lives. I’m thankful for the many, many, many single moms whose lives are touched because churches across the nation see the need to minister to single mothers. I’m thankful for the current and former single moms…and the friends and family members of single moms….who are stepping up to begin this dialogue with their church leaders about how to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let the church arise and minister to hurting women, right where they are. Let us pray and intercede for marriages that are on the rocks, that God could intervene and restore what has been lost. Let us truly reach beyond the walls of our comfort and put our faith into action.  

Jennifer Maggio is the CEO of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a global nonprofit headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that has worked with more than 1,500 churches to establish, grow, or improve a single mom’s ministry and outreach plan. The organization's efforts reach more than 50,000 single mothers each year for the cause of Christ. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com


Establishing Boundaries for Your Kids

                What are the things you hold most valuable in your life? I would suspect that at the top of that list are your children. Moms are nurturers. We are boo-boo kissers, cuddlers, compassionate, wisdom-givers and makers-of-the-world-go-'round. We want to see our children thrive, grow, become successful at whatever vocation they choose and be productive citizens one day. And if all of this is true, why is it that so many of us struggle to establish strong and healthy boundaries in our home for our children? This is true for many parents, today. Perhaps it is because we are exhausted or maybe, because the world has produced more excuse-makers than responsble adults today, seemingly. Whatever the cause, we must take back our children!

                Parents often struggle with guilt, whether it's because we work too many hours or perceive that we aren't good enough parents or fall into the trap of comparison. We're guilty. The world has made sure of that. And because we are guilty, we overcompensate. We buy too many things and make too many excuses. We often fail to establish strong boundaries or have an unwillingness to adhere to the boundaries being set. 

                Our children never benefit from us being a lax parent. Establishing boundaries with our children means we love them enough to do so. It means we want to give them every opportunity to succeed and that includes obeying and adhering to rules we’ve established in our homes. It means they are safe. Believe it or not. Children actually like boundaries. (They may not always confess it, but they do!)

                No one can determine your boundaries that work for your home. We can help establish guideliness, but each home is different. The key is actually establishing boundaries that you and your family can adhere to. Here are some things to consider:                 

  1. What type of character do I want my children to develop as they age?
  2. What are the things that work best for my family?
  3. What weekend and weekday routine help me (and my children) function at our best?
  4. What are the non-negotiables of my home? What are the things that are negotiable?
  5. Do I have firm consequences established for breaking the rules?
  6. Are there times when I can administer grace, when a child breaks a rule?
  7. Do I have devoted family time, where no phone calls or social media is present, on a regular basis?
  8. Is family meal time a protected time for our family? Is that important to me?
  9. Do my children think I’m a pushover? Do I find it difficult to get my children to adhere to the rules?
  10. Have I been clear in my expectations for my home? 

Jennifer Maggio is a national author and speaker, mom to three, wife of Jeff, and CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is chauffeur, chief dishwasher, carpool queen, and duct tape aficionado. But more importantly, she is passionate about teaching women how to find complete freedom in Christ. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com