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When You Just Need to Rest
Courtnaye Richard
Managing Time for Busy Moms
Jennifer Maggio

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.

Managing Time for Busy Moms

How can I possibly accomplish everything on my to-do list and still keep my sanity?

How can I make time for family when work is so busy?

How can I sleep more restfully?

            These are just a few of the questions that millions of us, as moms, ask ourselves on a daily basis. In a demanding, busy, lifestyle, we are all battling exhaustion and how to manage our time more effectively to be the best moms we can be. Here are a few things that I’ve discovered help me to keep some balance and keep my schedule in check:

You must have a plan. Once you have a plan in place, tweaks and adjustments can be made, as you deem appropriate. But the first step is actually having a plan! If you lack a plan, typicall you will accomplish the first thing that arises. The problem is that he first thing that arises isn’t necessarily the priority of the day. For example, you go into the storage closet at work to retrieve more printer paper. After digging for 5 minutes to locate it, you decide that the storage closet could really use some organizing, so you begin the enormous task of reorganization. Two hours later, you have made some progress in the storage closet, but your desk is piled high with more important priorities. While the closet needed some attention, there were other things that are more pressing. If we aren’t careful in planning, we will be pulled from task to task, never eally accomplishing anything, but tired, nevertheless. Plan first.

Implement family time. You absolutely must schedule time with your kids – quality time. If you are a mother with children still in the home, and most of you are, you must recognize immediately that this is merely a season of life, and in the blink of an eye, it will be gone. Parenting is a small season of your life and it is quickly fleeting, so take advantage of some family time. Failure to implement scheduled family time means that most of us carry the burden of guilt that we aren’t a good enough mom or that we are short-changing our children by having to work outside the home. Schedule the time and make it a quality experience for your children, so that when you are at work, you can present at work.

Have a more productive day versus a busy day. As previously mentioned, none of us struggle with too little to do. We are all being pulled with an endless list of tasks, but we must focus on production versus reaction. The quality of how you perform the work is often more important than the quantity of the work.

Have fun. Too many of us are going throughout are jobs, homes, relationships in a way that is busy, stressed, etc. And we are never really enjoying any moment. We’re at home worrying about the job and at the job worrying about home. Make it a point to actually enjoy what you are doing. Recall why you took the job or how much you enjoy your children. Choose to focus on the joys of parenthood versus the to-do list. Choose to focus on why your job makes a difference in your community or in the quality of lives of others versus the actual tasks. Sometimes, an impromptu dance party at the copy machine may be just what you need to lighten the load, get a few laughs from colleagues, and actual enjoy your day! Fun makes the managing of the rest of the day easier.

Rest. Statistics continually support that well-rested sleepers are more productive throughout their workday than those who struggle to get sound sleep. The number one cause of insomnia (barring medical issues) is a busy mind. We lie awake thinking of the 22 things that need to be accomplished tomorrow. Hebrews 4:9 says there is a “special rest waiting for the people of God.” Vs. 11 on that same chapter further challenges us to enter that rest. When we recognize that everything we have comes from God, every blessing, and that there is no challenge too big for Him, we’re able to truly rest in His peace. When we understand, fully, that he will not leave us to carry the tasks of our tomorrows alone, we can lay down the burdens of the day and get that sound sleep we need. 

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


Who Are You, Really?

 

            Who are you? It seems like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? But think about it for just a moment. Who are you? What are the first things that enter to your mind in response to that question? When meeting a new friend or colleague, we tend to spout off a list of roles we answer to.  I’m a mom, wife, sister, aunt, or friend. Or maybe we answer with a job title. I’m a teacher, hair dresser, administrative assistance, or business owner. Perhaps we begin to discuss a current or future project. I’m writing a book, joining the church choir, or launching a single mom’s ministry in my community.

            When most of us are asked who we are, we respond with what we do. As women, we are doers by nature. We are always fixing someone or something. We hold life together, don’t we? I often joke to my husband that if something happens to me, he is going to struggle to know what to do next – where to locate the important papers, his socks, or our children!

I recently read a comic online that described the difference between how a woman and man get ready for bed. A woman determines she is tired at 8pm and begins the journey of putting the children down for bed. This is after she’s cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen, helped with homework, and bathed the children. After thirty minutes of nighttime stories, prayers, and repeated potty visits, the children are tucked in. It is only then that the woman remembers she needs to thaw out meat for tomorrow’s dinner. While she’s in the kitchen, she’ll start a grocery list for this weekend and jot a few things on a to-do list for tomorrow. Oh, and there’s one more load of laundry that needs to be washed, so might as well get that going too. She throws in some detergent and starts the load. On her way to the bedroom, she notices dirty socks on the floor that need to be taken to the laundry and a shirt on the dresser that needs a button sewn on. After handling those tasks, she’s finally in the bedroom, changing for bed, when she notices that her fingernails could probably use a quick polish and her clothes for tomorrow could use a touch from the iron. Finally, at 10:45pm, she tiredly collapses into to bed. The difference with her husband? He determines he’s tired at 10:00pm, and he heads to bed!

Of course, this is all in good fun and many of us are blessed with husbands that help with so much around the house. But the point is, as women, we are wired differently. We see to all the details and little things that help us (and others around us) to function smoothly throughout the day. We are chauffeurs, counselors, dishwashers, consultants, chefs, clothes washers, and fixer-of-all-boo-boo’s. And all of that is fine, when it’s in proper perspective. The danger lies in the doing becoming the defining.

Then, he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” Mark 8:29

I find this fascinating. Jesus wanted to know if the disciples fully understood who he is. They were witnessing his miracles and experiencing first-hand His presence. Yet, Jesus knew it was important that the disciples understood exactly who he is. The same is true for us. We must fully understand who Jesus is in us, to fully understand who we are, in Him.

Only one thing is eternal – our relationship with Jesus. Beauty fades. Positions change. Titles come and go. Unfortunately, relationships sometimes fail. Friends and family sometimes pass away. Children grow up. When our marital status (whether single or married) becomes who we are and what we live for, we must refocus. When what our children do and say becomes our everything, we must refocus. When our beauty (whether we see ourselves as such or lacking thereof) defines us, we must refocus. When a platform of ministry (such as Sunday school teacher, member of the choir, author of a book, or anything else for that matter) becomes our worth, we must refocus.

When anything – anything at all – determines who we are, we must desperately seek the word of God to set our sights on what He says about who we are.  The same is true in how we see other believers too. We cannot place worth on how many members are in his church or her Sunday School class. We cannot be concerned with the size of bank accounts or job titles.  None of those things matter. We work not for salvation, for that was given freely. We choose to work, because we are saved.

We are daughters of the living God, the King. We are not defined by what we do – whether good or bad – rather by what Jesus did on the Cross for us. We can never earn more love from our Lord. He loves us infinitely. I have a confession. I am a “striver”. There is just no doubt about it. I like to get an atta-girl. I like to accomplish goals and write out to-do lists to mark things off the list. I like five-year plans and twenty-year visions. I am hopeful of one day hearing, “Well done my good and faithful servant” from my Heavenly Father.  But I must, must, must understand (and so do you) that striving for excellence is not about earning a position, title, or platform, and certainly not about earning my Heavenly Father’s loves. It isn’t about becoming anything. What defines who we are is about simply being. Being a daughter of the Creator of Heaven. Being his beloved. Being chosen to spend eternity with him.

Jennifer Maggio is mom of three, author, and speaker. She is passionate about using her story to encourage others about the goodness of God. She is founder/CEO for The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She has a passion to encourage hurting women and single mothers. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.  

*** Article first appeared on iBelieve.com. 

 


Encountering God

When I was 9 years old, I gave my heart to the Lord. I walked to the front of my church, told the pastor that I had accepted Jesus into my heart, and went through some Bible classes on what becoming a Christian meant.  That was my very first God encounter.  It was simple and uncomplicated. In my heart, even at such a young age and even if I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of my own sin; I knew I was in need of a Savior. That Sunday began my journey with Christ.

I was recently asked to share on God Encounters in my life.  I sat down to write some notes. I began to reflect on the first time I remember encountering God and the timeline of miracles – both big and small – that were evidenced in my life over the last 30 years.  Beyond my salvation experience (which was a miracle all its own), I remember my first miracle. I was on fire for God, read my Bible every day, attended Sunday school every week, prayed and talked to God. In a simple, yet profound way, I understood that Jesus was my best friend.  My life was pretty crazy, at that time. My dad was an alcoholic. My mother had been killed, years earlier. I was being abused in my home regularly.  It was chaos, yet I was completely in love with Jesus.

It was Christmas time that year, and I was about ten years old. My family was wrapping Christmas presents in the living room, and my stepmom asked me for the tape to use for one of the gifts.  I started looking and looking…. and looking.  I couldn’t find it.  Because I had been abused as a child, I became immediately fearful that if I didn’t find that tape I was going to be in big trouble!  I looked everywhere I could think.  I decided, as a 10 year old little girl, to go in my bedroom, lie across my bed, and pray about it.  I covered my eyes and started asking God to please show me where the tape was. Within seconds, I got up from the bed and walked straight to my parents’ bedroom, into their closet, and picked up the tape from a shelf inside the closet. Now, I know this isn’t some earth-shattering miracle. But it was my miracle, something God had done for me. My childlike faith, believed God heard me and what mattered to me, mattered to Him.

God is in the small things and He’s in the big things. God encounters look different for each one of us.  Yes, God encounters have been big ones for me through the years.

God saved me from the death the morning my mother was killed, when I was in the car with her.

God saved me the day I was choked, almost to death, by an angry relative.

He was there, when I had nothing in my refrigerator and cabinets to feed my children. He showed up as a loving neighbor knocking at my door with a warm meal.

I encountered God, when my 1984 Mercury broke down on the side of the road, repeatedly. With two toddlers in tow, I began the trek home. He showed up as friends who just happened to be driving by.

God was there, when a random one hundred dollar bill showed up in my mailbox with no name or address, when I thought I wouldn’t eat for the week.

He was there my first Christmas alone as a single mom… and he was there my 7th Christmas alone.

God was there when I was beaten, homeless, and hopeless. 

I’ve encountered God in a thousand ways in my life. He shows up in every season, whether we acknowledge him or not. He is there.  Every step of life’s journey leads us to an encounter with our King.

Sometimes, when life has beaten us down, and we are worn out, or just tired of being disappointed, it is hard for us to see the encounters of God. Through his faithfulness in my own life, there are a few things I have learned about God encounters:

Don’t fear the encounter.   We often fear what we don’t understand.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 You may be in a season, when you look left and right and cannot see God. You may fear your future. You may fear what your children are going to become. You may fear that you will always be alone. You may fear your financial future. I don’t know what you fear today. But I want to encourage you that in order for God to show up and do a miracle in your life, you need to be in prime position. The problem with receiving a miracle is that you have to be in a position to get one.  And none of us want to be in that position!  God encounters come at the perfect time, His timing, and in ways we don’t understand. But don’t fear an encounter with Him. He’s going to show up.

Don’t fret the encounter.   Has God ever showed up in your life? Has there ever been a time when only He could’ve answered your prayers? Of course! Then, why do we fret that He’s not going to show up this time, in this situation? Philippians 4:6-7 says Don’t’ worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. And then…. You will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.   Don’t worry that God isn’t going to show up. You will encounter him. We spend more of our time worrying about life than actually living life. The recipe for God’s peace is clear --- Do not worry about anything.  Pray about everything. Tell him what you need. Thank him for what he’s already done.

Don’t fail the encounter.  When God shows up, he will show out. He will move mountains. He will bless. He will give freedom. He will replace anger & bitterness with joy. But don’t dare, fail the encounter. When he does show up, don’t you forget to praise Him all the days of your life. Don’t be a fair-weather Christian. When God shows up for us, we get excited and thankful for about 30 seconds. But then we just add another thing to the list. We start asking him for something else. We start looking for the next high—the next God encounter.  If God never does anything else for us, he’s already done enough. He paid for us to live in eternity with Him. He fills our soul with joy. He gives peace that others cannot even comprehend. He turns crying into dancing.

Let us all be patient between God encounters, expectant of future ones, and thankful for the miracles He’s already done.

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