Chair of Thanksgiving, Single Mom Style

I have a dear friend who has a Chair of Thanksgiving where she faithfully meets with Jesus each morning.  A pretty, decorated basket next to her prayer chair is filled with her Bible, journal, pens, highlighters, a box of tissue and note cards to write encouraging Scripture to others to remind them to be thankful as well.  I admire my friend’s discipline and her commitment to meet with Jesus daily, to talk with him, listen for Him and thank Him.  I’m a bit envious that she has the luxury of doing all this from the comfort & quietness of her special chair.  My friend, however, is NOT a single parent.

I am a single mom and My Chair of Thanksgiving is portable.

It’s a white wooden chair at my kitchen table with my family.

It’s a swivel chair at my desk.

It’s a patio chaise on my back deck overlooking our Colorado skyline.

It’s a swing in a nearby park, a boulder on a hiking trail, a bicycle seat, a bench on a firing range–anywhere I’m fortunate enough to hang out with my kiddos.

It’s the front seat of my automobile, sometimes on the passenger side while my teen drives and I thank God for nerves of steel.

It’s a stadium chair at my son’s sports events.

It’s a cold, stiff chair in a doctor’s office.

It’s a sofa in a counselor’s office.

It’s a beach towel on a sandy Pacific shore.

It’s a window seat 33,000 feet above & between majestic Colorado & Alaska mountains.

And anyone who’s ever been a single mom desperate for a few minutes of solitude will understand when I say sometimes my Chair of Thanksgiving is a toilet seat!

My Chair of Thanksgiving is portable because my Bible tells me that I am to never cease giving thanks…

“Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:17-18

As a single mom, I often struggle with ingratitude.  Some days I don’t feel like giving thanks.  It’s easier to feel sorry for myself, having to parent solo for the better part of 14 years, than it is to say “Thank You, Jesus”.   But when I begin to consider Who it is I am thanking, my gratitude takes on a whole other dimension even as a single mom.

As a woman who parented 18 children through birth, fostering and adoption, I’ve learned that I can be thankful because:

When I feel alone Jesus is “Immanuel, God with Us”.  His presence never leaves me, no matter how lonely my heart feels Jesus is always here with me.  He sees every tear and He holds my heart.

When my world is full of chaos, juggling schedules and homework and carpools and sport practices and doctor’s appointments, He is my “Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is peace.”

When I am exhausted and desperate for rest from all those mothering responsibilities, God is “Maon & Machseh, My dwelling place & refuge.”

When I struggle to make financial ends meet, God is  “Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides.”  My children may not always have what they want, but He faithfully gives us all we need.

When my heart breaks from hurtful things my kids say about me & to me, God is my “Magen, my shield,” to protect me from the arrows of young, uncensored mouths.

When I am overwhelmed in the spiritual battle for the hearts of my children, God is “Yahweh Nissi, the Lord my Banner “ who goes before me in battle and protects us.  Confident of His protection, I can fight any battle in His power & prevail in His strength.

When my kids try to push me around and I just don’t feel that strong, He is “Metsuda & Migdal-Oz, my fortress and my strong tower.”

When I am overwhelmed with guilt at all my failures, mistakes and motherly imperfections, He is “Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals.”, healing my mind and my heart, allowing me to forgive myself.

When I am confused about right decisions to make for my children, He is ”Rabbi, teacher” who shows me the path to follow.

When I am discouraged and feel I can’t keep going, He is “Miqweh Yisrael, the Hope of Israel, the God of Hope”.  Hope that steadies me in fear & trials, not because everything in life is picture perfect but because the God of Hope can be trusted in every situation.

Finally, When I am tired of being single and I long for a husband, Jesus is “Nymphios, my Bridegroom”.  I am married to my Lord.  And I can give thanks that my husband not only loves me deeply & unconditionally, He doesn’t leave the toilet seat up.

In this holiday season, I encourage you to embrace your Chair of Thanksgiving, wherever it may be.


Grief is Better than Laughter?

 A chiming doorbell on my cell phone signaled I’d received a text message.  “How’s your day?”

I’m so grateful for friends checking in with me.  Otherwise my human interaction is limited these days to nurses, strangers in a hospital cafeteria and a frequently sleepy mom…we’re blaming it on Compazine for her nausea. 

My reply text, “4 hrs sleep. Got thrown up on. Cried to see mom so sick. Ate junk 4 lunch for comfort. And just got beat at cards cos mom was bored. Good day.”  I no longer ask or desire for my days to flow flawlessly.  I’m choosing to embrace reality and to thank God for every moment, even if I’m saying, “Thank you, God” through tears.

I used to puzzle over Ecclesiastes 7:3, “Grief is better than laughter…” Today I’m rethinking that.  I’ve grieved much these past few months, mostly related to mom’s multiple myeloma and all she has suffered in this process for hope of healing.  There have been days when I have forced a laugh, feigned a smile trying to put up a good front.  But the tears…those have all been real.  Laughter can be faked but grieving cannot.  Grieving is honest.  In that respect, Scripture holds true. Grief IS better than laughter.

Do not ask why the old days were better than these, for that is a foolish question.”  Ecc. 7:10

We’re often tempted to look back over the “old days” and tell ourselves those were better days.  Past pain diminishes. Foggy recall occludes accurate details.  Selective memory clings to positive while it ferrets out, then dismisses negative…well, at least in those who favor optimism.  Whether a fact, tainted sentiment or complete denial, ascribing “good” to the past can easily be accomplished if we so choose.  But today, when my heart is aching over mom’s suffering, when I smell like vomit, I’m coming down from a self-inflicted sugar high,  I’m sleep deprived and I can’t seem to stop my eyes from leaking, “Thank you God” has a much different feel to it.  I’m steeped in the misery of this day and still I’m choosing to say THIS is a good day.  Why?  Because I was blessed to spend time with someone I love.  Because any “bad day” side-by-side with a loved one is better than the most beautiful day without love. And because God sees my day, sees how it pales in comparison to what mom is dealing with and He graces me with divine perspective…compared to what His Son went through at Calvary, this is a very good day.

“Consider God’s handiwork: who can straighten what he has made crooked? When things go well, be glad.  When things go ill, consider this: God has set the one alongside the other in such a way that no one can find out what is to happen next…man is greatly troubled by ignorance of the future.  Who can tell him what it will bring? It is not in man’s power to restrain the wind and no one has power over the day of death.  In war, no one can lay aside his arms, no wealth can save its possessors.”  Ecc 7:13-14; 8:6-8

Control is an illusion.  I can’t predict what will happen and I am powerless to control outcomes.  The only thing I can fully control is how my heart will respond to the here and now.  By God’s mercy, as long as I have breath in my body, I get to decide one day at a time to say “Thank You, God” even when grief overshadows laughter.

Somebody’s Praying

I’m sitting in ICU watching my mom sleep soundly for the first time in days.  With her WBC still at 0.0, we are in a critical time with this cancer battle.  The last 48 hours have tested my faith like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, especially last night as mom’s decline worsened hourly.  I wish I could tell you that I was strong through it all but I wasn’t…watching a loved one close to the brink of eternity shakes me to the core especially when that loved one has been for me the person I’ve leaned on more than anyone else throughout my entire life. 

Glancing up at a monitor, I read beautiful numbers 100/54 and 98, up from last night when they were 67/33 and 52.  Who knew readings for blood pressure and heart rate could make time seem to stand still?  In what I consider the most painful night I’ve ever endured, helpless to change abhorrent side effects of chemo treatments for multiple myeloma wreaking havoc on my dear mother, I cried out to God and reached out to friends through quick texts, pleading for prayer.  At all kinds of unholy hours, you relinquished sleep to intercede for us and replies poured in…

 “the Lord your God is with YOU, Di…He is with your mother as well…He is mighty to save”

“His love is unshakable, though the mountains be moved to the sea, His love cannot fail…”


“Even as much as I love you, God loves you infinitely more. Trust Him.”

“Nothing is out of His control. Use the wisdom and discernment He gives you minute by minute and trust Him for the rest.”

“Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”

“You have the mind of Christ. His power is made perfect in weakness. Clothe yourself in Him now and stay there.  There are angels ministering to you and your mom.”

“Do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you by My Righteous Right Hand.”

If “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”, then surely God was speaking through His precious saints last night & today to strengthen my faith.   His Word and your prayers {and someone willing to take my frantic call at 3:40 a.m.} carried me through 40 hours with only 90 minutes of sleep.  We feel your love, support & prayers.  We are profoundly grateful.