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.

Names Of Jesus

Recently I was blessed to be speaking to a group of women at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs about the names of Jesus.  What a GREAT time of sharing!  The women are wonderful and eagerly received the Word of God as I shared.  The main topic was Living Water but since they had been studying many different names of Jesus over the course of the past year, I wanted to show them how all the names fit together.


God gave me an idea for a simple demonstration using a cup full of rocks to help the audience visualize what happens when we fill our cup…symbolizing our heart vessel… with things other than water which represents the Living Water, Christ Jesus.  On each of the rocks I had written a single word of a problem or sin and next to it I wrote the Name of Jesus which applied to that particular issue. 


Many ladies have asked for a copy of this part of the message I shared so here you go:


“Stones take all kinds of shapes and sizes and some of them are even beautiful…like serving at church, teaching Bible study, volunteering for ministry purposes…but none are to take the place of Living Water.  Just as a glass was designed for water, You and I were designed by our Creator to receive Living Water.  Yet we fill our vessels with things that we were never designed for.


“So what happens when we come to Jesus, the Living Water with all our stones?  Jesus longs to fill us with Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit but look at the junk that’s in the way!  The stones are occupying space that belongs to Living Water. 


“What are the stones in your life occupying the place in your heart that was intended for Living Water alone?  How much are you missing out on because there’s just no room for Him?” 


“As I pull out stones, let them be a reminder of who Christ has taught us this year He is…”


A stone of confusion…Jesus told us that He is our Guidepost.  We don’t have to be confused, because He will guide us into all truth.   {Isaiah 58:11; Psalm 119:4-9; Jeremiah 31:21}


A stone called fear…We can get rid of that one in the name of Jesus because He is our PRINCE OF PEACE.  We have nothing to fear.  We walk in peace.  {Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; 26:3; Isaiah 32:17-18; Luke 1:67, 76-79; John 14:27, 16:33}


What about the stone called worry?  Jesus is our Provider, according to His riches in glory.  He knows what we need.  He provides.  {Phil 4:19; Genesis 22: 1-8; Matthew 14:19-20}


A favorite among Christian women, the stone of preoccupation with busyness.  We can loose that one in Jesus name…Jesus is our Good Shepherd who guards our going out and coming in, in Whom we can find rest.  {Psalm 23; Isaiah 40:11; John 10:2-3, 10:7-10}


This hideous stone of sinful appetites?  Jesus is our Bread of Life.  He satisfies our hunger and as we feast more & more on Him, we are filled, no room for other appetites.  {John 6:48-51, 53-58; John 6:35; Psalm 103}


The stone of unforgiveness?  He is our Bright, Morning Star that chases away the shadows of woundedness, the Light of the World that allows us to release the darkness of those who have hurt us. {Rev 22:16; Numbers 24:17; II Peter 1:16-19; Psalm 139: 11-12; Isaiah 29:18-19; Luke 1:78-79}


The stone of distrust of others?  Jesus is our Friend, we can trust Him.  {John 15:13; Proverbs 17:17; John 21:4-7; Proverbs 18:24}


The stone of loneliness?  Jesus is our ever present Husband.  {Isaiah 54:5-7; Rev. 19:6-9; Hosea 2:19-20}


The stone of striving?  Jesus is our Victor!  {I Cor. 15:57, I John 4:4; Luke 10:18-20; Matthew 28:18; II Cor. 10: 4-5}


Unhealthy habits?  Jesus is our Deliver.  {Luke 1:68-69; Job 5:19; I Co. 10:13; II Titus 4:18; II Peter 2; 9; Acts 5:18-19, 12:7}


The stone of anger?  Jesus is our Comforter/Helper.  {II Cor. 1:3,6; Psalm 77:2; Psalm 54:4}


Abandonment?  He is Emmanuel, God with us!  {Matthew 1:22-23; Matthew 28:20; Psalm 139:7-10}


The stone of selfishness?  Jesus is our Alpha & Omega…when we realize that it’s ALL about him, from beginning to end, there’s no place for selfishness.  {Isaiah 44:6, 48:12; Rev 1:7-8, 22:13}


Critical spirit, nagging, complaining?  Jesus is our Encourager, our JOY!  {Romans 14:17; John 15:9-16; Psalm 16:11, 43:4; Isaiah 61:7; Galatians 5:22}


And the stones of shame & guilt? Jesus is our High Priest, {Hebrews 4:14-16, 9:11-14; I Peter 2:9-10; Romans 8:31-34} and the Lamb of God who forgives our sin.  {John 1:29; Isaiah 53:7; I Peter 1:18-21; Rev 5:6, 9-10}


Slowly the stones were removed from the cup until eventually the cup was empty and ready to be filled to overflowing with Water.


In the name of Jesus we can loose the heavy stones that weigh us down and occupy our vessels. When Jesus our Living Water comes to fill us as His vessels, we have a constant well springing up in us to give us a heart of worship in spirit and truth.  And in the name of Jesus we have heart vessels that overflow with Living Water, spilling over into the lives of those who count on us…husbands, children, family, friends, co-workers, even strangers at the grocery store…who need us to share this hope in us, the fountain of Living Water. 


There is no name that is stronger, no other name that can free us, no other name but the name of Jesus.  AMEN.