Not Alone


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Not Alone

A collection of devotions for single mothers by Linda D. Bartlett

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Not Alone

A collection of devotions for single mothers by Linda D. Bartlett

Lutherans For Life

www.lutheransforlife.org • [email protected] • 888.364.LIFE Scripture is taken from GOD’S WORD®, © 1995 God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group.

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Going Against the Stream When I first became pregnant, I thought: It can’t be so tough to be a mom. But now I am a mom! And it certainly isn’t easy. I know it’s harder for me because I’m a single parent. I have to be both mother and father to my little one. But, hard as it is, I would never have been able to live with myself if I had chosen abortion. Some people make me feel like I was selfish to have this baby. We’re told that we have a population problem; therefore, people like me shouldn’t be having babies. Well, I admit I was wrong to be sexually involved with my boyfriend, but two wrongs don’t make a right! Killing humans to solve human problems disregards the sanctity of human life and certainly puts us all at risk! In making the choice for life, I thought that many people would be supportive of me. I thought they would say, “You could have taken the easy way out, but you didn’t. You accepted your responsibility and now you’re trying to be a good mother. What can I do to help?” But too often I feel left out and alone. Legalized abortion has diminished the role of motherhood: If the life of a preborn baby is of so little value, how important can the job of caring for those who are not aborted be? But babies and mothers are valuable to God! He protects us (Isaiah 40:11)! Dear God, I feel like I’m the center of controversy. Help me to know Your truth and not to be confused by the world. Amen.

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“If God is for us who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 GOD’S WORD

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Who Mothers The Mothers? Who cares when I’m worn out? Who understands the pressures I feel? Where can I turn for help? The answer is found in God’s Word. Over and over again God tells His children–the people He has created– to think of Him as their Father. Of course, were it not for Jesus, I would have no hope of ever claiming God as my Heavenly Father. It is Jesus who paid the full price for my sins so that I can call God “Abba Father” (Galatians 4:4-6)! God created everything and everyone in this world. He created male and female. The whole idea of marriage, sex, children, mothers, fathers, and families is His! God knows everything about me! He knows my heart. He knows my doubts and frustrations. He knows me better than I know myself! God mothers the mothers! He made a promise to me: “You shall be nursed, you shall be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:12-13). Even adults are gathered to Jesus as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings (Matthew 23:37). God knows me better than I know myself. He knows my fears, my needs, my joys. Because of Jesus, I can come confidently to God (Hebrews 4:16), certain that He will always care for me. Thank you, Jesus! Because of Your unselfish love, I am an adopted and forever-loved daughter of God! Amen.

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“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 GOD’S WORD

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God’s Kind of Love Titus 2:4 says that the main thing women are encouraged to do for their children is to love them. Nobody needs to tell me that! Of course I’m going to love my child! I suppose it won’t always be easy; I mean, the love will always be there, but as a single parent, will there be enough? Will I have enough love to be patient when I’m tired but my baby won’t go to sleep? Will I have enough love to be unselfish when I need new shoes but my child needs a warm coat (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)? Will I have enough love to discipline when I’m weak but my child is strong (Proverbs 22:6)? I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve already wondered what life would be like without my child. I certainly would have more freedom. I need to confess those feelings to God. He will forgive me and fill me with His love through the Holy Spirit. God’s kind of love—the kind of love I must have for my child—can only come from God, the Creator of love (1 John 4:7). I did not plan to be a mother so soon but, nevertheless, I am! Now I pray that God will help me be a good mother. To do this, I must try to imitate the love of God. God’s love is steadfast and unchanging (Psalm 118). God’s love is unselfish (John 3:16). O Lord, if I have faith that can move a mountain, but do not have love, then I am nothing. Please fill me with Your love. Amen.

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“I will never abandon you or leave you.” Hebrews 13:5 GOD’S WORD

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But I’m So Lonely He said all the right words. He told me he loved me. But now he’s gone. I let my emotions and desires rule over God’s Word for my life. The feelings were so strong. Just because I liked the way he kissed me and touched me didn’t mean I was prepared for more. But, to be honest, maybe I didn’t want him to stop. I let my emotions overcome the good sense of my conscience. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that a truly liberated woman doesn’t restrain herself with old-fashioned virtues. I was told to give in to my feelings, to do whatever feels right for me. No one mentioned the consequences! What’s the deal between men and women? Does it have to be all or nothing? What about friendship, trust, and commitment? Sometimes the nights are so lonely that I cry myself to sleep. As a woman, I need to know that I am loved for who I am as a person and not for my sensuality or sexual favors. I long for the unselfish commitment of a man’s love, not his dominance over me. During the days ahead, I must try to focus my eyes on Jesus. He knows my heart. And He will provide for all my needs because He is the Man who keeps His promises. Dear Jesus, You are my source of peace. When the nights are long and lonely, please hold me tight and never let me go. Amen.

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“You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20 GOD’S WORD

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A Child Entrusted to My Care I made some poor choices because I didn’t care about myself in the same way that God cares for me. Regrettably, sex became a substitute for love. I’ve heard about girls and women who get pregnant just to have a baby of their own to love and who will love them in return. That seems selfish to me. On the other hand, I think I can understand their desperation. We all need to be loved. And we are (Jeremiah 31:3)! The Father’s love for His daughter (that’s me!) is awesome (1 John 3:1a)! Some people label children as “mistakes” or “accidents.” God does not make mistakes (Isaiah 45:9-11)! I can help my child know his value to the Heavenly Father. I can do this with confidence because my child, like all children, was known and loved by God even before birth (Psalm 139:1316)! My child is precious because Jesus gave His life on the cross for him. My child has a future of hope because Jesus promises to be with him always. Even when I grow weary or feel inadequate, God will give me all I need to mother the child entrusted to my care (2 Corinthians 12:9). Almighty God, You have made me. Help me to like what you have made and to respect myself as Your creation. Show me the ways to help my child grow strong in Your love. Amen.

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“My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a GOD’S WORD

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Discipline: For Myself and My Child When a child behaves badly and is disciplined in love, he or she is discouraged from repeating that behavior. Disciplined children feel better about themselves. Children who know how to behave correctly receive approval from others. This meets a basic human need, builds confidence, and nurtures a sense of well being. If I do not teach my child how to act in a way that pleases God, it will be difficult for him to develop a good self-image. Perhaps that’s why I struggle with my own selfimage. Whenever I ignore God’s instructions for my life and instead do whatever I please, then I eventually become frustrated, fearful, or hurt. I am left unprotected from sin and its consequences and may even hurt the people I care most about. God is a perfect parent. Because He doesn’t want His children to get hurt, He lovingly provides the Ten Commandments and other Biblical instruction, which lead both my child and me on safer paths. He blesses our good choices. Saying “no” to wrong behavior (I would never allow my child to play in the street!) shows my child how much I love him. I help my child feel secure by setting rules for proper behavior and discipling with love when those rules aren’t obeyed. Dear Father, You don’t always like my behavior, but You love me enough to show me how to correct it. Help me love my child in the same way. Amen.

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“Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval. They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 GOD’S WORD

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Ways to Discipline in Love As a mother, I want to make sure that helping to correct the bad behavior of my child is accomplished in love. Thankfully, I have a Heavenly Father who shows me how to do this. Whenever I make a mistake, He wants me to acknowledge my sin (Psalm 32:3-5a). Then He forgives my sin (v. 5b) and remembers it no more (Isaiah 43:25). There are a number of ways that I can correct my child without damaging his self-respect. I can: • Use preventative discipline; in other words, I can give warnings to help him steer clear of trouble and reward good behavior with praise. • Set rules and insist on behavior that is pleasing to God but, at the same time, let my child grow in confidence by allowing him to make some minor choices by himself. • Reject wrong behavior without rejecting my child. • It’s okay to say, “I love you, but I don’t like what you’re doing.” • Discipline in private whenever possible. • Be fair and consistent. My discipline should not depend on my mood or the frustration I’m feeling at the time. I should never discipline my child in order to make myself look better in another adult’s eyes. • Listen to my child and take his feelings seriously. Dear Father, You are the perfect example of love and fairness. Please help me to learn Your way. Amen. Page 13 – Not Alone

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1 GOD’S WORD

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It’s Okay to Feel Guilty Placed inside of me is something called a conscience. Sometimes I listen to it—sometimes I don’t. Before I became pregnant, I chose not to listen to my conscience, which warned me against behavior that would forever change my life. I chose to please myself instead of God. There is often a conflict between what my friends tell me to do and what my conscience tells me to do. There is definitely a conflict between what Hollywood says is okay and what my conscience says is okay! There is even conflict within me (Romans 7:15-20). Sometimes my conscience makes me feel uncomfortable before I do something wrong. Other times, my conscience makes me feel guilty after I do something wrong. God has placed this little voice within me to protect me! I should listen whenever my conscience warns me against certain behaviors. When I make a wrong choice, I should be thankful for feelings of shame and guilt, which help me not to make the same mistake twice. God wants me to feel guilty when I sin, but He doesn’t want me to carry the burden of my sin. That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus! Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross removed the burden of sin! When I believe this and confess my sin, the Heavenly Father heals and forgives (Psalm 32:3-5). I am a new person in Christ! I can fear, love, and trust God, putting Him first in my life, so that my choices reflect His will rather than my own. The “light [Jesus] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Thank you, Jesus, for being my Savior and Light in a dark world. Amen. Page 15 – Not Alone

“The Lord is near to those whose hearts are humble. He saves those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person has many troubles, but the Lord rescues him from all of them.” Psalm 34:18-19 GOD’S WORD

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A Mother’s Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I know it is Your good plan that children have a mommy and a daddy. But for now, I, alone, am responsible for parenting this precious child. When I am uncertain about choices in life, show me Your faith and fill me with Your presence (Psalm 16). When I am anxious, guard my heart and mind (Philippians 4:4-9). When I am afraid, wipe my fears away (Romans 8:31-39). When I grow tired and discouraged as a mother, fill me with the fruits of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23a) and help me not to give up (6:9). When I am tempted as a woman, remind me that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). When I am confused about love, help me to know Your perfect love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). When my child needs a Father’s example, show Yourself (Psalm 10:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). When I am worried for my child and myself, be the Father we both need (Matthew 6:25-34). When I fail, forgive me (1 John 2:12) and help me start over. When I begin to wonder if You really care, take away all my doubts (Psalm 103). Strengthen my life as a Christian woman so that I might be a good example to my child (Colossians 3:12-17). Amen.

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Linda Bartlett is the wife of Paul, the mom of two sons and two daughters-in-law, and the grandmother of eight. She is the former president of Lutherans For Life (LFL), co-founder of LFL of Iowa, and co-founder and president of the Lighthouse Center of Hope. Linda strives to mentor biblical womanhood through Titus 2 for Life (www.titus2-4life.org) and shares the hope of identity in Christ that does not change with the circumstances of life. Linda is the author of Into His Loving Care; Men, Women and Relationships; and The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (www.ouridentitymatters.com).

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Lutherans For Life www.lutheransforlife.org [email protected] 888.364.LIFE Item LFL901B

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