By Pam Kanaly, Crosswalk.com
Have you ever just felt lousy as a single mom? Like you’re not a candidate for God’s forgiveness? Or that you’ve fallen outside the realm of deserving God’s favor? If so, guess what? Like many others, you’ve just swallowed the biggest lie of Satan EVER! He doesn’t want you to know that your heavenly Father is the God of second chances. (And I might add, that I actually know Him as the God of third, fourth, and fifth chances!)
We sometimes forget we’re not the only ones who’ve made boo-boos in life. What mistakes have you committed? Have you ever disgraced yourself as a leader? Committed adultery? Lied about a sin, or plotted to murder someone? These are pretty heinous crimes. Yet, King David did all these, and God gave him not only a second chance, but placed Jesus, the Messiah, in his lineage. Oh my!
In all my years of working with single moms, I will never forget the testimony of Laura. It’s so memorable that I put it in my book, The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, along with 60 other testimonies of God’s ability to turn around circumstances and work good out of a terrible situation or loss. Laura wins the prize for the woman who least likely served as a candidate for God to a second chance. She suffered from unjust exploitation and poor choices that would gravely impact her future. Here’s an excerpt of my interview with her:
As a child, I prayed every night, year after year for the abuse to stop, but it didn’t. As a teenager, I prayed for help dealing with an unwanted pregnancy and ended up being raped by a friend’s father and another man. As an adult, I covered the pain with an addiction: shopping. Running up over half a million dollars on my credit cards, I continued the downward spiral: spending, stealing, lying, and then spending more. For what? Designer labels to make me feel better? Anything to cover up my past sexual abuse, two abortions, four miscarriages, divorce, and infidelity. At 35 years old I found myself serving time in a federal prison.
Guilt. Do I know guilt! It wretched my soul to watch my husband carry my three- and five-year-olds away from the prison bars with their arms stretched forth screaming as they left, “Mommy, Mommy, hold me!” Yet, God’s grace found me there, covering my shame with His forgiveness and affection.
Today I’m a free woman in more ways than one. I entered the penitentiary a woman of shameful disgust. I exited a woman adorned as God’s princess and delight. I’m living proof of the power of God’s wondrous grace. Only Christ makes all things new.
Friend, no matter what you’ve done or haven’t done, no matter what you’ve said or haven’t said, no matter how you’ve failed or haven’t failed, God’s plan to show Himself strong remains fully intact when we yield to Him.
Today Laura is in ministry, with a story of complete restoration by God’s grace. Her message is about hope—God’s hope. His hope sustains us when the mess-ups of life seem too big to overcome. The kind of hope Laura shares is not an “I hope so” kind of hope. Nor is it a hope that simply wishes for the best, an emotion that’s all wrapped up with ungrounded faith. Rather, it’s an “I know so” kind of hope, wrapped up with an expectation that God will execute His plan for good based on His promises. God’s hope is a sure anchor of the soul, a confidence that’s far superior to the world’s definition. It’s a hope grounded in the Word of God that cannot be swayed by opposing circumstances. Therefore, no matter how much trouble, defeat, and helplessness we feel, God remains the overcomer.
So friend, take heart! There’s no such thing as permanent “mess ups.” Never can we drop below the level of God’s grace. We can leave the past behind and start afresh because He is not only the God of a second chance but the God of another chance.
Pam Kanaly, selected as National Mother of Achievement – 2015 - in Washington, DC, and best-selling author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, remains one of the nation’s leading advocates for single mothers. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries bringing encouragement to single mothers worldwide through their online education center: EQUIP. Pam is a favorite in Oklahoma having been nominated by the Governor for Oklahoma Mother of Achievement – 2015. Pam and her husband Rich reside in Edmond, Oklahoma. ariseministries.net