Part 1: Goals
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:14
The apostle Paul writes this verse to us from the source of many of his most uplifting thoughts: prison. Can you relate? In the middle of a huge stack of bills, a crying toddler or a rude teenager, a demanding job, a pile of laundry, wondering if your child will get into college or pass his or her current grade, it can be hard to look past this week, this day, or even this moment.
I am the product of single parenthood; I am the adult child of a single mom. My mom set goals for me. She did not use obstacles as excuses for herself, and, likewise, she never let me use obstacles as excuses. She overcame many of the obstacles that you may be struggling to overcome: a lack of education, a lack of financial abundance, and a lack of support of any kind from her ex-spouse. Does that situation sound familiar? I bet you can relate to one or more of those obstacles. I know that she was able to look past her obstacles because she was focused on her goals. It can be almost impossible to think of the long term goals that you want for your children. Yet, the goals are the source of the purpose; the goals are why you fight. When was the last time you sat back and thought about your goals for your children? Who do you want them to be in 10 years? In 20? In 30?
What if your child was the next Billy Graham? What if your child was the next Kevin Durant? What if your child was the next President of the United States? What if your child grew up to be a judge? What if your child grew up to be the leader of an amazing family who loved his wife and children? What if your child broke the cycle of poverty through hard work and dedication? What if your child grew up to know and love and serve the Lord? What if your child used every hardship that he or she was facing and turned those around to point straight to Christ and gave Him the glory? And what if your child attained these things because YOU DREAMED BIG?
Take some time to think about and pray about your goals for your children. Write them down, and make a set time to re-evaluate them. As your children grow, you will see their strengths and weaknesses develop. You will know, as their parent, how those goals will take shape in their life. One day, they will look back and point to the fact that you, as their mom, dreamed big for them, and you never stopped.
As you are dreaming these dreams, God is dreaming with you. God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) God later told him, “For I know the plans I have for you . . .plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11.) As you lift up your child to God, He is holding that child. He loves that child. He cherishes that child. God wants to hear your dreams for your child. He wants you to come to Him with those innermost thoughts. No dream is too big for God: college when no one in your family has ever gone, a successful marriage when every single one of your family members is divorced, abundance in finances to pass down to future generations, and everything in between. God tells us, “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7.)
So, what happens between setting a goal and attaining the goal? Hard work! Paul tells us to press on towards the goal. We have to press on towards the goal in the face of adversity, in the face of setbacks, in the face of every single logical thought telling you that it is not possible. What does God say about that? He says “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9.) God is not bound by the limitations that the world puts on you or your child. God’s thoughts for you are higher than even you could imagine for yourself or your children. I know that is how God thought of me. Even in the midst of my mom’s dreams for me, I know that God’s dreams were bigger. He saw me graduating from law school. He saw me married to an amazing Christian man. He saw me as the mother of two beautiful children. He saw me telling you my story to encourage you to dream big dreams for your children. Know that despite the struggles of everyday life, God wants what is best for you and your family. So, dream big, pray hard, and press on. “For we know in all things that God works for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28.)
Alana Fernandez is the adult child of a single mom. She is a lover of Jesus, a sinner saved by grace, and a recovering only child. She is an attorney by trade, but her real occupation is balancing the logistics of motherhood, wifehood, workhood, and lifehood. She is excited to be featured on The Life of a Single Mom and to share her experience growing up as the child of a single mom.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com