As you read this article, I have two words for you: forgive yourself. You married the spouse, and it ended in divorce. You decided to take the job, but was later fired. You chose to move to a new city, and ended up losing stable housing. You made the decision to go to further in your education, but still can’t progress in the career. You decided to date again, only to be met with a web of lies and deception. You entrusted a friend, but it wasn’t reciprocated. You made decisions about the household finances, the children’s education, the daily schedule and activities that did not have a favorable outcome. It appears that the life you and your children have is that of surviving, not thriving. The self-confidence you once had has succumbed under the unsurmountable negative consequences of your choices.
Hence, your thoughts are overtaken with making the “ wrong choices,” replaying the decisions that you made and re-visiting “where it all went bad;” wishing you could go back fifteen, ten, five or even two years just to be able to make another choice.
As painful and uncomfortable as it may feel, there are things in life that are worth enduring the pain for in order to move forward, and forgiving yourself is one of them.
Forgiving yourself means acknowledging your wrongdoings, accepting your mistakes, embracing your flaws, and loving yourself regardless of your imperfections. It means learning from the mistake but also coming to terms with yourself.
“Release is God’s desire, but YOUR decision” (Pastor Michael Todd)
Do you find yourself carrying around the weight of everything that has happened in your past – past pain, past hurt, past decisions? There is so much freedom in just letting it go! Maybe it’s decisions you regret or feel guilty about, or maybe it’s things other people have done to you. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. “Be like Elsa, and LET IT GO!” God has great things planned for you, but He can’t toss you the good if your hands are full with the bad. Check out Pastor Michael Todd’s sermon “Stop Holding It // Release.”
Life is full of choices and every choice we make will either take us in a positive, life-giving direction or rob us of the opportunity to be a life-giving individual. As single moms, the choices we must make are never ending. Sometimes our choices are made under challenging situations, sleep deprivation, and emotional and physical fatigue. The choices may result in a negative outcome, with the ramifications lingering for months, even years. Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength, and it gives us the opportunity to become an overcomer rather than remaining a victim of our own scorn.
Making peace and moving forward is often easier said than done. Being able to forgive yourself requires empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding. It also requires you to accept that forgiveness is a choice. Whether you’re trying to work through a minor mistake or one that impacts all areas of you and your children’s lives, the steps you need to take in order to forgive yourself will be necessary. Therefore, forgiving yourself is essential to becoming the mother God intended.
Because God Has Forgiven You
Forgiving yourself is simply letting go of what you are holding against yourself so that you can move on with God. Forgiving yourself is not about forgetting. I could never forget losing my job and stable housing for me and my children, and having to stand in line waiting for public assistance to get a thrift store voucher for clothes. I remember standing there in a state of shock, as I mentally revisited the day I walked across the stage with my Doctoral Degree. Standing in line to apply for food stamps, I played over every decision I made over the course of ten years. I told myself I was a failure. Three college degrees, yet my food stamp card seemed more valuable. I continued to tell myself I deserved nothing because of poor choices. I failed like a failure as a mother, and questioned God about why he made me a parent. However, I had to move from the oppression and depression state that had become my norm. I was still looking at the decisions of the past, and couldn’t embrace the progressive state of my life. If God has moved on, shouldn’t I do the same? Philippians 4:9 states that we are to put into practice those things that we have learned from God and from His Word. To continue to rehearse in our thoughts the events of our sins, contradicts Philippians 4:8 which tells us to dwell on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. For a single mother, our children are our dwelling place. They are perfect gifts from above, they are noble, right, lovely and true, and they help us remember that they love us and we are worthy, no matter how unforgiving we feel.
The longer you avoid forgiving yourself, the longer you allow yourself to harbor the feelings that you deserve to suffer for what you did or did not do. It’s time to forge ahead. The reality is that you cannot change what has happened. You cannot restore lives to where they were before the event. Forgive yourself. Be consistent and brave. You have to make an effort. Be easy on yourself. You deserve to be forgiven. You deserve to be happy. Forge Ahead!
Forgive Yourself- Prayer Forgiving yourself will change the direction of your life. Read quietly through the following declaration and then read it aloud. Or perhaps you would like to use your own words. Whichever you do, give voice to it. You need to hear yourself forgive yourself! There is great power in the words spoken boldly!
Dear Heavenly Father,
I now understand that there is nothing to gain by holding myself in unforgiveness. But there is everything to gain by releasing myself from unforgiveness and beginning the process of healing. God I want to move forward and make a positive difference in the future. I confess the ungodly accountability, self-abasement, and the promises I have made to never forgive myself.I chose to forgive myself today. Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself. I will no longer punish myself and be angry with myself over past decisions and choices. I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. Thank you for forgiveness and healing. Thank you for covering and keeping my children. Thank you that we are thriving and not surviving.God, help me to NEVER again harbor unforgiveness of myself, my children, or others.Thank you for loving me and for your grace to move forward. Thank you for prospering me and my children in every areas of our lives.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
MEET OUR FEATURED EXPERT
Dr. Shelia Truelove holds a B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Management, a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD), and an Alabama Professional Educators Teaching Certificate in the area of Collaborative Teaching. She has taught in the field of Special Education over 14 years. Dr. Truelove was honored as Teacher of the Year for Birmingham City Schools (2010) and nominated for a Disney Teacher of the Year award for her work in Special Education. She has served on Special Education Task committees, conducted training for parents and general education teachers, supervised graduate students majoring in Special Education, and created transitional programs for students receiving special education services. Dr. Truelove is a philanthropist at heart and believes in motivating and equipping others to become their very best. Divorced for nine years, Dr. Truelove is the proud mother of 10 year old twin daughters and an 11 year old son. Some of the most notable accomplishments achieved, has been as a single mother. When she completed her Doctoral Degree, her twins were 4 years old and her son was 5. When she completed her first published children’s book entitled, “I CAN WIN,” her twins were 8 years old and her son was 9. The one source of her strength is that of God. Her overall mission is to empower other single moms to raise God-fearing, hope filled, and prosperous children in spite of any challenges faced. For more information, visit https://drtruelove.com/.
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