Love Yourself

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February is the month of Cupid, chocolate, and love. It’s everywhere. The Walmart aisles. The radio stations. The restaurants. Facebook. Instagram. All over the place. And, for a single mom, this season could be bittersweet.

However, let’s take a different approach this month. It doesn’t matter if you have a date or not. February can still be the month for love. But, instead of waiting to see if you’ll have a night out with your dream man or with Netflix, how about you schedule time in the next weeks for a very important person.

YOU! Yes, momma. You!

Love your neighbor as yourself isn’t just some feel good saying that Jesus muttered to the masses. He knew that the only way you could truly love others is if you truly love yourself. I’m not talking about some kind of prideful, “I’m all that and a bag of chips” kind of way. (Which, of course, you are!) I’m talking in the kind of “I’m happy to be me” kind of way.

This kind of self-love knows your strength and weaknesses and accepts yourself just as you are. You use your strengths to excel in life, and you learn to trust God in your weaknesses. Loving yourself means seeing yourself as the Father sees you: A wonderful, fantastic, mom, rocking the single mom life! We aren’t perfect, and we’re OK with that. At the end of the day, you know that you started your day with God and ended it with God, and because of His grace, you and the kids made it through another day. And, bonus points if no one yelled and the dinner didn’t burn!

Momma, take this month to really look at yourself and see just how beautiful you are!

And, then, take care of YOU! Get some gals together and have some fun. Go to dinner. Watch a movie. If you can, get a pedicure. Buy a new pair of shoes. Or, just allow yourself some extra time in the bathtub. But, don’t get caught up in what you don’t have this month. Don’t regret decisions that were made. Don’t look at all the flowers arriving for co-workers and start doubting yourself.

This month, I challenge you to love everything about being you and about being a single mom! After all, you’re a daughter of God, and He loves you so very much! 


Gwendolyn Irene

www.gwendolynirene.com

This Christmas

It’s the Christmas season. Celebration is happening all around us! Trees are decorated, and the malls are crowded. Calendars are full of parties and kid’s plays at school. Christmas music streams everywhere we go. Churches are telling the story of Jesus! 
We hear of Mary and Joseph, who chose to follow God and trust Him. Mary, a virgin pregnant with the Son of God! And Joseph, who agrees to marry her and raise this child. 
We know of them traveling many miles to Bethlehem for the Roman Census. We see that there are no rooms available and we cringe when we think of her giving birth in lowly circumstances. But, we rejoice when the heavens sing, and the shepherds come to worship this little child. 
The Christmas story gets me every single time! Just hand me a box of Kleenex and leave me alone to cry! 
But, for me, the Christmas story doesn’t start with Mary and Joseph. It doesn’t even start with the prophets, who told of His coming. For me, it starts in Matthew 1. 
“This is the family history, the genealogy, of Jesus the Anointed, the coming King. You will see in this history that Jesus is descended from King David, and that He is also descended from Abraham.” (The VOICE)

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The story of Jesus begins many generation before. It begins with a man named Abraham, who served God and headed to the Promised Land. When Abraham entered into covenant with God, he opened the door for the Savior to be born. 
Matthew 1 is the ancestory.com of our Lord and Savior Jesus. And some of those ladies had a history! 
Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and slept with her Father-in-Law. 
Rahab was a well-to-do prostitute in Jericho. 
Ruth wasn’t even a Hebrew! She wasn’t a descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. How did she sneak in? 
And, finally, we have Bathsheba. The woman who had an affair with King David, got pregnant, agreed to trick her husband, was a co-conspirator in his death, then lost the baby. 
These ladies are not even your “good” sinners. And, they are right there in the middle of the greatest plan ever made. 
See, I don’t think God made a mistake here. I believe He purposefully chose these imperfect women for His perfect plan. He didn’t want His Son to only come for certain people, the “real” believers. He sent His Son to come for all of us imperfect people because He has a perfect plan for us! 
Perhaps, Momma, money is tight this season and you can’t buy your kids much of anything to put under the tree. Maybe you have to celebrate Christmas alone, while the kids are with their dad. The stress of the season can try and rob you of the joy that Christmas holds! The joy of a Savior that was born to bring us back into fellowship with our Heavenly Father! 
So, as you go through this Christmas season, instead of seeing all your inadequacies and failures, look at what God does with them! Look at what He has in store for you! You momma, were chosen to parent those kids! He chose you and He chose them. Just trust Him and soon, you’ll be able to look back and see just how God is using it all for a greater plan! Never let go of that! 
And have a Merry Christmas!! 
 

Gwendolyn Irene

www.gwendolynirene.com

The Unveiling

 

The mirror I see before me is not a reflection of who I am, but yet a mask I wear daily. I am a strange one if I ever let you see me. If I remove the mask long enough for you to get a glimpse of me. I am not trying to boast in my strangeness but rather what I hear people say about me, so I stay hidden often. I can remember people telling me as I was growing up to be yourself and people will love you. It was a nice thought but the practice of it seemed to not be true. In fact, the more I was being myself the more my classmates were angry with me or trying to make me like them. I often came home in tears, like my daughter does now, because we are not like everyone else. I am not sure what it is but it breaks my heart. It also seems that no matter how hard we have both tried to be close to people or wish to have friends we have not been the most successful at it.

 

I wonder what the drive is, at even a young age, to make someone else like you. Do we think we are better than others? Are we led to believe we are perfect? I think an answer I would get is we all long to belong, be part of a group and have connection. That answer is perhaps true, though tears on my daughter’s face are unsettling and remind me of the mask I used to wear at school. It was a strong mask, the one that kept my mouth from expressing through words to others what was going on with me. Though my head was always full of thoughts and questions; even then I witnessed the lack of respect for an individual being who God created them to be.

  

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

  

As an adult, it has been hard to unlearn being like others especially being a people pleaser like I was (still working on it). It turns out the mind does not unlearn things. There was no way for me to unlearn being like others, trying to fit in, and making everyone else happy.  Instead I tried to be someone else completely to retrain myself to become someone new. When I was deep in the trenches of this people pleasing life there were many masks I wore. I was the perfect daughter, the push-over friend, and "whatever you want" girlfriend. Because of these choices, those masks led me down a path of consequences.

 

Finally, I was tired of being everyone else’s version of "me". I started to figure out what I liked and the things I gave up for everyone else because it was not accepted. It also led me down a path of redefining what a friend really is to me and how they would interact in my life. This time of exhaustion led me to stop dating completely because I didn’t understand how I could even fill out a profile online if I couldn’t answer the questions honestly. I didn’t know the answers anymore and that was okay. I still don’t know them all and I am fine with that too because I don’t need to.

 

 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Someone came into my life that slowly and carefully pulled the mask away from my face. 

He wiped away my tears and my fears. 

He took the rest of the masks I had piled up around me and threw them away. 

God didn’t want me to wear my mask anymore because He does love the face He gave me. 

He created me for purpose on purpose. 

~Esme

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