I have a little exercise for you. Think back. How old were you twenty years ago? What was going on in your life? Some of you were teenagers and others entering your first job. Others were giving birth to your first child. As for me, twenty years ago—June 21, 2002—I was with my friend Shelley Pulliam, and we were downtown Oklahoma City filling out the official forms to start a nonprofit organization—Arise Ministries…better known today as ARISE SINGLE MOMS! So guess what? Today is our actual anniversary. Hooray! Happy birthday, Arise!
Many of you know Shelley and me the way you see us now. But what you don’t know is back then I was Shelley’s Sunday school teacher, and she was working with the Holocaust Center of Oklahoma, a nonprofit. She came to my house one day because God had given her a word and she thought I needed to know.
We sat on my back porch and discussed starting “a ministry.” That wasn’t a surprise to me because God told me years ago when my first husband left me that one day he’d raise me up to encourage single mothers. And then six years later while turkey hunting with my second husband, Rich, God gave me the name Arise Ministries. And the rest is history. I had the initial calling and vision, and Shelley had the nonprofit experience. God did a beautiful thing and brought the two of us together. For twenty years now we’ve worked alongside one another: traveling to other states speaking, authoring books, planning events, laughing, loving single mothers, and more.
I’m actually kind of tender this day as I reflect on the power of Almighty God and his plan for each of us. Moms, as you keep your heart open to Jesus, never underestimate what he will do out of your disappointments, hardships, and all the ways life did not turn out the way you had planned.
I know these statements to be true from my walk with Christ:
-God declares that no circumstance can thwart his plan.
-God will not lead you where he will not see you through.
-God’s grace is sufficient any place his providence allows you to be.
-God will do exceedingly and abundantly beyond what you could ever hope or imagine.
-God rules all circumstances that trouble you.
-God’s presence with you now is closer than your next breath.
-God proclaims the outcome of all your problems is his responsibility; yours is obedience.
-God promises a bend in the road is not the end of the road.
-God began a good work in his followers and he will accomplish their purpose.
-God sees you and he will never leave you in the ditch of despair.
-God initiates your calling and he will complete it.
In 2002 I didn’t know what I was doing; however, Shelley did. Remember? She was a nonprofit expert. And today, twenty years later, God has performed a miracle I cannot deny and I must TELL! With over a quarter of a million single mothers having accessed our resources and over 22,000 podcast downloads in the last five years, I MARVEL at what Almighty God can do through ordinary women who simply trust and lean on him one day at a time.
So moms, take heart. God’s eyes are falling on you this day! What’s he up to?