Single Mothers, Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving!

In February 2010, my 1st husband announced he no longer wanted to be married… to me. With those words, I became:

  • Unmarried
  • Without a job
  • Without a church home (there is no first lady without a husband first)
  • Without health or life insurance
  • Without a cell phone plan
  • Without certainty of where I would live
  • And a reluctant single “mother”

My 1st husband and I never had biological children, but were blessed to be chosen as godparents to some amazing kids. One of them, at the tender age of 13 came up to me with her squeaky, demanding voice and said, “Help me find a job and be my godmama.” Taken aback by both, I said okay, and okay. No one could have known that two years later her mother, who worked for my 1st husband and me at the time would die within months of her diagnosis of cancer.

Rakia, and her siblings found themselves without a mom, but with a loving grandmother who took them in. When Rakia entered college the next year and year one of college away from home wasn’t what we wanted it to be she decided to transfer to The University of Montevallo and live with us. And live with us she did! She was a JOY!!!!!

So without the trials of labor I had the blessing of:

  • Teaching her how to fry chicken
  • Watching the best and worst of reality TV with her
  • Talking about boys
  • Teaching her etiquette
  • Reminding her how NOT to break a curfew
  • And now seeing her at almost 30 being a wife and amazing mother

My first marriage, was semi-decent until that night in my den when my starter husband said, he thought he was like Paul in the Bible and not supposed to be married. What the Hall and Oates did he say?!?!?! How was I supposed to hide my tears (and inner #35211) when a 21-year-old was upstairs in hearing distance hurting almost as badly as I was and when we were just months from her graduating college?

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If I was able to crawl out of bed with bags under my eyes she was watching. If I wanted to strangle him or SNAP she was watching. If I didn’t clean my plate (and I loved food) she was watching. She was watching because that was what she’d always done in days far more favorable.

One day, a couple of months into the REAL “he’s acting like he doesn’t even know me like I’m some stranger who did him dirty” U-G-L-Y side of my divorce things must have gotten the best of me. I don’t know if I looked bad, or said something contrary to my faith, but my mother uttered some profound words. I was getting ready to go to Superior Grill to meet a friend also going through a divorce and my Mama told me and told me to tell her… Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving!

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It was as simple as that. I knew she was telling me it was time to get it together, act like it and look like it too. I knew I must have had the devil and his deviletts think they’d won. So she told me to Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving! I did.

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Single moms, yes, you’re single…whether UNFORTUNATELY, UNPREDICTEDLY, THROUGH DEATH, DIVORCE OR BY CHOICE. Yes, however you got here might have hurt like heck. Yes, it might seem like he’s doing better than you with his new bae or boo. Yes, it’s not fair. Yes, to all of the things which would be answered YES. But, regardless… Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving!

In hindsight I know now that…

  • The lipgloss represented her order that I get my shine back and put my best face forward.
  • The high heels spoke to her command that I rise up, get my pep back and put my best foot forward.

 

  • Keep it Moving was her demand to not look back and put my best faith forward. Point. Blank. Period.

The time for waiting on life to start over is OVER. Life is well on its way to being exactly what it’s meant to be for you, and yours! And your kids are watching and being shaped by your actions and reactions! It’s time to LIVE, look like it and know that Life Gets Better!

So do something for yourself!

  • Get up and take a shower then spray yourself with that fancy perfume you’ve been keeping for a “special day”.
  • Finish a complete meal regardless of how the hurt tries to tell you not to eat.
  • Start saying “yes” when people ask you to do things and come out of isolation.
  • Go to a women’s retreat, a single mother’s conference, or a “can you help me with this pain” program.
  • Go to a movie…and I don’t mean the latest Frozen flick with your kids. Get a sitter, take a half day at work, go to the cheap Tuesday show and sit in the dark with grown people and popcorn.
  • Plan a trip out of town (Groupon and girls trips are the BEST!)
  • Get a massage or a manicure. (Groupon is the BEST!)
  • Join a gym and make your house an at-home “get myself toned, tight and right” spot
  • Write a book. (Somebody needs to have your testimony at the side of their bed at all times to help them make it out of bed.)
  • Learn how to garden, change a tire, or cook a real meal.
  • Sell your Mama’s famous chili recipe, your homemade door signs or get a trade that will make you a better woman…and some money.

And whatever you do, Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving…because they’re watching!

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@AngelaMichele316

Why Don’t You Have Kids?

“Why don’t you have kids, Sweet Tee?” those were the words blurted out by my five-year-old niece as she sat in the back of my car battling a stomach bug which would have given the grownest of grown-ups a run for their money. Riding along for what seemed like two hours instead of 30 minutes as she “released” things which obviously didn’t want to be in her body, and didn’t care that we were in an enclosed car on the interstate, it was as if each time she “released” a sweeter than normal spirit would come over her causing her to profess her resounding love for her little sister, gaze out of the window and declare how special rainbow-colored uniforms are or apologize profusely for the mess she was making. Just before we arrived on the long, winding road leading to my neighborhood she whispered barely above a whisper the words “Why don’t you have kids, Sweet Tee”?

I was about to answer her question when we had another bout with the bug which almost made me pull over even though I was just blocks from home. Instead I kept driving (and praying and silently pleading for no more), when, upon entering the garage she said, in an even softer, sweeter, almost angelic voice, “Oh, I know why you don’t have kids. So you can help take care of us.” Baby….the floodgates of my Wet and Wild mascara mixed with Maybelline eyes almost broke. I don’t know if it was because of her innocent revelation, because I was finally home to be able to clean her and my car up, or because of feeling like I’d received a personal confirmation from Heaven. Either way I was almost a goner.

Do I have any kids is a question I hear a lot. I’m sure it’s normal for people to ask as an icebreaker or get-to-know-you go-to, especially for people like me who are in their 40s or who are or have been married. It doesn’t bother me at all to answer no, or say I have no biological children. But I recently read about entertainers like Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigen and Aisha Tyler who’ve shared their heartfelt bouts with infertility, choice of career over children or difficulty conceiving and their perspectives challenged me to share my story.  Word from the wise: Take a moment to think about questions you ask of others, especially those who are unmarried or without children. You never know their story and what your questions might be stirring up.  Please be mindful.

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I think back to being in my upper teens, lying in a hospital bed and being diagnosed with endometriosis. Foggy, due to the anesthesia, I recall the doctor saying, “she probably won’t be able to conceive”, or something of the sort. As a teen, who barely had a stable boyfriend that hit me like a ton of bricks. I held on to that bedside burden and readily shared my accepted fate with those soon-to-come boyfriends as if it were some sort of scarlet letter of which they needed to know even though, in my late teens and 20’s children should have been the furthest thing in my mind. About a decade after my diagnosis, the Lord would silence the implanted doubt in my mind and prove that I could conceive, but ultimately show that His plans were bigger, greater and better. Go God!

While married, my ex-husband and I spent many grueling months (maybe years, I can’t remember) and lots of money on infertility treatment to find out what was the cause of not being able to have children when there were no known natural barriers to conception. I was jabbed in the stomach, stuck in the arm, pricked in the finger, dosed with pills, operated on, hooked up to machines, advised, consulted and consoled more times than I can remember with “no known reason” being the answer. My ex-husband was a man of faith so he proudly, publicly proclaimed what he believed God was going to do for us. I joined others and him in making preparations, choosing names, buying gifts and all that good stuff for the children which were sure to come. They didn’t. I bore the physical pain, doubt, internal fear and self-inflicted embarrassment when each “no” didn’t match up with what I believed God had said “yes” to.  Within a year of that time period my marriage ended. Again, God was showing His plans were bigger, greater and better. There wasn’t a medical reason for lack of conception, but a spiritual one. Go God! (Because He knew my reaction, response and bounce back would have taken a completely different route if children were involved in my divorce.)

Anywho, here I am a 43-year-old, footloose (not really) and child-free woman, who, admittedly ponders how much different my life would have been with my own seed. Truthfully, from time-to-time I wonder who will feed me Honeycrisp apples, drive me to Publix or take care of me when I’m old, especially because I’m currently not married, but I’m seeing all the more that that’s not my business. I’m God’s responsibility and if I’ve learned anything it’s that He knows what He’s doing and it’s always good! I never thought my life would turn out as it has. I thought I was born to be a mother and I am, just in a Heaven-made kind of way. Just ask Isaiah.

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So now I look back and forward in appreciation for the born of my heart, not of my body godchildren, relatives and others I’m blessed to know and love. I also look from side-to-side at my other sisters in this journey of biological childlessness hoping to remind them of the extra-special, set aside gift they are to so many. And for that, and them I am eternally grateful, even if I needed a car-ride reminder during a child’s helpless battle with regurgitation to be so.

@AngelaMMoore316

Being a Wife Didn’t Ruin Your Life

I had a great night’s sleep after Charter decided to go out leaving me TV-less and wireless. That means I rose this morning earlier than normal with a thought on my mind for divorced women. Let me interrupt that thought by adding another thought. I hate the devil, and I’m pretty sure I’m not on his “favorite girl” list. I peeped his game in my own life a few years ago, and would like to call him out today.

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Back to the message at hand.

Dear, sweet, beautiful, valuable, worthy, trusted, overcoming divorced woman...Being a wife didn’t ruin your life and the divorce didn’t either. In my Master P voice, ‘ya heard’? That’s right. Being a wife didn’t ruin your life. Don’t buy into the BS (Backwards System) of thinking that your life has been ruined because you honored the holy matrimony of marriage, trusted your spouse, stayed when you could have (Biblically) left him before he left you, believed God, honored God’s words and way (even, and especially when you didn’t want to) or did anything pleasing in the sight of God regarding your now concluded union. Okay? Okay. (And let me say, this absolutely goes for husbands too, who might have had their worlds turned upside down by unforeseen and/or unwanted divorce. Wife and life just rhyme.)

The enemy wants you to believe one thing, versus that which is certified TRUE. So I’m about to spoil his tricks…

  • You didn’t get stuck with the kids. You are simply the one primarily trusted to rear them at this time. What an honor!
  • You are not trapped where you are. You are just under reconstruction with plans for an epic come up and come back.
  • You didn’t leave and lose your career to help your ex-husband. You were professionally, temporarily rerouted to ingnite gifts and passions you didn’t know you had for where you are going. And you’re going somewhere big!
  • You didn’t get the short end of the stick.  What you will get is the ability to use that “short” for something so much greater in the long run.
  • Your finances and credit aren’t ruined because of the actions of others. You are simply perfectly poised for a post worthy miracle.
  • Your love life isn’t over. You are merely under repair for the perfect spouse for you in God’s time and through the beauty of the amazing story he is unfolding.
  • Your children don’t have to suffer. Yes, their lives will be filled with lessons possibly learned earlier than desired, but the ability to love, be loved, have a healthy relationship with both parents, heal (spirit, soul and body), enjoy life and not follow in the footsteps of divorce is theirs.
  • You are not alone. Your marriage might have ended, but there is a God-ordained village around you waiting to support, love, encourage and care for you when you need it most and from some of the most unexpected faces/places. Look for them and let them in.
  • You will not always hurt. You can and will heal if you allow healing to do what healing does…and that’s heal you.

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There you have it. Again I say, being a wife didn’t ruin your life and the divorce didn’t either. They just added an extra layer of purpose and power. So if you’ve ever thought that divorce did you in, thinking yourself “dumb, stupid, stuck, trapped, forgotten, or naïve” for believing, trusting, loving and trying your very last best for what you promised God you would try your best for, tell the devil where he can go. Oh wait. he’s already there. No need. Just carry on living and trusting God for greater.

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@AngelaMMoore316

You’re Not the First, But You Can Be the Last

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Newsflash…what you’re going through is nothing new. You’re not special when it comes to the trials of life.

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So here’s the skinny…

  • Your money is not the only money which acts as if it’s forgotten your checking account number.
  • Your ex is not the first ex to do something to make him or her an ex.
  • Your children are not the first children to forget your rules or how they were raised.
  • Your job is not the first job to fail to value you in pay or praise.
  • Your friends are not the first friends to disappoint their friends.
  • Your family member is not the first family member to abandon, under-appreciate or fail to support a family member.
  • Your dreams are not the first dreams to take the long, long, long route to arrival.

The fact of the matter is you’re not the first to go through anything you’ve gone through. However, you can be the last to allow it to define you, permanently damage you, hinder you or steal your joy.

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@AngelaMMoore316

The Divorce Dilemma: What About the Children?

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I’m divorced, but I don’t have biological children, nor did I grow up the product of divorce. With those factors taken into account, I did have the privilege of helping rear a beautiful goddaughter, who is grown, but was living at home with my former husband and me during the time of the separation and divorce.

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To make my unique situation even more unique, I also had the privilege to be like a “spiritual parent” to hundreds of parishioners at my former husband’s church, that had been like family, often using the example of the marriage that my ex-spouse and I presented as an inspiration for their own. So having a 20+ year old at home at the time of my divorce, and having hundreds of others I interacted with daily, one thing that struck home for me is the possibility of them living with fear of a repeat offense. When it comes to divorce, I don’t have much to offer regarding experiential insight into weekend visitations, child support, holidays or the likes with the exception of the child’s welfare, well-being and ability to see two mature parents show their love for him or her and respect for each other being all that matters. What I can speak on is the fact that fear can be real, but it does NOT have the final say.

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Let me first start by being spiritual. God has not given us a spirit of fear. Just check 2 Timothy 1:7. Now, with that out of the way, let me be honest and say that I can only imagine some people living with the thought of having the same fate in marriage as those they’d possibly observed, admired or lived through which ended in divorce.

Before that thought lingers any longer let me make a declaration to the devil regarding children of divorce. Their future is not destroyed by another person’s divorce. (Take that, loser!)

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What children of divorce can do to avoid fear and failed marriage is:

  • Pray for healing. Don’t let fear or bitterness be an open door to an attack.
  • Ask question of the parents on what lessons were learned. (That is in no way a green light to get in their “bees-wax”, but an invitation to talk candidly about what they gained even through their pain.)
  • Learn from the past mistakes of others, but also monitor your own actions and intentions with your spouse.
  • Seek divorce counseling designed for the child’s perspective.
  • Seek pre-marital and marital counseling.
  • Don’t take on another persons battles.
  • Simply don’t entertain fear. If it comes, cast it out quickly with the Word of God.
  • Accept that another person’s problems will never trump God’s plans.
  • Realize that each person’s journey is custom-made by God.

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 @AngelaMMoore316