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Solo Parent Society

Solo Parent Society

The Solo Parent Society podcast is hosted by author and founder Robert Beeson to help single parents raise healthy kids, and grow themselves through conversations with other parents who have walked, or are still walking the 'Solo Parent' path. Plus experts on the things that Solo Parents face the most. The mission of Solo Parent Society is to provide the resources, community, and support that enables a single-parent to discover whole-heart wellness so that their family can thrive.

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JOHN ELDREDGE - Building a healthy core community

7/28/2020
"What strikes me about Jesus is he is a remarkably true person. He never changes his personality to fit in with whatever crowd he finds himself. He is simply himself. He never plays to his audience. " Author, leader, and therapist, John Eldredge spoke with Robert Beeson and Kimberley Mitchell about the value of building a healthy core community. John emphasizes that Jesus chose to have a core community. He modeled its importance during his ministry on earth. We see this when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, the crucible of his life. He asked his disciples to be there with him and to stay with him. Then he invited three of them in even closer, to be part of his inner circle. Jesus', God in human form, demonstrated the need to have a few people in our life with whom we can be our authentic selves. Jesus provides this example but today it seems as if a close core community is hard to develop. John shares that we are busy, often isolated, and prioritizing the wrong things. Many relationships are impacted by social media. As a therapist for thirty years, John knows the value of face to face human connection. Today, he discusses priorities we can all look for in building a core community. For the full show notes and links click here - https://soloparentsociety.com/2020/07/27/building-a-healthy-core-community/

Previous Episodes

How to Have a Balanced Home Life

1/19/2021
00:34:30

Our homes have become more than just a traditional home for us during the pandemic. It's now our workplace and our kids school too. That's why the topic of balance at home is so important. Our lives look so different than they did a year. Even without the challenges of COVID-19, a single parent home can be chaotic. We are juggling all kinds of things. So, how do we create a stable, balanced home life for our kids?

Here are 5 suggestions:

Develop a support network. Raising kids is difficult even with two parents. Without a network, we can easily become overwhelmed. Having a support system strengthens, reinforces, and encourages us as parents bearing the weight alone. Having people in our lives who fill us up is crucial so we can create a balanced home life for our kids to launch from.

Create a routine. This can be a game changer as a single parent! When we build a framework for our schedule and daily needs, we add consistency that can help us move forward with less chaos. Set a specific bedtime, get your kids alarm clocks so they can learn to wake up on time, decide on simple meal ideas that you go back to often. It's hard to put these things in place but once you do, they become the best friend of a frazzled single parent! And, kids need routine. Routine gives kids security

Take time for yourself. When we invest in ourselves, we are investing in our home life too. This may sound counterintuitive but taking care of yourself pays dividends at home. When you are centered and present, you provide an anchor of stability for your kids. A single parent who finds daily moments of peace for their own hearts is in a much better place to establish balance at home for their kids.

Stay positive. This isn't always easy, but we can choose our attitude. Yes, we will have days full of tears but after the tears are over, we have a choice. We can walk out of that trusting God and walking in the truth that He is with us. We can choose joy. Smile - often, be kind, hug your kids! Notice the good things your kids are doing. If you find yourself complaining, turn it around and find thing to be grateful for. This is where the rubber meets the road. Ask God to show you how to maintain a positive attitude even when life is complicated, because our hope is in Him.

Set aside time for your kids. We need quality time with our kids, and not just family time but individual time. Be deliberate about setting aside time to focus on each one. One on one time highlights their importance and makes our kids feel seen and loved. If your schedule is overwhelmed, it doesn't have to be a ton of time. Quality time trumps quantity. Our intentionality matters more than the amount.

As you seek to put practices like these in place, remember to give yourself grace. We are all works in progress. Balance in any area is challenging, so give up the ideal of being able to do this perfectly. Perfect balance is impossible, but your efforts will pay off. Stay encouraged, single parents! You may not be able to measure the effectiveness of what you're doing to stabilize your home in the immediate, maybe not even in the next five years, but your kids are watching and they are carrying it with them.

Single parents, as you seek balance in this new year, you are not alone. As you walk the journey of solo parenting, we want to offer encouragement and hope any way we can. Join our Solo Parent Society community by participating in one of our online groups meeting Monday through Saturday every week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Subscribe to our weekly podcast via AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts and download our Solo Parent app FREE in the app store. We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. If you want to donate so we can reach more single-parent families, go to www.soloparentsociety.com. Questions? Email us at info@spsociety.com.

How to Have Balanced Thinking

1/12/2021
00:28:50

Single parents, we know you have so many balls in the air. In the chaos, your minds are often filled with jumbled thoughts too. Each of us has limited ability and time to meet the expectations placed on us. Living deliberately can elude us. Often our focus is on simply keeping our kids healthy and fed as our thoughts swirl with work issues, financial strain, and questions on just how we are going to get it all done.

This week we are talking about balanced thinking. We know how important our minds are in shaping how we feel, how we choose to live our lives, and how we parent. If we can be more balanced in our thinking, we can be better parents for our kids.

Three strategies to renew our minds and have more balanced thinking are:

Choose your battles. Let go of consuming thoughts. Give yourself permission to let some things go. You cannot give equal time to everything.

Right size your expectations. Remember, you are not two parents. You are only one. You are capable of only so much. Take the pressure off yourself!

Redefine success through God's eyes. Realize that you are living for an Audience of One, our heavenly Father who loves us. Living through the lens of God's acceptance and approval helps us redefine our priorities and choose what is most important instead of living according to the push and pull of what the world tells us.

For complete show notes and links go to - https://soloparentsociety.com/blog/2021/01/11/how-to-have-balanced-thinking 

How to Find Daily Spiritual Balance - Jake Smith

1/5/2021
00:42:45

Balance: How to Find Daily Spiritual Balance

"Any theology or any way of living that doesn't lead back to loving God and loving others with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength is actually bad theology." - Jake Smith, founder of Plumline www.shamahway.com www.jakesmithjr.com

We want to be deliberate about finding balance in 2021 and that starts with our spiritual lives. And that's what we talk about this week on our podcast - how to find daily spiritual balance.

Finding balance is difficult for all of us but single parents find it particularly challenging. Many of us don't experience consistent balance. Rather, we tend to live going between highs and lows as we try to juggle everything on our plates while being a solo parent.

Our guest this week is Jake Smith, a former pastor who created a non-profit called Plumline which is centered on personal development and spiritual, emotional, and relational health. Plumline offers weekly groups that lead individuals through a process that helps them integrate their heart, mind, soul, and strength as they relate to God, themselves, and others.

If we are to find godly balance in our lives, integrating these areas is essential.

Jesus talked about this in Mark 12 when he answered the question spiritual leaders posed, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" Jesus' response was to quote the Shamah. "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." In Matthew 22, he addresses the same questions and says, "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

"If we want to summarize what Jesus is all about, or if we want to summarize the Scriptures, in a nutshell, Jesus did that for us. He said this is essentially the core of everything. Any theology or any way of living that doesn't lead back to that, loving God and others with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength is actually bad theology. So, when we talk about balance, we can pull from what Jesus said is most important by looking at our spiritual anatomy - our heart, our mind, our soul, and our strength. These are unique parts of us, and we need all four parts to developed and interconnected. This is how we can show up to life and to our relationships - with our kids, with our colleagues, at work - with the fullness of our design." - Jake Smith

So, when we talk about balance, we need to consider these four parts of our "spiritual anatomy" that Jesus talks about in the Shamah because this is how he asks us to relate to God and to others.

What does it look like to show up to my life with my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength, in an interconnected way, to the people and things who matter most?

Elizabeth, a single mom through divorce, has been part of Plumline groups for the past year. As an Enneagram 7, she tends to avoid her feelings and run from them. She tends to go toward the area of strength first and foremost, but Plumline has taught her that she doesn't need to be afraid of the other areas. It's given her the ability to trust God more and understand that her feelings help her connect to Him more. Elizabeth uses the Shamah Way app to check in daily on how she's feeling, be honest about it, and pay attention to all the four parts of her spiritual anatomy. Just identifying what she's experiencing in her heart, mind, soul, and strength, helps her walk through her day with God, integrating all of them, rather than just one or two.

The tendency is to live dominantly from one or two of these parts. Some of us live from our minds as "thinkers", others live as "doers" acting in their strength most. If we only live from our feelings, we may become overwhelmed emotionally and get stuck, not acting in our strength when we need to. The key to daily spiritual balance is paying attention to each of these areas and living from a place of integration. Instead, we often overuse an area we are comfortable while neglecting other parts of ourselves that may be more difficult for us to access or acknowledge.

For example, we may excel at strategizing and putting a plan in place but be less able to recognize our feelings. When this happens, we may show up for a heart conversation with our mind instead and miss an important opportunity to connect with someone we care about at a deeper level. When we overuse or underuse any of these areas, we find ourselves imbalanced, hindered in our ability to connect in a healthy way with God, with ourselves, and with others.

Learning to live from a place of integration with all four parts is a daily spiritual practice. It's called spiritual practice because we need to do "daily reps" in each area. We must practice within the arena of the four significant parts of you. As single parents, the deck is stacked against us in using each area because we are often so busy getting through our day and getting things done, we use our minds and strength only and neglect our heart and soul. A key area of practice for single parents is being intentional about paying attention to those parts of you too.

If you need to find ways to practice daily spiritual balance, this podcast is a great place to start!

Single parents, as you seek balance in this new year, you are not alone. As you walk the journey of solo parenting, we want to offer encouragement and hope any way we can. Join our Solo Parent Society community by participating in one of our online groups meeting Monday through Saturday every week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Subscribe to our weekly podcast via AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts and download our Solo Parent app FREE in the app store. We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. If you want to donate so we can reach more single-parent families, go to www.soloparentsociety.com. Questions? Email us at info@spsociety.com.

Emmanuel: God With Us in Newness

12/15/2020
00:39:16

 The holidays can be very difficult for single parents. The one thing we can count on is change, like changes in tradition and changes is time with our kids. What we once knew is often now very different. Gd promises He will turn all things to good and that He is doing a new thing in our lives, but the idea of newness and change can still make us uneasy. Our dreams that have been shattered leave us picking up the pieces while walking into a new frontier. We don't know how things are going to turn out especially after facing the unexpected already.

How do you embrace the new and encounter God in newness?

1. Identify past dreams and past realities - Be authentic and take inventory of what you have lost and how you are feeling. Take time to grieve specific losses. If you move on too quickly, you can stay stuck and carry the pain with you. As you embrace God in newness, acknowledge your dreams but also acknowledge your realities. Sometimes loss can make us look at the past through rose colored glasses and remember things more utopian than they were making it harder for us to move on.

2. Pray about what could be. Become willing to dream again. Confess to God if you are afraid of dreaming again. Ask Him to help you dream about a new future, new possibilities, and a new you. Change is hard but staying the same can be even worse. Ask God to be with you in the new so you don't miss the opportunities planned for you in the now.

3. Accept that new is the new normal. Start to live in a state of anticipation. Began to believe that what is coming is better than what you left behind. New can be scary but it is also full of possibility.

Newness can be scary for anyone. As a single parent, Marissa, shares that when she first became a solo parent after her husband died, she longed for an unbroken world where all things were made new and better. What she realized though is that brokenness in the world doesn't change but we can be made new despite that. Past experiences and losses, while hard, can serve to change us, to make us new and different. Like Paul, we can learn to embrace any circumstance provided God is with us. But embracing change is hard because what comes next may not be what we want. There is uncertainty in "new". Old feels safe and reassuring because even if it wasn't best, we still knew what to expect, and in many ways that feels comfortable.

To embrace the new, we must first identify our past dreams and past realities. We must take time to accept that what we once had or hoped for is no longer possible. The ideals and dreams of where our life was going must be examined. We have to face the reality of what is happening now. We all want happy kids, effortless parenting, a perfect home. We often look at our lives through a Hallmark filter that isn't realistic. It represents hopes and dreams but not our real-life experiences. Before we embrace the new, we have to realize that some of our ideals were not congruent with our actual lives. Looking back is important because we can't grieve something until we identify it. It's impossible to move into the new without letting go of those ideals and realities. It's helpful to see that our lives weren't perfect in the past anymore than they will be now or in the future. Accepting and acknowledging this helps us grieve and then let go.

Maybe the newness this year means you can't provide as many presents for your kids as you want to or maybe your house doesn't have Christmas lights outside. But, instead of presents, remember that your kids want your PRESENCE. Instead of Christmas lights, your kids want to see light in your eyes when you look at them. Embracing the new can bring up grief but it can also help us realign our priorities. As we do this, we may experience transitional hurt. We feel the excitement or joy of what is ahead while also feeling the loss of what we are moving away from.

As you move toward the new, second, ask God to be with you. Pray about the future. Ask Him what is next and what is best for you and for your kids. Let Him be part of the process. We may have ideas of what is best but God's ways are different than ours. We sometimes think the areas of loss in our life must be filled with something that is the same as what we had before but God often provides something else, something better. In our longing for what we had; we can miss what He is giving us instead. Especially when His plan in the new surprises us. Isaiah 57:15 says, "I live in a high and holy place, but I also live with people who are sad and humble. I give new life to those who are humble. I give new life to those whose hearts are broken." We can go to God honestly, humbly, and share our broken hearts with Him. He will meet us there and be with us in the hurt. Rather than cling to the old, we can ask Him to help us embrace the new. God is a multiplier. He can take the little bit of faith we have and turn it into something amazing and wonderful.

Sometimes asking "what if" questions can help us look ahead with God. "What if the old tradition needed to be changed anyway?" "What if the plan I had was leading me to a worst place only I didn't know it?" "What if what God has in store is even better than what I had before?" Asking questions like this allows an opportunity to embrace the idea of new with curiosity. Robert Beeson said that prompts like this, while journaling, helped him let go of the past and move toward the new with more openness. This process is cathartic. Offering the future to God allows Him to start painting something new on the canvas of your future. Psalm 37:5-7 says, "Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun." As we let God into our future, He will help us each step of the way. He will bring light to what we once thought would be dark days.

After first acknowledging and grieving our past dreams and past realities, and second, inviting God into the newness with us, third, we can accept that new is our new normal. This season is different. And, it is supposed to be. We aren't here by chance. God can and will shape our experiences, past and present, into His plan and will for our lives. Even when things are new and uncertain to us, they are not surprises to God. Knowing He holds our lives and future in His hands can help us embrace the new as our new normal.

When we submit our lives to God and dare to dream again, we can trust Him to redeem our experiences. He won't restore things exactly as they were but He can bring forgiveness, healing and redemption to those events. And He will go with us into a new future.

Our tendency is to want God to bring back what we once had, to replace what we lost. Instead, God often brings us something different but better. Maybe we think redemption should mean we get married again, and quickly, but that isn't how God works. God's idea of new isn't always our idea. God can make new out of things in ways we didn't know were possible. God can resurrect dead dreams. He can bring to life places in our hearts that we thought would neve live again.

The newness of God isn't in the replacement of all things but in the redemption of all things. And He can and will bring that redemption. Accepting new as the new normal means a future full of hope and light. Healing happens as we walk ahead with Him. Finding God with us in newness is a process. We first need to accept and acknowledge the past, ask God to be with us in the new, and to embrace new as our new normal.

Single parents, as you embrace newness in this season, you are not alone. As you walk the journey of solo parenting, we want to offer encouragement and hope any way we can. Join our Solo Parent Society community by participating in one of our online groups meeting Monday through Saturday every week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Subscribe to our weekly podcast via AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts and download our Solo Parent app FREE in the app store. We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. If you want to donate so we can reach more single-parent families, go to www.soloparentsociety.com.

Questions? Email us at info@spsociety.com.