Yesterday was Part 1 of my interview with Jennifer Maggio, the founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. Jennifer’s story is one of true redemption, so be sure to read Part 1 here. Today, we continue, and she tells us more about how she overcame great obstacles in her life and began her ministry.
Jennifer: There were MANY days of desperation, exhaustion, stress, and frankly, there are days, when I gave up in the moment. But the guiding light was constantly the faces of those precious little ones who loved me and depended on me and this hope that Christ was giving me. I don’t mind telling you that initially it was only a glimmer of hope. But I had wandered without any for so long that that glimmer kept me going, until my faith grew.
Brenda: I know that as a single mom with two children and a career in Corporate America your days were long and tiring. What did the day-in and day-out look like for you? How did you balance both aspects of your life without neglected one?
Jennifer: May I be honest? There were many tears — tears of exhaustion, stress, disappointment, anger. And many days, it was a conscious decision that had to be made to put one foot in front of the other. But you see, that’s the thing. We have to make that decision, little by little, every day. God is faithful to give us strength for that day, that hour, that moment.
Brenda: At what point was dating a part of your life again? How did you know you were healthy enough to begin dating?
Jennifer: I started dating about a year after I broke ties with the father of my children. (That long journey is another story for another time!) But I think it’s important here to mention I wasn’t actively pursuing a dating relationship, but rather pretty content where I was. Truly, in my contentment, is where God brought me my future husband. We were married 9 months later and the rest is history.
Brenda: What advice would you give a newly single mom? What should she do first to begin the process of healing and restoration for her and her child?
Jennifer: You are not alone. God sees you right where you are — in the middle of your junk, your hurt, paint, and desperation — He’s there. He will not leave you, while you are walking through this, even though you may sometimes not feel His presence. He is still there. The first and best thing you will ever do is find a single moms’ ministry near you.
Brenda: What advice would you give single moms who have been single for a longer period of time but can’t seem to find peace in their circumstances?
Jennifer: I LOVE 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. It gives me chills when I read it. Paul is basically saying (in the Jennifer Maggio translation of the Bible), “Listen, I’ve been through a lot. I know how hard life can be. But I made a choice to find joy through Christ, each and every day.” That’s what it has to be for all of us. We can wallow in the disappointment of our pasts. We can be bitter. We can be hurt and angry. We can question God’s plan and why we are single. Or we can just choose to say, “Lord, this isn’t how I planned things, but I trust you. I trust you know best and that you are teaching and stretching me. I choose joy today.” It sounds so simple, yet it is the key to our walk with the Lord.
Brenda: Tell us about The Life of a Mom Ministries. What resources do you offer single women through your ministry? How can single moms connect there?
Jennifer: The Life of a Single Mom Ministries is a global nonprofit that has worked with more than 22,000 single moms and 1,500 churches in 19 countries. Our goal is two-fold. First, we want to empower and educate the church (all believers) on the struggles single parents face and how to launch single moms’ programs in their churches. Second, we want to be a resource hub for all things single parent and single-parent ministry related. We have a very active social media following, articles, live chats, videos, podcasts, books, listings of single moms ministries around the country, and so much more, so check out www.thelifeofasinglemom.com. Also, your readers may just want to nominate someone they know for the National Single Mom of the Year Award!