Today's guest post is by Jennifer Maggio, author of the new book Peace and the Single Mom. Her story blows me away and is a beautiful testament, that no matter where you are, no matter how much you wish you were somewhere else or someone else, there is hope. God has a beautiful plan for you. He's not finished with you yet.
And as a bonus of having Jennifer guest post here, we'll give away a copy of her new book. Just leave a comment on a way God has shown you He's not finished with you yet below for a chance to enter the drawing. And now, here's Jennifer's story.
I would love to tell you I had a “normal” childhood – whatever that is – but I didn’t. I didn’t frolic in the snow, drink hot cocoa, and enjoy snuggles with my parents on the sofa as we watched our favorite television program. Truth is, most of my childhood and teen years were spent in utter chaos.
My mother was killed when I was just a baby. Consequently, I was raised by my dad who used alcohol and women to mask the pain of losing my mother so unexpectedly. My dad married a total of six times, not including girlfriends in between the marriages. (Yep, you read that right!) I spent years suffering through sexual and physical abuse at the hands of many. My dad was not one of those abusers. He lived in a cloud for years, devastated by the pain he had endured.
Although I graduated high school valedictorian and class president (and was probably considered an overachiever by most), I became pregnant at only seventeen years old. I was desperate for someone to love me. I was desperate to have this hole in my heart filled. Maybe this new baby would create a bond between his father and me that would give me my “happily ever after.” As you may have guessed, it didn’t. I was a teen mom who had two children by the time I was nineteen. I was severely abused, chasing after a dead-end relationship that would have never worked. I lived in government housing using food stamps and welfare to help make ends meet with my low-paying job. I felt hopeless.
It was in my darkest hour that I found God. I hadn’t attended church in years, but my life was so dark, so lonely…maybe the church could help me. I made a decision to give the church thing a try again. I started attending regularly with my two small children. God slowly began to transform my heart. He healed the old wounds that had left me broken and bitter. He mended a heart that no longer chased after the temporary happiness this world offers. I finally had the strength to leave my old life behind. My Heavenly Father transformed my life, inside and out.
(as I read Jennifer's guest blog here, I can't help but sing Brandon Heath's song, "Wait and See" in my head. In case you are too, here you go ~Laura L. Smith)
Okay, sorry for the interruption. Now back to Jennifer --
Today, I spend my days encouraging single moms that they can make it. They can overcome. They can press through and press on. I work with youth to encourage sexual purity. I encourage hurting women with the love that only Jesus brings. I never thought I could be used by God for anything. When I was a kid, I just wanted to be normal. But God has shown me that none of us were called to be normal. We were called to be an extraordinary light for His glory.
Jennifer Maggio is the award-winning author of four books, including her latest release Peace and the Single Mom: 50 Moments of Calm in the Chaos. Her story has been featured in countless media venues. She is the founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a global nonprofit committed to empowering single mothers. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.
Don't forget to leave a comment below about how God has given you hope for a chance to win an autographed copy of Peace & The Single Mom.
When I was in college Folgers coffee set up free coffee stations at the entrances to the major academic buildings on my campus. Honest. They were giving away FREE COFFEE! Clearly this was a time before there were Starbucks on every corner and long before cute boutique coffee houses, like Kofenya, littered college towns. My friends and I caffeinated ourselves with Diet Coke, cases of it. We didn't even like coffee. But Folgers wanted us to change our habits, offered us free caffeine where and when we needed it most, and even handed out free fudge packets to make it tastier. This I could do. Free caffeine? Plus chocolate? And thus Folger's "Jump Start Your Brain" campaign took place.
I still love a free sample, whether it's a baguette spread with Pumpkin Butter at Trader Joe's or a sip of sweet cider from the orchard who has a stand at my local Farmer's Market. I love downloading the free song of the week from Starbucks and iTunes, and well, sampling. Trying these flavors and sounds on for size. Because sometimes they're a perfect fit.
This week, I'm offering you (actually my publisher, Playlist Fiction, is) a free sample. A free sample of books. Now that's almost as tasty as coffee with chocolate.
Until September 17 you can download The Best Teen Reads from Indie Authors featuring the first few chapters of my title, It's Complicated, as well as other young adult fiction titles from some of my favorite writers; like Laura Anderson Kurk, Jennifer Murgia, Stephanie Morrill and Rajdeep Paulus. Cool. Right? You can try on five different books. Who knows you might find your new favorite author or series. One of these titles might just be the perfect fit. And all you had to do was click.
Dont' have a Kindle or the App, don't worry, that's free too. Not an actual Kindle, but you can get the free App on your phone, tablet, laptop, device from Amazon by clicking on my words free App, scroll to where it says Free Reading Apps and click on the kind that fits your device. Easy Peasy.
Let me know if you have any questions and what you think. I've read all of these books from cover to cover and always love a good book chat.
Laura L. Smith