Monday, March 2

reLentless Love 3: Single Moms

Photo collage from Single Moms Retreat Diva Boutique 2013
Welcome to our reLentless Love series and Make a Difference Monday link-up! If you missed the first two weeks of reLentless Love, we shared about Access to Medical Care and Orphan Care! Today, we're highlighting single moms and a retreat that is near and dear to each of us.

Three years ago the girls of TRE agreed to help out with a Single Moms Retreat in our area. At the time, we collected clothes for the Diva Boutique and raise awareness for the retreat. Since then our passion to help single moms has only grown. Every year since we've committed to raise funds and donations for the retreat that will hopefully be a blessing to the few hundred single moms who attend each year. 

The May 2015 retreat is no different. We feel a bond with our single mama friends and believe it is time that we as women step up to support one another. Statistics show that a third of all single moms live below the poverty line (even though they work very hard), causing financial and housing hardships and food insecurity. Through both the Single Moms Retreat and our friends who are single mothers, we've seen what amazing courage and drive they have to provide for themselves and their kids. We are humbled and honored to call such women our friends. 

Today I interviewed my dear friend, Julie Varnam, a single mom who I met through the Single Moms Retreat. For the past several years Julie has led the retreat while also working, raising her youngest daughter, and going to school. She does it all with grace and honesty and a realness you don't always find. Here's part of Julie's story:

TRE: Why are you passionate about the issue of single mothering?
I never really thought much about this issue until about eight years ago when I found myself a single mother of four kids. I spent the first few years angry, depressed, and trying to survive. I was so lonely, not knowing any other Christian women going through the same thing. God's healing of my heart and his giving me the strength to do this right has grown me into a woman of compassion for other single moms going through what I have. He has placed just the right women in my life who help support me and continue to encourage me to grow into the woman he desires me to be.
TRE: What can you tell us about single parenting and how Bridging the Gap's Single Moms Retreat is helpful? 
Bridging the Gap's Single Moms Retreat is a great time for single moms to get away and focus on themselves. We offer teachings to help them grow, pampering so they can relax and enjoy themselves, a party to meet new friends or get closer to the ones they already have, and time to worship God. The most important thing we offer these women is the chance to dream again. Our conference is called "Dare to Dream," because so many single moms live in survival mode and they forget to dream for themselves and their children. We give them hope again.
TRE: How did you get involved and what would you tell someone else who may be interested in getting involved? 
A friend of mine introduced me to Carol Lund, director of Bridging the Gap, and the rest is history! Anyone who has a heart for single moms, for whatever reason, should come and volunteer. It is a great way to reach out to these women and support them. There are many ways to volunteer, too! We love women that come alongside single moms and just enjoy the conference together. We have an amazing team each year and the volunteers are blessed as much as the women coming to the conference!

This week, in honor of our single mom friends and the upcoming retreat, we are going to be taking seven items out of our closets (one for each day -- all new/very gently used!) that we will donate to the Diva Boutique. If you live in Minnesota and would like to donate things yourself, feel free to contact us and we will gladly find a way to gather your donations. Live out of state? No problem! Just plan to take your items to a local battered women's shelter or girls home. We know that many shelters are also looking for other practical items (diapers, wipes, baby clothes) that are a huge help to new mothers.






Make A Difference Mondays is a weekly linkup designed to encourage and inspire us to live each day on purpose—making a meaningful difference in someone’s life in even the smallest of ways. Five women regularly co-host this link-up. Read on to learn more about the vision, mission, and how to link up!

Mission: Our mission is to provide a consistent gathering place for like-minded women to build online connections, share inspiration, and provide mutual encouragement and accountability as we seek to live intentionally and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Vision: Every Monday we invite bloggers to link up any blog posts that encourage women to live life on purpose, including testimonies or goals from your own life, small acts of kindness or service, creative tips or ideas for showing consideration to others — the possibilities are endless. Our objective is to use our God-given time and resources to his glory! 

Also, just a heads-up: the Make A Difference Mondays team has created aFacebook community group to stay in touch beyond the blog posts AND we also have a new #MADMlinkup group Pinterest board: Make A Difference Mondays Pinterest Board.




   

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2 comments :

  1. Thank you for supporting such a great cause! As a single mom, I can completely relate to what Julie has to say, and definitely understand what it means to be living in survival mode. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Sarah, thanks so much for commenting! Blessings to you, we're honored to stand by our single mama friends ;)

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