Grace for the Single Mom

 

 

Ep 6 | Grace for the Single Mom with Simonee Carter

 

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We sit down with Trinity Christian School Instructional Assistant, Simonee Carter, to discuss how prayer has powerfully impacted her life as a single mother. Simonee encourages listeners to believe that when prayer is all you have, you have more than enough. She gives practical tips for Christian communities to support single parents, and offers encouragement for anyone on a similar journey.

I would say, in a world where social media has tried to dictate and negatively influence our children, Christian education gives hope and purpose.

     

Simonee Carter

Simonee Carter is an Instructional Assistant and 7th grade parent at Trinity Christian School, proud Regent University graduate and U.S. Navy Veteran who loves thrifting, leading worship at her church, and traveling. She feels called to Christian education because it raises the next generation of leaders who will impact the world for the kingdom of God.

Jo Wilbur

Jo Wilbur is a Marketing and Communications Specialist at Trinity Christian School and proud JMU grad who loves writing, shopping, and making new friends. She and her husband live in Paeonian Springs and spend time together cooking plant-based meals, singing worship songs, and volunteering as Young Life leaders in their community.


 

 

 

Live your life out loud before your children. The best way to get your children to love the Lord is to live your life in front of them! They're watching everything you do. They see how you navigate your relationship with God, and through that, they're going to know that he's real. 

Transcript

Disclaimer: This is a direct transcript of the podcast audio and may not be grammatically correct.


 

Jo Wilbur:

Hi there. Welcome to Mind and Heart, a podcast by Trinity Christian School. I'm your host, Jo Wilbur. And today I'm sitting down with Trinity parent and Instructional Assistant Simonee Carter. How are you, Simonee?

Simonee Carter:

I'm great. How are you?

Jo Wilbur:

I'm good. Thank you for asking. Thank you so much for being willing to sit down and chat with us today.

Simonee Carter:

Thank you for having me.

Jo Wilbur:

Absolutely. So right off the bat for people in our community who don't know you, you are new to the Trinity community this year. Could you just share with us a little bit about yourself? Who is Simonee?

Simonee Carter:

Well, I have so many things I could say. I love Jesus. I'm passionate about Christian education. I was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia. I attended Old Dominion University and Regent University. I'm a Navy veteran, and I have an 11 year old daughter named Queen, and my mom and dad are pastors.

Jo Wilbur:

Awesome. That's so great. And Queen is here at Trinity?

Simonee Carter:

Yes. And we're so excited.

Jo Wilbur:

And what grade is she?

Simonee Carter:

She’s in seventh grade.

Jo Wilbur:

Seventh grade. Awesome. So exciting. So tell us a little bit about how you ended up here at Trinity Christian School.

Simonee Carter:

I always ask God to lead and guide my family to where he believes that we could be the best versions of ourselves. I felt a strong conviction in my heart to move my daughter to a school that offered more opportunities for her to thrive. After hearing about Trinity from some of my prior coworkers, I decided, let me check into that place. I've heard so many great things about it. I viewed the website and I toured the school and I just knew after that, that this was the best place for her. Trinity provided this unmatched level of excellence. There were so many opportunities and so many great experiences I knew that she would have here. I just had that peace in my heart. Let's not forget to mention, the anointing on this campus is just amazing. Obviously there are people here that are praying for the faculty and staff here, and it's very evident at Trinity.

Jo Wilbur:

That's definitely true. I know we have some real prayer warriors here, yourself included. Why do you think that, you know, you said you tried to lean into where the Holy Spirit is leading you and your family? Why do you think that he led you here specifically?

Simonee Carter:

I believe that God specifically led us here specifically because of the foundation of Christian education. That's so important to me. I believe that as people we're always in search of the truth. Christian education, in my opinion, is the answer to truth. We live obviously in a world where people are so confused about who they are and what they believe. So I wanted my daughter to be rooted in the truth so that when difficult times come, as we know that they always will, she will have this solid foundation to hold onto. Because it's not simply enough to know math and science and literature, but most important is knowing that God created all of these things and that he has a purpose for them and for you as person. And so that adds value to those facts. I would say, in a world where social media has tried to dictate and negatively influence our children, I would say Christian education gives hope and purpose. I would hope that if my daughter would choose to become a scientist, for example, that she would not only come up with these innovative ideas, but also that she would see it as a calling from God to fulfill his kingdom purpose here on this earth. And then I'm reminded of Psalm 24, the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein. Amen.

Jo Wilbur:

Yeah. Amen to that. Now I know offline, just in casual conversation, we've talked about prayer and I've had the pleasure of hearing you pray aloud for all of us faculty and staff here, and it's been such a blessing. And I know you are someone who is always in prayer and is a prayer warrior, and you see that as a big part of your parenting and of your life. Could you talk to us a little bit about that and the role that prayer plays, both in your parenting and just in your story?

Simonee Carter:

Well, prayer has become a lifeline for me. A part of my story is that I'm divorced and a survivor of domestic violence. I would say that I would pray to survive. It was what I needed. I felt like it was all I had, but then I didn't realize that it was more than enough. I would pray desperate prayers, but now I'm learning to pray confident prayers. There's a scripture in 1 John 5:14 that says, “and this is a confidence that we have in him that if we ask anything, according to his, will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” And so it was that confidence that helped me to remember that God is a miracle-working God. And so I just became passionate about prayer. Because it works.

Jo Wilbur:

Well, thank you for being willing to share that part of your story. I think that's really powerful and I'm sure there are people and parents listening who can appreciate that. What advice would you give to them about discerning the Lord's will through prayer?

Simonee Carter:

I would say that the only way to discern the Holy Spirit's guidance and will for their life is to spend time with him building our faith through prayer and meditating on scripture and listening to worship music. When negative things happen to us, help us to build our confidence in God, obviously I love the scripture as you can see, but in Hebrews chapter 11, it talks about how without faith, it's impossible to please him. And how do we build our faith? It's by getting to know him more. The more you get to know him, the more you can know his voice, and then it's easier for you to discern what he needs and what he desires. And then it ends up working out beautifully for you because his plans for us are good… for us to prosper and for us to have a good life. And he has so much more for us than we could ever think or imagine. Amen.

Jo Wilbur:

Amen. Many people might not know this, but I understand that you've written a book that is not yet published called Grace for the Single Mom. Can you tell us a little bit about that book and what inspired you to write?

Simonee Carter:

When I first became a single mom, I remember feeling like I was the only single mom in the world, and we know that that's not true. I didn't really know any resources, so I would talk to a lot of my Christian friends in small circles and I would say, you know, what could I read? Or what could I do to help me to have peace in this circumstance that I felt I was in. And then I would run into other single moms over the years and I would encourage them and I would build them up and remind them of the things that God promised me and what worked for me. And after a while I said, wait a minute, I should probably write these things down so that other moms can see it and hear it too. And my main goal in that was to remember that there's hope, that we serve a redemptive God, a God that is full of grace.

And that in all of our weaknesses, God makes us stronger. So my favorite scripture with that was 2 Corinthians 12:9 that says, “but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more greatly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” And because I've seen God's miraculous grace over my finances, over my career, over my broken heart, I've had so many testimonies of God's miraculous power. I just figured why wouldn't I tell people that there's grace for you too?

Jo Wilbur:

Absolutely. You know, and I think it's interesting that when you say when you became a single parent, you felt very alone. And I think that is always one of the devil's traps, is to always make us feel like we're alone in whatever it is we're going through, but we know that that's not the case. We certainly have single parents here at Trinity, single parents in the church, single parents in our community. What are some of those challenges that are particular to people who are single parents?

Simonee Carter:

Well, I would say one of the biggest challenges that I have to fight a lot is loneliness. I say that to say that being a single mom has been more about the physical presence of a person, because God has been in every way what most people would say they need a husband. So he's been my provider, my protector, my advisor, my comforter… but I'm challenged to remind myself of things. But it's nice to have that physical person here with you. God reminds me of my community, such as Trinity and my church community, my amazing family and friends, so that when I feel those feelings of loneliness, I know that it's a lie from the devil and that I'm not alone, and that God is with me. Another thing that I remember is that it's a spiritual war. The Bible tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but that they're mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds. And that when I feel a certain way, that God is with me. I felt insecure so many times, felt less than, but then I have to remind myself that my identity is in Christ. And if I were married, I would still need to surrender my parenting to God. Being a single mom shouldn't change your devotion to or focus on God because Matthew 6:33 tells us that if we seek first the kingdom of God, that everything else falls in place, everything else works out because if we put him first, it's most important.

Jo Wilbur:

Absolutely. I love that. What can Christians and the Christian community do to better serve and love the single parents that are in our community?

Simonee Carter:

I'm so glad you asked me that. I would say that the Christian community…there were like three things I thought about when you said that. They could encourage positive conversations about single parenting in the pulpit and in small groups. The divorce rate is pretty high in the church, a lot of people don't talk about that. If people talked more about that, then more single parents could speak up about their needs. I think also that they could pray more specifically for single parents. Prayer works. Things such as healing and mental health, generational cycles, financial literacy, restoration, and redemption. I would say that the best gift that you can give someone is a gift of prayer. Also they can point single parents to resources such as food banks or emergency financial assistance, babysitting services, (I want to emphasize that), and local professional Christian counselors. I think that a lot of churches don't talk about mental health a lot. Some women or some men, they go through trauma when they go through divorce. And they're not really allowed to say that they're not okay, depending on what your background is. You could come from, you know, a charismatic background where it's like, “Just believe God,” and sometimes people don't know how to navigate that. So that would be very helpful.

Jo Wilbur:

I love that. Those are some really good practical ways that might not occur to people. And I think you're right, it's not something, that at least I've heard, talked about much in church and in my Christian communities. So that's very helpful. And then speaking to other single parents in our community, what's an encouragement that you would have for them or a word that you would have for them as they navigate some of these same challenges that you're familiar with?

Simonee Carter:

I would say to live your life out loud before your children. The best way to get your children to love the Lord is to live your life in front of them. They're watching everything you do. They see how you navigate your relationship with God. And through that, they're going to know that he's real. I have so many examples of times where my daughter and I didn't have anything, and we would literally pray together. And I would say, “You know what? We're going to believe God that he's going to provide.” We needed a car one time, my car was broken down, and my daughter was about six years old. And so she was still at such a cute age where I could say, “We're going to believe God!” She's like, “Yes, mommy!” and we prayed, and we prayed, and we got denied for the car we wanted.

And then I said, “Nope, we're going to keep believing.” And then we got the car that we needed. And so it's just her seeing that I persevered and that I kept believing in spite of how the circumstances looked, that made all the difference. And I think today she can say, “My mom did these things. And because my mom did them, I know that I can do them. And that God is real.” I wanted her to see that for herself. But I had to live that myself. I can't just tell her to do the right thing or tell her to believe God. It’s better as a parent to live it first for them to see.

Jo Wilbur:

Yes, yes. Our actions are so often a better teacher than our words. Very true. I was fortunate to grow up in a home where, you know, I saw my mom get up and pray every single day. There hasn't been a morning when I haven't known that she's praying for me. So that is extremely powerful. Thank you so much for joining us today, Simonee, and sharing your wisdom with us. We’re very appreciative.

Simonee Carter:

Thank you for having me! Thank you so much.

Jo Wilbur:

Thanks for joining us for this episode of Mind and Heart, a podcast by Trinity Christian School. For more information, visit us at www.tcsfairfax.org.

 

 

 

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