By Barbara Hurda-Crowley
“You never really know a man [woman] until you understand things from his [her] point of view, until you climb into his [her] skin and walk around in it.” (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960). The Fresh Start Momentum (FSM) ministry for single-again women has demonstrated this standpoint for over a year now. Never did we expect to be going strong this early in the game.
Of course, we live in a world that moves nearly faster than we can think. And the World Wide Web has driven us there. So, it shouldn’t come as such a surprise to see more than a dozen countries reading the FSM blog. After introducing it to the United States, several European countries, one after another, picked up the blog. But the truly heartwarming results are women in countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Russia spending time online with FSM. These countries are not necessarily known for allowing women freedoms to “surf” the internet! But this is exactly how the Holy Spirit works; the Lord can do more than we ever expect.
In Proverbs 29:18 (Amplified Bible) it says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” After decades of writing here, there, and everywhere, it became apparent God had more definite plans for this ministry. After much prayer for direction, not just for a dream to become fulfilled (I had already been writing for many years), God gave me His vision to encourage single-again women. Thus, the FSM blog is striving to support, strengthen, and sustain women everywhere, even in parts of the world we would least expect it to happen. With 145 posts and growing, along with views in the thousands, God is at the helm working on His plan.
Inadvertently, FSM has become an available resource reaching women through contacts made in local churches and Bible studies. One such connection prompted a woman one week into her divorce to seek a place of encouragement and support. A friend of hers led her to FSM. A similar situation occurred after the post entitled, “Are You Putting Your Life on Hold?” A reader commented she had once ministered to singles in her church and wholeheartedly agreed with the statement in the article that “being single or single-again is not a curse.” It is certainly no reason to feel “incomplete” simply based on a woman’s marital status. The reader backed up her comment with the fact, “One is still a whole number.” It is comments like these that prove “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” is a great comfort to women who might otherwise believe they are all alone.
FSM offers motivational articles, tools, tips, ideas, and suggestions for a new journey—a new season—of life. What it does not do is dwell on the past (nor a woman’s ex-husband) in a pessimistic or unhelpful way. FSM is all about finding the positive and growing through adversity. And women are responding to these life-supporting ideas.
As women continue to return to the blog on a regular basis, a mood begins to emerge. One reader in response to the article, “Smiles Are Contagious: Be a Carrier,” said she likes to be “a carrier of all things positive, including humor and encouragement.” The posts at FSM are providing ways for this to happen. They illustrate the themes of possibilities, passion, power, and purpose in the lives of women all over the world.
At the same time, the goal of FSM is to help women see the hand of God in all situations, even in their singleness, whether that is a result of a divorce or because of the death of their spouse. It’s at those particular and trying times, they need to know the Lord is closer than ever. With this intention in mind, each post suggests to them through Scripture how God is working in their daily lives to grow their faith.
One of the most difficult times of the year for any single-again woman is Christmas. Everything about it has changed for her, and her fear is that it may never look the same again. Things we never gave a second thought to become large-scale problems. Should I decorate the house just for one? How do I handle Christmas dinner? Do I go to a Christmas party without a husband or date on my arm? Where do the children spend Christmas? Am I expected to give gifts to couples I knew as a married woman? Could I just skip Christmas all together? These dilemmas go on and on.
A throwback to a popular Christmas blog post on this exact subject will appear soon at FSM. Here is an excerpt:
“Christmas can be celebrated anywhere in any way. It isn’t a requirement to participate in all the demanding shopping and gift-giving. It’s about the birth of Jesus. So, we are here to say, it is absolutely o.k. to take a break and skip all the commercial “hoop-la” this year if one chooses. The first year without a spouse takes some getting used to and a quiet Christmas is good for our souls. We are definitely not speaking of hibernating in a closet and never coming out until mid-January! Celebrating the best quiet Christmas ever might look like:
- Attending dinner with one favorite person instead of joining a massive holiday party with all the background noise.
- Putting up a tabletop tree instead of spending energy decorating & wrestling with a ceiling-high tree.
- Using candles and a Nativity set instead of decorating the entire house.”
FSM is committed to bringing new and innovative ways to live as single-again women. Emphasizing confidence, reassurance, conviction, and above all faith and trust in God are hallmarks for continuing and expanding this ministry.
The next phase of the Fresh Start Momentum ministry is currently in development. We are working on a book tentatively entitled, Woman Soaring: Building Momentum for Your Next Journey. It incorporates some of the most popular themes of the original blog and continues to encourage women to live up to their full potential. The book expands the idea of creating a life that was meant to be from the very beginning. It concentrates on God’s unique plan and purpose for each woman. The book is expected in print by the Fall of 2018.
Barbara Hurda-Crowley’s passion is for the well-being, success and empowerment of all single-again women (divorced, widowed, and single moms) who seek to make their lives the best they can and should be in this season of life. While currently working on writing an inspirational book, due out in the Fall of 2018, Barbara is excited to share the Fresh Start Momentum blog with women everywhere. She happily resides in beautiful Prescott AZ with her pure white cat, Misty.