Quiet Moments

Teens can have a very busy life.

Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in several different directions at once? We have school, jobs, homework and extra curricular activities. It can even be hard to find time to,” just think” when we have so many responsibilities.

Through all this it is important to remember one thing….

No matter how busy we can get as teens,  the MOST important thing we need to do is put Christ first in our lives.

Quiet Moments

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During my senior year in high school, we went on a retreat in the fall. At the retreat, there was a high ropes course which included several obstacles to “test our faith”.  Part of the course included walking across a log. When we were are up high like that, the first instinct we had was to look down, we really had to focus and keep our eyes on a cross, that was on the other side. This is so similar to real life, we have to focus to keep our eyes on the cross and ignore the “distractions” of the world.

We should never be too busy with the distractions of the world to spend time with God. If we are to busy to spend time with God, then we are just too busy.

If you are a morning person, you can get up a few minutes earlier than you normally do to spend time in the Word and in prayer. If you are a night person, you can stay up a little later to have your quiet time. Spending time with God has to be your first priority.

Another way you could look at it is, since God woke us up and granted us another day, we owe Him this time.

Ultimately, our quiet time with God should be spent seeking him in all areas of our life and in any decision we may have.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) says that we should “Trust in the Lord with all (our) heart, and lean not on (our) own understanding. In all (our) ways acknowledge Him, and He will make (our) paths straight”. You may hear this verse a lot in church and youth group, but let’s dissect it piece by piece.

  • When we “Trust in the Lord with all (our) heart”, we are trusting that He knows what He is doing in our lives. This means that when you have an issue in your life, you should give it to God and trust that He will handle it.
  • “Leaning not on (our) own understanding” also ties into trusting God. We have to trust that God has a plan for our lives. This verse relates back to the ropes course I mentioned earlier. When we look down, we rely on our own understanding and fall. When we look up at the cross, we rely on God’s understanding in our lives. This is a really hard thing to do, especially for me. We are all intelligent human beings who tend to think that we can solve everything for ourselves.  It takes a lot to rely on God’s understanding and not our own.
  • “In all (our) ways acknowledge Him, and He will make (our) paths straight.” This goes back to spending time with God each and every single day. When you do this and consult the Creator in everything, He will show you the way to go.

Spending time with God may seem like a difficult at first, but you will start to look forward to it and yearn for it as the Word of God starts to grow in and take root in your heart. In the end, you will be glad you took time out of your day to spend with the One who knows best.

 

All for Him,

Emily

Summer’s Half-Time Check-up

By Nicole O’Dell

Alert alert! Summer is almost over.

Has it snuck up on you? How many of the things on your list to do together have you actually accomplished? If you’re like me, when the summer started you had big plans: evening walks, trips to the beach, yard work, maybe planting a garden or tending flowers together… Moms you looked forward to the actual hours of time you have with your teenage girl this summer. I know… Because I did too.

I envisioned morning coffee on the patio before the little ones woke up. I pictured us walking in the afternoon or chatting at the park as the little ones played. I saw images of barbecuing and swimming…

But here it is July and almost none of those things have happened. I mean, come on, let’s face it, we’re talking about a teenage girl. There was never going to be early morning coffee on the patio. There wasn’t likely to be any chatting at the park while the little ones played unless there was an hourly rate attached. And swimming? Well, that’s a little more like sunning with an iPod. Not really the togetherness opportunity we’d hoped for.

But, here’s the thing. We can’t expect our teenage girls to want to get involved with what we find most appealing and relaxing and enjoyable. We have to meet them where they are.

So instead of longing for your daughter to join you and your activities, look at hers, and find a place to fit in. Find some movies you could watch together or books you could read together to open avenues for discussion.  If she likes Pilates, buy a video and do it with her. Baking, laying in the sun, biking…simply join her at what she’s already proven to enjoy.

In all likelihood, if you’ve had very little togetherness time so far this summer, it’s because you’re trying to schedule what makes sense instead of putting her wants and interests first.

meeting our teens where they areClimb across the bridge to her side, hang out with her, and then make a relationship there. Then, down the road, I promise she’ll cross over to your side now and then. But, Mom, always be willing to do the crossing yourself first.

Sisterhood Magazine

*The winner of our Sisterhood magazine giveaway is  Laura Wells! Congratulations!! There is more exciting news, if you haven’t had a chance to order your subscription yet, you can get $2 off print subscriptions!! All you need to do is,  go to www.sisterhoodmag.com and enter the code SWEETBLESSINGS before finalizing your order.*

Have you seen the  magazines geared to our precious daughters lately? They are filled with absolute junk! Colorful pages of beautiful girls they should look like and boys they should crush on. Pages filled with reasons why we need to look this way, be that thin, like this boy, like that band, and try this product. And it leaves you to believe if you don’t, they you don’t measure up. It is overwhelming, confusing and disheartening to our girls.

Who doesn’t love a good magazine? I know I do! I love clean, wholesome mags that inspire me, show me modest fashion and leave me feeling encouraged.

It is time for some clean encouragement for our girls too!

In our home, we love Sisterhood Magazine! Sisterhood is filled with great articles for teen girls. From encouragement in their walk with God, advice on relationships, fashion tips and even cute and easy DIY projects for teens! Sisterhood is the perfect magazine for our teen girls. Just take a look a few of the fabulous articles in the July/August issue:

  • Shapin’ Up: Take it outside
  • Ask the Doctor: Here’s help for cramps and acne
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Zzzzz: Two ways not to fall asleep during prayer
  • Father’s Love Letter: An intimate message from God to you
  • Secret Prayer Power: Power walk your way to new intimacy with God and
  • Brittany’s Kitchen: You can make these easy apple dumplins

And have I mentioned that this issue features Skillet!? Skillet is my daughter’s favorite obsession band. I think my friend half way across the country heard her screams of utter joy when she saw Skillet on the cover! They have also featured greats like Jamie Grace, Gabrielle Douglas, and Britt Nichol, just to name a few! So not only our girls getting so encouragement and fashion advice but they can keep up with their favorite Christian celebs!

Not only is Sisterhood a great magazine, but it is a great online tool for where moms can go to discuss Sisterhood articles together and girls can go for great blog posts and to connect with other teen girls. Sisterhood Magazine is definitely a great sisterhood for teen girls!

To check out Sisterhoodand order your daughter’s one  year subscription, click HERE.

Now time for a giveaway! Sisterhood is offering a FREE one year subscription to one of our blessed Whatever Girls.  To enter, simply click the link below then complete each task in the rafflecopter below!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Is Your Back Breaking?

By Jen Ferguson

I hate asking for help.

Let me clarify: I have no problem asking my children to help around the house or giving not-so-subtle hints to my husband that he his free to come home early so I can have a break from parental responsibility for awhile.

But ask my friends to pray for me because I’m having a hard time?  Ask them to take time out of their busy schedule to meet me for coffee so I can cry on their shoulder for a bit?  Not really my cup of tea (or coffee).  In fact, most of my friends attest that I know much about what is going on with them (I am a master question-asker), but they know hardly at all what is going on with me.  When they find out later (because I’ll talk after I find resolution), they lament: Why didn’t you tell me about this?  I could have ______________!  And what they could have done (pray, help in tangible ways, etc) would probably have been amazing.  And yet, I let my uncomfortableness in asking for help rob me of the relief God intended for me.

And apparently, not only am I stealing from myself, but I’m robbing my friends of something, too.  I’m taking away a job Christ intended for them to have.  A job not designed to usurp their time or drain their energy, but a job that will help fulfill their obedience to Christ.  Did you know carrying each other’s burdens fulfills Christ’s law?  And did you know that Christ’s law is love?

Three coffee cups with heart shaped shadows

Galatians 6:2 says “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  The Greek word for “burdens” here is “baros,” which is translated as “weight” or “hardship.”  Truthfully, there are tremendously difficult things in this life that we are not designed to carry by ourselves and if we do, we will bring physical, emotional, and spiritual injury to ourselves.  You wouldn’t try to pick up a two-ton boulder by yourself, but I am sure some of you have some issue in your life that feels just this heavy.

Are you letting someone else carry the weight?  You weren’t made to do this by your own.  And while, yes, Galatians 6:5 says we are to carry our own load, the word “load” is a completely different Greek word than the one found in verse 2.  The Greek word for “load” is “phortion.”  It is same word that Jesus uses in Matthew, when He says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Our own load we are to carry as signified by this verse is that which is in proportion to how God designed us.  It is like a backpack that fits easily on our shoulders, not a crushing boulder that threatens to buckle our knees and crush our souls.

If you were to take a moment and evaluate what is sitting on your shoulders or in your heart right now, does it feel like a boulder or a backpack?  Is your back breaking under tremendous weight or do you feel the freedom of being able to move as God intended you to?

If you’re breaking, it’s time to find someone to help shoulder the burden.  And as fellow parents and sisters in Christ, God has designed us to do this for our friends.  For you.  You need not fear what you will share will be too much for us.  We know that we don’t have to have the perfect words to soothe you.  We know that we can’t solve your problem.  Only God can do that and we are not Him.  But we can listen.  We can pray.  We can offer our shoulder and maybe, even a hot beverage to drink.

Do you find it easy to let someone else in so they might help or are you the one who likes to do it all on her own?
(Did you know that the Whatever Girls have a prayer group?  Would you like to join?  Just contact Erin@thewhatevergirls.com for more info.)

Encouragement for When your Daughter Doubts her Faith

By: Tracy Steel

 

I had the honor of serving on the student ministry staff at my church several years ago. I found myself in teen world 24/7. And I LOVED it. By the time I married and moved away, I had seen and heard everything. And I mean everything, fellow moms.

Female students didn’t wander into my office because life was good. No, they entered hurting. They needed direction. They needed to cry. They wanted answers and relief from pain and doubt.

“Why did I end up pregnant, doesn’t God know I am not ready to be a mother yet?”

“Why did God let my friend die in a motorcycle accident?”

“If God is our Healer, why am I still struggling with my eating disorder? I want to stop, but I can’t stop.”

“Why does God choose to save some people, and allow others to go to Hell?”

If I had personally mentored the young lady who questioned, it became all about me in a matter of nanoseconds. I felt like a failure. I loved each one of my “girls” as if they were my own daughter. Her questions about God caused me to question myself:

What if I had taught her more of the Bible?

What if I had prayed harder for her?

What if, what if, what if…

 

image courtesy of "marin"/freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of “marin”/freedigitalphotos.net

 

Let’s fast forward to today. I am now married and am blessed with a beautiful daughter of my own. I am doing my best to instill a love for God in her heart. But, my Katie will probably question what she believes at some point. I pray that before my mind sprints down the road of “What if,” I will remember that:

God doesn’t dwell in “What if” because He is I AM.

Several of Jesus’ followers doubted and questioned Him (John the Baptist, Thomas, and Martha are great examples). How did Jesus react? He listened, answered, loved them, and carried the weight of their doubt (along with the sins of the entire world) upon His shoulders as He hung from the cross.

Jesus does not give up on those who question. Neither should we.

If your daughter is currently questioning her faith, know that you not a failure. God loves you and He loves your daughter. Do not give up on her!

I pray that the following suggestions would provide further direction and encouragement for your mama’s heart:

Stay calm and model on. Do not panic. Continue to model for your daughter a life of faith, trust, and joy in the Lord. Blaming yourself (or other factors) repeatedly will not help. Do not dwell in “what if,” abide in I AM.

Take her to the Truth. Help your daughter to discover what God’s Word says about her particular situation, or encourage her to talk to a Pastor or Christian Counselor.

Be authentic about times when you doubted and questioned. Share why you continue to follow Jesus.

Pray. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give your daughter understanding and to give her a deeper love for God. If you daughter is willing, pray through the following Scriptures with her. If she isn’t willing, pray these verses over her during your prayer time: Psalm 119:34, 169; Proverbs 3:5-6; and Colossians 1:9-10.

Wait and trust God. The majority of teen girls that I mentioned above wrestled with their faith for a short season. Today, their faith remains intact. I have had the honor of watching the Holy Spirit mature them into Godly wives and mommies. (Whew and a BIG Hallelujah!) Though waiting and trusting God can be challenging, remember that God isn’t through molding and growing any of us yet! I am so thankful for this, aren’t you fellow mom?

 

Let’s take a minute to pray for one another:

Father God, we come before You and we lift up those that are searching and questioning. God, You know their names and the plans that You have for each of their lives. We ask that Your will be done, and that their season of doubt would be a short one. Comfort and calm the mothers who feel that they have failed. Give us Your perfect wisdom, and help us to wait and trust You as we seek to raise our daughters in a way that honors You. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

 

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