Just Because Something Looks Like Fun it Doesn’t Mean it is a Good Idea.

By Kim Chaffin

About 5 years ago I watched my daughter and her friend do something they thought was going to be fun but turned out to be a bad idea.  Let me set the stage: I was busy inside the house and saw my daughter and her friend outside when I passed by the window.  They seemed to be trying to figure something out.  I went on with my work inside not thinking much about it.  Little did I know they had come up with some hair-brained idea to tie a rope from the back of my daughter’s bike to my grandmother’s wheel chair (No my grandmother was not in the wheel chair).  Looking back, it all seemed like it was moving in slow motion when I realized what was happening.  I remember yelling, “Nooooo ssstopp!!” and diving at the door with my cat like reflexes when I saw what was going down in my driveway.  Due to the fact that I was inside they could not hear me and I was too late to stop what was happening.

They went flying down the driveway.  My daughter’s friend was on the bike and my daughter was in the wheel chair.  Thankfully after all my years of harping on the kids about helmets both girls had them on.   What seemed like a good idea at first became a bad idea when the driveway ran out and they had to turn into the street.  The bike made the turn but the wheel chair did not.  The wheel chair dumped my girl like a rock skipping across a pond and she thankfully only had a few scrapes.

not a good idea

How often do we grab a hold of or “tie ourselves” to something that seems like a good idea?  The girls figured they had on “helmets” to protect them and it looked like fun so why not?  Today I am writing to teens but there is a lesson in this is for us adults as well.  Teens today are faced with far more drug choices than ever before.  Technology has opened the door to many harmful things from sexting to cyber bullying.   Teens are pushed to feel that if they are not having sex than there is something wrong with them.  Even those kids that are grounded in the Lord are finding themselves “holding onto or tying themselves” to what is of the world in order to fit in.

The crazy idea my daughter and her friend had is a perfect analogy for what peer pressure can do to you.  Let’s say peer pressure is the bike. Your friends are saying, “Come on everyone does it”.  Wanting to fit in you say yes to what your peers are saying is okay (you have now tied yourself to the bike).  Most likely you are still not sure but you have said, “yes” so you follow your friends. You are now in the wheel chair with no control of where the bike or peer pressure is taking you.  It wont’ take long before you realize things are out of control and you are picking yourself up with a much deeper hurt than the scratches my daughter got when she crashed.

As I said before, the girls had on their helmets and they figured they were protected if anything was going to happen. The same is true when we choose to do things that the world sees as good or acceptable.  In other words we cannot just assume that because we have on our “helmets” of salvation (Eph 6:17) nothing can happen.  There will always consequences and we can get hurt when we are not careful what we tie ourselves too.

The “Whatever Girls” verse is bouncing around in may head as I type this.  It is perfect for what I am trying to convey: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV).  Tie yourself to those things!!  Hold on to God’s truth so that when you are faced with the temptations of the world no matter how fun they look you will be able to stand firm in The Lord. Choose wisely so that you do not get hurt.  Don’t leave God yelling “NOOOO SSSTOPPP!!!” like I had to do with the girls.  You never know who is watching you.  Actions sometimes speak louder than words so choosing to go honor God in your actions just might encourage others to choose what is good also.   Remember just because something looks like fun it doesn’t mean it is a good idea. 

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Calling 911 – Part 1

By Shari A. Miller

Moms, let’s face it…..parenting daughters during the transition years from teenager to adult can be a challenging.

Many of us have been there…. that point when our teenage daughter is trying to spread her wings and fly.

On those days, when the the transition doesn’t go smoothly, when your daughter is under pressure and feels like the weight of the world is on her shoulders, when life is not turning out like she had planned, I promise you there is hope. When the situation becomes difficult and starts to suffocate both you and her, there are many things that you can do to breath new life into your restless hearts.

With the first and foremost being, picking up the spiritual telephone through prayer, and dialing 911 to reach the Lord.

Calling 911 - 1

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“and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” – Psalm 50:15

God is on the other end of the phone just waiting to talk to you. He has the answers. He can show you the way to guide your daughter on a path that will draw her closer to Him. When you come to the point of giving up your independence as a mother and turn to relying on Him alone, He will show you the steps to take to help your daughter on this journey.

When you do it on our own and forget the power of prayer, you run into trouble. It’s as if you’re in a boat on the middle of a lake with your daughter and you only have one oar, the oar of self, with that oar you paddle with all our might and get no where. However, if you add the second oar, the oar of prayer, God will give you the strength and the knowledge to be able to row the boat in the right direction that leads you closer to Him.

When you listen to His voice, you will find reassurance and comfort knowing that He has the situation under control. It’s from that point that you can move in confidence, being the mother He intended you to be.

As moms we must encourage our daughters to do like wise. We need to let them know that their relationship with the Lord needs to be first in their lives. Through prayer and reading the Word, they can find the answers they have been desperately searching for.

When you have received His instruction for how to handle the specific situation you’re in, you must move ahead according to His guidance. During this time you need to be your daughter’s biggest cheerleader! Let her know that you’re always there for her and she can turn to you no matter what her situation is.  Give her love and acceptance, don’t invalidate her feelings by making her feel like her problems are insignificant. When your daughter is have a difficult time, walking through the door of adulthood, you need to remember what it was like to walk a mile in her shoes. Remember that those times spent in the unknown can be very hard and scary.

Make sure to connect with your daughter during these times. Set up dates with her, go out to coffee, or take a walk in your neighborhood. Let her express her concerns to you, and when she does, let her know she is not alone. Offer her words of comfort, text her encouraging notes through out the day, filled with love and Scripture, that will set her thoughts on God’s truth.

You can do this mom! With God in the drivers seat both you and your daughter can get through this time. Trust in God’s grace and His promises to get you through to the other side.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because  of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Stay tuned next month for, Calling 911 – Part 2, which will be directed towards our beautiful daughters.

All for Him~

Shari

 

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When Girls Cut Themselves

By Rick Johnson

Girls in our culture today suffer from a variety of very dangerous maladies including depression, poor self-image, and eating disorders to name a few.  One issue that catches many parents off guard is the phenomena of self-harm, such as cutting.  Since fathers are a strong key to a young woman’s self-image and self-esteem, this is an issue dads should be aware of and prepared to take action against.

Cutting is a form of self-harm where a person (typically an adolescent girl) cuts their skin as a way to cope with the pain of strong emotions, intense pressure, or upsetting relationship problems. Reportedly, the act of cutting the skin until it bleeds releases endorphins that make the person feel better. Cutting is not a suicide attempt but is a coping strategy to alleviate emotional pain and trauma. Cutting is often performed with a razor blade or knife and is kept secret, usually done on the arms, legs, or torso—areas that are easily covered with clothing. The problem is particularly common among young girls ages nine to fourteen.  Between 13 percent and 23 percent of US teens have reported intentional self-injury.

In the novel Suspect, here’s how one woman described the peace and calm she felt after cutting herself: “I had found something I could control . . . I could decide how many times I cut, how deep I would go. I liked the pain. I craved the pain. I deserved it.”

Kids who self-harm often have other issues. They may have experienced others traumas in their life. Dr. Wendy Lader, clinical director for SAFE Alternatives, says, “They may have a history of sexual, physical, or verbal abuse. Many are sensitive, perfectionists, overachievers. The self-injury begins as a defense against what’s going on in their family, in their lives. They have failed in one area of their lives, so this is a way to get control.”

What to Watch For:

David Rosen, MD, provides clues that self-harm is occurring:

Small, linear cuts. “The most typical cuts are very linear, straight line, often  parallel like railroad ties carved into forearm, the upper arm, sometimes the legs. Some people cut words into themselves. If they’re having body image issues, they may cut the word ‘fat.’ If they’re having trouble at school, it may be ‘stupid,’ ‘loser,’ ‘failure,’ or a big ‘L.’ Those are the things we see pretty regularly.”

Unexplained cuts and scratches, particularly when they appear regularly. “I wish I had a nickel for every time someone says, ‘The cat did it,’” says Rosen. Mood changes like depression or anxiety, out-of-control behavior, changes in relationships communication, and school performance. Kids who are unable to manage day-to-day  stresses of life are vulnerable to cutting.

For many kids, cutting is the result of a repressive home environment, where negative emotions are swept under the carpet, where feelings aren’t discussed. It’s a myth that this behavior is simply an attention-getter. Lader says, “There’s a [painkiller] effect that these kids get from self-harm. When they are in emotional pain, they literally won’t feel that pain as much when they do this to themselves.”

Some kids who self-injure are just regular kids going through the adolescent struggle for self-identity. They’re experimenting. My daughter went through a short period of time where the group she hung around with was cutting (we learned this from her school counselor). While I have no proof, I suspect she also experimented with this in order to be part of the group. We had several difficult discussions about this issue in which she denied participating. But my wife and I remained vigilant about looking for signs of this behavior and continued to talk with her about it. The thing I remember most about the experience is my feeling of helplessness and abject fear. I could protect her from bad people, but how could I protect her from internal “demons” that might tempt her to harm herself?

A new form of extreme self-harm has arisen called “self-embedding.” Self-embedding is where a person (typically an adolescent female) inserts objects made of glass, wood, metal, or other materials under their skin.

Cutting

 

What should you do if you suspect your daughter is cutting? First of all, do not panic or become hysterical (and don’t let your wife either). Talk to your daughter openly but calmly about this issue. If this is an ongoing problem and not just a form of peer experimentation she may need immediate professional help. If not dealt with effectively, this issue can escalate and become serious and even life-threatening. Again, guys, don’t wait and hope this issue will go away by itself. Even though it may be frightening, you must provide the leadership to help protect your daughter from this dangerous activity.

Excerpted from Rick’s book, That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empowers His Daughter, Revell Publishing, 2012.

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The Wait to Wear Bridal White

By: Tracy Steel

The Lord has blessed me with numerous girlfriends- most of whom married before me. In fact, I have walked down the aisle in 13 different bridesmaid dresses. Yes, 13! I have given 3 maid of honor speeches. I caught more bridal bouquets than I thought humanly possible.

While I stood beside my friends at the altar, my heart ached. I was happy for them, but I also hurt because their wedding reminded me that I was seriously single. I was alone and I did not want to be.

Countless nights I prayed, asking God to give me a husband. My prayers remained unanswered for many, many years.

I turned 30 and was still husbandless. Repeated rejection and failed relationships were my usual. Phrases such as “But it is not you Tracy, it is me. This is not going to work” or “when you become more satisfied with God, He will bring you a husband” decimated my heart.

Lies bombarded my mind:

• if I was prettier a man would love me,

• I need to be quieter and less driven,

• if I were not such a HUGE sinner God would bless me with a husband.

Nothing could be further from God’s truth.

As my closet filled with satin dresses (that were every color but white), God changed me. There is a divine reason for everything, including singleness. God used my season as a single woman to teach and bless me in ways that

blow

my

mind.

Eventually, it was my turn to wear bridal white.

It was my turn to marry when God decided it was my turn to marry.

 

My new husband and me, January 12, 2008

My new husband and me, January 12, 2008

 

My turn to wear bridal white had nothing to do with me being prettier, attaining a sinless life, or reaching some magical level of satisfaction in Him. My appearance, actions, or level of satisfaction do not and cannot control the sovereign hand of God.

Desiring holiness and finding continual satisfaction and worth in Him is what every daughter of God should want, whether she is single or married.

 

Some final thoughts to mothers of teens:

Examine your own opinions on the issue of singleness. How do you interact with or view single women in your church? Your daughter may not marry in her 20s, or she may choose to remain single. How will you love and support her? How can you love and support the single women in your life now?

Some final thoughts to teen girls:

God is not concerned with what wedding dress we choose, the type of reception we have, or what our floral bouquets look like. God cares about the condition of our heart- not our marital status. Who we are becoming, and how we live our lives for Him is what matters to Him.

Though I know you dream of your wedding day with your future husband, I encourage you to dream about your every day with God. You are His bride, chosen and loved. The wait to wear bridal white is a precious one indeed. Enjoy your relationship with your Heavenly Father, friends, and family now. Talk to Him about your wedding day dreams and leave the timing of it all to Him.

I hope you and your mother are coming to Whatever Girls Live 2014 . I am going to be there sharing about my “dating drama” and the blessings and challenges single women experience. We have got to talk some more- hope to see you there!

 

Making Prayer Unique

Prayer

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can be really hard for me to pray. I have trouble with just sitting down and thinking of things to pray for without becoming bored.

The reality is, God intended for prayer to be an intimate and personal thing between Him and His children.

I would like to share some ways that I have discovered that makes this possible.

Joy is a key word my mom taught me concerning prayer, It stands for Jesus, others, then yourself. When you pray, you are supposed to put Jesus first, others second, and yourself last. So you would thank God for all He has done for you, then pray for others needs, then pray for your own needs.

God wants us to talk with Him like we would talk with a friend. Some people are appalled by this because in their minds, God should not be made so personal. God thinks differently, though. He wants us to draw near to Him so that He can do the same with us. The following is a list of a few ideas I have about making prayer personal. Try a couple and see what works for you.

1. Have a prayer journal

You can either buy a journal or make your own. My journal is just a 1″ 3-ring-binder with notebook paper. You would then journal your prayers. A variation of this is a sketchbook, if your would rather draw than write.

2. Make a prayer list

Make a list if people to pray for. Leave room to write down requests for each person. Then tape it somewhere where you will see it everyday. This is a great visual reminder to pray.

3. Write letters

Writing letters has the same concept of a prayer journal, except you write your prayers individually and keep them in a safe place. Later, you can read them to see how God has blessed you.

4. Nature walk/ride

Going on a walk or riding a bike is a great way to clear your mind to pray. Just make sure you are not with or by too many distractions.

5. Secret Place

Find a quiet, hidden spot either outside or in the house to pray at. This way, you have a secret meeting place between you and God.

What ways have you found that help make your prayer life unique? Please take a moment to share them in the comments below.

All for Him,

Emily

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