True Courage

True Courage

Ever think that you have to be a superhero to be strong and courageous? Good news! You don’t have to be. Just check out the picture above.

True courage only happens when you are scared to do something that may be difficult or require you to step out of your comfort zone. It may sound strange hearing this, but it is true.

I have gotten to know the true definition of courage quite well over the past several years. For instance, the summer before my 7th grade year, I was thrown from a horse. I was terrified to get back on a horse, but I eventually did. I was really scared to do this, but with God’s help, I managed to do it anyway.

Having true courage through fear also applies to whatever God has called us to do in our lives. There is a very good chance that our calling will not be easy. Despite this, God has made us a pivotal promise for our future.

In Joshua 1:9, “God tells us to be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God will be with you, wherever you go.”

So no matter what our calling is in life, we can be confidant that God will always be with us. He will never give us anything that we cannot handle.

Are you afraid to speak in front of large groups of people? Give your worries to God!

Scared that a large assignment you turned into your teacher is not good enough? Give it to God!

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to,  “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

We have nothing to be afraid of when we have God by our side. He is our ultimate provider, and will always be there to protect us.

All for Him,

Emily

Teen Girls NEED Each Other: Guest Post By Susie Shellenberger

By: Susie Shellenberger

Hi, girls!

Thanks for letting me sneak in here. I’ve heard lots of good things about this site and wanted to share some thoughts with you.

I LOVE teen girls.

In fact, I’m the editor of a magazine just for teen girls! It’s called Sisterhood. I’ll tell you more about that in a few minutes.

I also take a ton of teen girls on two-week international mission trips each summer. On these trips, we do a lot of ministry, hug on orphans, present the Gospel through drama, do some work projects and have our own worship time together each evening.

So I get to talk a lot with teen girls. And when I ask them what’s the toughest thing they deal with, I get a variety of answers (eating disorders, cutting, porn, peer pressure), but you know what keeps coming up more than anything else?

Loneliness.

Yep. It trumps all the other problems every single time. In fact, many girls wouldn’t have the other problems if they weren’t dealing with such heavy loneliness.

So I’ve come to realize that teen girls REALLY need each other! I mean, this is a big deal!

And guess what? It’s not just you. God wired ALL women for relationships. All females need to somehow be attached to other females. Even married women need female friends.

So let’s chat for a few minutes about your need for girlfriends. Why are they so important to you?

You need them because God created women to be in relationship with one another. Of course, I’m not talking about sexual relationships. That’s another blog. I’m simply talking about good, solid, female friendships.

When you don’t have that connection to other girls, you feel isolated. Alone. Lonely.

And many teen girls start to feel depressed when they feel alone.

So what can you do? Here are a few tips:

#1: Be picky. Choose your gal pals wisely. Select friends who share common values with you. Don’t hang out with girls who will tempt you to do things you know are wrong.

#2: Be complimentary. Cherish the girlfriends you have. Let them know often how important they are to you. Tell them verbally, text them, send them written notes. It doesn’t have to be much. Simply, “So glad we’re friends” or “Love hanging out with you” is enough to get your message across.

#3: Be inviting. Have them over to your home. This will automatically deepen your friendships. Plan a popcorn and movie night, a game night or a cookie baking night and just spend time laughing and being together.

But … Susie … you don’t understand. I’m LONELY because I don’t have any friends. I can’t do the above because I don’t have anyone to do these things with. THAT’S why I’m struggling!

OK. I hear you.

We need to make this a matter of prayer. God wants you have friends even more than you do! That’s why He wired you to be relational.

So let’s start praying RIGHT NOW that He will help you make good friendship choices. Let’s pray specifically that He will lead a good girlfriend to you, and also that He will give you the confidence to reach out and establish a friendship with another girl.

Understand? We’re asking God to send you someone. But we’re also asking Him to help YOU take the INITIATIVE.

To have a good friend, you need to be a good friend. So pray about whom to befriend, and then move forward. Start saying hi. Be friendly. Ask questions. Get conversations going.

The best place to do this is at church, because more than likely these girls will share your values. But if you attend a small church or there aren’t girls your age there, you may need to look at school. If you’re homeschooled, look for friends in your homeschool co-op.

But what if: If you really can’t find one single friend over the next several months, it means that God wants you for Himself for a season. Know what a privilege this is! Spend time reading the Bible, journaling your prayers to Him, and asking Him to help you become the kind of friend others will need. When you do make friends, you’ll look back on this season as a special, sweet time with your Heavenly Father.

Susie, I have some girlfriends, I just want to be closer to them. Consider starting a prayer/Bible study with them. I’ve written several Bible studies for teen girls. So have lots of other writers. Search your Christian bookstore for the one you want to do, and dive in. Through reading the Bible together and sharing concerns and praying together, you’ll automatically grow closer.

Let’s also chat for a moment about the teen girl magazine I mentioned. It’s called Sisterhood, and it’s really much more than a magazine. Sure, it’s a fun, colorful, jam-packed, glossy mag that will arrive in your mailbox throughout the year, but we also created it for girls to actually connect with each other!

We have a global Sisterhood that’s just waiting for you! It’s an online experience that allows you to connect with other girls who are experiencing the same stuff you are! You can chat about what’s bothering you at school, share prayer requests, hear what trials other girls are battling, and you can join hands to pray with one another.

It’s like entering your own special world for girls who truly care about being united in values and faith. And then when you get the magazine in your mailbox, you’ll feel even more connected through the articles, contests, quizzes and more.

Go ahead. Check us out at SisterhoodMag.com.

Order a one-year subscription for yourself—AND for a friend. Read it together. Laugh. Pray. Bond.

And pray about joining me on our Never the Same Missions trip to Costa Rica, July 7-20, 2014. Learn more at neverthesamemissions.org.

Above all, girls, KNOW that you are so very, very loved!

 

Your friend,

Susie Shellenberger, Editor

Sisterhood Magazine

Susie Shellenberger has written 52 books, traveled to every continent in the world and lives in Bethany, Okla., with her two mini-Schnauzers Obie and Amos.

 

 

God Puts Great Gifts Inside of Funny Packages

I am currently enrolled in on-line classes at Portland Bible College and while listening to a lecture in one of my classes my Professor, Pastor Frank Damazio, said something that really stuck with me.  He said, “God puts great gifts inside of funny packages”.

To the teens out there, especially you junior high age girls, I remember what it was like to feel like a funny or strange package  in junior high.  As if it wasn’t already hard enough trying to deal with the changes in my body, I got sick to top things off.  One morning, I woke up  swollen.  Now, I don’t mean just a little swollen, I mean stay-puff marshmallow man kind of swollen.  Most of you won’t younger girls won’t know what that is so I’ll insert a picture to give you a visual.

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I  gained over 20 pounds of water weight in less than 24 hours.  My cheeks were so big it made my eyes squint.  My mom had me into the doctors office so fast and from there I was on to a specialist.  Before I knew it I was lying in hospital bed and there I would stay for a week until they could get my kidneys under control. My kidneys were working backwards for lack of an easier way to explain it.  I was retaining salt when I should have been releasing it. The doctors were actually afraid my kidneys could fail.

This lead to a yearlong diet of NO SALT.  Salt is in everything young kids like to eat which means my diet stunk.  It also meant that I had to go on high dosages of steroids for almost 2 years.  The steroids made me puff up all over again and they made my red hair huge and frizzy.  I was already teased for having red hair so the frizz only made me feel even more awkward.  I know there may some young ladies reading this today and you may also feel awkward in your body right now or maybe you have been made to feel bad about yourself because of the rude remarks of others.

I understand those same kinds of feelings. I was a funny package on the outside but the truth is that God puts the best gifts in the funniest packages and it is those gifts that outshine any outward beauty.  As a teen I was not in a relationship with God like I am now.  I knew he existed and I said my prayers now and than but I had no idea just how special and beautiful I was to him.  Inside that awkward package that I was, there were the gifts of laughter, friendship, loyalty, and kindness.  In the years to come I would find my way into a deeper relationship with God. In my walk I have learned some very important things. For example, I now see that God is not interested in how we look from the outside. He is concerned with how we look from the inside.  God is concerned with the condition of our heart.  If you are feeling like a funny package on the outside remember this…. so are most of the other kids your age.  The sad thing is some of them don’t realize just how special they are so they conform to the world’s idea of beauty.

You don’t need to be like that. Don’t waste your time trying to look beautiful in the eyes of the world, let your beauty come from what is within.  Psalms 139:14(ESV) is a perfect verse to claim for yourself.  Learn it and remember it. Let the truth in the verse speak to your heart. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

As I said before, God puts great gifts inside of funny packages.  Never forget to share your gifts.  Let them spill out of you and be a blessing to all those who are around you.  Also, do not let the comments of others bring you down because you are of royal blood. Jesus Christ the King of Kings lives in you and you are perfect just the way you are.  My fuzzy hair is now gone along with my puffiness but one thing is still the same.  I am still full of laughter, friendship, kindness and loyalty.  God has also filled me with many other gifts and when I look in the mirror I still see the same funny package and I am happy with who I am.  I hope you are happy with yourself too.

By Kim Chaffin, Heartfelt Ramblings

Rethink That Felony!

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My husband and I met over a homicide call. He was the dashing and courageous police officer, while I was the damsel 911 Operator who dispatched him to stressful calls. Not really the beginning of any fairy tale I’ve ever read, but it’s the story God gave us.

Paul and I were both young and had a lot in common. One of those things? Our love of police work. For us, with that early passion also came the HUGE mistake of seeing all things in black and white. Working the streets of a high crime community, well, it gets that judgment muscle as strong as steel. As young parents, we transferred some of those same learned behaviors into our home.

She didn’t make her bed—for the 4th time? That’s a chore felony!

He sassed me in front of his friends? Felony.

She got a C- on her science exam? Yep, a felony for sure.

            Discipline loses its teachable power when given too often. Oh, what I’d give for a dozen or more do-overs. Especially with our oldest two, being the first teenagers of our home, we’d seen so many parents make mistakes we didn’t want to repeat. We thought coming down hard on a sinful decision was the right way much too often.

   If I could turn back the clock I’d live by a different code of law.

  • First OffenseGrace, almost every time.
  • Second OffenseInfraction. Just like a parking citation, there’d be disciplinary action taken, but it would be just enough for the social life of my teenager to feel the sting.
  • Third OffenseMisdemeanor. A misdemeanor offense is usually a probationary period. Often times the perpetrator gets a working detail or a few rights taken away, all the while they are earning each back with good behavior. For a teenager, this could be a cell phone, internet access, TV time, friend time…you get the picture.

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. Romans 5:20

As harsh as it may sound when I explain discipline in the form of police work, it’s how lots of parents still parent today. Thankfully, we have the opportunity to ask our teenager for forgiveness when we respond to a teenage infraction with a felony death sentence.

When we do fail? When we overreact? Asking forgiveness opens wide the door to some communication and maybe even the opportunity to share why whatever they did had such a painful knee-jerk reaction in you. (My mother died of lung cancer so I know if any of my children began smoking I would have to overcome the impulse to give them life without the possibility of parole!)

There are no perfect parents out there. But, with a reminder of the daily grace we’ve received from the Lord, maybe we can be reminded to add a little of that grace  in our parenting. That way, we can get a little bit closer to being the perfect parent our teenager needs.

By, Joanne Kraft

A Flashy Neon Light: Mommy Porn

By Jen Ferguson

I’m betting you, Mom, don’t feel satisfied in every area of your life every single day.  And I’m betting that you, like me, try to do something to change this, even if it’s just a momentary lift.

It happens.  We feel lonely, we go get some chocolate or wine and settle into a good book.  We feel restless, we begin to think about exotic vacations.  We feel out of control in our household environment, we leave for a run or a night out with friends.  Anything to escape these negative, and at times, overwhelming feelings.  We’re made to crave light.  We don’t like dreariness.

I’m glad I have outlets and I think God gives us fantastic writers, good chocolate, and amazing friends to help us deal with the pressures of this life.  But we have to evaluate what we’re running to, lest we find ourselves seeking joy and pleasure in these outlets instead of our relationship with Jesus.  See we crave light, but we often substitute the true light of Jesus for flashy neon ones.  The world twinkles, doesn’t it?  And we are often drawn in by its lure like a moth to a flame.

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So much of the world is fake, though, right?  But even though we know this somewhere in the back of our minds, we try to let worldly expectations become our reality.  We allow our minds and our hearts to be deeply influenced by Hollywood movies for sure, but it’s also lurking in books.  There’s an entire shelf at Goodreads.com dedicated to category of “Mommy Porn.”

See, the world saw us as unhappy moms who were dissatisfied with our sex lives and it told us that we needed to escape into a world where satisfaction was pinnacle and the way to get it was to embrace erotica and find ourselves sexually.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with knowing what pleases us. I think God totally wants us to enjoy sex.  He created it, right?  It’s a gift for us.  And He created our bodies to be arousing for our spouses.  Read Song of Solomon and you’ll find we were meant to explore each other.  But when we embrace torrid affairs and domination, our expectations change.  If we weren’t already satisfied, we sure won’t be now either.  We’re spending our time getting lost in a world that’s not reality.

But what can be reality? I truly believe God wants you to have an amazing sex life.  But what if we consult Him about out sex lives instead of worldly books?  What if we ask Him to help fix what doesn’t satisfy?  And what if our bringing our less-than-stellar bedroom experiences to Him also allows us to grow closer with our husbands spiritually and emotionally?

What if we don’t cut God out of our sex lives, but instead ask Him to be Lord over it?

Crazy, right?  We don’t often think about God in the bedroom.  But the truth is, the Bible addresses sex and marriage a lot.  Which means, He’s probably pretty interested in helping yours be awesome.  But He doesn’t need help from “Mommy Porn” books.   And if you use them to ignite the bedroom flame, you run the risk of setting your marriage up for failure.

We will be unpacking these thoughts for the next few months because your view on marriage and sex will influence your daughter’s view on marriage and sex.  It can be really difficult to teach something to our kids if we don’t really know it ourselves.  And, girls, our God wants us to KNOW Him.

Have you heard about Whatever Girls Live and the 10:3 Campaign?

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