An Untitled Plea

It’s December 31st, the final day of 2013. Today also marks the official end of our 10:3 Campaign. Honestly? I thought this post would be going a lot differently. Let me explain.

Back in October, I set out to raise $10,000 in three months for the Whatever Girls ministry. We have a lot of exciting things coming up, have experienced a lot of growth, and I felt it was time to start raising funds to support these dreams of this quickly growing ministry while investing in the strengthening of our foundation.

The plan was if just 333 people would commit to giving $10 per month for three months, we would easily reach our $10,000 goal by December 31. Easy peasy, right?

It was exciting at first. The first hours and days it was fun to see the numbers climb. Then they stopped climbing. A few more gifts came in and then…crickets.

I’ve learned a lot about a lot these last few months. One of which is fundraising campaigns are a lot of work. And, I’m tired. No, I’m exhausted. And I’m stressed. Some days I feel like giving up. But I can’t. I won’t. Because this sweet spot I’m in that tastes awfully sour some days, as exhausting and stressful as it is, is right where I need to be. This is where Hebrews 11:1 comes into play: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Five years ago, I was just a mom on a mission. My daughter, Grace, was a preteen and would soon be going to middle school. I didn’t want to just drop her off at school each day and say “good luck”. I wanted to help shape and guide her teen years and help other moms do the same for their daughters. You can read more about that plan and about what become the Whatever Girls, here.

Fast forward to today. It’s actually after 11 on Monday night. I’m sitting on my couch in my living room writing this post. My family is already in bed. Next to me is my Costco list for tomorrow morning. Yes, I know tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. And yes, I know I am crazy for going to Costco tomorrow. But, we’re almost out of Tide and I’m determined to give that green smoothie stuff another shot come January 1, so I need to stock up on produce.  But, I’ve got more than Costco and green smoothies on my mind right now. I’m thinking about the $9,000 I hope to raise tomorrow so we can make our goal. I’m thinking that I’d much rather be telling you in this post how God went above and beyond our $10,000 goal. But who am I to measure His work in dollar signs?

For a long time, this ministry has been a one-woman show. In the last year God has blessed me with an incredible team of contributors, social media coordinators, board members and executive leaders, and most recently, an assistant. My entire team is volunteers, including me. I have relied on personal finances and the occasional generous gift to help fund the ministry.

Much growth is happening. In a few short days we launch registration for Online Bible Studies and in April we are hosting our first conference, Whatever Girls Live right here in Spokane, Washington. We have moms across the world starting up their own Whatever Girls groups, too. There are a few other things brewing that I can’t share just yet, but they are so exciting I often pinch myself throughout the day to make sure I’m not dreaming.

So, who are the Whatever Girls? We are moms, like me, who regret some of the choices she made as a teen and in her 20’s and have been called to share the hard lessons we have learned with the next generation, we are moms who led a godly life and want so much for this generation to know that following God will be difficult, but that it is possible and so worth it, we are moms with all sorts of battle scars that don’t define us but have shaped us into the women we are today. We are women who believe the world changers of tomorrow are worth investing in today. We are women who want to see moms be informed and equipped to intentionally raise their daughters.

We are teen girls who want so badly to believe that God’s plans can be trusted and are worth waiting for, we are teen girls who have made mistakes but want the promise of a white as snow new beginning, we are teen girls who have loved Jesus for as long as we can remember and just want to serve and follow Him.

When I think of the Whatever Girls, I think of these words from the song “Hosanna” by Hillsong Australia:

“I see a generation rising up to take their place, with selfless faith.”

Let me tell you about these moms and daughters of selfless faith in our campaign video.

They aren’t starving and they have and endless supply of clean water. They aren’t homeless; they have roofs over their heads and clothes on their backs. They have access to top-notch medical care and education.

But.

They are tomorrow’s wives, mothers, missionaries, doctors, peacekeepers, educators, ministry leaders- they are influencers and world changers. And because of this, the enemy has placed a target on their backs. They need to know that who Jesus says they are matters more than what the kids at school say. They need to know they can trust that God has a wonderful plan for their life.

Please watch this video and look at the faces of the Whatever Girls today and the world changers of tomorrow.

Read more about our 10:3 Campaign, here.


How can you help?

  • Though it’s the end of the year, our campaign will keep going. If you want to make a tax-deductible gift for 2013, you can do so online via our campaign.
  • Share this article on Facebook.
  • Pray for us! This is the most important of all.

Thank you friends for your words of encouragement, support and prayers.

Wishing you all the best for 2014!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candy-Grams

candygram - editUnfolding a piece of paper, Grace began reading off a list of names. “Jaden, Michael, Jake, Brittany, and Jessie…”

“What are you doing honey?” I asked.

“Our school is selling candy-grams, Mom. For $1.00 I can send a message and have a candy cane delivered to someone’s home room.” She smiled.

I know all of Grace’s closest friends and had never heard these names before. In junior high, her only income came from occasional babysitting jobs. Five dollars might very well clean out her piggy bank.

“Sweetheart, who are these children? Aren’t you getting one for Mackenzie?”

“I decided to do something different. Mackenzie is still one of my best friends, but she will get lots of candy grams. I decided to send them to kids in my school who might not get one.”

A lump began to form in my throat.

“Jaden is autistic. He sits by himself at lunch. Michael is really, really smart and gets made fun of by the popular kids. Jake is the boy I told you about at the library, the one who walks kind of funny, remember? He offered to give me his seat and girls walked by him and whispered, Jake-alert. Jake-alert.  I could tell he felt bad. Kids encouraged Brittany to dance at lunch last week. She thought they were being nice, but they were really being mean. And, Jessie, well she is kind of chubby and sits by herself in class and doesn’t talk much.”
My child went on and on with her reasons for giving—I couldn’t help but whisper a prayer of thanks for my daughters’ heart. “What are you going to write in their message?” I asked.

“I’m not sure. I think I’m just going to write, Merry Christmas – God Loves You.”

“I’m sure they will love it.” I reached out and pulled her in for a hug.

 

God so loved the world that He gave. This Christmas season encourage your children to give anonymously. Lead by example and show them how it’s done.

  • Drop off a plate of cookies on your neighbor’s front porch, ring their doorbell and run!
  • Write out a Christmas card for someone and fill it with reasons why this person is loved by you. Don’t sign your name. Have your child address it and drop it in the mail.
  • Take your child with you to the grocery store. Have them help you pick out food for someone in you know is hurting financially. Let your child drop the bag off at the house.

Remember, we are loved by a God who gives lavishly. Let’s remember to touch the lives of someone in His name by giving.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given. Isaiah 9:6

For God so loved the world that He gave…John 3:16

By, Joanne Kraft

For the Joy

By Nancy Bentz

manger cross final

LOCAL NEWS
2046 years ago

Shepherds tending their flocks in the fields on the outskirts of town report that at 3:33 a.m., while most Bethlehemites were sleeping, a male baby was born in a barn. The shepherds report receiving an audible message from an angel that this was a child of noble birth. They further allege seeing bright lights and hearing singing that drew their attention to the trio taking shelter among some haystacks. Upon closer investigation by concerned citizens, a statement has been made public that the child was conceived out of wedlock.

The shepherds’ imaginative account leads local officials to believe they were subject to a high state of suggestibility due to their extended length of separation from mainstream society. Following extensive questioning of the sheep-keepers, during which they adamantly maintained their story was true, it was determined that this was simply a case of mistaken identity. The shepherds were advised to cease and desist from stirring up the townsfolk and return to the tending of their flocks.

UPDATE: The couple who gave birth to an illegitimate son in a barn many months ago and still living in the surrounding community, have disappeared. Rumor has it that they were last seen heading toward Egypt. Youth recently stacking hay in the structure discovered a gold nugget which has been handed over to local authorities for authentication. They also reported allegedly smelling two scents, aromatic in nature, uncommon to the harvested hay and other uses of the storage shed. After a brief investigation resulting in no hazard present though an unusual sweet aroma was detected, the case was closed.

 

REGIONAL NEWS
2013 years ago

EDITOR’S NOTE: Massive destruction caused by an unexpected earthquake prevented the timely reporting of the following story —

Three criminals were crucified outside of Jerusalem the day before Passover. Curiosity seekers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the man called Jesus as the prisoners were led to Mount Golgotha. Once the crosses were erected the crowd dispersed.

Townsfolk questioned upon re-entrance to the city remarked they thought Jesus was suffering from delusions due to the pain inflicted before being crucified. The continuity of story among ones interviewed have led authorities to conclude his was a case of self-mistaken identity. The three bodies were quickly taken down and buried before observance of the Law’s Passover celebration.

BREAKING NEWS: Today in a new twist, sightings are being reported of the crucified Jesus alive and walking the streets of Jerusalem. Further, many inhabitants of the city allege sightings of family members and friends long dead also alive and well in town. Reporters have been dispatched to the scenes of these alleged sightings. Stay tuned for the latest update.

 

WORLD NEWS
Present Day

All local chapters of Despising the Shame, a worldwide organization with multitudes of members around the globe, are signing a new agreement. This growing group, operating under the JC Charter, will now be known by its new name, For the Joy. They report the inspiration behind their new title comes from the Bible, the book of Hebrews, chapter 12 verse 2:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The case of mistaken identity was sorely mistaken. Signed with my blood, I AM.

Merry Christmas! from the One who endured the cross and despised the shame…

FOR THE JOY!

Photo credit
Photo credit 2

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

More than Holiday Baking

By Catherine Bird

Cookies. All kinds of cookies. Chocolate fudge. Peanut butter fudge. Toffee. Starbuck’s salted caramel hot cocoa. Marshmallows. Lots of marshmallows. Papa Jack’s famous trash mix (you may call your Chex party mix something else—but it’s all yummy goodness). Not to mention—Jesus’ birthday cake, which is a Christmas Eve tradition. Mmmm, and then there’s homemade beignets on Christmas morning. Sooooo yummy. These are just a few of my family’s favorite things to bake, eat and share with friends and neighbors during the holidays. Yes, it’s a glutinous bounty.

More than Baking

We get so excited about our holiday baking trip to the store each year. Although, my sweet husband may cringe at the grocery shopping, he relishes his job as head taste tester. After hitting up the grocery store, we head over to Hobby Lobby to stock up on wrapping supplies and gift tins. I think I’m glowing as I type. I.Love.All.Of.This.

It all begins on Thanksgiving night when our elf, Lazarus, returns from the North Pole to hang out with us until Christmas Eve. My youngest love still believes, so that adds another element of fun. Christmas lights tours, The Nutcracker, Walk through Bethlehem (a local, awesome live nativity), Advent calendar with treats, the gingerbread workshop at our children’s museum, decorating our own casa for Christmas—again, these are just a few of our favorite holiday things.

Epic fail, people. We’ve bought into the Christmas commercialism as fed to us so silently, yet tastily by the enemy.

My heart melts when I hear my children tell other people the reason Santa brings three gifts is because that’s how many presents baby Jesus received. Yet, how much do we still spend on Christmas gifts for our children and extended family? By spending just a little less on gifts, we could easily free up our resources to love as Jesus loves by giving to those who really need help—especially during the Season of Giving.

You may stop reading now. It’s okay, but my hearts cries with, “Enough!”

I love the holidays and all the warm cheer that comes along with it. We are blessed to have the opportunity to bake treats and attend festive activities. But how much of this truly honors Jesus? I heard my youngest—the same darling that still believes in the magic of Santa—giving her big sister a word of advice about making her Christmas list. She said, “If it’s expensive, just ask Santa! The elves work for candy, and then your present doesn’t cost mama and daddy any pennies.”

What.

Have.

We.

Done?

Sure.  We prepare gifts for children who will be without their families each Christmas. We take food to the shelter to help those who are hungry. We donate clothes, toys and other items to “those in need.” But are we really serving them? Are we truly helping? It doesn’t feel like enough anymore.

Jesus is the ultimate example of what it means to be a servant leader. Lead by serving others. The wise men sought out baby Jesus after two poor teenagers gave birth to him in a barn. These men traveled great distances to pay honor and respect to the newborn King. We still celebrate and remember the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh the three wise men laid before our baby King.

Can you list everything you received for Christmas last year? What about everything you bought for others? How much you spent on holiday treats and trappings? What about the year before? Please, I’m so not judging. I am the first to say that I swallowed the fallacy our enemy has so cleverly built before us—hook, line and sinker.

My husband and I have decided to tell our youngest the truth about Santa. She’s in the third grade, so some may say it’s time. Others, you may think we’re crazy and robbing her of something magical. As we did with our other daughter, we’ll also reiterate the belief in Santa is a personal choice and one her friends’ parents may not have discussed yet. Translation: IT’S NOT HER SECRET TO TELL. No crying kids in class please…

We’re taking Christmas back from the enemy. The Christmas season is and should be full of love, warmth, caring and sharing. All of these are qualities Jesus exuded—and more! Memory building—absolutely. My children can’t tell you every gift they received last year, but they can describe in detail our family memories from holidays past. I’m getting back in the boat, friends. We’re giving Christmas back to the One who gave everything, everything for each one of us.

He is the real source of Christmas joy. So join with me, friends. Let’s pick up the mantle to serve others. Let’s commit together to resist the fancy wrapping of commercialized Christmas, because it’s empty inside. The gift Jesus gave is everlasting.

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.   ~Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)

Announcing: Whatever Girls Online Bible Studies

Friends, we’re so excited to announce the start of something new at Whatever Girls: Online Bible Studies.

WGOBS

Beginning Monday, January 27, 2014 you can join moms and daughters across the world as we seek to learn more about the heart of God and the amazing plans He has for our lives.  Sign up’s for Whatever Girls Online Bible Studies begin in January.

Our first book will be “His Revolutionary Love” by Proverbs 31 Ministries author and speaker and Whatever Girls contributing author Lynn Cowell.

Don’t wait to order your book! The first 100 to order Lynn’s book from Proverbs 31 Ministries will have their book signed by Lynn. Order your book in time for Christmas-what a great stocking stuffer for your girl! Order by December 15 to receive before Christmas!

We have more exciting news about Online Bible Studies, including conference calls with special guests coming soon. Stay tuned!

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

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