Childlike Faith

By Kim Chaffin

Do your kids take what you say literally?  Ours have and we’ve had some great laughs over the years because of it. Sometimes it was their limited understanding of who God was that brought us the best moments of laughter and some very important lessons. Our children are adults now but those lessons and the laughter they brought us will stay with us forever.

2015.04While flying with our very young children, we had one of the best laughs about God. My husband and son were sitting one row up and across the aisle from my daughter and me. To their right and directly in front of me was a priest. When our son was little, we tried to explain to him who God was, to the best of our ability.  This was a few years before we really came to know God.

As the plane was taking off, my son very loudly said, “Dad, you told me that God was above the clouds so how come I can’t see Him?” I watched the priest in front of me shake with laughter.  I was laughing along with him.  My son had heard us say that God was in heaven. He asked where heaven was and we said, “up in the sky.” My little boy had held that piece of knowledge in his head and he was sure he was going to see God because the plane was now in the sky.

Let’s back up.  I said that sometimes our kids’ limited understanding of who God is can bring us the best laughs.  That is true but maybe their understanding of God is not really limited.  Maybe it is our understanding that is limited.

My son believed there was a God.  He believed God was in the sky because that is where we told him heaven was.  He took what he knew to be true and believed it with his whole heart. He had faith and he expected to see God.

Shouldn’t we all have that kind of faith to expect to see the hand of God or at least feel God in every situation?  Shouldn’t we have the kind of faith to believe that God is there even if we can’t see Him?  Our son had never seen God but he knew He was there and he expected to see Him.  He had childlike or uninhibited faith that had not been clouded by the world.

We had to explain to our little guy that even though we can’t see heaven with our eyes that it is still real. And even though he could not see God out the window of the plane, God was always with us.

As the years passed, our son still believed that to be true. One day he found himself in a spot where he had to overcome a fear.  He pressed into God with that childlike, uninhibited faith. My husband cried as he told me the story of watching our son overcoming his fear on the ropes course by saying and believing, “All things are possible with Him.”  He could not see God but he EXPECTED that God would hear him and he EXPECTED that God would be with him as he did the course. That day our son finished that ropes course knowing that God was helping him.

I think as adults it is so easy to forget what childlike faith is and our prayers become limited to what we know to be true in the here and now.  We forget to really “expect God to be God.”  I think that children have a much clearer view of who God really is and I want to encourage you to take a look at God through the eyes of a child.   We should all want to have childlike, uninhibited faith that has not been clouded by this world.

{under}Cover Girl

By Takiela Bynum©

2015.04-underCover-GirlNothing easy, breezy, or beautiful about it.

When I was about 5 years old, I learned to use makeup to cover the bruises and scars left on me at the hands of my father. I was taught at an early age to pretend that everything was okay, even if that wasn’t true. I knew never to discuss what was going on in our home to anyone. “Whatever happened at home stayed at home” is the motto I lived by and honored.

It’s a game, I convinced myself, I was working undercover to protect the secrets of my family. My mission was to make everyone believe we were the perfect family, like the Cosby’s on the Cosby Show. If I were to fail my mission, our family would be ripped apart and it would be my fault. Naturally, I did what I had to do to keep our secret safe no matter what the cost.

I became skilled at working undercover. My techniques were flawless. It was magical the way I learned to use foundation to hide the ugly truth of what was really happening to me. No one ever suspected anything.

It’s amazing how a greasy skin colored paint was the only barrier that kept my truths a secret. It was my camouflage that allowed me to blend in with the world around me. It masked my scars, my bruises, and my brokenness. It enabled my imagined sense of normalcy to continue undetected, just below the radar.

Are you living the double life of an {under}cover girl too? Hiding a terrible truth by any means necessary? Held prisoner by the dark shadows of a secret lurking just below the surface? Have you grown exhausted of this masquerade?

Come and meet my Savior.

The Bible tells us that God has indeed seen the misery of His people. He has heard them crying out. He is concerned about their suffering. So He has come down to rescue them. Exodus 3:7,8 (summarized)

Are you in need of rescuing today?

He is waiting for you to come to Him regarding your dilemma. He wants you to be free from this burden that you were never meant to carry. Your victory is only a prayer away. He is already executing a rescue mission for you. He is deliberate in His process. His plans are strategic and precise, specifically tailored to fit your needs. God does care and He is concerned about you. His love for you is without measure, beyond what you can understand. It’s time, {under}cover girl, it’s time to reveal the real you.

Let us pray…

Lord I need your help. I don’t want to be an {under}cover girl. Forgive me for covering up the truth, for lying and denying whenever the secret I carried threatened to be exposed. I trust You God no matter what may come. Even if it hurts, even if I cry, even if things don’t work out how I think they should, I trust You. I know You love me and you’ve already planned out my escape. Although this may be hard, I know You have mapped out my future and given me purpose. Therefore, what seems impossible, I will believe. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

It’s Not Spying, It’s Called Parenting

By Erin Bishop

 

Its-Not-Spying-Its-Called-Parenting-300x300You may have heard about the new app from “Teen Safe“, which, according to their website is “The #1 iPhone Tracker that provides remote visibility to your kids’ deleted texts/iMessages, WhatsApp and Kik messages without ever touching their iPhone”. You can also monitor social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram.

As a mother of a 16 year old daughter and an 11 year old son, this new technology has caught my interest because as “Teen Safe” says, my children are my most valuable treasures, and I will stop at nothing, including monitoring their texting and social media activity, to ensure their safety.

Another blogger has written about this app with a completely different perspective from mine. Monica Bielanko, a contributing writer with Babble.com who is opposed to this technology says “I’m Not Going to Spy on My Children and Call It Parenting”. (This article was also featured on ABC.com)

Ms. Bielanko calls this helicopter parenting and says that reading deleted messages “disgusts” her. She goes on to say that “if you feel the need to monitor your teen’s life to this extent then maybe you have bigger things to worry about than what they’re texting. If you get to a point in parenthood where an app like this sounds reasonable, where you feel like 24-hour surveillance is necessary, maybe you need to figure out a better way to communicate with your child. Not only that, but why put your relationship with your child at risk like this? If you see something on their phone that you don’t approve of, which you probably will, you’re likely to bring it up with them. Which would then let them know that you’ve essentially become a jail warden who monitors their every communication. Don’t our children deserve more respect and trust than that? An app like this will only create tension, justifiable anger, and a teenager who feels like their only choice is to become super sneaky in order to maintain basic levels of privacy. I just don’t see the point of scrutiny this intense. Hopefully, at this stage in the game, your kid is well aware of Internet predators so the only thing you’re truly monitoring is their interaction with friends. And guess what? What they say and do with their friends is their business. They are human beings who deserve a certain level of privacy, especially during such a crucial time in life when they’re trying on different personalities as they figure out who they want to be. Rest assured, your meddling will backfire on you and your effort to be a vigilant parent will blow up in your face.” You can (and should) read the rest of Ms. Bielanko article, here.

Let me tell you what disgusts me. It’s the wind knocked out of you, can’t breathe, head and heart pounding, nauseating feeling you get when you discover your 14 year old daughter has been engaging in conversations with some teenage boy you don’t know through an app in her iPhone and through email.

Only, this isn’t some teenage boy.

No. It’s a grown “man” posing as a teenage boy, studying her and looking for an angle so that he can suck her in and convince her to meet him. Then, she is likely to be forced into prostitution where she will be passed around, used, and broken. Her life expectancy at that point is seven years because she’s likely to overdose on drugs, die of a sexually transmitted disease, commit suicide, or be murdered at the hand of her trafficker or purchaser.

But guess what? This nosy mom who routinely monitored texts, Facebook (I even had the password to her Facebook account-she didn’t!) and email, almost missed this exchange of messages between my baby girl and an online predator.

You see, even parents like me who have technology rules in place that include device monitoring, can miss things. And it’s not just sex trafficking that’s happening via text and social media. It’s sexting, bullying and so many other things.

I say that we can still give our kids room to grow and find out who they are while monitoring their phones and social media, and keeping tabs on what they are doing and who they hang out with.

I say that we are the parents, and we call the shots.

I say, we are the parents, not their friends.

I say, if they don’t like us looking at their phones, too bad.

 

What do YOU say? Is this spying or good parenting?

 
Parents: sex trafficking is real and it’s happening right here in America. The Whatever Girls Ministry is committed to raising awareness about this issue and helping parents protect their children. To learn more, please visit Whatever Girls contributor and expert on sex trafficking Susan Norris’ website, here and be #avoiceforhope

*I have not tried the “Teen Safe” app, this article is not an endorsement for “Teen Safe” and the opinions in this article are my own.

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