Are You Ready for Battle?

By Erin Bishop

Are you ready for battleMy daughter and I have been butting heads since she started her senior year of high school two days ago. (I know. Two days? It’s been a long two days.)
Her countenance was different when she came home from school than when she left in the morning. She was downcast, snarky, and I could tell she was ready to get into an argument with me.

Today when she came home from school we talked about her day. Somehow we got onto the topic of spiritual warfare and I told her that I have the gift of discernment, which means I pick up on certain things that may not be obvious to others. The more we talked about discernment, something clicked in me, and the Holy Spirit imparted some timely wisdom.

 

“Grace, how many kids would you say attend your school?”

“About two thousand” she answered.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

“Grace, you share space with 2,000 other kids, all of whom, whether they know it or not, are in a battle. The enemy is waging war against these kids and their families. Most of them are walking around in spiritual oppression and don’t even know it. Darkness dwells where there is no light. You can’t see them, but spirits of depression, deception, eating disorders, suicide, anger, addictions, pornography, sexual sins, and many more, are like a thick, but invisible fog in the hallways of your school and if you don’t outfit yourself in the full armor of God, you’re going to get pinged, weighed down and feel defeated. The same thing happens to me if I don’t have a full tank of Jesus in me before I go to Wal-Mart.” I told her.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:7-9

Before soldiers go to battle, they have a plan. They do reconnaissance, collect intelligence and plan accordingly. Going into a battle without these tools is planned defeat.

So as it is with soldiers, we, too, must know our enemy, how he attacks, and develop a strategy to defeat him. So it is with prayer and our Christian walk. We must arm ourselves with God’s Word and plan for victory.


Scripture References:
Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:7-9

5 Battle Readiness Tips: Be sober (serious), be vigilant (watchful/attentive), resist the enemy (ignore/be wise to his antics), be steadfast in your faith, and know you are not alone.

Related Resources: It’s not too late to join us for #WhenMomsPray, our 2015-2016 prayer challenge. Click HERE for more information and to join us on the spiritual battlefield.
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How to Talk to Your Daughter About Sex

By Erin Bishop

How to talk to your daughter about sexSome parents plan ahead for the “sex talk” and maybe even rehearse it in front of the bathroom mirror a few times, and then bring it up when they think their daughter is ready to learn about such a serious topic.

But sometimes, thanks to our over sexualized media, and the placement of certain magazines next to the candy, Matchbox Cars, and Princess Band-Aids, we find ourselves dodging questions like bullets in the checkout line because our daughter wants to know exactly what Cosmo means by “Kinky Sex Moves”, “Summer’s Hottest Sex” and what the deal is with this Bruce Jenner person.

For some parents, the idea of talking to their daughter about sex may cause anxiety for various reasons. If this is the case for you, I encourage you to ask yourself why. Why it’s uncomfortable and if there are some issues from your past you could work through with a licensed counselor so that you can be available to talk to your daughter about this important topic.

Or, maybe you’re worried you won’t know what to say, or you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or your daughter. Give yourself some grace. Kids are resilient and they are looking for some direction and leadership from you. We have some great resources at the end of the article to help you on your way.

Talking about sex with my daughter has always come easy to me. It kind of had to. You see, she’s 17, and my husband and I have only been married 14 years. There’s a story here, and you can read part of it, here.

7 Tips for Talking to Your Girl About Sex

  • First, pray. Ask God to give you peace, clear communication with your daughter, and for the Holy Spirit to go with you and before you to prepare her heart, and yours, for the conversation.
  • Start with the truth. Tell her what sex is, that God created it for husbands and wives, and why. Arming our daughters with a firm foundation in the truth will empower and equip them to admonish cultural lies and choose God’s best for their lives. When we do things God’s way and save sex for marriage, there is no shame, condemnation, fear of an unplanned pregnancy, or sexually transmitted diseases. Our daughters will know kids who have sex and see on the outside that things seem fine and normal-but the changes that occur on the inside of a girl who has had sex outside of marriage can be devastating-even traumatic.
  • Have a gentle, loving spirit. This will set the tone for this part of your relationship with her. This will reassure her that she can trust you and come to you with questions and for guidance.
  • Be open and honest. Her little girl body will begin to change into a woman’s body. She may experience curiosity, confusion, arousal, embarrassment or shyness about her growing body. She needs to know these changes and feelings are normal before someone or something tells her otherwise. Give her an idea of what to expect, and ask her if she has any questions or concerns.
  • Know where you stand and stay there. Flexible morals are no morals at all. Our daughters are counting on us to be leaders and hold them accountable to a higher standard.
  • Your actions should line up with your words. Some movies, television shows, books and music normalize casual and premarital sex. Adults in her life may be shacking up with someone, sending the message that sex outside of marriage is acceptable.
  • Keep talking. The “sex talk” shouldn’t be a one-time conversation. It needs to be an ongoing dialogue that continually keeps her grounded in the truth and the knowledge that she can talk to you about this and anything else, without fear, rejection, or condemnation.

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you feel prepared to talk to your daughter about sex?
  • When do you plan to talk about sex with your daughter?

God’s Truth to Stand On:

  • “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
  • “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Putting It Into Practice:

  • Pray for your daughter and her desire to lead a life of purity and sexual integrity.
  • Keep the conversation going. By demonstrating that you are a tender and loving person to confide in, she will feel free to talk to you about this and many other topics.

Suggested Resources:

Passport to Purity

“Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity” by Shannon Ethridge  

“Every Young Woman’s Battle” by Shannon Ethridge

“Every Single Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against Sexual and Emotional Compromise” by Shannon Ethridge

Why be the Smart Girl?

By Hanna Chaffin

Why Be the Smart GirlLet me be clear, being smart is powerful. I am sure you have witnessed those girls in school who twirl their hair as they pretend to not know the answer. Or, they act dumb to get the attention of the cute boy sitting next to them. If you think that getting a guy’s attention entails flipping your hair, showing puppy dog eyes, and loudly saying, “wait, what?” after every joke, or question asked, you’re wrong. I mean sure, you may look unthreatening, and somewhat cute, but for the most part it is just a tad air headed!

In high school, I remember thinking that girls shouldn’t have to dumb themselves down in order to be less intimidating to guys. It seems that in today’s society more emphasis is put on being the center of attention for negative reasons, rather than having confidence in the woman you have been created to be.

Why would we pretend to be something we are not for the sake of a crush that really doesn’t deserve our time? Some women say they are looking for a man who is smart and confident. Why can’t we want the same thing for ourselves?

Having a keen intellect should be something to strive for, not run from. The right guy should not be intimidated by your strengths, but rather work alongside you and challenge you to become better. He should never keep you down.

The right guy should not be intimidated by your strengths. When you get up in the morning and head to school, have confidence in who God created to be. Surround yourself with people who don’t make you change or act different just to fit in. Be YOU, and remember that God wants us to be who He created us to be.

As a woman, I know that there is power that comes with being smart. Don’t be afraid to stand on your own, and have your own opinions.

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever acted like someone else to get a guy’s attention?
  • What are some benefits of owning your intelligence?
  • Do you want to spend time with a guy you can’t be yourself with?

God’s Truth to Stand On:

God created each of us for a special and unique purpose. He has great plans for our lives.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Putting It Into Practice:

  • Move beyond negative thoughts, capricious emotions, and others’ opinions as you gain unshakeable confidence.
  • Limit the draining affect of “girl drama” so you can invest your time in becoming the best you.
  • Replace the agonizing frustration of wanting to be noticed and liked with a deep assurance that you already are.

As you live out nine amazing characteristics—known as the fruit of the Spirit—you will not only cultivate an inner and outer beauty, but you will also hold an irresistible appeal for godly guys. Shift your focus from a guy to the Guy and become the magnetic young woman God created you to be.

Magnetic coverPurchase “Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants” by Whatever Girls contributor and Proverbs 31 Author and Speaker, Lynn Cowell.

6 Considerations for Raising Girls in a Digital Media Culture

By Brenda Yoder

6 considerations...I smiled, listening to my friend talk about her tween daughter and her daughter’s friend. The girls were entertaining themselves by taking selfies and filming videos on their phone.

Inside, my heart sank at the new playtimes of selfies, videos, Instagram, and Youtube posts. It’s not a passing fad. It’s the new normal for girls raised in the digital culture.

As a parent, I’m constantly stepping to back to weigh new options my kids have which were nonexistent for other generations. I’ve learned to consider the overall moral and spiritual implications of things before deciding what my kids can or can’t do.

We moms need to consider how the new culture of digital and social media impacts our daughters.

Their generation is the first whose lives are openly public because of social media. Parents of girls ten and younger have been posting their children’s lives online for almost a decade. Because we don’t know the long-term implication of this “new normal,” as a parent, counselor, and educator for kids and teens, I pose six questions to consider as we raise girls in an instant-media culture.

  1. Is my daughter’s playtime balanced between technology and electronic-free play? Balanced play is crucial for brain development, problem solving, creative and academic development. Girls of any age still need to explore their tangible surroundings, both by themselves and with friends.
  1. Is my daughter looking to digital and social media for affirmation and identity? From age 10-14, there’s a delicate balance in a girl’s inner life as she separates from her family and becomes an individual with interests, personality and thoughts all her own. It normally happens in the vacuum of home, school, and peers. Now there’s a new layer – social and digital media.

I wonder how identity and self-esteem will impact girls with a steady stream of Instagram photos and Youtube channels of both her and her peers. Will beliefs about herself come from selfies, comments, “likes,” or lack of them? If a girl routinely sees herself in staged photos or videos shared with others, how will that impact her understanding of who she is?

  1. How will living her life in front of others impact her? It’s normal for a girl’s “I look great” moments to go public; how does posting personal moments influence her idea of privacy, intrinsic moments, and social acceptance? We don’t yet know the impact of instant-media-attention on their generation. How it will also affect personal, social, and cultural norms when selfie girls become selfie parents?
  1. How is body-image affected by girls who post and compare pictures of their bodies and others? A fourteen, I despised my body compared to my beauty-queen friend. I lost twenty-five pounds. I believed I was only acceptable when my skeleton-figure was thinner than anyone else. I battled an eating disorder and it’s effects most of my life.

That’s a big concern.

  1. Is seduction the expected look your daughter is seeking? This is probably the gravest reality for the selfie-generation. The pouty lip, no-smile and tongue-hanging-out photos speak nothing but sensual and sexuality. As a mom of boys, I’m saddened and alarmed when girls, as young as 7-10, post photos with these looks rather than genuine smiles. With porn, child pornography and sex trafficking on the rise, normalizing or encouraging these poses and photos of our daughters should be taken seriously.

Their identity, self-worth, and image of womanhood is sacred – it should not be sacrificed for sensuality.

  1. How does “all of this affect friendships for our daughters? Girls are increasingly vicious to one another in and outside of school through social media. As a counselor to 10-12 year olds, I increasingly hear girls call one another “whores” and “sluts” when someone “steals” another’s boyfriend or posts a photo that looks seductive, even if it’s not intended that way. Because digital media allows girls to post every thought online, regular girl drama has another level, adding more insecurity and mistrust to developing relationships.

As moms in this generation, the unknown implications of digital media should be taken the heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit guides in understanding how these things affect your daughter’s social, moral, and identity development. In considering these areas, what is the Holy Spirit saying to you about the impact of digital media in her life?

Ask Him – He will tell you!

 

Know what your daughter is doing online and talk about internet accountability by using Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering Program. Whatever Girls is an affiliate of Covenant Eyes. Sign up by clicking the below image.

 

Make Him Climb for You; My Big Brother’s Dating Advice

By Hanna Chaffin

Hanna's imageGrowing up with an older brother had its challenges, but it also turned out to be one the most rewarding things in my life. Though we would argue and bicker about pointless mishaps and pretend we didn’t know each other in elementary school, I always knew that he had my back and would protect me from anyone who tried to mess with me. When high school finally came around, we realized that it was just the two of us against the world and not each other. We decided to make a pact to never fight again and since then, we have been inseparable.

There was one piece of advice he gave me one afternoon while we sat in the kitchen after school. I remember it clearly because I was having “boy issues.” Frustrated and confused I started venting to my big brother about how boys were “lame” and I didn’t understand why I was single. Instead of the usual eye roll and chuckle out of him, he sat down beside me, put his arm around me, and began to tell me about climbing the apple tree. He told me that us girls were like a gigantic tree. I had no idea what where he was going with this, so I hid my laughter and kept listening for a punch line. But then he got serious, and began to explain something to me that I will never forget. He told me that when a guy seeks a girl for the wrong reasons, he goes for the apples on the bottom of the tree because they are easier to reach. They never want to climb the tree and seek out the apples at the very top because those ones are too much work. So they keep going back for the ones closer to the ground, and eventually the apples on the top of tree start to think that maybe there is something wrong with them because they have not yet been picked. However one day, a brave man will come along and take the daring climb to the top of the tree and he will seek the apples for the right reasons, and know that God has called him to make the climb.

“That is what you need to wait for.” he told me.

“Wait for the man who will make the climb and don’t worry about being at the top of tree. That only means that you respect yourself enough to not throw yourself to any boy.”

Who would have known that one talk about an apple tree would change my perspective forever? I hope that every young girl knows that she does not always need to be dating someone. Sometimes we have to wait until God sends the right guy up the ladder.

 

 

 

Dads: Be the Standard Setter

By Kim Chaffin

Be the Standard SetterWe expect high standards. We look at the safety standards of cars, the standard of education offered by universities, and the standard of customer service a business offers. Even the standard of preschool education is important to many parents.

If the “standard” of a product or service is so important, then shouldn’t our standards be important when it comes to our daughters? Dads, I am talking to you. You play a key role in helping your daughter set the standard about what kind of man she will choose to be her husband.

Your daughter watches how you treat her mom, and other women in your life. The words you use to speak to your daughter are either going to build up her self-worth or tear it down. There is a YouTube video of a little girl and her father talking about her being a princess and what she deserves some day when she becomes a queen. Her daddy talks to her about how a man is to respect her and open doors for her. I believe that all dads need to talk to their daughters like that.

My husband has been very open with our daughter about what she should expect in a man and he has been very open with any young man that has come around looking to date her. He has set very high standards by how he treats me and in how he talks to our daughter. She knows that she is worthy of more than being some guy’s “friend with benefits”, that pornography is never something she needs to settle for, and that the words, “if you love me you would…” or “if you were a good girlfriend you would…”are completely unacceptable.   Those are just some of the standards that my husband has set in place for our daughter.

Dads, you can’t just be worried about the safety standards of the car you send your daughter out in, or the standard of education a potential university offers. Letting her date without setting standards is extremely dangerous. You need to be the standard setter for your daughter. You need to set the bar high because there will be a day when she steps out on her own. Her future is in your hands so set the standards high.

Kim Chaffin is a contributing writer for the Whatever Girls. She lives in Spokane, Washington. You can find out more about Kim at her website, Heartfelt Ramblings of a Midlife Domestic Goddess

 

 

 

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