By Kim Chaffin
Growing up I loved Holly Hobbie, roller-skating, and playing flashlight tag. As I grew up I grew away from my love of those things and found new passions. I think it is a normal process for all of us. As we grow older, our likes change with the seasons of our life.
Recently in my quiet time with the Lord while praying about what I should write for you, I was reminded of my love for Holly Hobbie. I know that is a strange thing to have come to my mind. I believe God was trying to tell me that He did not want to become like Holly Hobbie. He did not want me to ever come to a point in my life when I would say, “At one time I loved God but I have outgrown Him now.”
I know so many teens and young adults that were raised with the love of the Lord in their lives but as they went through high school, into college or jobs, God no longer played much of a part in their lives, if any at all.
God is the one constant for all the seasons of our lives. As teenagers or young adults you will be faced with so many new and exciting things; some good and some not so good. As you make room for new dreams and passions, please do not put God away in a box with your childhood toys. He doesn’t want to be something you used to love but outgrew.
Although I used to love Holly Hobbie, roller-skating and playing flashlight tag, I have outgrown them but I will never outgrow God. I pray that you will not either. Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV) says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.
Don’t let God become someone you used to love.
By Susan Norris
What do you think of when you hear the name Jared Fogle? Up until recently, you most likely thought of Subway. He went from being an overweight Indiana University student to the Subway spokesperson and some say cultural icon. He made his fortune by being the face of Subway for 15 years.
While most saw Fogle as an ordinary guy who could easily be their neighbor, there was more to the story. Reporter, Rochelle Herman, gained her first glimpse of the story beneath the story when Fogle, married father of two, made a random comment, causing her concern.
He told me that he thought middle school girls were so hot,” Herman said. “I was in shock… Did I really just hear what I think I heard? I looked over at my cameraman…and he was just astounded.”
Herman worked undercover for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, recording conversations with Fogle for evidence for years.
He talked about sex with underage children. It was just something that he really, really enjoyed.”
Fogle has since pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of child pornography and has a plea agreement, which includes his admission to crossing state lines to pay for sex with minors. In his plea agreement, Fogle agreed to pay restitution of $1.4M to his victims. His defense attorney stated that by admitting to the crimes, Fogle is trying to make amends and take responsibility for his actions.
This is a very public case; therefore, it is eliciting public outrage. After all, Jared Fogle was a trusted man. He made his way into our homes on a regular basis through our televisions and sales flyers. How could this happen?
The sad reality is it happens every day all across the country. There are people, ordinary looking people, neighbors, family members, and work associates who create a demand for the fastest growing crime in our world today, human trafficking.
How does it happen? How do average people go from loving husbands, fathers, and employees to someone who pays to rape women and children?
When I sat down with a former purchaser I asked the same question. His answer was becoming all too familiar to me:
“It all started with pornography. At first it was curiosity, but then it became my escape. It’s like a drug. If work got stressful, I’d watch it. If I had a fight with my wife, I’d watch it. Pornography causes a dopamine release in the brain and makes everything better for a while. But it doesn’t last. Just like a drug, you have to go back for more, and before long you’re hooked.”
When I asked him how he jumped from viewing pornography to purchasing sex he said:
“After a while the soft porn didn’t provide the release I was seeking. I sought out the harder stuff. You wouldn’t believe what’s out there. Anyway, after a while just watching wasn’t enough, so when I was out of town on business, I decided to try it.”
Many people say pornography is victimless, that those involved are choosing to be there. As someone who has been on the other side of the lens, a former porn star said:
“The women and children on the other side of the lens are victims. They’re wounded, but not just physically. Their dreams and futures have been kidnapped. Most of the women experienced some form of trauma that interrupted their dreams and derailed their future prior to being in pornography.”
When I asked her the all to familiar question, Why don’t they just leave? she said:
“The concept of girls in handcuffs has killed this fight. It has caused people to think victims can only be victims if they’re physically bound. I wasn’t in handcuffs but I experienced an emotional kidnapping rather than a physical kidnapping. I had been sexually assaulted. I’d lost all of my hopes and dreams already. It wasn’t hard for someone to manipulate me into doing porn after what I’d already experienced.”
It’s easy for people to want to turn to violence after hearing stories like these. After all, most people think these men are just animals, right? Who would do that so someone? Who thinks it’s okay? While I had the listening ear of one who lived the nightmare, I ask her who she thought the victims of this crime were?
Those who choose instant gratification and say “this hurts no one” are fooling themselves. They’re not just hurting the women and children who are being raped while the camera is rolling; they’re hurting their families, their spouses, their children by ignoring them, and they’re hurting themselves.”
Pornography is also used as a training tool for those taken into the sex trade. It is the classroom visual aid for victims in the school of the sex trade. One former trafficker said he used pornography to educate his girls on what was expected of them:
“Girls that are new to the industry don’t really know how to entice a man. They may have been abused or even raped. They just did what they were told in those situations. In order to get their money as a working girl, they need to know how to entice customers.”
When I asked this trafficker how he came to think it was acceptable to sell people as commodities, knowing what awaited them, he said:
“To explain that, I’d have to take you back to when I was nine years old…”
He went on to share about his childhood and how he, too, had his dreams and future stolen from him in different, but just as damaging ways as those he victimized. His story was further evidence of the statement,
Hurt people hurt people.
Those caught up in the sex trade often refer to it as The Game, however, there are no winners in this game. Everyone involved loses a part of themselves, if not themselves completely. It has to stop!
Do something. Take a stand. Speak out. Every organization in this fight is underfunded and under staffed. They all can use your help.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. What do you like to do? What are you good at doing? How can your vocation help in this raging battle over innocence? Find ways to use the skills and resources you already have to step into the fight.
As Edmund Burke once said:
For more information about sex trafficking, please visit Susan’s website, HERE.
By Erin Bishop
My 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.
By Lynn Cowell
Many of us are experiencing it, but in so many different ways.
Some are preparing their lessons to homeschool. Others are shopping for the supplies on the public school list. The private school is hosting their ice cream social. And a few of you like me are dorm shopping and moving your kids to their school.
No matter what back-to-school looks like, we can all do one thing to help our kids prepare for their school days.
Teach them to start their day right.
When I stopped homeschooling my kids (my son was a middle schooler and my daughters in elementary), my heart started to ache because I no longer had the free time to teach them Jesus’ truths like I once did. For a least a year I simmered, thinking that was just the way it was.
Then I got the idea for what I called “Breakfast and the Bible”. I had my kids all come to breakfast at the same time, even though they left for school at different times. It only lasted 10 minutes, but these moments together allowed us to connect with each other and with Jesus before the rush of the day. When they were really small, I read them devotions. When my girls were in middle and high school, I wrote “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” for us to use.
This school year, my kids will begin their day at three different colleges, but I am still encouraging them to start their day in God’s word using Proverbs 31 Ministries First5 app. This new app is actually an alarm clock on their phones. All they need to do is set their alarms each day in the app. Then, when their phone goes off in the morning, there is God’s word. First thing. They can simply lay in bed for a couple of minutes and start their day with Jesus in His Word.
Although I have taught my kids the power of opening God’s word for themselves each and every day, we all know this is a hard disciple to create. With the First 5 app, it couldn’t be any easier.
Even better, we can talk about the content together because we can each be reading the same thing each day.
Give it a try – Breakfast & the Bible. Gather your tribe a few minutes earlier than last school year or share the app together. It’s a beautiful way to grow closer to God and closer to each other!
By Hanna Chaffin
Let 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.
- 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.
Purchase “Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants” by Whatever Girls contributor and Proverbs 31 Author and Speaker, Lynn Cowell.
By Hanna Chaffin
Growing 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.