Words Matter

By Rick Johnson

Have you ever noticed that words are important to females? When I speak at father-daughter events, by far the most notes I get are from girls who are desperate for their dads to talk with them, to share with them their experiences and what they believe is important. Frankly, the girls (even at a young age) are frustrated that they cannot seem to break through this impenetrable, soundproof wall their fathers have around them. Over time, as they get older, I sense these girls closing down, perhaps realizing that they will never get the verbal nourishment they need from their dads. Because words are so important to your daughter, it is painful when you do not fulfill this fundamental need she has for intimacy with her father.

Verbal communication is as fundamental to nourishing a female as food is to a male. Dad, your daughter needs to hear certain words from you—often—in order to assimilate them.  Females process information and emotions through verbal communication. They also develop intimacy through conversation. For instance, your daughter needs to hear the words “I love you” frequently from you in order to assimilate that belief. I know as men we think our actions should speak louder than our words. Why should we have to say something that is so obvious? But females need to hear words in order to believe them as true. In fact, oftentimes you will notice that women have a tendency to believe a man’s words over his actions. Many women will believe a man when he says “I love you” or “I want to marry you”—even if his demonstrated actions are diametrically opposed to those words. If a woman does not internalize feelings of love and worth about herself while growing up, she will often seek to fulfill that craving elsewhere. It’s why many women are vulnerable to a man who knows how to speak a woman’s language—to tell her all the things she needs to hear—despite his character.

There may be other reasons why females are more susceptible to men’s words than their actions. The filter system women use to judge men is influenced by their fathers. Most of us know that women and girls are frequently attracted to “bad boys,” or the wrong type of guy. Especially if their father abandoned or abused them, girls are almost irresistibly drawn to bad guys. Dr. Kevin Leman explains:

It’s my belief that these young women confuse abandonment and love because that’s how their dads “loved” them. They want to believe their dads cared for them, even if their fathers were distant. This has radically distorted their filters. They don’t expect loyalty; they don’t see that trust is a vital part of a relationship. As long as they feel like they’re in love, or as long as a boy tells a girl he loves her, she is convinced the love is genuine.

This is why it is important for fathers to talk with their daughters. Not only does a father have the capability to speak emotional health and well-being to his daughter, he also gives her guidance in other areas of life. Besides modeling healthy masculinity, a father gives his daughter a male’s perspective on life. Even more, she needs to believe she is valuable enough for her father to spend time with her. After all, the opposite of love is not hate—it is indifference. If we are indifferent about something, we usually do not believe it is worth spending our time on.

Dad–your words have power with your children. They will remember things you said for their entire lives. Their whole life can be changed merely by something you say to them. Remember to use positive words in your everyday conversations with your daughter. People always respond better to positive feedback than negative, and your daughter is no exception. She needs her father’s words of affirmation spoken into her heart, if for no other reason than so she will not be susceptible to the false words of other men.

RickJohnson1aExcerpted from Rick’s book, That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empowers His Daughter, Revell Publishing, 2012.



They are still my babies

By Kim Chaffin

21 and 19 are the ages of my kids.  Adults, yes, but in my heart they are still my babies.  Just recently my daughter and I headed to Texas to work a young lives camp for teen moms.  We were on the childcare crew and assigned to the 6-7 month old babies.  Watching my 19-year-old daughter take care of those babies made me so proud, and it filled me excitement as I thought of her being a mom herself someday.

As the week came to an end, a storm rolled in and we found ourselves under a tornado watch that would soon turn into a warning.  2014.07 Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.50.53 AM The camp where we were staying did not have underground shelter.  As the storm grew, we were moved to an interior room of the building with the babies in our care.  Others found themselves in bathrooms of the buildings where they cared for babies.  One large bathroom held about 20 workers and babies.

This Washington state girl is not accustomed to tornados and to be honest it is one of my biggest fears.  As I stood in that little room, with a sweet baby girl in a front pack, I became a mess of emotions. Across the room my daughter held a baby in her arms.  The “what if’s” screamed in my head…What if a tornado actually touches down: should I tell her I love her just in case? Do I protect the baby in my arms or my baby?  She may be an adult but she is still my baby girl.

Tears began to well up in my eyes and as I moved across the room to stand by my daughter.  I wanted desperately to reach out and hug her tight, to protect her from whatever was going on outside that little room we found ourselves in.  She is not one to be afraid of things and she started to tease me for being scared.  What she did not understand was, I was not scared in the way she thought.  I was scared because it hit me that my little girl was an adult and she would lay down her life to protect the baby in her arms if needed.  I too would lay down my life to protect the baby in my arms and it was tearing into my heart to feel that I had to choose the baby in my arms over my own baby.

I started to feel my legs shake as I held in my tears and resisted the desire to hold her like she was a little girl again.  Momma bear was a mess.  Fear was winning and I needed to get a grip.  I said out loud,  “There is not fear in God”.  Then, I simply said, “Jesus” a few times and peace began to come to me.  I followed that up with  “God, I trust you in this”.  Fear loosened its grip and peace took over.   In a silent prayer I asked God to protect my baby.  I told him I trusted him to take care of my baby so I could be ready to take care of the baby in my arms.

I grabbed my phone to listen to worship music but the room was too loud, so we began to sing worship music ourselves.  They say the center of the storm is the calmest place to be.  As we waited that storm out I can say without a doubt that when you let God be the center of your storm, you will find yourself in a most peaceful place.  We were off key when we sang but I know that to God we made a beautiful noise as we worshiped him and trusted him.  A tornado did touch down about 25 miles from us and a home was ripped off its foundation with the family in it

2014.07 They are still my babies 1I have always been one to pray and trust God but in that moment I saw the importance of it in one of the most concrete ways ever.  If you are a parent, I cannot stress enough the importance of prayer for your child no matter how old they are.  They will always be your babies; never stop praying for them.  If you are going through your own storm as a parent, trust that God will be the calmness in the storm.  Praise him in your storm and trust him with your babies no matter how old they are.

To see the story of the family who gave God the credit for keeping them safe in that real life Wizard of OZ moment, so close to where we were the night of June 12, 2014, click here.


Preparing Your Teen’s Heart for Graduation



By Tricia Goyer


I’ve been a homeschooling mom for twenty-five years with two college graduates and one child in the process. (I also have a kindergartner and two preschoolers, but that’s a different blog!)

How do you prepare your teen’s heart for college?

My kids did (mostly) awesome in college. They got good grades, made good friends, and blossomed into godly adults. All my kids went to secular local and state colleges, yet their relationship with God grew. Looking back at their teen years, here are some things that prepared their hearts most.

  1. Involved parents. John and I loved having teens. We had dinner nightly with them, we served in church together, and we enjoyed long talks. To do this we had to be open and available. We cut back on our personal recreation, work, and goals to have time with them. This prepared our children’s hearts by proving they were worthy. They had the attention of their parents and didn’t seek it from unhealthy relationships in college.
  2. Cheering parents. Two of our teens were involved in homeschool basketball. In Montana this meant driving hours and hours for one or two games. During this season, our whole family piled into our SUV. We drove them, and we cheered them on. For our son who didn’t play basketball, we also took interest in his pursuits. Our teens had our praise, approval, and cheers. They didn’t enter college with gaping holes in their hearts that needed to be filled up with substances or risky behavior.

Read the rest of the post, and other awesome posts, over at HEDUA!

Steps You Can Take

  1. Make time in your schedule for your teen.
  2. Create a teen-friendly home and atmosphere.
  3. Encourage your teens to have a relationship with another godly adults.
  4. Spend time in Bible reading with your teen or provide your teen with the tools for effective study.

Daily Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, 

I thank you for our teens. I thank you in all the ways they’ve grown in you. Please guide me today in having the desire and the time to prepare their hearts for college and all the challenges that come with that. Amen.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Resources You Might Like:

Just One More Thing: Before You Leave Home by David and Bernice Gudgel 
My Life Unscripted: Who’s Writing Your Life
by Tricia Goyer

I have a few books on sale right now! Generation NeXt Marriage is $2.99. You can also get my four World War II novels in the Liberators Series for $13.99.

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THIRSTY (Part 2)

2014.07 Thirsty part 2 brandedBy Ginger Ciminello

Last month we talked about quenching our soul-thirst and the excuses that often keep us from turning to Living Water.

Find part one of this two-part series here.

My husband is a pediatrician here in Arizona, so part of every visit involves asking parents and kids if they are drinking enough water. Some kids throw out every excuse in the book!

“Water is boring!”

 “It doesn’t taste good.”

“I’m not that thirsty.”

“I’m not like other people, I don’t need that much water.”

The hard scientific facts are that our bodies can only go about 3-4 days without water. Water helps with so many basic functions: it regulates body temperature, protects organs and tissue, aids the kidney and liver, lubricates joints, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells… you get the idea! Water is important. Water is life! Truth be told, once we feel thirsty, we are already dehydrated! We have to be so careful living in a desert where our summer temps average around 110 degrees. Dehydration can set in just after an hour.

Did you know that we can also experience spiritual dehydration? We were designed to thirst for God. But instead of turning to the Living Water, we frequently turn to a faulty substitute. Like a marathon runner grabbing soda for his long journey, our substitutes don’t make sense!

My favorite food is chips and salsa AND ranch. (Go ahead, raise your eyebrows.) But I dare you… mix the ranch and the salsa, dip your chip, and then get back to me. I love it. But this is also a very, very dangerous delicacy to love. I am notorious for eating multiple baskets of chips and salsa prior to the arrival of my meal at restaurants. By the time my food arrives I’ve filled up on carbs and don’t have room for any of the things my body actually needs. Tortilla chips may fill me up for a while, but they certainly won’t satisfy or sustain me for long. Darn you, chips and salsa!

Jeremiah 2:13 says “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Jeremiah laments with the Lord that the Israelites have made faulty cisterns. Picture a well with a hole in it. Check out this verse in The Message:

“Stand in shock, heavens, at what you see! Throw up your hands in disbelief—this can’t be!” 
God’s Decree.” My people have committed a compound sin: they’ve walked out on me, the fountain Of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns— cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves.” Message

The Israelites spun their wheels and worked to an end that simply would not satisfy. How often do I fill up on the chips and salsa of this world and forget what will actually satisfy my every need?

Isaiah 55:2 reads,Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fair.”

This world is full of some amazing diversions, but there has to be more than Snapchat and following celebrity gossip. There IS so much more! Jesus said in John 10:10 that He has come to bring the abundant life.

We choose everyday whether we will try and fill up on substitutes or the Living Water. My hope is that we learn to drink what is good and satisfying (God’s Word and His presence) and not fill up on the fluff of this world. Come to the banquet table ready to feast!

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2, NIV

What happens when you choose living water? Life. Growth. Health. Rest. Satisfaction.

YOU ARE THIRSTY. What are you choosing to drink? Take time to refresh your soul.



20 Things I’d Do Over in Raising Girls

By Brenda Yoder

I often share my testimony with women about my almost-near disastrous relationship with my only daughter. Five years ago I made hard decisions to change my lifestyle and behavior so I could salvage our relationship when she was a teen. She’s a recent college graduate whose heart and desire is for the Lord. God has worked His grace and power in our home and family.

I’ve shared a lot of things with moms of girls over the years – young moms exasperated with small kids, moms raising preteens fearful of the path their daughter might take, and moms in the trenches with teen girls. Here are twenty things I often share that I’m glad I did in raising a girl, and twenty things I would do over.

20 Things I’d Do Again

  1. Be a stay at home mom to watch her grow
  2. Have tea parties
  3. Play dress ups
  4. Read books to her
  5. Take her to parks
  6. Sing to her
  7. Have play dates
  8. Lay beside her bed and pray for her when she’s sleeping
  9. Take her to museums
  10. Take her on a road trip
  11. Be honest about my life when she asked hard questions
  12. Have her dad intervene when she wouldn’t listen to me
  13. Have her dad date her when other girls had boyfriends
  14. Tell her dad what girls need to hear
  15. Write her notes when she wouldn’t listen to me
  16. Make time for her even when exhausted
  17. Talk to her about sex at age-appropriate levels
  18. Stay up late when she wanted to talk
  19. Stand firmly even when it hurt
  20. Hold her loosely

20 Things I Would Do Over

  1. Trusted God earlier
  2. Trusted God more often
  3. Walked away more
  4. Let her and her brothers work things out more often
  5. Given her space when she demanded it
  6. Realized some things are just that way, and it’s okay
  7. Bit my tongue more
  8. Realized earlier in her life that she’s not me
  9. listened more
  10. lectured less
  11. prayed more
  12. Practiced more patience
  13. Told her I was proud of her
  14. Given up my rights to have the last word
  15. Appreciated her more
  16. Encouraged her more
  17. Shown her unconditional respect
  18. Given more grace
  19. Hugged her more
  20. Held her just one more time

We all have things we wish we could do over. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ makes do overs possible no matter what stage of parenting we’re in. His power also provides wisdom for things we happen to get right.

Somewhere between tea parties and tiaras, little girls grow up. What are things you’ve learned in raising girls, no matter their age? What are things you’re glad that you’ve done? What would you do over in raising girls?

Brenda YoderBroken and Beautiful: Brenda has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a BA in Education. As a Parent, Counselor and Educator her ministry is helping moms and daughters navigate the tough stuff of life. Have a question for Brenda? Email her at [email protected]



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