By Susan Norris
How old are you? Are you a parent of a tween or teen child? Or are you that tweener or teenager? Either way, you’re important in the fight against human trafficking in the United States. You can do something about it.
1 Timothy 4:12 says,
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
You don’t have to wait until you’re an adult to make a difference in this world. You just have to be willing to think outside of the box.
You may not have a job where you earn a regular income, but you want to give financially to the fight. So do it! How? Creatively! Eight year old Vivienne Harr of Fairfax, California has given large amounts of money to the fight against human trafficking, but she wants to give more. Her goal…$150,000. Did I mention she’s eight years old? So how did she do it? How else would an eight year old make money? She set up a lemonade stand. You can read about the amazing Vivienne and her money making lemonade here.
Can you write? Why not write a letter to your local, state, and national law makers asking them to create new laws to fight the issue of human trafficking? Send copies of your letters to the media. The media is always looking for a good story about someone doing something heroic. Make their job easy for them. Let them know what you’re doing. You can also get online and research how to write a formal petition, then do it. Petition the lawmakers and go door to door (with an adult) or set up a booth at local fairs to draw attention to the issue. Many of the anti-trafficking organizations have brochures and handouts they’d be willing for you to share with your community. You can go to my website and print out any of the free resources to hand out.
Remember, there is no such thing as a junior Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is living in you as a believer. You can make a difference. You can be a world changer and you don’t have to wait until you’re an adult to do so. You’re a BIG DEAL!
by Andrea Mitchell
Summer is here! In our household, summer holidays usually involve sleeping in, iced tea and lemonade, and just hanging out. And while all of those things are nice to do, the kids often find themselves fighting off boredom (or just fighting!) by the time the second week of July hits. To fend off the “Mom, I’m bored!” complaints, I’ve compiled a list of inexpensive ideas that we can do to be sure to spend intentional time with our daughters and have fun at the same time!
Head outdoors for a long hike (try the early morning or evening when it’s cooler). It’s amazing the things our girls will open up about when we’re just going for a walk. Add some fun by taking silly selfies along the way – just because!
Take board games outside
Make giant-sized game boards or pieces and play on your lawn. My two favourites are giant Scrabble (using large, cardboard squares to make letter tiles) and lawn Twister.
Have a good old fashioned water fight
Try making these easy sponge balls instead of using water balloons. Or just grab a hose and some buckets!
Plant a garden
I’ll confess, gardening and I are not good friends. I can’t stand weeding and we’ve battled so many gophers and moles over the past few years that I have all but given up. Still, there’s just something about fresh produce from your backyard that can’t be beat. Have your daughter help you choose what to plant and work the garden together. Even if you just plant flowers, working the earth together is a great bonding activity and teaches our kids about the value and results of good, hard work. You can’t beat that!
Seek cooler temperatures
Long, hot summer days are sometimes wearing. Take a break from the heat by seeking cooler temperatures, either by window shopping at the mall and sharing a fun snack, or visiting your local library. While at the library, why not look for a favourite or new movie to borrow?
Have a movie night
…or a favourite show marathon. The last few summers my kids and I have started the tradition of watching The Brady Bunch in the afternoon when it is too hot to go outside. If you’re having a family movie night, make sure to serve a special treat. How about ice cream floats, or top your own popcorn?
If you can stand the heat, get in the kitchen!
Take a cue from MasterChef – shop your pantry and fridge and see what yummy concoction you can make together. Or, if you’re feeling particularly brave, make up a mystery box and give it to your kids to see what they come up with (just make sure you let them know they have to eat it, too!).
Get your craft on
Pinterest has a ton of fun, inexpensive crafts you can make with your daughter. My favourite ideas are ones that upcycle items from around the house, like old t-shirts or clean tin cans. Or how about these super fun flip flops?
My girls and I love having a spa afternoon at home. We soak our feet, do our nails, and drive the men in our house crazy with all our giggling. Why not let your daughter fix your hair and make-up for you, too, just like when they were preschoolers?
Do a Bible Study together
Most summers my girls and I like to do some sort of study together, even if we only manage to get into it once a week or so. A few I recommend are the Between series by Vicky Courtney, Becoming God’s True Woman While I Still Have a Curfew by Susan Hunt and Mary Kassian. And have you checked out Whatever Girls Online Bible Studies?
What activities do you like to do with your daughters? We’d love you to share them in the comments!
By Lynn Cowell
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 (NIV)
If I could just avoid people who are hard to love my life would be so much easier.
I couldn’t believe I had just had that thought. Really, Lynn? Avoid people? Getting through my to-do list and getting to the weekend can easily become a one-way road I hop on come Monday morning. Though I would have never voiced it, the fact that I thought avoiding people was an answer to getting through my goals each day seriously concerned me. This thought revealed something I didn’t want to see about me: I can easily become all about me.
Hearing my own thoughts showed me I was missing it big time. It is not all about me; life is about Jesus and Jesus is all about loving people.
Today’s verse in Ephesians 4:32 says we are to be kind and compassionate to one another. In order for me to be kind and compassionate, I have to be around people who need to be shown kindness and compassion. And most of the time, this is not going to be convenient. What they need to receive and what I need to give is love.
1 Corinthians 13:4 defines love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
God’s word gives us clarity with every day examples of what love looks like. It looks like Jesus.
He went out of His way to speak to a hurting woman drawing water for the day (John 4). Stopped to heal a man ignored by most (John 5). Instead of saying it wasn’t His responsibility, He chose to feed 5,000. (John 6) He stands up for the woman no one else would have compassion on (John 8). He washes the dirty feet of those who should have served Him (John 13).
No matter what His schedule for the day held, Jesus put others first. People, not projects were most important. The hurting, the humble, the hungry…they all came to the head of His list of importance.
As today’s verse reminds us, I want to be kind and compassionate, even when it doesn’t “fit in my schedule”. People, not projects, need to be my priority. That’s when I am filling the great commandment of love.
And I know, when people not projects, become my priority, my kids will see. It won’t be a matter of teaching them the greatest commandment, they’ll see. And hopefully, they’ll do the same.
Lynn Cowell is a Proverbs 31 Speaker and the author of “His Revolutionary Love; Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You” and “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year“. Her passion is empowering women and their daughters to find confidence leading to wise choices. She does this through her books and her conferences. You can connect with Lynn on her blog at www.LynnCowell.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest at Lynn Cowell.