By Brenda Yoder
Her brothers carried her boxes out to the car. She asked an honest question, “Is there anything else I need to know?’
Her dad joked and said, “Nope, you’ll do fine.”
I looked into her eyes and I saw fear behind the questions.
Though she went to a university eleven hours away and has traveled internationally, there’s something different today. She’s moving to a new city ten hours away, taking her first “big girl”job as a college graduate.
God’s provided an apartment for her with a family she knows. What’s the fuss?
Kenny Chesney says it best, “There goes my life.”
It’s that feeling I got the first time I dropped her off at her grandma’s house when she was four weeks old so I could get groceries.
Or when I dropped her off at Mrs. Martin’s kindergarten class and cried the whole way home.
When she spent the night at that friend’s house I didn’t know so well.
The feeling of seeing your most precious possession put into the hands of someone else, of the unknown, of herself.
Logic tells me she’ll be okay. Friends tell me she’ll figure it out. I tell myself it’s no different than going to college or getting on a plane for Guatemala. But my heart says,
There goes my life.
I’m glad my mom raised my sisters and I to be independent and strong. I’ve tried to raise her the same way. God naturally made her strong and independent.
So, why am I crying at 11:42 at night?
Because of other nights I couldn’t sleep and I’d go upstairs, lay beside her bed and pray about moments like this.
Because of the moments I was scared at twenty-three, not knowing how to raise her.
Because of times I read “I Love You Forever,”and tears fell on her hair that smelled like Baby Magic.
If I could, I’d crawl on the floor in her room right now if she were sleeping. I’d pick her up and say, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll love for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
But she’s still awake, hanging out with her brother, rolling her eyes after seeing my red ones.
“It’s no different than going to school”she says.
And just like eighteen years ago when she walked into Mrs. Martin’s classroom, I turn quickly so she doesn’t see my tears.
Because there goes my life.
Broken 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]
By Takiela Bynum
I know you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders right now. Family issues, the kids at school, boy drama, grades, and the list goes on. Add sex (pregnancy scare or worse), drugs, or alcohol into the equation and it upgrades your life from bad to worse.
You’ve isolated yourself and are drowning in depression. Numb from any feelings of hope, craving death. You pick up a razor and start to cut, ultimately leaving scar after scar until…
Does this sound familiar?
When I look at you, I see the past me. My prayer is that when you look at me, you’ll see the (possible) future you. Twenty years ago I was fifteen and dealing with the issues of life. Feeling lost, I would often embrace thoughts of eternal sleep. My mind had grown tired of the endless troubles going on in my life at that time. I wanted to escape. I wanted peace. I began to cut. My only hope was that one day I’d hit a vein that would take me out of my misery…forever.
Understand: no one told me that my life wouldn’t always be filled with hurt and pain. I didn’t know that I’d have a life bursting with more joy that I could ever imagine. I wasn’t aware that every scar I put on my body, I’d have to give an account for one day (to my children). My present hurt prevented me from seeing my future hope.
When you’re in a hopeless state of mind, you may not realize it, but you’re telling God that even He is incapable of solving your problems. It’s too complicated for Him to resolve. You’re saying things are the worst it could ever be and will always be this way, ultimately shutting out the only One who can bring you out.
Your future in Christ is much brighter than any darkness you will ever endure. (Read Roman 8:18) No one shared that truth with me, which makes me obligated to share this vital information with you.
Today let’s make a pledge, from this day forward we’re going “scarless!” We can’t do anything about the old scars but we can choose not to make new scars. Let’s put down our razors and pick up scarlet red eyeliner. When—or if—we ever get the urge to cut, use the red eyeliner. It’ll help remind you of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for you and it’ll also wash away…never leaving a scar.
I, (insert name here), being of sound mind and body, here do pledge to God and all who love me on this month (insert month here), of this day (insert day here), in this year (insert year here) to bury all self-harming ways, never to be exhumed again! In the sight of God and all witnesses, I promise if and/or when I get the urge to self-harm, I’ll replace my instrument of destruction with an instrument that represents hope, a scarlet red eyeliner pencil, instead. I will do this in remembrance of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for me, (insert name here). I am committed to the “scarless” pledge. With God nothing is impossible.
Find an accountability partner, someone who will help you commit to this pledge. Know that you have fans cheering you on and praying for you in heaven and all over the earth. Even though I’ll already be praying, if you’d like me to pray for a specific person/situation or if I can help in another way comment below publicly or email me privately ([email protected]).Take the “scarless” pledge today!
By Madi Cowell
Have you ever been in a room full of people and commotion, yet you could not feel more alone? If your answer is yes, let me tell you I more than understand.
As I walked into my first day of my senior year, I couldn’t have felt more by myself. We’re given all these expectations as we go into these years: “It’ll be the best years of your life” or “You’ll fit in perfectly with your own little group.” But where was my “group”? Why was I the oldest around but still felt like the smallest?
So, what if we don’t feel all this excitement? I struggle a lot with feeling like there is some type of formula to life that someone just forgot to tell me about. Am I doing something wrong? Because high school has not been a box of chocolates for me.
To feel lonely; it may sound like such a mild thing but it isn’t. What drives people to follow the crowd? To blend in, instead of being their own person? It’s this fear of loneliness and rejection. As hard as this idea has been to swallow, I’ve come to realize that at this stage in life, if I stick out from the crowd that is—in fact—a good thing. The pain you feel today you will thank yourself for tomorrow. Whether it’s social media, your friends or maybe your parents, we as kids are told to just go with the crowd, to fit in. But that’s not what I see going on in the Bible.
God created warriors who were willing to stand up, who believed in Him enough to know that He was the one who had the final answers. They recognized this world for what it truly was, and knew that it was not worth surrendering to.
Not one person on this earth craves anything more than love and acceptance. We are programmed like this; it’s what keeps us going. We don’t want to be rejected because the idea of being on the outside, being away from the crowd is, to many teenagers, their worst nightmare. I encourage you, in your times of loneliness, to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Speak life into yourself. Remember – you are not alone at all. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV) Not only is He with us, but also He is fighting for us.
In my times of loneliness, I have felt like God is nowhere to be seen. Looking back, I see not only was He there, but He was walking along right beside me, feeling my pain and my burdens. This topic is exceptionally challenging for our age group, considering every waking moment we are faced with decisions that shape our character. In the hurtful situations of our lives, God can use us for the glory of His kingdom. Through my loneliness, I’ve learned to cling to the only stable person that has always been in my life, Jesus. Next time I want to unpack this idea of vulnerability, and how we can use this “bad” word in today’s society: use it for our own benefits! As we go into another school year, let’s remember who always walks alongside us. He is more than enough.
By Nancy Bentz
Please join me over at Ishshah’s Story for this month’s dual Ishshah’s Story & The Whatever Girls contributor post – Shadows in the Pew.
While you’re there, please take some time to browse the website and acquaint yourself with the vision and mission of Ishshah’s Story. It is full of resources and encouragement for Christian women like us.
Shadows in the Pew excerpt:
In the past twenty years and the last ten particularly, I have never been more aware of or more passionate about women (and men) in the body of Christ sitting as shadows in the pew.
Click here to read the full article!
Every blessing ~ Nancy
Learn more about my contributor collaboration with Ishshah’s Story and The Whatever Girls here.
We have some very exciting news, friends! Today we are launching the “Whatever Girls What If Prayer Challenge”.
Erin Bishop, our founder, has made a brief video to explain our prayer challenge and how you and your friends can get involved. You can watch it HERE. You can read about our history and goals, HERE. And, you can check out our Fundrazr page, HERE.
Stay in touch with us on our Facebook page and on Twitter where we will be posting updates and resources for the challenge. And, if you’d like to join our influencer team to help us get the word out and with behind the scenes things, click HERE to join.
As Erin shares in the video, we will be providing you with some great prayer resources and encouragement during our challenge. We are excited to partner with our friend Teri Lynne Underwood for the month of October. Teri Lynne has a daughter, and has created “31 Verses to Pray for Your Girl throughout October”. Starting today we will be sharing beautiful prayers and images courtesy of Teri Lynne.