This is my daughter Grace and me in July at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina
It’s Wednesday morning on New Years Eve. I’m sitting on my couch with my coffee and I glance up every now and then at my husband, who is installing new blinds in our living room windows. It’s a beautiful day here in Spokane. The sun is shining brightly and it’s so cold it looks like everything outside is frozen in place. My thoughts drift to God and the countless ways He has blessed me this year and I feel excitement and expectation for 2015. My word for the coming year is “action” because I believe it will be a year full of God ordained activity.
As I look back on 2014, I’m amazed at all God has done and accomplished through the Whatever Girls Ministry.
Here are some highlights:
- We founded “Whatever Girls Online Bible Studies”
- Founder and President Erin Bishop wrote an article for Christian music group “Casting Crowns” to promote their new album “Thrive”
- We founded the “Whatever Girls Live” Conference
- We launched the “What If” prayer challenge movement to encourage moms all over the world to pray in unison for their daughters on October 1. This movement is still going. #whatevergirlswhatifprayerchallenge
- We hosted the 2nd annual Whatever Girls Princess Ball Father Daughter Dance and Sonora Smart Dodd Father of the Year Award
We had two big (and expensive) goals for the fourth quarter of 2014:
- Website redesign
- Establishing the Whatever Girls Ministry as a non profit and registering for trademarks
We have set a $5,000 goal to accomplish both of these goals, and I am pleased to share with you that we are very close. In fact, I have been amazed at how fast God has worked. In just two weeks we have raised $3,520! We are just $1,480 shy of this goal.
Can you help us reach our goal by giving $5, $10, $15 or more?
If you’re like me, when I get emails like this I normally delete them and think to myself “someone else will give” or “they probably have tons of people donating” or “I don’t think my $5 is really going to make much of a difference.” But here’s the thing. You and I are the “someone else” and we don’t have “a ton of people donating”. And these small gifts I’m asking for really do make the difference. They add up. So far, we have raised $3,520. Can you guess how many people it took to get to that amount? Three (3). Three people gave with open and obedient hearts. If 150 friends of Whatever Girls give $10- that’s the price of three of my favorite coffee drinks- we would reach our goal.
My friend Lynn Cowell affectionately calls me Noah. She says I have faith like he did. That I am a visionary who believes God will do things I cannot see, and I go for it. Honestly? Sometimes I don’t feel like Noah. Sometimes I feel like giving up. Obedience and faith is hard and scary. But on the days when I’m at Starbucks sitting across from a mother who is drying her tears with a rough, wadded up napkin whose daughter has walked away from their family, I remember that God has called me to this. When I’m sitting across the table from a new friend and ministry coach at another coffee shop sharing about my need for more funding so I can register as a non-profit, and our conversation is interrupted because I receive a text from my Pastor telling me that someone has just sent in a $2,000 gift and my eyes fill with tears, I am reminded that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, and that my past doesn’t have to be somebody else’s future- I am reminded that God’s Word does not return void-especially the Words He has spoken over me, and that He makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
I feel like Noah. I feel like I can face anything because God goes before me.
Will you, cherished friend and supporter of Whatever Girls stand with my team and me as we invest in this next generation of teen girls?
To give, click here
Have you heard about Whatever Girls Live, the ultimate mother daughter getaway? Click below for information and to register.
We hope you are all doing well. Whatever Girls headquarters is taking the two weeks during Christmas off to enjoy our families.
See you back here Monday, January 5th.
Wishing you all a wonderfully blessed Christmas with your loved ones.
By Kim Chaffin
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
My children are now 19 and 22. We don’t have a whole lot of say about what they do but they still often come to us for advice. When they were growing up and chose not to obey us, there were consequences for their disobedience. For the most part, they followed what we told them to do. However, there were times when they thought we were so mean because we would not let them do something. My daughter was so mad at me, when she was about five years old, that she put her hands on her hips and informed me that I could not play with her baby doll. Though the threat she made was scary, I held firm and followed through, not budging on what I had instructed.
My son told me to “shut up” when he was about three years old, and then threw a fit in his room when I moved him there for choosing to disobey me. Again I held firm, and he spent time in his room calming down. When he came out, he put his little arms around my neck and told me he was sorry. I hugged and kissed him and told him I loved him too.
I need to be honest. During this time, my husband and I were not always walking with God. When my son was in kindergarten, I began to feel that I needed God with me if I was going to do a decent job as a parent. After a very hard day with my son, I told him we would not go to the lake for my birthday. I had to follow through no matter how much it hurt me to stay home and not celebrate with my family. As the weekend slipped away and my family had cake without me, my heart felt the nudge of God. I knew I needed to go to church. During the church service the pastor said, “If you need to pray, the altar is open, so come forward and present your prayers to the Lord.” In a moment I was there on my knees with water works flowing from my eyes.
As I asked God to show me how to be a better parent, I heard the sweet sound of my little boy’s voice. When I opened my eyes, there kneeling next to me was my son. His little hands were folded and he was asking God to show him how to be a better boy to his mom and help him mind. It was one of the most special moments of my life. There we knelt side by side, asking God to help us. I needed my son to mind me and he knew he needed to listen to both his parents. It was God that would help us do that.
Maybe I am going out on a limb here, but I would like to believe that all parents expect their children to obey them. I have never heard anyone say, “I am okay with my kids not doing what I tell them to do.” Today I want to step back a little and look at Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents” from the perspective of a child. If we, as parents, expect our children to obey us then what kind of message are we sending them when we choose to obey or not obey the commands of our Heavenly Father?
If it is pleasing to a parent when their child obeys them then how much more pleasing is it to God when we choose to obey Him? God gives us instructions, guidelines, rules, or whatever words you would like to call His commands, because He loves us. God is not a mean and domineering father. Just like we put rules in place to protect our children, God does the same for us. Our children learn by watching us. Are you setting a good example for your child in how you obey your Heavenly Father? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Do you pick and choose the commands you want to follow and ignore the ones you don’t like? “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) As a parent, would you be happy if your children picked only some of what you instructed them to do and then ignored the rest?
If you asked your children, “Do you see me as obedient to my Heavenly Father, God?” Would they answer “Yes” or tell you that you need to go to your room for a time-out and get it straight with Him?
That day when I knelt beside my son I began to see that not only do my children need to obey their father but I, too, need to obey my Heavenly Father. As parents, we need to lead by example.
By Takiela Bynum©
Have a holly, jolly Christmas; it’s the best time of the year.
I don’t know if there’ll be snow but have a cup of cheer.
Have a holly, jolly Christmas, and when you walk down the street,
Say hello to friends you know and everyone you meet.
The holiday season is such a fun time – I can understand why it’s considered the most wonderful time of the year. Holiday cheer seems to be contagious. The generosity and gratitude of the season spreads like a wildfire. Family and friends come together in love to celebrate the birth of the Savior. What a joyful occasion!
However, there is a flip side to the joyful season also known as depression. Merry and Christmas go hand in hand, however, for some there is an unending sadness that comes along with the holidays as well as the day to day.
Here are 5 tips to fight those holiday blues – the recipe for a holly jolly Christmas.
- Giggle often. Look for reasons to laugh, it’s okay to be silly. It’s great to giggle with friends or to chuckle to yourself. It’s cool how laughing releases a chemical in the body that counteracts depression, the more you have (or release it) the less depressed you feel. Laughter is like good medicine for the soul.
Proverbs 17:22 ESV
- Eat cookies (add hot chocolate when necessary). Holiday treats will make you grin because of the sheer yumminess (or make you gag because of the utter grossness – ugh :P). It’s no time for diets. Have fun and eat freely. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
- Listen carefully…to your socks. Wear a pair of socks that you love. Choose Christmas (or Grinch) designed, colorful, cute, polka dots, stripes, etc. (the crazier the better) or an inspirationally worded pair would work too! They don’t have to be perfect (holey socks welcome), match, or even be clean. They do have to be visible (at least you). Every time your head hangs low, you’ll see those socks and smile because they’re speaking to you – screaming words like jolly, cheery, love, or hope etc. The rocks socks will cry out.
Luke 19:40 NIV
- Sing loud. What’s your favorite praise and/or worship song? Do you have a Christmas song you simply love? Find those songs, turn up the volume, and let them play as you sing along. Play the music loud and sing loud…sing like no one is listening. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
Psalm 98:4 KJV
- Unwrap one gift. The grace of God that brought salvation is a gift to you, but what good is a gift that is never opened? You can’t enjoy it without opening it. It’s the second step in the receiving process – step one: accept it, step two: open it. For it is by graceyou have been saved, through faith—…it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 NIV
If you or someone you know struggle with depression (especially during the holidays) there is help or better yet there is hope. This dilemma doesn’t have to be faced alone. God is always with you and He’ll send others to help you during your journey towards Him. May the joy of the Lord (always) be your strength.
I pray that your holly jolly doesn’t stop at Christmas,
By Brenda Yoder
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Your teen years are some of the most exciting yet confusing times. Your emotions are random, intense and all over the place. You feel alone or misunderstood. You feel like you can’t do anything right or that no one cares. Do you ever wonder if why you feel the way you do?
If you do, you’re not alone. In fact, here are five universal truths about being a teenager.
- Your feelings will lie to you. The emotions you feel are more intense during adolescence, especially in the middle school and early high school years. Your feelings are often magnified, making you feel out of control. How you feel in the moment is not always an accurate assessment of a situation.
- When you feel insecure and awkward, you’re still okay. Other kids feel that way, too. Even the popular kids.
- You won’t always feel this way. Feeling awkward, insecure, lonely, confused, or unsure of who you are is normal for your age. These feelings diminish as you get older. But don’t be ashamed of your feelings. If they’re affecting your school work or relationships, don’t keep them inside. Talk to someone about them. If you have thoughts of self-harm, talk to a trusted adult or friend or seek help. You’re not alone.
- Be comfortable with who you are, not what others think you should be. It’s tempting to change who you are to fit in so you’ll be accepted by people, friends, or a boyfriend. If you have relationships with people you feel like you can’t be yourself with, they probably aren’t people you should be hanging out with.
- Don’t alter your character and beliefs to be part of a popular group. It’s tempting to go along with the crowd even though they talk about or do things contrary to your values. Changing your beliefs in the moment can negatively impact your future. If your gut tells you “don’t do it,” then don’t.
As a teen, you’re traveling the road between childhood to adulthood. Don’t go it alone. Be careful with whom you travel. Seek God as you make decisions big and small. He cares about you and loves you more than any person around you. If you feel alone or that no one understands you, your Heavenly Father does. When you mess up, He forgives you. When you’re scared, He gives you courage.
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]