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.
By Rick Johnson
My senior year in high school I bought my dream car; a metallic beer-bottle brown 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner. It was 383 cubic inches of muscle car with chrome-plated side pipes, G-60 wide tires, and bench seats. It rumbled when it idled. As God as my witness–it rumbled! The kind of deep rumble you don’t feel any more with cars–the kind that starts low in your chest and spreads throughout the rest of your body. Just sitting in it caused your testosterone levels to rise. It gave you a little tingle in the pit of your stomach and had a high pucker factor when you floored it and it stayed in one spot while the rear tires smoked. The smell of burnt rubber permeating the air caused male adrenal levels to spike another notch. Pulling up beside other classic muscle cars of the day (1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda, 1969 Dodge Challenger, 1970 Chevelle SS, or a 1967 GTO) at stop lights and revving engines in preparation of a race brought on an adrenaline induced hypnotic trance in a testosterone-laden young man with too much power and too little sense.
A couple of years after graduation I joined the Navy and left this treasure at my mother’s. It sat beside her house untouched for over three years. After I was discharged I came home to an unrecognizable dirty heap that wouldn’t even start. But I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on it—a new battery; new points, plugs and tune up; new belts; oil change; new head gaskets; and flushed the cooling system. Miraculously it fired up and purred like a sleeping lion. A little more elbow grease with soap, water, and wax and it sparkled like a freshly polished diamond in the sunshine. I vacuumed the interior and added a new pine tree air freshener, and it was ready to hit the road. I loved that car.
And so it is with daughters. They require hard work, consistent maintenance, and attention to detail in order to weather the storms of growing up. When left unattended in the elements of life they rust, corrode, and fail to operate properly and safely. Our daughters need the same tender, loving care that we lavish on a car that we treasure. They need the same consistent preventive maintenance and attention to detail that we give to all the mechanical gadgets or tools we love and rely upon. Without that loving affection and care from their father, many girls end up as an “unrecognizable dirty heap,” treasures left to the ravages of our cultural climate.
When I got married I traded that car in for a more practical ride, but I still have dreams about that car and “riding through mansions of glory in suicide machines.” Fortunately, I was blessed with a baby girl to lavish my care upon.
Check out Rick’s book, That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empowers His Daughter.
By Kim Chaffin
We expect high standards. We look at the safety standards of cars, the standard of education offered by universities, and the standard of customer service a business offers. Even the standard of preschool education is important to many parents.
If the “standard” of a product or service is so important, then shouldn’t our standards be important when it comes to our daughters? Dads, I am talking to you. You play a key role in helping your daughter set the standard about what kind of man she will choose to be her husband.
Your daughter watches how you treat her mom, and other women in your life. The words you use to speak to your daughter are either going to build up her self-worth or tear it down. There is a YouTube video of a little girl and her father talking about her being a princess and what she deserves some day when she becomes a queen. Her daddy talks to her about how a man is to respect her and open doors for her. I believe that all dads need to talk to their daughters like that.
My husband has been very open with our daughter about what she should expect in a man and he has been very open with any young man that has come around looking to date her. He has set very high standards by how he treats me and in how he talks to our daughter. She knows that she is worthy of more than being some guy’s “friend with benefits”, that pornography is never something she needs to settle for, and that the words, “if you love me you would…” or “if you were a good girlfriend you would…”are completely unacceptable. Those are just some of the standards that my husband has set in place for our daughter.
Dads, you can’t just be worried about the safety standards of the car you send your daughter out in, or the standard of education a potential university offers. Letting her date without setting standards is extremely dangerous. You need to be the standard setter for your daughter. You need to set the bar high because there will be a day when she steps out on her own. Her future is in your hands so set the standards high.
Kim Chaffin is a contributing writer for the Whatever Girls. She lives in Spokane, Washington. You can find out more about Kim at her website, Heartfelt Ramblings of a Midlife Domestic Goddess.
By: Ginger Ciminello
Have you recently stopped to consider the conversation that plays in your mind on a regular basis?
I have Psalm 139 taped to the inside of my shower. I decided to memorize the whole chapter a few years ago. I typed out the words, printed them, and then used a piece of contact paper to make my poster waterproof. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I need to come face to face with encouragement in the first moments of my day. I slowly read each verse and let the words speak to my heart. I repeat the words King David penned so long ago.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23, NIV)
David is requesting for God to examine his every meditation. Every time I recite the verse in the shower or even as I clean the kitchen, I’m asking for the same thing. I desire that my Heavenly Father would sift through all the words in my heart and mind. That’s only slightly nerve-wracking, right?
This week I have conducted a small experiment. I have tried to record or consciously take note of the thoughts that run through my head and heart.
I’m going to challenge you to join me. Pull out a piece of paper and write out the phrases you most often speak to your soul.
Here’s a short sampling from mine: You could do this better. There’s so much to do. Try harder. You should be more prepared. You should be a better friend. You are going to be an emotional train wreck. Be afraid. You are not enough.
I realize that I’m fairly sarcastic in my thought life, and more than anything, the voice inside is pushing to do more, be more, try more, or simply feel more guilt. (GAH. Haven’t I conquered this area of struggle before?) I feel as though I’ve made real progress in the past year to move beyond performance evaluation and into nurturing my soul. I know the truth I should cling to, the soundtrack that would energize and encourage me, and yet I keep pulling out an old cassette tape that should have been trashed years ago. I don’t want the thoughts in my brain to work like an involuntary muscle, and that’s why meditation must come into play.
There’s a reason why God gave commands to His people and then challenged them to live them throughout the day. He longs for our hearts to be encouraged!
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NLT
So often my reading in the morning can stay just that: reading in the morning. If I don’t make an effort to latch onto a phrase, thought, point, word, or verse, my involuntary muscle kicks in. That’s why memorizing a huge chunk of scripture has been such a blessing. Sometimes when I wake my brain is looping some catchy Taylor Swift lyrics, or I start in on the to-do lists, or more often then not, I settle in on the worries and anxieties of my day. But I know that I need to shut all of that down if I ever want to get back to sleep at 3:20am. Reciting Psalm 139 in my head or praying have become the go-to meditations. The encouragement of God’s Word is peaceful, comforting, and beneficial.
Meditating has become the way that I let the truth work through my heart and mind. Meditating changes the loop playing in my head and redirects my thoughts toward what is excellent and praiseworthy.
So that’s my challenge for all of us today. Consider your tape, and ditch it if it needs to go. Make the Word part of your day. Talk about it with your friends. Look at it on your mirror. Write it on your hand. Tape it on your window frame… meditate on it day and night.
By Erin Bishop
Here at Whatever Girls, we are all about intentionality. In fact, I started this ministry in 2009 because I am a solution finder, not a problem dweller. The United States Marine Corp has a saying that I like: “improvise, adapt, overcome”. We can’t control what the world or the enemy throws our way, but we can control our response. We can even plan ahead.
Erin and Grace Bishop (2014)
Before my daughter, Grace, set foot on the campus of her middle school, I designed my response to the enormous amount of peer pressure she would face in the coming years. By being an involved and intentional parent, I have enjoyed my daughter’s teen years far more than I could have imagined.
In the coming weeks I am going to share my best teen girl parenting tips, my parenting fails (get comfortable, there are quite a few), and I’ll share more about the heart of Whatever Girls, what we do, and how you and your daughter can get involved.
But first, here is my number one parenting tip: be there and listen. Grace and I have a very honest and open relationship, but it didn’t happen overnight. For years I have been faithful in making time for her and listening to her talk about the things that matter to her. Each time I listened, I was making deposits in an account that built up enough equity that has earned me the privilege of hearing the things on her teenage girl heart and speaking into her life.
Believe me. There were days when she had to ask me to put my iPhone down, or I was tired or distracted, and she grew impatient with me and stormed off in a huff. Fortunately, I have made more deposits than withdrawals, which has earned me this position in my daughter’s life.
I would love to hear what has worked and what hasn’t worked in your relationship with your daughter.
Erin Bishop is the Founder and President of the Whatever Girls Ministry.