By Lynn Cowell
Her eyes are glossy. Or is that a twinkle?
Giggling, she can’t keep quiet. Gushing all of the great things about him, all conversations now lead to this one subject. If she were back in her light up shoes, the strobe light would be blinding as she twitters around your home. It’s like she’s on something.
And she is. It’s infatuation.
Although it’s not deadly or illegal, it does give this mama heart cause for concern. It’s a drug that can blind our girl, causing her to miss what is glaring to everyone but her.
We can prepare our kids to be willing to see the truth, the whole truth, about a potential date before they date. The time for them to be objective is before they’ve been star struck.
Many marriages have begun and failed hanging on this one hope. For this reason my husband has often taught our kids: “What you see is what you’ll get”.
Whatever you see in the guy or girl you are interested in, you will likely see more of that trait in the future.
While it is true that people change, especially those who are sincerely following Christ, as a general rule the character you see is the same character that will continue.
Look for easy examples to share with your girl:
Does he come to the door to pick you up, open your car door or allow you to go first into a building? The manners he shows in the beginning are usually the best manners you’ll see.
Does he have a job, get good grades or give his best to his sport? The work ethic you see today will be the work ethic that will shine tomorrow…good or bad.
Is he a man of his word? If he says he will do something, does he follow through?
How does he treat his parents; especially his mom? The respect he has for her will be the respect he has for you.
While we don’t want our kids to over analyze every move a potential date makes, we do want them to go into a potential relationship with their eyes open and not be blinded by a starry eyed crush.
Is your child ready to date? Check out this free resource to help you and them know!
Lynn Cowell is a Proverbs 31 speaker and the author of several books including Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants. Connect with her at www.LynnCowell.com.
By Rick Johnson
While I was eating my cereal the other morning I was looking for something to read. The only thing I could find was a sales brochure that had came in the mail from a local beauty supply store. Since I was still half asleep I thought I would look through it and see what kinds of products women were buying. What I found was a surprising blend—at least to me—of mixed messages. We all know how the media and Madison Avenue have promulgated anorexic models and unrealistic, Photoshopped images of the female body–much to the detriment of the self-image of young girls and women in our culture. However, I was surprised at the names of various products and the subliminal messages that were being perpetrated upon females.
Many of the makeup products used food and/or flavors as a selling point. Not sure what food and beauty products have to do with each other, but I suspect that by constantly having dieting being shoved down their throats in order to reach the unrealistic body image perpetuated to them, many women are darn hungry. Some of the makeup products were called vanilla sugar, passionberry vanilla, mandarin mint, pomegranate lime, strawberries and champagne, dragonfruit frappe, apple envy, coconut lime cooler, banana cream dream, nail candy, and pumpkin latte.
Sorry, I’m back–I had to go grab a snack.
Some of the names of makeup and beauty products seemed demeaning to females. Here are just a few product names: Piggy Polish (a lovely image for a young girl suffering the uncertainty of adolescence), Bed Head hairspray (a look all women strive for), and something known as ‘bare minerals,’ which as near as I can tell is essentially dirt that you rub on your face in order to fill in and cover imperfections.
There’s Urban Decay makeup (for girls who want to come from ghettos I guess), Too Faced lipstick (strictly for mean girls), and Laura Geller has something called Spackle, which is what big sweaty guys use to repair cracks in the wall. There’s something called “fatgirlslim” and “fatgirlsleep.” I’m not sure what they do or why any woman would want to be referred to as Fat Girl, but perhaps it’s a cultural thing.
These examples were just in one small mailer. I recognize that I am just a middle-aged guy on the backside of coolness, completely out of touch with cultural trendiness, but it seems a bit derogatory to young women to aspire to be associated with these kinds of images.
Ladies-what do you think? Be truthful—do you buy these kinds of products? What are the strangest named beauty products you’ve ever bought? How do you think these not-so-subliminal messages affect a woman’s psyche?
By Ginger Ciminello
I want you to think of something that you really wanted for Christmas when you were a kid. Make sure you choose something that you actually ended up receiving! It should be the kind of gift that made it difficult for you to sleep on Christmas Eve. You couldn’t wait for it. When you discovered that very gift waiting for you in the morning you began hyperventilating and being terribly overdramatic. (Wait, was that just me?) Ok, have you picked something yet? Did you choose your most-desired Christmas gift? Good.
New question: Did you wake up thinking about that Christmas item this morning?
Isn’t it amazing that something that held so much JOY all those years ago is now lost and forgotten? Maybe the memory of it put a smile on your face. But the truth is that stuff (no matter how cool in the moment) just doesn’t bring lasting joy. But what about the huge trampoline that was waiting in the backyard in 4th grade? I don’t think I even asked for it. It was an AMAZING surprise that brought joy to my siblings and I (and let’s face it, the whole neighborhood) for years. But like everything else, the trampoline wore out, fell apart, and eventually made it’s way to the trash. Even if you enjoyed your favorite item for a few years, it probably doesn’t hold the same daily joy for you now.
So if we want joy like Christmas morning, do we simply continue to replace the old stuff with the new stuff?
I would challenge that rather than changing out our stuff, we need a change of heart and mindset. God is always in the business of changing us from the inside out. He desires for us to find real and lasting joy- something that’s done by spending time in His presence. It’s totally contrary to the solution the world would give us.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2.
I tend to lose joy when I put all the focus on me. Joyless living is all wrapped up in self-focus and selfishness.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:3-4
We fill up on joy when we fill up on the good stuff. Satisfaction and joy in Jesus can be a reality. The more we’ve been satisfied by God’s love, His Word, and His presence, the more we will yearn for it. On the other hand, we can spend so much time away from the Lord and His spiritual food and drink that we may no longer feel hungry or thirsty.
“’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 fare.’” Isaiah 55:2.
Have you ever filled up on chips or bread at a restaurant to the point of not being able to eat the main course? When we choose to fill up on appetizers, we don’t have room for the meal that will truly satisfy us. When we fill up on His Word we carry a weapon for the offensive – the sword. David said, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11.
The more we know God’s Word, the quicker we recognize Satan’s attempts to cover up that truth… the truth that says HE is the source of joy. Spend time with the Lord this week. Rather than asking Him to be with you, why don’t you draw near to Him? He’s always waiting.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
By Angie Ryg
“Can you come tuck me in?” I hear her small voice coming from an almost woman’s body and my heart skips a beat. My fourteen year old daughter is asking me to come tuck her in.
I realize that I have missed this routine over the past couple nights. Deadlines for me, late night youth groups for her, and three little brothers that need my attention at bedtime make this precious time one that often gets lost.
As I walk into her bedroom with the.biggest.smile.on.my.face, I hear a whisper that tells me to remember this time. To make it sacred. To make more often.
1. Remember this time
Mamas, this does not mean huge scrap books that hold every piece of artwork and report card accumulated over the past 18 years. If that is your passion and it brings you joy, then go for it, but do not think that is the only way to preserve memories. To remember this time means to bring it into your heart and head. To soak in that moment. Stop and take in a deep breath. Burn it into your mind. It could be from a quick photo or it may be from a quick note in a journal. When my children were younger, I would write down the cute things they said in a journal. Looking back, I can remember the joy and beauty of their childhood.
2. Make it sacred
I don’t mean that to have to remove your shoes each time you enter your house because it is a Holy space, but I do mean look upon your home as a place where God will do Holy work. Every time you are with your daughter, use it as an opportunity to welcome the Holy.
Because God can work Holy into the mundane of our homes.
Every conversation has the opportunity to be a learning time. Every hug has the opportunity to be a healing balm. Every word of love has the chance to be a way to bring God’s amazing grace deep into our hearts.
3. Make it more often
This is the time to be with your daughter. It gets hard to find time.
Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
You get weary. Soon, activities will fill schedules and a spontaneous trip to the park is not even possible. Put this time into your calendar. Make dates with your daughter. Stay up a little bit later and ask your daughter to share one hard part of her day. Sit down on her bed and really listen.
You will find that you will remember more of this beautiful thing called motherhood! And each sacred beautiful moment of motherhood is very much worth remembering!
By Joanna Teigen
A seventeen-year-old girl in my life is a committed vegetarian. She’s a yogurt in the morning, veggie burger for lunch, and salad for dinner kind of girl. If she kept a food diary she would put us all to shame with her sensible portions and 6-servings per day of fruits and vegetables.
However, she’s a vegetarian because she’s secretly scared. Scared of gaining weight. Scared of losing her reputation. Scared of losing power over her life. And scared of hurting herself through anorexia. As she told me, “If I’m a vegetarian, I don’t have to control all the food. I just have to control the meat.” In other words, she’s choosing to eliminate meat so she doesn’t eliminate food altogether.
We spend so much energy trying to feel secure. We make compromises that let us feel better about ourselves, without truly overcoming our struggles.
“I’ll only drink on weekends, and I’ll never drink and drive when I’ve had too much.” “Making out with my boyfriend keeps him happy—at least we’re not having sex.” “My faith is personal—I don’t have to embarrass myself talking about Jesus at school.” “I get paid this week—I can put money back in mom’s wallet and she’ll never know I ‘borrowed’ it.” “I spent too much on clothes, but it will be worth it when I look amazing.” “It was just flirting for a little attention—my friend should know I’d never steal her boyfriend.” “It’s not my fault I had to cheat on the test…my schedule was too busy for studying.”
My vegetarian friend is still afraid. She’s found a way to keep from starving, but she’s afraid.
Are you afraid, too? Are you depending on money, popularity, a boyfriend, clothes, talent, or good grades to define who you are? How much are you giving, or giving up, to feel wanted and loved?
Jesus doesn’t look at any of that. He loves you because he made you—you were his idea before the world was even created. Even though people focus on the externals, he is looking at your heart. You don’t have to perform to get his attention. He sees right through the games you play with others and yourself to feel like you matter. He invites you to bring your insecurities to him. He offers a perfect love that gets rid of fear. (1 John 4:18)
Jesus loves you. When you bring him your fears and mistakes and self-destruction, he gives peace and forgiveness and life. You can run to him when life gets hard instead of the world’s disappointing substitutes for love. You can find rest from working and running and trying to feel accepted. Because in Jesus, you are.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)