By: Erin Bishop
It’s the start of a new school year, and while we can’t send our kids out the door with armed guards to protect them from the dangers of the world, peer pressure, bullies, and bad influences, we can arm them with something even more powerful: the armor of God and our prayers.
Last September I made a huge tactical error when sending my kids back to school.
They went to school happy (as happy as kids can be, under the circumstances) on the first day, but by the end of day two, they were edgy and their countenances went from joyful to…not joyful. I couldn’t figure it out.
By the end of the first week of school, I realized what went wrong. I didn’t pray right, and I didn’t pray enough.
When our kids are at home, we have the home field advantage. We are influencing them and helping guard their hearts and minds by monitoring what they watch, read, listen to, and who they spend their time with.
When our kids are at school, we really have no control over what they are influenced by. The moment our kids set foot on school property they are exposed to hundreds, maybe thousands, of kids and staff, and whatever they have been under the influence of and their beliefs.
Last year the Lord gave me an image of the darkness that surrounds people who aren’t under the protection of the armor of God and the fervent prayers of their loved ones. When their guard is down, our kids are exposed to all this darkness and outside influences.
This year, I am going to pray more often and strategically, and I invite YOU to join me and thousands of moms around the world in the third annual #WhenMomsPray daily prayer challenge for our daughters. (These prayers can be prayed over our sons, too.)
How it Works:
We make it easy to participate by providing you with daily, guided prayers for the duration of the prayer challenge. You can sign up to receive the daily prayer challenges emailed to you, by clicking “HERE”, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to view these prayers daily. You can also join our private prayer group community where you will receive encouragement and prayer.
Click HERE for the background story of #WhenMomsPray
Will You Share and Invite?
Please invite all the moms of daughters you know to join us for this year’s prayer challenge.
By Joanna Teigen
As our daughters grow, we can feel like they’re pulling away. Part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities, and social plans compete for their attention. We feel that our role as “mom” is pushed to the back burner in their lives.
It’s exciting to see our girls taking steps toward independence. Even so, they still need our care and influence. The key to staying connected and involved is building trust. Earning your daughter’s trust opens the door to giving encouragement and wisdom as she navigates the way to adulthood.
Grab hold of these five tools to build your daughter’s trust today:
- Keep her secrets. Treat your daughter’s insecurities, heart-dreams, crushes, and personal failures with utmost care. Reward what’s shared in vulnerable moments with respect and privacy. If she knows what happens with mom, stays with mom, she’ll be more likely to open her heart in the future.
- Honor her thoughts and opinions. The teen years are a season of figuring out her identity. Give her room to express her personal style. Let her ponder big ideas about politics and social issues, even if you disagree with her perspective. Give her a voice in making plans and decisions. Accept her friends with kindness. Set her free to plug into a godly faith community of her choosing. Embrace her as a unique individual.
- Don’t pick favorites. Feeling like she’s second-best builds a resentful wall around your daughter’s heart. Feeling like she’s number one creates pressure to perform for your love. Give affirmation, attention, and affection in equal measure to all your kids, no matter how adorable or challenging they may be!
- Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Make your expectations clear for your daughter’s behavior. Put rewards and consequences in place for her choices. And then the hard part: follow through! Discipline isn’t fun, but teaches our girls right from wrong. It spares them from greater trouble down the road. Let her know you love and respect her enough to hold her to a standard.
- Be a woman of integrity. Our daughters are watching us wherever we go. They know if we’re honest at the cash register. If we gossip on the phone. If we dodge the blame for our fender-bender. If we manipulate our husbands to get our way. If we bad-mouth our neighbor. If we criticize our pastor’s ministry. Treating others with honesty and dignity proves to your daughter that you’re worthy of her heart.
We serve a God we can trust completely. He keeps his promises. His Word is true. He never lets us go. With his help, we can become trustworthy moms who love our girls like Jesus.
“Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.” (Psalm 97:11)
By Ginger Ciminello
How do I know what God wants me to do? I feel like I can’t tell the difference between His voice and my voice… and I really want to.
First, I want you to know that God speaks to all of us differently and calls us differently! I think it is so encouraging to look through the Bible and remember how uniquely God speaks and calls to each of us. Moses saw God face-to-face; Paul got a light from heaven; Ezekiel watched dry bones; Gideon was visited by an angel; Elijah witness the fire, felt the quake, and then found God in the whisper; and still others were met by talking donkeys and storms that held them at bay. The important point is that you are seeking. When you desire to be in God’s will, He honors that. When the Israelites finally sought God, “He was found by them.” (2 Chronicles 15:15)
That being said, have you ever heard of the game Sardines? I used to play it all the time as a kid. It’s almost a reverse of traditional “Hide and Seek.” In Sardines the “it” person goes to hide and everyone else counts. Then everyone heads out looking for the person. If I find the sardine, I have to try to hide with that person in their hiding place. This continues until there is only one man left standing.
I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with anything.
For a long time—especially in high school and college–I thought of my relationship with God as if it was a game of Sardines. I wanted to know God’s will for my life so desperately, but I felt that no matter how hard I asked or looked, I just couldn’t determine what God wanted for me. I would look at all of my friends confidently making decisions and couldn’t help but think that they had all found the answer. That was it—the entire world was hiding with God in a huge game of Sardines, and I was the last one standing as they all told each other, “Shhhh!”
“Everyone else can find you, so why can’t I?” I would lose heart and I resign myself to being last. That’s crazy, right?
Confession: I feel like that, every once in a while, even to this day. I’ve read and memorized Jeremiah 29:13 until it’s practically a daily saying: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Mark Batterson writes, “God wants you to get where God wants you to go, more than you want to get where God wants you to go.” We can use up a lot of energy worrying that we aren’t hearing from God, or we take joy and peace from knowing God isn’t hiding. He is waiting for us to seek Him.
I don’t know about you, but that truth about God let’s me take a deep and contented sigh.
“My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face.’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8)
By Tori Bell
Tonight I did something ridiculous. I watched an entire television season on Netflix. Yes. An entire season. Now, this may seem “normal” as Netflix is a common obsession among teens and college students these days. But, do you know what I did not do? I did not spend my daily time in the Word. Of course, this is not the first time I have neglected my quiet time because I am just not perfect – life gets busy. Nevertheless, I managed to watch 15 episodes of a television show. WHAT?!
As a college student, I have tons of classwork, group projects, extracurricular activities with my sorority, a job, friends that I enjoy doing things with, and many other leadership responsibilities on campus. I also like to sneak in time to sleep, eat, and have a little “me time,” which usually results in watching Fixer Upper on Netflix or re-watching many of the TV series I have already completed.
22 series to be exact.
We often times feel as though we have such a long “to-do list” or like we do not have enough hours in the day to fit in just a few minutes to spend time with God. This breaks my heart. Teens today have such busy schedules. My two younger cousins, ages 18 and 13, have dance, cheer, softball, and gymnastics practices constantly. During the school year they do not get to spend a single evening at home. Their parents are always on the go to make sure their children are where they are supposed to be each day which causes stress and exhaustion. This is true for many teens and parents today.
Let me just go ahead and say that watching Netflix is not a bad thing. Spending time with friends and family watching movies, having a little relaxing “me time” watching your favorite TV show – none of these are bad things. We all need a fun, little break every now and then. But hear me when I say this – NOTHING should take time away from spending time in the Word and walking with Jesus daily. Although life can get busy and we are exhausted at the end of a long day, we should still make our bible study a top priority. The Lord calls us to walk with him each and every day, every minute of every day.
Psalm 1:2 states, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Day and night, people. I often find myself rushing through my bible study, only to continue watching Netflix or doing something else that is on my mind. The world is full of distractions. Despite the many distractions of the world, we are to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2). Not only should we spend focused, quiet time in the Word, but we should also walk with God and talk to Him throughout the day. We should “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Christian teens, Christian moms, let us make our quiet time a number one priority each and every day. Let’s spend time with the Lord throughout the day, and begin and end each and every day thanking God for his blessings, grace and mercy. Let us watch Netflix and enjoy other fun activities, but let us all pray that we will never let those things get in the way of our bible study. Jesus is ALWAYS greater than Netflix.
By Grace Pohl
Whoever started the quote “High School is the best time of your life” obviously did not know what they were talking about. It is basically the opposite of High School Musical, sorry to break the news to you. Yes, high school can be fun, but it is not all that it is cracked up to be. Fun fact, I planned on being a teacher until I got to my freshman year and decided that teaching was not for me.
I graduated from Cheney High School in 2015 and now that I am out of it, the only thing I miss from high school are the football games. But high school definitely taught me some life lessons that I am glad to have learned.
- Failing that test is not the end of the world
I was never the best test taker; my SAT score can prove that. But, I still graduated from high school and got accepted into colleges even after failing my fair share of tests. That one test score does not define your life or definitely not your future. That one test score will not have your dream college deny you. My dream college was the University of Tennessee, and even with my not so good test scores, they still accepted me. Your life will go on, trust me.
- Your best friend WILL choose her boyfriend over you
Oh yes, the dating world in high school is a tough one. You will always think your best friend will still choose you over this new boy, but that will not be the case. I went through my fair share of heartache over a best friend choosing a boyfriend over me, but I grew to learn that is just how it goes. You will not really understand this until you get your own boyfriend and also choose them over your best friend. You just have to be there for each other when the relationship turns to heartbreak.
- You are never “too cool” for your parents
Even though you may feel “cool” in high school, you are really not. I mean you still have to ask for permission to go to the bathroom, so get over yourself. You need to still involve your parents in your life because they will want to be there – and for a good reason! You need to realize that you will never be too cool for your parents, especially in high school. Choose to watch Netflix with them instead of going out with friends every once in awhile.
- Be involved
Even if sports are not your thing, go to the sporting events. This is the one part of high school you will most likely miss. You will always remember the game winning touchdown at the homecoming game and going out for celebration burgers after the game with your friends. The one way to make high school most enjoyable is to go to school events and be involved in your community. Not only will you have more fun, it will look good on college applications if you apply yourself to more community events.
- Do not get involved with the party scene
This was a big one for me. I refused to get dragged into the party scene and it resulted in me seeing some of my friend’s true colors, which dramatically changed the relationship. Getting drunk or high every weekend is not how you should be spending your time. You are a teenager who should not be wasting your life getting involved in that toxic part of high school – do not even get me started on college. I feel like not a lot of people realize or maybe they just don’t care, but if you are caught drinking underage, you will have a record for the rest of your life. Now failing that test I talked about before may not affect your college acceptance, but having a record will definitely affect your college acceptance. Every time you fill out an application, you will have to state that you have a record. Now is that really worth it?
- It is possible you may grow apart from your best friend
I used to think my best friend was always going to be in my life, as close as ever. But that was not the case for me. I have grown apart from best friends throughout my time of high school and it was tough. There are two best friends in particular that I thought were always going to be there deeply rooted in my life, but now that is not really the case. This can be really hard; I still struggle with it today. But, it is not the end of the world. God will take somebody out of your life for a reason, whether you will find out the reason or not. You just have to trust God that He knows what He is doing.
- Enjoy your senior year
Senior year was by far my favorite year of high school. You are the top dog and you make sure everyone knows it. You get to finally go on that senior cruise everyone talks about and you get the best seats at the football games. I do not regret one thing from senior year and I firmly believe it is because I let myself enjoy every second of it. Go to every single school function this year because it will be your last chance. You will not be able to wear your letterman’s jacket anymore either, so make sure you wear that baby as much as you can.
One last thing is, do not be that person that is permanently stuck in high school, mentally or physically. Do not be that person that graduated but still goes and sits in the student section at games. And by all means, do not show up at high school dances after you graduate, we all had that one people when we were in high school do that, so do not become that person. Realize that your time is over, and you need to let other people live their lives in high school
So with that, I will leave you with a verse that I always leaned on throughout high school and I still do throughout my post high school life.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)