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Muck Boots

Muck boots.

Muck boots and laughter.

Muck boots, laughter and deep mud.

I can still hear the sound of my daughter and her best friend stomping in the mud on a cold November day. The37363764_s rest of us enjoyed the warmth of the bonfire as we listened to the Apple Cup football game on the radio.

Those two were having so much fun in the deep mud. However, the fun came to an end when they got stuck. The more they panicked trying to get out, the more stuck they got. At the bonfire we could hear the sound of the girls yelling for their dads to help them.

Both of the dads ran quickly to help the girls. They carefully positioned their feet so they would not get stuck themselves. They had to pull as hard as they could to get the girls out of the mud. One of the girls lost her boot because the mud refused to loosen its grip. Their dads were stronger than the mud that had its grip on them.

What started out as fun, led the two girls to be trapped in a place that only their fathers were strong enough to pull them out of. No matter how old we are we may find ourselves playing in the mud in a different way.  Pornography, unhealthy sexual relationships , drugs, and excessive drinking are just a few ways you can find yourself stuck in a mess you never wanted to be in.

If you are stuck in a place you don’t want to be, call out to God. No matter how much mud you may find yourself in, God can pull you out of it and clean you off. Tell Him you need His help and He will be there. He will make you white as snow when you ask Him for forgiveness. Also, ask someone you trust for help. Go to them and be honest about what is going on. Tell them you need prayer and accountability. You might even be surprised to find out that they may have stepped in their fair share of mud too. If you need to speak to a professional or seek treatment do so. There is never any shame in getting the help you need.

Don’t ever think there is no way out of the mud. Cry out for help. Your father in heaven will come running just like the dads did when the girls yelled for help. Psalms 40:2 says, He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.(NIV) Believe He will lift you out of the mud, out of the muck and mire, just like scripture says. Please be honest with God and those you love.

Be careful what you step in, even with your muck books on.

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Lead By Example

This was originally written and posted on the Whatever Girls Ministry as “lead your daughter by example”

Whatever-Girls-ButtonAh, a free moment. As a mom, that is a rare thing. Sitting on the patio at the cabin I noticed a mother duck and her ducklings. She swam towards the beach with her babies in tow. I was fascinated. The babies watched everything she did. She turned, they turned. If she put her head under the water, they put their heads under the water. As the babies went under the water they occasionally got turned around. I watched them look for their mother when their heads came out of the water and they would swim as fast as they could to get close to her. Watching them made me smile.

As I sat there, it made me think about how much our children watch us. Our children learn by our example just as those ducklings were learning from their mother. If anger is what we model to our children, it is what they will believe is acceptable. If we show kindness and respect towards others, our children will learn to treat people the same way. Racism is a learned behavior as is taking responsibility or not taking responsibility for one’s actions.

One of the most convicting things to me was hearing my son at a very young age use a four letter word that started with an “S” and ended with a “T”. My husband asked him where he learned a word like that. “From mom,” he replied. The word that upset my husband and me when it came out of our little boy’s mouth was the word that seemed to be flowing from my mouth. That got my attention and I knew I needed to make some changes.

Just as our kids pick up on the bad moments we are having, they also pick up on the good things we model to them. Making Christ a priority in your own life teaches your children the importance of having a relationship with Him. Our kids are a lot like those ducklings I watched imitating their mom. If we imitate Christ in our actions, we are teaching them to do the same.

As I watched the mother duck and her ducklings, God put it on my heart that no matter how old our children are, they continue to watch us. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t think that because your children reach their teens they no longer need to learn from you. They will need you in a whole new way than when they were little. They need to see you setting an example of what self-respect looks like.   Modeling self-respect to your teens can keep them from making choices they’ll regret. If your teens see you stand up for what is right and against what is wrong, you are teaching them to do the same. You just might find you have a teen that stands up to bullying because of what you have modeled to them about how others should be treated.

My children are in their very early twenties and I continue to live my life in a way that models Jesus to them. I continue to live in a way that shows them the value of self-respect and kindness towards others. When I make a mistake, I take responsibility for it because I know my kids are still watching me. My kids may be grown but they are still my ducklings and your kids will always be your ducklings.   Don’t forget – they are watching you.

 

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#WhenMomsPray: A Call to Moms to Pray for Their Daughters


By:
Erin Bishop

The world seems to be getting darker with each new generation. Kids are engaging in reckless behaviors and are becoming entangled in the enemy’s snares at an alarming rate.

None of our daughters are immune to peer pressure and temptations.

It can be daunting.

As a result, mothers can feel hopeless and weary. Exactly where the enemy wants them.

I know what hopeless and weary feel like.

I know what not wanting to pray feels like, too.

But a mother plagued by hopelessness and weariness is a distracted and ineffective warrior.

When we keep our eyes on God, not the storm, we have hope.

And hope is the birthplace of victory.

How do we get there?

On our knees.

When Moms Pray SquareYou see, a mother’s most effective battle position is on her knees before the throne room of King Jesus.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Last summer, when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenges were all over social media I found myself wondering:

What if moms prayed for their daughters? Not just the quick ‘help her_________, Lord’ type of prayers, or the afterthought prayers I feel so guilty about praying, but really prayed? If all these people are willing to throw ice water on themselves to raise awareness for a horrible disease, surely there must be some moms out there who would be up for a prayer challenge.”

And I was right. Hundreds of moms from around the world joined us and prayed for their daughters every day of the school year.

As I was organizing the prayer challenge last year, I came across a verse in Paul’s letter to the Romans (1:8) that I could not stop thinking about. I still can’t.

“…your faith is being reported all over the world.” There is such significance in these nine words.

This letter is said to have been written around A.D. 57, and was likely transported by ship to Rome by someone Paul knew. This was long before mail, phones, email, YouTube, texting, Twitter and Facebook.

Yet, he wrote:

“…your faith is being reported all-over-the-world.

I just took a quick writing break to comment on a friend’s video that she took today in Israel and posted on Facebook. She replied to my comment within minutes. From Washington State to Israel and back. It’s astounding how much communication methods have transformed since Paul wrote to the Romans.

An Invitation:

“Whatever ground is gained for Christianity in one generation can be totally lost in the next if the former generation fails to impart passion for the things of God to their children. So parenthood is a great blessing-not only to us but to God as well-because through our children the hope of God’s people taking dominion and advancing His kingdom in the earth can live on, growing with each generation. “ Mike Shreve

Will you join me, and hundreds of moms across the world in praying over and activating God’s promises for our daughters? May news of our faith and intentional prayers for our daughters be reported all over the world.

“Once promises are known, believers do not need to beg God to
do those things He has already pledged to do.”
– Mike Shreve

This year’s prayer challenge will be launched on September 1 and go through June 17.

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.

Will You Share and Invite?

Please invite all the moms of daughters you know to join us in this sacred place. Let’s pray that the words Paul wrote to the Romans will be used to describe our prayer movement. The our faith would be heard of all over the world, and that Jesus’s name would be glorified for generations to come.

Recommended Resource:

65 Promises from God for Your Child: Powerful Prayers for Supernatural Results by Mike Shreve

 

Erin Bishop is the founder and president of the Whatever Girls MinistryThe Whatever Girls mission isScreen Shot 2014-06-17 at 1.34.33 PM
“intentional moms and intentional daughters”. They strive to empower teen girls to choose God’s best for their lives by exemplifying the pillars of Philippians 4:8. Erin lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and their two children.

 

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Make Him Climb for You; My Big Brother’s Dating Advice

Whatever-Girls-ButtonOriginally written for the Whatever Girls, By Hanna “Hanna’s Happenings”

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.967138_10200954591854499_1093920128_o

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.”

919763_10200876317137680_920390084_oWho 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.

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Childlike Faith

Do your kids take what you say literally? Ours have and we’ve had some great laughs over the years because of Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.34.03 PMit. Sometimes it was their limited understanding of who God was that brought us the best moments of laughter and some very important lessons. Our children are adults now and those lessons and the laughter they brought us will stay with us forever.

While flying with our very young children, we had one of the best laughs about God. My husband and son were sitting one row up and across the aisle from my daughter and me. To their right and directly in front of me was a priest. When our son was little, we tried to explain to him who God was, to the best of our ability. This was a few years before we really came to know God.

As the plane was taking off, my son very loudly said, “Dad, you told me that God was above the clouds so how come I can’t see Him?” I watched the priest in front of me shake with laughter. I was laughing along with him. My son had heard us say that God was in heaven. He asked where heaven was and we said, “up in the sky.” My little boy had held that piece of knowledge in his head and he was sure he was going to see God because the plane was now in the sky.

Let’s back up. I said that sometimes our kids’ limited understanding of who God is can bring us the best laughs. That is true but maybe their understanding of God is not really limited. Maybe it is our understanding that is limited.

My son believed there was a God. He believed God was in the sky because that is where we told him heaven was. He took what he knew to be true and believed it with his whole heart. He had faith and he expected to see God.

Shouldn’t we all have that kind of faith to expect to see the hand of God or at least feel God in every situation? Shouldn’t we have the kind of faith to believe that God is there even if we can’t see Him? Our son had never seen God but he knew He was there and he expected to see Him. He had childlike or uninhibited faith that had not been clouded by the world.

We had to explain to our little guy that even though we can’t see heaven with our eyes that it is still real. And even though he could not see God out the window of the plane, God was always with us.

As the years passed, our son still believed that to be true. One day he found himself in a spot where he had to overcome a fear. He pressed into God with that childlike, uninhibited faith. My husband cried as he told me the story of watching our son overcoming his fear on the ropes course by saying and believing, “All things are possible with Him.” He could not see God but he EXPECTED that God would hear him and he EXPECTED that God would be with him as he did the course. That day our son finished that ropes course knowing that God was helping him.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.30.25 PMI think as adults it is so easy to forget what childlike faith is and our prayers become limited to what we know to be true in the here and now. We forget to really “expect God to be God.” I think that children have a much clearer view of who God really is and I want to encourage you to take a look at God through the eyes of a child.   We should all want to have childlike, uninhibited faith that has not been clouded by this world.

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God puts great gifts inside of funny packages

By the midlife domestic goddess (for the Whatever girls site)

I am currently enrolled in on-line classes at Portland Bible College and while listening to a lecture in one of my classes my Professor, Pastor Frank Damazio, said something that really stuck with me.  He said, “God puts great gifts inside of funny packages”.

To the teens out there, especially you junior high age girls, I remember what it was like. I was already hard enough trying to deal with the changes in my body, I got sick to top things off.  I woke up one morning in Jr. high and I was swollen.  Now I don’t mean just a little swollen, I mean stay puff marshmallow man kind of swollen.  Most of you won’t younger girls won’t know what that is so I’ll insert my picture now.

I had gained over 20 pounds of water weight in less than 24 hours.  My cheeks were so big it made my eyes squint.  My mom had me into the Doctors office so fast and from there I was on to a specialist.  Before I knew it I was lying in hospital bed and there I would stay for a week until they could get my kidneys under control. My kidneys were working backwards for lack of an easier way to explain it.  I was retaining salt when I should have been releasing it. The doctors were actually afraid my kidneys could fail.

This lead to a yearlong diet of NO SALT.  Salt is in everything young kids like to eat which means my diet stunk.  It also meant that I had to go on high dosages of steroids for almost 2 years.  The steroids made me puff up all over again and they made my red hair huge and frizzy.  I was already teased for having red hair so the frizz only made me feel even more awkward.  I know there may some young ladies reading this today and you may also feel awkward in your body right now or maybe you have been made to feel bad about yourself because of the rude remarks of others.

I understand those same kinds of feelings. I was a funny package on the outside but the truth is that God puts the best gifts in the funniest packages and it is those gifts that outshine any outward beauty.  As a teen I was not in a relationship with God like I am now.  I knew he existed and I said my prayers now and than but I had no idea just how special and beautiful I was to him.  Inside that awkward package that I was, there were the gifts of laughter, friendship, loyalty, and kindness.  In the years to come I would find my way into a deeper relationship with God. In my walk I have learned some very important things. For example I now see that God is not interested in how we look from the outside. He is concerned with how we look from the inside.  God is concerned with the condition of our hearts.  If you are feeling like a funny package on the outside remember this…. so are most of the other kids your age.  The sad thing is some of them don’t realize just how special they are so they conform to the world’s idea of beauty.

You don’t need to be like that. Don’t waste your time trying to look beautiful in the eyes of the world, let your beauty come from what is within. Psalms 139:14 is a perfect verse to claim for yourself.  Learn it and remember it. Let the truth in the verse speak to your heart.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

As I said before, God puts great gifts inside of funny packages.  Never forget to share your gifts.  Let them spill out of you and be a blessing to all those who are around you.  Also, do not let the comments of others bring you down because you are of royal blood. Jesus Christ the King of Kings lives in you and you are perfect just the way you are.  My fuzzy hair is now gone along with my puffiness but one thing is still the same.  I am still full of laughter, friendship, kindness and loyalty.  God has also filled me with many other gifts and when I look in the mirror I still see the same funny package and I am happy with who I am.  I hope you are happy with yourself too.

Originally Posted on the Whatever girls page.  Be sure to check out their page

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