Date Abuse In Teens

I was reading a statistic that said that 1 in 3 teenagers report abuse in dating. I googled to see if that seemed normal and one site said 38% and another said 1 in 4 teens are abused. Reporting can be spotty since most girls keep it a secret. On the surface it’s hard to understand why a girl would go through this when she has her life ahead of her and her choices are endless. The problem with this type of thinking is that we forget to think like a teenage girl whose completely infatuated with love and having that cute boy or bad boy at any cost.

As with adult women in abusive situations these men are often quite apologetic after their abuse. They cry, they send flowers or gifts, the promise that it will never happen again. They swear that if she hadn’t have angered him so much he wouldn’t have done it. If a grown woman falls for these lines time after time then what can we expect from our teenagers? As with adult women, teenage girls tend to make excuses and feel responsible for the abuse. Then there are the girls who abuse the boys as well.

One question needs to be asked: What does using our strength look like? If we, as the women God, have been placed to lead our girls and don’t know the answer to this questions then how do we think they respond? A question I asked a group of youth girls recently was, “What does showing your strength as a woman look like?”, it was met with blank stares and a question, “What do you mean?”. I then asked the women, “Why can’t the girls that we mentor answer this question confidently?”, and it was boldly answered by one women, “Because we don’t know either”.

We must empower our girls to know that they are the Crown of Creation. There is a way to treat a woman and that must be taught. I know you are reading this and thinking that we have to teach our sons but you, as a woman, need to understand how you should be treated and not accept anything less than that. I have to admit I saw that we aren’t doing our job with our daughters when I heard a young woman of 17 say, “A woman shows her strength by being tough, showing a man she can do it by herself, you know? They can’t hurt her.”

A woman doesn’t show her strength by being tough. We weren’t designed to be physically tough. We were designed after everything on the earth was created. God didn’t create anything else after he created us. We show our strength in our nurturing, we show our strength in our ability to be relational, we show our strength in our love. Teen girls are being abused because they don’t know their strength, they don’t know their worth, they don’t know their possibilities. So they think being abused is as good as it gets and that saying sorry fixes it. We need to elevate our worth to a higher standard.

Just because a male is good-looking, charming, popular, smart or a jock doesn’t mean he has character and integrity. A person can be smart but that doesn’t mean they are decent humans. Just because he says he is sorry doesn’t mean we take him back. We are worthy of so much more than this! How will our young women know these things if we aren’t teaching it? How can we change these statistics unless we speak out and have dialogue? Stop for a moment as you read this and think about it. Have you talked to the young women in your life about abuse in dating? Are you watching for the signs?

We must learn that our strength is in our ability to think for ourselves. Our strength is holding ourselves to a high standard of morality and worth. Our strength is in not following the crowd. Our strength is in the ability to discern right from wrong. These things only happen when we are able to truly know who we were created to be.

Young Mother’s Group

Titus 2:3 Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. 4 By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, 5 be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.

Tonight TLC starts a new class for the young mom’s in the church. Those of us who have older children and have been there done that and have the t-shirt have decided to feed them with a potluck dinner and then begin to mentor them.

What kind of chores can you give a toddler?

How can you get a shower when you can’t even get a single moment alone?

How can you keep the house clean when each time you leave a room, a child or children come and throw their toys again?

What do you do about a husband who wants to have some sex and you just want to sleep?

What happened to the pretty perfume smell you used to have because now you smell like baby spit-up?

Is there anymore ME time?

What do you do with a child who refuses to do anything you say?

What do you do when your child asks why for everything?

How do you get your child to eat something other than chicken nuggets?

What do you do when a child throws a major tantrum in the grocery store?

Yes, lots of questions that the older moms and grandmothers can answer. It’s going to be a great night! Looking forward to being a help and support!

The Spirit of Pharaoh fall2003 crossedarms.html

Moses was asked by God to deliver his people, the Israelites, out of bondage from the Pharaoh of Egypt. Moses and his brother Aaron went obediently to Pharaoh and gave him the word of the Lord. Pharaoh’s first reply to Moses was,

Pharaoh 5:2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.”

Sadly, the story goes downhill for Pharaoh from there. As God introduces himself on the scene of Pharaoh’s life it’s not a pretty greeting. Three chapters later we find Pharaoh in the same place. After God has begun to send plagues to the land of Egypt, Pharaoh cries uncle in the midst of each plague and then reverts back to his old ways of thinking once the danger is gone.

Exodus 8:8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” 10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.” 12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.

How frustrating it must have been for Moses who saw hardship escalate in the land where he was raised. How misguided Pharaoh was to give a word and then retract it once the danger was over. Yet, that spirit follows us today. How many times do we pray to God making deals to get out of situations only to find that we once the danger is over the deal is off and our hearts are hardened once again? How often do we make promises and then mid-stream determine that we no longer want to fulfill them? Rather than deal honestly with the real issue at hand, losing control of our lives, we instead cast the bait and then retract it.

For Pharaoh, the end result was the death of his first born son. What will it be for us? What price is too high to pay? Why not allow our word to define our character and not make deals we were never intending to keep? Why not allow God to move in our lives?

The Man Who Is My Son

Today I celebrate one of the best days of my life. Today is the birthday of my son. How could I have known love so profound as the day I met Anthony?

I was a young, stupid, crazy teenager when he was conceived but he changed my life more than any other event so far. He was precious from the day I laid eyes on him. How could I have known that one day he would be this grown man who is taller than I am and so much wiser?

“Hola Momma” is how he starts out his conversations to me each week. That’s about the extent of his Taco Bell Spanish but when I hear his voice on the phone, I smile no matter what is going on in the moment. How could I have known how much I miss hugging that puppy-smelling little boy?

He’s in love now and she’s a great girl. I watch how he watches her, how he treats her, and I see that my son is good to her. How could I have known as I stood outside his car when he was 16 and insisted that he get out and come and open the door for me, that I was teaching him to be a man and not just a male?

So many memories flood my mind on this day but one thing is for sure in my life. I am blessed to know Anthony. If that were all I’d be happy. How could I have known that God would love me enough to allow me the privilege of being his mother?



Lulu The Wonder Dog - August 2010

I was going through some old blog posts and thought this bears repeating……And just in case you’re wondering about Lulu, she will be 3 years old in December and a very behaved, but quite spoiled, dog!

Lulu, my puppy, grabbed a garment out of the laundry basket that I was preparing to take downstairs to wash and began to run with it to her crate. She takes things there to hide them from me. I ran after her and took it and told her “NO!”. She watched me put it in the laundry basket and she grabbed it again. Again I chased her down and took it. “NO”! This time I set the basket on top of the hamper and out of her reach as I continued sorting laundry. She was fixated on the garment and after a few attempts to jump to get up far enough to grab it once again (impossible), she got smart and jumped on the hamper knocking the basket over and grabbing the same garment.

As I went chasing her again I thought of God. How many times has he taken things away that weren’t good for us? How many times have we desired what we could not have and gone for it anyway? Disregarding the voice that tells us “NO!”? How many times has leaving the old way of things become too difficult so we go back to the familiar?

Let’s look at the word fixation from a psychological standpoint. The word means:

A strong attachment to a person or thing, especially such an attachment formed in childhood or infancy and manifested in immature or neurotic behavior that persists throughout life.

Lulu is 11 weeks old. She is certainly forming attachments at this age and it’s important that I set boundaries or I will have a misbehaving dog which I don’t want. How did I relate this to us as followers of Christ though? I have to ask the question what does it say when God is clearly saying no and we are fighting him to get what we want? What does it say when we are knocking things down to reach for that thing that he wants us to put away and not touch again?

The bible speaks of this.
Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain?

In this passage we see a group of new believers who are finding living by grace hard because the old way of the law is easier to understand and makes you feel good. When it speaks of being made perfect it means becoming mature for no one is perfect.

Fixation certainly speaks to an immaturity. How many times have we started out on the right track and because it was not what we wanted in the flesh we move toward watering down our obedience to better fit our desire? We then debate the law. Did God really mean that or did I misunderstand? Is that my personal conviction or should you also tow the same line as me? We justify useless behavior thinking it makes us holy instead of doing simply what grace demands.

We become fixated on the wrong thing, just as Lulu did, and it causes us to be neurotic. Neurotic means we become anxious and emotional over the thing we are fixated on. Whether it’s that boyfriend God said no to but you’re still talking to him, or that offense you say you’ve let go of but you can’t stop talking about, it’s a fixation.

Lulu ended up being crated for a few minutes while I finished sorting my laundry. She wasn’t happy about it but she came out of the crate with a different attitude. Does God have to do that to us? Even when he does, do we get it or do we continue to pursue the wrong thing ultimately missing the blessing of the right thing?

Today examine yourself and your fixations. Are they healthy or are there things God’s been asking you to quit? Are they profitable, meaning are they a benefit to you, or do they cost you more than you bargained for?

An Introvert’s Perspective on Church

I read a very interesting and well written article in The Washington Post, by Adam S. McHugh, that I thought I’d share. I am a social person in small circles and yet, very introverted in many aspects of my life. I need alone time to recharge and I have never felt the need to be with someone all the time. In fact, when Doug and I go away for a break, often we’ll take off by ourselves and meet back up for dinner. It’s something that I love about my husband, we have the ability to entertain ourselves, but I digress from where this article is going. I have to agree that maybe church can be an overwhelming place to some. I wonder where the line is?

I have to agree with this:

Too often “ideal” Christians are social and gregarious, with an overt passion and enthusiasm. They find it easy to share the gospel with strangers, eagerly invite people into their homes, participate in a wide variety of activities, and quickly assume leadership responsibilities.

Click Here to read the article.

This Is The Reason

Being a stepmom is not an easy task. There are rewards but also deep sadness that comes with the job. I read this a couple of days ago. I don’t know who wrote it, I wish I did so I could give credit where it is due because it is a profound writing. I know about this feeling. This is the reason why I am resolved to talk about the journey of blending a family. This is the reason why teaching and support is so vitally important in the church and why I can’t stay quiet.

I am a StepMom. I am on the front burner, yet I stand in shadow. I am the pseudo mom, the substitute for the one who, for a time, would not be. I am visible, yet invisible. I am looked to for guidance, yet I pass on little to nothing as a result. My values are esteemed, yet in most part, not emulated. I am connected by… feelings of love and by their insistence I be Mom, yet I am disconnected by the harsh reality of biology and loyalty conflicts. I am the foil for all of her failures and I stand forever on shifting sands, always advancing then retreating into the relative safety of ambivalence. I am asked to be what she is not, yet I am never completely acceptable. I am the Shadow mom and this is my reality.

Postponing Joy

I was listening to a sermon by Pastor Jim Reeve and he said he had always postponed joy. He was happy but always waiting for the next best thing. It so ministered to me because I am the same way.

I’m happy in the moment but can’t always say that I am content. I am content in aspects of my life and in others, I’m waiting for the next best thing. It’s been that way in this building project. I was happy when the sheetrock went in but I couldn’t wait until the platform went in, I was happy when the platform went in but I couldn’t wait for the paint, I was happy with the paint but couldn’t wait for the bathrooms, and so the list goes on. Someone even told me to enjoy the process but I couldn’t, or rather, I wouldn’t.

In my mind I was always moving forward to the next big joyous moment, but in the process I may have missed some of the joyous moments I was in. I want to do things differently in the next half of my life. I want to enjoy the process and I don’t want to be in so much of a hurry that I dismiss the joy of the moment and keep thinking it’s just on the horizon of my life.

The Hour Of Power

Jack Canfield is a success coach. I read his facebook postings and they are inspiring to me. Last month he offered a challenge to take an hour of power. I’ve decided to do this for myself and I’d like to encourage you to do so as well. So here’s the challenge:

Spend one hour on yourself. Nurture your body, mind and spirit.
20 minutes reading
20 minutes in prayer/meditation
20 minutes exercising

I’d like to see how the stress level changes in my life. How the time spent with God changes my life, and how fit I become. What about you?