Planned Parenthood, I’d like to introduce you to someone…

I’d like to introduce you to someone. She is one of the strongest people I know. In every sense of the word, she is a miracle. Her name is Charli Sophia and she is two years old. 

 

Charli is my second cousin. Her mother, Mallory, is my first cousin. I remember hearing the news that Mallory was expecting. I was overjoyed! I was also expecting with my second child. Mallory was that wonderful mother who documented every step of her pregnancy with crafty chalkboard announcements. It was adorable. I secretly longed to be cute too, but it was child number two and I really just wanted to make it through the day with my Icee. See how sweet this is:

 

This would be the last chalkboard sign that Mallory decorated for Her pregnancy journey. Just a few short days after this was taken, Mallory, after complications, delivered a very tiny Charli Sophia at 23 weeks. Our daughters-second cousins-who were expected to be five months apart were now only separated by four short weeks. I do not pretend to speak to you as someone who has experienced the kind of fear and anxiety that comes from a journey like this. I’ve only watched and prayed from the sidelines. 

I can speak of facts. Like, Charli was just over 1 pound when she was delivered. Her precious head, the size of a golf ball and her entire body able to fit in the palm of your hand. 

 

I can speak of the incredible team of doctors, nurses and specialists that literally fought for this little one for months. They fought to help her breathe, help her eat, help her feel comfort, help her live.  A great deal of medical intelligence was exhausted on seeing this little girl survive and thrive. I can speak of her parents – the strength, the faith, oh, the faith! Their days were long, hard, exhausting. Every breath Charli took must have seemed like a milestone that allowed you to catch your own breath for a brief moment. By the divine sovereignty of God, the Creator, and this amazing team of Medical Professionals, Charli not only celebrated cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A yesterday, but she NEVER  REQUIRED a surgery. This is miraculous. A TRUE story of survival, bravery and strength. Charli is a survivor. She is a miracle. She is a blessing. She is a gift.

Twenty three weeks. A week shy of the “legal” gestation period to abort an unborn child. Down the road from charli’s ICU pod, others in the medical field would be performing abortions on children the same age as this precious little one here. Only a few miles separated a place people spent every effort to save a life from those that sought to extinguish one. 

I may say something shocking here. I am not surprised about the recent findings regarding Planned Parenthood. I find it evil. Disgusting. Repulsive. But not shocking.  

My heart aches. I despise that I’m not shocked. 

After proof of these atrocities, can we all just man up and call abortion what it really is? 

It’s killing babies. It’s taking life. It’s murder. We ALL know this. For anyone to deny it, is unreasonable. Use scientific and medical jargon all you want. In the footage thats been posted to social media it’s admitted that HUMAN organs are being harvested, placed on a “menu”, collected and surgically sought after & removed and SOLD. For the organs to be “human” they must come from what? A HUMAN. it’s not hard to understand. I’m even trying to be simplistic in stating this. 

When someone unwantingly takes a child’s life from the womb of a mother, we call it horrific. We call it murder. People are held responsible. When a mother chooses to take the life of her unborn child we call it choice and redefine that child a fetus. Definitions seem to make or break the difference between attempting to save the life of a child or being allowed to take the life away. Definitions. Terms. Qualifications. Personal opinion and preference.

If we are going to continue to act ignorantly for the sake of political correctness let’s be thorough.  When you miss your period, do NOT go and purchase a Pregnancy Test. You are NOT pregnant. By definition, to be pregnant is “having a child or other offspring in the body, with child or young, as a woman or female mammal.” If it is not a child inside of you, but a fetus or blob of cells and tissue, then by definition you cannot be pregnant. Whew, what a relief! 

Liberals might want to invest in developing a Fetus Test. I suppose we will one day even have to defrentiate when asking a woman about her growing abdomen. “Oh how nice! Are you pregnant or are you just expecting to pass tissue?” 

It sounds ridiculous because it is. 

Bottom line: life is precious. No matter it’s length. No matter it’s form. No matter if it has extra chromosomes. No matter if it was planned or unplanned. It is precious because the Sovereign God breathed His very breath of life into it, at conception

Charli is a flourishing, beautiful little two year old who keeps her parents on their toes! She is all those things because SHE was a fighter, even at 23 weeks, and because people fought for her and God chose to heal and grow her body. 

I may have zero medical experience but I choose to join the fight for these unborn children. 

Cleavage Isn’t the Problem, Sin is.

Oh. My. Goodness.

For a week now, I’ve seen repost after repost about Christian Cleavage and modesty. I’ve had some of the girls I teach ask me about the articles floating around. I’m going to respond with my two cents, knowing good and well the fury that’s about to flood over me by many of you.

I have read the blog that got this whole craze started. I thought it was good. I thought the author came from a place of genuineness and he supported his thoughts with scripture. Note: I read the “rewritten version” so that’s the only one I can vouch for. I also read another blog posted by a popular Christian magazine site. I have to say i was sort of appalled by some of the points there. But controversy sells just like sex.

What I have to say is no more important, relevant or right. However, one thing about my stance that separates it, is that I am speaking AS a female regarding female modesty.

First, let we as Christ followers be careful from the first warning that we assume the worst in everyone. Biblical fact: all of us are sinners. It can therefore be assumed that everyone does have some “worst” in them. Here me loud and clear…I am all about grace. I love me some grace. I’m thankful for some grace! I’m covered by it, drowning in it, call it amazing and cannot resist it (ugh oh). I absolutely believe in the freedom grace offers – but hear me out – I believe grace offers freedom FROM…, not necessarily freedom TO…(if you feel the urge to quit reading, this is a great place to do so). That’s not what this blog is about. This is also a good place to mention that I’m referring to modesty amongst discipled believers, not unbelievers, or perhaps even new believers (see, I have grace). But I do believe every person that walks this earth battles with their flesh – men AND women.

Can we all – male AND female – take a stand to be responsible for our behaviors. Guys speaking on female modesty try to be gracious by saying they need our help to keep their minds pure. They tell us of their own struggles with visual temptations. But girls, make no mistake we ARE part of the problem. Do we as females not wake up and pick out our very outfits thinking about what, or whose, attention we might capture? Not to shame my own gender, but we too often know EXACTLY what we are doing with our push-up bras and low cut v-necks. We say we do it as competition between other girls – and that is true too. We are females, we can have multiple intentions at once!

I don’t care if it’s mini skirts, mile high heels, leggings or low cut shirts. Females can manipulate the mess out of it. And if sin be in our hearts, I assure you our modesty can, and often will, reflect it.

We all, guys and gals, need to heed the warning to take every thought captive (2 cor. 10:5). Whether the though it lustful or a longing to manipulate; we must confess, repent and strive to be holy – especially in our thoughts. Thoughts lead to words, actions, habits.

There is NOthing shameful about a woman’s body! No matter the size, frame, color or curve – it’s all beautiful in the eyes of the one who created it. It can also be beautiful to others around us, and there is nothing shameful about that. God created man and woman and genesis 2:25 tells us:
Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.

Amen! God saw nothing wrong with the body and showing off all you got…originally. See, shame didn’t enter until sin entered. Adam & Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and then suddenly shame takes center stage.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew they were naked and felt shame. genesis 3:7
And we’ve been dealing with the shame ever sense. The shame of our nakedness. The shame of our consequences. The shame of not being enough. But that was NEVER Gods intention.

Bodies are not shameful and anyone that teaches such a thing is blasphemous. BUT, the way we present our bodies can be shameful. See, bodies are part of the problem when they are exploited and improperly exposed. If you are naive enough to disagree than explain to me why porn is a multi-billion dollar business or sex trafficking is rampant. It ain’t because of the love of personalities or stimulating conversations.

So, where is the modesty line you ask? To be real honest, I think that’s a stupid question. If you have to ask what parts of the female anatomy have the most impact, I fear your issue may be a head one just as much as a heart one. I’m not saying turtlenecks and ankle length blue jean skirts are the only option. I am saying pants with “juicy” on the butt and Instagram selfies of overhead cleavage shots really don’t reflect Gods desire for purity, protection, or any other tasteful quality. We as females can’t really set out to help the foot fetish guy out there, but we can set out to help every other heterosexual, warm blooded male from stumbling. Because guys ARE visual. Girls know what parts of our body CAN be used as a tool of manipulation. How about start with those areas. Baby steps right? Seek Gods word for guidance and pray about other areas He may want you to protect.
Girls, modesty protects you just as much as it protects that visual brother.

Sin is the most devastating issue in our world. Part of that issue, a large part in our day, is sexual sin. Purity, whatever it’s form, is a battle. I am a girl and have been for over thirty years. It hasn’t gotten any easier in that time. Culture tells me if guys do not look at me, my body is the problem. I’ve also been told by some people that if guys do look at me, my body is the problem. The problem is not my body. The problem is my sinful state if I’m presenting my body in a way that grieves God and the sinful state of man in general. Deal with the sin.

Psalm 119:9 – how can a young man keep his way pure, by guarding it according to your word.

That goes for men AND women. A guys whose heart is in tune with God can withstand the thoughts and cease to indulge. A girl whose heart is in tune with God will not present herself in an immodest way.

Grace & Coffee

One of my New Years resolutions was to blog more. Clearly, that’s been a success.

In my defense, January has started out at about 97mph.

In the last week alone there have been airport runs, out of state travels, hotel stays, my brothers wedding, set ups, tear downs, rehearsals, event planning meetings, girls’ ministry counsel sessions and so much more.
I love going. I love being busy. My oldest daughter is the same way. She goes with the flow. My youngest, not so much. Any lapse in routine sends her into a frenzy and this weeks craziness of late nights and lapse of naps literally gave her hives.

This motherhood thing is tough. Let’s face it, life is tough sometimes. I got a sweet text from a mentor a few days ago asking me how I survived. My reply: grace & coffee. Grace. And. Coffee.

It was meant in jest, but the more I laughed about it (because I’m a hysterical person and crack myself up) the more I was brought to tears. I’ve talked and heard a lot about grace this week. Grace is the reason I get up. Grace is the reason I breathe. Grace is why I push through. Grace is, genuinely, how I survive. Grace is my hope. Hope is my anchor.

When things get rough and crazy around I know my anchor holds.

This very lesson is one Gods been teaching me for almost two years. It’s not a new idea. It’s just something that resonates differently now with life’s circumstances. Some days my failures feel like drowning. My panic takes over when I realize I cannot see land. But my Anchor holds fast. Not moving. I cling tightly knowing surety.

Now, I will reach for another cup of coffee, chant “grace” like a pep talk and leave you with my prayer this morning from Hebrews 6:19.

Oh, the hope You give, the hope I need. Thank you for being my Anchor – for my life, for my soul. Always firm. ALWAYS secure. The kind of hope that gives me not just confidence but permission to enter your presence – a place I long to be.”

Christmas Irony

As if Santa Claus hasn’t caused enough controversy for me this week, I give you my Friday evening happenings…

My husband and I spent Friday evening at the local ER with my 18 month old. We knew she stuck something up her nose. It would not blow out and I was uncomfortable attacking her with tweezers. So, off we went. I mean what better way to spend an evening together but a tiny space filled with flu & strep outbreaks?

Upon, extraction, which was quite easy since the kid slept the entire time, we discovered – what else – but a rolled up Santa Claus sticker. I mean, of course! What else would it have been?!?!

Y’all, this is my life and you can’t make it up!

merry Christmas!

Santa for the Win

Whew! I have to be honest that I’m a little overwhelmed at the feedback from the last post. I literally thought MAYBE I’d hit the 100 views mark for the first time ever, a Christmas miracle. I wish I could say that if I thought thousands would be reading it, I would probably have left out the poo poo chocolate comment, but I’d be lying. Like anyone, I have flaws. I’m sarcastic. I’m clumsy. I need multiple cups of coffee to show kindness. When I’m nervous it tends to play out through inappropriateness. I have trouble with a my verbal filter…and what my mouth does catch it’s then my facial expressions that betray me.

I do want to thank everyone for the interest, kind words and even the critiques. I never set out to please everyone. That itself would be a failure. I appreciate and respect all the comments and views. Even the ones I couldn’t approve gave me a good laugh. Others made me sure that Christ’s return was near.

I will say it’s probably as close as I’ll ever come to going viral, besides the ear infection my 18 month old is currently battling. But don’t fear, I’m not letting it go to my head. When it first started getting shared I was spending the majority of my time cleaning up 4 year old vomit from in between my toes and off my bathroom wall…probably from all those Christmas cookies I let her eat. (Sarcasm people) that’ll keep you grounded though. Even now, I’m sitting in an unmade bed with my hair in a messy bun. I even opted for elastic sweatpants as opposed to the fancy yoga pants today. I’ll save those for my wal-mart trip. (Sarcasm, or not.)

On a serious note though, I will say that it’s Santa for the win on this. Here is why:

I don’t believe God gives us opportunities like this often. The platform to have our words heard, or read, by tens of thousands isn’t just by chance. I believe that the God I serve is real, invested in the detailed life of his children. I would be going against all I stand for and believe in if I didn’t first and foremost see this as an opportunity to proclaim Him.

I believe Matthew 12:36-37: But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

Santa is hot topic. If people want to talk about him, let’s chit chat it up. I’ll bake the cookies. But ultimately, I desire all my conversations to point to Christ. Please hear me, I LOVE Christmas and Christmas time and hot chocolate and a pedicure. But I LIVE for my Savior. I believe His Word true, His faithfulness perfect, His character flawless. I love Him fiercely. I don’t believe in keeping Him at a distance. I have a relationship with Him. A relationship where He sought and pursued me and He does so everyday.

I may never again have the opportunity to have my words seen by so many. Unless I get that book deal. (Ha!) So, I’ll take every chance he gives me to point to Him. So, thanks to Santa, I get to talk about Jesus!

I assure you, it’s not about me gaining followers, but about pointing people towards the One to follow.

So, Santa for the win.

Why my family does do Santa Claus, and does it BIG!

It’s December. The hustle and bustle is in over drive. Everything smells of frasier fir. Pinterest is a holy grail for moms everywhere. It’s that time of year where decorations, fashion and even radio music all have the same focus. I find this time of year magical. I always have. That span of calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas is, in my opinion, the most wonderful time of year!

Now that I have children of my own, this time seems even more precious. I get to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. Two actually, an eighteen month old and a four year old. And now, those children are being raised up in our Christian home! it seems I am asked almost daily, “do y’all do Santa Claus?”

Here is my answer: absolutely! And we don’t do anything halfway.

There are countless articles out there explaining how different families have chosen to go about handling what is apparently a huge holiday predicament. This blog is simply that, MY family’s choice and how we came to it. I have appreciated ALL the articles I’ve read. Like anyone, I agree and disagree with various points. I expect any readers to do the same of me. I just wanted people to know why we do our thing. It’s not a holiday predicament. It’s a tradition. Like eating turkey on thanksgiving. It doesn’t kill you. It doesn’t make you any less spiritual. Has today’s culture made it consumeristic? Yes, but they’ve been doing that for decades. They do the same for birthdays and back-to-school.

Now, my family does our best balancing the reality of the TRUE meaning of Christmas with the magical aspect of Christmas. I have amazing conversations with my four year old when she sees our Christmas tree ornament with Santa kneeling before the manger. She asks why Santa is praying and I explain that he is thanking God for the greatest gift of all, Jesus. Santa is NOT a God. Santa, real or not, bows to Christ because Philippians 2:10 tells us we all will. She asks why Santa brings gifts. I explain that Santa was so thankful that God gave the gift of Jesus that his heart wanted to bring gifts to others. God set the example of a giving heart and we are to have a giving heart. All these lessons must be taught to our children, though.

Simply, Christmas is about giving – because God gave. There’s also a balance of giving in there too.

After Chris and I went through Hurricane Katrina, we experienced the body of Christ and how they give. We received gift cards, gifts, and it seems every time we shook someone’s hand they were slipping us cash. It was uncomfortable. We were vulnerable. I wasn’t sure how to receive help. I spent so much of my ministry giving that I’d abandoned the power of receiving. That time was a great reminder to me of the importance of receiving. God gave His Son and we are to receive Him.

There’s a balance. It is learned. It must be taught. We are to teach our children both: the importance and joy in giving and the humility and heart of thankfulness from gracious givers.

It is hard to compete with Santa if you are letting the culture dictate what is important to your family. My 18 month old has NO idea that Santa brings gifts. She just knows that Santa is funny and we get excited when we see him. She gets just as excited about singing Jesus Loves Me or going outside to play.

But Santa is make believe and it supports an unhealthy view of reality.
Guess what? So does Doc McStuffins, Sophia the First, Transformers, Disney Princesses and every other thing your kids get excited about. Spoiler: stuffed animals don’t really come to life and talk when adults aren’t present. Girls with magic necklaces can’t talk to animals. Heavens, our parents grew up watching Mr. Ed the Horse talking to Wilbur. It’s just my generation that panics about the psychology behind damaging our children due to skewed realities. What parent sits down with their child after every tv show, video game, movie or stuffed animal gift to explain “how this isn’t reality. It’s fantasy and I want you to know the difference.”

Bottom line, they are kids. They don’t get to be kids for long. They will quit believing in magic and make believe all too soon. They will struggle with identity, acceptance and body image for MUCH longer than if the Elf on the Shelf really traveled to the North Pole every night. Their struggles will be real, and hard, and painful. Reality will crush them and beat them and wound them and scar them. My children are learning of Noah, Moses, Adam & Eve. These are stories of truth and biblical history. But before that first heart break, I cherish the fairy tales too.

Don’t come at me with your “Santa pushes good works” fight either. Good. So do I. If you go in the potty when potty training, you get a piece of poo poo chocolate! When you push your sister down, you get in trouble. If you behave properly in Target, I’m probably gonna give you a Cafe Icee because I’m proud of you. Do you get treats for every good thing you do? Nope. I EXPECT good behavior, but sometimes I’m gracious in my treats and gifts. Sound familiar? Guess what…scripture teaches us we are judged according to our works too. Now, salvation – THAT is free! But our actions and works while we live on this earth will bring both blessings and consequences (in this life and the next). Read the bible.

I believe I can be both gospel centered AND have fun this season of my kids’ lives, because that’s what it is – a season. This season will be gone in the blink of an eye. Sure, for 30 days I’m cheering on Santa, but I’m also doing everything I can to glorify God 365 days of the year. I take my kids trick-or-treating and when they lose a tooth I’ll put a dollar under their pillow (maybe I’ll even wear a tutu to get in character). They watch Disney and Power Rangers. They eat Cheetos and bread filled with gluten and they love to sing Jesus Loves the Little Children and Let It Go! They won’t find a scale in my home to weigh themselves and I’ll give them Tylenol or Thieves essential oil…whatever I can find if it makes them feel better. They get vaccinated but it’s usually at an appointment three months behind. They are hopefully balanced and won’t feel the legalism of pro or anti sides. I try not to stress myself. They are God’s and I am a steward of them. He controls their destiny. But while He entrusted them to me we are gonna bake Christmas cookies, feed Rudolph and read the Christmas Story for as long as they will let me.

God, Kind?

“but how can a loving, kind God…”
finish the sentence. Send someone to hell. Allow my loved one to suffer. Extinguish a young life. Allow natural disasters. I could go on and on.

Perhaps you have heard this argument. Perhaps you use this argument. In all honesty, I’ve questioned Gods kindness and love in a few situations myself.

This post is not going to deal with the insanely misunderstood theology behind the doctrine in the above statements. That’s a post for another time and a lot more cups of coffee.

Right now, I’m running on just ONE cup of coffee. While reading this morning a verse leapt off the page at me. I love when this happens. Reminding me that Gods Word is real and alive, speaking to me in the very circumstances encircling me. It speaks because it speaks to me directly. It speaks in my joy. It whispers in my sorrow. It shouts in my anger. It addresses gently in my correcting. However it delivers the message, the miracle is that it always does. Oh, and I am thankful!

This morning, these are the words the crept off the page like vines making their way to choke my heart:

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. Psalm 145:13, ESV

While the first part gives great hope that even in a day where our kingdoms, nations, and governments seem fragile and fraudulent; God Still Reigns. This is good news. Yet, still my attention was directed to the second part of this verse (a statement not even found in some translations…bc David was quoting a passage from Daniel in the first part of the verse).

I got to admit, when I first read this I thought, “oh, yes! his words are faithful and promises are true!” But then I got to His works being kind and thought, “well, that doesn’t always seem right.” He quickly corrected me.

Candace, you cannot say I’m always faithful in words if you don’t believe ALL my words – including that all my works are kind.

ALL? Even the ones that bring trials? Even the ones that inflict suffering? The ones that hurt? This one? That one?

All. Each one. Every single one. Because my kingdom is everlasting, one that endures. That means there’s a bigger picture. One beyond your understanding. Those works, even the painful ones, that is my kindness being stretched out over you, towards you. THAT is Grace.

Do I understand all this? No. Do I fully comprehend His grace? No. Do I understand how to see things in a big picture frame of mind? No.
Do I believe Him faithful? Like none other. Do I believe Him kind? Well, I don’t believe him a liar, so, yes. Yes, He is kind.

Now for that second cup of coffee.

Bring Back Our Girls

I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:6, 7, ESV)

Heavy hearted, outraged, and tasting the venom of action clouds my mind as I type. Three hundred. Three hundred lives. Three hundred souls. Three hundred daughters, sisters. Three hundred beloved. Taken from the very place they sought refuge. Kidnapped from the schools that many of them gave everything to attend – for the chance at a better life.

No doubt, the likelihood of these circumstances transitioning from kidnapping to trafficking is very high. My heart for the girls of this generation beats and breaks for these sisters and their families.

So, what do we do, church?

While very nerve ending in my body would like to send over a GROUP with “a particular set of skills”, there are some things that you and I can do.

1. Be Praying.

Pray for these precious daughters. Pray for safety. Pray for protection. Pray for strength, clarity, boldness and guidance.
Pray for the Boko Haram. Pray for the oppression and possession of their souls. Pray for Gods grace to overpower and overwhelm. Remember, it is not just for the victims souls we pray, but the salvation of all.
Pray for the Nigerian country. Pray for its government, it’s leaders, it’s military, and it’s people. Thank God we serve a Savior whose shoulders the governments rests upon.
Pray for this world. It grows darker each moment that passes. Satans grasp on today is tighter than yesterday. But a day is soon approaching that will loosen his grip forevermore.

2. Bring Awareness

While prayer and intercession is our greatest tool as believers, today’s technology has given us another weapon we can use. Some people may look at social media is bad and negative, and it certainly can be. However, the power of words -spoken or typed – can tear down, build up, put out fires or start them.
When this monstrosity happened three weeks ago many of us knew nothing. News media saw no importance in reporting. After all, the White House Correspondence Dinner and the MET Gala were approaching. I don’t blame toes in media, it’s a supply and demand business. That says more about us than them.
However, for anyone denying the effects of social media, keep in mind that through hashtags like #BringBackOurGirls over 1 MILLION people not only heard about these kidnappings – but brought them – I dare say – demanded them – to be a top news story. You may question what your little tweet can do…it can orchestrate awareness be brought to center stage. That’s a LOUD voice.

3. Be Active

Having a voice is a giant step in the right direction. But true change requires more than awareness, it demands action. We can ALL do more than hashtag a phrase. Do not remain content just knowing what’s going on around you. Do something. Give. Serve. Go.
We can all do something. Providing financial support to organization like International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org) helps fund relief and support through organization that serve in the trenches and advance the gospel to the nations. Know that theses issues are not just in third world countries. Sexual exploitation and trafficking exists right here in our neighborhoods and backyards. Find ministries to support and serve like Out of Darkness (www.outofdarkness.org) right here in Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve personally had the opportunity to go with this ministry to the streets of ATL and pray with the cities prostitutes. I was given the honor and privilege of witnessing a woman walk away from her life of trafficking, and get in the van with us desiring a better life. I have another dear friend that has joined this ministry and weekly serves in their jail ministry – loving and mentoring young women.
There are countless organization and ministries that can provide opportunities to actively take a stand. Put legs to your voice and action to your awareness.

4. Get a Clue

I had the honor of hearing my sister speak about how each of us personally
supports the sex trafficking industry. As offensive as this is, it resounds with truth. The pornography and trafficking worlds are linked in so many ways. One industry fueling the other. Like other industries, entertainment is supply and demand. When we demand to view tv shows, go see movies, visit websites, etc. that sexually exploit not just girls, but guys – adult or child – we send a message.
The recent program that promoted “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” used celebrities and social media alike. That is a powerful statement. I question what it would like to add ONE word to that claim. “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls Services.” Many of the very men that held these handmade signs act in movies/tv shows/music videos that promote the very exploitation of women specifically. They throw wood on a blazing fire that burns with over sexualized and pornographic images and principles. And what do we do? We record the shows so we don’t miss them and don’t think twice about emptying our bank accounts for concert tickets. (I’m including myself here because I’m guilty as well). When our Netflix ques are filled with TV shows that we think are harmless, or just “good entertainment” the message we send is that exploitation is just entertainment. We desensitize our generation and ourselves.
I heard a statistic that “99% of individuals involved in trafficking have pornography addictions. The other 1% didn’t answer the question.” They two are undeniably linked. If there is a demand for pornography there will be a supply of trafficking victims. To support pornography is to support trafficking. Wake up and realize that pornography isn’t just high dollar blondes of LA. It’s also children, and adults, being forced (trafficked) into horrible situations.

The Nigerian Crisis is worldwide. It is an offense to our world.

As believers, a stand is imperative and biblical. May God hear our prayers and bless the stand we take.

May these three hundred girls change the world.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! (Psalm 90:17 ESV)

The Humble Brag

I need to just take a moment to put the joys of my heart into text.

I’ve served in Girls’ Ministry for over thirteen years. In all those years, I have served with some incredible ladies! However, I just have to give a shout out to my current team. They are INCREDIBLE! These ladies serve each week with selflessness, passion and integrity. They give of their time, resources, and selves. Their fruit is a ministry to girls that, I believe, is like no other.

Each week, I watch in amazement as these ladies pour into girls out of the overflow of their own relationship with God. Each week, I watch in amazement as those girls blow me away with their own abilities to lead, teach and disciple one another.

I speak with girls’ ministers weekly. One question they always get around to asking is “what is the purpose of your ministry there?” As many times as I’ve been asked that question – my answer remains the same. My purpose is to disciple myself out of a job.

Let me explain. I do not believe that discipleship is complete until the discipled becomes the discipler. According to Christ’s command in the Great Commission it is the call of every believer to “make disciples.” The Gospel of Luke tells us that, “everyone who is fully trained will look like his teacher.” Those are both big tasks to consider and complete. Ones which I take seriously.

Therefore, my purpose is to literally make disciples who can graduate out of Pillars equipped to step right into a position of pouring back into Pillars. I am indebted to those ladies that walk beside me seeking to do the same…and to those that have graduated only to come back and serve. There is no greater joy!

Want to know how to get involved completing the call to make discipleship (and serve with the most amazing team ever?!)? Contact pillars @ gmail (dot) com.

Real friends

I have amazing friends. Really, they are incredible.

They are the kinds of friends that tell me about the piece of parsley stuck in my teeth. They are the kinds of friends that tell me to avoid a certain wedding dress fit because it produces unnecessary back fat. They are the kinds of friends that tell me not to reply to unkind words with unkind words. They are the kinds of friends that told me my pride and selfishness got in the way of relationships.

They are honest, and honest with me. That honesty has kept me from many a regretful situation. I also know it comes from a core of genuine love, care and perhaps sarcasm!

My friends and I may not always agree, but I love them and value their perspective and opinions…because I know they are sincere and they desire to see me succeed and grow.

In light of the recent VMA music awards, and especially the performance by Miss Cyrus, I come to many conclusions. However, the one sitting forefront of my mind is this: it is of the utmost importance to find genuine friends, real friends. Friends that speak truth. Friends that care. Friends that look out for your ultimate well-being. Friends that are honest and honest with you.

If we surround ourselves with people who just agree with us on everything, never challenge us, never hold us accountable, never show love with concern – then I fear we become like the students of 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

For a time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

These people sought out sitting under teachers who only shared their beliefs and convictions.

We find ourselves in a dangerous position when we create a core group that charms rather than challenges. I dare say they are capable of flattery but not friendship.

So, now what?
Do some self evaluation. What kind of friend are you and I? What kinds of friends do we surround ourselves with?
Pray. Pray for your friends. Pray for your friendships. Pray for your own friendship abilities. Parents pray your children would surround themselves with not just “christian” friends but godly friends. (Shout out to my friend Christine for reminding me of the distinction)

Remember, a friend loves at all times.

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