WFMW: The God Nod

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster Crystal for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

Waking up in the 3:30 darkness, I smiled. Race day was finally here! I would combine my two passions of running and social justice by putting on a 5k/10k charity race for Compassion International’s Child Survival Program (CSP).

I just knew in my gut that this race was a God-thing. And it was. We had hoped for maybe 150 runners. More than 300 showed up. I thought the race could raise $3,000 for impoverished mothers and babies around the globe. We raised more than $6,000 — enough to keep a CSP center running for several months.

From those numbers, the race was a stunning success, especially when you consider that it was founded by a rookie race director who really was just a stay-at-home mom.

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And yet, from the moment people started showing up, things went wrong. An unapproved race used the course the day before, leaving elaborate chalk drawings that pointed my runners in the wrong direction. While trying to cover those markings, I grabbed the wrong spray paint — non-washable — and accidentally graffitied the whole park. About 20 people got lost on-course. My husband crashed a borrowed truck into a car — after he blew out a borrowed golf cart’s windshield. And there wasn’t a single aspect of the race someone didn’t complain about afterward.

I sobbed for two days. All I could think was FAILURE. I had planned and planned some more, but it wasn’t enough.

God, You’ve had your hand in this race, I prayed. You moved mountains. So what happened? Are You mad? I just couldn’t understand why so many things went wrong if Jesus wanted me to create and direct this race.

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Since then, I’ve learned that “giving God the nod” means no artist smock included. You’re going to get messy! Saying YES to this race meant success, but is also meant hard growth. Like learning that:

God uses both our strengths – and weaknesses — to glorify Him. In many ways, my personality perfectly lends itself to being a race director. However, it also breeds impatience and lack of context. Yet the Lord, with his infinite planning skills, utilizes both to accomplish His purposes.

My standing with God is not based on my performance. Pre-race, I would have said, “Of course God loves me no matter what!” But I never realized I didn’t truly believe that; it took the race to expose my faulty belief.

The ones who truly care are the ones who get out and do something. My best friend gently pointed out that my biggest critics weren’t the ones dealing with the race’s 10,000 details. They merely had to pay $20 and show up.

Failure isn’t always failure. Sometimes, it’s a launching point. Preach it, Teddy.

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Saying YES means you get lost on the course. You deal with some jeers from spectators, and even more from the inside. You trip and fall on the trail.

But you keep running, and keep praising the one who gave you breath to do it.

 

Godnod3Crystal Kupper is a military wife, freelance magazine writer and stay-at-home mom of three cuties living in England. She blogs over at Crystal’s Cliffnotes about parenting, marriage, military issues, volunteering for Compassion International and Reece’s Rainbow, missing all things Oregon and how really, really ridiculously good-looking her man is.

What We Eat On Mondays and Why It Matters

We eat the same meal at home on Monday nights for dinner.

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We aren’t in a rut. It’s not gourmet and there aren’t any secret ingredients.

We are being intentional.

Most of the world doesn’t have the luxury of having a pantry and refrigerator full of food with dozens of options. Meat is for the wealthy and fruit is a delicacy.

What better way to remind our kids how much we have than through their bellies?

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We eat rice and beans every Monday, so we can remember how the rest of the world lives and eats.

Sometimes the best way to introduce a different perspective is by doing something different. And then repeating it often.

Recipe:

Cook brown rice, lightly salt, add fresh cilantro

Top with generous amount of black beans, seasoned with cumin.

Add fresh avocado.

It’s what we eat on Mondays. And it matters.

Our First {Mercy House} Gala & A Way For You To Be A Part

Congrats to winners (and thank you so much for supporting this great cause)

Basket #1 Lori Covington | $500

Basket #2 Paula Murphy | $700

Basket #3 Karen |$400

Basket #4 Ben | $500

Tonight is the first Mercy House fundraising gala in Houston, Texas.

I’m tired and so excited!

We are hoping to raise part of the 2015 budget for the work in Kenya so the organization can begin to focus on new partnerships to empower impoverished women all over the world.

I can’t wait to see what God is going to do.

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But I knew it wouldn’t be right not to let you be involved. Mercy House started right here in this online place so many years ago with your yes.

Besides raffling off some great items and experiences at the gala and sharing our hearts for the women of the world, we are also having a very special, one-of-a-kind Silent Auction. And you can be a part!

We have four baskets up for grabs virtually…and you won’t believe what’s inside!

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Each basket contains:

  • An assortment of beautiful paper bead jewelry | $70
  • 16×20 Micah 6:8  chalkboard poster | $20
  • Mercy House’s brand new long sleeve “Your Yes Matters” shirt | $25
  • Ethiopian summer scarf | $30
  • A gorgeous one-of-a-kind large Masaai Market Basket from Kenya |value $100
  • And a limited edition High-End Fair Trade Friday box with 4 amazing items |mystery box valued at over $140
  • Free shipping

Are you ready? You can join our big yes tonight!

You can knock out your whole Christmas list with potentially TEN one-of-kind gifts that give back!

bidLeave a comment with the basket number you’re bidding on and the $amount you want to bid. Please note: all 4 baskets are valued at $400 and have a $200 minimum bid.

There are a couple of other ways for you to be involved:

  • Write “Your Yes Matters” with hashtag #youryesmatters on a piece of paper and share it on social media@mercyhousekenya
  • Make a donation
  • Pray that God will bless this event

The highest bidders on all 4 baskets will win!

This silent auction ends midnight CST Friday night.

 

Raising Daughters in a World that Devalues Them: 7 Things We Must Tell Them

I took my daughter shopping one night over Spring Break. It’s flip flop and shorts weather down here in Texas about 10 months out of the year, not to mention my girl gets taller every minute. She passed me up months ago.

Shopping with my teenager should be fun. And mostly it is, except for the actual clothes-shopping-part. It’s so hard to find modest clothes. My teen doesn’t even ask for the shorty shorts any more, even though it’s challenging to find anything but in the stores.

“Why do they do it, Mom? Why do so many stores sell such immodest clothes for girls?” She was frustrated. It was a question I didn’t know how to answer. I think about how girls are viewed in this world and in return, how they view themselves. How do I tell my 13 year old daughter that sex sells? But I do tell her. She’s a smart girl and notices that some stores sell padded bikini bathing suit tops to 8 year olds.

It’s time for moms to be offended and stand up to giant stores like Victoria’s Secret and the way they sell sex to our daughters. Their new tween brand is called, “Bright Young Things,” and includes lace black cheeksters with the word “Wild” emblazoned on it, green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with “Feeling Lucky?” and a lace trim thong with the words, “Call me” on the front. Source.

“Our country is replete with an unprecedented number of young girls suffering from eating disorders and body mutilation, while pushing the limits of sexual promiscuity. Is this racy underwear modeled by unrealistically thin girls really the best that we have to offer our girls? In this age when female sex trafficking is becoming a wide-spread crisis, reaching into the depths of our inner cities, is it really responsible for Victoria’s Secret to entice our impressionable young girls with this “come hither” message?

Underwear that reads, “Call me” does nothing but cheapen a girl’s self-esteem while exacerbating the objectification of her God-given femininity. Our children are being objectified by retailers who see them as nothing more than a path to increased profits.”-Amy Gerwing

7 things we need to tell our daughters

We live in a world that hates girls.

Too harsh? I don’t think so. Globally, did you know that more than 200 million girls in our world have been aborted or abandoned in what is being called a “gendercide?” Many who survive, face neglect, violence and most likely sex trafficking. We might feel detached from this epidemic on this side of the world, but we aren’t. The Super Bowl is the biggest day for sex trafficking in the world and most major cities including the one closest to me, is a hub for young girls to be sold into sex slavery.

Coupled with the pornography industry, when you consider every second, 28,258 Internet users are viewing nude images of somebody’s daughter, it’s more than disturbing.  Source

Yesterday I read about a young girl who was raped. She was just six years old. I’ve heard of horror stories like these thru our work at Mercy House, but this wasn’t in distant Africa. It was in our county, 20-something miles away. I have an innocent six year old and I am sickened by the crime against this child.

And as if all that isn’t enough to turn a momma gray, the surge of aggressive girls taking the initiative with guys at a very young age, trying to lure them into sexual activity has increased dramatically :

What in the world is happening?

What is going on in the hearts of some young girls that causes them to be so assertive?  I think there are several reasons for what we are seeing: (from Family Life)

First, the culture is supporting it.  Movies, television shows, commercials, magazines, books …  they all glamorize sex and intimacy and the right of young women to go after whatever it is they think will make them happy.

Second, we have a whole generation of young men who are confused in their own sexual identity. Are they supposed to be sensitive or aggressive? Leaders or helpers?  Many young men today are not being taught how to treat a young lady with nobility, dignity, and respect. Many are growing up without a father or male figure to provide guidance.  As a result, some of these young men have no idea how they should expect to be treated by a real young lady.

Third, the breakdown of the family has resulted in a whole generation of daughters who have been abandoned. And in the absence of a healthy, emotional attachment to their fathers and mothers, they’re trying to fill their emotional gas tanks with the opposite sex.

Finally, there’s little or no preparation for adolescence occurring among parents of preteens or early teens.  This may be the core problem.  When you ask parents of preteens how many of them would like their children to have the same experience they had in adolescence, there aren’t many hands that go up.  But those same parents often become increasingly detached as their children move into the adolescent years.

Seven Things We Must Tell Our Daughters:

  1. You are Valuable:: She needs to know she is important and so valued that you will protect her with rules and boundaries because you love her. There is safety and comfort within those restrictions, even when she pushes against them.
  2. Your Worth Isn’t Based on Your Appearance:: She needs to be told she is beautiful–not because she’s wearing a sassy outfit or new lipgloss–her worth is not found in her appearance, the opinions of others or herself. She is beautiful because she was created in the image of God. Her appearance has little to do with true beauty and her worth isn’t wrapped up in looking good or being perfect.
  3. You Don’t Need a Guy:: She needs to hear starting at a young age (but it’s never too late to start telling her). She needs to be told a boy doesn’t complete her, God does. Chasing or enticing or wanting a guy doesn’t make her attractive and it doesn’t make her a woman. The only guy she needs in her life for a long time is her Dad or a father figure until God brings her a husband if that’s His plan.
  4. You Are Amazing:: Our daughters need to hear we are proud of them. She is enough. Tell her out of all the girls in the world, you’d always choose her. Sadly, she will be tempted to spend a lot of time in life trying to prove her value to others. Create an atmosphere where she is loved, just like she is.
  5. You Don’t Have to Believe What You Hear:: She needs to hear your affirming voice in her head. Because there will be mean girls in her life, peers with pressure and adults in her world who will let her down and have low expectations of her. She needs to hear the opposite at home, your voice will lead her to Him and she’ll know who to listen to.
  6. You Have Me:: No matter what happens in life, the ups and downs that will come her way, the losses and gains, our daughters must know we are there for them. She needs to know she can talk to you about anything. Anytime. More importantly, we can show her Jesus.
  7. You Can Change the World:: She needs to know she can dream big and can accomplish whatever she wishes. She can do so with God by her side and she doesn’t need a boy or society to make it happen. She can be anything she want to be with your help. Stand by her, with her and watch her fly.

I’m raising two daughters in this world and my heart cries for Jesus to rescue us all. But until He does, I can’t always protect or shield them, so I will tell them the truth. I can’t change (all this) in the world, but I can prepare them for it.

“Our daughters are precious, intrinsically valuable and deserve better — they deserve to be cherished and protected.” -Amy Gerwing

edited repost from the archives

WFMW: Sometimes Yes Means A Lot of Waiting

 

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster Sarah for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

Five years ago I felt the strong call of the Lord to change the way I was living my life. I had pursued and achieved the American Dream, I had been following Jesus for three decades, but suddenly I was left with a nagging feeling that something was missing.

I started to see that Jesus called us to sacrifice on behalf of others in a way that was completely counter to the culture I was enmeshed in. My heart began to break for “the least” in a way I could not explain, and I felt God specifically drawing me toward orphan care.

With two sweet biological boys, we thought our family was complete, but God had other plans for us. I started to see adoption as a possible path for us, but when I mentioned this to my husband it went over like a lead balloon. So I resolved not to bug him about it again thinking perhaps I misheard God’s call on my life. But I did begin to pray.

The feeling that our family was meant to do more than just support others in adoption would not leave me. We had plenty of space in our house, our car, our lives and our hearts. Our abundance needed to be shared through more than just giving money to others doing the hard work.

For two long years I prayed and waited and did not ask my husband again. I recruited some friends to pray as well, that my husband’s heart would respond to the Lord’s call without pressure from me. We got very involved with orphan care at our church and supported lots of friends in their adoptions. Finally after two years, my husband said “yes” to God too, and scared to death we stepped out in faith and started the process to adopt a little girl from Haiti.

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We were very nervous about upsetting the good thing we had going in our family by adding a child that desperately needed one. And let me tell you, the Enemy does not take kindly to the rescue and restoration of the fatherless and we came under attack. But the Lord used what became a very long period of waiting to grow us and draw us nearer to Him in a way I never could have imagined. He used that time to heal all kinds of brokenness in our lives, some we hadn’t even been aware of.

Two and a half years of red tape and government stops and starts followed our “yes”, but Jesus went before us all the way and in August we brought home our sweet daughter, Rose. We have already seen the Lord’s restoring work in her life as her personality has blossomed since leaving her orphanage and joining our family. Saying “yes” to God was the best thing I’ve ever done.

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Sarah Hubbell is a Jesus-loving wife and mom of three awesome kiddos who is on a brief hiatus from being the Director of Engineering for a water treatment company. She loves to advocate for orphan care and adoption and is the author of Water Water Everywhere, a blog about faith, family and fitness.