A message to fathers: How to love your daughters

7 10 2013

IMG_5450rvIt may not be what you think.

Little girls need snuggles and daddy-hugs. So do big girls. Little girls need to be told they’re beautiful. So do big girls.

Little girls need to know you delight in them and are proud of them and will protect them and care for them. So do big girls.

Now, more than ever.

Your daughters are facing an epidemic-level crisis like none we’ve ever faced. And the only person who can help is you.

Are you paying attention now?

It’s not what you think. It’s not the economic depression. It’s not the government shut-down. It’s not conflict in the Middle East or natural disasters or sky-high college loan debt. She’ll talk to you about those. She won’t tell you about this one. Not in so many words. So I’ll tell you my generation of Christian women and girls’ best-kept secret.

We are facing a missing generation. The Lost Boys, who never grew up.

They are missing from our pews. They are missing from the mission field. They were told in Sunday school, “Sit still.” They were told in high school, “Sit still.” And they’re still sitting.

Except for a few. When they saw the first glint of freedom they ran – and never came back.

We daughters of the Church grew up. Pursued our dreams. Got educated. Got a job. Changed from the ugly duckling into the proverbial swan. Finally, we thought, we are ready – ready to marry our prince and have cute babies and call our mom when the meatloaf burns.

And we looked around and realized: “Where are all the men?”

The truth stared us in the face. The Lost Boys are still lost. Still playing hero instead of learning how to be the real thing. Still sitting, just like they were told. They’re lost in a million realities and comforts and ambitions and fantasies, with no one to show them how to be the real deal.

Who will call them out? Who will invest in them and teach them how to be men?

We can’t. But you can.

The best practical way to love your daughter in this crazy, upside-down world is to love boys into men. I feel there has never been a time when the lost art of mentoring is less valued or more needed. With more and more children growing up fatherless, someone has to stand in the gap.

Someone has to lead the way. No more excuses.

What kind of person do you want marrying your daughter? Taking care of her? Pledging life and faithfulness to her? You’ve paid for her to have the best education. You’ve gone to her t-ball games and ballet performances. You’ve protected her and given her wings. Will you leave the second-most important decision of her life to chance? Teach boys to be men. You may be mentoring your future son-in-law.

Our generation of young women will thank you. Your daughter will thank you. And she will be loved well, long after you are gone.

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Porto – Portugal!

25 07 2012
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The moon rises over the beach near Porto, Portugal. My team had the amazing opportunity to catch a picnic and sunset, as well as play a little football (soccer) on the sand.

Bom dia!

First of all, thank you so much for praying, it makes all the difference in the world! We are already seeing God work in amazing ways in my life, in the lives of my teammates, and in the ministry here in Portugal.

One of the biggest ways I’ve seen His hand is through my wonderful teammates…nine girls and then Moses and Daniel, the sons of the pastor here. All nine of us gals are having a slumber party every night in one of the church members’ convos, and it has been such a healing time of deep conversations and lots and lots of laughter! 

In the dance workshops today we had several kids come who are in the foster care system. Praise the Lord for that and please pray that we would be able to connect with them despite the language barrier and show them God’s love.

One of the most meaningful experience of personal growth for me so far is God calling me far outside my comfort zone to learn a contemporary dance and a hip-hop routine with my (much more talented and trained) teammates. At first I told God, “No. I’m here to be a journalist. I can’t dance.” But He knows what I can and can’t do, and I simply had a wonderful time becoming a part of my teammates’ world in this way…they were so patient and encouraging!

Please pray:

1) That God would bind satan’s efforts to cause miscommunication/disunity between our Portugese brothers and ourselves as we serve together.

2) That my computer cord (or an alternate) can be found, so I can work some on editing pictures.

3) That God would open doors to have a place to do the dance show (where we will share our testimonies with the public) this Friday and Saturday…they’re getting a bit of a run-around because it’s an evangelical church.

Thanks again so much and keep the prayers coming!  In the mean time, enjoy the photos!

K.

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Daniel shows a dance step to one of the girls from the foster home during the hip-hop workshop Tuesday.

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I started massaging a teammate’s sore muscles and within moments an entire chain had formed! Notice my team leader Hannah’s beautiful smiling face in the front (you’ll find me near the middle of things, per usual).

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Yup. That’s me. The journalist. Front and center in one of our hip-hop dance numbers…God certainly enjoys pushing me outside my comfort zone! But I’ve had so much fun. 🙂

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Teammates Ariana (US), Hannah (US), Hannah (UK) and myself enjoy a bonding moment on the beach near Porto.





Don’t Be Yourself

9 02 2012

How many times has someone told you to just “be yourself?” 

This seems to be one of the most popular ideas circulating in our culture these days. Movies tell us to be ourself, or to be true to our heart. The fashion industry practically revolves around this concept of individuality.

And in some ways, that’s not a bad thing. 

Everyone has their own background, personality, likes and dislikes. Every person is different and unique and special, just the way Christ made them to be. 

And goodness knows we all could use being a little more authentic and genuine! 

But this happy thought has a dark underbelly, I’ve found. How many times have you heard someone say, “Well, that’s just the way I am?” when they speak harshly and hurt someone else. How many times have friend or people you know – or even yourself – excused sinful behavior by attributing it to your personality. “That’s just who I am,” we say. “I’m just being myself.”

And you’re right. 

When we sin, we are just being ourself, because we are all sinners. We all do wrong things out of the selfishness and pride that’s in our own hearts. We are truly, “being ourself.” 

But is that really something we should aspire to? To be genuine, humble, authentic, yes. But to excuse our sin or hurting others because we are just being ourselves, and we can’t act any differently?

That’s bogus. 

I can be a fairly shy and low-key person. I’m not loud. I’m not the most out-going person I know, by far. Being a loud and funny and out-there type of person is just not me. And I won’t pretend otherwise. But just because I’m not the most out-going person in the room, does that mean God doesn’t expect me to go say hi to the new person in the group, and make them feel welcome? Absolutely not. 

We can’t value our individuality over Christ’s commands, not if we truly are followers of Him. Over and over the Bible says we must die to ourselves and become like Christ. 

Did you get that? Like CHRIST. Not ourselves. We’re not supposed to be seeking after our own individuality or to be ourselves, we’re supposed to be like Christ. Not in a way that contradicts our personality. But seeking to become more and more like Christ in a way that flows out of who He made you to be. 

Because only then, can you truly “be yourself” as you were intended to be. 

“Therefore, do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Rom. 12:2





Family

7 05 2010

It’s not leaving the close friends that is hard. I know I’ll see them again.

It’s saying goodbye to the circle just outside it. It’s the people you can’t just call up if you’re in town, but it makes your day to see them on the sidewalk and to talk to them or even just see them Thursday or Sunday nights.

It’s the unique blend of backgrounds and personalities and ministry spheres that make up the rich texture of my Church family at K-State. It’s like living with your family for three short years, embracing them and pouring your heart into them, and then leaving them until heaven reunites us.

It’s exciting in a way, thinking about them serving the Lord all over the world, even though I won’t be there to see it. It’s also hard, knowing that I won’t be there to see it, to encourage them through the hard times and rejoice with them in the good. It’s hard to think that some won’t make it. It’s probably easier to not see that.

But in all this I rejoice – that they are just part of a larger family extending all over the world, that I’ve had the privilege of growing with them and serving with them and being shaped, encouraged, and inspiered by them. I rejoice in the sweet fellowship we’ve shared, the prayers we’ve prayed together and for each other, the joyful worship we’ve raised to Christ with one heart.

I can’t wait to do it again with them someday.





Money

27 01 2010

 

Money.

One word that can clear a church faster than any other.

“They’re trying to guilt me into giving money again,” we think. “Let’s talk about Jesus and his love for all people. I’d even take the crucifixion.”

Or perhaps the more subtle, self-righteous version: “I’d like to give more, but—” Sally’s coach said she needs new soccer shoes, I need a dress for hubby’s Christmas party at work, times are tough right now, we just had to go to the dentist…

Shame on us. We should feel guilty.

How can we hold up our head as we walk down the street, let alone into the house of God? What pride that we say we cannot give “our” money—that is not really ours at all.

“Hey, I worked hard for what I have,” you think.

Yes, maybe. But who gave you the job? Who put you in a country where you could go to college, to get the degree you needed to land the job?

We who live in the Western world must mortify—slaughter—this obsession with ourselves, this insidious sense of accomplishment and control. Who are we to deny the Church its rightful dues? Are we so full of ridiculous arrogance that we would mock God under the self-righteous banner of frugality?

In Nehemiah the repentant exiles return to Jerusalem and make a new covenant with the Lord: “We will assumed the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of our God…we also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the Lord each year the firstfruits of our crops…and we will bring a tithe of our crops…We will not neglect the house of our God.” [10:32, 35, 37, 39]

Why are some of the largest churches in the nation pleading for funds—not to expand ministry, not to feed the poor and oppressed, not to raise salaries or hire new workers, but simply to pay the light bill?

It is not their leaders who should be ashamed. It is us. We have not been faithful.

We would never borrow money to buy a house and then not pay it back—we would face foreclosure from the bank. Why, then, do we abuse the generosity of God? Do we really think God will not hold us accountable?

It is not just the local church that suffers. God’s people all over the world endure great suffering because we have broken the covenant with our Lord and adulterated ourselves with the culture of comfort and materialism.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” [James 1:27] Religion the Lord accepts is not books, Bible studies, or bumper stickers. It is caring for those in distress, especially those who belong to the Body of Christ. [Gal. 6:10]

In 1 Timothy Paul speaks sternly regarding a person’s responsibilities to their family, saying, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

If he makes such a strong statement about the care of those connected by human blood, how much more would he say so to those bound together by the blood of Christ!

On the bloodied streets of Haiti a young man pulled his worship leader’s decomposed body from the rubble of the church, and a pastor knelt by his badly-injured daughter. She was in incredible pain because a cinder block fell on her face, and he did not have the $15 to pay a cab to take her to a make-shift hospital.

How can we face our Lord, who gave us the money to meet every need?

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” [1 John 3:18]

http://churcheshelpingchurches.com

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” [2 Cor. 8:2-3]





Storyteller

5 01 2010

I am a storyteller.

Not a doctor, a lawyer, a politician, a businesswoman, or even a linguist.

Just a storyteller.

What is a storyteller? Most people don’t even know. A novelist? A cinematographer? A journalist or television host? Perhaps all of these and more.

In many cultures the storyteller was, and still is, a sacred member of their communities. The storyteller was charged with remembering and recording the myths and events of their people—their history and the simple, profound stories that reveal the truths about their world and how they view it and interact with it.

I believe American culture has lost most of their storytellers. There are many good writers. A glance through a bookshelf or a trip to the theater will prove that true.

But there are so few storytellers.

A person who loves a good story and who will persevere to seek it out, because they cannot turn away from the lure of its discovery. A person who is fascinated by people’s stories, who never forgets them, and tells others in a way they will never forget.

A person who can see the big picture and reveal the details. A person who remembers the past and uses it in the present to shape the future.

I am a storyteller. I strive to be a storyteller.

Why? I have no idea.

I just know I can’t be anything or anyone else.

It’s precious to me, a sacred calling. Christ was the first and best storyteller, and He continues to write our story.

Why am I a storyteller and not a writer? Writers invent—storytellers reveal. I do not write the script, I only tell His story.





Glory

5 12 2009

Glory.

Really, it’s all about glory.

Your glory, Lord, Your name being “exalted above all blessing and praise” [Ne. 9:5]. And all the troubles and decisions and sacrifices and tears of the world fade to insignificance.

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and all the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” [Piper]

And so it is with my life. He is the One who guided me into this world, designed every unique, contradicting facet of me, adopted me into His family and chose me for my appointed tasks to bring about His kingdom and and His glory [Eph. 2:10].

I don’t actually decide anything–not my major, my ministry, my summer plans, my future mate, my career, my life purpose. Nothing. I must only discern the next step which my wise, loving Father has ordered for me.

It’s not easy. In fact, at times it’s very difficult. Heart-breaking choices must be made. Painful sacrifices must be torn away and tied to the altar. Tough marching orders must be joyfully accepted and immediately obeyed.

Is pain and perseverance too high a price to be asked by One who wept for my grief, touched me with healing hands and cleansed me of my depravity with His torment and His blood? Surely there is no comfort or dream or desire that cannot be asked.

For heartbreak or loneliness or fear or defeat are “light and momentary troubles” [2 Cor. 4:17] that are passing away in the light of His eternal glory, drowning in the “all-surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” [Phil. 3:8]. And this is eternal life: that I may know You, the One True God, and Jesus Christ” [John 17:3].

It doesn’t matter whether He sends me off to the jungle, appoints me to be a wife and mother, raises me up to be a powerful and effective author or creates a colorful, new path for me from the kalaidascope of options (considering His track record, this seems most likely). “What matters is faith expressing itself in love” [Gal. 5:6], to the endless glory and pleasure of the King.