Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Elizabeth P

Elizabeth P

I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
Elizabeth P

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The Power of a Gift

Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is one of my favorite ministries. If you’ve never heard of it, I hope this becomes one you choose to support! They say it’s the “power of a simple gift” which opens the door to transforming lives, communities, and eventually nations. The third week of November is National Collection Week and most likely there is a drop off location near you. 

The folks at Operation Christmas Child make it so easy to be a part of overseas missions. Plus, it is a fun thing to do with your kids during the holiday season. In each box goes a few small gifts or needed items, but what comes out is eternal. Think of every box as a soul, a child with whom the gospel will be shared.  Even better, OCC provides discipleship through local churches for follow up. OCC supports these churches in a variety of ways so that they can best lead and impact their communities.

Building a box is easy. Please do one this year…or five. You can even build a box online, or track it so you know where it gets delivered!

Need some ideas for what to put in the box? Consider these items:

  • Toothbrush, hair brush, comb, or mirror compact
  • Soccer ball with pump
  • Stuffed animal
  • Small doll or action figure
  • Coloring book and crayons
  • Stickers
  • Play dough
  • Clothing
  • School supplies
  • Yo-yo or Frisbee

Please take a minute to watch this video or click on the picture below to learn more about this exciting ministry.

Operation Christmas Child

Have you packed a shoe box before? What did you enjoy about it? 

Jesus is Needy

Jesus is Needy

Julie W

Julie W

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W

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What Would Our Reaction Be?

Many of us attend congregations where members’ various needs are brought publicly before the church. At times there are prayer requests. Other times, families in crisis bring their financial burdens before the church, having nowhere else to turn for assistance.

I often feel the tug of the Holy Spirit during those moments and an ache in the pit of my stomach. These are human beings, God’s precious creation, and my need to help is compelling.

What would our reaction be if Jesus himself walked down the aisle, stood in front of His people, and proclaimed His own neediness?

Would we even know it was Him?

If we did recognize Him, would we all wonder what possibly the Son of God might need from us?

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Are We Benevolent or Judgmental?

The topic of benevolence in the church is one thing, but benevolence to strangers seems to be a real hot-button issue with Christians today.

  • We are inundated with homeless people at every street light and corner.
  • We come face to face with some sort of cardboard sign at least once a week. If you live in a big enough city, a stranger with a need might even approach you directly.
  • What to do in that split second, what to do with that uncomfortable opportunity, what to say or not to say…sometimes you only have the length of a red light to make your judgment call.

How often do we find ourselves passing judgment on someone? Have we ever said these words to ourselves?

  • If that man can stand out there all day in the scorching heat, surely he can get a job.
  • This is just one of those scams, all these corner people working together to swindle honest people out of their hard-earned money.
  • If I give them money, they are just going to turn around and buy alcohol or drugs.
  • She is wearing nice clothes and those shoes don’t look like a poor person’s shoes, so I am going to pass.

As the Bible clearly tells us, God chose individual, unique spiritual gifts to give each of us. Benevolence happens to be one of mine, and He also chose this specific gift for my father.

Learning Benevolence from my Father

I could never tell all of the many things I have seen my father do to help total strangers. However, I can tell you that his complete lack of judgment in each situation leaves me in awe and constantly striving toward that same goal. 

Breakfast at Denny’s

Once, our family was eating breakfast at a local Denny’s.  After we paid and were heading to the car we realized my dad was no longer behind us. We found him sitting on the curb next to a very fragrant homeless man with a bicycle. My dad talked with the man, then patted him on the back and started walking toward us. He asked us to find something to do for a few minutes because he was still a little hungry and wanted another breakfast. He then took the man inside, ordered him a huge meal, and sat with him while he ate.

Playing Santa

Another time, near Christmas, my dad came home and asked my sister and me to gather some of our very best toys. He said that someone else could really use them. We bought a Christmas tree at a nearby tree lot, tied it to the roof of our car, and headed to a stranger’s home.

When we arrived, a young girl and a grade-school-aged boy answered the door and invited us in. The small house had nothing that looked like Christmas to my sister and me. My dad brought in the tree and some much-needed decorations as the kids’ mother came around the corner. My sister and I were startled to see that the mother’s arm was amputated just below the shoulder, but my dad hugged her and acted as if he never noticed. We put up the tree, left some of our toys, and my dad gave the mother some “secret” money to buy some things for her kids for Christmas.

Over the years, my dad helped many people. 

The people and their needs were never the same–but my dad’s attitude and enthusiasm always remained constant.

I think of the very few times that my earthly father has been in need and I can promise you that on those few occasions I have moved heaven and earth to help him! Why? Because for me he is the giver, he is the need-meeter, he is the symbol of hope and love to the people he helps so when it is his turn to be in need, I run to his aid.

Helping Others as if it were Jesus

Now, let’s go back to our church service with our Lord standing front and center proclaiming His neediness. 

We may think of it in hypothetical terms but according to Jesus himself it is NOT. Matthew 25 starting in verse 45 (NlV) clearly states:

And he will answer, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.”

I know what some of you are thinking and it’s an OLD argument. When Jesus states “brothers and sisters” we take that as only Christians and Christ-followers.

Scripture Speaks to Us All

As convenient as that might be and more comfortable for us, it simply is not true. Let’s ask Jesus what He means and HE will clear things up. Verse 44 says:

“Then they will reply, Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?”

This scripture is all encompassing and speaks to all mankind.

Just like my father did, next time you come face to face with a cardboard sign or a dirty, smelly person you would rather not help, try to see them through the goodness of Christ.

matthew-25-44

See Christ Himself in need.

Run to His aid as fast as you can!

Why?

  • He stopped in a crowd and touched a sister and healed her.
  • He noticed when others were hungry and fed them.
  • He wiped a tear from a sister’s eye and His own when His best friend lay in a grave.
  • He touched ten diseased men with healing, knowing only one would be grateful.
  • He looked a humiliated, desperate, sinful sister in the eye and defended her without condemnation.
  • And then He opened His arms and gave us His life.

How could we not run to meet His every need?

Putting Words into Action

I am very passionate about helping others, but it’s also a subject I work on. Keeping my heart and mind right while meeting the needs of strangers is anything but simple!

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A few weeks ago I was heading to work. I noticed a woman standing at the on-ramp with a sign. I was going the opposite direction so I said to myself, “When I go home, if she is still there, I will stop and see what she needs.” Of course, my meeting ran long and she was gone. The next day I saw her again. This time a man in a suit was talking with her and handing her a card of some type.

I thought maybe that was a good sign and she might be getting some assistance. I hoped he was able to help her because I didn’t want her to have to stand out in the 100-degree heat all day.

Determining to Help

At the end of the day, my heart melted when I saw that she was still at the on-ramp. Quickly, I drove home and told my husband that I wanted us to head back over there with some food and see what we could do.

I pulled up to an old gas station and walked to where she was standing. I told her that I brought a bag of groceries in case that might help in any way.

She practically jumped into my arms, wrapping both of her arms tightly around my neck. She said that they had broken down and were just trying to get enough gas money to get back home to Colorado. I asked her where her car was and she said it was in the gas station parking lot. I told her to walk back with me and we would fill her car up.

The Ground Shifted

As we walked behind the station, the scariest van I have ever seen came into view with two equally scary-looking men inside.

We had brought our puppy with us. Worried that the puppy would overheat, I grabbed her out of the car. That’s when the ground shifted under my feet.

She turned and saw the puppy and said, “Oh! Would you please let my kids pet your puppy?” KIDS??? I said “sure” as we walked toward the van. Two boys and a little girl, heads sopping wet with sweat, squealed delightedly as the puppy licked their faces.

One of the men even started talking in a cute voice and got a couple of licks. As they were finishing up on the gas I walked back and put the puppy in the car. The lady followed me with an old, cover-less book in her hand. After giving me a third huge hug, she said the book was one of her favorite things. She had read it cover to cover many times but begged me to take it. That she was willing to part with such a treasured possession almost broke my heart!

Lesson learned for me!

It looked like just another dirty, sweaty person with a sign but underneath was a desperate mother with three children baking in an old, filthy van for three days just needing someone to see past her and see the real her, the JESUS her!

Have you ever been in a position where you had to set aside your judgments to help someone?

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

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Sin Is Not a Game, But This Is

Sin Is Not a Game, But This Is

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

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Sin Is Not a GameHave you ever played the “hand slap” game?

In this game, one person’s hands are held palms up. The other person holds their hands hovering above with palms down. The person with their hands below tries to slap the top of the hands of the other person by either being fast enough or by being tricky. My kids love this game!

Once, when we were playing it, I had a thought from which an impromptu lesson flowed.

It was my turn to be “the slapper.” My hands were on the bottom and I was trying to slap the tops of my son’s hands. His two brothers watched in excitement to see who would be the victor. I was bringing my hands up every few seconds, not letting much time lapse in between strikes. My son sat on the edge of his seat in full alert mode, laser-focused, soberly watching for my next move.

I was missing his hands quite a bit!

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Then I changed my strategy.

I just let my hands be still. I didn’t strike. Instead, I let time pass while I calmly lay in wait. I waited until my son started to relax. He began to nervously giggle and even exclaim, “Mommy! What are you doing?”

I just smiled at him, kicking back my feet. Then I started to jerk my hands a bit, but no movements that alarmed him enough to be overly concerned. It didn’t take long for him to become used to even those jerks and so comfortable with it all that he let down his alert and relaxed his guard almost completely. When I saw that happen, with a maniacal laugh, I swooped up and SLAP!

I caught him off guard!

Laughter all around!

Sin Is Not a Game-2

The Trickery of Sin

Once we settled down–and I did my victory dance–I told them the game was like the trickery of sin.

I pointed out how I frequently missed his hands when he was on high alert, watching me like a hawk and pulling his hands back often. This is like a person who practices this verse:

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

 

1 Peter 5:8

This person is watchful, looking out for the deception of sin. He pulls back from it when he sees it coming. This person also reads the Word of God so that he can discern what sin is, right from wrong, according to the Word and flee from it.

But when I changed my strategy to staying still, I pointed out that he became relaxed and let down his guard. Even when I jerked a little every so often, he got used to that movement also and let his guard continue to fall until SLAP!

This is like a person who becomes numb to the sin in their life. They let down their guard enough to let in “little sins.” Sins that they might consider unharmful. At first, the “little jerks” of the Holy Spirit stir their conscience, but eventually they become used to that stirring. They relax even further, letting in more and more sin until SLAP!

Bad things start happening and they wonder how they got to where they are. The bad things can be obvious, like going to jail or falling into different life-controlling addictions. Or perhaps the bad things are more subtle, like a dead prayer life, a lost desire to know God and read His Word, or an inability to even recognize sin anymore through justification of actions.

How Little Sins Lead to Bigger Sins

I now open up, saying that at different times in my life, I have been both of these types of people. Already fully knowing their mother is a seasoned sinner, they look unsurprised (Ha!). A good discussion followed on how little sins might cause numbing in our hearts. We talk about how little sins can lead to bigger sins, followed by a hard SLAP–either in this life or in eternity.

On a personal note, I know I need to read God’s Word more diligently. By doing so, I will be able to discern right from wrong and know Him more. I know I should memorize more scripture so that I can use it against the enemy’s lies about sin.

Since the beginning of this school year, I have started praying this verse over my children, myself, and my husband. Now I pray it over you who are reading this right now.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

 

Philippians 1:9-11

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To what sins have you become numb?

Do you consistently do anything contrary to God’s Word?

Do you know His Word well enough to know if you are acting contrary to His Word?

Feel free to share in the comments and we will pray with you.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

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My Struggle Saw Joy: Talking About God

My Struggle Saw Joy: Talking About God

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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This post was written in the midst of my husband being unemployed for a year and a half, so that we could help take care of his grandparents. I stumbled upon it in my drafts folder and as I read over it, I am once again in awe of how God works. During the most difficult struggle of my life so far, I was able to use our struggle to bring God glory. Our struggle saw joy every time we shared how He was working and moving in our lives and I am praising the Lord for it! Here is just one brief glance of what this looked like.

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Previously, I mentioned how I felt the Holy Spirit was calling me to something I did not want to do.

Ok, so maybe I’ve mentioned that a lot! 

Thankfully, I obeyed, even though I initially fought it, because within the past two weeks I have already seen the blessings and part of the reason why I was supposed to obey.

I started working part-time as a cashier at an establishment not too far from my home.  Initially, I was resistant for two main reasons:

  1. I didn’t want to leave my kids.  They’ve been through a lot lately and have been clingy.
  2. I didn’t feel I had the time. I was already working one part time job and homeschooling and didn’t feel like I could do more.

But God just kept pressing it upon my heart. And you know what He has done? He has taken away the excuses.

  1. The kids beg to go to their Mima’s where they can swim and play freely.  They beg!  Yes, they miss me, but they are well taken care of by someone who loves them very much too.
  2. God provided help for me so that what needed to be accomplished could be accomplished and nothing would be left behind.

What has amazed me during these past two weeks is how God is working even from day one.  I knew from prayer that I was supposed to reach out to someone, although I didn’t and don’t know exactly who. So what else can I do but reach out to everyone around me?  I’m working as if I’m working for the Lord and in that I am sharing how amazing He is in my life with others.  Yes, even at my part-time job!

colossians-3-23-24-4

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The opportunities that have been presented are amazing!

1. On the first day, I was just making small talk with a fellow co-worker.

We were talking about our kids and she mentioned that one of her kids had gone off the deep end.  I asked for that child’s name, wrote it down, and told her I would pray for him.  In that moment, the biggest smile I had seen all day flashed across her face. She became excited to know that I was willing to pray for her son and that I was a Christian.  We don’t work in the same department, but we do see each other from time to time. When our paths cross, there is instant camaraderie between sisters in Christ and we can encourage each other with just a wave.

2. I was checking a lady out and talking with her.

She was wearing a purple shirt with the word “relax” on it.  As we ended our conversation,

I said, “I hope you get the chance to relax today.”

She replied, “I’m sure I will. I was laid off on Friday.”

I couldn’t help but take the next 45 seconds to share with her how God has taken care of our family while my husband has been without work.

She said, “Yes, you’re right.  He was not at all surprised by this.”

“No, he wasn’t. And he won’t be surprised when you get the call for your next job, because he already knows where it will be and when that call will come.  Until then, he will faithfully take care of you.”

With teary eyes, we both praised God and said good-bye.

3. While checking another family out, we chatted about where we used to grocery shop.

Turns out we both shopped in a city thirty minutes away.  We laughed at the fact that we had a similar pattern.  She would attend the local university and then grocery shop after class.  I told her that we attended a congregation down the road and would grocery shop after Bible class on Wednesday nights. She then asked what time we had Bible class and if it was open to others.  Within the next minute, she and her family were invited to come have dinner with us and enjoy Bible study with us on Wednesday evenings.  They were so excited and I truly hope we get to see them again.

4.  During my break, I walked into the break room where a fellow coworker was taking her break.

I thought she was talking on her phone but it turned out she was reading aloud.  As my ears acclimated to what I was hearing, I exclaimed, “I just read that same passage this morning.  What is it–Romans 11?”

“No, it’s Romans 12,” she replied.  For the next ten minutes we talked about how amazing God is and how he leads us to places we never would have dreamed.  It’s truly wonderful to be able to be encouraged by another believer in the middle of a work day.

I never would have dreamed I would be working here, but where God plants us, we can thrive.

I’m sure Joseph never saw himself landing in prison, but he leaned into God and he thrived.

The moment we start to realize thriving isn’t a physical attribute but a spiritual one, our attitudes can drastically change. We will live in gratitude to be serving our Savior in whatever way is put before us, whether it’s a carpenter, a tent maker, a lawyer, a mother, a friend, a blogger, or in this instance, a cashier.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because of your position, but look up at the One who put you there and praise Him for the opportunity to serve Him wholeheartedly.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

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A Refuge of Hope for the Struggling Soul

A Refuge of Hope for the Struggling Soul

Melissa W

Melissa W

Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of three - two boys and a girl (the girl being squished right in the middle). After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home homeschool mom living life on her little 1 1/2 acre homestead raising chickens, two goats and a small garden. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
Melissa W

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To understand Him is to understand hope. To understand His gift of mercy is to understand His gift of grace. To understand our continued state of rescue is to understand our place of refuge. 

Abide.

Lately, nothing soothes my heart and mind more than the moments where I find myself sitting still and abiding with my Lord. There, I draw comfort and strength. I focus on Him and who He is as Father, Son, and Spirit. In the place of full abiding is where I can breathe Him in, refreshing and perfectly good.

Abide in His refuge.

Who He is completely captures me. Though I should want to recoil in shame, I am nonetheless drawn into His presence fully aware of the grace and mercy covering me. The very essence of my continued rescue is found in those moments when I rest in Him, and the exceptional standard of hope that is found in Him is given during these moments. Words from the Psalmist come to mind as I recall the image of refuge, a refuge found in those moments of abiding.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3

Abide in His Dwelling Place

The Throne Room of Heaven, the Holy of Holies. It is a place to where I move beyond seeking escape. It is a place where I can come to Him and it is intimate, beautiful, and holy. Holding fast to Jesus, I can enter His presence with reverence and with rest. This combination of feelings produces an attitude which depicts the place of His dwelling. Here grace envelops me all the more, so wherever sin has tempted and tried…sin finds full defeat.

Abide in the Rescuer

Through the God-Son, there is no manner of sin that was not defeated through His perfection, through His death, and through His resurrection. So, in all the ways fleshly desires hound us and in all the way sin’s aroma seeks to draw us in, we can hold fast to the knowledge of a Rescuer who felt the same temptations and conquered them.  His accomplishments over–not just the very nature of sin, but as well as its enticing, tempting ways–are a victory we can claim. This continued state of rescue is what heals, strengthens, humbles, and produces an immense sense of awe.

“Therefore, since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:14-16

 

Abide in Jesus

Maybe, like me, you sometimes feel the heaviness of struggle. Perhaps you empathize with Paul when he said, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” There is hope. For the believer, hold firmly to Him. Approach the throne of grace with the confidence you have as one who has been redeemed by, and through, Jesus Christ. He is our help and our refuge in time of need, in time of temptation and struggle. His grace binds us to Him completely. Hold on to that and find rest in Him. While on this side of heaven we are not free from temptation, but we are free from its chains–through Christ alone. Abide in Him, for in Christ our holiness is found.

 Teach my song to rise to YouWhen temptation comes my wayAnd when I cannot stand I'll fall on YouJesus, You're my hope and stay.Lord I Need You (Matt Maher)
*If you would like to know more or have any questions, please feel free to contact us
 by commenting or sending an email with your questions.*

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The Wise Woman Builds Her Worth Upon the Rock

The Wise Woman Builds Her Worth Upon the Rock

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

Latest posts by Meredith P (see all)

If you grew up in the church at all, or even if you didn’t, you have probably heard the song, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock.” The song is based on Jesus’ words right after he gives his famous Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 7:24-27, he says this about what two people do with what he has just taught:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Untitled design
That paragraph boils down to this: Life is hard. Bad things happen in this imperfect world. Choose to build your life on things you can never lose. If your life centers on things you can lose like money, or your job, or praise and affection from people, when the going gets tough it’s gonna be a rough ride.

Building Our Daughters’ Self-Worth

I’ve seen a trend rising that says we shouldn’t tell our daughters they are beautiful. If we do, we are damaging their self-worth. For example, see this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/10083124/Dont-tell-your-daughter-she-is-beautiful-parents-told.html

On the surface, I think this is a good thing. Women and girls absolutely should be praised for more than their looks. They are worth way more than what the eye reveals. However, the author suggests that we replace our praise about beauty with praise for skill. As I thought about it and compared this idea to what Jesus says, I realized that both of these forms of praise are sandy ground.

All other ground is shifting sand-2

 Consider this scenario:

Let’s pretend I have praised my daughter for how quickly she completes puzzles, or how beautifully she paints, or how accurate she is in her math work. Let’s imagine that her self-worth, in part, is built on this praise.

The rains are about to come down.

Another day she is putting together a puzzle and is having great difficulty, or she can’t get her painting to look the way she wants, or she is learning a new, challenging math concept and receives a poor grade on a test. Where does this leave her self-worth if it was built on this praise?

The floods are coming up.

The winds of her heart are blowing and that part of her self-worth on which this skill was built is torn down.

So, should we praise our daughters (and sons) for how kind they are rather than appearance or ability? For praising them for things of the heart, so to speak? Wouldn’t that be better?

Let’s say I have praised my daughter for having a kind heart. I see her being tender with a friend in need, or I see her showing compassion and empathy toward a sibling.  I praise her for it, and in part, she builds her self-worth and identity on being a kind and compassionate person.

Another day there is someone for whom she feels no empathy or love. Her feelings are mostly annoyance and she acts rudely. Or perhaps she snaps at her siblings and despite her efforts, she cannot regain her composure and yells at them. Again, the floods are coming up and the winds are starting to blow.

If you stop reading here, you might think I am saying that we should not praise our children for these things laid out above.

I am not.

We need to and ought to praise our daughters (and sons) for their accomplishments and for their kind, compassionate, and beautiful hearts. I praise my children every day for these things. I even praise them for their physical beauty and handsomeness, because my goodness, they are so cute!

What I am saying is that all of this is not enough.
This praise is not worthy to build self-worth on.
All of these are sandy ground.
There must be something else in addition to all of this.

We need to build on the rock.

So what is the rock?

 

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress,
I will not be shaken.
 God is the Rock.

 

He is the only one worthy of supporting and carrying our self-worth. Why is He worthy? Unlike beauty trends, human ideas, affection from people, and our emotions, He does not change like the shifting shadows (James 1:17) or move around like the sandy ground on the beach. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Our appearance, our skills, and our emotions change too frequently and are too unstable to support something as valuable as our self-worth.

 

What He says doesn’t change either. Here is what God, our Rock, says in His Word about your daughter’s worth and yours too.

 

You are created in the image of the almighty, all-powerful, and all-loving God of the universe.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

 

So I will teach our daughter this truth: God is unfathomably amazing. To be created in His image is astounding.

You are perfectly and wonderfully made by His own hand.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

 

So I will tell our daughter how beautiful she is. And in the very next sentence, with God’s help, I’ll set her worth on the Rock by reminding her that God knitted every single part of her body together. He likes her just the way she is because He made her that way and all His works are wonderful. I pray she knows that full well.

 

He has a plan just for you with jobs He created for only you to do and that only you can do.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 

 

I will praise our girl for her hard work and her talents and her kind, loving heart. Then, with God’s help, I’ll set her worth on the Rock as I also tell her God knows her inside and out. He has planned certain tasks just for her, and He created characteristics in her to accomplish those tasks. The Creator knows she is the right one for these jobs.

 

He loves you with a beautifully fierce and unconditional affection that movies, books, songs, and other people can never replicate.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:37

With God’s help, I’ll place her worth on the Rock by reminding her of His unfailing love for her. I’ll do this by reading to her His words. I’ll point out His acts and displays of love in the little and big things that happen in her life. I’ll remind her that God’s love for her doesn’t change whether she fails or whether she succeeds. And when her heart is broken, while she may be sad, her worth will not be shaken because it was never wrapped up in human affection.

 

You are worth dying for.

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I’ll be sure to tell her the Creator of the universe deems her worth dying for. That Jesus paid the price for all of the wrong she has done and will do. He paid it because He thinks she is that worthy and that valuable. He longs to spend eternity with her and have her make His home in heaven her home too. So when she messes up, like we all do, her worth won’t slide because it was not built upon being a “good person.”

 

It was built upon the rock.
And the wise woman builds her worth upon the Rock.
What other ways can we teach our daughters to build their self-worth on the Rock?

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