Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mama, You Have a Right

Nicki

 

My friend and fellow Proverbs 31 Ministries‘ speaker, Nicki Koziarz, is my guest today. This is the encouragement and “permission” we all need. 

 

A few weeks ago one of my daughter’s came to me in tears. She held up her phone, words escaped her. I took her phone and looked at something someone from her school had just posted on Instagram.

It was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen.

It isn’t my story to tell, so that’s as far as I’ll go. But I don’t write this article today to simply share something disturbing that happened to one of my girls.

I write this article today as a plea to moms across the United States and the World.

It is time for us to become consistently involved in our kids social media.

When my girls received their phones, it came with a contract. A binding agreement that they would take care of their phone, use it for appropriate reasons and that they would be financially responsible if something happened to the phone. But that contract also came with a clause.

The Momma Has The Right clause.

The Momma Has The Right clause states, at any moment, of any given day, for any reason, I may pick up their phones and look through them. That’s right: text messages, Instagram accounts, Tweets, emails … if its on there, I can look through it.

And I do.

Sound a little helicopter momish?

Well, while I hardly blink at fickle opinions of me, let me share with you why this is so incredibly important to me today.

I am a mom who loves other moms.

For most of my motherhood journey I have invested time, energy and efforts into mom-centered groups. My best friends are moms and I try to take time to get to know as many of my girl’s friend’s moms as I can.

But I’m seeing something so tragic happen within the motherhood sisterhood.

We are becoming parenting cowards.

Our kids are like little super geniuses because they have access to every piece of information they’d ever like to know. We are intimidated by how incredibly smart they are. And we just are not sure if we can stay a step ahead of them in this game of technology.

We can’t. Therefore, we don’t try.

So we say things like, “Oh, I just don’t have time for that.”

And no, we don’t have time for this!

We juggle complicated schedules that no mom in any other generation has had to deal with and we have bought into the lie that to have peace is to have quiet.

So, we toss those kids phones because it does just that … keeps things quiet.

But momma, the things happening on those phones are anything but quiet, sweet or simple.

Our kids are being rated for everything … the type of picture they take, their profiles, their clothes, and their hair. Mean girl tactics have escalated to new levels thanks to the instantaneousness of picture posting.

And our kid’s feeds are filled with desperate cries for attention and help.

We tell ourselves they need privacy and excuse ourselves out of the entire ordeal.

I don’t judge parents who don’t allow their kids to have access to social media … to each his own. But can I be honest? If I took my girls off social media now it would be the easy route for me.

Seriously. Having to listen for God’s discernment in knowing when to pick up their phones, watching their facial and body expressions change while they are scrolling and asking who is so-in-so … it can be exhausting.

But at the end of this raising children journey, I would rather be completely exhausted from investing all I had then wondering if I did all I could.

I’m not some foolish woman who believes there’s a perfect formula for raising our kids and protecting them from harm. But I believe in the power of having access to what my kids are doing and being exposed to in all things, including social media.

And I won’t close my eyes and pretend like it’s not happening. Because it is.

Mommas, pick up those kids phones. You have the right. Let’s stop being afraid to enter the hard, unknown places with our kids.

And when you do find something which might be going against the values you are instilling in your kids … talk about it.

Don’t yell. Don’t freak out. [Learn from my mistake.]

But I can promise there will be rolling eyes no matter what.

The rolling eyes. Oh the rolling eyes.

And maybe your kids won’t hardly listen to what you are concerned about. But the point is they will know you are present in this very un-present world of theirs. And even if they act like they don’t want you there, they need you there.

Lynn

Friday, March 20, 2015

When the Direction is “Don’t”

Numbers20I so want to do it. Pick up the phone; type that text. Waiting is making me uncomfortable. I want an answer.

But I can’t do what I want to do or I guess I should say I’m choosing not to. There is this little nudge. Not very big, yet I am familiar with it. The nudge, who I have learned after many, many years is the Holy Spirit, whispers to my heart, “Don’t do it. I’ve got this.” I want to ignore the nudge; tell myself it’s only me and not Him. But the directions are clear. Don’t.

In Numbers 20, Moses and Aaron were also dealing with a situation making them uncomfortable. The people they were leading were grumbling…again. They wanted water. Moses and Aaron set a great example on how to handle troublesome situations, “Moses and Aaron went from the the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.”(v. 6)

Moses and Aaron’s first response to this situation was humility; going to God. God then gave them clear direction on how He wanted them to handle their problem. Go and speak to a rock and it would pour out water. The men set out to obey.

The problem came in the working out of that obedience. It would appear that in the transition from speaking to God to speaking to the people, anger replaced humility.

“So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock? Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” (v.9-11)

Struck the rock? That’s not what God said to do. His instructions were “speak to the rock”. Moses obeyed, but he didn’t do what God said God’s way.

For not obeying, Moses had a price to pay. He was kept back from entering into the land he had been leading the people to. What a heavy price!

Like Moses, I have been tempted, when my anxiety rises, to obey God, but side step the exact details. My mind says, “He told you not to text her, but you could email her assistant.” If I listen to that voice, I might find myself following it and missing a blessing God is preparing for me.

Emotional actions come with a high price tag.

Moses’ anger cost him seeing the fruit from his life’s work. Not only did it cost Moses, those around him paid too. (Numbers 20:24)

I know you are tempted to get ahead of God, to help Him out or to follow those emotional urges. Let’s be wise women and learn from Moses. When we obey God God’s way, we make a way to receive His blessings.

 

****Congratulations the winner of Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants from Wednesday’s post Cover or Expose is Ginger who posted March 18, 2015 at 8:34 am. Ginger, please email me your full name and address and I’ll get it sent right out!

Lynn

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

To Cover or Expose?

LoveCovers

If you are joining me here from my Encouragement for Today devotion with Proverbs 31 Ministries, welcome! I am so glad you stopped by!

I’d love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest. This month on my social media #youandyourgirl series we discovering 10 Directions on Dating.

To cover or expose? All too often, in the world of us females, this is the option we’re presented with. Should we protect, cover for the poor decision another has made and offer grace? Or will we choose to expose, making others aware of another’s shortcomings?

In Genesis 9: 20- 27, Abraham’s sons had the same choice. Ham chose to expose his father’s sin, while Japheth and Shem  honored their father by protecting him. The result? Japheth and Shem, who guarded their father’s honor, received a blessing.

We can’t possibly know the motivation Ham had for exposing his naked father to his brothers, but I can’t help but wonder if his struggle was similar to our’s. Did he like the attention he received from having information the other brothers didn’t? Maybe Ham thought he would look better if his father looked badder. The human heart can be complicated in the worst sort of way when it comes to the desires lurking there.

For this reason, we must keep our hearts filled. When our hearts are filled with God’s love, when we find ourselves in the position of needing to choose to cover or expose, our hearts choose to protect. We do for another what we would want them to choose for us. Filled to overflowing with Jesus’ love, this is the reaction that becomes natural for us.

Let’s make this our prayer:

“Jesus, fill and satisfy our empty hearts, so we may overflow and give your love to others.”

One of our talented graphic artists from Proverbs 31 Ministries has made this prayer into a beautiful and frame-able PDF for you to download and display where you can read it and pray it often. To receive this free gift, simply enter your email here.

 

Today, I am also giving away a copy of Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants. To enter to win, enter in the comments below (if you are receiving this via email, please go to www.LynnCowell.com) and share where you can display this prayer. If you are in a hurry, simply enter, “I’m in!” I will announce the winner on Friday. 

Lynn

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WWT: Why You Shouldn’t Wait

Be sure to get in on our current #YouandYourGirl series: 10 Directions on Dating shared on my social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  Today’s post is written for the girls for you to share with your girl:

 

Directions on Dating #3

 

Trying to decide to wait to share my body with a guy before we were married or not, I heard a lot reasons not to:

* If I wait, no guy will ask me out.

* Everyone else is having sex.

* If I wait until I get married, I might not know what to do when I get married!

* Marriage is just a piece of paper. What matters is that you love each other.

* If I don’t have sex with him, he’ll dump me.

* Sex isn’t a big deal, so why make a big deal out of waiting.

 

Yet, when I compared these reasons to God’s Word, Jesus made it plain to me that they were off the mark. Sex is more than a physical act; we connect with the person emotionally and spiritually as well. The kind of sex without commitment leaves us lonely because there is no “becoming one”; no intimate relationship, just intimate bodies. Sex before marriage is a sin that violates the Holy Spirit inside of us.

We are to let others see Jesus in us; even when it comes to our sexual choices. You shouldn’t wait because our parents tell us to. It’s not really a matter of “to wait or not to wait”: it is a matter of obedience. You have to decide to honor Jesus in all of your relationships, and especially when it comes to relationships with guys. No other choice will affect your future like this choice.

Switch your focus. Instead of focusing on waiting; focus on becoming the girl worth waiting for.

Jesus, no other choice makes me stand out like this one. You say that with you all things are possible. Make this possible for me. Amen.

 

Tune out the voices of people telling you about sex, and tune into the One who created sex.

 

Lynn

Monday, March 9, 2015

10 Directions on Dating: #youandyourgirl series {March}

Intro Directions on Dating

When I’m speaking to teens and their moms, dating and guys are always at the top of the list. It makes sense…girls want to know all they can about guys and moms want to know all they can to help their girls!

So for the next 10 days I’ll share with you a few of the points from my talks and hope they will give you and girl something to talk about…especially with prom just around the corner!

If this is your first time joining us for the monthly You and Your Girl Series, you can read more about it here and see what you might have missed!

**Content taken from Lynn Cowell’s speaking topic: Why Wait? and He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not; Navigating the World of Dating**

Last month we looked at ways to encourage the girls in our life to fall for Jesus.

As we continue to encourage other women on this journey with us, what impacted you most about last month.  Was there a day that you, yourself, were challenged?

If you missed a day in our last series, the post has been updated with all the graphics.  You can find it here.

I’m looking forward to spending the next fews days together on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest as we discover 10 Directions on Dating.

Lynn

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WWT: How Much is Your Girl Showing?

A few years ago I caught a glimpse of Tyra. The talk show host was dragging it all out in the open as she interviewed a panel of teen girls. The topic: sexting. The surprise guests: their mothers. I watched as fifteen-, fourteen- and thirteen-year-old girls talked very frankly of the explicit language and nude pictures that they regularly exchange with their friends. Their mothers had no idea it was happening. The girl on the phone was a totally different girl than the daughter at home or so they thought.

I don’t know about your home, but it is a common occurrence here for my girl to see phones passed around in school. She knows exactly what the guys are sharing.

This is a topic no mom wants to go over with her girl, but we must. Nudes have become common place in our kid’s culture. We cannot pretend it is not happening.

It’s important to know, for starters, who your girl is on social media. Is the girl at the supper table each evening the same girl on Instagram? Is she one girl when praying at night and a different one when texting in the dark?

In Acts 5, Peter was being pushed and pulled by those around him who called the shots, the guys who determined who was in, and who was out (they had so much power they could determine who would live and who would die!) Peter’s answer to these dudes was “It is better to obey God rather than men.”

Does the life of our kids’ reflect Peter’s statement?

Standing for something when everyone else is falling for everything is beyond hard. Yet in 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul challenges Timothy, “Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.”

Don’t be afraid to challenge your girl.  Who is she going to be, and what is she going to stand for?

Let’s pray for our girls:

Jesus, help ___________ to want to stand up for you. It’s so hard. Holy Spirit, whisper to her if she is being fake. Empower her to be real and choose to obey you. Amen.

Ask your girl to be honest today. Is the the girl she is projecting and the girl she is at home one and the same?

 

Lynn

Friday, February 27, 2015

Trouble

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

—Psalm 32:7

Trouble. When I say the word trouble, what comes to your mind? Here are just a few of my answers: food issues, impatience, lack of compassion, scatterbrained, clumsy, overcommitted, nervous, uptight . . . OK, I think that is enough for now. These “troubles” cause me trouble—just about every day. Sometimes, they even like to work together against me!

When I am overcommitted, I become scatterbrained. Since I am scatterbrained, it makes me nervous and uptight. When I feel nervous and uptight, I am very impatient and I lack compassion for others. When I am impatient and lack compassion, I move too fast and get mean. Trouble!

On days when all of these weaknesses work together against me, I can really feel rotten about myself. I can begin to think that I am a loser. How can God really use a women like me? I can become frustrated with my lack of growth and say to myself, “I can’t believe you did that—again!”

Thankfully, the more I pour God’s truth from the Bible into my heart, the less this happens. Jesus has an answer for those areas I need to grow. He wants every area of my life to point to him. He offers me a safe place to get back on my feet through his forgiveness.

He offers his constant help—unconditional and without limit.

He makes the same offers to you: forgiveness, strength, and help. As he extends his helping hand to you, grab hold of it in prayer and receive his help that’s always there.

 

Jesus, I want to grow. Forgive me for where I fail and give me grace to keep going. Amen.

 

Who do you go to first when you feel trouble coming on? Make a choice to take your troubles to God first. Remember he is ever-present.

(This post is taken from Devotions for a Revolutionary Year.)

 

Lynn

You’re called to speak or write. Now What?

SheSpeaks2015

 

She Speaks 2015 Registration is open!

Do you ever feel alone in your calling as a speaker, writer or leader?

Join us July 23 – 25 in Concord, North Carolina at She Speaks 2015.

During this dynamic conference led by Lysa TerKeurst, Renee Swope, Liz Curtis Higgs and other experts in the field of speaking, writing and ministry leadership you:

– Connect with others from around the world and start new relationships in the writing and speaking community.

– Learn how to build your platform and expand the reach of your ministry.

– Get the tools you need to develop and deliver a dynamic message.

– Gain a fresh vision for your writing with inspiring teachings.

– Have the opportunity to meet with a publisher or an agent to pitch your book

Above all … be spiritually nourished and equipped to continue pursuing the calling God has placed on your life.

I can’t wait to speak at She Speaks on Finding Your Niche!

We’ll save you a seat and can’t wait to hear your story!

[FIND OUT MORE]                                                                                                                                                                                    [REGISTER NOW]

“She Speaks was all about connections for me. I connected with authors and publishers. I connected with people that have the same heart for speaking God’s

Word to everyone as I do.” – 2014 She Speaks attendee

P31_logo

 

Lynn

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WWT: I’m Not the Wicked Step-Mother

978011 (1)

 

The winner from Monday’s post is Angela M who posted on February 23, 2015 at 7:56 am. Please send me your full name and address, Angela and I’ll get the books right out to you!

 

One topic I have failed to cover in the 5 years I have been writing Wednesday Wisdom Tips is being a step-mom.

I wish I had before today. With so many of us moms in the place of being step-moms, help is sure to be needed! I guess since I have never been one, I knew I didn’t have an expertise to share from.

That is until I came across this article from my friend, Kathi Lipp. I have had the privilege of speaking with Kathi at Hearts at Home…and she is an amazing woman. Here’s from my friend. (and I’ll be giving away a copy of Kathi’s book, “but I’m not the Wicked StepMother: Secrets of Successful Blended Families at the bottom of this post.)

Start with Respect 

“I thought it would be easy: I would be nice, and my stepkids would like me. I would make their favorite meals and agonize over their Christmas gifts.

I did nice.

It didn’t work.

The problem? The harder I tried, the more I was ignored. Then I went to my stepson Jeremy’s hockey game in my true stepmom-of-the-year form, and cheered him on. When I shouted, “Great game!” he completely ignored me.

I cried and sulked. Then I asked a friend for advice.

To hear the great advice Kathi received and then followed, click here to read this article at Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. Then come right back so you can enter to win!

978011

 

To enter to win today, share who you would like to share this book with or if you’re in a hurry just say, “I’m in!” I will announce the winner this Friday!

Lynn

Monday, February 23, 2015

10 Verses for Building Unshakeable Confidence {Give Away Day}

MakeUsBrave

 

If you are joining me here today from my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion, welcome!  I’d love to connect with you more on Facebook, TwitterInstagram,  and Pinterest at Lynn Cowell.

Maybe, like me, you have experienced a time when you found your confidence, not just in yourself, but in God, rocked? I am so very grateful that God didn’t just fill the Bible with those who were successful every time or those who always got it right. If He did, I am afraid there would be too many times I would want to quit; completely give up.

Instead, He shared stories of those who failed, like David, and who got up, praised Him and kept on moving.

Today, God can make us brave, whether life is all coming together or all falling apart.

We can have a heart and mind that is set in place, secure, and attached, even when our circumstances say “failure”. The first step toward having this type of unshakeable confidence is by knowing what God’s word says to us and about us.

Here are 10 verses for us to build unshakeable confidence, not so much in us, but in the Holy Spirit who lives inside those of us who are His! Print this list out right now, carry it with you and soak your heart in this truth!

10 Verses For Building Unshakeable Confidence

 

Psalm 118:8, 9, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (NIV)

 

Hebrews 10:35, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” (NIV)

 

Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (NIV)

 

Ephesians 3:12, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (NIV)

 

Proverbs 3:26, “for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” (NIV, 1984)

 

Hebrews 3:6, “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” (NIV)

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 

Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” (ESV)

1 John 2:28, “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” (NIV)

1 John 3:21 – 22, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;  and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” (NIV)

3 books

Today, I’m giving away a Confidence Combo — a set of resources to help you build your confidence on God. This set includes:

* His Revolutionary Love

* Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants

A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

 

To be entered for an opportunity to win, share 1 person you would like to give this confidence bundle to! If you are in a hurry, simply say, “I’m in!” I will announce the winner on Wednesday with my Wednesday Wisdom Tip!

Lynn