Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom Tip: Confidence & Uncertainty Can Go Hand-in-Hand

BuildYourConfidence

I know it sounds bad; but it’s not.

To be needy.

Let me introduce you to a girl in the Bible who was definitely needy…and amazing too!

Her name is Mary. Picture her with me.

There she is; minding her own business. Since girls got married early in life, even though she was in what we would consider middle school, she is engaged (and most likely thrilled about it!) Then, her life is interrupted. An angel comes to her saying:

“Good morning!
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.” Luke 1:28 (The Message)

She, of course, was freaking out (or as the Bible says, ‘thoroughly shaken”) wondering what is going on. But the angel assures her, “You have nothing to fear. (Of course not, there is just an angel in my room!) God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

I’m not so sure that from the first word of it, Mary would have been that excited! “Pregnant? I’m not married?” Finding out you’re pregnant would make a single, teen girl feel very needy.

The angel goes on to tell her “This isn’t just any old baby; this is God’s son.”

Still, pregnant?

Does Mary freak out when she gets this news? Say, “This will be the end of me! What will my whole town (or school) say about me?” Did Mary, knowing she was going to be the object of gossip ditch her confidence?

No. She allowed her neediness to draw her closer to God.

Here is her confident response:

 “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.” Luke 1:3

Mary could respond in confidence because Mary’s confidence wasn’t built on someone. For all she knew, Joseph was going to leave her when he heard her crazy story. She built her confidence on Perfect God and what He was doing in and through her.

Her confidence wasn’t based on something: her image, her reputation, her like-ability, her perfection. Mary had already built her confidence on perfect God. Her confidence was not based on who she was, but on who He was.

She didn’t base it on something – like her image. As a mom, at times I have based my confidence on my kids and how well they did. If Mary had been based her confidence on her image like I have, her confidence would have been ditched because her reputation was ruined! Her confidence wasn’t in the fact that she was untarnished, but on untarnished God.

Mary didn’t base on her confidence on someplace. In fact, the first thing she did after hearing the angel’s news was leave home. She went to visit her cousin Elizabeth.

Mary tells Elizabeth when she arrives: “I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened – I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others…” Luke 1:46 – The Message

Can you hear Mary knew her Untarnished God was behind everything that was happening in her life? As a teen, Mary knew her value was not in who she was at school, how she performed on the team or what her SAT score was (or the equivalent in her town). Instead of letting her needy heart call the shots, Mary embraced what God was doing and she honored Him with what she did next.

Did she get it? Probably not.

Did she resent it? No.

Would others think she was weird, had blown it? There is no doubt that they would, but Mary did not allow what others thought of her to hold her back from embracing this thing God was doing; even if she didn’t understand it.

Like Mary, each of us should build our confidence on God because He and His reputation is perfect even when we aren’t.

Today, pay attention to your heart. Do you find your emotion well-being tied to someone, something or someplace? Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of who and what your confidence is rooted in. Ask Him to help you to base your confidence in Him.

 

The winner of Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants and the Magnetic bracelet is  Emily who posted at December 15, 2014 at 10:41 am . I will contact you with the email you used for your comment, Emily. Congratulations!

 

 

Lynn

Monday, December 15, 2014

Peer Pressure: It Isn’t Just For Teen

PressureatChristmas

If you are joining me here today from my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion, welcome! Be sure to join me through the Christmas season as we pray 9 Prayers for Our Girls found on my  Facebook, TwitterInstagram,  and Pinterest at Lynn Cowell.

In my devotion with Proverbs 31 Ministries I make this quote today:

“When we hear the words “peer pressure,” we often think of just teenagers. But pressure to conform doesn’t go away once we leave our school days. It isn’t limited to any one age, gender or status group. In one form or another, every culture is influenced by the pressure to belong.”

There is no time when we are tempted to fit in than Christmas.

From Moms at school talking of lists and gifts.

TV pushing the newest and greatest.

Then there are the stores. From the moment we breeze through those automatic doors, the scents and sounds blur away our built-in budgets.

Pressure…it isn’t just for teens.

We can turn it around! Christmas can be a wonderful season to learn to push past all this pressure and press into God.

We can use pressure points as triggers for our hearts. Not a trigger for false guilt, anxiety or loneliness, but a gentle nudge to draw closer to Jesus just as He drew close to us when He came. When the day on the calendar wants to yell “Just 10 more days until Christmas”, we can choose to not make it a point of panic. Instead, we can stop. Literally stop what we are doing and grasp peace, whispering a prayer of thankfulness.

While the world might be whirling around us, we can ask the Lord to flow through us, living out His fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Many of you have chosen to wear a daily reminder to live out His fruit in us; to become magnetic!

So today I am again giving to one blessed reader a tangible reminder to not fit in, to not give in to peer pressure and to live out the fruit of the Spirit — a beautiful bracelet made and benefitting Fashion & Compassion, displaying Galatians 5:22 – 23 with a signed copy of my newest book Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants.

MagneticBracelet

To enter to win, please share in the comment section below one way you will remind yourself to draw closer to Jesus in the next few days. I know you are busy with Christmas preparations, so if time doesn’t permit, just say, “I’m in!” I will announce the winner Wednesday on my Wednesday Wisdom Tips!

If you want to get Magnetic for a young woman in your life and can’t wait to see if you won, you can order from Proverbs 31 Ministries today! With each copy of  Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants purchased through the P31 bookstore, I’m giving away a free magnet with the quote, “Gorgeous is more than a face in the mirror.”

GorgeousButton

Lynn

Sunday, December 14, 2014

9 Prayers to Pray for Your Girl

9 Prayers to Pray for Your Girl

 

 

I’m guessing we have this in common: you want the best for your girl. For her to reach her fullest potential.

And so we pray…or at least we attempt to.

Then our days grow busy, we become distracted and we forget.

Or maybe we don’t forget.

Instead, we feel like we’re wasting our time praying the same things day after day. We get tired of praying the same prayers.

What if our prayers were right where we were…on our social media?

And what if our prayers came from God’s word so we knew what to pray, how to pray and didn’t pray the same thing every day?

And what if they were short, so we had enough time in this busy season?

That’s why I’ve created 9 Prayers to Pray for Your Girl.

Let’s do that together for the next 9 days. I’ll post a prayer, based on based on God’s word, for our girls to become the girl He wants – a girl filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control found in Galatians 5:22-23. 

You will find these posts on my Facebook, TwitterInstagram,  and Pinterest at Lynn Cowell. Together, let’s give our daughters the greatest gift we can give them this Christmas season – the gift of our prayers. 

 

Lynn

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom Tip: Top 3 Traits Your Daughter Needs to Look for in a Date

3TraitsinGuy

 

 

I’m always looking for opportunities to bring up dating when talking with my kids. You never know when the next guy she goes out with becomes the one she spends her life with. (Look at me – I started crushing on my husband in 6th grade!)

This past weekend I asked Madi:

What do you think is the most important character quality to look for in a guy?

Madi’s choice: loyalty. Faithfulness. I have to agree – one of the fruit of the Spirit.

Faithfulness is one of many qualities Madi and I discovered as we looked at the life of Joseph in the Christmas story.  In Matthew 1, I find 3 more traits our girls should look for in a date. Joseph was:

1. Humble

Finding out his  fiancé was pregnant, a proud man would make a spectacle of her. Humiliation would have been used to protect himself. Not Joseph. Matthew 1:19 in the NLT says,     “Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.” 

Quietly. Humility finds no reason to draw attention to himself.

 

2. Merciful

Mary’s pregnancy would have been humiliating for Joseph. Even if he had the chance to tell his story, there would be those who wouldn’t hear the truth nor believe if they did. So many who would have judged him. Even in his plan to quietly divorce her, Joseph prepared to show mercy. The law gave him the permission he needed to be cruel, but was choosing compassion.

 

3. Obedient

When the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph was immediately obedient to God. Verse 24 tells us, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him…” No hesitation. No excuses or justification.

Pure obedience.

 

These are just a few of the traits demonstrated in the life of Joseph. Find a few quiet moments, in the car, before bed, while making dinner and start your own conversation about the godly man named Joseph. Let your girl find the traits she sees first; you can fill in the blanks later.

Let’s teach our girls what a real man looks like. Humble, merciful and obedient.

 

 

Lynn

Friday, December 5, 2014

When God’s Word is Intimidating

I read your best seller

 

What’s the point? I just don’t understand it anyway.

I have definitely had those same thoughts when it comes to the Bible. It can feel so intimidating!

Going through God’s word with someone helps it not feel so intimidating, takes the scary element out of it.

Wendy Pope of Proverbs 31 Ministries wants to be that someone!

For the past 8 years, Wendy has helped hundreds read through the entire Bible in a year. Now that sounds intimidating! But it really isn’t when you have a plan.

Here is your opportunity, to be encouraged and learn alongside hundreds of others walking through God’s word together.

To learn more and to see what Read Through the Word is all about, click here. 

 

Make 2015 the year you learn more and go deeper!

 

 

Lynn

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom Tip: No More

 

Gate

 

I shouldn’t be even be thinking this I told myself.

 

But that didn’t change that fact that I was.

 

The parade of beautiful women, most 20 years my junior, sent my mind reeling.

 

How did they get so…perfect?

 

To be honest, my thoughts caught me off guard. Of all things! Body Image – a topic I often speak and write about. Why was I thinking these thoughts?

 

I had allowed my mind to put me at the gate.

 

Let me explain.

 

In Acts 3:1, Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, were on their way to the temple to pray when they saw a man crippled at birth. Every day this man was put outside a gate named Beautiful, leading into the temple courts. There he begged for what he needed.

 

When the crippled man saw Peter and John, he asked them for money. “…Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.” (Acts 3:4b -5)

 

The crippled man had a need and he looked to others to meet it.

 

The name of the gate struck me.

Beautiful.

I immediately thought of us women. We, too, are “put every day at the gate called Beautiful”.

 

Sometimes, it’s by choice. The gate called Beautiful might be called our closet, mirror, or make up bag. We look to these things to give us what we need. For others the gate is our friends or the man in our life. The gate called Beautiful might be the scale we hope will tell us the “right” number, the gym we join to become the “right” size or the mall we cruse through looking for the “right” outfit.

 

We go to the gate Beautiful.

 

Sometimes, we don’t choose to go to the gate. Ads, TV and social media constantly confront us with society’s beautiful.

 

And like the man put at the gate every day, many of us are crippled too.

 

Crippled at birth, the man didn’t do something to disfigure himself. He couldn’t prevent it. His maiming had everything to do with his birth.

 

For many of us, the way we are crippled isn’t our fault either. Daily, living in a culture obsessed with perfectionism, we’ve been damaged.

 

Because it is all we know, we go to the gate called Beautiful and we beg. Like the crippled man: “So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.” Acts 3:5

 

If we get a new outfit, we expect others to notice.  A new hair style deserves a compliment or two.

 

Here’s the great news: we can be healed! Just like the crippled man. “Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.” (v.7)

 

When he took the hand of Peter, the one bringing Jesus’ healing, he stood up. Became strong.

 

That is what Jesus wants for us; for you! To become strong; a woman no longer crippled by culture’s standards. Who takes Jesus by the hand to become healed!

 

After he was healed, the Bible says, “He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” (Italics mine)

 

Friend, if we take Jesus by the hand, allowing Him to heal our distorted view of beautiful, others will notice. Seeing our new-found confidence, they will be in wonder and amazement at what has happened to us too! When we allow God to heal us, we open the way for other’s to receive His healing too.

 

Let’s say: no more. It’s time we stop letting culture “put us at the gate” and grasp this: God says we are beautiful. Like the crippled man, let’s take the hand of healing.

 

Lynn

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cyber Monday Sale + Last Week’s Winners

CyberMonday

 

Cyber Monday Sale

Don’t miss the Proverbs 31 Ministries Cyber Blessing Sale! Through Monday, December 1st, we’re offering special, limited-time discounts as well as FREE shipping. And the best part? Your purchase goes right back into ministry to help us continue to bring God’s Truth and hope to millions of women and families all over the world.

Check out the sales in our online bookstore: http://www.p31bookstore.com/collections/cyber-sale

Last week’s winners

The winner from last week’s post “What if Mary Said “No”?” is Kimbery who posted at 2014/11/22 at 9:53 am.

The winner from last Friday’s post “Peace…on Black Friday” is Loraine who posted at 2014/11/28 at 11:53 am.

Congratulations!

 

Lynn

Friday, November 28, 2014

Peace … on Black Friday {Give Away Day}

d11.28

Of all days to write a post on peace…Black Friday.

A few years ago, I gave up on Christmas as I had known it.

Christmas that included buying gifts all year long “on sale”, stuffing them under my bed, and then pulling them out one-by-one and discovering I had spent way too much.

I gave up on the Christmas with decorations in every room (can’t forget the bathroom!) Treats to my friends and neighbors even though “baker” isn’t one of the hats I wear too well.

I quit Christmas … and discovered peace.

With the advice from my friend, Karen Ehman, I asked my family, “What are your favorite Christmas traditions?” and I quit the rest.

Here, in this pared down celebration, I have found His peace.

I have peace knowing God is good … even if my decorations, my baking, even the gifts I try so hard to make perfect … aren’t.

Now, I get more rest, which means getting up to spend time with Him in the morning is not as hard. I am a nicer mom, one who actually looks forward to December instead of the one who dreaded it.

I’ve found His peace.

Sometimes, finding peace, or joy, or love, especially during this frantic time we’ve created called “Christmas” can be so difficult. Our expectations push all all our buttons and the woman we had hoped to be during this holy time is felt far behind.

Maybe, like me, visual reminders help.

MagneticBracelet

That is why my daughter, Madi and I, designed the Magnetic bracelet. Madi wears her’s every time she goes to work. It is a visual reminder to her, while serving people, to display what I call the “captivating characteristics” or what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit. It is also a great reminder to pray for the women Fashion and Compassion empower – those who are especially vulnerable during this time of the year. A time of the year when every one is painfully reminded of the ways they want to support their families, but some struggle to do so.

Today, I’m giving away a signed copy of Magnetic along with the Magnetic bracelet to one reader. To be enter to win, share below an area of your life that lacks peace right now. Then, let’s pray for each other – each one praying for the woman who commented right before your’s. If your Friday is a little frenzied, just say, “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner next week!

PS – Starting today, Proverbs 31 Ministries is having a special on  Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants a study based on the fruit of the Spirit! Free shipping too!

Lynn

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom Tip: When are the Best Years of Your Life?

“High School…these are the best years of your life!”

This is one line that can really send my daughter straight to a place of frustration!

This season, at the very beginning of life, is as good as it gets? I’m quick to encourage her “No! God has more!”

I really love the account of Elizabeth in the Bible.

Elizabeth had spent her entire life serving and honoring God, but the very best part of her life came in her second half.

The best years of her life came in the late years of her life. 

In Luke 1:7, Elizabeth and Zechariah “had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.” (NLT) But time holds no power with God, He sends an angel to let them in on His plan. They were going to have a baby, even if Zechariah didn’t understand how. (v. 18) Though her husband questioned, Elizabeth did not. Instead, she took the road of thanks.

Elizabeth took the road of thanks. 

How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.” Luke 1:25 (NLT)

Like a score board displaying a winning score, yet the game is far from over, Elizabeth ran up the score in the second half of her life. Her “best years” were not her young years, but her older! And not only did she get the desire of her heart in her second half, she used this time wisely and invested in the life of the younger Mary. She used her enthusiasm for God and His word to encourage another just beginning her life of serving and honoring God.

It’s time to run up the score.

 

We can learn a couple of things from Elizabeth:

1. Look forward.

Until the day we leave this earth, God wants to be doing His work in us. Let’s position ourselves to be ready, calling out to God, “Put me in!” so we can

run up the score in our own lives!

 

2.  Look for someone to invest in.

Elizabeth had learned so much in life, serving along side her priest-husband, Zechariah. She didn’t sit on this wisdom, but poured it into the young

woman, Mary, who would need this wisdom too!

 

The best years of our lives are any years we partner with God!

 

Would you consider being an Elizabeth to a young woman in your world? A woman who comes along side, helping to prepare another for the good and the hard that lays ahead in life? I am praying that God will rise up women who will say “yes” and begin sharing their lives through mentoring, small groups, or simply befriending a girl or younger woman in the year to come!

“His Revolutionary Love” and “Magnetic” both have guides to help you come alongside you as you invest in another! (And just in time for the holidays, Proverbs 31 Ministries is running a special of both books together plus free shipping this weekend! Don’t miss it!) I’d be happy to stop by the office and personalization them for you too! Just shoot me an email at Lynn@LynnCowell.com.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Lynn

WWT: What’s Holding You Back?

Magnetc Collage

We want to make a difference in the lives of our daughters. In their friends too. But sometimes…life just gets in the way.

Soccer, music, church, basketball, homework, meals, softball, concerts, cleaning…constant commitment pulls us away from what we want to be.

Investors in the lives of our kids.

I know.

This year my daughter, as a senior, has early release. So every day, I get to welcome her home at 1:oo p.m. When we made this choice for Madi to get out early, we had so many plans for our time together. I wanted to teach her to study the Bible – as in Hebrew, Greek, digging in stuff. Haven’t made it yet.

I want to teach her to cook, bake (ok, maybe not bake since really can’t bake)…

And now, I am looking at the first semester almost over and before I know it, her senior year will be over and we’ll be taking her to college.

No more.

We’re picking a day of the week, getting the study Bible and getting after it! A date…just like music lessons or sports practice, it is on the calendar and we’re getting to it.

I love this picture collage because that’s what these moms are doing with their daughters. Making time to study God’s word together a priority.

As you head into the holidays, maybe the real gift to give your girl (and her friends too) this Christmas is the gift of YOU and the gift of learning God’s word together. Using a book like Magnetic, with a study guide in the back, takes the guess work out of it. You don’t have to be an expert. All you need is a consistent time to learn TOGETHER!

Today, I’m giving away a signed copy of Magnetic for one of you to give to your girl, or a girl you love, this Christmas. Just share in the comments below who she is and if you have an idea to help all of us to get intentional about getting into God’s word together…PLEASE do share!

Lynn