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

Friday, November 21, 2014

What if Mary Said “No”?

AnswerYes

“What if Mary had said no?”

This was the question Liz Curtis Higgs posed to me this morning. Not over a breakfast coffee, although I would have loved that. But in her Advent book “The Women of Christmas.”

Liz reminds us of the wisdom of God, “That’s why the Lord chose Mary. He knew she would say yes. God did not have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C. Mary was The Plan.”

Liz’s words take me back to my own direction changing story. The season was coming to an end. I was done with school and had no idea what God had for me next. I had tried to open a door, only to have it quickly slammed shut. Now what? Sharing my dilemma with my counselor, she asked me if I had prayed about it. Why, of course I had prayed about it! The problem wasn’t me , God simply wasn’t talking. Then she said these wise words, redirecting my focus:

“When you reach the point, that no matter what God says, the answer is “yes”, you’ll hear Him.”

That’s what God knew about Mary.

Her answer would be “yes”. Mary made it about God; not about Mary.

With each character in the Christmas story, Liz does the same. Not even a moment does she allow the spotlight to stay on the female character in the story. She always redirects back to our Savior. “Mary was full of God’s grace simply because God chose to bless her. We have no description of her being holy or pious or deserving. She was a virgin, yes, but not perfect, not without sin. For Jesus to be fully the Son of Man, his mother had to be fully human.”

Maybe like me, you need a little redirecting this holiday season. The focus back on the Savior. Let “The Women of Christmas” lend a hand.

Be sure to take a moment to take in the many FREE resources Liz offers, bringing us to the manger, at www.LizCurtisHiggs.com including “How to Have a Sane and Sacred Christmas”. 

Women_of_Christmas_large     The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary and Anna is available everywhere books are sold, including your favorite local bookstores and these online booksellers: Amazon.comBooksaMillion.com

Barnes&Noble.comChristianBook.comFamilyChristianLifeWay,Parable.

Liz is so generous to be giving away a signed copy of this beautiful book. For your chance to win, please enter a comment below sharing one tip for getting our focus on the Savior in the days ahead. If time is short, just say “I’m In!”  I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday on my “Wednesday Wisdom Tip”.

The winner of Rescue: Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture is Susan who posted at 2014/11/20 at 10:26 pm. I will send you an email Susan. Please send me your full name and address and I’ll get it sent right out! 

 

 

Lynn

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom Tip: Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture {Give Away Day}

CandyGibbs

 

 

There are days as a parent when we watch our kids swimming in the dark waters of today’s culture and it appears as though they are drowning.

Especially as it pertains to their faith.

In her book, Rescue: Raising Teens in a Drowning CultureCandy Gibbs draws her readers to a Bible story which renews our faith that God can handle our kids’ faith. 

She encourages us to review the story of Jacob in Genesis 32. In verse 9, Jacob is praying to the Lord. “He is preparing to see his brother Esau for the first time since Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. Jacob is afraid, to say the least. He sends bribes ahead hoping got pacify Esau, but he is keenly aware that Esau is coming to meet him and he is bringing over 400 men along. In Jacob’s prayer, he refers to the Lord as O God of my Father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord…Do you notice that Jacob views God as the God of his fathers, but he doesn’t make reference to Him being his God?”

Candy goes on to point out it isn’t until after Jacob wrestles with God in Genesis 32 and ends up with a limp for the rest of his life that he truly encounters God for himself. Jacob, who had Abraham for a grandfather and Isaac, who laid himself on an altar to be sacrificed, as a father still struggled with his faith. He had to have his own wrestling match with the Lord. “Then..he called the Lord his God and knew that he had seen God face to face for himself.”

“The same is true for our children. They must put their own hand to the question, asking themselves what to do with this man they call Jesus. They will own up to their own past and shortcomings and there will certainly be painful moments, life-changing moments. But when all is said and done, they will have seen Him face to face, and He will have changed their gate, and their walk with Him will never be the same. We can trust them to the process; our God hasn’t lost a wrestling match yet.”

I found these words written by Candy so reassuring. Sometimes we just have to be reminded: God cares more about our kids’ relationship with Him than we do. As we pray, we must trust He is at work.

Rescue

Today, I’m giving away a copy of Rescue: Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture  by Candy Gibbs. To enter to win, just share the name of a teen you love in the comments below. Then, if you have time, say a pray for the teen named in the comment above your’s. Think of all the prayers that will go up today!

I will announce the winner on my Friday post.

Lynn

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom Tip: “Dear Santa” Sending Damaging Message

SantaPlaque

 

“Dear Santa – This year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix these two up like you did last year.”

This message, intended for in the adult section of holiday decor at Dillard’s, found it’s way to the children department instead.

I am afraid this isn’t the only time when our obsession with body image and our income wiggles into our children’s worlds and eventually their hearts.

The real problem here isn’t that the plaque was placed in the wrong department. The real problem is when our insecurities with our appearance and our affluence (or lack of it) not only effect us but spill over to our children.

Our words, written or said, in jest or beyond joking, have power. The power to bring confidence or self-consciousness.

Use this as an opportunity to talk to our kids about the power of words and the messages we are confronted with each day. The “good life” is about so much more than our body shape and account balance.

Gorgeous is more than a face in the mirror.

Lynn

Monday, November 10, 2014

When 3 Mamas Pray

They didn’t know what to do…they just felt they were to do something.

So, they started to meet. Every Tuesday morning at the church for prayer. And they began to ask God: What should we do for our girls?

After several months, they didn’t have a sense of any specific direction so they decided what God was calling them to do was pray for their daughters. So they would continue.

Until an email crossed one of their paths. A blog post speaking of an event empowering girls with confidence to make wise choices. And Jackie felt a nudge. This was the “something” He was talking about.

 

Jackie

And that is how me and my girl Madi ended up in Orange City, Iowa this weekend investing in over 150 moms and daughters.

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Before the event even started, Madi and I had such an anticipation of all God was going to do! We had to take a selfie because we were so happy! (OK – and maybe the late afternoon coffee had something to do with it!)

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Moms and daughters from over 4 states, one group traveling over 9 hours, came to experience God empowering His girls with His confidence! One of my sessions, Beyond Snapchat Friends, made a selfie of our group in order!

 

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It was a terrific time for all of us moms to reaffirmed with our girls that Jesus is the One we are looking for and can fulfill the desires of our hearts!

 

 

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My one of my favorite parts of a conference is Q & A and when one of my girls is with me, it’s even that much better. This trip it was my youngest daughter, Madi. I think there is just something so encouraging for a Jesus girl to hear from another Jesus girl who is purposing to live a life to her fullest potential and honor God with it!

 

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Jesus was faithful, as He always is! And this was just the beginning! Almost all of the moms and daughters took home “His Revolutionary Love” and “Magnetic” so that the seeds God planted can grow and flourish!

Would you like to bring a conference to your church or community? If so, I still have a couple of weekends available the beginning of 2015. Just email me at Lynn@LynnCowell.com and I’ll send you some information! You can begin by reading more on my “speaking” at www.LynnCowell.com.

 

The winner of “In This House We Will Giggle” from last week’s post is Amy who posted on 11/5/14 at 7:43 a.m. Please email me at Lynn@LynnCowell.com and I’ll get it right out!

Lynn

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

{Give Away Day} The Head, the Heart & the Great Gap

 

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I am so excited to have as my guest today my friend, Courtney DeFeo. I met my new friend this summer at She Speaks where we were both speaking. She  is a popular blogger and creator of ABC Scripture Cards featured on “The View.” Courtney and her husband, Ron, are the parents of girls – just like many of us. Two to be exact.

Courtney has just released her new book, “In This House We Will Giggle” and I am so excited to be giving away a signed copy today! Here is a few lines of the intro that drew me in, “I’m convinced we can let loose and enjoy our familyeven as we’re teaching profound principles for life…a  love-and-laughter approach to spiritual growth…Let’s close up our computers and ride bikes more often. And at the same time, let’s not waste a single opportunity to teach our kids to live out the virtues that can share their hearts.”

 

 

Now, from Courtney:

 

Have you ever listened to baptism stories and tried to gather a theme? It isn’t always the case – but a majority of them sound like this:

 

I grew up in a Christian home… and this happened and this happened… and then I discovered my need for Christ. I experienced Him in a real way. And today I am here today to say that Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior.”

 

If I am honest, this is a fear of mine. That I spend YEARS training my kids to know Jesus and they leave with a head full of knowledge – but a heart aching with a God-sized hole in their heart. A great gap.

 

I am on a quest to empower moms and change little lives through innovation in the home. I believe our kids are never too old and never too young to truly experience Jesus. I believe they can actually light up the world.

 

We need to invite them to the party.

 

I don’t want us to be overwhelmed by the to do’s of teaching them about God, I want us to be overwhelmed by the great privilege. We get to play a part.

Courtney

Now, take a deep breath with me.

 

It is not all up to us, He changes the heart.

 

The truth is that I grew up in a Christian home. My parents loved me and showed me Jesus. I made my own choices and put my faith on pause. My parents never gave up. They prayed, they forgave and they loved me always.

 

God didn’t let go either. He moved fiercely in my heart when I got out of Auburn and I have never been the same.

 

We don’t get to choose the time frame or the game plan for their faith. Scaring our kids is not our best tactic. Equip them. Show them.

 

We can show them that it feels good to serve. It feels good to love others. We can create environments – where they experience Jesus. They feel it.

 

How?

 

Well, this could look like a mission trip or serving in a soup kitchen to taking a meal to a neighbor. It could be praying as a family for something big. The options are endless. Ask Him.

 

 

The great gap (from the head to the heart) is why I wrote my book.

 

I want our kids to experience WHO we know more than WHAT we know.

 

I’m crazy about Lynn’s heart and what she is doing for teens. Magnetic is a great goal for my girls. Let the love of Jesus pour from their lives in a way that attracts others to their hearts – not their pretty faces.

 

Mom – You are doing great!

You haven’t lost them!

 

God created the earth and stars. He is all we need to raise these kids. He will use it all – the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

He used me.

 

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In This House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love, and Laughter a Daily Part of  Your Family Life  offers parents a practical approach to instilling virtues in their children through laughter, rather than lecture. Designed to cover an entire year, each of the 12 chapters highlights one key virtue in developing a child’s character, along with insights to help infuse the virtue into everyday life.

In This House, We Will Giggle teaches children to experience the goodness of God, the joy of following Jesus and the difference children can make in the lives of others.

Today, we’re giving away a signed copy of “In This House, We Will Giggle” to one blessed reader! To enter, please, in the comments below, share one idea of how we can make learning about Jesus fun in our families. And if it’s a busy day for you, just say, “I’m in”! I’ll announce the winner on Monday.

Lynn

Friday, October 31, 2014

When My Mind Says “Fail”

AllComingTogether

 

“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises.” Psalm 57:7 (NLT)

 

Fail. It’s a word I’ve heard my kids use when something goes wrong. Just plain “fail”.

 

And it’s how I felt. In charge of an event, I had done all I knew to do to make the weekend what I would define as “successful”. According to my measurement, I had fallen so short.

 

Confused, I’d wondered why God didn’t help me. I was doing it for Him. You would think He would have stepped up and helped me. Now it was over and I found my mind swirling.

 

What did I do wrong? Maybe I’m just not cut out for this?

 

What I felt was anything but confident.

 

In today’s verse, David speaks of confidence. Confidence placed in the right source: “My heart is confident in you, O God.”

 

You might think when David wrote the words from today’s verse, life was going amazingly well. Ruling from his castle, eating chocolate and watching re-runs. Moments from marrying the king’s daughter and living “happily ever after”.

 

His reality, in fact, was so far from “well”. As he penned these words, he was literally running from a mad man who not only wanted to kill him, but also had the power to do so.

 

At least he was surrounded by family encouraging him and a spouse supporting him like I was. Friends telling him he would make it through like I had.

 

No, that wasn’t the case either. When David wrote the words, “my heart is confident in you, O God, no wonder I can sing your praises” he was hiding in a cave, with 400 guys who were also running from trouble, in debt or just plain discontented with life as they knew it.

 

Here, in this awful situation, David reaffirmed his security hadn’t changed; it was still built on God.

 

According to my study Bible, the word translated confident in the original Hebrew

means: set in place, make secure, to be made ready, be attached.

 

I love this last definition: be attached. I immediately get a mental picture of a girl with a boyfriend on her arm or a new bride. Her face glowing, she’s confident. She’s attached to someone and that someone cares deeply about her. This relationship brings her confidence.

 

David’s relationship brought him confidence as well. Despite his horrific circumstances, David experienced security because God was with him even in those circumstances.

 

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, attached, even when our mind says “fail”.

 

Jesus, the way you define failure and the way we define failure is so very different. I know often my circumstances are a set up to teach me where is the secure place to build my confidence. Always and only on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

This weekend, no matter what your circumstances may say, may your heart say, I am confident in You, O God.

 

Lynn

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom Tip: {Exclusive Video & Discussion Questions} What Do Guys Really Want

The winners from yesterday’s post, 10 Ways to Living Out Good, are Lynette Myers who posted October 28, 2014 at 7:07 am and Jenny Lenarz who posted on October 28, 2014 at 9:34 am. Congratulations! Please email me name and address to Lynn@LynnCowell.com and I’ll get them right out!

 

Video Shoot

When writing Magnetic, I had the privilege to interviewing some really guys and asking them the question:

What do you find attractive in a girl?

I knew from the Q&A time at my conferences that this was a question many girls wanted to know. I think the answers will surprise many {including you}!

Video Shoot - Zack

 

This free resource – the following video and discussion questions – is a great conversation starter for you and your girl or for your small group! This is a wonderful opportunity to reenforce – gorgeous is more than skin deep.

 

 

If you can’t see the video, click here.

For the free discussion questions, just click here.

Lynn

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10 Ways to Living out Goodness in Our Families


WhatGoodAmI

If you are joining me here today from my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion, welcome! I’d love to connect with you further through Facebook, TwitterInstagram,  and Pinterest at Lynn Cowell and by sharing with you my Wednesday Wisdom Tips which you can get by subscribing here!

I want to known as a woman who is a bringer of good to those around me and I want to teach my kids to be the same!

We’re told: “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” Proverbs 3:27 (NLT) Let’s take a look at :

10WaysToLiveOutGood

10 Ways We can Live Out Good in our Families

 

1. Think before we talk.

My friend Kelly shared with me a piece of advice she gave to her daughter this week: “What we think & what we say don’t have to be the same thing!”

2. Look for small acts of goodness.

The elderly with groceries, the neighbor’s garage can that needs to be taken up. These are all invitations to do good.

3. Refuse to point out mistakes.

When we make a mistake, we know it right? Let’s stop pointing out the obvious.

4. Serve each other.

Need a napkin? Dishes need unloading? We can serve before we’re asked demonstrating goodness.

5. Give out compliments

If you have a good thought, say it!

6. Find the positive in the bad.

Rainy day? Play in it! Bleach on a shirt? Tie die it! Look for the good even when it seems all bad.

7. Serve together.

The holidays are coming; what a great time to serve together! Make shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Sponsor a needy child.

8. Give together.

Last year, my husband asked our children to pick a ministry they would like to give to. It was beautiful to see where their hearts gravitated toward!

9. Stop Gossip.

Make gossip a dirty word in your house. If it’s not good, it’s a no-go.

10. Get gorgeous!

Goodness is a trait of the fruit of the Spirit – something that draws others to Jesus and to Jesus in us as well. Let’s teach our kids – gorgeous is more than a face in the mirror. Goodness is gorgeous!

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (NIV)

Do you know a teen girl you long to see grow in goodness and reach her God-given potential? Today I’m giving away two personalized copies of my latest book Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants, a study based on the fruit of the Spirit.

To enter to win a copy, simply share below which of the 10 ways to living out goodness you will do today. {To enter, you must enter in the comments. If you are receiving this by email, please head to my website at www.LynnCowell.com).

I will announce the winner tomorrow on my Wednesday Wisdom Tip – an exclusive video and discussion questions – What Do Guys Really Want?

Lynn