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In 2003, my therapist said, "You must learn to counter your negative thoughts with positive thoughts." Similarly, my favorite author of women's Bible Studies encouraged me to "take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ" (2 Cor 10: 5). If memory serves, we were to re-wallpaper our minds with Scripture.
I tried to take my thoughts captive. But my thoughts were unruly and refused to submit. I didn't experience empowerment from either practice until I began to confess the contents of my heart. Why is confession so important? I've said it a million times. We cannot overcome what we deny.
I told God the truth. I told Him that I hated. Why I hated. How much I hated. Over time His steady presence transformed me--from the inside out.
A young man recently said to me, "I hate everyone. I don't know what's wrong with me. I pray and read my Bible daily. I ask God to please take my hate away, but everyday I wake up with hate." (I live for moments like this.) "Stop asking God to take your hate away and invite him into your hate."
Psalm 139: 22: "I hate them with perfect hatred . . . "
The first time I read this passage I about fell out of my chair. Hate can be perfected? There's a scripture for this? Being the book nerd that I am, I looked up the transliteration for perfect in Hebrew. (New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Thomas Nelson, 2001)
#8503. Perfect / takliyth, tak-leeth; from #3615; completion; by impl. an extremity:--end, perfect (ion).
Divine Mercy perfects our hate. He searches our hearts and examines the cause(s) of our hate. I once hated everyone, and now I hate no one. What I hate is all manner of abuse.
Christ perfected my hate as I confessed day after day after day. Over time He disentangled me. He brought my destructive expressions of hate to completion and revealed a just cause.
Drop a few ice cubes inside a cup of boiling water and the temperature changes. Still, it's water. Hate is a God-given emotion. It is not a sin. Life and death hinges on how it is expressed (or suppressed).
Prayer: Jesus, I invite you into the center of my hate. "Search me and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting!" (Ps 139: 23-24)
How can Christ lead you out if you won't let him in?
Published on Thursday, April 16, 2020 @ 12:00 PM CDT
April is Child Abuse Prevention & Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
3 SIMPLE TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD
I facilitate safe environment classes in my church. An attendee recently inquired, "What is the best thing I can do to protect my child when I'm not around?"
This is a great question!
- Validate your children when they sense you are upset. If it's obvious you've been crying or that you're angry, telling them that you're just tired or have a headache causes them to doubt their God-given intuition. They learn to second guess themselves and dismiss what their "tummies tells them."
No need to give them inappropriate details. It's easy enough to say, "Thank you for noticing. I'm feeling a littel sad today. But it will pass. How was your day?"
If your child senses that a person or situation is unsafe, you want them to trust their intuition. And you want them to trust that you will listen and not dismiss them.
2. Let your children do little things for themselves. When you can, supervise with your eyes, not your hands, Moms. Pull the chair up to the sink. Let them wash dishes. Help fold laundry. Dump the dogfood in the bowl. I know it's hard when you're in a hurry. It goes so much faster when you do it yourself. But trust me, you will instill confidence in them. Children with low self-esteem are more likely to be targeted by abusers. (More on this in days to come--with cite references.)
3. Let your children do BIG things for themselves. We made a game out of this one: My youngest son would find the gate at the airport. (Ticket in hand with a parent by his side, directing him to look at the flight monitor.) He loved it!
If his bicycle needed fixing, he held the tools and his father talked him through it. Do activities like this take longer? Yep. But it will pay dividends in self-confidence.
I encourage you to consider each suggestion. What are some simple ways you can put these into practice? Take spirited initiative.
Published on Monday, April 6, 2020 @ 6:05 PM CDT