Posts tagged #motherhood

Warrior Mom: You Are More Than a Soldier

We have been discussing being a warrior mom this week.  This concept has challenged me after reading the book, Girls with Swords, this year.  Am I a soldier mom or a warrior mom? 

First a warrior mom is called.

Second, a warrior mom is faithful.

Here are my last three observations as a warrior mom.

A Warrior Mom sees through God’s Eyes. 

As a warrior mom I have to focus on what God is doing.  I must desire to see the world through His eyes.  Am I following His plan or I am fighting it? There are only two choices.  When I spend time in God’s word, I know God’s heart, but it is impossible for me to know what He is doing if I am not connected to Him on a regular basis.  On the contrary, the soldier only sees what the enemy is doing and follows the General out of duty. 

When my kids were little, they wanted their own way.  Do yours ever what that? During these seasons, I could only see what I thought the enemy was doing. Yelling ‘no’ at the top of their lungs. Our child was being drawn away and lashing out at me.  I thought for sure I needed to “whip him into shape”. But if I took a moment to focus on what God was doing, I would have adjusted my expectations accordingly. Our child was just testing his boundaries.  All of our children are born sinners and it is my job to help them find truth and to help train them in righteousness. But if I can take a moment and see God’s perspective, then I could still be his mom.  Love him and not need to be his best friend.  He argues and that is not okay.  Setting boundaries and loving them is the best way to reach their hearts. Remembering God loves them and created them for greatness helps me see the my children through His eyes.

A Warrior Mom controls her thoughts.

I love the quote from Lisa Bevere, “All Warriors understand all victories begin in private.“ When we are all alone or just alone in our minds, here is where the true battle is fought and won.   Here is where our character is tested.

 

As a mom, if the evil one can get you to:

            Feel like a victim, instead of a mom

            Feel like a servant, instead of a mom

            Feel like a basket case, instead of a mom.

            Feel like a failure, instead of a mom.

            Feel like a prisoner, instead of a mom.

Then he has won.

 

I love what the books says, “Warriors learn to trust the whispered call deep within, while the soldiers feel pressure to respond to the noise that surrounds them.”

By capturing your thoughts and taking them captive, God voice comes through much clearer.  There is less of an attitude of looking around at what everyone else is doing or listening to the voices around us.  If we are taking our thoughts captive, then the small still voice comes through.  I often miss it!

It takes the heart of a warrior to live up to the character God expects from us.  What kinds of choices do you make in private?  Do they live up to our love for God?  Are we really sold out to him?

A Warrior Mom takes action in her home.

The book says “Warriors speak bold words of faith and take action; soldiers give status reports.”

I have a friend named Betsy who complains constantly about things that are happening in her home.  She is upset at how her four year old daughter talks to her and is disobedient; yet, she continues to spoil her without any discipline.  She complains about her marriage; how her husband doesn’t do this and doesn’t help her here; yet, she doesn’t spend her time taking care of him either.  She complains about her house, her family (or lack of), her marriage, etc.  She just gives status reports without EVER speaking words of faith or taking action.

I love mentors in my life that encourage me as a mom.  I am the MOM.  Say it with me. I am the MOM.  It means I have the power to do anything in my home.  I can make it life-giving or joy-sucking.  I can create an environment of love or of exhaustion.  I CAN.  Everyone, your husbands included, are looking for your direction, your plan. 

My dad used to always say.  “Happy wife, Happy life.”  While I agree that is a good saying for our husbands to adopted, we should be saying to ourselves “Happy Mom. Happy Home.”

I am also the protector of the home.  I am a warrior for my kids in this culture.  I am not always liked by them.  I protect them from culture, from food choices, from media, from pornography.  These are my areas to take action.  I am the Warrior Mom – changing the world one child at a time!

What are you doing to be a warrior mom?

*Ideas taken from the book Girls with Swords: How to Carry your Cross like a Hero by Lisa Bevere

 

~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!


A Warrior Mom Is Faithful

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We continue today exploring the idea of being a warrior mom versus a soldier mom. Yesterday, we dug into the idea of being called to be a warrior mom. Here is a fun story along those lines. . .

           Once upon a time, there was a little girl.  The youngest of five, she was the only girl.  Her family never thought of giving her too many girly things as it was easier to just let her run around “like one of the boys”.  Her mom had much to handle working full time as a single mom.  She didn’t realize her daughter was growing up with all things “boy”.  When she did stop and think about it, she thought it was easier to just let her play with balls and Legos.  Until her great Aunt Dorothy bought her a baby doll and the next year a princess dress.  This little girl felt a call, a longing for a world she didn’t know existed.

            One day her mom happened upon her, all dressed up rocking her baby doll and singing to her.  The scene would seem quite normal upon first glance; however, just behind the little girl, tucked into the sash of her princess dress, was her brother’s very large sword.  Her mom was startled and asked her, “Honey, why do you need the big sword?”  She replied in true warrior fashion, “Mommy, I have a job to do that only God could give me.  So I am taking care of my baby and am ready for anything”.

As I reflected upon this little girl in the story, I realized being a warrior mom comes from God.  We are called to be a warrior mom, not just a soldier mom who feels duty.  Here is another thought on the subject.   

A Warrior Mom remains Faithful.

In Girls with Swords: How to Carry your Cross like a Hero, the author explains soldiers are trained, but warriors are tempered.  And becoming tempered comes from living under pressure.

How do we stay faithful to our calling under pressure?

Having children has tempered me.  The definition of tempered is: to be made less intense or violent, especially by the influence of something good or benign.

Bruce and I attended parenting classes for 12 weeks before we ever had Christian, our first child.  While some would say this training was silly, we wanted to be prepared for our first attempt at parenting.  Once we had Christian, then Danika, and the rest, we began to realize even though the information we learned was good and useful, we could not just stick with the step-by-step plan.  We were trained, but what we needed was supernatural help. We were under pressure and we had to rely on God to give us insight on the children He had given us. 

We became tempered over time and trusted our kids and instincts to the Lord, which was more important than training. 

As true warriors, we have to take each lesson we learn on the path of parenthood.  We understand that the challenge in this last season was meant to build strength in our future and our kids’ future.  Cancer has been this kind of challenge for me as a mom.  Having cancer has taken me away from being a mom for hundreds of hours and has exhausted me for the days I have been available.  If I was not careful, I could become angry at God, distant from my kids or give up on the task of being an intentional mom for the sake of my health.  All of them have been tempting in one form or another.  However, I know the calling of being a warrior mom and I have accepted the call. I know cancer was meant to build strength in me and make me more like Christ.

Being tempered under pressure as a warrior mom has caused me to put my focus on prayer.  All the training in the world will not make my kids into Christ followers.  My parenting skills fail in many areas so I know they will need me to pray and be faithful to the calling I have as their mom.  Focusing on training and duty only makes me angry and bitter, but giving my children to God and praying for them helps me to be a warrior mom.  It does not mean I don’t train or take care of them, it just means I go beyond the things within my power and rely on the power beyond my own.  Relying on Christ to remain faithful to the call of motherhood.

In what ways do you remain faithful in times of pressure as a mom?

~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

Warrior Mom: You Are Called

I live in a house full of knights and princesses. 

All of them resonate with the idea of a hero.

 As we study kingdoms in history and in our own Princess Parable books, I am struck with God’s plan for warriors and heroes.  Soldiers have uniforms.  But real warriors have weapons and tools for the job they have been called to do.  There is a very distinct difference between a warrior and a soldier. 

Who are warriors in daily life or even in imaginary life?  I think of super heroes.  Each one of them has their day-to-day routine and outfit.  There’s Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker. Even Wonder Woman was Diana Prince.

And Jesus, whom they expected to wear armor and come to fight in this world.  Yet, he came as the most helpless into this world – a baby.  But he was a warrior, not a soldier.  He came to change the world and never picked up a sword, except God’s word.

Did you know you are called to be a warrior?

I love that we introduced our knights in the Easter book.  They are knights synonymous with honor, boldness, trust and faith.  Our princesses have the same character qualities because being a warrior is all a matter of the heart.

I want to take this idea of a warrior over the next couple days and reflect on motherhood.  What does it look like to be a warrior mom vs. a soldier mom? What does it look like to take the calling we have as warriors and place it in our day-to-day life – changing diapers and training up children?

A Warrior Mom knows she is Called. 

The difference between a soldier and a warrior is the soldier is drafted and the warrior is called*.  Not all moms feel a calling.  You can be a biological mom.  You can birth a child, suffer thorough baby stage and toddlers to just make it to school age.  Muddle through those teen years and send them off at 18 without ever feeling the call of being a mom – without ever seeing your position as one of honor and protection.  We have to accept the call from the Lord to raise them intentionally.  It is work!  But the truth is once you have a baby, God CALLS you to be a warrior mom. The easiest thing is to be the soldier mom.  Just doing the bare minimum, exasperated with your kids and waiting for them to be gone. 

I felt that way in the beginning.  I know I wanted kids but then the harsh reality of sleepless nights and postpartum depression kicked in for me.  I also didn’t have that instant heart connection.  I found I felt distant, but responsible.  I saw the weight of having a little eternal person, but I could see how easily it was encroaching on my plans, my time, my selfish life.

When I met Sally Clarkson 7 years ago, I didn’t own the calling of motherhood.  I felt a duty, but there is a drastic difference between calling and duty.  That is why I have continued to put myself around people who call me to a higher place of motherhood.  I read books that convict me to live intentionally as a mom.

Motherhood is not a hobby. 

It is a ministry and a conviction.

A warrior mom is sold out. 

She is not just waiting until her term is over.

She is in it for life.

Motherhood is her life calling.

Do you feel called or drafted as a mom? 

*Ideas taken from the book “Girls with Swords: How to Carry your Cross like a Hero” by Lisa Bevere

~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

Jackie's Journey: Calm or Chaos?!

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I’m minding my own business…reading through Proverbs… and “quarrelsome wife” keeps popping up on the pages!

“Better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife”. Proverbs 21: 9 

Just ten verses later…”Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome or ill-tempered wife.”  And in the next few chapters…”Better to live…” an exact quote of Proverbs 21:9!!

How important is peace to you?

With chaos all around us (wives and mothers), what would it take for us to maintain a calm peace in our homes?  We just celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday. A day set aside to encourage us in our commitment to our families. We are reminded of our role and responsibility to be all God has called us to be.  It takes two to quarrel and whether you live with a good listener or an argumentative person, it requires your participation to induce a “quarrel”.  No great revelation, but a great challenge for those of us who have our own opinion and think that opinion has value enough to be verbalized.

Most attempts at resolving an argument are fought on the battleground of confessing the sin of the other person, rather than acknowledging our own.  No one ever wins an argument!  Our energy, limited as it often is, is spent recklessly.  Our focus is on our need to be right or to have a sense of personal value or to correct a false accusation, rather than the need to know God’s perspective and stepping into the classroom of life and growing-up!  

What value does our argument have in the light of eternity?

 How will it profit His life in us? 

In the heat of the moment the issue seems important, maybe even life-changing.  Our perspective is often clouded by our self-life, personal desires and expectations.  We are held captive by a force (Satan) pushing us to get our way or have the understanding we think we deserve from our husbands to validate our worth.  Self is demanding its rightful position in the relationship.  Satan stands back and just laughs!

God’s design from the beginning has been to use our inability to resolve issues to draw us to a place where we hear His voice alone.  There is no argument worth sacrificing our peace with Him; no right or expectation is as important as pleasing Him in all our thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions.  Our weakness in being able to discern the greater need of identifying the real source of our disagreement and resolving issues more quickly, demonstrates our immaturity. “For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”  Phil 2:21

Laying down our demand at the moment and sensing His quiet voice of peace in the chaos of our situation is what His life in us is programmed to do!  As mothers, it is easy to lose focus temporarily, and none of us is immune to its pull, but the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts (plural) and minds (plural) when we choose to bring Phil. 2:1-3 into focus in that moment of decision before the climatic altercation gets a foothold.  Moms, this promise we can “take to the bank”… every time!

The promise is the “God of Peace will be with us” if we put into practice that which we have learned or received or heard or seen from Him.  Our little ones (and big ones!) are watching and listening to see if we “walk our talk” in the things we say to them to resolve their issues when they are arguing. 

Do they see God at work or hypocrisy with no hope?

Finally, sisters, “if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ or any comfort from His love or any fellowship with the Spirit or tenderness and compassion, then make His joy complete by being like-minded, having the same spirit and purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition and conceit but in humility [not self-defense or rationalizations] consider the other person more important than yourself.”

 However difficult this exercise is when in the thick of an argument, this is the admonition and solution to avoid whatever we feel is more important than maintaining our peace with Him!

Our choice:  Peace or Chaos!

Which will you choose?

~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

3 Ways to Be a Light in Your World!

“Does anything I do matter? I mean, all I do is prepare meals, do dishes, fold laundry and change diapers. Then, I repeat the same thing the next day. I wanted to be a missionary when I was single. Today, I don’t feel like I advance the Kingdom of God at all. Maybe some day, when the kids are grown I will have time . .  .” Anonymous Mom confessions

Have you ever felt this way?  I know I have, especially when the kids were little and I worked.

But I want to encourage you today to think of yourself, like God does in Matthew 14. 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 14:14-16

Your kids ARE your mission.  They are our first God-given priority. YOU are the light of Christ they experience each day. YOU are building into them character and whispering the secrets of the kingdom in their lives.  You are shaping them and creating the next world-changer through every diaper you change and every meal you make.  You are teaching them what it looks like to serve others and how to respond to difficult situations with grace and wisdom. YOU are doing all this! But the days are slow and the work is monotonous.  Yes, it is true!

Beyond our husbands and our kids, I see God giving me opportunities within the framework of my daily life. I have just had to adjust my thinking. In my sphere of influence, there are people who need Jesus.  I have other moms in my life, parents with each sports team my kids are in and neighbors who God has given around me.  I also have people who come into my life for a specific time – a divine moment, I call it. All of these gifts can give me a God-given opportunity to “be a light in this world”.

Here are three different ways God has shown me how to “give light” around my daily activities that require no travel or degree to do, even as a mom.  Just a little bit of preparation and well thought-out plans to make an ordinary moment into a divine appointment.

Wherever I am, people are willing to talk about their lives.  So I take Jesus’ lead and ask questions. Of course, my job is to actively listen to a new friend I have met at the park or a parent at one of my kids’ soccer games.  I have learned everyone has a story. While engaging in this person’s life there are 3 things I can do to “shine light” into the conversation. 

Most of the time, an opening in conversation will happen and gives me an opportunity to do one of three things. 

Share my testimony

Through lots of practice, I have gotten my testimony down to three minutes.  I have the short version or the long version ready to go to share about Jesus when the opportunity arises.  I ask God to show me the best place and almost always the conversation leads easily to share.

Share what God has been Teaching me

Other times I am prompted to share what the Lord is teaching me through my quiet times in the morning—whether it is a verse or an example from life.  I am always looking for a way to carefully insert it into a casual conversation.  Again seeking the Lord for the right timing.

Pray for those who are hurting

Lastly, when speaking with another mom, oftentimes hurts or trials will be the topic we end up on because there is so much hurt and pain in this world.  I find it easy to tell people I will pray for them, but God is stretching me out of my comfort zone to just stop and pray right then and there with them. Most always the person, Christian or not, will accept prayer.   

Singing “This Little Light of Mine” with my kids can really be acted out in our lives with just simple acts.  The hardest part for me has been just keeping focused.  I tend to be lazy and forget that every interaction with another person can be a divine appointment. I get caught up in the story or my own excitement to share things going on in my life, but just a simple bit of pre-planning and focus can bring “light” to every conversation.

I know many of you share and bring light to the world around you.  What are other ways we could be a light to the world around us?

~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

Posted on April 18, 2016 and filed under Motherhood, Spiritual Growth, Character and Virtue.

Jackie's Journey: Sacrifice...What?

We are all living sacrifices…for something or someone…for good or evil!!

Some live life sacrificing for money; some for drugs and alcohol; some for sports; some for self-gratification, etc.  Most dedicated mothers sacrifice for their family.

 

My husband recently shared a verse with me that put “rubber on the road” in my understanding of sacrificial living! 

 

II Chronicles 12:14 says, “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord”.

 

My idea of evil is unlimited in its ability to fill my imagination with what I see, hear and read in our frazzled culture today! 

 

 In the light of God’s definition of evil, what are we really living for?

Are we shortsighted, committed to doing our own thing?

According to this verse, evil is defined as not setting our hearts on pleasing God and His purpose for our life; not seeking the Lord, first and always.

All other pursuits are considered evil from God’s point of view!

So I asked myself…

In my life quest, I consider my pursuits sacrificial but am I actively setting my heart on seeking Him first in every endeavor?”

Isa. 50:11 promises us needless defeat and suffering when we “light our own torches to do our own thing”.

As busy moms and grandmas, how often do we look for God’s purpose when we are being consumed by a whirlwind of activity all around us?  We are teachers, taxi drivers, counselors and nurses… you fill in the blank!

Isa. 50: 10 states, “All believers walk in darkness”.  This means we are all shortsighted and blind to the immediate future.  We tend to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.  By setting our hearts on pleasing God and having his purpose first in our lives, we find sacrificial living fulfilling, understanding that “all things work together for those who ‘set their heart on seeking God’ and are called according to his purpose”.

Are we too busy in our “life of urgency”

 to look for God’s purpose in our next interruption?

Is it a moot point when we are fractured with wrong attitudes and responses because we are being inconvenienced?

“I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.  If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…” 

Can He listen to you?  What do you set your heart on? 

What do you cherish above all?

~Jackie Johnson

I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

When Princesses Grow Up...

"The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..."   Romans 8:16,17

Some day your princesses will grow up . . .

I have two daughters. They came out of womb with the notion they were born for royalty.  No one told them this.  At about 18 months, my oldest daughter started to gravitate to everything pink and fluffy.  Before she ever saw a Disney princess or wore a costume, she put left over fabric around her and danced around saying, “Look at me mommy! I’m a princess!”

When they were little, my girls used to dress up in the most frilly, sparkly princess dresses and twirl around.  Nothing was too pink or too glittery to ever wear.  They would change their girly outfits from our well-stocked “dress up” box every hour.  Setting up tea parties, make believe lands and fashion shows were a daily occurrence.  Every once in a while, they would even try to put an outfit on their brothers.  This was regular life in the home of princesses.

I believe each of us is born a princess.  God made us to be a daughter of the King.  It is innate.  Before we ever see a Disney movie or a picture of Cinderella, our girls know they are made for greatness.  God has given them this gift of a purpose and a plan on this earth – our royal heritage. 

What a huge blessing and privilege it has been for our family to be given the stewardship of the Princess Parables ministry.  My girls were eight and five when the books first came out, and they couldn’t wait to dress up and help mommy at the booth.  But times change and our girls grow up!

In the last couple of months, my almost thirteen year old has decided being a princess is not for her.  She is maturing and likes to wear jeans with plaid shirts and Converse tennis shoes instead of lace and frills.  She wants a modern bedroom, not a princess bedroom.  She has asked to not dress as a princess at the conventions anymore and not have her identity be “a princess”.

While this was a huge blow to me and it has taken me a while to get used to, I can see God at work.  Even though it is our family ministry, my daughter can take on other jobs of service, and she doesn’t have to “dress up” anymore.  We are still working on her role exactly, but she does need to grow and figure out who she is.  And more importantly, who she is in Christ!  I need to keep my relationship with her whole because she is my heart and my love.

She will always be a princess on the inside.  She is a daughter of the true King and is created for greatness. God has His perfect plan for her.  She is still gracious, loving, kind, willing to serve, excellent in character and poised - even if she doesn’t wear a crown.  I am so grateful for the many years we have had this experience together.  I just honestly never saw the end coming.  I didn’t know one day it would be “her last” day to “dress up” at a convention.  Luckily for my heart, I still have one daughter (for the time being) who likes the Princess Parables.

So last weekend, I listened to my girls and we remodeled their “Princess” Bedroom.  Gone are the pink and purple walls. Here instead is a contemporary gray and turquoise palette. We have removed the case of porcelain dolls and tucked away the American Girl Dolls.  The princess beds have been traded for modern white ones.  And a sleek white IKEA desk has taken the place of stuffed animals and toys.  

As much as I would have liked them to stay little and be princesses forever, it is just not God’s plan.  I love the women they are becoming and the friends they are to me.  Yes, we have our “moments” in these young adult years, but they are a growing time for all of us.  I can’t wait to see all God has planned for their lives.

My advice to you moms of young princesses:  ENJOY!  If your girl wants to wear her princess dress to the grocery store, let her.  If they invite you to a tea party, go! I wish I had more often.  Take lots of pictures.  I realize now in the many of the “normal” moments of life, I never took pictures.  Some day, it will be their “last” and they will not stand up and announce it.  Enjoy every moment!

I am going to miss the frilly dresses, pink frosting and glitter everywhere, for certain, but I welcome these new grown up young ladies God has blessed me with!  It is a new season!

 I guess I will just have to wait for grand baby princesses to spoil!

Are You a Fun Mom?

I think I used to be fun a very long time ago, maybe before I was a mom. One of the reasons my husband married me in the first place was because he says I am fun (that was his #1 reason).  But as the years progressed and we had more kids, I changed.  My hormones were up and down. I slept less and took on more stress. I don't think I am fun anymore. 

With the kids, I often feel like the referee, the teacher, the cook, the maid, and the taxi.  Somehow it drains all the FUN out of me!

But I want to be a fun mom!  I always have wanted that . . .

After cancer, my attitude has been transformed.  I take each day that God has given me. I don't wait for the “next time” or when things might be “perfect”.  I just dive in because today might be my last.  Today might be your last. 

You just never know God's plans for you.  I think it is sad that it took cancer to get me back to being a more in-the-moment kind of mom.  One thing, I am no longer a bystander.  I now do so many more things than I used to, instead of just sitting around and watching others do them.

For instance, our Bible Study group, Elements, heads down to the beach each Tuesday with all our kids.  Each week I coax the ladies I am with into the ocean with me for a half hour.  One of them has not been in the ocean for 15 years!  We take in the waves, talk and shiver in the chilly Pacific waters.  I feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Today I asked the girls how old they felt jumping over the waves.  "12", one of them said.  Ah, we are living life! 

Now there are a bunch of health benefits to going in the ocean every week, which I just have to mention here.

First, the minerals in the sea air decrease stress and increase a sense of well-being.  Salt in water preserves the melatonin, tryptamine and serotonin levels in your brain.  This helps with fighting off depression or improving your sense of well-being. Going in the ocean water with your back to the breaking waves is like a reset of your emotional state.

Second, studies indicate that the minerals contained in the ocean’s water help with arthritis, psoriasis and even depression.  Other skin diseases, such as rosacea, eczema and rashes from plant allergies or heat are positively affected by the ocean water.  We decided today that we felt our skin was softer from our once-a-week plunges.

Third, ocean water contains iodine, which boosts thyroid function and improves the immune system.  When you are in seawater, the amount of oxygen carried throughout your bloodstream is improved and more nutrients are carried through your bloodstream to fight off free radicals. Ocean water also improves circulation of blood to organs.

Next, the swells and currents in the water act as a lymphatic massage to your whole body.  Being in the ocean water for a half hour is just like paying $80 for an expensive spa lymph massage.  Only God could know what our bodies need and provide a free alternative for our health.

Lastly, air particles break apart releasing ions into the atmosphere when the waves break.  Some scientists claim that sea air contains an abundance of negatively charged ions. These Ions are so good for us! In today’s society, we have too many positive ions in our lives.  You may know positive ions by another name – free radicals.  Because electricity, computers, TV and electronics are all sources of positive ions, it is easy to see why we have a shortage of negative ions.  Increasing our exposure to negative ions has many health benefits including enhancing the immune system, increasing alertness and improving concentration.  The negative ions from the ocean also help to reset your immune system and give you energy.

The biggest benefit is that my kids come and hang out with me in the water.  At least my girls do. So I am writing this for all the moms out there who want to stay in your beach chair this summer (like I have done so many years in a row!).  I had many excuses - I didn't want to get wet, it was too cold, I didn't want to have anyone see my overweight body, I didn't want to have to shower . . .  and so on.  JUST DO IT!  Whatever it is, experience God's creation with your kids!  Get in the ocean, the river, the lake - take that hike, jump in the pool with your kids . . . experience life!  This one life God has given you!  You never know when it will change - your kids will grow, your health may deteriorate - do it now before it's too late! 

The fun mommy in all of us is just waiting to come out. You never know – you might get healthier while you're at it!  Come join me this summer  . . . your kids, and probably your husband, will love it! Just picture our God in heaven smiling down watching you enjoy the things He made for you!  What could be better?

You shall go out in JOY and be led forth in PEACE"  Is 55:12

Jackie's Journey: "The World's Changed...Try to Keep Up!"

ll of us have the need to be relevant in every generation.  Something in us wants to make a difference. The effectiveness of all advertising is based on this premise.  We hear the younger saying,  “The world’s changed…try to keep up!”

As a young missionary in my 20’s, my children needed me, my husband needed me, the tribal people needed us, our ministry was consuming and fulfilling, etc.  I looked to those older than I was and saw the need to glean from their experiences.  I had an unpretentious sense of relevancy!

For 5 years in our 30’s we found our relevance in pastoring, evangelizing, teaching, mentoring small groups and “trouble-shooting” in our home church.

We weren’t in that “older” group yet!

Returning to the field, still in our 30’s, we were busy dorm parents to 15 young people at the Mission School.  We had the “big dorm”, and we were blessed with students from five families.  Our need to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6) and the ministry in the local Chame community kept us relevant... we were still viable!

In our late 40’s our girls were in their teens and would soon start college.  Christina attended Biola and would bring her friends from school and church to meet us.

We were becoming the “older” group that had more experience”!

When asked to mentor a group of young college girls, I excitedly responded believing God would give relevance through His Word.  Eventually a group of their prospective husbands took form, which my husband taught!  We were busy church-planting Spanish-speaking churches and over the next 15 years we saw God raise up seven young churches in Southern California, Mexico and Panama.                

God’s was still using us!

Still relevant to our culture and generation in our 50’s, even honored for our faithfulness to our God and His calling on our lives, we actively taught in English and Spanish. 

Now we were really in that “older” group and yet…

God continued to open up opportunities to serve Him.  We had 7 grandchildren and they were magic!  Still church-planting, called to speak, teaching multiple mentoring groups weekly, trouble-shooting with young couples, and writing The Princess Parable Series were all welcomed responsibilities! 

In our 60’s we watched our tiny grandchildren grow like my garden weeds (really fast!!) and they now stand taller than I do!

Keeping relevant is an absolute pre-requisite to maintaining the open hearts of your grandchildren!  Finding that conversational relevance in a “generation time warp” is a prayer-filled occupation of mine!

Now… here is the rub.  The world’s younger generation looks at “age” and determines its value.  Consequently, they, then, turn their attention to the more appealing relevance of younger mentors, pastors, and teachers, rather than the older generation.   

We are, after all, each expendable to the more like-minded, trendier, faster-moving and thinking generation!

Can’t you hear it?  “The world’s changed…try to keep up”!

God never changes…cultures do, ideologies do, and philosophies do…

Relevance is a basic need to stay connected.

It is tied directly to an understanding of God and His inerrant Word!

Our present day cultural insurgence has been saturated in a declining morality of divorce, abortion, pornography, social-acceptance determined by social tolerance, adoption of the “acceptable sins” (you know…demanding personal rights, entitlement - I deserve this!, wrong attitudes, anger, deplorable speech, actions etc.).

The young are bent on convincing their offspring to:

(1)  “Stand up for yourself; be more aggressive” – disregarding God’s command to follow His example of serving others… first.

(2)   “Look for your own path in life” –disregarding the instruction in the Word to look for the Will of God…first

(3)   “Claim your rights; you are entitled” – disregarding God’s command to yield all your rights to Him… first.  No anger for your personal benefit.

(4)  “Be first” at everything  - disregarding God’s command to make others successful…first!  

(5)   “Live in the Now” - disregarding kingdom teaching. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God….and all these things will be added unto you”. Matt. 6:33

In a day when our culture is being eroded from within, our godly history is being re-written and the Word of God is being ripped of its inerrant integrity, we need relevance for our day if we are to present truth that promotes change.  

What can we offer that people need?

We ask ourselves that question whether overtly or subliminally every time we come in contact with another person.  We are relevant when we discern the need of the individual we are speaking to and risk whatever it takes to meet that need for the other person’s success.

It is not age that makes us relevant…it is His life in us as we aggressively stand up with Godly conviction and step into the space He puts us in…wherever, with whomever that may be!

The purpose of relevance is to keep the truth of God’s Word alive in us for the benefit of others! 

Will you make yourself relevant today in the life of someone who is in need?