She’s Somebody’s Baby Girl

Cynthia's arrest record, ages 21-29

Cynthia’s arrest record, ages 21-29

“She dreams about heaven  // Remembering hell // As a nightmare she visits // And knows all too well  // Every now and again
When she’s sober she brushes her teeth

 She’s somebody’s baby  // Somebody’s baby girl  //She’s somebody’s baby  // Somebody’s baby girl // And she’s somebody’s baby still” 

- Jon Foreman (“Somebody’s Baby”  from the EP Winter, 2008)

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It can be hard trying to help young people really understand the impact of their choices 5-10 years from now. Every once in awhile you find something visual that brings the point home in a way mere words can’t. The image above was part of an anti-drug campaign created by Rehabs.com showing the progression of mug shots from drug arrests.

This girl’s name is Cynthia. She’s somebody’s baby girl.

Continue reading…

#TBT – The First Wedding that Changed my Life

weddingSo, I went to prom with someone I barely knew (click here to read about it). And that night was the beginning of a relationship that lasted a few years and eventually started steering toward marriage. Not as romantic as it sounds. Those years were the most spiritually confusing years of my life. I knew I was out of God’s will; I knew I could not marry this boy as I had promised, but I loved the way he seemed to love me. I had trusted friends speak hard truth to me about the relationship, and I refused to listen. My heart grew further and further away from the Lord as my relationship with this young man grew more intense emotionally and physically. Through it all, I was a wreck. I was convicted at every turn but too afraid to give up and give in to God.

SSwedding

Saundra (left, the bride) and me (right) on a life-changing day for both of us

Finally, at my best friend’s wedding, I had a miraculous intervention by the Holy Spirit. As I watched the bride and groom pledge their lives to each other for the King and the Kingdom, I realized this type of celebrated and Godly relationship was not in my future because I was disobeying God. I went from that wedding ceremony with the resolve to not throw away God’s destiny for me, and to not be part of helping someone else do the same.

In the months that followed, my heart changed radically. I broke off the relationship, as brutal as that felt, and began to hear God speak to me again. I finally felt clear direction from the Lord about things I had been very confused about earlier. God led me to work for a ministry in Oklahoma for my last summer before college graduation, and it was there I eventually met my Jesse (my soul mate and husband).

 I knew God had delivered me (and him!) from a disastrous future.

I remember being in a post office in Tulsa and writing the date at the top of a check—May 4, 1996. Instantly I realized it was the date I had set to marry my previous boyfriend. I burst into tears, right there in the line for my stamps. I knew God had delivered me (and him!) from a disastrous future. Instead of being in a white dress, about to pledge my life to the wrong man…on May 4, 1996, I bought stamps, had an uneventful afternoon, watched a movie, and fell asleep in the apartment I rented by myself with a very clear conscience and a sense of destiny. Continue reading…

Choices Made out of Pain

I was a foster kid. Not for a very long time… maybe three months? Half a year? All I knew was my world had been turned upside down. One night a total stranger drove me and my brothers straight from a police station to a foster home, leaving my desperate mother behind… how can a first grader possibly reconcile those kind of emotions?

When I saw this video today, it gripped me so deeply. I saw memories of my own brokenness in many of the scenes. I thought of all the girls in this world who have had crappy homes who make choices out of the pain that was inflicted upon them. I thought about my own chaotic childhood and the way it influenced the impulsive and needy choices I made as a teenager. I thought about the thousands of kids who have no family here in my own state, and my boys’ classmates who just don’t act nice sometimes. Kids who make choices out of pain grow up to be adults who do the same.

If you have 13 minutes to be moved with compassion, watch this video. It just might change the way you see the people around you… or the way you see yourself.

The Fear of the Lord

fear of the LordIt was a few months before the release of my book, Smart Girl, Stupid World, when I met a beautiful red-headed intern in a very secular work environment. I didn’t know much about her, except for the fact that she was in her senior year at Vanderbilt University and she was raised in New York City. At 22 years old, she fit the primary demographic the book was written for, so I thought it would be interesting to get her take on the book’s subject matter. I invited her to lunch, making my motives clear that I wanted her input as an unofficial single-subject focus group for the content of the book.

I had no idea where this girl stood on matters of faith, so I opened our conversation with questions about her family and upbringing. She was raised in a family with one Catholic parent and one Jewish parent. Interesting. It was clear they were a tight-knit family and that she deeply loved her parents. Although her experiences with religion centered mostly around holidays and cultural traditions, she expressed her parents’ strong emphasis on morality and character. She was outspoken, articulate, and confident, and it didn’t surprise me that she came from a strong family background.

I explained the premise of the book: to help young women learn how to choose right in a world gone wrong; to give them a roadmap for how wisdom can be acquired in life.  We went through the first few chapters in summary, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear her affirming the need for the conversations about wisdom in her peer group. She nodded, smiled, and laughed… such a delightful young lady. When we got to Chapter 4: Smart Girls Fear the Lord, I was a little nervous. How could I make this information remotely relatable to someone who had no context for this Biblical principle? Continue reading…