Originally from the beautiful island of Belize, she found herself living in the projects of The Bronx. Her hometown wasn’t full of multimillion dollar homes, but she had a yard and a fence and kids could play outside. Coming to New York, she lived ten floors up in the air with security bars on the windows. The elevators were full with the dirt and the pee. She literally had to escort her little girls to the park. And they couldn’t play beyond a certain time.
The highest risk of raising daughters in The Bronx, besides the influence of drugs and alcohol, is the promiscuous lifestyle. Danet made up her mind that she was going to hold on to Proverbs 22:6 and wasn’t gonna let it go because “my children were not going to be teenage vagabonds.” And that became her mission, but she could not believe what God asked her to do when she began praying that verse out loud.
The story she has unfolded in my life is either one coincidence after another or the mighty, meticulous hand of God. Several years ago, she wrote me a letter inviting me to come to the Dominican Republic. I politely declined, explaining that at the time our ministry calling was to the United States. But Marlene refused to give up. Letter after letter, she insisted that the Lord had healing for her land through Pure Freedom and Secret Keeper Girl.
According to the United Nations, the rate of teen pregnancy in the country of the Dominican Republic is double the world average–105 out of every 1,000. Marlene would not settle for the brokenness she saw around her.
Who doesn’t like to see a good “celebrities without make up” photo? Our catty-inner-mean-girl aside, it’s actually a good thing to see the reality of magazine cover “beauty.” Countless surveys reveal that looking at these picture-perfect images impacts what we believe about our own beauty. (And it’s not making us feel great!) The younger you are, the more likely you are to believe that you can never be beautiful because the standard is so pore-free, zit-free, full-head-of-hair flawless! I’d love to see every mom sit down with her daughters and look at just how big the lies are that these photos tell. But so many times those links you click are full of sensual poses and topless women. For every mom out there who wants to show their daughter the lie but not the porn, I’ve created a collection of six telling images just for you. (Seven if you count the perfected photo of Katy Perry to the left.)
‘Tis the season for soul-bending schedules that have moms everywhere asking, “Am I over-scheduling my kids?” It seems every year…scratch that…every season, my family was struggling with the question of “how much is too much?” From my oldest’s first year of AWANA Cubbies and Boy Scouts to my youngest’s last year of high school soccer and basketball, the Gresh family was trying its best to find balance that still created space for the kind of quality parent-child connecting that we so firmly believe is important. When it comes to extra-curricular activities, there is a lot of social pressure from other moms and a lot of debate from medical and psychological experts on just how much soccer, piano, and clubbing is good for our kids.
How is a mom to know what’s right for her children? Scratch that! How’s a mom to know what’s right for each individual child?
If you’re like most Christian moms, you’re committed to praying for your children, but the truth is you struggle to find time to do it and stay motivated. So do I, that’s exactly why I hosted the “How To Kickstart Your Prayer Life In One Hour” livestream. And I can promise you that unless you are not breathing, it’ll push the re-set button on your prayer life. At least, it did mine.
In the midst of a battle with cancer, Pastor Tim Keller stands before a congregation that has missed and prayed for him. He used the sharing of his battle to also invite his congregation to step into the place where he was currently living: a place of peace. “How do you face troubles like this with peace?” he asked. “The ultimate way to handle the troubles of life with peace is not through petitionary prayer, but through worship.”
His body weak from treatments and eagerly anticipating a vacation, he musters the strength to stand before his church for just one sermon. He tells the story of a woman who has inherited an old brooch, which has been thrown into a pile of other bobbles with little consideration.
I was drafted into the Mommy Wars when my first baby was barely in my womb. Sitting with some trusted friends, I mentioned the name of my OB/GYN. (Big mistake!) After an awkward moment of silence, one of the other women went on to coyly describe her OB/GYN with adjectives that might make you think he was a borderline miracle worker when it came to pain, God-like in securing the safety of the baby, and had a bedside manner that made him a comedian. In hushed whispers (BUT NOT TO ME), I later overheard the woman suggesting my doctor was virtually a serial killer. (They didn’t think they should tell me that?)
Unless you have a good pair of proverbial boxing gloves, beware of these top ten topics that fuel the Mommy Wars. Number 7 is worthy of the click on the video to get your blood pumping. (Please read with an air of sarcasm, or you’ll be writing me hate mail!)
Do the lyrics really matter? Months ago, I was appalled by a viral video of a sweet little tween girl sitting in the front seat of a car with her brother driving. Suddenly, Rihanna’s Work—wrought with explicit lyrics that are barely understandable—came onto the radio. This precious little girl jumped into the backseat and starting twerking like a stripper. My heart just broke!
Last week, The Washington Post reported on new research revealing that the “princess culture” is damaging young girls. Is it? (My team has been researching the concept of “princess culture” for about nine months preparing for a new Secret Keeper Girl tour and I might have a different take on things than the many hyped-up headlines.) While modern princesses like Elsa, Merida, and Rapunzel have been applauded for breaking stereotypes, the overriding impact of a slow and steady stream of physically perfect female lead roles awaiting their prince is accused of doing measurable damage. The study, a first measuring social science data on the impact of “princess culture” reveals three specific concerns.