Panel Discussion (Respond Women’s Session
Panel: Little Holloway, Amy Davis, Jennifer Jolly, Rocky Mabry, and Sarah Conti.
Moderator: Bethany Clark
- Defeating Anger – Sarah Conti
- The Threat of Technology to Our Culture – Bethany Clark
- Finding the Right Version of the Bible to Use – Amy Davis
- The Fear of Losing A Child – Rocky Mabry
- Avoiding the Camp High Experience – Amy Davis
- Finding Time to Rest – Jennifer Jolly
- God’s Love and Desire for a Relationship with You – Little Holloway, Amy Davis, Rocky Mabry, Sarah Conti
7 Ways to Help Children Who No Longer Believe in God and Claim to be Gay?
Question – How would you handle a child of yours that decides they no longer believe in God, and think that they may be gay?
1) Point Them to Christ
“So the first one, obviously, is to point them to Christ. Your rebellious child’s real problem is not drugs, sex, cigarettes, pornography, or laziness, or crime or cussing or homosexuality, or being in a punk rock band. The real problem is that they don’t see Jesus clearly. The best thing for them that you can do, and the only reason to do any of the following suggestions, is to show them Christ. It is not a simple or immediate process, but the sins in their life that distress you and destroy them will only begin to fade away when they see Christ more like he actually is.”
2) Pray for Them
“The second one is to pray, of course we know this. Only God can save your son or daughter, so keep on asking that he will display himself to them in a way that can’t resist worshipping him for.”
3) Acknowledge that Something’s Wrong
“Number three, acknowledge that something’s wrong. If your daughter or son rejects Christ, don’t pretend everything is fine. For every unbelieving child, the details will be different. Each one will require parents to reach out in unique ways. Never acceptable however, is not reaching out at all. If your child is an unbeliever, don’t ignore it. Holidays might be easier, but eternity won’t be. And I remember watching this little Bible story of… It’s like a picture of Christ and his child, and they would have… They had these violins that the father had made one for him and one for his son. Whenever they were playing them together, that was like the unity between the father and the son.
And there was one part in this documentary thing where they’re fishing, the father and son are fishing. And that son is like 20 years old, and there’s this island off in the distance that’s his temptation island. It’s just all these pictures of different things. And the son at one point is looking towards the island, and the guy that’s narrating it, he says… And you see the father speaking into the son and through it asking him, “What are you looking at over there,” and trying to talk to him about it. And it says, “If you’re not speaking into the air that your kids are breathing, if you’re not tending to that air and speaking into them, something is.” So don’t just neglect it and act like nothing’s going on.”
4) Don’t Expect Them to be Christ-Like
“Number four, don’t expect them to be Christ-like. So this is if they are not a Christian or have walked away from the Lord, that’s what this scenario is that we’ve been asked… If your son is not a Christian, he’s not going to act like one. You know that he has forsaken the faith, so don’t expect him to live by the standards you raised him with. For example, you might be tempted to say, “I know you’re struggling with believing in Jesus, but can’t you at least admit that getting wasted every day is a sin?” If you’re struggling to believe in Christ, then there’s very little significance in admitting that drunkenness is wrong, or homosexuality or anything. You want to protect him, yes, but his unbelief is the most dangerous problem, not partying. No matter how your child’s unbelief exemplifies itself and his behavior, always be sure to focus more on the heart sickness than its symptoms.”
5) Welcome them Home
“Number five, welcome them home. Because the deepest concern is not your child’s action, but his heart, don’t create too many requirements for coming home. If he has any inkling to be with you, it is God giving you a chance to love him back to Jesus. Obviously, there are some instances in which parents must give ultimatums, “Don’t come to this house if you are whatever,” but these will be rare. Don’t lessen the likelihood of an opportunity to be with your child by putting in too many rules. Alright, plead with them more than you rebuke them. Be gentle in your disappointment. And that’s like what I was saying, I think, yeah, this morning about how gentleness and humility and meekness, how that softens just so many scenarios. And I think the Lord just really loves to work when there’s gentleness involved, so just always ask the Lord to give you gentleness as you’re walking through this. What really concerns you is that your child is destroying herself, not that she’s breaking rules. Treat her in a way that makes this clear.
She probably knows, especially if she was raised as a Christian, that what she’s doing is wrong. And she definitely knows you think it is, so she doesn’t need this pointed out. She needs to see how you are going to react to her evil. Your gentle forbearance and sorrowful hope will show her that you really do trust Christ. Her conscience can condemn her by itself. Parents ought to stand kindly and firmly, always living in the hope that they want their child to return. Connect them with believers who have better access to them. This is a long one, so I’m gonna paraphrase it.
Basically, I know like with camp, parents are always so thankful because they’ll say to us, “I’ve been telling them to do this for years, and then they came to camp and you said it one time, and it was like boom.” And so I think that’s the same thing in regard to this. Say if your child is living close or far, but trying to find, really research and figure out… You know what your kid’s like, but figure out people that they’re gonna think are cool, and ask them, “Please, can you reach out to my son, daughter?” Whatever, and maybe explain to them, “Don’t start asking them crazy questions, just hang out for a while?” And just allow that avenue so that maybe from six months down the road, they’re able to really talk to your child about the Lord and invest in them. Respect their friends. Honor your wayward child in the same way you’d honor any other believer. They may run with crowds you’d never consider talking to or even looking at, but they are your child’s friends, respect that, even if the relationship is founded on sin. They’re bad for your son, yes, but he’s bad for them too. Nothing will be solved by making it perfectly evident that you don’t like who he’s hanging around with.
When your son shows up for a family birthday celebration with another girlfriend, one you’ve never seen before and probably won’t see again, be hospitable. She also is someone’s wayward child, and she needs Christ also. And I’ve seen that played out so much where so many missed opportunities where you’re so caught up in the motion and you’re just like… You don’t even wanna see that girl that your son’s with or whatever. And so the opportunity to minister to that girl is just gone because you can’t keep your emotions under control, but seeing that person as someone that the Lord obviously has stuck right in front of you to lay eyes on and hopefully share Christ with.”
6) Engage them Whenever Possible
“Email them. Praise God for technology that lets you stay in your kids’ lives so easily, like if you don’t see them a lot. When you read something in the Bible that encourages you and helps you love Christ more, write a couple lines and send it to your child. The best exhortation for them is positive examples of Christ’s joy in your own life. Take them to lunch. If possible, don’t let your only interaction be electronic with your child, but get together with him face-to-face if you can. You may think this is stressful and uncomfortable, but trust me, it’s far worse to be in the child’s shoes. He is experiencing all the same discomfort, but compounded by guilt. So if he’s willing to get together with you for lunch, praise God and use the opportunity.
It will feel almost hypocritical to talk about his daily life since what you really care about is his eternal life, but try to anyway. He needs to know that you care about all of him. Then before lunch is over, pray that the Lord will give you the gumption to ask about his soul. You don’t know how he’ll respond. Will he roll his eyes like you’re an idiot, will he get mad and leave, or has God been working in him since you talked last? You don’t know until you risk asking. Okay, the next one, take an interest in their pursuits. So this goes along with just really be interested in other stuff. Don’t just continually zoom in on their issue and how it’s gonna be resolved, but take interest and make sure they know you care about everything and what they’re interested in. Jesus spent time with the tax collectors and prostitutes, and he wasn’t even related to them. Imitate Christ by being the kind parent who will put some earplugs in your pocket and head downtown to the dank, little nightclub where your daughter’s CD release show is. Encourage her, and never stop praying that she will begin to use her gift for Christ’s glory instead of her own.”
7) Help Them to Know Christ
“Little: And then the last one is just point them to Christ. And this is the last one, it says this can’t be overstressed. It is the whole point. No strategy for reaching your son or daughter will have any lasting effect if the underlying goal isn’t to help them know Christ, just Christ. It’s not so that they will be good kids again. It’s not so that they will get their hair cut and start taking showers. It’s not so that they’ll start liking classical music instead of deathcore. It’s not so that you can stop being embarrassed at your weekly Bible study. It’s not so they’ll vote conservative again by the next election. It’s not even so that you can sleep at night knowing that they’re not going to hell. The only ultimate reason to pray for them, welcome them, plead, email, eat with them, take an interest in everything they’re doing, is so their eyes will be open to Christ. And not only is He the only point, He’s the only hope. When they see the wonder of Christ, satisfaction will be redefined. He will replace the pathetic vanity of the money or the praise or the high that they’re staking their eternities on right now. Only grace can draw them from their perilous pursuits and bind them safely to himself, captive, but satisfied. He will do this for many, be faithful, and don’t give up.”
Question – How do we defeat anger?
“Okay, so before we get into it, I guess… I don’t know, I think we need to just start out with clarifying this idea of anger and realizing that anger isn’t automatically bad or sinful. It doesn’t necessarily need to be abolished. So when we are angry about things that God is angry about, then that can be a righteous anger, but when we’re angry about things that violate our own selfish desires, then that is gonna be a sinful anger. And even if we have a righteous anger about something, it’s possible for it to become sinful if we express it out of proportion or in a hurtful or ungodly way. So there’s a lot of different issues that this could be talking about, whether it’s an anger that’s a bitterness towards a really big offense, like trying to move on past that, or I guess the idea I had more in my head with this is just a struggle with being hot-tempered and just blowing up over little things.
But just as far as the idea that anger is okay in some circumstances, we see verses in the Bible that say, “Be angry and do not sin,” right? So it’s not saying you can’t have anger. Or we see that God is slow to anger, and there’s commands for us to be slow to anger, but it doesn’t say no anger. It says, “Be slow to anger.” Right? And it doesn’t say no anger. It says, “Be angry and do not sin.” So obviously, there’s a distinction there, but as far as how to handle anger, I think the first thing that we have to do is check the root of the anger. There’s a really good series I would recommend. Really, it’s about all different emotions, but it is a series that Pastor JD Greer from The Summit Church did, and I think it was called Smoke from the Fire. And the whole series is based on this analogy from Saint Augustine that said basically that our emotions are like smoke from a fire, it’s a symptom of what’s going on in our heart, so we need to know what that root is. And so he does one on anger and depression and anxiety, I think maybe jealousy, but he goes through a bunch of different things.”
Finding the Root of Anger
“This one about anger I would really recommend. It talks a lot… I’m gonna reference a few things in here, but the… So one thing I think that’s important is to check the root of the anger, and he says that anger is a destructive energy released in defense of something that I love. And I like this definition because it helps us distinguish, what is it that I’m angry about? What is it that I’m loving? What is it that I’m defending that’s making me so angry? For example, if you think about as a parent, if you get angry with your child, if you’re angry about their rebellion or their disobedience, it’s possible to be angry because you love your child and you see this sin that is destroying them, and so in defense of them, you are angry, and that could be righteous. It’s also possible that if you are trying really hard to get through this list of things you need to get done for the day, and this is the third time that you’ve had to stop to go parent your child, and they’re fighting with each other again, it’s possible that what I’m loving and defending is less about the state of their soul and more about my convenience, like I’m being inconvenienced, I wanted to do this. I keep getting interrupted, so now I’m angry. And that’s more of a selfish anger, that’s not righteous.
So just checking the root of your anger, of like, what is it that I’m really loving and defending in this situation? And then the second thing is just, is my expression of anger proportional? I had this friend in high school, and we worked together, and our boss was like… He said, “The problem with Holly is… ” She was just super dramatic. So he’s like, “The problem with Holly is that she reacts the exact same way when she gets a paper cut as she would if she got her hand chopped off, so you never know.” And it was just way out of proportion. And so I think that way about anger, some of us… There’s just… You’ve been around people that just blow up over these minor inconveniences or minor frustrations, and it’s not proportional at all to what the situation calls for. So looking at that blowing up like that is not okay. So if this is the struggle that we’re talking about, just being hot-headed, I think turning to the Word of God, there are some Proverbs that we turn to in our house, and one of those is Proverbs 19:11, and it says, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, a wise man quietly holds back.”
Understand Your Anger
“Practically, I think if you know yourself and just know that you have that tendency, a lot of this is partly an anger problem, but the other part is like a self-control problem and a controlling-your-tongue problem, and you may need to know yourself enough to know that you need a break in certain situations, that it’s okay to time out on a discussion and say, “Hey, let’s revisit this later. It’s okay to… If you’re a parent, to not address the situation right this second, because you know you’re gonna respond in anger to your child, and to say, ‘Hey, go sit in the other room for a minute, I’m gonna come talk to you.’ And then you take the time that you need too to get before the Lord and straighten all that out.” Because in parenting or in any situation, I think when we have an outburst of anger and just lash out at someone, it’s like we’ve take the burden of what we are supposed to do, which is like discern the truth that needs to be spoken, if there’s sin that needs to be confronted, and sort that out from our own selfishness and our own…
Just those bitterness and hatefulness that spins up, and we dump this whole thing on this other person that maybe has a bit of truth, something needs to be confronted, but it’s all mixed in with these awful, hateful words and insults and attacks on them. And instead of us sorting that out on this side and making that filter, now you’ve passed the burden onto somebody else, and that child or that… Your spouse or whoever has to sit then and do that work of like, “Well, was there truth in that? Was there something that I do need to change? Did she really mean all those things that she said? Is that how she thinks of me?” And then they are left with that burden of those words that you maybe didn’t mean or shouldn’t have said. And I just think that’s an unfair thing to pass on to someone else. We need to do that work on our side and deal with those things before the Lord and then only speak the necessary things to that other person.”
“So I think that is most of it. Only one more thing I was gonna say, and JD Greer saying that… He pointed out. Which was convicting for me is, some of us think that we don’t have a problem with anger because we are not prone to those angry outbursts, but he also pointed out that sinful anger can also manifest itself in passive ways of like cold shoulder, pulling back from somebody, punishing them. So it’s not always just lashing out in these big outbursts. So I thought that was a good point too because I’m definitely more prone to go that way than outburst.”
The Threat of Technology to Our Culture
Question – Technology has taken over our culture, what strategies do you use to keep your minds and your children’s minds set on pure things? What boundaries do you have with devices?
Do Not Overindulge
“The first thing that you need to do is you need to check yourself, what are you modeling for your kids? Because I am very aware of the technology, but I also find myself… And I have a 14-year-old, so he’s very good to be like, “Oh, yeah? How much are you on your phone?” So we’re keeping each other accountable. But it’s really easy to be like, “I don’t want you guys doing this,” but then I’m not putting this down. Does that make sense? I think that’s a big thing to start with, is how much am I… Your phone even has… I like to compete with myself to see if I can lower my amount of time. I think you can have a notification, I think Amy’s got one on her phone, that cuts it off, like she’s… However many hours, that just shuts it off and she can’t use it. Now, obviously, you can disable that and you can go around it, which shouldn’t do that, but if you stick to that, then you’re programming yourself, you’re training yourself to not overindulge…
We can overindulge in anything, from food to computer time, anything we can overdo, and it’s basically what our culture is pushing us… I did a quick Google search, “benefits of technology,” and it was stuff like, “Well, you could have an app for walking,” the whole list of negatives, like you can hurt your eyes, kids are developing ADD because they can’t sit for more than four or five minutes, because things are going too fast. There are studies on all of that. There’s very little benefit from it, however, it’s all over the place, so how do we deal with that? I think what I’m gonna do is just give you a couple of points. I’m gonna give you an opinion because there’s not… What we have to do is we have to guard our hearts and minds as we put our trust in Him, we gotta do that in every area of our life. I think time limits are very important in our families, for us to… We don’t have TV, we don’t have cable, we have Netflix, which operates on the internet. I’m sure that my kids… We went to a hotel one time, and there was a commercial TV-type deal, and they were like, “Pause it,” and I’m like, “Okay, I can’t.”
Boundaries and Balances for Technology
“John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, and I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” So any of these things, the enemy just wants to ruin us. He wants to ruin me, he wants to ruin my husband, he wants to ruin our marriage, he would love it, to just destroy our kids, he wants that. So we have to take that time, even though it may feel inconvenient, or I think, “Well, I’m not good with technology, how am I gonna figure out… ” We were just talking about before we came up here a device that might be beneficial, but how do we get the blocks on it? We are still struggling through all that, but it’s worth the effort, to put the effort into it, figure out… One device that we actually bought is called Disney Circle. Did anybody have this besides me? Okay, it’s an excellent… I like it because what I can do is, literally I can click on my phone right now and I can pause the internet from here, and I can do that at any time. So if my boys… I don’t know if your kids play Fortnite, anybody’s kids… Anybody familiar with this game?
The trick with these games is they can’t just shut them off or something terrible happens in their life. I’m not sure what the deal is, but in my day, we played Mario, and then it would overheat, we’d have to get it going again, but at this game, which, I don’t wanna get all the attention, it’s free, but you gotta pay money to buy like the cartoon drawings to put in… Anyway, so we put limits on all of this. We do let our boys play that. Now, I’m not… Please, I’m not endorsing, but here’s my opinion. It’s important to give your kids exposure to technology while the child is in your home so that you can help them navigate. So personally, we had them home-schooled up until last year, we actually were part of a homeschool program that was zero technology. My kids have always done everything by hand, in their head, never had technology, hardly at all. Well, then I put my eldest in public school and everything is on computer. So it was a really hard year, but it was also a really good hard because he was so infatuated with his Chromebook that they gave him.
And we got to work through that, with that newness, where it’s just like, “I’ll have to spend all my hours on this device.” But I’m glad that he was 14, and I’m not saying… The Lord might not ever lead you to do that path, that was just what He did for our family, but for us, it was really cool to walk through that with him, because I can imagine him going into college and spending his freshman year doing that and processing that without me there, without Sean there to help him. And so whatever the lord does for your family, I think it’s important that you do talk about… There’s a period where you need to do this as much as you can, but then just like parenting, you’re not gonna keep… Your two-year-old, you’re keeping them from burning themselves on the fire, right? Like, “Don’t touch, don’t touch.” Well, then when they’re five, you can’t do that as much, and they’re either gonna get burned or they’re gonna listen to you. So you’re having to walk that, and it is a heart issue, they’ve got to… Every person has talked about our heart, it’s such a big deal, because I can get them just not to do this, but the heart is deceitful and it’s wicked, and it’s gonna pull them in a direction…
And eventually, they’re gonna have to come to a crossroads, and they’re gonna have to make that decision, and so that is why I would encourage you to give them something if you can, because it isn’t going away, and it seems to only be getting worse, so working through that with them while they’re under your roof, I think is really beneficial. I want to give you a couple of just thoughts about pornography. I think… I asked my husband before I came over here, I was like, “Just talk to me really quick about what would be a misconception about pornography and kids and men and women,” and he was saying that it is true that all men are tempted. Not all men are gonna struggle like every… We can’t label every man that’s gonna be struggling like that, but all men are gonna be tempted, that is the way God designed them, to see things visually, to be attracted. That’s how He made them. And so what I wanna say to you guys is, do not be fooled into thinking that your child won’t struggle. I know they don’t have it, they just have a… Whatever the little device is. I’m gonna tell you guys, even a Google search, you can put in the word… Like a body… I got five boys, y’all. My goodness, we’re gonna type “butt” in the search engine, and they’re just like. [chuckle]
They don’t think a thing about… Obviously, this has been something that’s happened in my house, so we’ve had to, “No, no, you’re not doing that.” We have computers out in the open, nobody’s allowed to take them into their rooms. And Sean does that, my husband also does that. Now, I know that not all of you are married, maybe you’re a single mom, so you’re dealing with this on your own, or your husband’s not a believer, so this is really difficult, but we keep everything out in the open, they cannot take things to their room. We bought my oldest a flip phone thinking that was safe, it wasn’t safe. You can still connect to the… If you can connect to the Internet on a device, then they can get on the internet and they can see things that you don’t want them to see. And even a good, godly kid is going to struggle. So just don’t fool yourself into thinking because they’re a homeschooled kid or a church kid, that they’re not gonna have that issue. The Google search is a huge problem because they can type in a word and scroll down and never click on it, and you don’t even have a trace of it, so be aware of that. The Lord…”
Parenting and Praying For Your Children Who Are Struggling With Technology
“And here’s what I pray for my boys, that they will get caught every time, I pray for conviction. And it’s really cool how Little was talking about in that first thing, about shaming them, and I think this is huge because this sin is so prominent and everywhere that I can’t… One of the cool things I really appreciate about my husband is that he didn’t get saved until he was in his 20s, so for him, when he deals with these issues with our boys, he knows what it means to live a life that was pretty rotten before… I got saved when I was five years old out of a church, I had not done anything horrible, I had just… I knew I was a sinner ’cause I told a lie, and God led me to repentance, while he was doing drugs and craziness and all this. So for him, when he got saved, it’s so important to him to instill these values in our kids, but he also sees the fact… One of my… And I asked my oldest if I could share this, but he had an issue at one point with this stuff, with technology, and he came in our bedroom and he laid on the bed and he just started crying. And I was so moved by that because when I was growing up, I had a different relationship with my parents, where it was, “Well, I don’t want you to ruin my ministry,” or, “I can’t believe you did that again.”
And that type of parenting will destroy a kid that is struggling with something like this. The fact that he at 12 years old came into our bedroom and sat down and cried at his father’s feet like the picture of Jesus that Sean was able to establish with him was the most awesome thing that I’d ever witnessed because I wasn’t parented that way. I was parented the other way where it’s like, “You obey me or else… ” So if you have a kid that’s struggling with this, don’t shame them, tell them, “If you are struggling, please come tell me.” Because they are gonna struggle, they will struggle, it’s going to happen, and they need to be able to dialog with you about this. Don’t say, “I can’t believe you did that.” It’s like that ice cream in the freezer I keep eating. Why do I keep going back to it? It’s not helping anything, but it’s a temptation, yes? And really, for them it’s going to be a constant battle. So here’s a resource that he recommended, my 14-year-old. He loves this book, and he keeps it out. And he’s not perfect, guys. I pray that he will constantly feel that conviction, but he said, and he said to tell you guys he likes this book because it’s an easy read and the guy doesn’t use vulgar language to describe the temptations that he would have. I thought that was really interesting because there are some books for this subject that guys cannot read because it’s too detailed and it actually makes them stumble more.
And I don’t wanna just say guys, so here’s the other thing, and I’m gonna move off this. Girls struggle with this too. So that’s the other misconception, is that this is just a guy issue. We are so overly sexualized in our culture that we see girls struggling with pornography at 10, 11, 12 years old. A lot of it starts in their minds. You know those books that you read that are on the shelves at WalMart, K-Mart? That is pornography. Be not deceived, if you’re reading that, and you’re reading about somebody else having sex, it’s the same thing as a man looking at pictures, and you need to be aware of that. What’s going on in your mind when you read those words and how your body responds to that, that’s wrong, and that’s pornography for ladies, but we also have teen girls that are literally getting visually stimulated in a way that we’ve never seen before.0:40:05.2 Bethany: We have teenagers come here through all the time that are already addicted to this stuff. It’s real, and it’s active, and it’s out there. And that’s why he says, “The enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy.” So it doesn’t seem very helpful, that’s why it’s important that you guys constantly are talking about it, you make this a fight worth fighting, you get on there, see what they’re doing. Amy has a rule, her kids are not allowed to even look at somebody else’s phone. We go to basketball games in our community, and nobody’s watching the game, everybody’s playing… All the kids are sitting there playing something on their phone, and they’ll just… My boys are like, “Oh, let me play.” But they’re not allowed to take someone else’s phone and start playing with it because we don’t know what that child’s father seems as appropriate in his life. I don’t want my kid to accidentally see something, so her kids are really good about it. They just don’t even look at anybody else’s screens.
So those are some things you and your husband, if you’re married, if you’re a single parent talk to somebody like, “What are some good things I need to put in place to guard myself? How do I give a little bit and let them have a game or two, but monitoring that?” Turning it off, my internet cuts off at 9:00 o’clock at night for anything that my boys have access to. So they cannot get on the internet past a certain time at night. So that was called The Circle Disney. This book is called Finally Free, Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace, by Heath Lambert. So if you guys need a resource, again, we have such good information on our podcast about this, or on the Snowbird website, you can go through and look at sessions and breakouts that we’ve already done. Okay, so let’s do this. I want Little, if you’ll start with this question since I just talked a long time.”
Finding the Right Version of the Bible to Use
Question – Why does SWO use the ESV?
“I’ve been allowed to answer this on behalf of Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters. There are a lot of awesome translations of the Bible out there, great study tools, NIV. I know Brody was even mentioning earlier today that he personally studies out of the CSV. And we’re not dissing on any of the other great translations of the Bible. What our goal is at Snowbird is to keep everything main, on a… Streamlined is what I’m trying to say. So like if Rob goes up to speak, or all of us ladies, the scripture will all be the same to just keep continuity amongst all of the speakers. And also just to give a really quick touch is like, there are different translations of the Bible, there’s like a paraphrased version of the Bible, that would be like your Message, your New Living Translation. These aren’t specific, accurate translations of the Bible, these are paraphrases, like what you might use as a devotional or just morning, “get your brain moving” type of reading. And then there are more of the thought-for-thought translations, that’s like your NIV where they would take paragraphs or even sentences and try to put them into modern language and translate them as far as the thought is translated.
And then there are the scholarly translations, that would be more choppy. I think that’s like NASB, that thing. So it’s harder to read. And so with the ESV, it’s one of those middle grounds that’s super accurate, but an easy read. And since Snowbird is primarily a student ministry, it’s readable for students, and so that’s why Snowbird uses the ESV, but again, to encourage you ladies, the closer that you are to the actual translation and being able to read it, the goal is that we learn and read and study the word of God. So that is what I just wanted to… To get that one.”
The Fear of Losing a Child
Question – How do you handle or let go of a fear of losing a child?
“And even in other aspects of my life, I dealt with postpartum really bad with one of my kids, and it was really hard on my marriage, and I felt like I was going crazy, I felt like I was a crazy person. And I remember being at a Bible study, and being able to say that in front of my friends. And everybody looked at me and they just said, “That’s really hard. We get it.” And it was just like I just cried. To have that community or to be able to text my friends and say, “Please pray for me, I have not been a very kind mom today,” or, “Please pray for me, I’m worried about this.” And so take to take that worry, which comes out of a love for our children, but to take that worry and go into God’s word and replace that worry with thankfulness, to be diligently, to be purposefully, thankful for our children, to be thankful for their lives, to be thankful to be their moms, to be thankful to be the person that gets to teach them about who God is, and then to take that and to live purposefully in discipling our kids, to take scripture that helps you focus on who God is, and to help be able to trust God in your life and with your children.
I know for me personally, I’m not… I do not like to be introspective, it’s very uncomfortable. So for me to say, “Zac, let me talk to you about my feelings,” that’s more of a him thing. He talks about his feelings to me and he just like articulates them perfectly and it all comes out sounding like a novel, and it’s… I’m just like, “I hate you for this, I can’t do it.” But for me, a very real fear that I’ve had to submit to the Lord is the fear of me dying. My mom died when I was a kid and so she did not get to raise me, and I’ve realized, now that I am parenting, that that is a real fear that I have. And talking through that with my husband and having him pray for me, pray through that and to look to the Bible and to look to God’s Word and who He is, and to submit that to Him, and I’ve realized that that is real. And He’s been so good to me in that. And I’ll say too that my mother-in-law is awesome. I love my in-laws. They’re so good, they live right next door.
They are wonderful in-laws and grandparents to my kids. And my mother-in-law was told she would never have children. And she got married at 18 and got pregnant like a month after they got married. And so she was pregnant at 18, a mom at 19, and then she had two by the time she was 21, and then she had my husband when she was 23. And their oldest was born with cerebral palsy. I don’t know if you’re familiar with CP, but it can vary. And Arthur had very severe cerebral palsy. And God just gave their whole family such grace in his life because they viewed him as such a gift from the Lord because she was told that would never be. And so Arthur lived to be nine years old, and it was one of those things where every birthday… She said, “Every year we went to the doctor, and every year they would say, ‘He probably won’t make it till his next birthday.'” And she got so sick of hearing it and she… ‘Cause she knew that he probably wouldn’t make it to adulthood, and he passed away at nine. And to hear her talk about him, such grace God gave them, because she was just, “He was a gift to us.” And her and my father-in-law… The verse in 2 Corinthians where Paul’s talking about the thorn in his flesh and being weak, and God says, “My grace is sufficient for you,” I see that manifested in that experience for them. So if you wanna talk about that later, I’m here, but that’s what I have for that.”
Avoiding the Camp High Experience
Question – How do we prevent that crash that comes when you return back home, bad habits, discouragement, to the mess that life is right now. I know that Jesus is sufficient, but how do we help to build on that in our day-to-day life?
The Purpose of Coming to SWO
“Okay, so that is the purpose of y’all coming here, is to feel this mountain-top experience. It’s like a defibrillator. It’s like to get… “Wake up, let’s do this. Let’s get back in there.” That’s the whole point of y’all coming, is to get fired up for the Lord and to reset yourself on the truth of God’s Word. And so that’s why we have just been like pushing and saturating God’s Word, God’s Word, God’s Word, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, ’cause that’s what you’re taking back with you. We love singing and playing music, but we don’t do this as our past-time to hang out together. We have to grow together by you individually studying the Word. So what I’m gonna encourage you all to do, and you all can do this. I’m one of those people who’s like, “Okay, I can make up a great system,” but my follow-through is like… It’s like, I can’t even follow a recipe. Step one, two, three, four, five, six, it’s like, “Well, the picture says this so maybe I should do this.” So that’s just how I am. So for me, if I can have a plan in my head when I start to leave, that’s so helpful for me ’cause then I can just roll right into it.”
How to Leave SWO Effectively
“So what I would encourage you to do is tonight, after the service or tomorrow or on your drive home, start thinking, “How am I gonna do this? What is my schedule gonna look like when I go home this week? What time am I gonna get up?” And then as you’re talking with your friends on your drive back, say, “Alright, we’re setting our clocks, we’re getting up at 6:00 o’clock. I’m gonna text you, you text me back, and we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna get up and we’re gonna study the Bible together. You at your house, me at my house, we’re on a Zoom. We’re just gonna, “Hey, I’m up. You up? You get… Sweet. Okay, we got it.'” Coffee emoji, whatever it takes, but just get some accountability built in so that you’re not losing the steam immediately, because you’re gonna hit a wall, you’re gonna crash. We’ve got to become emotionally diverse.
I don’t know if anybody here was in my breakout session earlier, but it is true, and so we’ve got to be able to… While we’re on this high, this connected feeling with the Lord, get some stuff going so that when you get home and you’re tired, and two weeks, three weeks from now where you’re just like, “I don’t wanna do this anymore, this is tired.” Or you get that phone call of something crazy that’s happened, you’ve already got this plan in place. And maybe set yourself like three or four weeks out, “I’m gonna reset this in a month and make sure that what I’ve scheduled for myself is gonna be work,” or adjust it, but try to make yourself a plan and then work the plan. Does that make sense? That’s what I would encourage you with real quick on that.”
Finding Time to Rest
Question – How do you take a day away from the weekend when there is so much to do, how do you find time to decompress if you work five days a week?
“Yes, I do work five days a week, and we’re tired, aren’t we? We’re so tired. So yeah, I work five days a week, and my husband is a pastor, so Sundays are also not necessarily my workday, but like a family workday. So I’ve got Saturday and half a day, maybe Sunday and evenings to get the home stuff done. And that is hard. So a couple of things just from a logistics point of view. One, I distinctly remember growing up watching my mother cry in the dryer, like she was getting clothes out of the dryer and crying because she was overwhelmed. And my sisters aren’t talking… Our mother died when we were in our early 20s, and we often think back with shame that we did not help her more, but we also think back and go, “Why didn’t she make us more?” So in our house, I delegate, and so my boys have grown up knowing, you do your contributions. We don’t call them chores, they’re contributions, you are contributing to your society which is our little home, our family. This is your contribution, this is what you do, it’s normative.
And so as they got older, they’re cleaning toilets, they’re doing the heavier lifting than I do. Now, I have to go in and deep clean every now and then, but I’m also learning to relax my standards and my expectations, and I’m okay with them cleaning these bathrooms, even though I know they’re getting a lick in a promise and a spit shine, I’m gonna go in every so often and do it better myself. So a tempering of your expectations, an allowance for things sometimes not to get done, a looking around at what is demanding my time, and the older I’m getting and the older my kids are getting, being okay with saying no. “That’s an awesome opportunity, I’d love to do that, but I just can’t, I don’t have the bandwidth.”
And sometimes there’s guilt that tugs at me not being as active in doing some of the tasks at church that I used to do, but there’s more people now, and so we can all work together. And so being able to be okay with delegating, with saying no, with lowering your expectations somewhat on the timing of when things get done, so that we can put a rest on it and our family can go out and kayak in the afternoon on a Saturday or something like that. And then carving out time with women. I don’t know what it is, but as my kids have gotten older, that part’s gotten harder because we’re sitting in more bleachers. When they were little and they were on our time schedule, I could go and meet with everybody and go and do this and work on this committee and do… But now that they’re older, this is a season. And so also realizing there are seasons to your family life cycle and to your roles. And so in some seasons, you’re gonna be more active in church or in their preschool or in their little school life or whatever, and then another season, it might be all you can do to get your task accomplished and still carve out that time for family time and you time. And so I’m not sure that that’s the best magical equation. But those are just some things that I’ve learned to do as they’ve gotten older and as I’ve gotten older and as the demands on me have increased. Does that make sense?”
God’s Love and Desire for a Relationship with You
Question – I’m just having a really hard time believing that God and Jesus would love or even save someone like me, yet I see so many people have such a great relationship with him, and I want that, but where do I start?
Little Holloway, Bethany Clark, Amy Davis, Rocky Mabry:
Little: “Those of us who have tasted the Lord and known his goodness and his kindness, it’s real easy to just go, “Oh my gosh, why would God not wanna save anybody?” But I know that Satan tries to lie to women, especially, and just bombard them with shame, and not feeling worthy or whatever. When I read this question, I just had a thought, like if I was walking down Main Street in Andrews, and we’ve got some rough people in this town. And I help with jail ministry, so I know a lot of the women that are walking up and down and… But say if I was going down on Main Street, and somebody came up to me and said, “Hey, I’ve been going to church a lot… ” This person was clean or had a car or whatever, but said, “I’ve been going to church and I’ve really been wanting to know the Lord, and I’m curious about the Lord, and I really think I want to be a follower and allow him to save me.” Of course, I’d be like super pumped and just walk her through that or whatever, and the discipleship, whatever that needs to follow, and it would be sweet, but also, if I went down Main Street, and was walking and I saw Erica or Darla or Sarah, who I’ve seen in the jail and who I’ve seen live in the throes of addiction and just being used to get some money for some pills or whatever, if one of those ladies came to me and said, “Little, I know you’ve been telling me about the Lord, but I get it, and I wanna be cleansed.”
Little: “And the whole concept of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, and the whole process of getting to see the Lord cleanse her, and even if I took her to my home, say if she accepted the Lord and I was able to take her home, let her get a bath, get all that grit and dirt out from under her fingernails and like give her some good food besides Little Debbie’s and Mountain Dew or something, like just nourish her soul and her body, what a sweet delight and fellowship that would be to be able to do that and be a part of that. And that’s… I’m not saying that it’s a deeper thing, but it is a little more beautiful to me, to see that washing of that dirt off of that lady. And so I don’t know if you’re in here, but what the Lord just would delight so much, to be able to rescue you out of that and just start healing you from that shame or whatever Satan’s lying to you about, or you feel that guilt or whatever.”
Little: “Because I’ve seen it in my life so many times where there was just emotions that I didn’t think I could handle and I didn’t trust the Lord with, but then it came to a point where I needed to give them over to him, and he would just ease me, just calm me down and just soothe me, and that’s where my trust and confidence in the Lord is just huge. And if you’re in here, any of us will love to talk to you for sure about that.”
Bethany: “I wanted to add, just because last night, I told you all I’ve been studying that on Sunday. It was like Friday, I think, of that week, and I literally was processing that idea about that Jesus had to go to Samaria, He had to get her. Here’s another scripture that I wanna give you guys. In Luke 15:3-7, he tells the parable… Any of the lettering in the Bible that’s red, you know that’s Jesus actually speaking. He says, “What man of you having 100 sheep… ” Okay, hold on. “If he has lost one of them, does he not leave the 99 in the open country and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbor, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over the 99 righteous people that don’t need repentance.” And I know that we talked about the Samaritan woman and she’s like, extreme issues, but I was that lost sheep too.”
Bethany: “Was I any less lost at five, growing up in church? A lot of what my struggle throughout my life has been in the sanctification… When you accept Christ, he comes in your heart, in your life and you begin this journey. So obviously, at five, you’re like, “Well, what in the world?” But I still was lost. I’m a sinner, I’m lost, but I have the sanctification process that I’m now beginning and literally struggle… I struggle a lot with insecurity. Every girl up here could tell you, you may think that you’re like, “Oh, they’ve got it all together,” but we all are struggling in some way. And I have to submit that to the Lord every day or every time it comes up. And I was just like that lost sheep, just as much as this woman who… Or those women that Little just described, I’m the same as them. And I think sometimes, that in our minds we categorize things, don’t we? Like, “I’m not as bad as… ” But self-righteousness and unrighteousness are the… There’s two pits, but the thing is, you may be looking up at somebody going, “Wow, look how bad they are, and look how good I am,” but you’re both in the pit, and we can’t get out of those pits without Jesus Christ.”
Bethany: “So if you feel that way in there, today, if you feel that and you’re in here, I really wanna encourage you to submit that feeling to the Lord. Call it what it is, it’s a lie. The enemy is lying to you, because your Savior loves you so much. Look at these stories. There’s a lost coin, prodigal son, the Good Shepherd, the woman at the well, we could go on and on, and he gives us an analogy over and over. Why did He specifically go to the Samaritan woman? Because He wanted to show us that that’s what He is doing for you and me, and every person that will be His. His sheep hear His voice and they know Him. So if you know Him and you’re in Him, then you gotta tell that voice that’s lying to you, “Hey, that’s a lie, and I am a child of God.” And that’s where if we had another session, we could talk about your identity in Christ. And maybe you need to take some time and do a session or do a study on the identity that you have in Christ, and who you are, because you’ve been set free. And the enemy hates it, so he can only trick you now, smoke and mirrors, and he can get you sidetracked, because the Bible says, once you’re saved, he sticks you in the palm of his hand. And can you imagine opening up God’s Hand? You can’t do it, He’s not gonna let you go.”
Amy: “So all Satan can do is just fill your mind with distractions, so you guys gotta put something else in your mind, fill that with scripture and get scripture that will renew it so that you can… When that thought comes in, you can say, “I’m a child of God.” That song that we sing at the beginning, it’s so powerful because we need that in our minds and our hearts. So just be encouraged that we don’t have it all together, and every day is a struggle. Yeah. Did you have something?”
Rocky: “One thing… And Bethany just listed a whole lot of scriptures and stories that we see in the Bible, and one that is a favorite of mine is the woman caught in adultery. And I didn’t become a believer till I was 18, and, I don’t know, the story just has a really special place in my heart, but the condensed version, this woman is caught in adultery, and they drag her before Jesus in front of the temple, in front of the crowd, her shame is just exposed to the world. And the Pharisees are making accusations, they’re saying, “What are you gonna do? Are you gonna stone her? According to the law, she should be stoned.” And they’re trying to trap Jesus, but his response to her, this is the famous line where He like… The, “You who has no sin, cast the first stone.” And the Pharisees, he confronts their sin, and they go away when he confronts their sin, but her sin is just wide open and she just stays there at the feet of Jesus. She just stays there. She’s not… And He doesn’t discount her guilt, he doesn’t say she’s not guilty, but he says like, “Woman, where are your accusers?” And she says, “There are none.” And like He sent them away, He’s dealt with her accusers, and He says to her, “Neither do I condemn you, so go and sin no more.”
Rocky: “So He’s sent away her accusers, and He does not condemn her, not because she’s not guilty, but because he’s about to deal with her guilt on the cross, because he is gonna pay for her sin. And so there’s no room for her to hold on to that shame anymore because He’s already fully dealt with it. You don’t have to pay for your sin again because Jesus fully paid for it, and so you can let that shame go. Those accusers are wrong because they… It doesn’t matter if what they say you did is true, because your guilt has been removed by the blood of Jesus. And so I love that statement, and I cling to it in my heart just daily, of that lifting of her head. She was there, down there in shame, and he lifted her head and said, “Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.”
Rocky: “So condemnation is removed and there’s a call to walk forward in holiness, and I think that’s a really beautiful picture as far as just the practical things of like, “Where do I start?” I think this is… Crying out before the Lord, at Jesus’ feet, repenting of sin is the start, receiving His grace and forgiveness, and letting go of your shame is a start, but you aren’t called to walk in this by yourself, though you have the Lord, but also, I would encourage you to come talk to one of us this weekend or talk to somebody that you came with from your church, get plugged into your local church, or talk to your pastor to help walk you through and disciple you and show you how to walk with the Lord through studying scripture, through just doing life with other believers, and learning and gleaning from them.”
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