I’m excited today to feature a guest post from Wynter Pitts, founder of For Girls Like You Magazine, a ministry to girls (age 6-11) and their parents.
Do you remember being 9, 10 or 11 years old?
It seems like a lifetime ago. Probably because, in my case, it was!
I have vague memories of lining my “babies” along the living room wall and yelling out names as I “took roll” and set up my classroom. I was convinced that I was going to be a teacher…when I grew up.
I remember following my brother around the house and basically doing anything I could think of to get on his nerves more than I did the day before. This is how I showed him how much I adored him!
I remember dressing up in beautifully colored, intricate pieces of fabric while collecting dimes to raise money for missionaries in Guatemala.
I remember my mother loading us up in a big yellow boat with wheels for day trips to New York City, youth group Bible studies, overnight camps, Sunday services and weekday revivals. I would sit in awe and pray that one day God could use me the way He was using the people that took the stage.
It never fully dawned on me that the great big God of the universe was capable of using me right then, as a little girl, collecting dimes, hanging out with friends at camp and sitting in my living room.
He was. He does. He is.
Today, as an adult, this concept has become vividly clear to me as I raise four daughters of my own.
What decisions would I have made had I realized that I didn’t need to wait until I was “grown up” to reach my potential of being someone whom God could use?
According to Luke 2, when Jesus was just a boy (age 12), Mary and Joseph thought they lost him. After searching for him for three days, they found him in the temple listening, learning and teaching. When they found him, Jesus replied: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49 (NIV)
Jesus was a boy who knew he had to be about Kingdom business.
God’s work does not begin when we grow up. God wants us to raise children that are about His business from childhood into adulthood.
What memories will your kids have? Are they aware that they are not only capable, but are designed to be the one that God uses…even now at age 6, 9, or 12?
We often look at and raise our kids according to the values and principles we would ultimately like to see them possess as adults. Rightly so. However, in doing this, I fear we often overlook the idea that God has plans for our children right now…as children.
Two years ago, after a series of unsuccessful attempts to find a safe, Christ-focused form of encouragement and entertainment for my budding tween daughter, I began a journey to create what has now become a print magazine and ministry to young girls and their parents. Amongst the many things I’ve learned on this journey, it has become vividly clear that God uses children.
Meet a few young girls who are hanging out in the temple, doing their Father’s business! These young ladies are committed to stepping out, standing up, and living a radical life for Christ.
They are committed to “being the one.”
Girly Me Missions
This is a group of 12 friends (ages 10-13) who create and make crafts to raise money to help orphan care in Uganda through Project Hope Worldwide! Each girl pitches in to make a variety of goods to sell at community fairs, online and other venues. The group co-sponsors a little five year-old girl named Nelly who lives at Calo Me Lare. In addition, this past year they were able to raise enough money to buy nine baby cribs for a baby’s home called Arise.
Elyana is 11 years old and has made radical decisions to show that she is dedicated to being one that God can use. While preparing for an upcoming cheer competition, Elyana found herself facing a huge dilemma concerning the uniform for the team. She felt the uniform was too revealing and chose to “say no” to wearing it. She knew as a Christian girl she had to stand up and be the example of Christ to her friends!
Mandi is 10 years old and can be found playing the ukulele and singing about God’s love at various venues, including talent shows, local restaurants and leading worship at her church! She is committed to telling others about God’s love through her music! She recently released her first EP, Happy.
So what about the 8-year-old sitting on the couch next to you at this very moment, the 11-year-old helping her little brother tie his shoe, and the 6-year-old who has been begging to bake cookies for her new classmate and his family? Are you preparing them to “be the one?”
The one who stands out. The one who doesn’t just do what’s comfortable and safe, but does what makes a difference and matters to Christ.
Here are 3 tips to prepare your kids to “be the one.”
1. Expose them to radical living and thinking.
- Encourage your kids to befriend the not-so-popular kids at school, like the girl who sits alone at lunchtime or the boy who gets teased during gym.
- When there are opportunities to show your kids what Christ looks like, take them with you! Research community/church projects in your area and make time to serve together as a family.
- Show them the value of helping others, whether it’s donating funds to a missionary overseas or reading a book to a younger sibling.
- Prepare meals as a family to take to an ill neighbor or to a friend “just because.”
2. Take them seriously.
If your child has an idea to start a lemonade stand or make duct tape bookmarks for a special cause, help them follow through.
If they say they would like to invite a neighbor or a stranger to church, encourage them to!
3. Don’t lower the bar.
Study God’s word together and teach them how to apply it to their everyday situations. In times of joy, fear, disobedience or encouragement, find scriptures that apply.
Help them learn to be different. They need to learn early that choosing to be like Christ will not always be popular, and will often come with challenges.
I want my girls to be radical life changers for Christ – today and tomorrow, don’t you?
Wynter Pitts is the editor and founder of For Girls Like You Magazine, a ministry to girls (age 6-11) and their parents, which includes a quarterly print magazine, journal, and other print and web resources. Visit www.forgirlslikeyou.com for more information. Follow Wynter on Twitter (@forgirlslikeyou) and on Facebook for encouragement and fun as we strive to raise a generation of God’s girls!
Wynter appears on ibelieve.com as a frequent blogger and is a contributor for Lifeway’s HomeLife Magazine. She is also the proud wife of Jonathan and mom of FOUR little girls!
All photos and stories are courtesy of For Girls Like You Magazine.