There’s a Battle Going on Here
The news about what’s happening in the world today is dire.
According to humantrafficking.org, trafficking is a 32 billion dollar business as you read this article. “Modern day slavery is bested only by the illegal drug trade for profitability,” but very little money and political will is being spent to combat trafficking. “Transnational organized crime groups are adding humans to their product lists,” Mira Sorvina, special ambassador, reported to a United Nations assembly. “Satellites reveal the same routes moving them as arms and drugs.” It is estimated that nearly two and a half million people are enslaved around the world today.
An approximate 80% of the victims are women.
Sunday night, one of the pastors at church broached an incredibly difficult topic: pornography. He gave us the numbers … first exposure averages around age 12. 68% of young adult men are regularly viewing it (defined as once a week). When a researcher attempted a study which was to survey young adult men who were not involved in usage, the study had to be abandoned because he literally couldn’t find anyone to be part of the group. While usage increases dopamine (the natural reward-chemical made by the brain) it also creates desensitization, requiring more stimulation to trigger the same release every time. Usage of pornography appears to literally rewire the brain, causing lack of motivation, social anxiety, depression, and triggering a host of social problems including its obviously detrimental affect on marriage (find more information at fightthenewdrug.)
When I hear stories and statistics like this, one thing becomes clear: men in our society are under attack.
And here’s why men being under attack matters to me, as a woman: I’m married to one, and I have six sons.
God created man in His own image– with a huge capacity to create and conquer, to provide and protect. But the enemy is after all of you, and the frightening thing is that it looks like he’s winning in far too many cases.
Ladies and gentlemen, we all need to engage in the battle for what truly matters: the image of God in our very beings. If the enemy is after men, he’s after all of us.
The issues mentioned earlier are linked, obviously. And the shocking truth I’ve learned about trafficking is this: its main “supplier” is homelessness. A child/teen/young adult who runs away from home is most likely going to be approached by someone interested in trafficking them within the first 48 hours on the street. Your family is your children’s best defense against every ill in society. Period.
If you’re a parent, you’ve got to make sure you’re talking to your children about what’s important. Don’t just check their grades and make sure they’ve brushed their teeth and send them to Sunday School or youth group and pat yourself on the back. The battle is too heated for that. Your children are under direct attack; it’s not time for passivity.
Talk to them face to face and often. Talk about the value of all people, about privacy, about men’s responsibility to protect women, about women’s responsibility to respect themselves and one another. And listen. Ask them what they’re struggling with and try not to make a face when they answer you truthfully.
If you’re married, you’ve got to make sure you’re staying engaged with your spouse. Put your personal needs aside and make time to prioritize those of your spouse. Go against the current of culture–turn off your cell phone. Don’t take all the overtime you’re offered. Take a walk together. Go to counseling if you need it. Don’t. Give. Up.
Make everyone’s social media use transparent. Check each others’ texts occasionally. Keep up with everyone’s social media accounts. Install internet filters in your home.
Most of all, carefully watch over the hearts of each precious person in your family. Be a trusted advisor and friend and source of information and help.
The family is under attack. But the God of angel armies is on our side. While the world may be dark …
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
There’s a Battle Going on Here
F4 Foundation: November 2015 Update
After nearly a year of discussion, research, and plotting, the beginning of March, 2015 saw the official start of the F4 Foundation. Focusing in on the four pillars: Faith, Family, Freedom, and Fun, we have determined that our mission is to rescue endangered children, restore fragmented families, and rebuild broken communities.
Sounds like a worthy (but BIG) job!
We’ve known from the beginning that it would probably entail about a year of further research and dipping our toes into the water before we really knew what specific part we were to play in the fulfillment of those goals. And indeed, the past six months have been a time of real-life learning as we’ve reached out to “use our power for good” around the nation.
So, what have we been up to?
Rob travels to Jacksonville, FL to meet with yellowblue partners to serve the homeless with Cup of Love Ministry and invest in their practical outreach.
Misty travels to Nashville, TN to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit. This group unites more than 150 respected Christian organizations and a national network of churches. Speaking of their goals, CAFO relates, “ultimately, we seek to stimulate and help grow Christian communities committed to adoption, foster care and global orphan care in the local church.
Rob begins to work as an on-the-streets investigator with Exodus Road, a human trafficking prevention/rescue organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
Misty begins work on a discipleship book to be used by leaders from across the country who are influencers in their communities and online.
Misty travels to Jacksonville, FL, where in partnership with Kim’s Open Door, a non-profit organization seeking to aid in the prevention of crime, drug use, and gang violence, she joins a team to develop two sets of curricula: one public school mentoring program and one after-school Bible program. She also attends a training by leaders specializing in how to reach at-risk children.
F4 Foundation forms our first official partnership when Jen and Brandon Hatmaker announced the formation of Legacy Collective. Our involvement lets us be part of their current causes of focus, which include orphan prevention and economic empowerment in Ethiopia, sustainable housing for the homeless (specifically disabled veterans) in Central Texas, and child trafficking rescue and prevention in Haiti. As investors, F4 Foundation will be able to follow funded projects and see where every dollar is spent, as well as nominating new projects.
We also began meeting with officials from Heritage House Ministries, which provides a nurturing and loving home for adolescent females ages 12 through 21 who are at-risk and unable to remain in the care of their primary family. Through individual therapy, group therapy, and behavioral reinforcement, girls are provided a framework with which they can overcome the obstacles they have encountered in their lives. The Heritage House Program implements, coordinates, and helps develop services and treatment, which is made available to the girls through various resources and outside support. In the future, we look forward to being involved on a volunteer basis with this excellent program.
Toward the end of the month we traveled to Austin, TX for the official Launch of the Legacy Collective. We also took a side trip to visit FamilyLink Ranch and Adoption agency as we gathered ideas about what’s next for us as we move forward as a foundation. We were also hard at work on scheduling, transportation and planning for an outreach during our September yearly awards trip to the Dominican Republic, where we installed insulating blanket and a solar fan in a school building. In addition, we also spent some time reaching out to at-risk children in the area who are being helped by the ministry of Kids Alive.
We’re Keeping Busy
We’re keeping busy, and look forward to maintaining that momentum as we become more focused in our efforts over the next six months! We are so grateful for everyone who has put in their “two cents worth” and partnered with us as we build, one brick at a time. Your part matters! You’re making a difference! And we appreciate your prayers as we move forward.
Lastly, we want to thank each of you who helped bring Eco Tech to Santa Domingo. The F4 Foundation teamed up with yellowblue™ Eco Tech & TruWatch International on the yellowblue trip to install energy savings products and fire safety equipment at a Kid’s Alive International build site in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
F4 Foundation contributors, over 30 yellowblue™ representatives, and volunteers from TruWatch visited one of Kids Alive International’s education and care center building sites on Sep. 4. The team installed yellowblue’s multilayer reflective insulation and solar fans at the Santo Domingo school site. Volunteers helped with building construction by laying bricks and leveling the grounds. In addition to building, volunteers enjoyed doing arts and crafts with the children.
Collaborating with yellowblue™ and TruWatch allowed us to bring something to the school the children and teachers really need. The installation of yellowblue™ energy saving products and TruWatch fire safety equipment in our school will really help us make our building energy efficient, safe, and comfortable, creating a more productive learning environment. environment.
Prayer for a New Marriage
She came up the aisle blushing, a bit teary-eyed, pale lace trailing behind. His smile as he waited for her to reach him was as boyish as I remembered from when he was seven, causing all of their audience to smile and tear up in reflection.
When the ceremony was over, we gathered to watch the new husband and wife cut the cake. Hugging a dear friend I hadn’t seen for some time, I asked how things were going. “Well … ” she said, eyes darkening, “things haven’t gotten any easier, honestly. And being at a wedding today … ” she sighed, leaving the words hanging in the air. “It’s hard, you know? Hard to be excited and happy.”
Every wedding brings tears and smiles, hesitancy and hurry–paradox. Perhaps each wedding is a microcosm of what’s to come.
Prayer for a New Marriage
In Defense of Motherhood: Pass the Swords
In her amazing reflection on the horror playing out across news and social media streams this summer as Planned Parenthood is exposed, Sarah Clarkson has called what’s happening a “Failure of Imagination.”
Ann Voskamp adds that it is both a failure of community and “a failure of humanity: failing a human being in crisis and a human being in utero.”
The images rolling across my stream turn my stomach, turn my head, turn my heart pale, compel me to turn off the screens.
I want it to all go away. How can such horror be happening across this country—over a million times each year, babies’ lives ended before light of day is seen? How instead of a warmed blanket and mother’s arms are these precious lives met and ended by salt water and cold steel?
It may be the end of a hot summer, but it’s been a season of chilling headlines.
We see evidence of those who see babies as intrusions rather than gifts. As “merchandise, not miracle,” as Sarah has written.
We are a consumer culture. And babies? Someone has discovered they can be bought and sold in pieces.
It’s time to pay attention and see the truth, moms, if we’ve been in denial: Motherhood itself is under attack.
The dragon still stands before the pregnant woman, waiting to devour her child. Satan is not fond of the image of God reproduced over and over—his goal is to debase, to tear apart, to mangle the potential of each and every reproduction. To get to the child who is the newest image-bearer he must go through the double-image bearing one, the mother. And he does it sometimes with fear and lack, sometimes with selfishness and ambition: always with whatever means he can find.
We need a revival of motherhood.
Where’s the good news?
We are accosted daily, it seems, with evidence that we’ve lost this war. Don’t believe it. Not all is lost. There is still a remnant of those who believe the truth, who believe in the value of unique human lives, the assertion of scripture that each one has been formed in the womb by God, Himself.
I see glimpses. I see it in the brave mamas celebrating positive pregnancy tests—the first and the seventh. I see it in the beautiful photographs of tiny fingers and toes proudly displayed by newly blessed parents. I see it as older siblings pass precious tiny bundles around, each watching the clock for “their turn” to arrive.
And perhaps the most promising bit of hope? It’s in the next generation of mothers. I caught a glimpse this weekend as I attended one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen. Throughout the ceremony, references to the couple’s future children—were replete. This is a young couple full of love for God and a heart for worship, now a family which will hold the banner of Christ high. And they aren’t alone. On this day, they were surrounded by many, many friends with hearts much like their own. It is within that circle and those like it, of young people embracing truth and life, that this world’s hope lies.
Motherhood is not dead. Not everyone sees children as mere intrusions or merchandise: there are those who still see hoped-for miracles.
At the rehearsal dinner, the bride’s father told stories of her as a child. He related how as a girl with three older brothers, she’d had to learn to be tough. One day her mother happened upon her sitting in a rocking chair serenely rocking her doll … with a plastic ninja sword protruding from the back of her shirt where she’d tucked it–just in case.
Walking over to the chair and smiling down at the determined four-year old, she’d said, “Honey, usually mamas don’t carry ninja swords while they rock their babies.”
Hannah looked up and replied matter-of-factly, “This one does.”
And perhaps this is what is necessary in days such as these; a brave and beautiful motherhood. A motherhood that would fight to defend all that is sacred and precious and true.
Pass the swords. I’ve got your back.