Smart Parenting: How to Slow Down and be Smart as a Parent

Busy Mom

Get the Smart Parenting Bundle now, and save over $42!

The next 24 hour bundle is here! Vyrso is providing bundles of top notch books that help you stay sane as school starts again, develop a healthy spiritual foundation for yourself and your kids, and great titles for teenagers and elementary kids. Today only, get the Smart Parenting Bundle—filled with ebooks on parenting and ideas in how to slow down and live an unrushed life. Get the Smart Parenting Bundle today for just $16.94—that’s over $42 in savings!

Smart Parenting Bundle

Not So Fast by Ann Kroeker

Ann Kroeker offers a refreshing alternative to our over committed culture. With helpful stories from her own journey, Kroeker helps readers embrace a slower pace of life. Not So Fast lets you see how these changes can result in a more meaningful family and spiritual life. This book includes practical ideas and insight that will spark creativity and personal reflection. Ponder real-life stories from parents who chucked the high-speed lifestyle and reaped the rewards of richer relationships.

Spiritual Parenting by Dr. Michelle Anthony

Dr. Michelle Anthony is the pastor of Family ministries at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, California and Talbot School of Theology. She has written dozens of resources for Christian education and Family/Youth Ministries. In this revolutionary book, Dr. Anthony introduces how to create a home environment that God can use to work in children’s lives. This simple, biblical concept will allow parents to obey and depend on God in order to create an environment God can use to beckon their children to him.

Hopeful Parenting: Encouragement for Raising Kids Who Love God by David Jeremiah

From New York Times best-selling author David Jeremiah comes a new and heartwarming look at the adventure of parenting. Drawing upon his own experience as a father, Pastor David Jeremiah shares wit and wisdom for nurturing one of God’s most precious gifts. Every chapter features timeless truths from God’s Word, offering encouragement for the road ahead. Be refreshed, challenged, and inspirited to build a rich and deep legacy of faith for your family.

Addicted to Busy by Brady Boyd – Pre-order ships September 1, 2014

We are all spread too thin, taking on more than we can handle, trying to do too much—almost as if we are afraid of rest. God never meant for us to be so busy. God desires for us peace. God desires rest. Brady Boyd shows you how to live a life that embraces stillness and solitude and finds the peace that God wants for you.

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The Smart Parenting Bundle will only be available until 7:59am EDT—so be sure to take advantage of the 70% savings!

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70% Off Back to School Bundles

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Get today’s 24 hour bundle right now, and save over 75% off the regular price!

School is coming. Your kids might not be happy about it, but for you, this time of year means savings galore! Vyrso wants to help set you up for success this school year, so for the next two weeks we’re offering a new 24-hour ebook bundle to equip you and your kids for what’s next. These bundles will help you stay calm amidst the craziness of life, improve your prayer life, learn valuable parenting skills, and encourage your kids to read.

Today only, get three resources that equip parent of students for just $15.29—it’s the Parents That Teach While Juggling Bundle. Get it now.

Creative Teaching Methods by Marlene LeFever

Do you ever wonder why Jeffery talks all the time? Or why Toni can’t sit still? Or why Alex loves work sheets? Or why Jordan is always trying something new? Each chapter of this practical guide is fun to read, stimulating, and immensely practical. This book is valuable for parents, teachers, preachers interested in expanding their understanding of creative ways to teach children.

Learning Styles by Marlene LeFever

Learning Styles is full of practical, helpful, and eye-opening information about the different ways kids convert information into knowledge they can use. When we understand different learning styles—imaginative, analytic, common sense, and dynamic—and adjust our teaching or parenting to accommodate those styles, we start becoming the teachers God designed us all to be.

The Juggling Act by Pat Gelsinger

Our demanding schedules crowd out what matters most: family, friends, even our faith. Although it may feel like living under the Big Top, take heart! You don’t have to be a circus professional to keep all the plates spinning. The Juggling Act shares Pat’s time-tested wisdom for keeping your life in perspective. This ebook details the guidelines for balanced living with insights on:
• Prioritizing your work, family, and God
• Developing a personal mission statement
• Becoming an effective employee
• Creating a support system
• Sharing your faith in the workplace

Today only get all three resources in the Parents that Teach While Juggling Bundle for just $15.29—that’s over 75% off the normal price. But hurry this bundle only lasts until 7:59am EDT tomorrow morning! (more…)

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Last Chance: Vyrso’s Biggest Bundle Ends Today

Crossway Bundle

In less than 24 hours, the biggest bundle in Vyrso’s history will be gone forever.

Get it now.

The Crossway Bundle gives you one hundred popular Christian titles for $499.97—less than $5 per book.

At regular prices, $500 would get you 50 ebooks. With this bundle, you save hundreds of dollars off the regular price. It’s like getting 50—that’s right, 50—of these books for free. We’re packing your library full of titles that help you explore biblical concepts like grace, marriage, the church, the kingdom, and more—all for a fraction of the regular cost.

With one hundred titles in your pocket, on your desktop, and anywhere else you like to read, you’ll easily fill your 2015 reading list—or if you’re like me, your 2016 and 2017 reading lists as well!

Think about how many days it takes you to read a book, and multiply that by one hundred. That’s how long this bundle will last you. And with popular titles like these, you should probably factor in reading some of them twice or starting reading groups.

You get one hundred additional Christian titles that have one-touch Bible references, so you can go deeper into Scripture citations and get to the root of the discussion without even leaving the page. Imagine searching across one hundred titles to find quotes, passages, and topics—instantly.

Vyrso’s functionality lets you stuff each ebook with notes and highlighting you can share with your friends and family, and easily navigate to find again. Every single one of these Christian ebooks integrate with your Logos library, and they go wherever you go.

When you choose The Crossway Bundle, you get an entire library that you can access from your desktop, tablet, or even your smart phone.

This bundle is huge, and this is your last chance to make it yours. Get The Crossway Bundle now.

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Two Days Left to Get Vyrso’s Biggest Bundle Ever

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There are 175 authors, pastors, and biblical scholars who contributed to The Crossway Bundle. If you want to see them all, check out the bundle here.

Here are three of our favorites:

1. R. C. Sproul

Sproul has written over 70 books and articles, many of which are available on Logos and Vyrso. Right now, you can download his Crucial Questions Series for free. A respected teacher, theologian, pastor, Sproul holds degrees from Westminister College, Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary, Free University of Amsterdam, and Whitefield Theological Seminary. He currently serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, in Sanford Florida.

2. Mark Dever

Mark Dever has written a number of ebooks on building effective churches. Three of his books are included in The Crossway Bundle: 12 Challenges Churches Face, The Message of the New Testament, and The Message of the Old Testament. Mark Dever is the senior past of Capitol Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and executive director of 9Marks Ministry, a Christian ministry he co-founded, “in an effort to build biblically faithful churches in America.”

3. R. Kent Hughes

Hughes has authored numerous books, including the best-selling Disciplines of a Godly Man. The Crossway Bundle includes two of his titles: Set Apart, and Joshua. In Set Apart, Hughes reminds the church that it can only reach the world if it refuses to be ensnared by it. Joshua offers an accessible commentary, guiding readers through the history of Joshua’s leadership in Israel. Together with Pastor David Jackman, Hughes encourages readers to trust God’s promises more deeply and obey his commands more wholeheartedly.

172 more authors are included in The Crossway Bundle. You won’t see this deal again, so get yours today, before time runs out!

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A Closer Look at The Crossway Bundle

Crossway Bundle

Add 100 books to your library right now. Get The Crossway Bundle for $499.97.

One of the best reasons to get The Crossway Bundle is that we packed superior content into every nook and cranny. Every title is useful for different aspects of life—in or outside of ministry. The 100 books in the bundle can equip you to do anything from ministering to people with disabilities, understanding the Bible better, and approaching difficult social issues.

Here are three titles in the bundle from my personal 2014–2015 reading list:

1. Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian

Jonah’s name isn’t new to anyone, but this fresh unfolding of his story seeks to recapture the staggering effect it had on those who first encountered it centuries ago. In a powerful journey through unforgettable events and imagery, Surprised by Grace reveals how relentlessly God pursues rebels (a category that ultimately includes everyone), though he has every right and plenty of reasons to give up on us all.

2. Church History: A Crash Course by Christopher Catherwood

In this concise, accessible guide, author Christopher Catherwood takes his readers through the history of the faith, revealing Christianity’s unique journey from its birth to the global Evangelical Church we know today. Church History is the perfect place to start for anyone who wants to know where to begin this quest for knowledge. Discover more about the lives of men and women from the past to learn how to live wisely in the present.

3. Art as Spiritual Perception by multiple authors

This diverse collection of 15 essays will encourage and inspire those who love art and love God. Making a critical contribution to the field of art history, this reader covers everything from sixth-century icons to contemporary art from a Christian perspective. Written by experts around the country—from Fuller Theological Seminary to the Smithsonian—this book reflects the work of noted scholars, most especially John Walford and Hans Rookmaaker, as well as the richness of the history of Christianity and the visual arts.

Whether you’re a biblical scholar looking for titles to equip you in ministry or someone who wants to strengthen your theological background, this bundle is for you. We can always learn more about grace, further our knowledge of how the church grew, and expand our appreciation of Christian art.

The Crossway Bundle is big. Explore its diverse titles, and see what adding 100 books to your digital library can do for you. The bundle ends Friday, so get yours soon, before this deal is gone forever!

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Making Wise Choices: Thoughts on Choosing the Best Yes

LysaTerKeurst

Today’s interview is with Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her new ebook The Best Yes, artfully paints a picture of how to make wise decision amidst a sea of endless choices. Get it on Vyrso today!

1. You have an impressive resume of accomplishments, and you’ve made a huge impact on thousands of people. Tell us more about the everyday you.

I just chuckled at “an impressive resume of accomplishments” because it makes me sound way more polished than I really am! At my core, I’m just a simple country girl who lives in North Carolina with my husband, Art, and my five priority blessings—Jackson, Mark, Hope, Ashley, and Brooke.

In my everyday life, I feel like a success if I get through the day having spent time with the Lord, exercised in some way, had a laugh with one of my kids, had clean underwear in my husband’s drawer when he needed them, and made a friend smile.

2. Why did you write your new book, The Best Yes?

I wrote this message because I NEED this message. I wrote it because I’m tired of rushing and stressing and missing out on the sweet parts of life. I always found myself saying, “I’ll do that thing that makes my soul come alive when I find time.” But no one in the history of the world has ever found more time or made more time.

We all get 168 hours a week. No more. No less. And too many of us are missing out on too much.

Honestly, when I set my life to the rhythm of rush, I don’t like who I am.

Rushing robs me of the sweetest parts of life—the parts of life that feed my soul. When a woman lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, she’ll ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.

I’m tired of that deep ache. I think a lot of women are.

So with The Best Yes, I really want to help equip women to slow the rhythm of rush in their lives so the best of who they are can emerge.

3. What does it mean to become a “powerfully effective decision maker”?

A powerfully effective decision maker is a person who uses a combination of knowledge, insight, and discernment when faced with a decision. We must get into God’s Word and let God’s truth get into us (Philippians 1:9–10).

Knowledge is wisdom that comes from acquiring truth.

Insight is wisdom that comes from living out the truth we acquire.

Discernment is wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit’s reminders of that knowledge and insight.

The Holy Spirit helps us remember that knowledge and insight so we can display it through good judgment in our everyday life decisions.

4. What’s your decision-making strategy for going through big life transitions?

I think it’s always good to use wisdom, knowledge, and an understanding of your resource capacity to assess your decisions.

For many situations, my husband and I run our decisions through these five questions that I talk about in the book:

• Do we have the resources to handle this along with our current responsibilities?
• Could this fit physically?
• Could this fit financially?
• Could this fit spiritually?
• Could this fit emotionally?

I’ve learned to really pay attention to my emotional capacity and be honest with myself when I’m stretched too thin. When I allow myself to get overloaded emotionally, which can happen so easily in big life transitions, the worst version of me emerges. And that’s not good for anyone. So this five-question filter helps us to be realistic when facing a decision.

5. How do you recommend parents teach their children to make wise decisions at school?

As parents, we need to get intentional with teaching our kids to think through their choices. But we must get intentional about modeling good choices as well.

Satan is a master of keeping the cost of our decisions hidden until it’s too late—for us and for our kids. Explain that to your child and consider age-appropriate examples of how costly wrong choices can be. Be real, raw and bold as you walk your children through different scenarios of temptations they might face.

Think how different life might be if we all paused and asked ourselves this crucial question: How much will this choice really cost me? If we teach ourselves and our kids nothing else today than to ask this one question, we will have invested wisely.

6. How do you choose “the best yes” when you have to decide between multiple good choices?

That’s a great question. More often than not, I find myself stuck between a good choice and another good choice, trying to figure out which one is perfect.

These good vs. good decisions happen every day. But when you’re trying to pick the perfect choice, here’s the secret answer: there is no perfect choice. If you understand this, it sets you free from the fear of making a mistake.

As long as you desire to please God with your decisions, no decision you make will be completely awful. Nor will any decision you make be completely awesome. Every decision carries a dose of both. Every thrill has an element of risk. Every leap of faith has moments of uncertainty. And every great success story has elements of failure.

In other words, since there is no perfect choice, I don’t have to be paralyzed by the fear that I’m not making the perfect choice.

But here’s where the certainty is: My imperfections will never override God’s promises. God’s promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on his ability to use well. And I’m so thankful for that.

7. What are some of the hardest decisions you’ve ever had to make?

Discerning God’s will at different crucial steps in my life was so hard for so long. With all the needs in the world, how can I determine which ones are my assignments? Here’s what really helped me: making enough space in my day to really be able to pay attention to God.

Often we want big directional signs to God’s will. He just wants us to pay attention. The one who obeys God’s instruction today will develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow.

* * *

Learn what it means to make wise decisions while you are making thousands of choices everyday. Get Lysa’s new ebook, The Best Yes, on Vyrso today!

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5 Lessons I Learned from the Woman in Proverbs 31

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Have you ever delved into Proverbs 31 to read what a truly God-fearing woman might be like? The woman described in this chapter sounds almost too good to be true—she’s about as perfect as any human comes! But she’s only striving to do everything and anything that her Lord asks of her.

I find it refreshing to read this chapter occasionally to find God calling me to come closer to him in different areas of life. Here are five ways I’ve felt challenged by the tenacity of the woman in Proverbs 31:

1. She opens her hand to the poor


It’s so easy to get caught up in one’s own life. Go to school, go to work, pick the kids up from daycare, time for church, etc. Life happens. But to be ready and willing, even looking, for chances to welcome the poor or needy into our homes with open arms is a quality many of us feel we just don’t have the time for. In the grand scheme of things though, God calls us to love one another just as he loved us. This is how we should be looking to spend our time first and foremost.

2. She does not harm

Sometimes I catch myself talking with a family member or friend and realize I’ve just turned the conversation into complaining or pity-partying. No one wants to listen to that anyway, so why do I do it? It’s only bringing harm to the relationship. Instead I now turn the conversation around when I sense a downward spiral—dishing out compliments and positive stories that only bring smiles and laughs.

3. She dresses herself with strength

Strength comes in many forms. I imagine the strength of the woman in this chapter to be a humble, yet confident strength. Often I forget the humility part of strength, which turns me into merely a confidently one-sided arguer. Remembering to clothe herself with humility alongside strength must be how this woman was so cherished and praised within her community. (Prov. 31:28)

4. Her lamp does not go out at night

Working late into the nights and being the first one up in the mornings to be sure everyone gets fed sounds to me like a case of extreme diligence and perseverance. The mothers out there probably understand this the best. Working all day and then getting minimal sleep is hard to do, but I’ve found that the days I keep my priorities straight—keeping God on top—I somehow get everything done. And with that checklist completed, I can rest freely and do it again the next day.

5. She laughs at the time to come

I am quick to plan for the future. Not because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t have a plan, but because I’m always so anxiously excited for what’s next. But Matthew 6:34 reminds us that we should not worry about tomorrow, we should live for today. The woman in Proverbs 31 understood God’s intention for daily living already before the book of Matthew was written.

What does Proverbs 31 teach you? Take a moment to reflect on this beautiful passage:

How can we embody the Proverbs 31 woman in everyday life? It all starts with small decisions. Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs 31 ministries, has a new book on this very topic. The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands reveals what our daily decisions say about us and how we can make those decisions reflect the pattern of the God-fearing woman.

Interested in starting a small group on this topic? Get Lysa’s new book, and The Best Yes Study Guide to learn and grow with your friends and challenge each other as you go.

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Lost in Translation: The Names of God

praying-through-the-names-of-god

There are more than 80 different names in the Bible’s original text for the one we call our God. He is our Good Shepherd (John 10:11), our Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8), our Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6) and so many more all-encompassing things.

Names in the Bible, though, are not quite the same as the names we use today. While parents seem to be getting more and more creative with baby names, God’s people were given names of meaning and honor according to an action they’d taken or a mark of great faith.

“A name is so important in biblical settings that Scripture frequently mentions God Himself changing someone’s name to reflect a new reality. Abram, which means ‘exalted father,’ was changed to Abraham, meaning ‘father of a multitude.’ Jacob, whose name meant “grabber of the heel’ and ‘deceitful,’ received a new name after wrestling with God. His new name, Israel, means ‘one who prevails.’” —Tony Evans, The Power of God’s Names

Why so many names?

Learning and understanding the various names of God gives us insight into all the different facets of his glorious persona. He says that we are created in his image (Gen. 1:27), yet look around at how many different personalities and characteristics are seen in each person you meet—proof that we serve a very complex and awesome God.

Dr. Tony Evans has spent years trying to grasp the entirety of God’s being by studying dozens of his biblical names, hoping to put all the pieces and parts together to paint a clearer picture of who God is. Evans challenges all Christians to do the same in seeking spiritual maturity and a stronger prayer life.

Evans’ new book, Praying Through the Names of God, details 85 names of God, giving context and background to each. Whether you’ve read his first book on the names of God or not, Praying Through the Names of God will expose you to a God who wants you to know and trust him. This book walks through each aspect of prayer, touching on adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

Ready to revitalize your prayer life? Add a new Vyrso title to your collection today! Get Praying Through the Names of God for only $8.44.

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Our Best Deal Ever Has Arrived: The Crossway Bundle

Crossway Bundle

There’s only 49 days left until the end of summer, which means there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the sun, grilling, and time with family!

With only so many days left to enjoy summer reading, Vyrso is here to help add more amazing titles to your library with some limited time savings!

Our best deal of the summer just arrived: The Crossway Bundle.

The Crossway Bundle retails at $1406.01, but right now, you can save over $900-when you download the bundle for $499.97!

The limited-time Crossway Bundle has 100 titles by authors like Mark Dever, John F. MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and others. Get a variety of titles including biblical studies, devotions, theological overviews, guides for ministry, and parenting titles. Get must-reads, like:

  • Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time by William Lane Craig
  • The Prayer of Our Lord by Philip Ryken
  • God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt by Os Guinness
  • The Gospel in Genesis: From Fig Leaves to Faith by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus by Jared C. Wilson

For a little less than $5 per book, The Crossway Bundle is the perfect way to build your library with quality content. Like summer, this deal won’t be around forever, so get it today!

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Learning to Believe You’re Enough in an Insecure World

Kate Conner

Today’s interview is with Kate Conner, author of the viral post, “Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls,” she is a wife, mother of three, and accomplished speaker and blogger. She has authored two new ebooks, Ten Things for Teen Girls and Enough which both eloquently communicate the true worth teenage girls have and equips parents to show their teen girls how much they’re loved and valued.

1. Your blog post, “Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls,” went viral—what was that like? What sort of feedback did you get and how did you respond?

Going viral was like winning the lottery: surreal, then amazing, then overwhelming. All of our websites crashed for days. The response was unbelievable. I received thousands of comments, emails, and messages saying, “I wish someone had told me this 30 years ago,” and “This isn’t just for teenagers, this is for me.” I’d say 90% of the feedback was positive – but just 10% of 2,000 comments is still a whole lot of hateful things to read about yourself and your work.

I read and re-read my post asking myself if there was any truth behind what the critics were saying. Am I a misogynist? Do I blame women for their own harassment? Am I vain? Judgmental? Snobby? Desperate for attention?

I am able to stand by what I wrote because I actually believe it. I’m thankful that the books afford me the chance to clarify some sound bytes from the blog post that were confusing or offensive to people. No doubt some will still be offended, but at least they’ll be offended for the right reasons. Context is everything. I also learned to never read Reddit, ever, no matter what.

2. What were you like as a teenage girl and how does that affect how you speak to teens today?

I was chronically, compulsively shy until halfway through my sophomore year. I would have preferred to fail a test than to raise my hand and ask a question. There was a shift in the 10th grade. There was no watershed life event; I just slowly mustered the courage to start doing things I liked, even if they scared me all the way to death. I just kept saying yes and showing up. The more I took those little risks, the more I started coming into myself. I actually remember the moment, right down to what I was wearing, when I realized, “You know? I like me.”

The difference between the first and second half of high school for me cannot be overstated. I was like a different person. After that moment in the 10th grade, I was an always-there leader at church, I became an editor on yearbook staff (I started to enjoy writing in the 11th grade), I did really uncool things that I liked, like French club. I graduated surrounded by a pretty big, diverse group of friends. I didn’t do anything magical—I just decided I liked myself, and I showed up and was nice to people.

The things that changed the game for me in high school didn’t hinge solely on my relationship with God, but they weren’t independent of it either. It’s no coincidence that I went on a mission trip in the 9th grade which God used to restore joy and perspective in my life in a dramatic way. That trip set the stage. My faith was the foundation for the growth that happened over the next 4 years. Joy and humility freed me to like myself, and to love people, and to start being brave.

I want young women to fall in love with Jesus—to encounter him in such a jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, intimate, scary-awesome way that they are never the same. That happened to me. But I also want them to like themselves and be nice to people. Enough and 10 Things for Teen Girls are a mix of both of those things. The radical love and truths of Jesus and the practical social skills like how to not be annoying on Facebook. It’s both things together, because that was my experience.

3. I think now more than ever, teen girls feel insecure. They feel like they’ll never be pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, or popular enough. How do these feelings start and how can young girls fight them?

In the first grade, I remember noticing that some of my friends were more petite than I was, and I wished I was like them. My daughter is in the first grade now—she’s six. I believe that these feelings are natural. By natural I mean a part of the human experience; they’re going to happen.

Insecurity takes root and becomes a problem when girls start thinking, “I’d be happier if I were more . . .” and when they start to think that “perfect” is the goal. We don’t try to eradicate their insecurities—that’s silly because it’s impossible. Instead we put insecurity in its place by modeling gratitude, passion, and joy. I think often about a Pinterest pin I saw that said, “Mother Teresa didn’t walk around worrying about her thighs. She had things to do.” I love that. Insecurities can only get the best of us when perfection and beauty and being adored become our goals.

The best way to combat rampant, crippling insecurity is to teach young women to care about bigger things than their own images and preferences. It’s on us grown-ups to teach this. As they watch us live, we show them that respecting our bodies is normal. Being thankful is normal. Finding and choosing joy is normal. Using our bodies as tools to do a job, instead of as shrines to physical beauty and sex appeal and fitness, is normal. My body needed to bear and feed babies, and it did. My body needs to help my neighbor move in, and it can. My hands need to feed people, and they can.

We’ve been trying to end insecurity by telling girls they’re “perfect just the way they are,” but it’s not working. Insecurity is part of the human experience, like grief and anger and sadness. It needs to be accepted and then put in its place. The solution to insecurity is the same as the solution to almost every other thing: love, gratitude, humility, community, grace, passion, perspective, and Jesus. Just look up.

4. You mentioned this briefly in your blog post, but pornography is seriously hurting the value men place on women, and women place on themselves. How can we begin alleviating the damage this is doing?

Oh my stars. This topic has been so normalized and so stigmatized that it’s nearly impossible to discuss with any kind of perspective. I feel raw when I think about this. I’m not going to discuss here why I think it’s damaging, and to whom, and in what circumstances, and in what ways. But I can tell you how I think we can alleviate some damage once it has been done and acknowledged. This is obviously not a long-term solution.

Here is one thing I would like to tell boys that have been hurt by pornography. Looking at porn does not make you a deviant, or an embarrassment, or a sex addict, or unredeemable. But don’t be naïve enough to think that the consumption of it does not affect the way you view women, sex, and intimacy. And don’t be naïve enough to think that the way you view those things won’t affect your real-life relationships. What you think will come out in how you act, always. You must recognize the attitude of entitlement implicit in pornography and fight like heck against it. You are not entitled to sex with a woman. The immediate gratification in porn does not exist in real life. Neither does the ability to search for exactly the woman, body type, hair color, or sex act you’re feeling in the mood for. Girls do not want you, or sex, all the time. They never owe you. They are not the prize you win at the end of the game, or the girl that always comes around at the end of the movie. Contrary to what porn implies, flirtation does not equal a desire to have sex. You are not entitled to sex every time you want it. I believe that the surest, safest, wisest way to protect yourself and your relationships—to demonstrate respect for women and to honor the emotional, relational component to intimacy—is to STEER CLEAR. WAY CLEAR.

Here is one thing I think we must teach girls that have been hurt by pornography. You can require emotional intimacy before sex. You can be desirable without “putting out.” You are worthy of love, not just attention. Being desired is not the same thing as being valued. You can insist on being valued. If a man pressures you for sex and cites his desire and “appreciation” of you as evidence that he values you, do not buy it. And do not confuse the two and find yourself, years down the road, feeling used and wondering why. The difference that value makes in a woman’s heart and mind cannot be overstated. The emotional component in intimacy is paramount—and it’s 100% absent in pornography. Do not manipulate men, relishing the ability to turn their brains to mush, when doing so means you’re being objectified. No matter what you get in return—a discount at the mechanic, a date, a pass on a speeding ticket—it’s not worth being devalued as a person. You are a whole person. You can insist that people see you and treat you as a whole person. Women are whole people, and the nature of pornography is to present them as less than such. I believe that the best way to insist on respect, value, love, honor, esteem, and real intimacy is to STEER CLEAR. WAY CLEAR.

5. How do a teen girl’s insecurities differ from a teen boy’s?

You know, I think they’re all the same deep down. People are people. We want to be enough. We want to be heard, seen, understood, validated. We want connection, passion and purpose. We want to be welcome, and liked. Culturally, “enough” looks different for boys and girls, and boys and girls often cope differently, but the insecurities are the same. We all want to be enough.

6. How can the church help empower today’s youth?

Start actually believing that God calls young people. Actually believe that they can do hard things. Listen to them; don’t dismiss their experience because you don’t understand it, or you think it can’t possibly be as bad or as dramatic as they’re saying. It probably is. Include them. Mentor them. Show up for them. It takes a village to raise a person, but we’re really bad at the village thing in 2014. Start building a village around them. Live like what you’re singing about is true.

When I was in college, I looked around and realized that I didn’t know many adults whose souls were on fire for Christ. I knew Christians, but not many “I will go anywhere, do anything, wholly surrendered” Christians. I resolved to be that kind of person, so that my children and the young people around me would know that spiritual zeal doesn’t have an expiration date. Press in and practice some real abiding, some real trust. Don’t minimize the gospel in your life—show young people what it looks like for an adult in middle-class America to hang their life on the gospel. They will notice. They will be encouraged, inspired, challenged and carried.

7. We all know that talking to teenagers can be difficult. What’s the first step in better connecting with them and getting them to open up?

Teenagers are people. So I read that question as, “What’s the first step in better connecting with anyone?” The answer is empathy—empathy to the zillionth power. You can’t just listen to a teenager and then jump in with your, “Yes, I hear you and I understand that you are mad, but. . . .” That’s dismissive.

If your interactions are 20% “I see and acknowledge you” and 80% “Here’s what I want to teach you,” you’ll get nowhere. With anyone. With your angsty co-worker, your difficult spouse, or your teenager.

We’ve got to flip it. 80% empathy, 20% teaching. Or maybe 90/10. Empathy eliminates defensiveness, it builds trust, it creates safe space. Anais Nin said, “You cannot save people, you can only love them.” However much empathy you think is appropriate, whatever your “I see where you’re coming from, BUT” disclaimer is, quadruple it.

8. You’ve said “follow your heart,” is the worst advice ever—why?

“Follow your heart” does not translate. I understand the spirit of it, but to a teenager, “Follow your heart” sounds an awful lot like “Do whatever you want the most” which is obviously problematic. Following your heart is all well and good until things get hard and you find yourself thinking, “My heart just isn’t in this anymore.” Our hearts are naturally selfish. They set off after things that are new and flashy, they are comfortable in places where we receive high praise or feel fulfilled and cozy. Our hearts change their minds a lot. I would substitute the word heart with passion, or dreams, or skills, or brain, or intuition, or sound advice. All of those things are great things to follow, and I address them all in my book. “Follow your heart” is vague. It’s incomplete advice at best, and at worst it’s a recipe for disaster.

9. What’s next for you?

I’m going to make dinner for my kids. Oh, you mean writing. There will be more books, definitely. Enough (and 10 Things for Teen Girls) was such a surprising project. The post struck a nerve and went viral without my planning—without my knowledge even—overnight. I am so thankful for it, because I was a gift. I could never have created something that touched so many people if I’d tried. Those books chose me, but now I get to choose the books. The proposal I’m working on now is the book I dreamed about writing when I thought about the possibility of being an author some day. And of course there will be blogging. I love blogging. I get to use ALL THE CAPS LOCK I WANT, SUCKA’S! And I get to say things like “sucka’s.” The interaction I get to have with readers is amazing, too; their feedback is often better than the post itself. I will be parenting, loving my neighbors, and writing. This season of my life is about those three things, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Discover what true worth really looks like and how teen girls can know how much they’re loved and valued in Kate’s new ebooks, Enough & 10 Things For Teen Girls, on Vyrso today!

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