Shop the fall collection ➔

Dear daughter,

You did something hard today, sweetie. Really hard. Your heart was tightly wound around all those fleshy feelings that often keep us from doing the hard things God calls us to do. I felt that unsettled angst, too because I knew you were challenged to take a big step of faith. You knew the decision was coming and you felt such turmoil, frustration, and fear. I understand those feelings threaten your comfort zone and invade your safe place. I know what it’s like to sacrifice your selfish needs for the sake of another.

I know how difficult it can be to do what Christ calls us to do. 

So, I encouraged you to pray, to fight those feelings of resistance that grew in the face of this decision. I reminded you Satan will magnify your feelings to persuade you to do otherwise because he knows this will open up space for God to be victorious once again. I told you to fight against his attacks and deny him the right to win by drawing on the strength of Christ within you to do what is right. I told you to think about the purpose God has for this choice He called you to make.  

You nodded in understanding, but the battle was yours to take on. You weren’t ready for this. You didn’t feel confident or sure of anything about this big thing God called you to do, but I told you most times we never really are. That’s when we must depend on the One with whom all things are possible. 

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Mathew 19:26, NIV).

And then I watched as you stirred in anguish. I knew the Holy Spirit was convicting your heart in ways only He can. I ached for you because I know how painful dying to oneself can feel. I know that battle well. We wrestle with our human nature, sometimes clawing our way out of it to reach where Christ wants us to live. And sometimes the battle is too hard, and we give up and stay safe and secure in our own will, not His. 

“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18, NIV).

I prayed you wouldn’t give up the fight. I prayed for God to soften your heart to His great love for this person with whom you have a choice to serve. I prayed His Truth would stir in you and bring you to action despite the apprehension you felt inside. 

You’re still so young in your faith, and yet, you amaze me with your willingness to pursue Christ with everything you’ve got and let me tell you something:

God is growing you, sweet girl.

Sometimes God calls us to do hard things. Things that make us uncomfortable, uneasy, and fearfulbut that’s when our faith is fueled through the act of taking up His cross and following Him. That’s when the trust we have in our Heavenly Father deepens with the assurance that if He calls us to do something hard, He has a great purpose in that plan. When we are obedient to His call, we are allowing God to move the way He wants to move, but when we refuse, we limit His work in and through us. 

It’s hard being obedient sometimes, especially when you’re a teen who has all kinds of hard already in your life. But Christ never said following Him would be easy. Our walk with Him will be filled with big asks and hard things because fighting our flesh is a lifelong challenge. 

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me'” (Luke 9:23, NIV).

But when we prayerfully depend on Him, the Holy Spirit will do the work we cannot. When we offer up our lives as living sacrifices for Him daily, He strengthens us with wisdom and courage to do all He asks us to do. The more we allow God to do His work in our lives and in our hearts, the more we see His glory shine and feel His presence and power grow within us. And that’s a beautiful thing. 

You fought the good fight and allowed God to win, offering up your will in exchange for His. God was able to move how He wanted to move and work how He wanted to work because you were faithful and obedient. 

Oh, sweet girl, I am so proud of you. 

And GOD is so proud of you, too.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10, NIV).

 

Christine Carter

Christine Carter writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of "Help and Hope While You're Healing: A woman's guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness." and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World.” Both books sold on Amazon.

The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got: Touch Feet Every Night

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple touching feet in bed

Twenty-six years ago this summer, I got a tiny piece of advice on my wedding day that has kept me from making a huge mistake time and time again. A wise woman told me, “When you climb in bed each night with your husband, make sure that your feet touch under the covers. It’s hard to be mad at someone and touch feet.”  I had no idea, all those years ago, how impactful this piece of advice would be and how many times in our marriage this would be the small act that kept us united. This simple act of...

Keep Reading

Faith is a Verb, So We Go to Church

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman and teen daughter in church pew

Every Sunday morning we rush out the door bribing, coaxing, and threatening our kids to just “Get into the van!” Luckily, we live remotely rural so we don’t have neighbors to witness our often un-Christlike eye rolls and harsh sighs as we buckle each other up. We’ve always lived within a five-minute drive to a chapel, and yet we are usually there not two minutes before the service starts. Once sitting in our seats, we’re on high alert for noise control and sibling altercations for the next hour of what is supposed to be a peaceful, sacred, spirit-filled service. Which...

Keep Reading

3 Simple Ways to Be a More Confident Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and young child smiling outside

Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t be more like that mom or why can’t your kids be like those kids? The comparison trap is an easy one to fall into if we aren’t careful. At the click of our fingers, we see Pinterest-worthy motherhood in every category. From the mom with the black-belt kids to the mom with Marie Kondo organizing skills—it’s easy to look at their lives and feel like we’ve fallen short. Even worse, is when we start to strive to become something we aren’t or prod our kids to become something they aren’t.  Comparison makes...

Keep Reading

Grief Is Persistent But God Is Faithful

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman praying by ocean

The loss of a parent doesn’t just sting, it leaves you with an irreplaceable hole in your heart. It’s been two years since my loving daddy went home to be with Jesus, and the loss I feel is still unimaginable.  I know in my heart he’s in a better place that is absent of pain and distress. However, his physical presence and wisdom are so dearly missed here on this earth.  He left behind an army of a family who adored him and looked to him for solid guidance. No matter how hard I try to look to the bright...

Keep Reading

I Gave up on God but He Never Gave up on Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother hugging son, color photo

I grew up in a religious house. We went to church every Sunday. My mom taught Sunday school, and we participated as a family in most church events. We believed in the power of prayer, hope, faith, love, and forgiveness. As a little girl, I watched my dad kneel at the side of the bed every night and say his prayers. In the last six years, my faith has not been what it should have been. It has plummeted into the depths of nothingness, buried deep below the darkness. I have felt angry and abandoned by God. In response, I...

Keep Reading

I Count My Blessings Every Day

In: Faith
Mom and child by beach

I remember being jealous of my classmates often. I would look at the girls at my school who seemed to be living such a carefree life. They would do well in school effortlessly and go home to their moms, dads, and siblings, to a house they’d grown up in. I wanted that so much for myself! I wanted my mom and dad to be together, and if it wasn’t too much to ask, a sibling or two. I wanted us to live in a house where I could have my own room, but I wouldn’t mind sharing if I had...

Keep Reading

Dear Lord, Make Me a Grace Hunter

In: Faith
Woman with crutches looking out window, black-and-white photo

I want to be known as a grace hunter. Every day, I pray I would be given eyes to see the world in which we live through a lens of grace—a lens that causes me to marvel at the ways of my God and be constantly filled with wonder. I am thankful I have no choice but to live life at a slower pace. I pray for the ability to see the beauty and God’s grace in the seemingly small and insignificant things. RELATED: In the Midst of Grief, There is Grace I pray for eyes to see His grace even...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading

So God Made Midnight

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and newborn

When God created a mother, He created her to love and serve in every moment. He knew the constant need would sometimes overwhelm her and she would have no choice but to rely on His strength and grace. He knew she would feel like there weren’t enough hours in the day . . . so God made midnight. He knew a mama’s days with a newborn would be busy and sometimes chaotic. He knew she would be distracted by meeting needs and attempting to find balance—that sneaking in a hot shower would become almost a luxury . . . so...

Keep Reading

Lord, I Don’t Want To Face This Storm

In: Faith
Rain cloud over a lake, color photo

“I feel like I’m right in the middle of that rain shaft, suspended over the ocean,” I told my husband as we waited out a Florida afternoon rain on our hotel balcony. “There’s light and beauty all around me, but I feel like I’m just lost in that storm.”  Just two nights before, we awoke to the cries of our 11-year-old son, the pain in his right lower abdomen so great that he woke up from a deep sleep. Our vacation took a solemn turn as my husband loaded him up in our rental car and drove to a children’s...

Keep Reading