You’ve Got To Have A Counterpunch

What exactly is a counterpunch and why do I need one? Very good questions!
The dictionary defines a counterpunch as the following;

1. a punch thrown in return for one received

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 11.19.30Ok, so I’m getting beaten up am I? Who by? I haven’t noticed any bloody nose or bruised cheekbones.  But maybe you’ve been experiencing bruised confidence, or feel like your self-image has taken a beating? These kinds of injuries are often harder to see, sometimes invisible if it were not for a few tell-tale signs. We can look at people around us and think they have a perfect life, like they have it all together, but in reality under the surface, they’re hurting. Everyday, especially as girls, we are bombarded from the outside with how we must look, act, feel, dress, behave etc etc etc. And everyday we either put up our hands and ward those blows off or, more often than not, have our guard down and let them land where they will. Pretty soon, no one needs to attack us, we start believing the lies and play the tape of self-destruction in our own heads. Wow, what a master strategy our enemy has!

So we need to think like a boxer, not the K9 kind, the sporting kind! In our small group we talked about the kinds of punches life tries to throw at us, here’s our list:

– You must be skinnyScreen Shot 2015-01-30 at 11.19.41- You must be clever
– You must be cool
– You must go to the right school
– You must have the latest phone, iPad, gadget, device
– You must have a boyfriend
– You must have nice hair
– You must wear great make-up
– You must be fashionable
– You must be popular
– You must watch the right films, TV shows, YT channels
– You must listen to the right music
– You must have good teeth

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 11.38.42Phew! Anyone else exhausted just reading that little ‘must have’ list?! When you look at it like this; black and white ink on a page you can see the mountain of blows trying to fall upon every girl, every day.

So what can we do? We can fight back! But, we have to have a counterpunch. What does that look like in practical every day terms?

It looks like a few things; a fighting strategy!

Every boxer has a coach, a trainer. That trainer not only knows you but they know your enemy. Their job is to bring out the best in you and equip you to fight well, and fight to win! You may feel today like you’re on the ropes, like you’re face down on the canvas and the count is already at 9, but it is NEVER too late to get back up, get back in that fight and win! You have to do it though, no one else can fight for you, YOU have to pick yourself up and get in the game. The blame game is very disempowering; I never knew my dad, we don’t have enough money, my mum is too strict, I hate my life, I didn’t ask to be born…on and on and on, and in the meantime you’re being beaten down, put out of the game, you’re the only one who loses out. I know because that soundtrack used to play in my head all the time! So you have to become a boxer, the Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 11.19.36sporty kind.

Time to start listening to the Master Coach – God; the one who knows you, loves you, wants to see you win, knows your enemy inside out, and most importantly, HAS ALREADY BEATEN HIM!

Counterpunch #1
Believe there is a good plan for your life! Jer 29:11

Counterpunch #2
Believe to see God’s goodness Ps 27:13

Counterpunch #3
Believe God sees you through Jesus’ perfection, all you have to do is put your trust in Him, in His perfect life and the love He gets comes straight to you! Eph 1:3-6

Counterpunch #4
Believe you are NOT a mistake! Ps 139:15-16

Counterpunch #5
Trust God, He will never let you down, people might, but He never will  John2:24

Counterpunch #6
Being different is actually AWESOME!

These are just a few small counterpunches you need to tell yourself when those other lies try to come. Take a look through the words of God in the Bible and you’ll see SO many more good, loving promises towards you. He is the one in your corner, Jesus, the one who overcame on our behalf, our work is to believe it, receive it, enforce it!

Before we wrap this up, here is also another great list of practical things you can do to help get you back in the game and off the ropes. You can read the full article HERE also.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.07.16

Bless you girls, get that guard up and start fighting back, as L’Oreal says – because you’re worth it!

 

Blue Pill, Red Pill

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 12.04.20Remember the scene in The Matrix where Neo is faced with the question about how much he wants to know, how far he wants to go into discovering the deception that is all around him? Does he take the blue pill and remain blissfully ignorant, or the red which will take the veil away and open his eyes to harsh realities. Life will never look the same again.

It is difficult at times as a parent, to allow the rose coloured glasses to come off our children. How we would love to have them forever dwell in that beautiful, pure place called childhood. But alas, we live in a world that won’t allow that. So, as guardians and gate keepers to their hearts, we at least can exercise the right to choose what and when, and the how. As a home educating mum I have been particularly thankful to have regained some of that right.

Media literacy is a subject which some schools are now teaching, and is a big part of things in our Kiss Chaste sessions. We are not afraid of ‘the system’, cowering away in a corner, wanting to be left alone by the world. No, we are walking forward confidently in God, deconstructing the world, seeing it for what it is, and being equipped to rise with the occassion.

The word of God says ‘do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God’ Rom 12:2

Discernment. Something we are in even greater need of these days.

This is what I want to teach these girls in KC; to be able to see things for what they really are, not have the wool pulled over their eyes, to test and prove all things and then when they find what’s good – to hold fast to that. OK, reality says we won’t fool proof them but I hope enough seeds go in to make them successful more often than not.

The word of God says, ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ a beautiful invitation to come and have a bite, a slice, to chew and savourScreen Shot 2014-06-02 at 22.27.14 and then be wonderfully rewarded. Some things in the world however need to be spat right out, and in fact shouldn’t even make it to our lips! So much of the content in magazines, pop culture, fashion, celebrity life, TV shows, internet trends on and on and on…so much being put out there for young girls to consume should be sussed out, smelt, tried and rejected. A lot of it isn’t even offered to them, it’s crammed down their throats IF we let it.

But if we TEACH our girls about the motives behind advertising; the tactics and psycology employed to manipulate insecurities, play on fears and exploit poor self image, if we arm them with the truth, they can discern for themselves in time and learn to love themselves, to stop trying to change their bodies and begin to live in them instead.

That’s my hope anyway :)

 

Be Inspired, Be An Inspiration

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 17.45.36I love that moment in Despicable Me when it dawns on Gru how he’s going to get into Vector’s lair using the girls and their boxes of Coconutties, “Lightbulb” – that moment of inspiration! But is that all there is to inspiration? Is it more than a simple momentary sense of pure enlightenment? And what does that word actually mean when it’s used in God’s word?

What makes your baby leap?
Do you know the story of Mary going to see her cousin Elizabeth? Mary has just been told she’s going to carry the Son of God and bring Him into the world, and that her cousin Elizabeth is already 6 months pregnant with John the Baptist. Mary sets out to visit her cousin.

Luke 1:39-44 – verse 41
And it occurred that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with and controlled by the Holy 
Spirit.

Do you not think that there’s something in each of us that ‘leaps’ when we encounter people, things, events that we totally resonate with? There’s an invisible connection from something waiting to be birthed in us to that which we see ahead of us on the same path. It’s hidden at times, it’s growing deep inside, a secret from most, but we feel it!

In our small group we talked about the differences between Inspiration, Admiration, Adoration, Imitation, all the ‘ations’!

We concluded that inspiration usually leads to some form of action on our part that motivates us to change, to do something we hadn’t before. It’s really important who and what you hang around, if you put yourself around the right inspiration you’re going to be influenced in the right direction. Sometimes we can actively go about finding the right inspiration, if we have an idea of what it is we’re passionate about. I love photography, it makes me feel so alive when I capture a moment and produce a special image, but I need to get around others who keep me inspired and fan that flame of desire. I do this by watching tutorials on YouTube, looking at other’s work, reading magazines, blogs, going on Pinterest, talking to other photographers, visiting websites, books – there really is a huge resource around us to draw from if we’ll go looking for it.

Thomas Edison famously said,
“Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”

A moment of inspiration is one thing; it’s exciting, it’s ground breaking, your head expands with the possibilities, your heart thumpsCreation-of-Adam with excitement, and then, the work begins! Even Adam, the first man created in God’s image, was given life and then a task to perform.  Did you know that Adam was inspired by God? The word ‘inspired’ in the Bible literally means to be God breathed or breathed upon by God.

Genesis 2:7
Then the Lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; He breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.

Do you know we can exist and have been formed but feel like we’re not living.
It’s not until we have been breathed upon by God, inspired, that we come alive!
And then, there is work to do.

Adam went on and worked the land.

Let me ask you, what is God breathing upon you to do with your life? Not sure? Go find some inspiration :)

What’s So Wonderful About Me? (Part 2)

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 15.37.24Goats, a city, people, some land, utensils, to name just a few, what do they all have in common? Well, at some point they have all been set apart by God, marked as ‘Holy’ and put in the ‘only for holy use’ basket.

1 Thes 4:3 (Amp)
For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living)

In Jesus, we are also invited to set ourselves apart for God’s purposes. We’re not invited to do this so we can be dazzlingly self-righteous and walk about with an air of superiority, but so we can be different to the decay around us and bring God’s healing into this world. One life, your life, can make a difference to someone else’s.

I love this clip for a school, it beautifully portrays this message

Each of us has a treasure chest of gifts and talents planted inside us, some are obvious as they’re visible or practical while the less tangible could be thoughtfulness and forgiveness. Either way, those desires and talents meet their perfect fulfilment and joy in Jesus. When we give ourselves over to His care and cease from striving, we find freedom to let go and allow God to steer us through the years and outwork those things in His timing, and expression.

The ‘setting apart’ He asks us into is for the benefit of others and the purification of those talents.

Here’s a wonderful illustration of this found in Nicole Weider’s story. Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.52.46When we pursue our dreams outside of the motivation of Jesus’ love we are forever ‘striving after the wind’ as they say. Yet those gifts and desires have been placed inside us by God and can also lead to our utmost fulfilment and satisfaction, in Him. Now Nicole is making a much needed contribution to young girls in this generation and is using the gifts which used to destroy her as a weapon for good. Nicole has started a website called Project Inspired  where she seeks to do just that – inspire! Her story reminds me very much of Kylie Bisutti who went through something similar and we discussed in Keeping Our Blush.

Disconnected from God, our gifts and talents have no plan or purpose, other than to fulfil selfish desires. We also use these to fill a void of love in our hearts that only God can. When these plans fail, we falter. When our ideas don’t go to plan, we crumble. When we succeed, it’s never enough, it fades and is fleeting. A heart anchored in Jesus will still face all the challenges of life but will not be moved at success or failure. Like our Father, ‘the same yesterday, today and forever’, we can be stable and secure no matter what.

There_Is_Always_Hope_by_Krzyho

Then there’s the FOUR LETTER WORD – HOPE. This is the missing anchor pin in all our pursuit of happiness. Our plans can drive us but not comfort us, support, uphold, reassure, speak to us. Only the Maker of those plans can, and when we turn our hearts over to Him we will find true peace.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

My friend once said, “Your destiny is not your decision, it’s your discovery”. I love that. We may have an inkling of things inside us but only our Creator truly knows our potential.  As we hang out with Him and listen for His voice, we will discover the paths He has for us and walk in them :)

What’s So Wonderful About Me? (Part 1)

We had a really great time yesterday, another ‘atom’ session; small but mighty lol!
Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 14.08.21
Continuing on with our journey looking at women in the Bible and famous/infamous women in our
culture we had some fun watching an 86 year old gymnast, yes, 86 years old!!

Joanna Quass

The girls were able to guess one of the two most talked/tweeted about women of 2013, the ‘M&Ms';
Miley and Malala.
Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 15.02.41
Two ladies known for very different reasons, one for noble deeds the other for more scandalous actions.

Good discussion was had here with penetrating questions:

– Why are we more keen to hear about the downfall of people?
– Why do we hear less of noble deeds and actions?
– Do we have different feelings towards those with ‘bad’ actions?
– Why?
– Can only Christians ‘do good’ or are we all capable of goodness regardless of religion?
– Are we all capable of bad actions regardless of the presence of God in our lives?
– Do we feel differently towards ourselves depending on whether we’ve done good or bad?
– Do we think God acts this way?

We heard a story about the poor, neglected, washing machined, pig trampled, soiled, five pound note!
fiver_iStock_000008710562XSmall
Who would still want that £5 after all it had been through? It was dirtied, crumpled, frayed and torn,
smelly even. Yet we all still saw it’s value and one quick girl won her prize!

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 15.01.28

print by Chicago artists and sisters Sarah and Catherine Satrun

Because regardless of the condition we might find ourselves in in life, we are all born with value and worth and retain that no matter what we experience. We will always have the same value in God’s eyes – and – deserve to
extend that attitude to those around us.

Eve was next on the radar and we took a look at identifying with her, could we? Was she ‘every woman’?
We concluded that we’re all capable of failing, and, we’re all born with worth and capable of greatness.

Psalm 139:13-16 (Message)
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Today, we may feel like ‘nothing’ but the Truth is, we are all SOMETHING :)

Take care, God bless –
love
Jacqui x
kisschastelogosml

Beyond The Obvious

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 10.42.48This has got to be one of the best optical illusions I’ve come across, hard to believe that everything in it is actually static! Things are not always what they seem at first glance, in order to see things as they really are we need to take a closer look.

The same can be said with the Word of God; we can read it at face value and indeed get a lot out of it, but we can also dig a little deeper and in doing so, glean so so much more! The Word is amazingly vast, it’s like stepping into a Tardis!

Take the word ‘love’ for instance. In our English language this has such a narrow depth of meaning and yet broad application. In the same sentence we could say, “I love my new coat and I love God”, but do they mean the same thing, is it the same kind of love? Of course not! The bible actually talks about 5 different kinds of love, 2 of which barely qualify as love as they are either destructive i.e obsession (Mania) or can be selfishly applied i.e lust (Eros). The remaining 3, Philos, Storgy and Agape take us from a friendship kind of love, to a brotherly, then the ultimate God kind of love that goes after you selflessly.

Another great reason for needing to dig deeper into the original meanings of words in our bibles, is to make sure the translation is correct. Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 19.56.36God’s word is solid but sadly some interpreters have wobbled in their finite understandings of God’s word. Therefore they interpret according to their own understanding. One such case can be found in the account of the flood. What a difference one word can make!

‘Kaphar’

This word has been translated so as to mean ‘pitch’ or tar. In actual fact the word kaphar is associated with atonement, blood, or even more precisely – cover. So, when the translators came to the sentence in the building of the ark where Noah was asked to ‘pitch it with pitch’ they stumbled at the idea, that Noah would actually paint the wooden vessel with BLOOD!?? Can you imagine?! I think I would have had issues with that idea! But oh what depth of incredible meaning this word kaphar holds, what faith it adds to our hearts and, how it magnifies the vast love of the Father towards us! Feast your eyes on this excerpt taken from John Metcalfe’s book Noah & The Flood;

flood It absolutely blows me away and blesses my socks off to think that when our God looked upon that wooden boat, He saw the blood, the atonement, the covering of Christ! Do we really suppose it was the strength of the wood which saved? Could a man made (although God inspired) creation truly save man from the all consuming wrath of God? Of course not! God was looking upon something else. Not the wood, not the ‘good man’ inside, not the animals which deserved sympathy. He looked upon the raging seas fuelled by anger and upon this vessel His judgment was to ‘pass over’ as He saw it covered with cover. I seriously cannot get enough of that thought! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys digging deeper in God’s word. And do dig, you never know what you will find :)

Be blessed X

Keeping Our Blush (Part 2)

calloused hands

De-sensitisation

: to make less sensitive : reduce sensitivity
a : to make insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent
b : to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli which formerly induced it :make emotionally insensitive, ‘evidence that violence on television desensitizes children to actual violence’ —Stephanie Harrington
c : to decrease a response progressively following prolonged exposure to a stimulus

Do you play the guitar or know someone who does manual work for a living? You’ll know what I mean when I talk about callouses – ouch! At least, it was ‘ouch’ when you first started out. But slowly, over time, that soft sensitive skin started to harden and before you knew it, you couldn’t feel a thing!

Is this what happened to the hearts of the people in Jeremiah’s time? Had they lost the ability to blush due to a desensitisation to sin? Was the once tender heart now hardened and unable to respond to God’s touch?

Jeremiah 6:15
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?
No! They were not at all ashamed;
Nor did they know how to blush.

To me this is a more dire state to be found in than after the fall in the garden of Eden? At least they were ashamed and knew they’d done wrong! But to be in a condition where you stop feeling guilt or remorse, what hope can there be? But so great is our Heavenly Father in love, that he still sends someone to warn and expose and speak into our lives.

Last blog I talked about the BEFORE blush and the AFTER blush; the before is what alerts us to wrong and keeps us on track, the after is the sense of shame or embarrassment that comes too late. So the question is, ‘How do we keep ourselves in the BEFORE’ blush? We took a look at the ‘bride to be’ in Song Of Solomon; here is a pure, chaste and innocent young girl, yet still blushing, from behind her veil.

Song Of Solomon 6:7
Like a piece of pomegranate Are your temples behind your veil.

brideThis girl has got a hidden life, behind the veil.

I found this story which perfectly paints the picture –

Outside an old garden wall hung a great branch covered with purple clusters of grapes. No root was visible anywhere; and those who saw it wondered how the vine grew, how its life was nourished, where its roots clung. It was then discovered that the great vine from which this branch sprung, grew inside the garden. There it had an immense root, with a stem like the trunk of a tree. This one branch had pushed out over the wall and hung there, bearing in the mellow autumn its clusters of luscious fruit.

Likewise—every Christian life in this world is a branch of a great vine which grows in heaven—a branch growing outside the wall. “Your life is hidden with Christ in God”. We have heaven’s life in us in this world. The fruits which grow upon our life are heavenly fruits.

‘Yeah, yeah, that’s all well and good’ I hear you say, but HOW?! How do you keep yourself behind the veil? I’m a very practical girl so I’m glad you asked :)

The obvious…
Keep ourselves separate from the world’s thoughts, pleasures, past times, opinions, entertainments, world view etc etc etc blah blah blah

BUT…

How about we think about it this way instead –
Don’t think about keeping yourself FROM but look at is as keeping yourself IN.
When you keep yourself IN Him, you automatically keep yourself from other things. You can’t be in two places at the same time!

Likewise, you can’t think, dream, ponder or meditate on two different things at the same time. The veil is about keeping yourself IN not about keeping yourself FROM. Do the IN and the FROM will take care of itself. Don’t believe me? Good, don’t just take my word for it, here’s what God says;

Galations 5:16
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Walk in the Spirit; watch good things, read good things, listen to good songs, follow good examples, give yourself to good pursuits; and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. This, is how we keep ourselves IN Him, behind the veil from the world, and therefore, bear good fruits.

Philippians 4:8-9
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

What an awesome, awesome promise!

“But what if I’ve already strayed, I feel ashamed, how can I find my way back?”

Can I tell you the battle is already won. There is not a man on earth or a devil in hell who can keep you from the love of God, read Rom 8:38! You just ask God’s forgiveness or talk to a trusty friend/family member in Christ, and you can make the switch right away. Moving forward, you just need to keep yourself IN Him, walking in the things of the Spirit and you shall not fulfil those lusts any more. Look to Jesus and NEVER have an after blush (Ps 34:5). No sin is too big for God, He has already paid the price in full for any and all sin, look to Him and receive that gift right now, He is yours, accept Him and be free!

Again, don’t believe me? This is PAST tense:

Ephesians 2:2-6
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 

YOU SEE!! You are already alive IN Him, now you just need to walk IN Him!
The battle is already won – be free – love Him – serve Him!

CLOSING INSPIRATION
Take a look at Kylie Bisutti. This lady walked away from being a multi-million dollar Victoria’s Secret Angel and now promotes her own line of fashion clothing and speaks out against the modelling industry and its negative effect on young girls, women and the temptation it brings to men. Watch the BEFORE and AFTER videos to truly appreciate the transformation in this inspiring lady.

FHM shoot

I’m No Angel

No one can give a guarantee that living behind the veil will be easy (if they do they’re lying!) In fact, sometimes it will prove downright challenging and you may throw it off on occasion! But you know what? This summer I have seen devout, faithful Muslim women, absolutely sweating it out in the 32 degree heat for the sake of showing their devotion, wearing the full veil and clothing. I figure if they can physically commit to that level of devotion on the outside, then surely, by God’s grace, I can sweat some things out for Christ in order to glorify Him and show my devotion to the King of Kings. I can sweat some things out and allow Him to transform me on the inside, as I die to self and bear fruit that glorifies His Name :)