All posts by Kristen Hatton

Weakness Is Strength

As I came out of my class at the Y the other day, I saw what looked like a large coin hit the ground. I asked the lady walking toward me if it had fallen out of her bag. She said, “No” and kept walking so I stooped to pick it up and saw it inscribed with “Wifey.” That seemd like an odd word to carry around, plus it was kind of beat up so I tossed in the trash can on the way to the water fountain.

But as I was filling my water bottle, I thought to myself that I should have turned it over to the front desk not thrown it away. Before I could go retrieve though, I heard a lady ask the front desk worker if a coin had been turned in.

My ears perked up, and my heart beat faster. It was the same lady’s voice who said it wasn’t hers. Yikes, it was afterall! Not wanting her to see me I snuck around the wall out of sight, but within ear shot. Once I knew she had headed back down the hall to class, I went back to the trash can. My plan was to grab it out and turn it in thinking she woud stop back by after class to see if it had been turned in. But the coin was gone. (Don’t worry the trash can was mostly empty minus a gum wrapper and plastic lid resting atop a discarded flyer so I didn’t have to dig deep!)

I assume the woman got it from the trash can herself, but I I felt awful for deeming it worthless and then hiding instead of running to tell her where it was! Who does that?

I’ll tell you. All of us, starting in the Garden when Adam and Eve hid from God after eating the forbidden fruit. This is when God came calling after them, “Where are you?” But clearly he’s God, he knew where they were, and what they had done. What he was really asking was, “Why are you hiding?”

Like Adam and Eve and all of humanity since, we have hidden in shame, trying to cover our sin and pridefully – rebelliously – acting as if we are innocent. Today we do this by wearing the mask of perfection to appear as we have it all together. We do this by covering up with the “fig leaf” of performance so no one will suspect we aren’t as “good” as our behavior begs them to think. And, by living out of our own strength, we deny our weaknesses, suppress our sin, and fail to see how needy we really are.

But not living weak and needy is to live not needing Jesus. Because who needs Jesus if you are strong and perfect on your own?

Lately, God has been showing me weakness is actually strength! What’s funny is I’m reading for the 4th time Barbara Duguid’s book Extravagant Grace with the subtitle: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness, but I’m hearing in a new way Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

That means I can be honest about my sin, without fear. I don’t have to hide – behind a wall, my “good” behavior or pride. I can go freely  – not shamefully – to God with all of my sin, and in all of my need for the only suitable covering there is – his righteousness.

Do you know Grace like this? Do you give it to yourself? Do you extend it to others? If you don’t, I hope you will begin seeing the key to drawing nearer to God is not sinning less and less and getting better and better, but becoming weak and dependent. His power – his strength – perfect in my weakness.

 

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How Parenting Out of Weakness Strengthened My Relationship With My Teen

“Can I talk to Dad now?”

Right in mid-sentence, my college daughter interrupted me and asked for the phone to be handed over to my husband. She had called me – upset and stressed out – needing someone to talk to, but then abruptly decided my husband was actually the one she preferred. While not easily offended, I would be lying if I said this didn’t bother me at all. I’m thankful she likes to talk to her dad, but what about me? Couldn’t we just all be on speaker?

I desperately wanted to know what she was thinking, experiencing, and doing, but every time we talked it felt like I was walking a fine line, not knowing what question or comment would push her too far and cause her to retreat. Even before that night I had sensed her shutting me out, and I couldn’t figure out why.

To find out why, and how it has led to better communication with my daughter follow me over to Rooted Ministry here.

 

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Before #MeToo Becomes Yesterday’s News, the Truth About Rape on College Campuses

The recent #MeToo movement is a sobering wakeup call to just how prevalent sexual harassment and abuse really are. We hear about it on the local news, but in light of the Harvey Weinstein revelations hearing from the many women who have stepped forward with their own stories has both personalized the problem, and exposed how big a problem it really is. But what we can’t even begin to quantify is the effects of the shame and brokenness these women have been left to deal with because of what happened to them.

Many of these women (some who are still suffering in silence) have been the victim of rape. And for many of these, the rape occured in college. Studies show 1 in 5 college women experience rape or attempted rape. But only about 20% of sexual assualts on college campuses get reported. Likely this is because many victims feel guilt over their own behavior (alcholol and drug use are often a factor) though by no circumstance is a victim responsible. Another reason rapes go unreported is because in most cases the perpetrator is a friend or acquaintance of the victim, who in turn fears consequences of telling on him.

Having ministered alongside my husband at a university for nearly eight years, the reality of date rape, along with the pervasive hook up culture and binge drinking on college campuses is something we have dealt with personally and also read much about. Therefore, when it came time for our own daughter to head off to college last year this was one of our biggest fears. Since early high school we had talked about this stuff, but without any #MeToos she was slow to believe the picture we painted about drinking, dating, sex, and the college culture was as we said it would be.

But after being on campus for almost three semesters, and witnessing what takes place at fraternity parties and in dorms, she now sees we were right.  Thankfully, it has led her to take more seriously precautions about holding her own drink and staying with her sisters. And though she used to be bitter about her curfew in high school and our conviction that, “Nothing good happens after midnight,” I now hear her repeating this mantra to others (with a slightly altered time because of the late hour college kids even go out).

My hope in shining the light on another not-talked-about-enough problem is to spare more women from ever having to say #MeToo. The life-altering experience of sexual assault can lead to deep depression, thoughts of (and attempted) suicide and carry with it shame that will infilitrate into future relationships.

*In my daughter's pledge class of a 115 girls, statistics say 23 of them will be victims of rape
*81% of college rapes happen in a dormitories
*72% of college rapes happened when the victim was so intoxicated she was unable to consent or refuse
*Freshmen girls are the most vulnerable of becoming a rape victim.

Parents of high school and college students, please talk to your girls and boys about this topic. They may roll their eyes, but education is the first step against naivety – theirs and ours.

There is so much on the topic, plus the book we recommend, Unhooked about the culture in general.  It’s not fun reading, and honestly I think sometimes we’ld rather not know what’s happening, but we must in order to increase our kids awareness, and hopefully help protect them- physically, emotionally and spiritually.

If only education were enough to guarantee their protection, but for that I continue to pray.  Not being able to fully protect our kids has got to be the hardest things about being a parent. And it is also my biggest struggle in trusting God. #YouToo?

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