Category Archives: Christianity

Why a Homeschool Podcast interviewed a Public School Mom

About a month ago I had the privilege of being the guest on an unexpected podcast. Unexpected because it was the Homeschooling In Real Life podcast and I am not a homeschooling mom. But hosts Kendra & Fletch understand that homeschool (and Christian private school kids) are not insulated from struggles and sin which is why they wanted to bring me on to discuss the research behind my new book Face Time.

As I learned through the responses to my teen survey, teens of all types of school environments, geographic locations and churched and non-churched backgrounds face similar insecurities and temptations. This is because no amount of sheltering can protect our teens from the sin in their own hearts. As I often quote, “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him (Mark 7:15).” In otherwords, it is what is inside that ultimately causes us to sin.

Does this mean we don’t work to keep our kids from evil? By no means! But as I’ve recently written in my parenting posts, if we don’t deal honestly with the false sources our kids turn to looking for identity and worth, we are glossing over the real problems of the heart.  Additionally, if we think a safe-guarded environment will keep the “bad” out, we are living with our heads in the sand. So we must not be naive and work diligently to get to our kids’ hearts no matter what their environment.

So regardless of your schooling choice, I invite you to listen in to the discussion on this podcast. I think you will then want to take note thast the “big surprise” Kendra and Fletch mention in our episode has now been revealed as the end of their podcast because of something new to come. Knowing they speak my same language of grace and growth in the gospel I know I will be interested in whatever comes next. You can follow Kendra on Facebook and be sure to check out her book Lost & Found.

http://www.homeschoolingirl.com/episodes/episode-152-facetime-kristen-hatton

Free homeschool podcast about Facetime a new book by Kristen Hatton about girls and identity.

 

 

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How To Get Your Teen To Open Up To You More?

Last week I ran a mini-series on what parents of younger kids can do now to help shape the teen years ahead. I wrote that it is never too early to start laying a foundation, and it is also never too late to redo/undo what we should’ve done differently because God is a God of grace and in the business of transformation. So if you are a parent of teenagers feeling like you’ve already messed up or are unsure how to get into your teen’s head don’t resign yourself to the lie Satan would have you believe that it’s hopeless to even try.

Believe me, I know the hard work of parenting teens makes giving into their desires and the ways of the world seem like our only option for keeping the peace. And when they’ve pushed us out and we can’t figure out how to get them to talk it’s easy to think catering to their every whim will make for a better relationship. But all that leads to is an entitled teen who knows how to get what they want.

What I want to suggest as a mechanism for change in the way we relate with our teens and getting them to open up more is something I’ve personally been learning. Now as I’ve said before I don’t believe following a “formula” is a guarantee, only the intervening grace of God can ultimately make things right. But I do think on a human level when we IDENTIFY with another person (whether it be your teen, your spouse, a friend or stranger) it opens the door to deeper connection and trust.

What do I mean by “identifying”?

I’ll explain with an illustration. Recently my daughter called home from college weighted down by various circumstances. As she was talking, I went into “fix it” mode and proceeded to tell her what she needed to do. Wrong thing in that moment.

By my ready answers, what she heard was how much better I would’ve handled it, which led her to feel shame for not having her act together. Is it any wonder she asked me to hand the phone over to my husband? No. What she needed was someone to listen and identify with her in her frustration and pain. Someone whose first stance was entering in with compassion.

Identification is hard for us as parents because our default mode includes lecturing and trying to take control. Identification is hard in general because self-righteousness prevents us from putting ourselves in another’s shoes. And because we don’t like to see/admit our own sin, we come across to others as unapproachable for them in their sin.

According to the teen survey I conducted and used in writing Face Time, teens don’t feel like they can talk to their parents openly for these exact reasons.  They think we won’t understand, we will get upset and also they don’t want us to worry. Therefore, it is not surprising they choose to shut us out over revealing what’s really going on in their hearts, at school, on the weekends, with their friends, etc.

So what if we started identifying with them instead? What if we started the conversation by letting them know our own struggles to be liked, to want affirmation, to look perfect? We may not seek these things in the way they do, but we know what it’s like. We too look to false gods to fill us and to give us worth, instead of turning to Christ.

Since this is true, we should understand what causes them to give in to peer pressure and do things they never thought they would. Yes, we will likely be upset – angry even – but what if like the father of the prodigal son we open are arms wide to meet them in it? What would it look like to show compassion and understanding? If they first heard our affirmation, and saw us come alongside them in their struggles, I think our relationships with our teenagers would be different.

As the interaction with my daughter shows, I don’t do this perfectly. But I have someone who was perfect for me. Jesus came to live the perfect life required by God because no one else could measure up to his righteous standard. And at the cross he took all of my failures and made a way for his perfection to be mine. God now sees me according to Christ’s righteousness for me! So when I fail, guess what? I can go to him admitting my need. And I can enter in with my teens in their need because I know my own.

FACE TIME: Your Identity in a Selfie World is now available. To order go here.

Peace in the Pain by His Presence

I love this picture. Just look at the girl’s smile. Can you imagine laying there in a hospital bed and into the room walks Queen Elizabeth?

The Queen’s presence didn’t take away the suffering she is experiencing as a victim of the Manchester terrorist attack, but don’t you know in that moment it was a little lessened? All of the pain, the questions and anger, for a time set aside as the girl and her mom are filled with delight by this unexpected guest.

It’s a beautiful picture of who Jesus is for us. In the midst of our pain and suffering, the sin and sadness of this world he shows up. But unlike any human, he knows exactly what it is like to experience everything we go through.

As written in a chapter of my new book*, in order for Jesus to bring salvation to the world he had to become the pefect sacrifice. But do you know how he was made perfect? Through suffering! Not just on the cross, but his entire earthly life.

Therefore, he knows what it’s like to experience all the emotions that we do. He was mistreated,  mocked, dismissed, ignored, gossiped about, persecuted, rejected, hurt by those he loved. He felt anger, sadness and loneliness. And he begged the Father to do it another way (“let his cup pass before me”), but there was no other way to atone for our sins and to make us sons and daughters of the King.

So Jesus did what was necessary and because he did, he not only is able to make the great identity exchange with us but he can identify with us and draw near. His presence is not always as visible as Queen Elizabeth standing three feet from the girl’s bedside. But throughout Scripture we read verses like these reminding us that he is near:

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).”

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).”

“(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God (Hebrews 7:19).”

Jesus is that better hope. And because of him we are never without hope. Things now are not how they should be and until all things are made new, we will suffer. But he doesn’t leave us to navigate the brokenness of this world alone. No matter what our suffering -because of nothing of our own doing (what seems unfair) or because of all of our doing (our sin) – he meets us with grace.

By this grace, when we are met by his presence (like the girl with Queen Elizabeth) even for just a moment all of our worries, burdens, hurts and pain are lessened. He comes to break through the darkness and gives himself – our perfect peace.

Now Lord Jesus, help us to believe better and to know this is true.

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy
Weak and wounded, sick and sore
Jesus ready, stands to save you
Full of pity, love and power

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome
God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance
Every grace that brings you nigh

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry ’til you’re better
You will never come at all

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Feel Him Prostate in the garden
On the ground your Maker lies
On the bloody tree, behold him
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo, the incarnate God ascended
Pleads the merit of his blood
Venture on him, venture wholly
Let no other trust intrude

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
In the arms of my dear Savior
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

*Face Time comes out on May 29th. To order your copy, click here.