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Strong Girl: Malala Yousafzai

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Imagine riding the bus home from school and being ambushed by the taliban because you blog about girls getting an education.

This is what happened to Malala Yousafzai on a Tuesday, October 9, 2012.

The young militants opened fire on the bus, shot Malala in the head and neck, wounded two others, and left them for dead.

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They thought they’d silenced Malala forever but they were wrong. She survived and has continued to spread her message that a girls’ education benefits everyone. It reduces mortality rates, increases lifetime wage earnings, and strengthens democracy.

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Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. She is the youngest person to have ever been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Malala’s father sounds a lot like my dad. My dad never limited me because I was a girl. He always told me I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. Malala’s dad owned a school and encouraged his daughter to write and go to school even though he lived in a society that prized sons more than daughters.

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In July 2013, on her 16th birthday, Malala addressed the United Nations General Assembly:

“We must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice and ignorance.  We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools.  We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future.  So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens.  They are our most powerful weapons.”

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Malala reminds us that some girls face death for going to school. Terrorist groups in Afghanistan and other oppressed areas of the world continue to threaten and attack female students and teachers. Things were improving in some places but with limited presence of the United States in these oppressed areas, girls lives are in danger if they read books and go to school.

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Clearly, Malala is a strong girl with big dreams. The next time you’re tempted to skip school, think of the price other girls in the world pay for the right to learn. Strong girls are readers. Strong girls are educated. Strong girls, like Malala, have the courage to stand up and not sit down for what is right.

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How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Proverbs 16:16

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Strong Girls Saturday: Helping trafficked women and teens

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No matter how strong a girl is, bad things happen. One of those bad things is human trafficking. Here are some statistics found on the Covering House website:

  • Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States. (United Nations)
  • Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day. (Polaris Project)
  • Fewer than 100 beds are available in the United States for underage victims. (Health and Human Services)
  • Department Of Justice has identified the top twenty human trafficking jurisdictions in the country:” Houston• El Paso• Los Angeles• Atlanta• Chicago• Charlotte• Miami• Las Vegas• New York• Long Island• New Orleans• Washington, D.C.• Philadelphia• Phoenix• Richmond• San Diego• San Francisco• St Louis• Seattle• Tampa  (Department of Justice)
  • A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (National Runaway Hotline)

Teenage Problems, Social Issues and Bullying

To learn more about what you can do to help stop sex trafficking, check out these links:

In Your Light

Safe Horizon

Kim Purcell, author

Love 146

La Strada International

Salvation Army

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Strong Girls make contributions to this world to make it a better, safer, kinder place. This is why we need Strong Girls. This is why we mustn’t allow ourselves to be victims. Others need our strength.

What will you do today to build your strong girl muscles?

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Strong Girls are Happy Girls

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Do you know what kind of girl is a pretty girl?

A happy girl.

Are scowly, bitter girls happy or pretty?

I don’t think so.

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Strong girls are happy girls. And one sure way to keep from being happy is to be unforgiving and spiteful.

I know it isn’t easy. Our nature without Jesus is to take revenge. To give back whatever hurt us is our first reaction.

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But a Strong Girl stops before she reacts. She counts to ten. Or she takes a few days to calm down before reacting. And then, maybe she doesn’t react at all.

It’s good to remember this: you can’t reason with unreasonable people.

If a person has a point of view that isn’t yours, and they aren’t willing to listen because they are angry, hurt or just plain stubborn, then your efforts to change their mind are a waste of time.

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God knows all about human nature, and He’s given us some very good advice on how to treat people who hurt us:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.The tongue of the wise utters knowledge rightly, but the mouth of the [self-confident] fool pours out folly” (Proverbs 15:1 & 2, AMP).

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Being spiteful just continues the cycle of hatefulness. As Strong Girls, we’re called to love and grace, not hate and revenge. And that means laying down our own feelings and obeying God. It’s hard at first, but once you do it, you’ll feel more freedom than you can imagine.

When you continue to hate and feel bitterness and resentment toward the person who has done you wrong, you give them power to make your life miserable. Why let them have the power to keep you bitter? Bitterness just leads to ugliness. Strong Girls are beautiful.

forgivenssCheck out what God has to say here:

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive] (Colossians 3:13, AMP).

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32, KJV).

Do you know what helps me forgive someone when they’ve been mean to me? I remember the words of Jesus as He hung on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:24).”

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If Jesus can forgive those who crucified Christ in the midst of the excruciating pain on the cross, and have compassion for those who hurt Him, the least I can do for His sacrifice for me, is to imitate Him by being a forgiving girl.

why-its-important-to-forgive-and-forget-L-gwe619A forgiving, gracious girl will never be a hard, bitter girl. She will remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit. She will remain tenderhearted and compassionate. This may also mean she will be hurt easier than others, but that doesn’t mean she’s isn’t strong. On the contrary, it takes a lot of strength to live this way.

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But you can do it, Strong Girl. Because it’s not by YOUR might or power, but by the strength that God gives you by His Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).  Ask Him for the strength.

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There have been times when I have been so hurt and it’s been so difficult to forgive someone that I’ve literally had to get down on my hands and knees and cry out to the Lord, “Father, I don’t want to forgive them because it hurts so much and what they did to me makes me want to scratch their eyes out. But Lord, out of obedience to You, I forgive them.”

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Do you think God is surprised by how you feel? No way! He made you. He already knows how you feel, but telling Him about it is very freeing! I know from experience! Nothing I say to Him can shock Him because before a word is on my tongue He knows what I’m going to say. So talk to Him. He can handle it (Psalm 139).

Remember, forgiveness isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision. But there is a huge blessing in it for you!

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When Job forgave those who criticized him and he prayed for them, God gave Job twice as much as he had before! Job was one strong dude because of His close walk with God. But it wasn’t until he prayed for his friends that God began to bless him are restore all he’d lost and much more (Job 42:10).

Jesus said:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44, KJV).

Forgive to forget.

Do you have any questions about forgiveness? About being a Strong Girl? About God and the Bible? Please feel free to ask them below and I will answer them.

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Hey, Strong Girl, how much are you worth?

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“But I was lonely, and he was there, so one thing led to another and…”

Just because you’re lonely doesn’t mean you aren’t still a Strong Girl. Everyone gets lonely. I imagine Jesus did, too.

But no one, absolutely NO ONE has a right to your body just because they ask.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body. (Amplified Bible.)

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God loves your body so much that He bought it with the blood of His Son, Jesus. Really. Jesus died on the cross for YOU. If you were the only person in the world, He’d do that for YOU. You are that precious to Him.

Now, maybe nobody’s ever told you before that you’re that precious. But every single hair of your head is numbered by God. That’s in the Bible, too in Luke 12:7. Jesus was telling His disciples not to worry about money and clothes because if God loves the little sparrows and watches them, then He watches, people even closer.

And He knows how many hairs are on our head!

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Do you know how many hairs you have? Does your Mother? Father? Anyone?

Nope. But God does. Now, if God knows how many hairs are on your head, imagine how He watches you ever so closely.

The God Who created everything — mountains, trees, seeds that grow into plants, little tadpoles and butterflies. That same amazing God loves you enough to count the hairs on your head.

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Next time you are tempted to give yourself away just because you’re lonely, think first about how lonely God is for you to say “hello” to Him. Start having conversations with Him everyday as you go to school, ride the bus, or whatever you’re doing. Develop a close relationship with Him and He will become more and more real to you with each passing day. He promises that if you look for Him, you will find Him.

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13, NLT.

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So now that you know that God knows how many hairs your have on your head, how much are you worth, Strong Girl? Do you think you should give yourself away for free? Or do you think you’re worth the wait?

If you develop a relationship with God, does that mean you’ll never be lonely? Nope. You’ll still get lonely, dear daughter. But you will have the strength to overcome that loneliness by focusing on Him. And if you ask Him, He’ll show you how to get past that loneliness.

No one will ever love you like He does. No one. Not even your parents. And certainly not a sexual partner or boyfriend. That emptiness you’re trying to fill is a God space that can only be filled with Him.

Seek Him–the One that loves you most. You are priceless to Him. That’s how much you’re worth.

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Strong doesn’t mean you’ll never cry

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In the dictionary strong is defined as being “able to withstand great force or pressure.”

There’s no doubt girls and women are under great forces and pressure these days. Everywhere we turn there are sexual messages. Movies, commercials, TV shows, magazines all send a message to women that they are valued more for their looks and sexuality than they are for their intellect, talent or character.

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Source: MTV

How does a Strong Girl value herself for what God says she is without feeling the pressure from the world’s messages?

The Bible says in Psalm 46:1 that God is our refuge and strength. To be a Strong Girl in Jesus, means to run to HIM for that strength.

On our own, we’re weak and at times foolish. We can let thoughts overpower us. But if we submit our minds to the Lord, He will strengthen us with HIS resolve. HIS strength. We build our life on the ROCK of His wisdom, His strength, and we are wise, not foolish. Remember this little song we sang in Sunday School?

You see, God is never weary. He is always strong. And if you have Jesus in you, you have HIS power and strength.

Isaiah 40: 29-31 says that God gives POWER to the faint and STRENGTH to those who have none. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary , and the young men shall utterly fall : But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run , and not be weary ; and they shall walk , and not faint.”

All you have to do is ask. And then listen for His voice.

Often we are in too much of a hurry to wait on the Lord to keep us strong. We want to run ahead and do it our way.

And anytime we run our way and not God’s way, we can expect disastrous results.

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If we believe what a man or boy promises us when wanting us to do something above what God says for us to do, we can expect to get hurt. Sure, God is there with His grace to forgive our mistakes, but we still have consequences on this earth. Pregnancy, STDs, a broken heart, memories that haunt us. God’s advice to us isn’t to keep us from having fun, but to give us a happy life without as much heartache.

If we believe what the world tells us instead of what God tells us, we can expect to be deceived.

But if we believe what God tells us, we’ll experience much less pain. Living in this world is hard enough without us making it even harder.

From the beginning of the time the enemy–Satan–has hated women. “Did God REALLY say you couldn’t eat that fruit?”

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He twists God’s words. And he still does it today.

God’s grace is so full of love that He wants nothing but the best for you. When you really grasp how much you are loved by God, you will run to that source of Strength and let it fill you up. You will have no desire for the kind of acceptance the world gives. All you’ll want is to be full of HIM. All you’ll care about is pleasing HIM because he loves you SO MUCH!

752a68152b266de82bdaddb7da574c46People will fail you. I can guarantee it. They will hurt you, disappoint you, and betray you.

But God never will.

Strong doesn’t mean you’ll never cry. You will still cry. Jesus wept. And He was one strong dude while He walked on this earth. Strong means you admit you’re weak without HIM, and need HIS strength to carry you through.

Cry out to Him when you’re in need of strength. I promise He will answer. More than that, HE promises, too.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

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Strong Girls aren’t mean girls

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Strong doesn’t mean you have the right to be rude. The Bible tells us that our tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Strong Girls use their words to build up, encourage and not tear down (1 Thess. 5:11).

But how do you do that when you’re in the habit of gossiping and being negative?

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Wait upon God before you speak. Seek Him to take control of your thoughts, and when you do that, your tongue will express the sweetness that lives in your mind.

Give your words and your life, Strong Girl, the Philippians 4:8 test:

“…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

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Think cupcakes. Are your words sweet? Are your thoughts following Philippians 4:8?

  • True
  • Honest
  • Just (as opposed to unfair)
  • Pure
  • Lovely
  • Good reports (as opposed to negative gossip)
  • Virtue (good things, pure things, nice things)
  • Praise

I don’t see any nasty gossip in there, do you?

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Tweet This: Strong Girls aren’t mean girls.

Tweet This: Strong Girls don’t believe what the world and its media says they are.

Tweet This: Strong Girls are what God says they are.

 

Can you think of one way you can use your words to build someone up this week? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Strong Girl Saturday: Strong and pretty are not opposites

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On Saturdays I’ll be blogging about being a Strong Girl. While I’ll be speaking to a female audience of all ages, my main focus, initially, will be on young women finding their way in this world with Jesus. We’ll answer hard questions and discuss things that might be a little uncomfortable to talk about with parents, or parents to talk about with their daughters.

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In my 32 years of experience as a Sunday School teacher and youth leader, I’ve seen too many girls value themselves only for what their bodies can offer a boy, or in today’s sexually charged climate, another girl. I’ve seen too many girls who see themselves as weak instead of strong. I see girls who are insecure as they search for who they are, and girls who just have a hard time believing that Jesus is really there for them.

Teenage Problems, Social Issues and Bullying

While recovering from a major surgery (that has required a lot of strength!), I stumbled upon a TV show about women taking men to court to prove they are the father of their children. Woman after woman stepped up to the witness stand and laid out her indiscretions on a calendar for the whole world to see on satellite television.

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Now, we’ve all made mistakes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful these women chose to have their children instead of aborting them. But the numbers of partners these women have within the span of a few weeks is startling.

It makes me mad.

At the destroyer.

The one who beats girls down and convinces them they are no more than a sexual object and that sex equals love. The one that convinces them that they have no value unless they are in the arms of a boy or man.

Girls, if you don’t get anything I ever write, get this: you are not what anyone says you are. You are what God says you are.

And we will explore just exactly what it is He says you are.

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Tweet This: You are precious. You are valuable. You are not your own. You are bought with a price.

 

 

I’ve created a facebook page where we strong girls can hang out and chat about what makes us strong, how to stand strong, stay strong, and ask questions here: https://www.facebook.com/StrongGirls4Jesus

Until next Saturday,

Karla

PS Leave me your questions in the comments below and I will answer them!