6 Thoughts on Young Shooters

It’s been a few days since the school shooting in Florida. The images are heart-wrenching. And honestly, I’ve barely followed the story. But I can feel the heaviness in the air and the weight of all the choices made that day and how they still linger.

A lot of people have a lot of opinions about young shooters (and just mass shootings in general)…and they should. People should think about the world and process the state of the broken and hurting in the country. Moments like this force us to ponder…

Here are my thoughts on the school shooting, but also just on young shooters specifically.

1. Hurting People Hurt People. No matter what, behind every abuser or killer there is a mountain of hurt and pain. When all that goes unseen, when entire generations overlook the broken, when ADULTS overlook the YOUNG…there is no where else for teens to turn but to hate. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. Remember? We learned this once, didn’t we?

Here is my question to you….how are YOU loving young people and teens and the broken and the overlooked? When is the last time you stooped to enter someone else’s world?

If your answer is never or rarely can I say with all the love in me that you are part of the problem.

2. Policies and Laws have never been all that great at keeping abusers from harming others; people are changed when other people invest in them. Believe me when I say, that I have seen firsthand how “effective” laws are at keeping victims safe. Believe me when I say that ADULTS really don’t want to hear about abuse…not really…because then you’d have to do something about it. You’d have to face it.

Here is my question to you…do you even SPEAK to young people at all? Do you invest in the lives of the young? Do you offer financial assistance to programs and churches and missionaries who are in the thick and in the mud and in the unbelievable darkness of the lives of teens?

You can walk into just about any youth group in America and there will be stories of rape, of physical abuse, of depression, of teen suicide, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and self-harm. It’s not new or shocking. You’ve just never looked.

3. Depression and stress are absolutely RAMPANT amongst teens. After five years of walking alongside youth in our community, and several years of Young Adult Ministry, and nearly eight years of consistent involvement in our church…I can tell you with confidence that depression is an enormous burden that many, many carry. If we struggle as adults and moms and spouses…how much more so must teens struggle?

No one can or should do life alone. Including you. Including them.

4. The church is on the front lines. If you’ve never been involved in church, this will seem odd to you. But the church has been, and is still, on the front lines of the battle for our teens.

In our small community alone, there are thousands of Christians who support, volunteer, and encourage youth. We still need more. We still need YOU!

Churches often have the gift of accomplishing much with little. Help a church in your community accomplish MORE!

But also know that the most impactful relationships are the ones forged in the day to day, over lunch, and alongside the ups and downs of life.

5. When you minister to broken hearts, your heart WILL be broken. My husband and I have cried for the youth in our church so many times. Our hearts hurt and ache when we see a student give up and start believing the lies that are literally dumped on them by our culture. When you love someone, you offer your whole heart to them. You cheer them on. You cry with them. Be that for someone.

6. This is absolutely a parenting issue. And love starts at home. Healthy homes do not produce hate and violence. And there might be very differing levels of parental responsibility case by case. But there is always an element of parental influence.

•••

You don’t have to be a pastor to make a world of difference. Just step outside your comfort zone and love on a kid with all your heart. And you will see the world change.

3 Quick Tips For Combating Anxiety

I didn’t know I had anxiety until a year ago. Can you even believe that??? That heavy feeling on your chest? That quick beating of your heart? The fear that can just overwhelm you? Yeah. That…

I had anxiety all growing up and did not know what I was experiencing had a name.

Honestly, if you were one of my dearest friends, and you were struggling with anxiety, I would instantly clear time to have you over for coffee and we would talk and laugh and probably cry at some point.

Because you know what? I so get it.

Here are three things I literally do every. single. day. that help me enormously.

  1. SUPPLEMENT – I take THREE supplements that help me drastically. I take a B-complex, plant-based vitamin. I take a lemon-raspberry magnesium supplement that you mix into water. And I keep a small herbal supplement handy called Rescue Remedy (think concentrated tea). You can buy all three of these supplements on Amazon. I even give magnesium to my boys before bed to help them sleep. Sometimes, your body just needs a little boost to help your nervous system calm.
  2. LEARN TO SAY NO graciously and kindly. If you don’t say no for yourself, chances are no one else with either. Be kind to yourself. Busyness is a HUGE anxiety compounder, and you need time to take care of your body and your relationships and your home and all the things that matter most to you.
  3. GO OUTSIDE! Go for a walk. Dig in the dirt. Plant some flowers or herbs or carrots. If it is raining and super nasty outside, open the doors and let all that delicious fresh air inside for a while and just stand there and soak it all in…

I have learned the past two years that sometimes our body adjusts and heals and learns at a different rate than our souls. It is a strange thing to realize and even more strange to live through.

Be kind to yourself. Take a deep breath. And go be an advocate for your own life.

I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines…

Practical Tips For Addressing Everyday Anxiety in Children

My son Bear used to throw terrible fits in public. One time, he screamed to high heaven while pulling every article of clothing in sight as I attempted to leave a department store. I was mortified!

And then in the parking lot…he bit me.

Lord Jesus, save us all…for reals, I almost transformed into the Hulk.

I cried all the way home and then took so many deep breaths I gave myself hiccups.

I sent Bear straight to bed and he slept for THREE HOURS. He had been exhausted.

 

A New Perspective

After that day, I started realizing that the majority of Bear’s “fits” were actually just him reacting to stress.

He was overwhelmed. He was experiencing ANXIETY.

Ah! A word most of us know all too well.

 

Our Little Ones Have So Much Thrown at Them 

Listen. Our kids have far too much thrown at them each day. They are surrounded by toys and all those toys make noise and are painted 117 colors. They have sports and preschool and extracurricular activities and expectations galore. Even their shampoo has more ingredients than a salad bar, and at every. single. moment. we offer them stimulation.

Enough!

I am realizing that I don’t have to “parent like everyone else”. And you know what? I’m loving the freedom in that.

 

Simplify 

Get rid of HALF your toys. This might sound totally insane, but I promise you won’t miss not picking them up anymore. Let’s be crazy together. Donate them!

Strive to stay home 4 nights a weeks. More is GREAT. Less isn’t.

Eliminate three small stressors in YOUR life. For me this means, not matching socks, turning off all the noise, and getting outside. (I know…I live on the wild side.)

 

Live the Life YOU Want

You don’t have to do life like everyone else. Your kids have their own unique struggles and triggers and stressors and STRENGTHS, and so do you. And parents, we are the PERFECT people to help our kids, because we love them most and know them best.