Thursday, June 29, 2017

How did that 8 year old drive to McDonald’s?

I’m so excited today to have as my guest Tracy Levinson, the best-selling author of “unashamed – candid conversations about dating, love, nakedness & faith.” Learn more about her ministry at

How would you feel if you found out your 8-year-old son was craving a burger one night, searched on YouTube, “How to drive a car?” extracted money from his piggy bank, on his tiptoes reached for the keys, responsibly strapped in his 4 year old sister in her carseat in the van, and successfully headed to McDonald’s for burgers? (You read it here!)

What a kid can learn on You Tube … and fast!

According to a study by Microsoft Corporation, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2002, to only eight seconds in 2013. This new number is only one second shorter than a goldfish, which is supposedly 9 seconds.

I sort of see technology as a freight train coming at us as parents.

Yet, I am also very confident in the goodness, grace and brilliance of our God, and His ability to give us wisdom as we navigate our world. His Spirit within every believer, no matter the age, is far greater than any challenge in this world. (1 John 4:4)

We can do this! 

But how?

Before we get into practical concepts, let’s focus on our mindsets as parents. I like to describe this through the simple image of a triangle:

Notice I have the word “emotions” on the left bottom corner of the triangle. As a parent, it is so easy to be afraid, frustrated, angry, bewildered at the culture and your child’s potential engagement with technology.

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,

And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” Proverbs 16:32

Although our emotions are valid, we do not want our parenting triangle to flip, with our emotions at the top, leading our behavior, words and decisions in our parenting. 

See the right bottom corner of the triangle? It says the law. Parenting by the law, often based on fear and control, is very tempting. 

Here is how I see it…

Fear + Rules = Pride or Failure

It encourages oppression, depression, often rebellion.

Parenting by the Spirit of God, the author of love,  is when we seek wisdom from Scripture, wise council from other believers, pray, and allow the peace of God in guiding our steps.

Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].Colossians 3:15 (Amp)

Scripture teaches that “love protects.”

This includes creating healthy, protecting boundaries with social media. God is a loving Father who wants to protect them. He can empower them with all the self-control they need over technology. Enough power all day, every day, to say “yes” or “no” to anything.

Love + Boundaries = Protection and Peace

Tomorrow Tracy will share part 2 where she shares practical tools for navigating parenting in the digital age.


Monday, June 19, 2017

You & Your Girl: A Week of Growing Closer to Your Tween

Summer time …

Slower days and opportunities to be intentional in investing in our girls.

Join me this week on Instagram, starting today, where I’ll be sharing 7 dates to help you and your girl develop a deeper relationship!

You can find me at @LynnCowell.

See you there!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I Can Do It! {Free Gift for You!}

With the power of the Holy Spirit in me, I will be brave!


If you are joining me here today from When a Bad Thing and a Good Thing are the Same Thing welcome! Let’s continue to connect, ok? It’s easy! Just sign up to get my posts automatically by clicking here.

I’d also love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

I really want to, but I’m too scared.

Like me, when you have heard your child voice these words, have you had that sinking feeling?

For a moment, you’re thrown back to your own growing up days; to all of the things you wanted to do, but never did … because of fear.

Never tried out for that play.

Never took up that instrument.

Never ran for class president or even hopped on a pair of skis. (So there’s my list and those are just the things when I was young!)


It carries so much power when it comes to keeping us from going for all things new … and scary. And even though we know God is with us, why are there times when we still feel scared?  Our mind tells us we can’t do it before we even try.

What if we found the power within us, God’s power, to go for His goodness for us … even when we are scared?

That’s why I wrote today’s FREE resource: I Will Be Brave Declaration. When we speak truth to our minds and hearts, we can literally change the way that our minds think. We can change our paths from “I can’t” to “I Can”.

To download your free resource today, simply type in your email below:

Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You releases soon … just in time for school’s return. Be on the look out for more details to come! Here’s a little sample:

When I feel small or overlooked, I will remind myself that God can us anyone to do big things!



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Strongest Women I Ever Met {GIVE AWAY DAY}


Hello, friends! You all know that I have been passionate about investing in young girls for a very long time. Well, this August, my newest writing will be for an even younger audience – tween girls ages 8 – 12. More on that coming later!

Through our mutual publisher, I have come to know another who loves girls as much as I do! 

Wynter Pitts is a mom of FOUR little girls! She is also the editor and founder of For Girls Like You Magazine, a ministry to girls (age 6-11) and their parents, that includes a quarterly print magazine, journal, and other print and web resources. Her passion and drive is to introduce young girls to Christian values in a way that they are able to palate and digest, so they can walk passionately and boldly in who God has created them to be. Today, I’m giving away a copy of Wynter and her daughter Alena’s newest book from ZonderKidz “Hello Stars: Lena in the Spotlight”. More on that below.

Here’s Wynter:

Growing up, behind the doors of my row home in the inner city of Baltimore, MD, lived two of the strongest women I have ever met. I am fortunate enough to call them, “Mommy” and “Mama.” My mother and my grandmother were world changers and they didn’t even know it.


They didn’t have a list of degrees, a platform, a huge following or even a high position in our local church.


Their lives were far from picture perfect.  As a matter of fact, most would have described them as victims of a poverty-stricken and crime ridden city.


But they are world changers.  They aren’t world-changers because of any worldly recognition or certificates of accomplishment, but simply because they were Christ-filled women, who knew what it meant to live faith-filled, and obedient lives with few people watching them.


They are world-changers because they said, “yes” to God when they did not see Him.  Both women chose to rest in the promises of His love and faithfulness, even when it would be easy to only see their circumstances that seemed insurmountable on many days.  They served the Lord in dark circumstances, willingly carrying their cross as they loved others.


I thank God for a mother who lived out her faith on the streets of Baltimore without fear.  I thank God for a mother who recognized the power of prayer and the difference her conversations with God made in the lives of her children.  And I am grateful for a grandmother who believed God’s promise to her to stand still and watch the salvation of the Lord for her and for her family.


Today, as a mom of four daughters, I reflect on their strength and thank God for the traces of their obedience that run deep in my own life and serve as the heartbeat for my family.


In 2015, my oldest daughter, Alena, landed the part as Danielle Jordan in the 2015 hit film, War Room.  Now, 2 years later, we are thanking the Lord for her success as the youngest African-American female to be represented by a major publisher. While I am proud of my daughter and the tangible success, I am reminded that her ability to impact the world for Christ started almost 40 years ago when Christ Jesus chose to grab the hearts of my grandmother and mother.


As women of God, regardless of the favorable or unfavorable details of our lives, we must remember that we are not a result of circumstances but we are His Chosen daughters, called to live out His purpose and lay a foundation that testifies of His goodness for generations to come.


Hello Stars- new book by War Room Movie actress Alena Pitts from For Girls Like You on Vimeo.


To qualify for the drawing for Hello Stars, you need to do TWO things:

#1. LEAVE A COMMENT below. Share the name of a young girl you would like to give this book to or a church or local library you would donate it to.

#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.

That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on Wednesday, May 31st so don’t delay! {Contest is limited to US & Canadian readers only.}

*** This contest is now closed. The winner is Bettie Guthrie

who posted on May 24, 2017 at 4:24 p.m. Congratulations, Bettie! *** 



Thursday, May 11, 2017

That’s the Coffee Cup I Am {Give Away Day}

My friend Katy McCown is joining me today to talk about something many of us love; coffee Well sort of.  The everyday Katy loves a strong cup of coffee, or two. I learned a lot from her words, so I wanted to share them with you today!

Here’s Katy:


“Women live like a cup tipped over on its side. They give and give and pour out everything they have until there’s nothing left.”


I stared out my front door, listening to the raindrops fall as I absorbed what my friend had just said. All I could think was, Nailed it!


But as we talked more, another image surfaced. The same cup, but this time not empty at all. This time it’s upright and full. So full, the goodness inside breaks the rim and spills over, covering everything it touches.


“That’s what we’re going for,” my friend said. “That’s what God wants.”


On a side note, I imagine my cup in this little exercise full of coffee … But really, all too often I feel like the first cup. Empty – or at least on my last drop.


I want to love more, do more and give more, but eventually I run dry.


Then I read a verse like this one in John and wonder, What am I missing?


“The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” John 7:38 (HCSB)


Streams of living water … Moving, rushing out from the depths of my soul … and I don’t know whether to end that sentence with a period or a question mark. Because could that really be a statement of fact? Surely that’s reserved for only a few people, in a much slower season of life.


But that’s not what Jesus says. No, Jesus says these streams of living water flowing deep from within are available to anyone who believes in Him.


If we believe in Jesus, yet still feel like a cup tipped over on the table …


Maybe we just need to unclog the stream.


I’m well acquainted with the struggle to stop and fill up the gas tank in my car. It pains me to pause, but eventually it puts me in a pickle. I’m desperate to fill up and there’s not always a station in sight. So I’m left sweating it out.


I find my soul tank isn’t much different. I always think I can go further only to find myself on the last drop, anxious for a moment to pull over and fill up.


In the hustle and bustle it can be hard to find these soul stops, so I want to share with you three things I’ve found that help me keep my soul tank full.


  1. Look for short stops. Some days start full speed ahead and before you know it the day comes to a close and everything is a blur. One way I keep my focus on God and His plans even on the busiest days is to set aside 3-5 minutes throughout the day to literally drop to my knees and talk to God. It redirects my worry and frees me up to keep my thoughts on Him even in the midst of chaos.
  2. Pay attention. So often I feel like God sends me encouragement, I just don’t stop long enough to notice it. As you set your soul on the mission to fill up and stay filled, ask God to get your attention. Then look for Him at work in the simplest ways – a text from a friend at just the right time, a song in your heart and you don’t know what made you think of it, or a giggle with your kiddo that refreshes your spirit.
  3. Set limits. Pick a time your distractions begin and tell them when they end. During those hours do the phone thing and computer thing and every other thing that you pour your soul into, but when those hours tick to an end, shut it down. Determine to save time at the end of your day or beginning of your day (or better yet both!) for nothing other than soul-filling time with your Savior.


It’s important to note not all fuel is good fuel. Our souls rely on one fuel source and that is fellowship with God through His Son Jesus. Any substitute may take us a few miles further on our journey, but it will not last and could even cause damage.


Your Life: Simplified


I’m excited to share with you my new online course, Your Life: Simplified, Living Focused When You’re Trying to do It All.


In this 5-session online course, we’ll walk through practical ways to fill our lives with God to the point we’re overflowing into the world around us. We’ll talk about how to simplify our space, our schedules, our sin and our self-talk as we learn to throw off what hinders us and live each day free, focused and fulfilled. I’d love to share this journey with you as together we learn to simplify our lives and live focused on God’s glory and purposes.You can order this course today at! I know it will be the help you need to step in the right direction! ”

Today, Katy has given me the opportunity to give away FREE access to 

Your Life: Simplified, Living Focused When You’re Trying to do It All 

to one of my readers! To enter, simply share before which of the three points Katy shared seems most helpful to you in simplifying your life. The winner will be announced next week!



***** This contest is now closed. The winner is Marisha who posted on 2017/05/13 at 9:31 am. Congratulations, Marisha! *******


Katy’s bio:

Katy McCown is a writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries, wife to NFL quarterback, Luke McCown, and mom to 6 energetic (sometimes wild) kids. Katy left her job as a television news reporter to join Luke on their adventure in the National Football League. Twelve years, 6 kids and 5 teams later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Along the way, Katy has learned to hold on to God’s promise in Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

Katy recently launched the She Laughs Conference and seeks to empower women to walk the established steps the LORD lays out for them, even if everything else feels shaky.

The everyday Katy loves a strong cup of coffee, or two. She works hard to perfect the art of pushing multiple children on swings all at once (without anyone falling out), and her car is never clean. Never ever.

Connect with Katy on her blog at


Monday, May 8, 2017

Celebrating the Women in Our Lives {Give Away}


If you are joining me here today from Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today, Seeing with My Heartwelcome! Let’s continue to connect, ok? It’s easy! Just sign up to get my posts automatically by clicking here.

I’d also love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

While Mother’s Day is just around the corner, all of us have had in our lives women in every season who have taught us and impacted the women we have become. While we are drawn to those who encourage us and cause us to feel loved, I have found in the season I am in now that I need strong women who are unafraid to spur me forward. Strong, yet humble, I need women who will show me with their lives what it means to partner with the Holy Spirit to reach my fullest potential. To face my fears, build my confidence on His power in me and know that God is even there.

We need women in our lives who are unafraid to be iron sharpening as Proverbs 27:17 says.

Sometimes the Bible uses imagery that doesn’t fit our lives today like it did in Old Testament times, so it can be a bit hard to understand how it applies to our 2017 lives.

Maybe you have watched a cook in a kitchen, honing her knife, across a sharpening stick. Pulling her tool back and forth across the hard, rough surface at just the right angle, she gets her knife ready to do its wonderful work ahead. Maybe she is uses two knives, back and forth against each other, to do the necessary sharpening.

There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives more efficient in their task.

God calls us, as women, to provide this mutual benefit, this mutual sharpening for each other. He has designed our relationships to make us better together.

Will we allow that type of sharpening from another?

Will we be the sharpener for another?

Take a moment to review your life.

Do you have another spurring you on, pushing you out of your level of comfort, to go for God’s very best for you?

Are you spurring another on, providing the push they need to keep moving forward?

One place for this spurring to take place can be in the mother/daughter relationship. As I shared in my devotion today with Proverbs 31 Ministries, this is the relationship I am currently experiencing with my girls. Yes, at one time, it was one way. I was encouraging them to become the women God has called them today. But today, as they have grown into adults, they push me just as well.

Today, I am giving away to one winner several resources to encourage these mother/daughter relationships.

Zondervan’s FaithGirlz is a division of Zondervan just for tween girls, creating resources for women to invest in the lives of young girls ages 8 – 12 years old. I am so excited to be partnering with them this summer for theh release my first tween book, Brave Beauty.

Today, Zondervan FaithGirlz is graciously giving away The FaithGirlz Hardcover Bible, to help a girl know truth and live truth

as well as the Promises for You devotional coloring book, a great way to relax and spend time together!

For moms, I am giving away a copy of Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus.

To enter to win, simply share in the comments on this site one person in your life who has sharpened you. (If you are receiving this by email, please click here to comment.) If you are in a hurry, simply share, “I’m in!” I will announce one blessed winner next week!


This give away has ended. The winner is Stacy Cave. Congratulations Stacy!

Please send me your full name and address and we’ll get your prizes shipped right to you!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Want to Build Relationships that Last a Lifetime? JOIN US!


Monday, April 17, 2017

5 Tips for Being A More Confident, Positive Mom {GIVE AWAY DAY}

I am so excited to share with you today 5 Tips for Being a More Confident, Positive Mom written by my dear friend Tracie Miles. I gained so much from reading Tracie’s newest book, Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies for Transforming the Way You Think, Feel and Live that I wanted to share with you today just a bit of the wisdom Tracie offers in it.

5 Tips for Being a More Confident, Positive Mom


Although all three of my children are now college age, I vividly remember “those days” when grumpy teenager syndrome seemed to permeate every ounce of air in our house.


Those days when I would find myself hiding away in my closet and eating oreos, as if nobody was looking for me. Those days spent praying for the supernatural ability to be a happy mom and a positive role model for my kids – instead of a bug-eyed, short tempered, crazy hot mess of a mom who was at wits end with dealing with hormones, social lives, wardrobe crises and rules being broken.


The happy days certainly outweighed the trying days with my precious bundles of joy turned semi-grownups, but nonetheless, those trying days could not only be emotionally trying, but could zap a positive attitude quicker than one could say “you’re grounded”.


Before my son and two daughters hit the teen years, I used to think sleepless nights with infants, daycare issues and nursing sick kids for months was the epitome of exhaustion…. but I’ve since learned that the burden of emotional exhaustion far exceeds even the worst case of physical exhaustion. Being a parent can be downright tiring, no matter how we treasure our little or big bundles of joy. No matter how much love our kids, we can still experience those days when negativity and pessimistic thoughts seem to rock our world, making us want us to throw in the towel, succumb to defeat, or maybe run away and escape to a private island for a few days.


It’s easy to let the struggles of being a parent drain our positive outlooks and attitudes, while squelching our ability to feel joyful and happy, much less peaceful and optimistic.  Whether we are struggling with toddler tantrums and diaper changes, or teenage social plans, peer pressures and busy schedules, being a mom can sometimes make it feel impossible to keep a positive attitude. But embracing a positive attitude is a choice we all have the power to make, despite what season of life we find ourselves immersed in.


Below are a few tips I to help you embrace a life of positive thinking and be equipped to stand strong the next time a strong wave negativity rolls in:


  1. Know that you can never love too much.Spoiling a child with too many ‘things’ is something we might want to avoid, but we can never spoil a child with too much love. Whether girl or boy, children need love. Whether girl or boy, children need hugs, kisses, attention and compassion. Whether small or grown, kids need love, because it’s the basis for their lives and how their self confidence. Don’t worry about spoiling your daughter by loving them too much, or making your son less masculine if you shower him with love.  God is love, and He calls us moms to be love too – even when the kids are not being lovable. If someone tells you you’re spoiling your child by being too loving or attentive or caring about their feelings, ignore the advice and do what your heart tells you. You may not feel like the perfect parent, or buy them every thing they want, or be able to be at every ballgame or dance recital, but you can always make sure they know how important they are to you and that they are loved unconditionally.


  1. Allow yourself to live and learn. They don’t say parenting is a journey for no reason. With each passing year, we learn a little bit more about how to be a better parent and effectively raise our children to the best of our ability. What we did with our first child, we may or may not do with our last, because we’ve lived and learned some lessons. Give yourself some grace when you mess up, recognizing that each parenting experience, good and bad, is a learning one.



  1. Tune out the voices of criticism.From the moment you swaddle your newborn infant, to the first day your teenager asks to go out on a date, people will be full of advice. Sometimes the advice is valid and helpful, while other times it may be overbearing, intrusive and critical.  The trick is learning to filter the advice we receive with our own gut feelings, appreciating the advice but determining what works best for us and always running our decisions by God in prayer.  Just because we may disagree with someone’s advice or parenting style, doesn’t make their ways wrong, or our ways wrong. It just makes us different.


Our kids are just that – our kids. Although we can seek advice from others and respect suggestions from other moms or trusted resources, what is most important is that we recognize God gave us our specific kids for a reason, knowing that we have been equipped in unique ways to raise them.  We may not be an expert in raising someone else’s child, but we are the expert in raising our own, and believe that can help us have confidence for those trying days. We know our child better than anyone else, including their emotional and physical needs, strengths, weaknesses, talents, soft spots and trigger points.  So making decisions based on our gut feelings, our Christian beliefs and mommy intuitions should always be our first priority. Trust that God has equipped you to be the mom your child needs and will give you the wisdom to carry out the task of motherhood.


  1. Focus on what you’re doing right, instead of what you feel you’re doing wrong. It’s easy to get hung up on our imperfections as parents – like those times when we left our baby crying in the crib longer than we should because we were tired. Or the time when we punished our toddler for spilling milk because our frustration got the best of us. Or when we lost our temper and yelled words in anger when our teenager spoke to us disrespectfully because we were already having a bad day.  We all mess up at times, but most likely, our parenting successes far outweigh our mess ups.  Give yourself a break and focus on all the good things you do for and with your kids, instead of the few times you fall prey to being human. Think positive about yourself, and that optimism and confidence will equip you to help your children learn to think positive about themselves too.


  1. Don’t compare yourself to other moms.It’s hard not to do this, especially when you see a mom who lost all her baby weight, manages to keep her kids under control in the grocery store, and keeps them all dressed in matching outfits and bows that might possibly be too big for an adult head, much less a small child’s. It’s hard not to, when you see a mom who seems to have perfect teenage kids, who attend bible study every week and never get into trouble.  But everything about parenting is a package deal. No mom goes through this journey of parenting without her own set of mess-ups, struggles, successes and failures. Even moms who seem perfect on the outside, struggle with insecurities and their own set of child rearing problems and frustrations too. Remember that if God thought enough of you to bless you with children to raise, whether you gave birth to them, adopted them, or have just taken them under your wing, He has also gifted you with the ability to a great job if you put your mind to it, and keep your heart tied to His. Comparison is the thief of joy, so don’t let the thief rob you of optimism and confidence in who you are as a person, and a mom.


  1. Be a positive thinking role model for your kids. You are the only mother your kids have, and you are the right person for the job.  When we love ourselves, we are better able to love others, including our children. When we focus on being positive thinkers, instead of letting negative thoughts rule our hearts and minds, that optimism exudes onto those we love most. Kids need confident moms, and our confidence comes from Christ and knowing that we are not only fearfully and wonderfully made, but loved, and gifted with the ability to be the mom our kids need. When we intentionally strive to not only be a positive role model for our children, but a positive thinking role model for our kids, we play a critical role in training their minds with the habit of thinking optimistically. And a habit of optimistic thinking sets their lives on the right path from the start.



Tracie Miles is a national Speaker and Author with the internationally known Proverbs 31 Ministries ( and has spent the last eleven years inspiring women to live intentionally for Christ  In addition to Unsinkable Faith, she is also the author of two best selling books,  Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past To Create A Beautiful Future(2014) and Stressed Less Living: Finding God’s Peace In Your Chaotic World (2012).  Tracie has 3 children and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.  



Today, I’m giving away a free copy of Unsinkable Faith to one of my readers! To be entered, please share which of Tracie’s five points is most helpful to you or simply say, “I’m in!” The winner will be announced May 1st.

With the purchase of at least one copy of Unsinkable Faith before April 29th, you can claim five free gifts worth $60.00! Visit all the information and to learn how to claim your freebies.

**********This contest is now closed. The winner is Kim who posted at 4/18/17 at 10:35 a.m. Congratulations, Kim! ***************





Monday, April 3, 2017

Say No to the Awkward Silence: Get the Conversations Rolling!

Experiencing awkward family silence? Help is on the way!

When God has done so much for us, why can conversations about Him seem uncomfortable or difficult to start?

I’ve often wondered this, whether it was on the plane coming home from my speaking event yesterday or in the conversations I want to have with my children.

Missed opportunities can feel like failures, and that’s why today I’m sharing a FREE resource that will help you talk about the Lord in everyday conversations.

Just fill in the box below to receive your free Get it Started: 25 Conversation Starters.



Friday, March 10, 2017

Easy DIY Farm Table {A Family Project}

Old becomes new in a few, simple steps!

Every once in a while, my family finds an idea we just have to copy. This time, my daughter, Mariah, found an easy farm table we could do on a dime for her new, and very empty, apartment!

Stop by my friend, Karen Ehman’s site today, where I share step by step instructions how you can duplicate our last family project.