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"You can be replaced."

For those that don't know, my husband is a youth minister. We live in a small suburban town in Virginia. One misconception that I had when we moved here to work at the church is that we were not in the "inner city," therefore, our teens would mostly be "perfect." Ha. I found out pretty quickly that no matter what type of house you live in, you will always have problems. Even if you have two parents in home, you can still have to wear a "mask" that "everything is okay," but in reality, your world is falling apart.

Here, the number one thing we see is teen pressure to perform: to get into the "right' college, to make enough money, to own a big house, to have a "perfect life."

A few of our teens have run away, some have started cutting, some have tried to commit suicide.

I know the feeling.

When I was in school, my dad was in the Air Force. We moved 21 times in my childhood. I went to three middle schools, 7 elementary school and finally one high school. Talk about always trying to preform to be accepted.

Finally the cruelty and rejection got too much for me. In 6th grade, only 12 years old, I wanted to end it all. That's when I fell in love with Jesus.

I'm not talking about knowing of Jesus. I certainly knew of him-growing up in a Christian home. But I didn't have an intimate relationship with him until I had to make a choice.

I had to make a choice on whom I was going to listen to. I had been listening to LIES my whole life. The biggest lie being, "You can be replaced."

Teens are constantly plastered with lies all day and all night. Online, they might see an ad for a cute outfit that makes them believe that they will have guys all around them if they wear it. If they listen to the right music, then they will have so many friends that they will have to throw a party in a club to celebrate.

There are lies to lose weight, to be stronger, to look skinnier, to have a smaller nose, to have less wrinkles, to have lighter skin, to have bluer eyes.

There are lies all around us.

John 10 talks about the Good Shepherd. "A sheep know their voice and the voice of a stranger, they will not follow."

Who knows why the sheep listen to the fake shepherd? Because they are used to hearing his voice. They are used to the lies. Satan is the father of lies and lying is his native language. (John 8:44).

When did we stop listening to the Good Shepherd? When we started to fill our mind with lies.

Start filling your mind with God's truth and start getting used to the Father's voice.

When I was in 6th Grade, I was so scared. I never wanted to raise my hand in class. I always avoided social events. I was always in the back of the class, the last in the line, and that started to define me.

I didn't become fearless until college really. Because in college, it was a new environment. I went to Liberty University, where I literally felt as if following God wasn't weird anymore-it was the norm. It was totally okay to have grown up in a conservative Christian home, most of the other students had too.

Then I met my husband- who was really fearless, and social. And I started to blossom.

Where I was always afraid of dressing up, wearing my hair down, wearing makeup- I started to feel pretty for the first time since I was a fearless young girl.

In the picture above, this is my daughter at her best- fearless and adventurous. She doesn't know what's in the water even. There was at least 15 feet of water underneath her- but she doesn't care, she is wearing her life jacket.

How many of us jump into life knowing, "Whatever happens in life, I'll be okay, I have my life jacket."

I remember I was working a wedding last year. I was having small talk with a young person and they said the most interesting thing: "You definitely are doing the right job, because you are really outgoing."

I almost laughed in his face. I knew that I didn't start off that way. 20 years ago, if you would have told me that I was going to be a mom of three kids, a pastor's wife, homeschooler and a business owner, I would have not believed you.

You see, God has done a work in me.

I've stopped listening to the lies of the enemy. He lied to me for so long saying, "You can be replaced. You're not special." And I finally got tired of it.

I know that you probably hear this all the time. But God made you special. He made you with a unique call and purpose. Whatever you are doing- you are the only one that can do that.

Don't let the lies of the enemy put you down. Stop listening to him. Cut off any way that separates you from the Good Shepherd's voice.

You can't be replaced.

Christal

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