A Mom’s View: What I Learned From Watching Alena Star in War Room

A Mom's View - What I Learned From Watching Alena Star in War Room
Have you ever taken a step back and peeked into the heart of your child?

It’s a beautiful view.

Maybe it’s when you see your timid six-year-old perform her piano solo with a confidence and boldness that you did not know she possessed. Or maybe it’s when you watch your 9-year-old selflessly give her last piece of candy to a friend or your 15-year-old courageously lead a group of her peers in worship.

Opportunities like these are a gift. They allow us, as parents, to take a step back from our normal view of parenting—teaching, instructing, disciplining—and witness the character that is brewing and blossoming on the inside.

Bold, selfless and courageous moments are the makings of a beautiful story.

Last summer my oldest daughter, Alena, was in the movie, War Room. War Room is a movie about the power of prayer and Alena plays Danielle Jordan- one of the lead characters, alongside Priscilla Shirer and T.C. Stallings.

Ironically, prior to this experience, Alena’s acting career consisted of a few fireplace performances with an audience of 5, my husband, me and her three younger sisters. So after weeks of auditioning and praying, you can only imagine the shock we all felt when she received the call to say that she “got the part!”

There is nothing I want more than to see my daughters live out loud for Christ and being a part of this film was an opportunity for my sweet 10-year-old to do just that.

For 6 weeks, as I watched her film, I saw Jesus at work in her life and in her heart. I was her mom, but the film’s director (Alex Kendrick) was her boss and she had a job.IMG_1415

At times it was hard for me to watch her independence but in those moments I saw her work harder then I thought she was capable of with a selfless love, humbled posture and determined attitude.


It was wonderful. I was grateful and I was convinced that, although I play a significant role as her mother, who she is and what God has planned for her has little to do with me.

Each moment with her on set was a reminder to me that my four daughters are actually not mine at all, they are His.

And the beautiful story that is blossoming is one written by none other than the Creator Himself, God.Atlanta_WarRoom_314

Since day one I have prayed that God grants each of my daughters a heart that yearns to know Him and a willingness to follow His lead. I have prayed fervently that He grows them into little Jesus-chasing-world-changers.

But can I be honest? Answered prayers can be scary, especially when they involve my children.

Wynter and Alena Pitts in War Room

Praying for our children to yearn for Christ requires selflessness and following through on our end of the deal – when the Lord answers this prayer – requires an unimaginable amount of personal sacrifice. The call is for a total release of control and a willingness to sit back and watch Him work.

Ultimately, as parents our answered prayers keep us on our knees.

The longer I parent, the more evident it becomes that my children are His.

God taught me this lesson in a fairly dramatic way with Alena being cast as “Danielle.” But truthfully, most often God is calling us to a posture of prayer, release and trust in the very small, seemingly insignificant moments in our life.

And when I am speechless, unsure or afraid of where their desire for Christ will lead them, my knees hit the ground and I pray these simple words,

“Dear God, she is Yours and I trust You with her. Amen.”

As parents, our part is to steward well as they cross the bridge that leads them back into the arms of their Father.



For Girls Like You DevotionalTween girls have access to an unbelievable amount of media and information with just a simple click of the remote or mouse. Every outlet they turn to attempts to subtly influence their worldview…and what they believe about themselves directly affects how they live.

Wynter Pitts, founder of For Girls Like You magazine, gives girls a new devotional showing them a correct definition of themselves, opening their eyes to God’s truth and the differerence it makes in their lives. Each daily devotion includes a prayer to help girls apply the lesson. ~ from the Publisher
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Available here: For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens 

What If We Teach Our Daughters to Be Ladylike?

What If We Teach Our Daughters to be Ladylike

I was sitting at a table next to a sweet friend who is 20-something, and we were working on a service project together. I was actually using a pair of scissors and felt almost crafty for a moment.

Talk turned to bridal showers, and when you’re 20-something you attend a lot of these. My friend was telling me about a new trend.

It’s alarming to me, so may we chat about it here?

She told me it’s all the rage now, at bridal showers, to create explicitly sexual jokes, in order to tease the bride. One example: Showing pictures of a guy’s private parts. And these things are happening in circles of supposedly nice, church-going girls.

It’s not surprising that this happens, considering the frequency of Victoria’s Secret commercials on TV and half-naked women on magazines at the grocery store check-out line.

We live in a sexually explicit society.

But is this what we want for our daughters? Do we want them to forget how to blush?

The word ladylike comes to mind. It means there are certain activities that are appropriate for a well-bred woman. Allow me to use my English degree and share with you words that are synonymous with ladlylike:












Isn’t that an admirable list? These are words that I want to use to describe my daughter, and notice that modest is the last word on the list. Modesty is a hot topic these days, in relation to how a woman dresses, but it also applies to how a woman acts.

A ladylike, modest woman would not show pictures of a man’s genitalia at a bridal shower.

Don’t you want your daughter to be elegant and well-mannered? Aren’t those lovely words?

If your answer is, “Yes, please tell me how to make this happen!” then we have to back up.

Let’s back up and think about our little girls.

We tell a two-year-old who is swinging her skirt above her head, “Honey, please put your dress down. It’s not ladylike to lift up your dress.”

We tell a six-year-old, “Please don’t belch like that. It’s not ladylike.”

We tell a 12-year-old, “No, you’re not buying pants that have writing on the bum. It’s not ladylike.”

As moms, we teach toward the behavior we desire. If we picture our daughters becoming refined, proper women who would be distressed at sexually-overt bridal shower games, then we have to teach toward that objective every day from the time our girls are little.

Finally, [mothers], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, [teach] such things.  (Philippians 4:8  ESV)

We must introduce the word ladylike and the activity that is associated with it.

We also need to model ladylike behavior, and we may find we need to do some polishing of our own character before we can influence that of our daughters. If you were raised in a home where there was no boundary of appropriate talk and action for women, you may have some unladylike habits to purge.

But how glorious that we can steer the course of action within our own families. If we want ladylike daughters, we are in the powerful position to shape this beautiful behavior in the lives of our daughters. (And this teaching will infect the boys in our home, too!)

*Do you know a woman who is ladylike? What is your favorite quality in her?



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You can read the full descriptions of each of the 12 sessions and see the line-up of wonderful speakers for this Homemaking Ministries Online Conference HERE!

35 Healthy Habits I Hope My Daughter I Want for My Daughter {and Me}

35 Healthy Habits I Want for My Daughter and Me

I don’t know why the article caught my eye.

But it sure did.

I don’t think it would normally have intrigued me so, except that I have a daughter who is getting ready to leave home.

She’ll soon be boarding a plane to fly across the country to attend a new college. Nearly 3,000 miles away.

2,682.7 miles to be precise.

And about 2,682 miles too far, if you ask me.

So in this article was a list of a bunch of habits every girl should have, or something to that effect.

And I had that momentary mommy-panic that we all get now and then.

Oh no. What habits will that girl of mine take with her now that she’s leaving home?

This particular post was from a secular source and, while there were some things I could agree on, there were plenty that I found either empty—or even worse.

Habits I did NOT want her to have.

So that got me thinking. Why not come up with my own list? Why not share with her the habits that I would want for her to have?

My daughter Vienna

35 Habits I Hope You Take Along, My Dear Daughter

  1. Make your bed. Every morning. First thing. An easy way to get off on the right foot.
  2. Drink lots of water. Because it’s good for you.
  3. Smile. It will make your day go better, and that of those around you too.
  4. Dress for success. Take a little trouble to wear something clean and nice.
  5. Start each day in the Word. No better way to begin your day.
  6. Pray. About all things.
  7. Count your blessings. This habit alone could change your life. Or at least your perspective.
  8. Stand up straight. It will improve your appearance and add to your confidence.
  9. Get some fresh air. You’ll feel better if you do.
  10. Exercise. A few minutes each day, if at all possible. Even a good, brisk walk counts.
  11. Eat something green. Preferably dark green and organic.
  12. Limit the carbs. They are not your friend.
  13. Dip into your stash of dark chocolate. It’s full of antioxidants and can be a real mood-changer.
  14. Don’t even think about fast-food. Junk, junk, junk.
  15. Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Even if you’re in a hurry, try to grab a piece of fruit and a boiled egg.
  16. Brush and floss your teeth every day. Twice a day. But you already knew that.
  17. Invest in at least one item that makes you feel pretty. A scarf, a bracelet, or a fun hat?
  18. Always arrive on time. If at all possible. Maybe even show up a little early.
  19. Regularly attend a good, solid church. Find a strong Christian community for love and support.
  20. Don’t ever use your credit card. Save it only for emergencies. A real emergency.
  21. Don’t spend more money than you make. A simple rule that will save you a lot of trouble.
  22. Put away a small amount in savings every month. Because you just never know.
  23. Wash your face before going to bed. Improves your complexion.
  24. Get enough sleep. Your body and mind will thank you.
  25. Keep a journal. Cheaper than therapy and interesting to look back on.
  26. Keep in touch with a few good friends. Take the time, no matter how far away they live.
  27. Laugh a little each day. It really is the best medicine.
  28. Make sure your nails look nice. Clean, neat, and maybe a light polish.
  29. Don’t forget your vitamins. Preferably a good women’s multi-vitamin and Vitamin D3.
  30. Take Echinacea.  Pop a couple of capsules whenever you feel like you’re coming down with something.
  31. Keep the Sabbath. Not out of law, but because a day of rest goes a long way.
  32. Read a good book. Something rich that doesn’t have to do with work or school.
  33. Early to bed, early to rise. The early bird gets the worm and all that. :)
  34. Always remember you’re a princess. A child of the King.
  35. CALL YOUR MOM. Every day. Okay, at least often.

Now if you practice these habits – that you’ve hopefully learned at home – then you will be well on your way to a happy and healthy new season of life.

And the wonderful thing about good habits? They really do add up more than you might think over time. You’ll be glad you took these with you and you’ll see what a difference they can make.

So I wish you God’s richest blessing as you follow Him in this next adventure across the country.

And I’ll be praying for you.

Every day. 

Because that, my dear daughter, is your mom’s habit. 

With much love,


*Your turn! Anything to add to this list or advice for our daughter who is leaving home? 

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How Sisters Grow Into Good Friends: Encouraging a Strong Bond Between Girls

How Sisters Grow Into Good Friends

I don’t mean to complain.

But I haven’t been sleeping too well lately.

It’s all the racket that goes on upstairs.

That party that seems to start up most every night.

I won’t mention any names, but they’re girls and there are 3 of them.

And they happen to be mine.

Three sisters.

Who like to stay up late (which is to say, past 10 pm) and talk and laugh. Confide and cry. And get a little crazy together.

That’s our girls.

Now – not to pull you into our personal family matters – but I will tell you that it used to annoy my husband. All that noise and chatter. His inclination was to shut it down. Put a stop to the soiree.

I protested, “But, Honey, I actually really like it. Those are beautiful sounds to me. In fact, I LOVE to hear the girls giggling late into the night.”

Because, you see,  I never had any sisters.

No built-in friends for me.

I just went to bed and lights out. No one to talk to . . . or laugh with . . . or cry on. A rather lonely deal.

But these girls haven’t had that same experience because they’ve grown into good friends.

The closest of friends.

Notice that I say “grown into” because that’s the key word here.

They were not born best-friends.

This is something that we worked on. Worked hard on at times.

I  just don’t want you go get the wrong idea. Like we’re all simply peaches-n-cream over here.  All politeness and understanding.  Soft answers and sacrificial love.

Because I don’t know what your daughters are like, but let me say this about mine.

These girls are strong. They have very different personalities and sometimes very different ideas from the others.

So this sweet friendship that they now enjoy?

It took a lot of effort and encouragement.

On their part.

And mine.

How Sisters Grow Into Good Friends: Building Strong Bonds Between Girls

How to Encourage A Strong Bond Between Sisters

Help them to appreciate one another’s differences.

They say “opposites attract” but they must not have been talking about sisters because this sure didn’t happen naturally in our home.  As the mom, I got to play a heavy role in helping the girls see the good qualities in each other. One child is dreamy and the other is practical. One child is a “messy” and the other a clean-freak. One is a chatterbox and another is quiet and more reserved.

These differences often resulted in irritation, argument, and sometimes downright jealousy between the girls.

So it fell to Matthew and me to help them get beyond these surface things and on to a deeper understanding and appreciation of each sister. To help them see and celebrate the differences.

Insist on loyalty to each other.

Each of our girls has friends outside of the family. But those friends all know that the Jacobson girls are fiercely loyal to one another. That’s just a well-known fact. So don’t even think of talking behind their backs or saying anything disparaging about a sister.

Because blood is thicker than water and all that.

And these girls stand by each other.

Take the time to talk things out.

And if you’re thinking, but that could take hours! You would be right. Yet those hours are well worth it now that they’re older and turn to each other, every bit as much as they turn to me.

So take the time and teach them the skill of working things out. They’ll have the rest of their lives to thank you for it.

Set aside time to build a friendship.

It’s not easy to grow close when everyone is busy and always scattering in opposite directions.  So we started by having a Tea Time together once a week and now that ritual has grown into Tea Time every night. Before retiring (well, before their Dad and I turn in – because their party is only beginning, as you know), we gather together for a cup of tea and discuss what went on in our day—-events, frustrations, feelings, and things of interest.

Since the girls have grown older and can drive, they like hanging out together – go out to coffee, catch a movie, or help out a family in need.

Pray for their relationship.

Often the best thing you can do is simply pray for your girls and their friendship. Pray for a breakthrough, for better understanding, and for a new closeness. Pray for healing where there’s been hurt feelings and for reconciliation where there’s been broken relationship. Pray that they grow to love one another.

How Sisters Grow Into Friends - Encouraging Strong Bonds Between Girls

Sisters & Friends

Now that two of these girls are getting ready to leave home? Head out across the country?

They’re already making plans on how they’re going to visit each other, Skype one another, and spend their holidays together.

Continue to talk and giggle and grow together.

Because, of course, that’s what good friends do.

So the party goes on . . .

And I can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss those loud, laughing noises upstairs!

In His grace,

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*What do you do to encourage friendship in your family? Did you grow up having sisters – and are you close now? 

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For Girls Like You: 70 Days of Encouraging Devotions for Your Tween Girl

For Girls Like You: 70 Days of Encouraging Devotions for Your Tween Girl

So you already know that I have four daughters.

Four teenage daughters whom I love and adore.

Who were themselves “tweens” not so long ago.

And can I just tell you something? A moment of complete frankness between us both?


There! I said it and it’s true.

People told me that being a teenager was a challenge, so I was as ready for that as a parent can be reasonably expected to be.

But nobody told me that there was also this in-between age – sometimes called a tween – that has challenges of it’s own. No longer a little child . . . and yet not quite grown up enough to enter the Big Girl arena either.

Or, worse yet, thrown into the Big Girl arena when you’re not ready for that world just yet.

We had more than a few tears during those younger years as our girls were trying to navigate this growing world they were encountering.

So do you know what I wish I could have offered them as a source of encouragement and comfort? A source of wisdom and grace?

A little devotional of their very own.  One that understood where they were at and about what they were going through.

One like this newly-released, For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens by our own Wynter Pitts . . .

For Girls Like You Devotional

I am so excited to discover this wonderful resource for young girls!

So you want to know what I like about it?

Okay, I’ll tell you . . .

Friendly.  Each devotional takes such a kind tone, as if talking to a younger friend. I appreciate the gentle, and yet inspiring voice in each one.

Real.  Rather than the “stuffy” approach I’ve seen some books take, this one takes a realistic view of the world we live in and the challenges that our girls can face.

Short.  These bite-sized devotions are just right for this age! Only a page, or page-and-a-half long, each one can easily be read in a short sitting.

Practical.  I appreciate the concrete, do-able challenge that is included with most every one.

Prayerful.  A small prayer is included at the end of every devotion.

Biblical.   Each devotion includes a verse – not merely “tagged on the end” – but woven very naturally into the lesson presented.

For Girls Like You

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For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens

For Girls Like You Devotional

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2015)

Tween girls have access to an unbelievable amount of media and information with just a simple click of the remote or mouse. Every outlet they turn to attempts to subtly influence their worldview…and what they believe about themselves directly affects how they live.

Wynter Pitts, founder of For Girls Like You magazine, gives girls a new devotional showing them a correct definition of themselves, opening their eyes to God’s truth and the difference it makes in their lives. Each daily devotion includes a prayer to help girls apply the lesson. ~ from The Publisher

“If you’ve wondered whether there is anything left on the planet to entertain your young beauties that promotes morals you’d approve of, look no further” –Author and speaker Priscilla Shirer

Available here:  For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens

So if you, or someone you know, has a young girl in the age-range of 8 to 12? One of those terrific tweens?

Then I can recommend this devotional as a very encouraging resource!

In His grace,

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P.S. I want to mention that For Girls Like You has a magazine for young girls – and their parents – as well.

For Girls Like You, is a ministry to young girls and their parents, that also includes a quarterly print magazine, journal, and other print and web resources. We have a passion and drive 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.  

What Every Daughter Desires to Hear from Her Mom

What every Daughter Desires To Hear From Her Mom

It’s not easy to define what success in a relationship means because relationship is a very fluid thing.

It moves and breathes.

It changes with time.

But I can tell you that my mother and I have a successful, close relationship. And I’m pretty sure this is one of the main proofs:

I’ll call her until the day she dies.

My mom and I talk as much as we can in our busy lives. When I traveled around Europe, as I prepare to move across the country—it doesn’t matter.  If we can’t talk in person, we use the phone.

You see, my mom is not just a “person” in my life. She is not just the woman who gave me birth, she is the woman who gave me life.

Because of my mom, I know I can fly. She is the first person I want to cry to and the first person who hears my good news.

So, this mother of mine asked me to write about what every daughter desires to hear from her mom.

And this is my answer—for all the women who were perfectly made to be the moms of their precious daughters:

I will listen.

It’s no secret that girls are usually talkers. We have lots to say, and even if we don’t initiate the conversation, it’s very likely we still have lots to say. If your girl is a talker: let her. If she is quiet, give her time and space to open up. Create opportunities for her to tell you the secret things.

I value you.

The power a mother has over self-esteem cannot be measured. It is limitless. Communicating and saying, I value who YOU are as a person, I value your gifts, I value who you were made to be, can change your daughter’s life. It can give strength to her soul. It will give her the strength to fly. Every girl is different. Value her, just for her.

You are my friend.

Your daughter will always have to face enemies. So make sure she knows you are her friend. Be on on her team. You are rooting for her. Include her in your life. Ask her advice. Tell her that you are going to be best friends for life. As she grows older, eventually, this can come true.

And lastly,

I love youno matter what.

Love is transcendental. Love is safety. Love is approval. Give your daughter your love. Tell her. Show her. Approve of her with your looks. If she is different than you, rejoice in her giftings. Don’t try to make her like you.

So there it is.

And mamma, you just hang in there with that little girl. We grow up. But we will always need you.

Really, you have always been the perfect thing we needed.

~ Savoury Jacobson

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