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Kia Stephens

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February 14, 2017

3 Things To Remember When You Don’t Feel Loved on Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2017 | By | 4 Comments

No  flowers

No Chocolates

No Man

When our romanticized view of Valentine’s Day meets reality we may be tempted to treat this holiday as just another day.  Whether married or single we may find ourselves wanting to stay in bed, gorge on candy and binge on Netflix.  After all, this day is often salt poured into an already open and unhealed wound.  

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Kia Stephens

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January 14, 2017

3 Reasons Women Can Embrace the “S” Word

January 14, 2017 | By | 21 Comments

“If he can lead me then lead me, but if he can’t . . . then I’ll walk all over him,” a popular music artist said in a radio interview.  She said this to the applause of men and women in the room.   Her statement came across as harsh, but I understood where she was coming from.

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Kia Stephens

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October 18, 2016

Dating & Daddyless Daughters Live Stream Hangout

October 18, 2016 | By | No Comments

In this intimate live stream hangout with Tiffany Wilson of www.tiffytalks.com we talked about how fathers impact the decisions we make in our dating relationships.

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Kia Stephens

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February 1, 2016

The Truth About Self-Hatred

February 1, 2016 | By | 2 Comments

“I was teased growing up,” I began.  “For three years, male and female tweens talked about the size of my nose, the color of my skin, my skinny legs, and non existent breast,” I continued.  Initially, I had no intentions of divulging my adolescent tale of woe with the fourth and fifth grade mentees, but I deemed it necessary.

Just before my comments the girls viewed a PowerPoint presentation of women thought of as beautiful:  Beyonce, Rihanna, Ciara, and then Lupita Nyong’o.  The immediate response to Lupita’s image was one of disdain. She was dark and her hair was short.

“She’s bald headed,” one said.  Another described her as, “Black.” Even though her features mirrored several of the girls in the room, she was harshly criticized.  Before I knew it an indignation rose in me.  I had to speak.

I had to speak because I knew somewhere in that crowd of estrogen was a girl who felt just as I did when I was her age.  She needed an advocate, someone to stand up and say you are beautiful.  She needed someone to teach her how to love herself.  

The effects of self hatred and low self-esteem are subtle: slowly infiltrating our psyche until we don’t even notice it.  Constantly, we are bombarded with a barrage of images dictating what beauty is and is not. Air brushed women with hair and wardrobe stylist, personal makeup artist and plastic surgery are touted as the world’s standard of beauty.  And I’ll be the first to say I have believed the lie, often enduring a torture filled regiment of hair straightening, face painting, eyebrow plucking, and spanx (need I say more).  

I do this in an attempt to reach the ever rising beauty bar.  If I didn’t straighten, paint,  pluck or squeeze my appearance would be drastically different.  In my purest state I’d have bushy eyebrows, uneven skin, a protruding belly, and a rather large afro.  This image will never meet the societal standard of beauty, but it does meet God’s.  

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Kia Stephens

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November 10, 2015

How a Woman’s Clothing Impacts a Man Part II

November 10, 2015 | By | 10 Comments

Every man in the room watched her walk past.  She had legs that reached the ceiling, weave that touched the floor, heels about 3 ½  inches high, and a mini dress that hugged her frame like saran wrap.  Something in me cringed because two of the men with their eyes fixated on this women were married.

This is shocking but oh so common, maybe even accepted as manly behavior.  “A man is going to be a man,” some say.  I have even noticed the wandering eye of men out with their wives, who take a second sometimes third and fourth look at another woman.  

Maybe you have seen it too, or been on the receiving end as the woman looked at or the one ignored. In their book Every Man’s Battle, authors Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey call it “visual foreplay”. In their chapter on “Just By Being Male” they had the following to say about visual stimulation.

Our eyes give men the means to sin broadly and at will.  We don’t need a date or a mistress.  We don’t ever need to wait.  We have our eyes and can draw sexual gratification through them at any time.  We’re turned on by female nudity in any way, shape, or form.

They go on to say, “. . . For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay. . .  Just like stroking an inner thigh or rubbing a breast.  Because foreplay is any sexual action that naturally takes us down the road to intercourse.

Maybe this is why Jesus himself said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5: 28 (NIV)

Yet, even with this widely known understanding about men, why is it that sexually provocative clothing is more and more readily accepted and prevalent?  I would argue that there is a symbiotic relationship between the man who looks, and the woman who desires to get attention for her appearance.

She is getting a need met too.  The woman receives affirmation and the man receives visual stimulation.  This is otherwise known as lust.  But lust is never satisfied; it always demands more, leaving the partaker empty.  

As a result the clothes get tighter.  The skirts get shorter.  And more skin is revealed until there is another exchange.

 

A glance

A smile

A catcall

A number

Existing in her heart is a gnawing fear that if she is no longer considered attractive, she will decrease in value.  So she works diligently to maintain her sexy image because every woman is a competitor and every man a conquest.  This occurs all while the gaping wound in her soul widens.

Instead of dealing with the root cause of her actions she masks them by focusing on how she looks.  Appearing seductive on the outside but broken on the inside, she finds herself stuck in a vicious cycle.  Many times her wounds have been created by the physical and emotional absence of her father.  

So what is the solution?  How can a woman who has grown dependent on external validation from men ever change?  The answer is she must make a conscious choice: every second, minute, and hour of the day to be affirmed by God.

One of my absolute favorite stories in the Bible is that of Jesus and the woman at the well.    The Bible does not speak of this woman’s wounded state, but it does mention her history.  She had been married five times and with a man who was not her husband at the time she met Jesus.

I imagine after five marriages with five different men one would have accumulated some wounds.  In fact, she was probably already wounded prior to her first marriage.  Searching for something in the arms of each subsequent man, she was not satisfied and Jesus knew it.

Instead of speaking to her natural thirst He spoke to the thirst in her soul.If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”   John 4: 10 (NIV)

It is this same thirst for validation He seeks to quench in the heart of every woman.  

 

How a Woman's Clothing Impacts a Man Part II Meme 1

Through His word God offers us an endless supply of deep soul satisfying affirmation.  It is not based on anything we wear or don’t wear.  God’s affirmation is given freely because of who we are in Him.  

How a Woman's Clothing Impacts a Man Part 2 Meme 3

 

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Kia Stephens

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November 1, 2015

How a Woman’s Clothing Impacts a Man

November 1, 2015 | By | 10 Comments

Skin tight skinnies, low neck lines, and shirts that rival lingerie entice us. We are lured into apparel stores like flies to raw meat by magazines that tout pencil thin cover models with seductive eyes and parted lips. The message they overtly communicate is, “Women must be sexy.”

And even though we know it’s a lie we believe it as we squeeze our size 8 body into some size 6 pants.  We can’t be outdone by the woman next to us; risking the possibility of seeming average.  So we show a little leg, buy a taller heel, and put some Spanx on that belly in order to replicate what society tells us is desirable.

When will it end?  Or will we constantly find ourselves trying to outdo ourselves in a battle we are going to eventually lose.  Age, pregnancy, and the stress of life create the perfect storm on a woman’s body.  Thus leaving us with a mere memory of our 20 something figure.

Like walls closing in we feel the ever encroaching pressure to keep our appearance up.  We attempt to halt the inevitable aging process from happening all the while younger and more fit versions of the female form parade around in clothes that leave little to the imagination. Whether on television, social media, or the grocery store there are those who showcase themselves in front of us, our sons and our husbands.

Recently, I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across yet another scantily clad woman.   It wasn’t just her clothing but, the front and back pose along with her greased up body that was so shocking.  Part of me has become slightly anesthetized to the ever increasing nudity of women but this time was different.  I knew her.

“Whaaaaat?!!! Does she really have her behind out there like that?,” I thought but didn’t say.  And so in response I did what any good Facebook stalker would do and looked at her likes and comments. As you could imagine there were many.  

One brave woman complimented her physique right before she cautioned her about putting her body on display and challenged her to consider the impact her nakedness had on men.  In this oversexed society where men rape, molest, are addicted to pornography, and cheat on their wives, I agreed with her statement.   

As I continued to scroll down I saw two counters to her argument.  In short they basically said it was not the responsibility of the woman to monitor what she wears, but the responsibility of the man to “control his lust”.  Additionally one of the replies added the all too familiar argument that Christians should not judge other people.  

So the question becomes, whose responsibility is it?  Should the woman monitor what she wears or the man monitor what he sees.  I think there is a responsibility on both sides but for the sake of this blog post I will only address the women.

As a girl who grew up without her dad I was on the prowl for male attention.  I learned early on that I could get affirmation based on my outward appearance.  And so I have been the younger partially clothed female before. In his book, Always a Daddy’s Girl, H. Norman Wright had this to say about a woman.

It is from her father that a girl needs to know that she is attractive, that her conversation is interesting and that her creativity is worthwhile. If her father applauds her mental and spiritual attributes during her formative years, she will learn not to rely solely on shallow qualities like sex appeal to attract men as an adult.  Affirmation from her father in proper doses will convince her that she is an important person, not a sex object.

Single Daughters & Silent Fathers Meme 5

Women are more than what is between our legs, but our clothing is the billboard that can communicate otherwise.  Now I am not saying that my barely clothed Facebook friend was looking for male affirmation, but she did have the appearance of a sex object.  Since men are visual, we  as women have to determine how we want to present ourselves.

We live in a “don’t tell me what to do” society.  Very few women welcome a rebuke regarding their clothing but God does have an opinion on the matter.  In Philippians 2:3-4 it says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

How a Woman's Clothing Impacts a Man Meme 2

This doesn’t mean walk around in a house robe, but it does mean if I am a Christian God wants me to examine my motives for what I choose to wear. Ouch!  I, just like the next woman,  love a good pair of leggings hugging my curves but in light of Paul’s comments I need to ask myself a few questions before slipping into some.

Is my reason for wearing this selfish?

Am I being vain or conceited?

Am I looking to my own interest or those of others?

This is an individual evaluation although Christ does admonish older women to teach the younger women.  I believe this is what the commentator was attempting to do even though it was not well received. The message she was trying to communicate is the absolute heart of this blog post.  

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Kia Stephens

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October 18, 2015

Single Daughters & Silent Fathers

October 18, 2015 | By | 6 Comments

Below you will find the books, blogs and references discussed in the interview.

The Interview was inspired by the post Avoid This Pitfall Before You Say I Do.

This post addressed the three truths below.  For each truth I referenced a blog post that dealt with those areas.

TRUTH # 1: MY HUSBAND IS NOT MY FATHER

Related Blog Post

Why Growing Up Fatherless Does Not Define Me

True Confessions of a Recovering HATER Series

3 Lessons Learned From a Father’s Rejection

Book Reference

 Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson

Captivating:  Unveiling the Mysteries of a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge

TRUTH #2:  I MUST FORGIVE MY DAD OR IT WILL IMPACT MY MARITAL RELATIONSHIP

Related Blog Post

Why I Forgave My Daddy

6 Steps to Writing a Forgiveness Letter

Book Reference

 Always Daddy’s Girl by H. Norman Wright

TRUTH # 3:  I MUST LOOK TO GOD TO MEET MY NEEDS AND NOT MY HUSBAND

Related Blog Post

How Fathers Affect Our View of God

Why I Made The Father Swap

Types of Fatherlessness

The statistics I quoted were taken from the National Fatherhood Initiative.

The three ways a woman is fatherless came from Iyanla Vanzant on Oprah Winfrey’s Life Class on Daddylessdaughters.

Behaviors of Women Who Grew Up Without the Love and Affirmation of Their Fathers

  • Promiscuity

The quote referenced from Dr. Steve Perry came from Oprah Winfrey’s Life Class on Daddylessdaughters.

Related Blog Post

7 Reasons Why a Sex Act Won’t Soothe a Love Ache

Message Series

 The New Rules of Love Sex and Dating by Andy Stanley

Book Reference

The New Rules of Love Sex and Dating by Andy Stanley

  • Low Self Esteem/ The Uns /Insecurity/ Neediness

The 7 “Uns” of Daddyless Daughter Oprah Winfrey’s Daddyless Daughter Lifeclass

Book Reference

Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl:  The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women by: Jonetta Rose Barras

So Long Insecurity by: Beth Moore

Related Blog Post

Why Growing Up Fatherless Does Not Define Me

3 Reasons Why Women Need to Talk About Being Fatherless

  • Fear

Book Reference

Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl:  The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women by: Jonetta Rose Barras

Related Blog Post

Why Growing Up Fatherless Does Not Define Me

  • Anger / Rage / Resentment

Related Blog Post

Avoid this Pitfall Before You Say I Do

3 Lessons Learned From A Father’s Rejection

6 steps to Writing a Forgiveness Letter

Book Reference

Beauty For Ashes by: Joyce Meyers

  • Non-sexual Relationships With Men

Book Reference

 Always Daddy’s Girl by H. Norman Wright

Suggestions For Single Daughters Who Had Absent Fathers

1.  Start With God

Related Blog Post

How Fathers Affect Our View of God

–  Salvation

– Considering Christ

– Time With God

– Know God as Father

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

2. Grieve

“. . . A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV)

Related Blog Post

6 steps to Writing a Forgiveness Letter

3 Lessons Learned From A Father’s Rejection

3. Forgive

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Mathew 6:14 (NIV)

– Forgive Yourself

-Forgive Your Dad

Related Blog Post

6 steps to Writing a Forgiveness Letter

Why I Forgave My Daddy

3. Educate Yourself

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver! Proverbs 16:16 (NIV)

Books

– Webisodes

4.  Actively Pursue Health

Two are better than one,  because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9- 10 (NIV)

Counseling 

– Small Groups

– Support Groups

5. Renew Your Mind & Embrace Truth

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12: 2 (NIV)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10: 5 (NIV)

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Celita Williams

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October 12, 2015

How Fathers Impact Gender Identity

October 12, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

This is for the female
That seemed to have a little more male than fe
When it came to the word she
She had a just a little less of the “s”
And a little more of the “h” and the “e”
This is for the woman that was a little more sour than sweet
This is for the woman I used to know
The woman I used to be
This is for the woman in me

When I was a child I quickly learned what I liked and did not like.  I knew very early on that I liked to play outside, ride my bike, play basketball, and explore the world (or neighborhood) around me on my own terms.  I also knew that I did not like wearing dresses, playing dress up, playing with dolls or confining myself to someone else’s idea of fun or appropriate “girly” mannerisms.

What I was discovering was so much more than just being a tomboy.  So much more than just being the sporty girl in a crowd full of pink bows and frills.  As I aged, the “girly” gap between me and the other females around me only grew larger.  Their seemingly innate feminine maturity increasingly outweighed my own and I realized that this is not something I could just grow out of…this is something I would have to work through for the rest of my life.

My struggle was for an appropriate identity at the root of my core self.  My identity as female did not feel comfortable or appropriate well into adulthood.  This is not the classic story of a little tomboy that grew out of her “boyish” ways, but the, nowadays, all too familiar story of what seemed like a little boy trapped in a girls’ body.  The main point of this post is not to make any sort of political stance one way or another about gender identity and what any one person should do when wrestling those feelings, but the point of this post is to highlight just how influential the words of others can be when navigating a personal crisis – especially the words of a father.

How Fathers Impact Gender Identity Meme 2

I experienced all the taunts that one would expect “She talks like a boy, she walks like a boy, shoot she even claps like a boy!” OR “When are you going to grow out of this phase (speaking to an 18-year-old me)?”  But the most painful and confusing taunt of all was not from friends or church members or family, but from my father.

With a big smile on his face, a little chuckle under his words, and while addressing both my sister and I, my father once said, “God gave me just what I wanted…a daughter and a son!”

On the inside I sank.

On the inside I felt a sharp pain shoot through my stomach.

It was as if the wind had been knocked out of me.

Even if the church member said I acted “like” a boy, or the stranger often mistook me for a boy (with my short hair and baggy clothes), and even, EVEN if I preferred to carry myself in a manner consistent with “boy-dom” because that is how I felt comfortable for the moment.  ALL of that could have been overcome and redeemed with a fundamentally communicated understanding and unwavering stance from my father that I was always his little girl.

My countenance
I wished never gave away anything
Except don’t play with me
Thinking
That I had played everyone else successfully
But in the process I played myself
Because I carried myself like a dude
A homey
But inwardly, secretly
I wished that somebody
Would treat me like a lady

His words are forever ingrained in my psyche.  It is his words that had the power to propel me into the femininity that I had shoved aside.  Now don’t get me wrong, my father and I have an amazing relationship today and he has expressed repeatedly that he is pleased with the woman that I have become, but this does not change the fact that the words of a father play a powerful role in a daughter’s image of herself and her level of core confidence.

As I entered adulthood and my battles with my identity only became more confusing I had to learn to put aside the words of my earthly father in exchange for the words of my heavenly Father.  Zephaniah 3:17 “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

My heavenly Father delights in me, He calms me, He sings over me with joyful songs…He accepts me. How Fathers Impact Gender Identity Meme 3

It was in this understanding of His acceptance, and the level of acceptance I eventually saw demonstrated in His followers, that gave me the confidence to begin exploring what femininity looked like for me.  No, it did not look like my female friends growing up, and it did not look like my girlfriends’ in college, but there was a version of womanhood that I could embrace once I had a safe space wherein I could search.  Today I am not without my inner battles or occasional thoughts that my version of “female” is just not “female” enough, but even still the woMAN in me could become the WOman in me once I found the healing, accepting, and comforting words of a Father.

How Fathers Impact Gender Identity Meme 4

I Opened up the scars and hurt spots for someone I trusted to see
Someone who loved me
That first someone being God
So I could be touched and felt and experience proper healing
That last someone being people
Those true friends
That weren’t turned away when being exposed to the ugly
And therefore they became part of the discovery
As I found the woman beneath the layers
The beauty queen

And I’m not only talking about the shape of my body solely
Or the clothing
But the character built and the confidence established
That allowed me to allow others to know me
This is for the woman
If any
Who are feelin’ me

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Kia Stephens

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June 29, 2015

4 Lessons Learned From Jesus and the Prostitute

June 29, 2015 | By | 12 Comments

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been judgmental. I have formed opinions about women based on their clothes, amount of skin revealed,  number of tattoos, you name it; I’ve judged it.  It sounds bad coming from a professed Christian, but the subject matter compels me to be painfully honest.

My periodic perceived superiority over “women like that” has kept me filled with pride, unable to get the catastrophic plank out of my own eye.  I spent my life drawing the line of demarcation between them and me.  This all changed one Monday morning in February as I sat stuck in rush hour traffic.

This article is featured at Gentlemenhood.  Click here to read the rest of this post.

 

Gentlementhood

 

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Kia Stephens

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March 18, 2015

How I Found God In a Toy Bin

March 18, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

Mornings looked like a hurricane on steroids as I scrambled to get my two little lightning bolts out the door.  I left no room for unexpected occurrences: sudden potty trips, lost keys, and temper tantrums (Argh!).  Ashamedly, I was notorious for not preparing the night before.

On one of those nights, my three year old conveniently lost the match  to his only decent pair of tennis shoes.    In hopes of avoiding the predictable morning mayhem, I looked everywhere  –  at least twice.  Fumes spewed out of my nostrils and left a smoky  path throughout the house.  

This week I am being featured at God – Sized Dreams.  Click here to read the rest of the post. 

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