Hi TBL readers!
I have been reading a lot of books lately but none of them WRECKED me as much as Get Lost, which is a book about finding your true love by getting so lost in God. I thought that this book was only for teen girls and boy was I mistaken! I read the first couple of pages and it immediately started to challenge and convict my love-thirsting heart! Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to Dannah Gresh about Secret Keeper Girl, the Penn State Scandal and her upcoming book, "Pulling Back The Shades" and here is what she had to say:
FD: Who is Dannah Gresh in five words or less?
DG: A girl who loves God. (Chuckles) that's the shortest way to put it.
FD: What led you to start the Secret Keeper Girl Ministry?
DG: It was totally a God vision. I was sexually active at a young age which led to a series of disappointments. So when I had a nine year old girl of my own I decided to take a stand. The things we believe when we are nine affect the decisions we make when we are in our teens and adulthood. Moms know that they need help starting a conversation that is age-appropriate.
FD: Is there a story behind the name, Secret Keeper Girl?
DG: After I wrote my first book which quickly became a best seller, my husband and my publisher sat me down and said you should write about modesty and I have to tell you that that was the hardest thing for me to do because I like to shop! I like clothes and fashion so I was not excited about that idea but I said I'd pray about it. As I did, I found that a girl appearing older than she actually is one of the top five risk factors for a very early sexual debut. The name Secret Keeper came out of that first book on modesty to say that it was valued and noble to keep the secrets of your beauty to just one man. Modesty is not about being ashamed of your sexuality; it's about prizing it. Prizing it so much that it's a gift and a treasure worth keeping! So that is kind of where the name came from. We found out that the values for modesty and sexuality were formed much younger than most of us considered. If you wait until your child is 13 or 14, you've really missed it. Especially in the inner city where temptation is greater, the culture is pressing you harder and harder to grow up, it's really important to start that conversation when they are younger.
FD: Are you still residing in State College, PA?
DG: Yes, we live on a farm with horses and llamas (chuckles)
FD: While reading your book "Get Lost", I love the fact that you brought up the Penn State scandal, making your book relevant to the issues going on during our time. What is one thing that struck you about this particular story?
DG: When you are to be a virgin there is a stigma associated with that. The greatest travesty in the Sandusky Penn State scandal wasn't that there was a man who did that horrible evil thing but there were well able men who knew that he had done it, yet turned a blind eye and that's what tolerance leads us to. It brings us to a place of such complacency that we are able to tolerate things that are evil and my concern at the same time is that there is no tolerance for virginity. If you talk to a student at the Penn State campus today, who is a virgin they will tell you that they feel stigmatized and that they are often told that it's a mindless decision, the fact is that it takes a lot of willpower and character to make that choice and it's the healthiest choice too, but there is just no tolerance for that. Take for example Tim Tebow. Football player, great role model but then when it's discovered that he's a virgin there is mockingly a $1 million ransom placed and they recruit people to take his virginity. There is no respect for it. At Penn State, I have been sounding an alarm for a call to virginity. I did a TED talk last year on developing a tolerance for virginity (view the clip here--> http://bit.ly/1f9TsJm) . Not even from a Christian standpoint but from a medical point of view, we were created for monogamy which is very difficult to argue in terms of sexual chemicals and how we were designed.
FD: Tell me about your upcoming book, "Pulling Back The Shades" which is in response to the popular book, 50 shades of Gray.
DG: I was actually in Indianapolis with Priscilla Shirer and Dr. Juli Flattery and Christian women were coming up to us saying that they were reading this book, 50 shades of Gray. Priscilla invited us to a national talk show and it just struck a cord that we really needed to go deeper with it. The thing that really hurt out hearts was when one of the biggest Christian publishing companies did a survey that revealed the most read book amongst Christian women was 50 shades of gray. The church is not very good on talking about sex. Christians want to hear about sex, they want to know what God says about sexuality. So it's a very edgy book. Jesus broke the traditions of the day because He was not very tolerant of the Jewish tradition that kept Him from rescuing hearts. When He met the woman at the well, He broke many of those traditions. He spoke to a woman. A Samaritan woman. And then He talked to her about her sin. It was scandalous to talk about sexuality and sin in that day and age but he was untouchable. But He did it to rescue that woman. So Dr. Juli Flattery and I are taking our prompting from that story and the topics that Christian women have questions about today that are really taboo in the Christian field so we are going to break Christian tradition not biblical law to bring them the help they need to be rescued. We're talking about erotica, spanking, sex toys and things that the Church has shied away from. We are addressing what are the longings of her heart? What is leading her to a well of water that will never satisfy her thirst?
FD: Wow. This is going to be POWERFUL. Can't wait to get my hands on that book! When does Pulling Back The Shades come out?
DG: comes out in March of this year.
FD: Great! Looking forward to it. How many daughters do you have?
DG: I have two daughters, including one who we adopted from China. She will be touring with the SKG team and will be ministering to some of the girls one on one. I am so excited to share this opportunity with her! We had moms and daughters all over the country donating to us so we can go. There was a girl who attended a Secret Keeper Girl event and she came forward and gave her life to Christ. She heard about us coming to New York City and she wanted to help. So she did a Christmas bake sale so we could be invited to come. We raised money to buy some of our own resources to give to the Secret Keeper Girl attendees, and give away CDs from One Girl Nation. Brooklyn Tabernacle will be the first event kicking off our 10th anniversary year of Secret Keeper Girl so we are really excited!
FD: wow, praise God! That's so awesome to hear.
DG: The moms that I really want to reach out to are the single moms on very limited income, that couldn’t afford the book nor the free resources we will be giving out that night. The risk is higher for her daughter just because she doesn’t have a dad in her life and New York is the epicenter of the world!
FD: What small group resources do you have available?
DG: SKG has a series of books between moms and daughters. Research indicates that moms' fears will reduce greatly if moms have conversations about modesty, boys, friendship, and true beauty. The moms and daughters that attend our Brooklyn Tabernacle event will receive the book on friendship. It's important for girls to have the right friendships so that book will be amazing for girls to have. Several moms took these tools and had small groups and bible studies with their girls!
FD: Final question before we go, if you had the opportunity to sit with a middle school girl who is battling low self-esteem, has a poor body image, and struggling with her sexuality what would you say to her?
DG: The first thing I would say before anything is that whatever we feast, whatever we dwell on, becomes what we believe. If you're listening to Beyonce, and songs like "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me", then she is going to believe that she is not perfect. Not even the women on the cover of the magazines look like that! It shows me she has been dwelling on the wrong things.
I would ask God wisdom that would help her to dwell on God's truth, she is at the center of the battle over her soul. She is the damsel in distress! God is fighting for her and so is Satan. It's a fistfight for her beauty! But, we know satan is the father of lies and God is the Father of truth!
I would open up scripture where it says in Psalm 45:11 that God is "enthralled by your beauty". I would help her look through scripture until she has an entire list of scriptures and I would call her every day to feast on that truth. There is nothing I could say, it only matters what God can say. Slice out the lies of the enemy. Choose who you're going to cooperate with. The liar or the creator of your soul?
Thank you Dannah, for empowering us through your ministry to bridge the connection between our moms and daughters. Can't wait to see you THIS Friday January 10th!!
Moms and Daughters of New York City, we urge YOU to take a stand and be there to partake in this awesome event for both you and your precious girl. Be empowered. Grab some FREE goodies, Be encouraged. Start the uncomfortable conversation. YOU can do it! Because the enemy surely will. Let's win the fistfight for our beauty!
**the event is primarily for moms and daughters ages (7-12) but Brooklyn Tabernacle would like to extend it to all women who need to hear what God thinks about them! I will be there, will YOU? **
To register, please email your name and your daughter's name to firstname.lastname@example.org. See the picture below for more info to this FREE event!!!