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encouragement for Christian women
I must have learned the little song about “The wise man built his house upon the rock…” (complete with hand motions) way back in my Sunday school days. It’s so familiar that we can (at least I can) miss some very important details. It comes at the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Let me repeat the text here for reference:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
The first thing to notice is that Jesus is using this metaphor of the two houses to describe two kinds of people: those who hear Him and do what He says, and those who hear Him and and do not do what He says. Our first question ought to be, “Hear Him say what?” Since this passage comes at the end of His Sermon on the Mount, it is safe to say it applies to the whole thing. If we hear the words of His sermon and do them, we are building a rock-solid house. If we hear the words and brush them off, we are putting ourselves in a mighty dangerous position. Continue reading ‘Two Houses’
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her
So today is Valentine’s Day and I wanted to write a little something on the topic of married love. That time when you were first falling in love was a very heady time. Chances are good that if you are a few years out from that, and have kids, and life has somewhat eclipsed your romance, that you are not currently in a phase where your husband calling you makes your heart race. In fact, you may even answer the phone with a complaint about your day, a comment about something he forgot to do, or just something incredibly mundane. Truthfully, things could be at a point where you are seeing him as an extra chore on your list. Maybe when you see your husband you see the things you wish he was doing, a life you wish you had, or a long list of failed expectations.
I was chatting with a friend the other day about abortion- specifically those videos that go around on Facebook. She was feeling tremendously frustrated because while these videos will make all of us cry and feel angry, they seem to make pro-choice people simply dig their heels in. The complete blindness to the obvious personhood of babies can be horrifyingly frustrating. Knowing that she and I are not the only two Christian women who find this whole issue overwhelming and frustrating, I thought I’d share with you all some of the things that have helped me process it.
First of all, and this can not be overemphasized, the whole discussion is not about arguments. The world does not need one really good argument, but it really does need good news. They do not need new evidence for the personhood of the unborn, they need new hearts. They do not need to see the baby as it is, they need to not be blinded by sin. So while it is not pointless to be sharing these things – the reason that it is important is because it is important to be declaring the Gospel. One part of the Gospel is the reality and depth of our sin. One part of the Gospel is the freedom of forgiveness. One part of the Gospel is transformation of darkness to light, hopelessness to hope, sorrow to laughter, filth to righteousness. So in as much as these things are declaring some part or all of this – they are a Gospel declaration and well worth doing. And they may very well fall on deaf ears – but it isn’t an intellectual argument. The argument isn’t for the ears, it is asking God to move in hearts. God tells us to declare His word, His gospel, His son – and when we do He uses that on the hearts of those who hear. It is His ordained means of saving people, and it is different than the means we would have chosen. Continue reading ‘Let it Rise.’
Have you ever noticed that when people self-describe they’re almost universally wrong?
Well ok, perhaps I’m being a bit pessimistic with “almost universally.” Suppose we re-phrase that into something a little less off-puttingly negative. I’m going to take another stab at it, and this time I’ll be much more encouraging and optimistic.
Have you ever noticed that when people self-describe they’re very often wrong? (I think that was much more delicately and tactfully phrased.)
I don’t mean when people say things like, “I just finished reading a book on gardening,” (which I did, coincidentally) or “I cleaned the bathroom today,” (which I ought to have), but more when they say things like, “I’m just a really ___________ kind of person.”
This can manifest itself in anyone from the marriage counselor who’s had 4 divorces (“Seriously! I’m an expert on this! Let me offer you some life-coaching!”) down to the lovely and well-meaning woman who always brings that rather revolting casserole to church potlucks because she’s convinced that it’s her specialty. (“I just knew that everyone would be so disappointed if I didn’t bring my famous Nevada Pie with extra kidney beans!”) And then of course everyone at the potluck takes a helping because no one wants to hurt her feelings, and mothers plop a serving onto their offended childrens’ plates while shooting them That Warning Look . . . and the poor deluded woman goes home perfectly satisfied in the knowledge that her Nevada Pie is treasured and loved.
I’ll never forget the man who announced that he was the “musically gifted brother” in the congregation, Continue reading ‘Curlers (and stuff)’
If you have seen much or any of my writing, I think you know that I am no stranger to messes. My children are specialists. I told my husband recently that I think I need a ref’s shirt and a whistle because that seems to be my main job these days. Throwing penalty flags for dress-ups on the stairs. Trying to stop myself from just clearing the table, wiping up the milk, picking up socks, and trying to actually track down the child responsible so that they might learn the rules of play.
But sometimes I think that the emphasis I put on dealing joyfully with mess and mayhem may lead people to believe that I just dig dust bunnies and static-filled sweatpants. And I don’t. But I guess I would rather people erroneously think that of me than have me glue a veneer of togetherness on my very real and gritty lifestyle, and then talk about how everyone should be joyful. I could, in theory, take a picture of a clean, light-filled place in my house and make it seem like we never have finger smudges and random bloody noses. Maybe I could make it look like my three-year-old never shows up in inside-out tights as pants and like I never let that happen for two hours before I find her jeans. If this is what women are looking for, there are whole worlds on Pinterest devoted to this, and they certainly don’t need me to provide it. And since the real message that I care about is joy and faithfulness, I think it would be counterproductive to try to make it look like I always have the perfect circumstances for that kind of joy. Well I don’t, and neither do you. Continue reading ‘Joy Farmers’