A Woman of the Word

Painted in WaterlogueOne of my greatest desires, besides being a godly wife to Grant and mother to my girls, is to be a woman who knows and loves the Word of God. Without nourishment from God’s Word, my soul dries up and I cannot be the woman, much less the wife and mom or friend that God intended me to be. His Word is life. 

In Psalm 119:97, David says, “Oh how I love your law, it is my meditation all the day!”

As my daily schedule has gotten busier with a three year old and a one year old, I’ve had to figure out how to make my time with the Lord a priority while also remembering that God knows my heart and He is the One who called me to this task of motherhood.

What I’ve realized is that there is usually always time in my day to spend in His Word. It’s not always the time I would choose or as long as I would like,but God is faithful to provide the time I need even though it often means doing the next pile of laundry tomorrow or refusing to waste time doing something else.

And time with the Lord never disappoints. It’s life-giving, soul-stirring, humbling, convicting, encouraging…and with the Psalmist I find myself saying, Oh, how I love Your law!

I wanted to share here a post I wrote for True Woman on what the Lord is teaching me about making time to spend in His Word. This post is geared for moms of very little ones. Children who aren’t quite old enough be trained to quietly stay in their rooms or wait on breakfast and who still need a diaper change. I hope it encourages you!

I have also found this Bible from John MacArthur to be very helpful for keeping on track with daily Bible reading during busy times (along with my study Bible).

Lastly, I wanted to encourage you to join me for Women of the Word Month!

During the month of July, Crossway.org will be hosting Women of the Word Month—a 31-day online campaign designed to encourage women to get in the Word and stay in the Word during the busy days of summer.

Timed with the publication of two important new resources from Crossway—Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin and the ESV Women’s Devotional Bible—the campaign will feature a daily email devotional, as well as practical blog posts and weekly video interviews with gifted Bible teachers. Contributors include Jen Wilkin, Kathy Keller, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Gloria Furman, Paul David Tripp, Kristyn Getty, and more.

(via CBMWKaris)

 

If you are looking for some helpful ways to get in the Word and stay in the Word this summer, sign up and read more about it here. 

Refreshing the Heart (for mothers)

10359490_684110944995510_6110077445047188887_nMy mom is teaching a conference today: Refreshing the Heart (for mothers).

When it comes to mothering, my heart always welcomes refreshment!

And the only true refreshment comes from God’s Word, which I know my mom will be faithfully teaching today.

I wish I could be there but I am thankful that technology allows me to watch it from right where I am.

Here is the schedule:

1st session (9am EST): Refreshing Our Perspective

2nd session: Captivating Their Hearts

(Coffee break – screen will be blank during this time)

3rd session: Receiving His Blessing (and dealing with our mistakes)

4th session: Walking with Him, Faith in the Everyday Moments

(Sessions will end at lunch).

Watch LIVE http://www.cbcofbeaufort.org

 

Our weekly radio program, Mothering from the Heart, is on break for the summer. You can “like” the Mothering from the Heart Facebook page for frequent updates and information regarding when we will be back live again. 

Some #Good News

full_1402439301

 

CBMW and Desiring God have teamed up to provide a new ebook {Good}, available for FREE download here.

After God’s creation recorded in the book of Genesis, He used one word to describe His glorious handiwork, “good.”

And that is just what God’s design for male and female is . . .nothing short of good.

Grant and I were excited to contribute a chapter on purity.

Don’t miss John Piper’s beautiful foreword. It’s an encouraging read for my generation.

Christian complementarity is the conviction that God created men and women as his image-bearers — equal in dignity and distinct in role.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Scripture’s distinctive roles for men and women are not the cultural fads of a bygone era, but integral aspects of God’s good design for humanity, and therefore integral aspects toward humanity’s end — to glorify God by enjoying him forever.

 

 

 

College Girl: Part 3

Painted in Waterlogue

This is the 3rd post in a series for high school and college girls. You can find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

 

“He looks like a Greek god,” my newly made college girlfriend leaned over and whispered in my ear. We were in a packed room of students at a campus ministry event. It was the first week of classes, which meant it was the first week of everything under the sun. Every college group on campus was holding events with lots of free food, vying for the attention of all the new and impressionable freshmen. For many of them, college meant ultimate freedom. No rules, just a vast sea of possibilities. There was an excitement in the air, and I felt it too. I wanted to get involved in campus life. I wanted to make new friends. I wanted to meet students who had a genuine love for the Lord.

 

My first week in college would be the beginning of friendships with students who loved the Lord. Not because their parents made them go to church or because they were playing a religious game, but out of their genuine love for Christ. This aspect of college would turn out to be one of the things I loved most about my time at Clemson – the friendships I made with fellow believers. As I look back on that time, I’m more convinced than ever that college is a time that reveals the true character of young men and women. Elisabeth Elliot when reflecting back on her college days at Wheaton said, “There is no better place than the college campus to observe what a man or woman is made of.” High school students who were only involved in church or youth group because they had to be would either be awakened to their spiritual apathy or they would slowly drift away. There was no one to hide behind. Decisions about where one stood on all issues of faith and morality would be tested. And while the “Bible belt” was still full of those who went to church on Sunday but forgot His name during the week, college was a testing ground for the young. This I would come to understand as my own faith was put to the test.

 

Growing up in a ministry home, I’d already experienced a little of the cost that comes with following Christ. Even though I had some great friendships, I often felt on the outside because I was the “pastor’s kid.” But I think this is also true for the high school student in the public or private school who is living for Jesus. It’s not so much about being a “PK” as it is about being a true son or daughter of Christ. All of us face moments or even lifelong trials where identification with Jesus alienates us. Jesus said, A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20).” I’m often reminded even now that these brief moments of suffering or alienation are offered up to the One who “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all (Romans 8:32).”

 

ClemsonThe young person who has their hope set on Jesus has an anchor that holds strong in the face of temptation. He or she doesn’t have to crumble or give in to the enticements of the world. But no one, including the college student, can live the Christian life in isolation. For me, the college campus would be a place where I would bond with other believers and make friendships that pointed me toward Christ.

 

“Greek god? ” her words took me off guard. We were at a Christian college gathering after all! My eyes began searching the crowd. “Right there, see him!” Oh I saw him now. I wonder what kind of guy he is? I found myself thinking. As my mind drifted, the speaker at the event came up and asked us to pull out our Bibles. I spent the next hour vigorously taking notes, my heart filling up with gratitude that I’d already found a place I felt I belonged.

 

to be continued…

Personal Reflection Questions

(below)

CGQuestionsPt3 

When My Children Don’t Obey

Painted in WaterlogueI spend my days teaching a three year old and a one year old.

“Say, ‘Yes Ma’am.’”

“Honey, hold my hand.”

“Don’t whine. Mommy doesn’t respond to whining.”

We work on listening, sharing, being sweet, and first time obedience around here. No, I don’t count to three (“Oneeeee, twooooo, I’m almost to three!”). But I’ve had my share of repeating a command three times, so I might as well have been counting.

My heart has been overjoyed by the sweetness and love from my little girls.

“Mom, I love you so much. You’re my mother.”

“Mom, I obey.”

“Here you go, Evie,  you can play with it.”

And my heart has been overwhelmed and frustrated by bickering, delayed obedience, and whiny attitudes.

Some days are smooth sailing, and others are like charting through rough waters.

In all of these moments, I long for obedient children. Who doesn’t?

Obedient children are like fresh produce in a well tended garden.

They are joy (Proverbs 15:20).

But as much as I desire my children to obey me the first time I call, I want to always long for heart change even more.

I want to teach them the Gospel every. single. day.

“Honey, you are a sinner, that’s why it’s hard for you to obey. But Jesus came to die for sin. He died for Mommy’s sin.”

Because real fruit  is more than “Yes ma’am and No sir.” It goes much deeper than that.

It’s a heart that’s been completely changed by God. A heart that loves God. And even a young child can begin to understand what that means.

My three and one year old don’t comprehend the Gospel. But every time I teach them the importance of “Obeying Mommy,” I want to pray just as earnestly that one day they will.

That one day they will understand that Someone obeyed perfectly for all the times they did not.

That Someone never showed disrespect to His Mommy, was unkind to His sister, and He always obeyed the first time.

My children need rules. They need to understand there are consequences for sinful actions. They need the Law.

Because it is the Law that drives us to grace (Gal 3:24).

Generally speaking, the Law is when Scripture says “Do,” and the Gospel is when Scripture says “Done.”

It is the Law that shows me my failure, my selfishness, and my inability to love God from a pure heart.

It is the Law that drives me to the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

And it is the Law, as I stand on grace, that helps me to become more like Christ.

I obey the Law because my heart and soul believe the Gospel.

Without the Law, I wouldn’t understand how beautiful the Good News is.

We used to sing a song in Sunday School growing up,

Painted in Waterlogue

My girls

Good News! Good News! 

Christ died for me,

Good News! Good News! 

If I believe,

Good News! Good News!

I’m saved eternally,

That’s wonderful, extra, Good News!

Tomorrow, I will teach my children to obey. I will tell them what the Bible says is right and wrong. But then I will share the Gospel with them.

And even in the hardest of moments, that’s wonderful, extra, good news.

 

Top photo courtesy of my dear friend, Amy Grimme.

 

 

 

CBMW Conference Videos

Image For those of you who appreciate the ministry of The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, the videos of the entire conference are now available on CBMW’s website! I am very grateful for this organization and I hope you will find these videos encouraging and clarifying to your own understanding of manhood and womanhood. Here are a few words regarding the conference from CBMW’s Executive Director, Owen Strachan:

We recently held our first CBMW National Conference in conjunction with the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. We wanted to present an event that would be gospel-focused, positive, and exciting.

These were our starting points, but we honestly didn’t know what to expect. We thought that we might have 500 people. Then people started signing up, and kept signing up. So we went back to the book publishers that were among our event sponsors and asked them to greatly increase the amount of books that they were giving, and they did. Then even more people signed up, so we went back to the publishers one more time, and they were gracious to give even more books. Finally the day of the conference came, and God brought close to 1,500 people. We sold every single seat and then several dozen “standing room only” seats. Wow!

We decided that we would feature an unusual format for these talks. They would be short, sharp, and “TED”-like, long enough to argue a point, but short enough to progress through an extremely gifted platform of speakers in a short amount of time. We hope these videos will not only enrich your life, but that you share them with many others as well (feel free to host 1-2 on your site and direct folks to this page for the full treasure trove). Thanks again for your interest.

Please note, by the way, that we are able to make this content available for free thanks to the generous gift of complementarian churches, organizations, and individuals. We would love your support of our ongoing work to provide gospel-driven resources to God’s people.

Also: keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming eBook we at CBMW are doing with the good folks at Desiring God Ministries. We’re really, really excited about this project!

IMG_5807I moderated a women’s panel at the conference and had the privilege of hearing first hand from Candice Watters, Kristie Anyabwile, Melissa Kruger, Trillia Newbell, and Jodi Ware. I have included our panel discussion below. You can find the remaining talks given by Dr. Ligon Duncan, Dr. Russell Moore, Kevin DeYoung, Eric Mason, Dr. John Piper, Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Dr. David Platt here.    

Dear Brothers, Please Keep Singing

It’s Friday. The start of the weekend and the end of an incredibly encouraging week at Together for the Gospel. “T4G” is a conference geared for pastors that began in 2006 in Louisville, KY and is held biannually. Grant attended 2 years ago, right before our big move to Louisville for him to attend Southern Seminary. The first thing Grant said to me when he got back from T4G last time was, “I want you to come with me next time.”

When the conference was approaching this year, Grant did all the planning to make sure I would be there, “Call your mom, see if she can come in April to watch the girls. If she can’t, I’m calling my mom.”

If it weren’t for his persistence in inviting me and telling me how much he wanted to make this past week a priority, I can honestly tell you I would have said, “Just go, Grant. I will watch online.”

As I reflect over the past week, I feel a deep weight of gratitude for not just my husband, but the godly men I heard teach and lead us this week.

CBMW held a pre-conference the morning before T4G started. Grant is the Conference Director for CBMW and we originally planned for around 200-300 attendees. We were shocked when we sold out at 1300 seats. We then sold another 100 standing room only tickets.

I was blessed by Ligon Duncan, Danny Akin, John Piper, Russ Moore and others who faithfully taught about God’s design for men and women. I also had the privilege of moderating a women’s panel of wives, moms, and a grandmother. After the conference, the women on the panel, myself included, received such positive encouragement from the men who were present in the room, “Thank you so much.”

It meant a lot to me and I’m sure to the other women as well. I couldn’t help but think what a beautiful picture it was of men building their sisters up for the glory of God’s Kingdom.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetAround 8,000 people attended T4G, the majority of them male since it was a pastor’s conference (there were almost 900 wives in attendance). One of the things I loved most about the conference was hearing thousands of men lift their voices in worship to the Lord. There were many songs I didn’t sing because I just wanted to listen to the deep reverberating voices all around me. How grateful I was to hear them.

I pray we will always hear them.

I know that many of these pastors are laboring for the Gospel week in and week out.  Some in large churches, some in small. Some young, some in training, some who have faithfully served for years on end.

Hearing the pastors who preached the Word during the main sessions was equally encouraging. A couple of the pastors who preached I have been listening to since I was a teenager.

Faithful men. Unashamed.

It seems that lately (though I know it has always been this way), godly men have been viscously criticized and torn down for standing by the truth of God’s Word. Sometimes by men. And oftentimes by women.

But how grateful I was to hear them praying. To learn from their preaching. To benefit from their faithfulness.

Dear men of God, please keep speaking up. Please keep preaching.

Your sisters in Christ need you.

We may not always be the loudest voices out there. But we are here. We want to listen. And we are right here praying you’ll keep singing.

 

The messages preached at T4G are now available here.

The videos from CBMW’s pre-conference will be available on their website within a week or two.

You may also purchase T4G worship from previous conferences here.

College Girl

Painted in WaterlogueThere has been a bit of a hiatus with my College Girl series, I know. I’ve decided to write ahead as much as I can so I know where I’m going as I post. Grant is the one who encouraged me to do this and I’m really glad. So, there will be a bit of a delay as I continue writing, but I am still writing. And Lord willing, will post more frequently once I get more of it finished!

As I am writing this series, I’m rereading some of the books I read during my college years. I spent Sunday afternoon rereading Elisabeth Elliot’s, Passion & Purity. I was reminded again what a wonderful book it is! If you haven’t read it, you really should! I’m also planning on pulling out some of my journals (currently in my parents’ attic) I filled during my college years to help me remember the things the Lord was teaching me.

As I write this series, Grant has been faithful to encourage me with Paul’s words to Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

I hope this verse encourages your heart as well, young reader. Be bold. Stand for truth. With all your being, live for the One who “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all.”  

 

 

On a different note, if you are going to be anywhere near the Louisville, KY area next Tuesday, join us for CBMW’s National Conference! You can find out more here.

 

 

A Few Book “Reviews”

I had lofty goals of writing lengthy book reviews on this site – both to help my own retention and encourage others as well.

I’ve realized, however, that in my particular season of life, if I spend time writing lengthy reviews I won’t have time to finish the books I am currently reading!

Instead, I’m going to try to share the titles of books I’ve recently read, gleaned much from, and think others may enjoy as well!

ImageThis book. If you are a female, get your hands on a copy of this book! It was just released and I read it in one sitting. Yes, it was a very long sitting, but that’s how wonderful this book is. Your soul will be nourished. Your heart encouraged and yes, convicted. This will definitely be one of those books I will recommend over and over again and reread in the future.

Be Still My Soul. If you are going through a trial, this book will encourage your soul greatly. Elisabeth Elliot’s wisdom is timeless – and that’s because it is rooted in God’s Word. The biggest takeaway I  had from this book is how the shortcut to peace is acceptance of God’s will. Even if you aren’t going through a hard time, I think this book will encourage you, but especially if you are, it will be like water in a dry place.

Instructing a Child’s Heart. This is one of those books I’ve had laying around our place forever but never actually cracked it open to read it. I finally read it last month in conjunction with a parenting class I was taking at Southern Seminary. I really enjoy a book that is packed with Scripture, and this one is.

I’m in the middle of a couple other books and once I finish them I will probably post those as well.

IMG_5175But these last two books are just for fun! I just discovered the wonderful rhyming goodness of Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way. Even though I have girls, these are already favorites (for them and me!). And we are just ever so slightly entering the world of Bill Peet. AudreyKate is still a little young for these books, but I read as long as she will last! I know I’m overly entertained by the personification of inanimate objects and animals.

Hope these titles encourage you.

What are some of your favorite children’s books?

College Girl: Part 2

collegegirl2I can’t believe I’m in college! was all I could think as I walked around campus shortly after my parents and brothers left to drive back to the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

Saying good-bye to them was hard, but I also felt ready to leave home.  I was confident God had brought me to Clemson, so as I stood in front of Littlejohn Coliseum and watched them drive away, I knew I was exactly where God had placed me.

I was thankful my parents felt confident about leaving me too. And really, that’s the way it should be as a teenager matures into adulthood. As a child, my dad and mom clearly established their authority and exercised lots of rules for my good. There were times when I wondered about the restrictions in my life and would sometimes ask, “Why?” They were gracious in explaining the “why” many times especially when there were things they felt I should understand.  But other times they simply said, “We are your parents. This is what we feel is best for you. And that is why.  You will have to trust us.”

As I matured and demonstrated obedience, my parents allowed more freedom in my life.  Instead of clamping down on me as I was approaching adulthood (which can often lead to rebellion), they were able to “let go.”

But even with all the preparation, and even though I was ready, the tears still streamed down my face as I waved good-bye to them. I thought about my mom as their car rounded the bend and I could feel the empty space widening between us. Growing up in a household of all guys, we had a close relationship.  I knew tears were freely flowing from her eyes.  It was hard to believe this day had come. Home was only four hours away. And yet, four hours seemed like so much more. Everything was changing.

I walked back to my dorm later that afternoon. I had requested a high-rise on the opposite side of campus but had been assigned to Young which was a shoebox dorm. It was a girls’ dorm surrounded by boys’ dorms and  a couple of co-ed dorms. I loved that my room was on the top floor. I had a view of the courtyard and could see parts of the sidewalk that ran in front of the building from my desk. In front of Young Hall was a small grassy knoll with a quaint historic white house and study in the backyard. “Fort Hill” was originally the estate of John C. Calhoun, who was both a Legislator and Congressman, and then the house was passed on to Calhoun’s daughter and son-in-law, Thomas Green Clemson.  Upon his death, the estate was left for “the betterment of South Carolina education.”

My room was plain to say the least. The dorm was built in the sixties or seventies and lacked any modern interior design. The floors were some sort of concrete. The walls were white painted cinderblocks. Yes, cinderblocks. The back wall of the room was solid windows from waist level up.

The right side of the room was mine. A desk by the window, bed, closet with shelves, and a small sink and mirror. The communal bathroom was across the hall.

I had met my roommate once before my arrival. I was going to put my name in for a random  drawing because I didn’t know anyone going to Clemson. Since I was educated at home, the pool of students I knew who were going to the same college was significantly reduced. My best friend at the time, who had attended a private high school, was headed off  to another university. Right before I put my name in to be signed up with someone of the university’s choosing, a friend of ours from church told us she had a relative who was going to Clemson and that she was a Christian.

I really wanted a Christian roommate. I didn’t know what the secular environment of college would be like, but I hoped my roommate would be a person I could trust and feel relaxed around.

Lauren was her name. She had arrived on campus a few days before me. Her side of the room was already set up when we got there, which made my side look all the more bare upon my arrival. She was out and about the day my family helped me get my room set up. When she came in the door later on, I knew immediately she would be a whole lot of fun. She had lots of long red hair poking out from a straw cowboy hat, and as she walked in the room her cellphone started going off to “Eye of the Tiger.”

“Phew,” she said as she jumbled to get her phone, “That’s a lot of stairs!” For some reason our dorm didn’t have an elevator that went all the way to the fourth floor.

“Your side of the room looks good, GA!” I’d never had anyone ever call me “GA” before but it soon became a pretty common nickname for me and I’m pretty sure it started with Lauren.

I set up my laptop on my desk and lined up some of my books on the little brown shelf above my desk. Included was a short series of devotional Bible study books that my dad had given me years before. They were about as simple as devotional books come. They contained short questions about the basics of the Christian faith with lots of empty spaces to answer questions and reflect on passages of Scripture. My dad had led our family in devotions with them one year, and I had always really liked them but never finished the whole series.

YoungHallI really wanted to commit my time in college to the Lord. I really wanted to walk with Him and live for Him. By God’s grace, I had always desired that. But my senior year in high school brought a great trial in my young life which solidified those desires in a very real way.

While I was busy preparing for the SATs, I noticed a strange and small bump on my arm. When it didn’t go away, my mom took me to the doctor. “It’s nothing!” he said, without a doubt in his voice. “But we always send these things off to the lab for testing as a precaution, so we will get back with you.”

Some days later, we were at home when I heard my mom talking to my doctor over the phone. “Cancer?” I heard her say. My heart started pounding. What? Cancer?

Then I heard her say Melanoma. Melanoma? 

“GraceAnna,” my mom said very calmly when she got off the phone. “The doctor says the spot on your arm was melanoma. We are going to go in tomorrow and they are going to take a large section of skin out of your arm to make sure it hasn’t spread anywhere in your body. They are pretty confident that your spot was so small that it hasn’t. But they want to be safe.”

I burst into tears. It sounded simple but at the same time, very scary. And why did they have to use the word, cancer?

Isn’t skin cancer for older people or girls who go to tanning beds? I’d never been to a tanning bed in my life.

The days that followed were very hard and yet very faith-forming.

Even as a 17 year old girl, I began to realize that life is very fragile. I imagined the worst case scenario. What if the melanoma had spread and I had to undergo chemotherapy? What if I kept getting melanoma over and over again for the rest of my life?

When I went in for my minor surgery the next day, I quoted Psalm 34 over and over again.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps 
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

After the doctor took a larger portion out of my arm, we had to wait a week to hear any news. My doctor was fairly confident that the melanoma hadn’t spread. But he didn’t want to take any chances and he was very serious when he discussed possible implications.

I could hardly eat that week. I stared into the crackling fire in our fireplace and wondered what my future would hold.

What was God’s will for my life? What if He wanted me to die young?

I told the Lord that no matter what happened, I would live fully for Him. It wasn’t an “If you do this, I will…” sort of thing. It was just a moment of reaffirming in my heart what I’d already told the Lord the night I sat on the front porch with my parents as a young child when I first believed.

For every Christian, there are times when God works in our lives – usually through a trial – and we are never quite the same afterward. Our love and knowledge of Him is deeper. It’s 1 Peter 1:7 at work, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

I didn’t know what was ahead. But I trusted Him.

The results came back negative. I was so relieved, yet I was not unchanged. I was conscious even as a teen, that life is short. I wanted to live for the things that were lasting.  Those days had shaped me in a way that I can’t even explain.

I finished lining up my books and unpacking my desk. My room looked neat and tidy but still rather plain. I climbed under my covers the very first night in my new room. I sighed and I wondered if I would be homesick.

I prayed for a few moments, and then before I could think anymore, exhaustion took over and my first day as a college student officially ended.

to be continued…

Reflection Questions:

CGQuestionsPt2