Every mom can relate to the mortifying experience of having her child misbehave at just the wrong time. However, few of us can probably relate to Jane Roberts, the wife of John Roberts—the man that President Bush nominated to the Supreme Court this week. Here’s what her son was doing while the president was speaking:
This post comes to you with thanks to our very good friend Justin Taylor. He helped us start this blog and has provided invaluable advice and encouragement along the way. Thanks Justin!
See you Monday everyone!
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
Today is a very important day on our vacation. The guys are sending the girls shopping. (The four sweetest husbands ever!) This is serious stuff. No kiddos allowed. (Pray for our husbands today if you think about it, they are gonna be slightly busy.)
Believe me, on a few crazy occasions we have gone shopping with the kids…it doesn’t work. We need to give each store our undivided attention. There are serious decisions to be made today, “do I buy the pink one or the red one, the big one or the small one?”. You get the picture. Each of us has to register our opinion to help the potential buyer make her choice. And as you can probably imagine, there are no lack of opinions to be expressed. Each purchase is a joint decision.
So, Pigeon Forge, here we come. (Despite the name, it is one of the top rated shopping spots in the south.) But really, it’s not the shopping that excites us the most, but just hanging out together. Lots of laughing and serious talks alike. Shopping is just another way for us to enjoy God’s gift of friendship with one another.
Nicole wrote the other day about the temptation to neglect the spiritual disciplines on vacation. But as a mom with three young children, I find myself daily prone to skip my quiet time. When you’ve been up countless times in the night with a baby who needs a bottle, a toddler who won’t sleep, and a five year old who wets the bed—all of whom wake up by 6:00 a.m.—it’s occasionally a little hard to have Bible study and prayer first thing in the morning. Then my roller-coaster ride of a day begins and the demands on my time come fast and furious. When nap time rolls around (if Liam actually stays in his bed), I’m in need of rest myself. If you’re a mom with young kids, I’m sure you can relate.
However, even though my quiet times may not always be an hour or more as is my goal, and although the times of day may vary, it is vital that I make it my highest priority to spend time meditating on the gospel, and as George Mueller once said, “make my soul happy in God.” In this unique season of my life, short books that take me straight to the cross are the most valuable. I want to share with you some of my favorites, as well as those of other mommy-friends of mine:
The Cross Centered Life and Christ Our Mediator – I know I’m a little biased, but these books by my dad have helped me tremendously.
Morning and Evening – Two verses, two simple readings, and I am more grateful for the Savior.
The Passion of Jesus Christ – Friends of mine love this John Piper book that has fifty verses and meditations on the cross.
Beside Still Waters – If you are in a trial, this comforting book of short thoughts by Charles Spurgeon will help transform your perspective of suffering.
The Valley of Vision – As we’ve said before on this blog, these prayers promote communion with God.
Finally, one last recommendation: It’s an investment, but I highly recommend purchasing the ESV Bible and The Valley of Vision on cd. Playing these throughout the day are not a substitute for a quiet time, but they refresh my soul—not to mention my kids are hearing God’s Word.
This week’s question comes to us from Tatiana in Chicago:
Q. Is biblical femininity applicable to single women, because I most often hear it spoken of in the context of marriage and motherhood?
A. This question deserves a much longer and more thorough answer than I can give in a brief post. But let me say, emphatically, “YES!” Biblical womanhood is just as important for single women as for married women. Here are some excerpts from our book, Girl Talk, to more fully explain my answer.
“The important point here is that God created us. We are the planned and foreordained determination of an all-wise, all powerful, and all-loving God. It is not mere chance that we are female; our gender is not accidental. We were intentionally and purposefully created.
When God created the first woman and every woman thereafter, He made fully feminine creatures. You and I did not become feminine because our moms gave us dolls and put pink dresses on us. We were born feminine because we were created feminine.”
“[When] God created the first woman, Eve, [He] assigned her the honorable task of helper. As a fully feminine creature, she was stamped with a helper design. She was created both complementary to and yet distinctly different from man. She was created equal in worth and yet different in function…And your helper design isn’t something you cash in come marriage. For you were born feminine…Your helper role is called for today.”
So then, you may ask, what does it look like for a single woman (or teenage girl for that matter) to display biblical femininity? Jeff Purswell, the Dean of the Sovereign Grace Pastors College provides us with a definition for all women:
“Biblical femininity suggests an inner disposition that is supportive, responsive, and nurturing in its various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.”
Supportive — (Gen. 2:18) “an inclination towards giving help and assistance.”
“As women, we have been specially equipped to provide strategic, effective, and valuable help to those around us….So consider, whom God would have you assist and support in this season of your life.”
Responsive — (Eph. 5:23) “an inclination to cooperate with and respond to appropriate leadership structures”
“God has set up authority figures in our lives for our good….Spend a moment in self-evaluation. How well do you cooperate with and respond to the authority God has placed over you?”
Nurturing — (Prov. 31:27-28, Titus 2:3-5) “an inclination to provide care and strength to others.
“God has created us with a heightened sensitivity to the needs and pain of others and a large capacity to express compassion.”
The bottom line is this: “Although femininity may look a little different for a teenage girl or a single woman than for a married woman, we are called to fully express our helper design, no matter what our age or marital status is.”
All quotes taken from Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre, Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood (Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL, 2005) pp. 105-111.
On this note, I want to highly recommend an outstanding book on this topic by our good friend Carolyn McCulley, Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?: Trusting God with a Hope Deferred . Carolyn’s life and example backs up the message of her book which provides a pattern of biblical femininity for single women to follow.
Vacation is great. I can get in a car and drive away from many of the responsibilities of everyday life. I can clean my house and not clean it again for two whole weeks. I can leave behind the errands and the meetings and the emails. But as much as vacation is an “escape,” there is one thing I can’t get away from: sin.
As my dad is in the habit of reminding people: indwelling sin doesn’t take a vacation. As long as we’re in this world, we can’t escape it. We can’t get in the car and leave it behind. We take it with us. Everywhere.
In fact, it seems to me as if new sins sneak into my luggage. Serving others sometimes seems like more of a sacrifice on vacation. I’m often more tempted to be impatient and self-centered. Worst of all, is the temptation to spiritual lethargy; the lure of pleasure and ease that seeks to pull my soul away from communion with God.
Because sin doesn’t take a vacation, I cannot—I must not—take a vacation from dependence upon God. I desperately need His help to fight the sins that surface on vacation. But, sadly, I must confess that all too often I have neglected the spiritual disciplines. I start off with good intentions, but by the end of vacation my soul is cold and lacks passion for God.
That’s why I need others on vacation. My husband challenges me and encourages me in my walk with God. My mom and sisters and I trade off watching the kids so each of us gets time with the Lord. They all provide an example that inspires me.
But even though sin travels with me, the good news is that I cannot escape the grace of God! And I don’t want to! The gospel tells me that God sent His Son to redeem vacationing sinners like me. And even better—one day I will truly escape from sin, and spend eternity worshipping Him!
In light of my temptation to neglect the spiritual disciplines on vacation, this prayer, entitled “Backsliding” encouraged me this morning:
“I bless thee that those who turn aside may return to thee immediately, and be welcomed without anything to commend them, notwithstanding all their former backslidings. I confess that this is suited to my case, for of late I have found great want, and lack of apprehension of divine grace; I have been greatly distressed of soul because I did not suitably come to the fountain that purges away all sin….Give me to believe that thou canst do for me more than I ask or think, and that, though I backslide, thy love will never let me go, but will draw me back to thee with everlasting cords….Keep me solemn, devout, faithful, resting on free grace for assistance, acceptance, and peace of conscience.”
(Arthur Bennett, ed., Valley of Vision (Carslile, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002) p. 156-157.
We are writing this post together today because we are together. (Yeah!) Thanks to the generosity of our friends Scott and Lesa, and their daughter Isabelle, we are enjoying our family vacation at their home in Dandridge, Tennessee. Ever heard of it?
Hey, Dandridge is a bigger deal than you think. Not only is it the second oldest town in Tennessee, but it also boasts of being the birthplace of our very own American hero, Davy Crockett. (If you ever pass this way, be sure to visit the Davy Crockett museum.)
But even if you don’t vacation in Dandridge, we must all have a biblical perspective of vacation. “Whether you eat or drink, [or go on vacation] or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
Rest is a gift from God. So we glorify Him when we receive our vacation with gratefulness and thoroughly enjoy it. We also please Him when we focus on others: when we relate to one another and not just relax, serve each other instead of be selfish, and make memories together rather than do our own thing.
In the end, vacation for the Christian is not all that different from any other day. It is simply another opportunity to glorify God.
So whether you’re at the beach, the mountains, or the lake, or whether you’re in the office, the kitchen, or the classroom today, consider how you can live for His glory, whatever you do!
(And C.J./Dad - Thanks for many years of priceless vacation memories. But more importantly, thank you for leading our family in enjoying vacations to the glory of God! We love you!)
This story made me smile. I hope it makes you smile too!
“What Happened Here Today?”
One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house.
Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink. Breakfast food was spilled on the counter, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.
He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she may be ill, or that something serious had happened. He found her lounging in the bedroom, still curled in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.
He looked at her bewildered and asked, “What happened here today?”
She again smiled and answered “You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what in the world I did today?”
“Yes,” was his incredulous reply.
She answered, “Well, today I didn’t do it.”
May God give you abundant grace to enjoy Him and rejoice in the gospel this weekend!
Carolyn (for Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle)
Yesterday was my mom’s 83rd birthday. My sister and I took her out for breakfast to celebrate. She loves to go out for breakfast. And as usual, the three of us talked lots and laughed even more. Then I seized a moment in our conversation to say “thank you.” That’s when my mom became uneasy. She always does, but that’s okay. I pressed through the awkwardness and thanked her for her faithfulness.
I thanked her for providing an example of unwavering devotion to God.
I thanked her for loving my dad and being faithful to her marriage covenant of 60 years.
I thanked her for constantly and tenderly caring for her 5 children and now her 17 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.
I thanked her for modeling biblical womanhood for me.
As if in hopelessness, Solomon poses this question in Proverbs 20:6—“A faithful [woman] who can find?”
Well, I found one—my mom. And realizing how rare she truly is, I am thanking God today for the life she has lived and the legacy she has given to me. I’m also asking God to help me to be faithful and to pass on this same legacy to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren….
To try and thank my mom, as well as encourage other women to follow her example, I wrote a tribute which I included in my book, Feminine Appeal. You can read it in it’s entirety by clicking here.
Who can you thank today for living a life of faithful biblical womanhood?
Thanks so much to everyone who has emailed us with an encouraging word, a funny story, a suggestion, or a question. We are sorry we aren’t able to answer every email, and that the ones we do answer aren’t very prompt. However, we continue to read and consider and enjoy each one.
Although we can’t answer every question, we would like to take a crack at one question per week. If you have a question you would like us to consider, please email us by clicking on the link in the left hand side-bar. So, to inaugurate our weekly Q&A we thought we’d start off with an easy one which comes to us from Leah Hudgins in Birmingham, AL.
Q - “I was just wondering, who is the oldest, middle, and youngest daughter?”
A - “Nicole is the oldest at 29 (just barely hanging on in her 20’s), Kristin just turned 28, and Janelle is a youthful 24.”
Thanks for your question, Leah.
Check back next week when we may even try to answer a more challenging question!
Have a fun day,
Nicole (for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle)
“What do I do when there is so much that needs doing?” It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately in the midst of the countless chores that come with moving.
My mom passed along some practical advice that she heard Elisabeth Elliot share many years ago—advice that really helped her in the busyness of motherhood (or anything else for that matter).
It’s simply this: Do the next thing. Rather than being overwhelmed by all there is to do, rather than sitting still in self-pity, or frantically trying to do three things at once—draw upon God’s grace to simply do the next thing.
Here is a little part of the poem from which this advice was taken:
“Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment my moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, ‘DO THE NEXT THING.’
Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His Hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ’neath His wing,
Leave all resultings, ‘DO THE NEXT THING.’”
Now that I have completed this post, I’m off to do the next thing—unpack one more box!