Mar 23

Our Burden Bearer

2006 at 11:20 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Suffering

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah.” (Psalm 68:19)

I’ve been suffering from various mild ailments for what seems like a month now. This is an especially busy week for me and I have been tempted to self-pity over my lack of strength.

This morning my husband prayed this verse for me. The note from my Reformation Study Bible sent me to Isaiah 46:1-4. Here the Lord contrasts the “bearing ability” of idols to that of the One True God:

“Bel bows down; Nebo stoops; their idols are on beasts and livestock; these things you carry are borne as burdens on weary beasts. They stoop; they bow down together; they cannot save the burden, but themselves go into captivity. ‘Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.’”

What is your burden today? They come in countless shapes and sizes—from clingy colds to crushing cares. But one thing’s for sure: our idols cannot bear their load. Leisure and escape don’t provide true rest. Sinful anger cannot relieve the pressure. Even friends are not strong enough to bear up under their full weight.

But have we forgotten? We have been borne by Christ since birth. He carried us from the womb and will not stop even when we are old and bent and gray. He alone has borne the full weight of our sin, and He alone can bear the burdens of life in a sinful world.

He doesn’t pop in once a week or every month to relieve us of our heavy load. Daily, everyday, today, He promises to bear us up. He will carry and he will save. Today. So big or small, let’s cast our burdens on Him. God is our salvation.

Mar 22

Not Q&A

2006 at 6:07 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Well, it’s Wednesday, and once again, we’re punting on Q&A. (Did you even notice that we completely ignored it last week?) We trust you will pardon us. Actually, you can do one better than that. Might we be so bold as to ask for your prayers on Mom’s behalf? As we mentioned several days ago, she will be speaking a total of five times in the next week and a half. Your prayers for God’s strength and help would be greatly appreciated.

Although we were unable to answer a question today, we do want to suggest another link as a sort of peace offering. Two weeks ago I posted comments by Al Mohler on the “Mommy Wars.” Well, today, the Focus on the Family radio program is re-broadcasting Dr. Mohler’s program on this very issue. It is sure to be a stimulating discussion on a topic that literally hits close to home.

Mar 22

My Little Mimic

2006 at 11:06 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Jack has a habit of standing in front of our open pantry and planning his own lunch menu out loud: “Hmmm. Let’s see,” he says, pondering the options: “fishies and hot dog and pretzels and cookies!”

Now my three-year-old is not allowed to decide what he has for lunch or any other meal. But what truly scares me is how perfectly he mimics me deciding what he will have for lunch. He has my voice and inflection and wording down exactly, as good as any a-list actor.

What else might he be “picking up” from me? Will he soon begin to impersonate my anxiety on an especially busy day, or my impatience when someone interferes with my best-laid plans? My example will inevitably leave an imprint on my little son’s life. The question is, what kind of example will it be?

In this month’s Crosswalk.com article, Mom takes a look at the significance of a mother’s example to her children, and it’s profound potential for ill or good. Originally written for our book Girl Talk on the mother-daughter relationship, it is equally applicable to mothers of three-year-old boys with a penchant for imitation.

Mar 21

Wise Words from a Pastor

2006 at 11:03 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Joy

As girltalk blog regulars know, I live on the other side of the great Potomac River from the rest of my family. Thankfully, all I have to do is drive across the American Legion Bridge to see them, which I do, with Jack in tow, at least once a week. (Can you sing, “Over the river and through the woods to MomMom’s house we go”?)

My husband Steve and I are blessed to be a part of Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax (Virginia) where our senior pastor is a man named Mark Mullery. Mark and his wife Lesley are dear friends of ours, and Mark is an exceptional teacher of God’s Word who often speaks at Sovereign Grace Ministries conferences and teaches hermeneutics to the Pastors’ College students. Each year, at our church’s annual banquet to honor the small group leaders, Mark treats us to a brief, personal meditation on God’s Word. It’s always memorable.

This year’s meditation was entitled “Come In” from Hebrews 10:19-22 and Mark has graciously given us permission to make it available to you. I highly recommend saving this for your quiet time. Mark’s words are worth pondering in an unhurried manner. I’ve provided the first paragraph to whet your appetite. Mark writes:

Here’s where I was the other night: felt discouraged, weary, slightly overwhelmed. My joy-meter was reading in negative numbers. The cause? No great suffering or trials here, just the everyday experience of looking ahead to the next couple of weeks with a lot to do and not enough time to do it all. A couple of projects at home, no time to do them. A teaching assignment to prepare for, but the slots I’d set aside got used up by unexpected meetings. Teenagers who desire and require lots of conversation, but always after I’m in bed and wanting to be asleep. Can you relate to this? I think Pilgrim’s Progress calls this ‘The Slough of Despond.’ God calls it unacceptable.

If you can relate to Mark’s experience, then read on, and allow this wise pastor to pastor you through the “Slough of Despond” to joy and faith in Christ.

Mar 20

More GuyTalk

2006 at 3:13 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney

For years our home was populated primarily with girls—four to be exact (yes, I am counting myself as one of the “girls”)—with one lone male, my husband, CJ. Thus a whole lot of “girltalk” took place in our home (and still does, of course, when all the girls come for a visit!). But in 1993, the trend shifted. To our surprise and delight, twelve years after our youngest daughter’s birth, our son Chad entered our world. Over the next few years three wonderful sons-in-law and four delightful grandsons were added to our family. Now, there’s a whole lot of “guytalk” (although the guys don’t call it that) going on.

If you read our blog last week you already know that we linked to some “guytalk” related to sports. The conversation has now shifted from sports to Sundays, and we think it’s well worth listening in on, for fathers and mothers. Simply tune in to blog.T4G.org.

Mar 20

Mommy’s Lesson in Humility

2006 at 1:04 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw

“We are going to have to do a C-section.” In all of my thoughts anticipating labor, I never expected to hear those words. But I was grateful to live in a day and age where doctors were able to deliver my little girl safely. After surgery, my doctor told me to expect full recovery to take six to eight weeks. I smiled and nodded my okay, all the while thinking that two weeks or so should do it for me. But I soon learned that the doctor (a med school grad) knew a little more than me (a high school grad).

My first few days at home found me so excited to be out of the hospital that I imagined myself on the fast track to full health. I did stairs a few too many times (no, I won’t say how many) and visited with people by the hour. Things were going great until, well, shall we say my body informed me that five days wasn’t quite enough recovery time. I began to feel faint and shake uncontrollably. Not a good sign. My husband and sister sent me straight to bed with strict orders to stay there for the next couple of days. This was the end of week one.

I was sure week two would be better. I could do this. I decided that all I needed to do was wake up before the baby. Yes, this would really help. I could have a quiet time and shower before she was awake and I would be ahead of the game. After all, who needs more than a few hours of sleep anyways? Wrong again. The end of the second week found me exhausted and a bit weepy.

If I was ever going to recover, change was needed. My husband sat down with me and went over all of the things on my “to do” list. He helped me to determine commitments that I needed to eliminate and other things that needed to be laid aside for a while. My mom, sisters, and friends gave me strict instructions to sleep and sleep some more.

Today marks week number four and after two weeks of applying the loving counsel of those that know me best, I am really beginning to feel better. This last month has been a wonderful lesson for me. A lesson in humility. In my pride and self-sufficiency, I wanted to show others that I could handle this. I had it together. A small thing like having a C-section and a baby couldn’t stop me. I wanted those around me to be impressed by my strength and ability.

The Lord had other plans and I couldn’t be more grateful for His divine wisdom. He showed me, once again, that my strength and ability are found only in Him. Second Corinthians 12:9 tells me, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I am weak. Each day is a new opportunity for me to humble myself before the Lord, acknowledge my inability, and receive the strength that only He can give. As I learn to “boast” in my human weakness, the Lord has promised to fill me with His power.

“We are going to have to do a C-section.” The Lord had more plans behind these words than just the safe delivery of my little Caly. He had work to do in Mommy and He’s not finished…

Mar 17

Friday Funnies

2006 at 5:05 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

Well, March Madness is in full swing and even though I’m doing well in my bracket, Chad tells me that it is meaningless because it is only the first round. Oh well. I’m used to losing every year anyhow.

For Friday Funnies we want to leave you with one more collection of ultra-cute “letters to God.” As my husband would say, “Have a great weekend sports fans!”

Carolyn
for my three girls: Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle

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Mar 17

Sports, Again

2006 at 10:20 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre

You’ll forgive us if we devote one more post to sports this week, won’t you? Our recent focus on this topic is unprecedented in the girltalk blog’s ever-so-brief history. However, I believe it is warranted. All of us—if we aren’t sports fans ourselves—are probably the wife, mother, or friend of a sports fan. We live in a sports-obsessed culture, so whether we like sports or not, it is important to understand it biblically.

There was one more stop this week on the Al Mohler/CJ Mahaney “sports express” and we wanted to let you know about it. Yesterday, the two discussed the culture of sports and took questions from audience members around the country regarding what place sports should have in the life of a Christian. The conversation is insightful and entertaining—even for those who aren’t avid sports fans.

However, the first fifteen minutes of the show are devoted to the subject of abortion and a recent newspaper article and radio appearance by a woman name Elizabeth Weil. Dr. Mohler’s compassionate, charitable, and yet articulate Christian approach will equip you to relate to unbelievers on this tragically important topic. You can listen to yesterday’s broadcast online at AlbertMohler.com.

Mar 16

“A Fruitful Tree in ‘Late Autumn’”

2006 at 2:35 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

My husband has recently been reading a book about experiencing God’s grace in midlife called Lost in the Middle, by Paul Tripp. Steve is only 28, but he wants to serve the people he pastors, some of whom are in that season. I haven’t read it myself yet, but little bits that Steve has passed along to me have been swirling around in my brain for a while.

As a young woman, midlife is something I don’t want to think about. I would rather just enjoy being young—or at least on the tail end of youth (I’ll be thirty this May!). But really, the time to face midlife isn’t when I’m fifty; it’s now. The middle years are a season of reaping what we have sowed in our early years. Decisions I make now will grow up to bless me or come back to haunt me twenty years from now.

So, am I walking in obedience to God’s Word in order to reap a glorious harvest in midlife? It’s a question all of us twenty and thirty-somethings can’t afford not to consider.

This article from a recent issue of World Magazine by Andree Seu asks if we’ll be ready to shoulder the God-assigned responsibilities of the older woman. Will I be a fruitful tree in late autumn?

Mar 16

Watching

2006 at 9:29 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Prayer

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Psalm 5:3

As I read this verse during my morning devotional time, I was struck by the last 2 words: and watch. It dawned on me that normally I only apply the first part of this verse: O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you. But rarely do I follow up my praying with “watching” – which to summarize Spurgeon means to be on the look out for the answer to our prayers; to expect that God’s grace will come.

So, I am asking for the Holy Spirit’s help not only to pray, but to be on the look out for God’s gracious response to my prayers. May I encourage you to pray and watch today?