May 8

A Tribute to Barb Powell

2006 at 11:52 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney

My_family_4I am one of sixteen children and my mom, even when she was a single mom for a few of my younger years, has always been a strong godly woman. Mom, thank you for the countless hours you have spent praying for each and every one of us (and with all us kids I can’t imagine how many hours that has been). Thank you for the tea you brought us every morning in our own little personal teapot, and for all the other wonderful and fun things you did for us. I have so many activities and traditions I can do with my family one day and I am so grateful for that. Thank you for your desire to see each one of us know God and grow in our relationship with him. Thank you for the many hours you spent with us memorizing Scripture and reading God’s Word. You are such an example to me as to what a godly wife and mother should look like. Thank you that you were always there for me, even when I had turned my back on God and on the family. I can’t imagine all that I put you through and yet you still welcomed me in with love and were such an example to me of what grace looks like. Mom thank you for all that you have done behind the scenes, for your wonderful hospitality and your heart to serve everyone that you come across. I feel like this doesn’t even cover half of the things that I appreciate and love about you. I love you so much Mom!

Gerber_pinkBeth Claver

May 8

A GirlTalk Mother’s Day

2006 at 6:41 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney

Gerber_pink_9Monday morning marks the beginning of the work week for the mass majority of paid employees. Not so for a mom. Monday morning for her simply means a continuation of the work she’s been doing all weekend. In fact, her work-week has no starting time. And neither does it afford her an ending time. For even if she would get a few minutes off for relaxation during the week (which is always iffy), she’s still on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

So, how do you pay a salary to someone who spends this much time on the job? Well, U.S.News & World Report informs us:

According to a new study by Salary.com, a compensation consulting firm based in Needham, Mass., the average stay-at-home mom with two children—if she were to be paid in cash based on current market rates— would command a salary of $131,471 a year.

The company arrived at this figure by surveying stay-at-home moms about all the functions they perform and how much time they typically spend on those jobs every week. Consider all the roles mothers play. First and foremost, mom is the family’s chief daycare worker, according to Salary.com. But she’s also the teacher, the chauffeur, the housekeeper, the cook, the nurse, the maintenance worker, and, yes, even the chief executive of the household.

Now, I doubt there is any mom out there who would begrudge receiving a $2500 paycheck each Friday. However, this salary still doesn’t cut it! That’s because you can’t measure the worth of a mom’s influence on her family in dollars and cents. It is, as Elisabeth Elliot once said, “more profound than can be measured.”

While there’s no way any of us can repay our moms—whether in the currency of dollars and cents or of sincere gratitude—that shouldn’t keep us from trying.

So that’s what were going to do all week on the girltalk blog. We’re going to allow you, our readers, to thank your moms. We received so many wonderful tributes and I wish that we could post them all. However, if yours was not chosen, please give it to your mother on Mother’s Day. You’ll probably never know how much it will mean to her.

Our hope is that not just the moms who are honored, but every mom who reads the blog this week will feel the love and gratefulness of her family and the pleasure of our Savior!

May 5

Friday Funnies

2006 at 7:26 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

This Friday Funnies was sent to us by our friend Tracey. Upon receiving this idea we all took her challenge and just as Tracey predicted…we all failed! In fact, I just gave it another shot (hoping to beat this thing) and hopelessly fell short once again. I’m gonna try this on Mike when he comes home tonight.

Why not give this little exercise a whirl yourself? And if you feel stupid, take comfort in the fact that many others are trying (and failing) at the very same time!

This is so funny—you will keep trying it at least 50 more times to see if you can outsmart your foot. But you can’t!
1. While sitting in a chair, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles with it.
2. Now, while doing this, draw the number “6” in the air with your right hand…Your foot will change direction!!!
I told you so…
And there is nothing you can do about it.

Catch y’all on Monday!
Janelle
for Carolyn, Nicole, and Kristin

May 5

A Model of Good Works

2006 at 5:54 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Good Works

DorothyWe want to conclude our series on good works by introducing you to one woman who has “devoted herself to every good work.” Dorothy Reifner used to be a beloved member of Covenant Life Church. However, a few years back she and her family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to participate in a Sovereign Grace Ministries church plant there. During my recent visit to North Carolina to speak at the Encounter’06 Conference, I had the privilege of seeing Dorothy again as her church participated in this event. On the second day of the conference, to Dorothy’s surprise and to the delight of the rest of us, we were treated to a video presentation of this dear saint’s life. There was not a dry eye in the auditorium by the time it concluded, for throughout this mini-biography, we heard from so many family and friends whose lives have been blessed by Dorothy’s faithful good works. And although most of you will never meet Dorothy Reifner this side of heaven, we trust you will be inspired by her life.

You can download the video by clicking here. It may take a few (up to fifteen!) minutes, but it’s worth the wait!

(If you are on a Macintosh, the Windows Media Player is a free download.)

May 4

Run!

2006 at 8:45 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Good Works

Now that we’ve spent two weeks exhorting you (and ourselves!) to have a reputation for good works, I want to give a warning. Run! Run away from them as fast as you can!

No, I’m not contradicting everything Janelle said earlier today about being devoted to good works. I’m in full agreement with Scripture: we should give every last drop of energy to doing good works.

But, I know how it happens with me.

After I’ve done a good work, I want to add it to my collection. I put it on my soul’s mantle and I polish it and step back to admire it. What a godly woman I am for doing such a good work! How nice it was to receive the thanks and appreciation of others! What a noble, self-sacrificing person I am!

When I’m thinking like this, I’ve so missed the point.

Good works are not an occasion for self-congratulation. They are a reason to marvel, once again, at my Savior. Only because of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross are my sins forgiven—not because of any good work I have done or will do. Only His grace motivates me to a life of good works. Only because of Christ’s mercy are my good works pleasing to the Father. Only His power sustains me for a lifetime of good works to His glory.

Instead of exalting in my good works, I should be reveling in the Good Work of Christ that has totally transformed my life.

I must follow the example of one David Dickson who said: “I make a heap of all my bad works and all my good works and I flee them both to Christ.”

Yes, I should devote my life to good works in order to bring honor to my Savior. But at the end of the day, I must remember that it is only because of my Savior that these good works are pleasing to God. And I must flee all my good works and run to Christ.

May 4

Devotion to Every Good Work

2006 at 3:50 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Good Works

“Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.” 1 Timothy 5:9-10

This final phrase—“has devoted herself to every good work”—may appear, at first glance, to be a little vague. Kinda like what happens when I can’t come up with a concluding sentence for one of my posts, so I just tack on something nice-sounding but essentially meaningless.

Not the case here! There is nothing vague about this concluding remark. Paul is making a very clear point. In case we got the idea that we could check off one of each of these good works and qualify as a godly woman, Paul raises the stakes considerably. He says the godly woman is devoted to good works. As one commentary describes it, she is “energetically and diligently giving herself” to this stuff. I can imagine this woman constantly looking and listening, ready to serve upon discovery of the slightest need.

Do you remember the t-shirt that was popular a few years back with the slogan that read, “Life is Tennis (or Basketball or Fishing). Everything else is just details”? Well, here Paul is saying that the godly woman’s outlook is: “Life is being devoted to good works. Everything else is just details.”

Bringing up children, showing hospitality, caring for the afflicted—these aren’t things the godly woman does one time, like a community service requirement. Good works are what she is giving her life, energy, time, and heart to. Good works are what she is all about.

But there is one other word that makes this phrase even more powerful. Yep, it’s that little word “every.” Every, quite simply means every. It doesn’t mean some or most, but every. The godly woman doesn’t limit herself to good works that are easy, or get her the most attention, or are her top favorites. She practices good works of all kinds. And we can safely assume that they aren’t all pleasant.

Not such a vague phrase after all, huh?

I think John Wesley’s well-known quote expands nicely on what Paul is saying here.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.”

Cause everything else? It’s just details.

May 3

Caly

2006 at 12:10 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw

We have received some requests for new pictures of Caly. I’m happy to comply. My camera has been put to good use as of late!

Calytummy_1












Calyhat_copy












Calyblankethead_copy

May 2

Caring for the Afflicted

2006 at 1:49 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Good Works

“Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.” 1 Timothy 5:9-10

As we single out our fourth “good work,” observe, if you will, to whom this assignment is given. Caring for the afflicted isn’t primarily the responsibility of the government or the United Nations. It’s not exclusively the domain of pastors. This good work is our duty and responsibility. We as women are all to be members of the Coalition of Caring for the Afflicted.

But you don’t need me to tell you this. While we don’t all gravitate toward doing the “good but dirty” works Mom described last week (I wasn’t about to arm wrestle Janelle over who would change that messy diaper), I don’t know a woman alive whose heart doesn’t break over the suffering of people near and far. We are nurturers by nature. God made us that way.

Where we can run into trouble is determining who, when and how to care. Suffering is all around us in this fallen world. Physical, financial, spiritual, practical, and relational hardship is closer than your neighborhood Starbucks. But as one wise man said (probably better than this): “Need doesn’t always imply responsibility.”

We are all responsible to care for the afflicted. However, we are not responsible to meet every need at every time in every place, all by ourselves. Rather, we must work together, each faithful to do our part. We must prayerfully exercise wisdom when practicing this good work.

When my colon ruptured three days after Jack was born, I was suddenly one of the afflicted—weak, afraid, in terrible pain, unable to hold my little son. Of course Steve, Mom and Janelle bore the primary burden of caring for Jack and me. I am always in their debt. But the care of the saints from two churches—Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax and Covenant Life Church—was of indescribable comfort and help.

I carry around snapshots in the wallet of my mind: Mark and Jane, the night before their wedding, bringing a chair for Steve to sit in by my hospital bed; the collection of money from our care group to help with expenses; the room full of cards and flowers; Uncle Gary and Aunt Betsy driving from Maryland to console me when I ended up back in the hospital; a phone call or visit from a friend when I was recuperating at Mom and Dad’s house; the cards from children, from singles, from friends, from people I hardly knew; the church members who packed up our apartment, and unpacked and painted our town house; the “Scriptures of Hope and Encouragement” from Steve and Denise (my elementary school teachers who share in the fellowship of the afflicted); the diapers and formula from Mrs. Mensah; the people who told me they prayed for me, even in the “watches” of the night; my cousin Melanie willing to give blood for my transfusion; Kristin, buying me pretty things to cheer me up; Dad reading Spurgeon to me by the hour.

In physical as well as spiritual weakness, the care I received from each and every person was significant. What might have been a “small” good work to them (like praying or writing a note) was an indescribable blessing to me.

Of the many lessons learned from this trial I hope I have learned how to more effectively care for the afflicted. I no longer underestimate even the simplest expressions of kindness and compassion. I don’t profess to excel in this good work. But I know countless people who do, and I want to join their coalition.

May 1

A Very Different Hobo Story

2006 at 8:05 pm   |   by Kristin Chesemore Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Good Works

After my post on Edith Schaeffer’s hospitality, I received the following email from our dear friend Rebecca. It is a sobering reminder of how a lack of hospitality can actually reflect negatively on the gospel. May it provoke us all to be diligent to show practical love and hospitality to others.

Kristin,

As you shared this story, it reminded me of another story told by a hobo. He was my brother-in-law. He left home when he was 15 during the depression. (Yes he was a good bit older than my sister-in-law—my husband’s sister.) He left to ease the strain of feeding a large family and rode the rails around the country. He often begged for his food. At one time when I was drawing him out about his beliefs in God, he shared a story of begging at the home of a Christian. He received a bag that was heavy and he was eager for the food. When he opened it, he found mostly tracts and a small piece of dry bread. He told me somewhat bitterly that he threw it all away. That experience among others stayed with him and seemed to embitter his heart toward Christians. I know that he is ultimately responsible for his decision to reject Christ, but how differently might he have been affected had he met Mrs. Schaeffer. Now, who am I to judge the person who gave him the bag of tracts, they probably had difficulty providing for their own family and judging that “man does not live by bread alone” did what they knew to feed his soul. He went on to lead a prosperous and productive life as far as earthly possessions went. However, I am sorry to say, that when he died, to my knowledge he never did receive the Bread of Life offered by our Savior.

Thanks for continuing to point us to the gospel and how we can participate in its spread!!

Rebecca

May 1

It’s Here at Last!

2006 at 11:53 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney

1581347820Every day we’ve been checking the status of a new book we’ve been eagerly waiting to tell you about. And it has finally become available! The book is entitled: Love that Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace, and it is authored by our dear friends and CJ’s sister and brother-in-law, Gary and Betsy Ricucci.

If you are engaged or married, this is a must-have, must-read book! But rather than utilizing this post to persuade you about the transforming impact this book can have on your marriage, I’d like to draw on the foreword instead, which CJ and I were privileged to write:

“This is a difficult task. Please don’t misunderstand. Writing the foreword to this book is quite the honor for us. But the task is very difficult for many reasons. Here is one such reason.
How can we introduce our dear friends Gary and Betsy to you in just a few words? How can we briefly communicate the depth and breadth of our respect for this couple whom we have known for over twenty-eight years? We could write a book about Gary and Betsy, but we’ve only been asked to write a foreword!
You might have already picked up on how excited we are about this book. We feel like we know a big secret that many others are about to discover. You see, we know the difference this book can make in your life because of the difference this couple has made in our lives and in the lives of so many others. And take it from us, this is the couple you want writing a book about marriage. Because Gary and Betsy are humble they didn’t want to write this book, but we (and many others) felt they simply had to. In the end we persuaded them to do whatever was necessary to make this book happen. The compelling example, biblical instruction, and personal care they have provided for so long and for so many in Covenant Life Church simply had to be offered outside that local church. And here it is!
In Love That Lasts you will experience the effect of Gary and Betsy’s example, instruction, and care. To read this book is to be personally cared for by this exceptional pastor and his godly bride. On each page you will find counsel that is biblical and wise. And you will be repeatedly encouraged by their humble example as they reveal their struggles with indwelling sin. This book you hold in your hands will transfer hope to your heart regardless of your past, regardless of your present struggle with sin, regardless of any fears you might have about the future. For throughout this book you will be reminded of the gospel, the power of the gospel to transform your marriage, and the relevance of the gospel to every area of marriage. Your marriage is about to meet grace!”