No, Janelle, I am not off on a trip with your father. I’m home teaching Physical Science, Algebra, Grammar and more to your little brother. You remember. It’s all the same stuff I tried to teach you twelve years ago. Actually, I doubt you do remember – at least the Algebra you sure don’t! As we always tell you when you attempt to answer a question that requires math: “Please, don’t tell anyone that you were homeschooled!” Honey, though you never really got the math, you did succeed at making me laugh every day. In fact, you still do. Thank you for that!
I hope these three testimonies fill you with fresh faith for evangelizing members of other religions. Most of all, I pray you are filled with fresh wonder and gratitude for God’s divine rescue of your own life.
Finally, we are not going to ask a question this week. That’s because we have a friend we want you to hear from instead. She will share her story of learning, like Mary, to sit at Jesus’ feet. May we all do the same!
Hey y’all, hold on for just a second while I talk to the girls…
Nicole, way to go with the search engine. I won’t tell anyone that it took four hours to figure out, I know you are smart! I just tested it out with keyword “French Fries” and it worked perfectly. By the way, don’t talk on the phone this morning while you are making your cookies! Remember that time you were multi-tasking while making garlic bread? I found the picture just in case you forgot. Hee-Hee…
Kristin, you have been turning out some super posts this week, girl! And right in the middle of all that home schooling. Way to go. I totally forgot to ask you yesterday if you could save me some of the apples that you picked from your field trip with the kids. I’ll come by and get them later.
By the way, has anyone seen Mom? No posts this week. Someone better call over there to make sure that Dad hasn’t stolen her away on another trip. I’ll investigate.
Okay, conversation over. I have another post today, but I’m saving it for later.
We warned you in our very first post that we here at the girltalk blog were not technologically savvy. Today’s update is further proof. After having lived at this domain for over year, we have only now figured out how to add a search engine to our site. How embarrassing. But hey, that over used adage, “better late than never” is validated once again.
So, instead of lamenting our past inabilities, we’re rejoicing in this new (albeit minor) development. Because now, you can actually find that post from June of last year that would encourage your friend. And if you have a hankering for one of our delicious recipes, or want to laugh again at your favorite Friday Funny, they are only a search and click away.
One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, “How did you come to be a Christian” I sought the Lord. “But how did you come to seek the Lord?” The truth flashed across my mind in a moment—I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”
When I consider, as Spurgeon did, the question, “How did I become a Christian?” my first thought is: because of my parents. I was taught the truths about Christ and His work on the cross from a little child. The Christian faith is all I ever knew. But why was I attracted to my parent’s faith? Why did I personally repent from my sins and put my trust in Christ? Why have I persevered in my Christian walk? When I pursue the answers, as Spurgeon did, I come—as I must—to the same conclusion: “God was at the bottom of it all…He was the Author of my faith.” It was He who placed me in a Christian family. It was He who made my parent’s faith attractive to me. It was Christ who drew me to Himself. And ultimately, it is His grace that sustains me to the end.
What a comfort and a joy the doctrines of grace are. I am not a Christian because of the family I was born into or because of my own efforts. For then what confidence would I have to persevere? Rather, I am a Christian because, in the mystery of His mercy, Christ chose me.
Likewise, this doctrine inspires faith to pray for my own children. I cannot create little Christians. I cannot, by all my own efforts bring them into the kingdom. Although it is my privilege and responsibility to share the gospel with my children, only Christ can draw their hearts to His truth. Lord, may you reveal yourself to my boys. May they one day say with Mr. Spurgeon: “I ascribe my change wholly to God!”
Yesterday was a typical and not so typical Sunday.
First of all, nobody had a runny nose and I was able to attend church! Not typical.
I dressed my boys in their cute new fall clothes. They all looked quite handsome, I do have to say. We made it all the way to church without any spills, rips, or buttons popping off. Again, not typical.
After dropping each of the boys off at their Sunday school classes, I went into the service for worship. I arrived during the second song. Typical, I’m afraid. But I’m working hard to be on time!
Yesterday’s service is one I would have been especially disappointed to miss because my favorite preacher—my dad—was speaking. This occurrence is not so typical, since he no longer leads Covenant Life Church. I know I’m biased, but I have to brag on him a little because he did an incredible job! Listen for yourself and see if you don’t agree.
What a powerful and holy time it is to hear God’s Word preached. Typical? Yes. But on the other hand, never typical!
No doubt each of us can point to at least one “Anna” in our life—a woman who was faithful to share God’s Word with us. Jennifer wrote to tell us about Jana, a woman whose trust in God and care for others made her a wonderful mentor:
The "Anna" who always comes to mind is my former youth minister’s wife. I met Jana as an eighth grader, just a couple of years after my parents divorced. At a crucial time in my life, the Lord ordained that her and her husband come to my home church. The commonality that first drew me to her was her simultaneous boldness and humility in declaring the Lord’s sovereignty in her life. She had been through a difficult adolescence herself prior to marrying her husband, and at a time when I was struggling with depression and many other things, she intervened. She refused to let me see myself as anything less than the child I was—a daughter created in His image. She prayed continually for me, spoke truth in my life, and was like a mother to me when my own was physically and emotionally distant.
She was the Lord’s role in my life of biblical womanhood. Jana was always grounded, whether she was walking through such valleys as infertility, or times of exceeding joy such as the Lord’s blessing her with a daughter from China. I think that’s why I clung so tightly to her as an older woman of wisdom and grace. She was real, candid, not afraid to speak her mind, and she always knew that the Lord had placed circumstances in her life for her good and His glory. I needed that kind of influence in my life during that season of adolescence, and the Lord displayed His love and faithfulness through Jana. To this day, we are close, even though I live many miles away while in seminary. It’s been a sweet journey growing from a young, fearful teenage girl to a young woman just starting to become more mindful of those things which characterize a godly woman. Jana has been given great discernment from the Lord, knowing how to speak the truth to someone in love, whether it be in the form of encouragement or rebuke.
When I read Titus 2, I am mindful and forever thankful for Jana: "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." (v. 3-5)
This coming week you will read about our Savior’s amazing discussion with the Samaritan woman at the well. During the conversation, “the Holy Spirit was working in her heart. God the Father was drawing her irresistibly to Christ, revealing truth to her that eye had never seen and ear had never heard” (p. 149).
So how about you—When and how did the Holy Spirit first reveal the truth of Christ to your soul? Each and every story of conversion is a miracle. We want to hear yours!
When I was in elementary school, our dear librarian Miss Kisiel had a rule: you had to read three biographies before you were allowed to enter the special closet where the Nancy Drew collection was stored and select one of the precious books from the shelf.
I am not aware that either of the Churchills were believers in Jesus Christ, and there are aspects of their family life I would not want to emulate. However, through these letters you get a glimpse into a marriage that was, in many ways, remarkable.
For fifty-seven years, through two world wars, countless political campaigns, two terms as prime minister, relationships with kings and presidents, and travels around the globe, Winston and Clementine maintained a loving and affectionate relationship. The record of which can be found in their countless letters to one another.
One letter from Winston to Clementine, early in their marriage closes with these words: “My dearest you are very precious to me and I rejoice indeed to have won and kept your loving heart. May it never cool towards me is my prayer and that I may deserve your love my resolve” (p. 75).
Fifty years later, Winston received this note from Clementine upon his return from a trip: “My Darling, The Time has seemed long without you—I shall be on the door-step to welcome you Home. Your devoted Clemmie” (p. 643).
Every biography, every life teaches. It warns or inspires. The marriage of Winston and Clementine, although not perfect, encouraged me to show even more affection to my wonderful husband. For it struck me that this couple’s consistent expressions of affection for one another over half a century were as much a means of preserving their love as a reflection of the love they already shared.
Now I only write one letter to Steve a year—on our anniversary. But almost every day I try to put a little note in his lunch. And I cherish the emails or text messages he sends me just to say, “I love you.” As a result of reading this book I’m inspired to email him more often. I’m thankful for the encouragement to grow in expressing tender love for my husband.
You may be longing for the day when you can move away from your parents or get rid of your roommates in exchange for a husband and home. Or maybe you can’t wait until you and your husband can finally afford to purchase a house rather than pay rent on an apartment. Or possibly you resent being stuffed into a small house with a large family. What you wouldn’t do for a larger dwelling place!
Do you (like me) find yourself tempted to be discontent with your home?
If so, then this counsel author Randy Alcorn once gave a discontent couple is for you (and me) today:
“When I was a pastor, a couple came to my office and told me they wanted to be able to give more money to the church and to missions. “But we’ve always had this dream for a beautiful home in the country,” they added, “and we can’t seem to shake it. Is that wrong?” No it isn’t. In fact, the dream of a perfect home is from God. It’s just that such a dream cannot and will not be fulfilled in this life. Our dream house is coming; we don’t have to build it here. In fact, we can’t. (In Light of Eternity, pp. 155-156.)
We may never have that perfect home we desire here on earth. But “our dream house is coming!” It’s in heaven, waiting there for us, as Jesus promised: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2) Dear Lord, may my mind and affections be set, not on the things of this earth, but on my eternal home in heaven where I will one day be with you. This is my ultimate dream house—and not just a dream, it is a certain hope! Thank you for the work of your Son on the cross, which brought me into your family, and, one day, will bring me into your home forever!
Chad and I went to the dentist this morning. What was I thinking scheduling a dentist appointment the day after coming home from a getaway with my husband?! Talk about assaulting the senses—to go from the bliss of romance with my husband to sitting in the dentist chair in less than 24 hours! At least Chad and I didn’t have any cavities, which was the only redeeming aspect of our visit.
Anyway, I forgot to bring the book I’m presently reading, so I ended up flipping through one of the magazines on display in the waiting room. The theme of this particular issue was “Planning your Dream House.” As I surveyed the glossy pictures of these gorgeous homes I began to imagine what my dream house would look like—situated on the waterfront, with a large front porch and plenty of rooms for my children and grandchildren to visit.
After a moment or two of fantasizing, I came to my senses. How quickly I had been drawn in by the worldly, self-centered agenda of this magazine! As a Christian woman, my “dream house” shouldn’t be one of mere aesthetic beauty, or luxurious comfort. Rather, I should aspire to have a home like the one Peter Marshall once described as possessing “an atmosphere in which it was impossible to keep from thinking of God.”
I want those who live in and visit my home to experience peace, order, beauty, joy, and laughter—all reflections of the gracious character of our Savior. Now that’s a house worth dreaming about—and working for!
The fam was going many different directions this weekend. I checked in with the crew this morning and here’s the low down…
Dad and Mom were in one of our favorite places, Chatham, Massachusetts this past week, thanks to a gift from some friends. They are flying home today. No, we were not jealous at all.
Steve and Nicole celebrated their six-year anniversary on Saturday. Congrats, y’all! Nicole also had a doctor’s appointment this weekend, which found baby Whitacre to have a super strong heartbeat. Yeah!
Kristin is a nut! Yes, she is the big football fan in our family and last night the Redskins were set to play the Cowboys at 8 p.m. Well, Kristin’s power mysteriously went out at 6:30. Within minutes that girl was on the phone with PEPCO (our local power company). My power was out too, but calling the company didn’t even cross my mind. I mean, these people are all over this stuff! But one call was not enough for Kristin. After being assured that someone was on the way, she called again (yes, again) to make sure that he had arrived. We all told her that she was crazy. (Sorry, Kristin, I just couldn’t resist!) Her precious power was restored just in time for the big game. (Which by the way, you really have to be on top of the remote these days. The immodesty of the cheerleaders was grieving to say the least.)
It’s a big day for my nephews. Brian, Steve, and the kids are making the trek to Strasburg, PA as we speak to see a real Thomas the Tank Engine. They get to take a ride on the big blue train and meet Sir Topham Hatt. Can it get any better?
I had a super weekend hanging out with Caly and Chad. (Chad has been staying with us while my parents were away.) Last night was the kick-off meeting for our children’s ministry at church, led by my amazing husband. Great job, Mikey! After the meeting it was Redskins vs. Cowboys (and we won’t talk about that pathetic game) with some pizza and cheese sticks on the side. Yummy!
We discovered this cute video at The Rebelution website, however there is much more in the way of substantive content to be found there. Twin teenage brothers Alex and Brett Harris are the co-authors of this outstanding blog for young people. The Rebelution is, as they describe it, a “teenage rebellion against rebellion,” and they truly live up to their name. Themes such as godly character, purity, biblical manhood and womanhood, coalesce with insightful cultural analysis, profiles of courageous teenagers, and a pretty sleek looking new web-design.
In addition to Alex and Brett’s obvious gift for writing, they have a resource section chock-full of wonderful articles from other authors. So whether or not you have a teenager, check out The Rebelution. But first watch this little video for a smile this Friday.
Catch you all on Monday!
Nicole for my favorite girltakers Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle