Speaking of due dates, we have one more (less important but not insignificant) delivery in March: the manuscript of our next girltalk book. We’re calling it Shopping for Time: How To Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed. At the risk of overtaxing your kindness, we want to solicit your prayers for this “birth” as well.
What’s Shopping for Time all about? Let me give you a brief summary.
It’s a well-documented fact that women are savvy shoppers. We can unearth a bargain from the back corner of a discount store. We can also spot a bad deal as easily as if it was wearing a neon tag.
But the Bible also exhorts us to be savvy shoppers of our time: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
The reality is, however, we don’t often manage our time with the same skill that we shop the sales. Instead of looking carefully and walking wisely, we are often running frantically from one demand to another. Or we wander through the changing seasons of our life, easily distracted by whatever catches our fancy.
In this book, we suggest five simple keys to help us as women “make the best use” or “shop” for time. This book is not an attempt at a Christian-coated time-management book. Rather, we want to provide encouragement and practical help for women to bring glory to the Savior through every season of life God has appointed for them to walk through.
So, we would covet your prayers—for wisdom, speed, and most of all, that we would make the best use of our time and glorify God in this book-editing season.
PS—The book is scheduled for publication this summer. We’ll let you know when it’s available.
I have reached the point in my pregnancy where I’m counting the weeks until the due date instead of the weeks that I’ve been pregnant. Only four to go!
With the delivery drawing near, I want to humbly request your prayers. As I’ve shared before on this blog, my delivery with Jack was followed by serious complications. We were reviewing the events last night at dinner with my family….
On Friday morning, February 21, 2003 I was induced. By mid-afternoon, my labor was regressing instead of progressing. Jack’s head was stuck and the doctor determined he was experiencing some distress. So, she performed a cesarean section. By God’s grace, he was a healthy little boy.
My recovery appeared to be going so well, they actually discharged me from the hospital on Sunday morning. On Monday afternoon, however, I stood up from the couch and felt a horrible pain in my abdomen.
The next three days were a blur. If I sat still for an hour or more, I could almost feel normal. But to move at all was excruciating. Between a one and a ten, something close to ten. Steve, and Janelle (who’d come to help because Mom had to stay with a sick Chad) cared for Jack and me heroically. It was assumed that I was, well—there’s no way to put this delicately—constipated, and that things would soon right themselves. But the pain only got worse.
Finally, on Wednesday I was admitted to the hospital for observation. Thursday morning, after the second CAT scan showed my condition deteriorating, emergency surgery was performed.
When I woke up, Steve told me that my colon had ruptured and subsequently been repaired, and that my appendix was inflamed and had been removed. I had an infection. In many ways this was only the beginning of the trial. The recovery was long and arduous—I won’t bore you with all the details. It included many days in the hospital, loads of antibiotics, and numerous complications. After being discharged from the hospital, Steve, Jack and I lived with my parents for several months. My mom nursed me full-time and she and Janelle took turns getting up with Jack in the night. Finally, in June a second surgery was required to complete the repairs and I began to mend.
We still don’t know for sure what happened. There are half a dozen plausible theories. My current favorite is something called “Ogilvie Syndrome” which can occur following various types of surgery, including cesarean section.
The good news is that there are treatments (both medicinal and procedural) to prevent my colon from rupturing a second time. The much better news is that my health and my life are in God’s hands.
The plan for this upcoming delivery still has not been finalized. I hope to know more after my doctor’s appointment next week. If Tori’s head is not too big, the doctor would like to try to deliver the baby naturally. But a cesarean may once again be necessary.
Recently, I was speaking with my dear Aunt Betsy, and she told me that she was praying that my delivery would be extraordinary for it’s ordinariness. I liked the sound of that. So that is my prayer request—for my physical body anyway. Most of all, please pray that, “the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in [me] and in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:12.
Thank you, my friends.
One aspect of bookwriting we girltalkers really dislike is the obligatory photoshoot. And today was that day. The publisher couldn’t wait any longer. So we met at my house and Mike (our designated photographer) was very patient as we tried to get that “one shot.” We thought you would enjoy looking at some of the “non-options” before we show you the winner. Hee-hee…
Hope you enjoy this collection of pictures which came to us under the heading “If women controlled the world…”
See you all!
for Carolyn, Kristin and Janelle
When Elizabeth Prentiss was unable to visit her dear friend Carrie, who like her, lost two children, she extended the following words of comfort:
“I long to fly to you and weep with you; it seems as if I must say or do something to comfort you. But God only can help you now and how thankful I am for the throne of grace and power where I can commend you, again and again, to Him who doeth all things well. ...Dear Carrie, I trust that in this hour of sorrow you have with you that Presence, before which alone sorrow and sighing flee away. God is left; Christ is left; sickness, accident, death cannot touch you here. Is that not a blissful thought? May sorrow bring us both nearer to Christ!”
Today’s link takes us to Covenant Life Church where my dad also extends words of comfort from Scripture to those who are suffering. In this message entitled “Transformed in Trials” he considers how we can emulate the prophet Habakkuk’s example when circumstances—such as Elizabeth and Carrie’s—seem to contradict the character and promises of God.
Thanks to the good folks at the Sovereign Grace Store, this message is available as a free download through the month of March.
May these words strengthen and encourage those of you who are presently “walking through the valley.”
BOOK CLUB ASSIGNMENT: Please read chapter seven this week.
We’re not traveling far to get to today’s link. At the same women’s meeting that Mom referenced yesterday, Carolyn McCulley spoke to our single ladies about “The Walk of Faith.”
But it doesn’t matter if you’re single or married: we all need to hear this message! Carolyn draws lessons of faith from the lives of four women of the Bible: Sarah, Rahab, Rebekah and Abigail. She also introduces a dear mutual friend who is currently walking in faith as she battles cancer.
You can hear the testimony and the message and download Carolyn’s outline here.
Oh, and to encourage practical expressions of faith, the single women received a bookmark too. Here are “10 Ways to Do Good to Others” (Galatians 6:10).
- Show up at a friend’s workplace with her favorite drink and a magazine.
- Invite a family over for a dessert and game night.
- Arrange a “welcome home” party at the airport for a traveling friend.
- Pray for a verse to encourage a friend and put it in a note.
- Put together a get-well basket for a sick friend.
- Mail a coffee-shop gift certificate to a friend to initiate time of fellowship.
- Babysit for a mom with young kids.
- Coordinate friends to pray—one per day—for someone going through a trial.
- Prepare a tea for neighbors or coworkers and invite friends from church.
- Call a friend out of the blue to tell her why you’re grateful for her friendship.
Today’s itinerary takes us to Sovereign Grace Church in Fairfax, Virginia—Steve and Nicole’s church.
On a recent Saturday their women’s ministry hosted a morning for all the women of the church and Nicole was one of the speakers. Janelle and I made the 45-minute trek over to hear her message and to cheer her on. (Kristin wanted to go too, but was unable due to her schedule that day.) Nicole’s topic that morning was, “She Does Him Good,” derived from Proverbs 31:12. And of course I’m biased, but I think every wife who listens to this message will be freshly encouraged and challenged in her marriage.
You can download the message and the outline here.
Also, to complement the teaching topic that morning, the women received bookmarks with “10 Ways To Do Your Husband Good.” Here are their creative suggestions:
10 Ways to Do Your Husband Good (Proverbs 31:12)
- Write him a love note and place it in his sock drawer.
- Take an entire evening to enjoy his favorite hobby with him.
- Show up at work with a special drink or take him to lunch.
- Encourage him for demonstrating a specific godly trait—in front of friends.
- Arrange a datenight at his favorite restaurant.
- Pray for him today and tell him you are doing so.
- Surprise him with his favorite dessert after dinner.
- Greet him in an extra-special way when he comes home from work.
- Lead the children in a time of honoring him.
- Ask him: “What is one way I can be a better wife?” Then do it!
Welcome to our second stop on our trip around the web this week!
Several weeks ago I told you about the “Modesty Survey” that Brett and Alex Harris were conducting at The Rebelution. Well, they just contacted us to let us know that the results are in. Amazing results at that! To quote Brett and Alex, “The release of ‘The Modesty Survey’ has resulted in our website receiving over 1.2 million page views in the past five days from over 60,000 unique visitors.” They also informed us that my dad’s message, “The Soul of Modesty,” has been downloaded off their site by over 2,000 families. Do I really need to say anything else? You don’t want to miss this stop!
This is an important topic for all of us to consider, especially with spring shopping right around the corner. Moms, this would be a great tool for you to use in discussing the importance of modesty with your daughters. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to grow in our pursuit of honoring the Lord in what we wear. Click here to check it out.
Brett and Alex, thank you for all of the time and effort that you have put into this survey. You have served us all big time!
While we’ve been busy talking about family meals, we’ve also been eyeing several destinations around the World Wide Web we think you should visit. So, we’re going to play travel agents this week and suggest what we hope will be an edifying itinerary.
Today, as an addendum to our series on mealtime, we want to encourage you to check out some fantastic links on hospitality. This often under-appreciated biblical imperative is a means of extending the grace of family mealtime to fellow-church members, newcomers, and unbelievers.
First, head over to 9Marks Ministries and “go beyond lemonade and cookies” in a thought provoking article on a biblical theology of hospitality by Jonathan Leeman. You can also read testimonies from three Christian leaders (Ken Sande, Donald Whitney and Ryan Townsend) on the effect of Christian hospitality and read a book review of The Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch. (Note: you have to scroll down to view these articles.)
Then, click on our friend Carolyn McCulley’s website and you can read a number of stellar articles on hospitality. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that Carolyn is well qualified to write on this subject. Here are several options on her “menu:”
Invite a Married to Dinner
Practical Questions about Hospitality
Imitating Our Hospitable God
When Outreach Doesn’t Come Easily
A Single Woman’s Home: A Mission Field
Check back tomorrow as our little trip around the Internet heads a new direction.
After the unimaginably difficult death of her two little children, Elizabeth was distraught—“Empty hands, empty hands, a worn-out exhausted body, and unutterable longings to flee from a world that has had for me so many sharp experiences. God help me, my baby, my baby!”
What held her back at the edge of utter despair? Sharon James records that “She could only repeat over and over to herself something that one of her friends had said when calling on that last dreadful day. ‘God never makes a mistake.’ Somehow she clung on to that truth.”
Have you experienced tragedy in your life? The same God to whom Elizabeth clung remains faithful to this day. He has never made a mistake. And He never will.
Debbie Demi knows this to be true. Like Elizabeth, she lost a little one this past year, shortly after she was born. In the following paragraphs, Debbie allows us to listen in as she contemplates God’s character in the midst of overwhelming sorrow.
Thoughts from Mom,
My dear sweet Destiny died 2 days ago. It’s amazing how much you could love someone who did so little so much. I marveled in anything that she could do. We were excited every time she went “poopoo” on her own or turned her eyes to look at something. Her body was perfect. I marveled at her little toes and fingers and beautiful hair. She was mine, especially designed by God for me for a time such as this, and I loved her.
Destiny was a lot of work. She required medicine to make each part of her work – a medicine to sleep, a medicine not to seize, a medicine to move her bowels, a medicine to help keep food in her stomach… I cried many nights since she was born – saddened by what her future held and fearful of when her last day would come. The doctors and hospital visits were getting exhausting. I felt like I was in the 3rd watch (as it says in the Bible). I was weary – yet at the same time, I was confident that the Lord would not give me more than I could handle.
I would have never chosen this trial or any trial for that matter. The pain of losing a child is at times unbearable. Yet, by God’s grace, I was able to press into God and try to see what purpose He had in bringing Destiny into my life – because I have no doubt that God doesn’t allow anything without a specific purpose. He had everything calculated down to the minutest detail including the perfect number of her days to accomplish the purpose that He had in mind for us. He knew the exact amount of pain and emotional energy that I could handle to keep me pressing into Him – that it wouldn’t be too much that I would grow weary or bitter. I always knew and still continue to rest on the fact that He is good all of the time and not only is He good – but all things that He allows into our lives are for our good. We can’t always see how a circumstance like this could be good – yet our confidence is not in how we feel or how we see things – but in who God is.
We often think that all pain is bad and that it’s our goal to avoid it at all costs. It all hurts right now in an emotional way as a surgery to remove a large cancerous tumor would hurt physically. If we didn’t know what we were being saved from, the surgery would feel like trouble upon trouble… the incision, the bills, the recovery process… Yet, what a benefit the surgery would be: it would keep one from death; it would remove future pain; it would allow one to live life to the fullest. What’s going on in our lives at this time could be God’s way of doing surgery on our souls – we just can’t see what the pain is sparing us from or preparing us to do or how it will be used for the future. It’s all a matter of faith in a God who is faithful. A God who doesn’t allow pain for the sake of pain – but has a plan even for the pain that seems unnecessary. We just can’t see the work that He is inevitably doing beneath the surface. He’s allowing circumstances that if we could see the outcome of His plan – we would say, “Cut deeper.” May we not miss what He intends!
Destiny’s name means, “for which you were meant to do.” She accomplished what her loving Creator meant her to do on earth. Now we have the hope that she will spend eternity with Him in glory where we will be with her one day.
(Due to the significant nature of this topic, this will be the final post for the weekend. Please read chapter six prior to next week’s book club installment. May God’s comfort and love be with you all!)