In 2002 Covenant Life Church celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. The church came together for a weekend of activities recounting God’s great grace and faithfulness through the years. With Josh Harris as narrator, the pastors put together a video presentation of my parent’s life and testimony. We just found out that the video has been posted (in two parts) on youtube and we thought y’all might enjoy taking a look.
As pastors’ wives, we’ve unfortunately been on the receiving end of conversations with young women that go something like this:
“I’m trying to get him to have consistent quiet times and be more passionate for the Lord. And I know that we’ve crossed the line more than a few times in the area of purity. But he says he really loves me and I love him. I’m sure he’ll shape up once we’re married. I can’t live without him.”
As women, our desire for marriage can be so strong, that we’re willing to settle for what John Ensor calls, “the immature, selfish, ungodly man” or even fall victim to the “deceitful and cunning predator.” But now, we have the “Manhood Test Kit”—the essential tool for determining if a man is ready to be married, or not. And it’s this: does he obey God by leading your relationship in purity?
I can’t say it better than John Ensor has already has:
“Men willing to wait, and wanting to wait, will test positive. It is not a lack of sexual interest; it is a healthy fear of God. It is love, which at this point rightfully expresses itself as protection frm sin and shame. If he weakens, help him succeed. If all else goes well in the development of the relationship, you know you are marrying a godly man, one who has self-control and a clear sense of his calling as a man.
Let me just add that the “Manhood Test Kit” is most effective in the context of community. Make sure you are asking for and seriously considering the counsel of godly men and women around you as you test the maturity of the man you may marry.
May God raise up many godly men who are committed to leading in purity as they walk toward the altar. And may God grant the women they are leading the discernment and wisdom to test their character against the straight edge of God’s Word.
To paraphrase the first magnificent answer of the Shorter Catechism, let’s not forget that: Mommy’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. And isn’t it interesting to note, as J. I. Packer points out in his new book,Praying the Lord’s Prayer, that this doctrinal statement uses the word “‘end,’ not ‘ends,’ for the two activities [glorifying and enjoying God] are one.” Dr. Packer continues:
God’s chief end, purposed in all that he does, is his glory, and he has so made us that we find our own deepest fulfillment and highest joy in hallowing his name by praise, submission, and service. Christians get so hung up with the pagan idea (very dishonoring to God,incidentally) that God¹s will is always unpleasant, so that one is rather a martyr to be doing it, that they hardly at first notice how their experience verifies the truth that in Christian living duty and delight go together. But they do! And this will be even clearer in the life to come. To give oneself to hallowing God’s name as one’s life-task means that living, though never a joyride, will become increasingly a joy road.
In other words, as we continue “lub-dubbing” along (I love that expression!) and learning contentment as mothers for the glory of God, caring for our children will increasingly become a joyful experience. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or a “joyride” as Dr. Packer says. But if our highest fulfillment is found in worshipping and obeying God, then motherhood will undoubtedly be a “joy road.” And if this is what God has called us to, then there is no other road we would rather be on.
The other day I was walking through a furniture store with my three boys (not something I do very often, but I was inspired on this particular day – call me crazy!) when an older man passed by me. He smiled, looked at my three boys and said, “That is a full time job.” I looked at him, smiled back, then replied “Yes, but I love it.”
I do love it. There is no other job in the world that I would trade for being the mother of my three little guys. But if I were to be completely honest, there have been many days in my short career as a mother when those “I love it” thoughts were replaced with “If only…” thoughts or “I’ll be happy when…” thoughts.
It’s on those particularly tough days—when the boys arguing seems constant, when juice spills all over my freshly mopped floors and laundry is piled high—that I find myself fighting for a biblical perspective, fighting to love the season the Lord has me in, fighting to be content in every situation (Philippians 4:11).
Recently I read the article “Learning Contentment in All Your Circumstances” by Robert D. Jones in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, which I highly recommend. In this article, he describes the attitude of contentment that I should have every day:
“What is contentment? It is having a satisfied mind in any situation. It is finding inner satisfaction in God alone and in His provision for you. It is experiencing His peace and confidence in difficult times. It is consciously enjoying the fact that God is good, even when your circumstances are not.”
So what do I do when my circumstances in mothering seem “not good”? I know I am supposed to be content, but how do I get there? The answer, says Mr. Jones, is in the verses that come before Philippians 4:11 which he’s arranged into a helpful acronym, “PTO”:
These three simple steps offer a clear path out of discontent, regardless of whether my circumstances change or not. As Mr. Jones points out, “If you seek God’s face, renewing your mind with His truth and walking in His ways will produce inner peace amid circumstantial problems.”
These days you’ll find me at home changing diapers, picking up toys, helping Jack make pb&j’s (I do the peanut butter and he does the jelly), wiping spit-up off my clothes—and, here’s where it gets exciting—going to Wal Mart to purchase more diapers. (Hot Tip: I’ve found the White Cloud brand to be the best of the cheapest.)
My home is a long way from the community college campus where I used to serve as a ministry intern on behalf of my church—sharing the gospel and discipling girls every day. It’s a long way from the offices of Covenant Life Church where I organized women’s meetings and retreats for hundreds. It’s a very long way from Hungary and India where I traveled on short-term mission trips.
I love my life now, even if it doesn’t always seem as “exciting” or “significant” as what I used to do. Maybe that’s why this thought from John Piper—from his book The Roots of Endurance resonated with me:
“As I write this Preface I have just preached to my people several messages in which I pleaded with them to be ‘coronary Christians,’ not ‘adrenal Christians.’ Not that adrenaline is bad, I said; it gets me through lots of Sundays. But it lets you down on Mondays. The heart is another kind of friend. It just keeps on serving—very quietly, through good days and bad days, happy and sad, high and low, appreciated and unappreciated. It never says, ‘I don’t like your attitude, Piper, I’m taking a day off.’ It just keeps humbly lub-dubbing along. It endures the way adrenaline doesn’t. Coronary Christians are like the heart in the causes they serve. Adrenal Christians are like adrenaline—a spurt of energy and then fatigue. What we need in the cause of… [motherhood] is not spurts of energy, but people who endure for the long haul. Marathoners, not sprinters.”
Being a wife and mother—or doing any other long-term kingdom work—requires us to be “coronary Christians.” It requires faithfulness even when we don’t see the fruit. It requires joy in the mundane, unglamorous tasks. It calls for confidence that God will bless our gospel-motivated labors.
So if you are weary, discouraged, or even bored with the work God is calling you to today, join me in asking for God’s grace to be a “coronary Christian.”
Two young boys walk into a pharmacy one day, pick out a box of Tampax
and proceed to the checkout counter. The man at the counter asks the
older boy, “Son, how old are you?”
“Eight,” the boy replies.
The man continues, “Do you know what these are used for?”
“Not exactly,” the boy says. “But they aren’t for me. They’re for him.
He’s my brother. He’s four. We saw on TV that if you use these you
would be able to swim and ride a bike. Right now he can’t do either
“We do not face intruders, fire, crashes, and drowning on a regular basis. So let me close this chapter with a few mundane examples where manly protection expresses itself on a day to day basis.”
John Ensor goes on to list common ways a man protects—such as how he walks next to a woman on the street, opens the door so she can go in first (or goes in first himself in an unknown situation), and takes the lead in driving.
The question for us is: are we welcoming the protection of godly men? Are we noticing it, commenting on it, thanking them for it, even asking for it? Sometimes these mundane acts of protection are very simple gestures like the ones Ensor listed. We can easily take them for granted, and fail to express our gratefulness.
Welcoming godly protection may seem insignificant. However, it is one way that in a confused society we as women can express our femininity and encourage godly men in their masculinity. By doing so, we acknowledge and affirm that the way God made us is beautiful, good, and right.
“So many books, so little time” expresses my sentiments exactly!
I’ve been wanting to read the book, 1776 for half of forever, but just couldn’t find the time. So instead of reading the book, I’m having the book read to me, by the author himself no less. While I’m doing dishes, driving in the car, or cleaning my bedroom, I am listening to David McCullough tell the story of the birth of our nation.
To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if I would enjoy or fully comprehend the book by listening to it rather than reading it. I don’t think I’m one of those “audio learners.” All I know is that I’m a “slow learner!” However, to my surprise, I have thoroughly enjoyed going through the book in this way. And though I’ve had to listen several of the CD’s more than once to fully grasp the content, I’m almost three-fourths of the way through the book.
Now, I am going somewhere with this little tidbit about my life. I want to tell you about another audio book that’s become available: it’s my husband’s Living the Cross Centered Life.
Although not read by the author himself (which would have been my preference!), this six-hour CD is unabridged. And even if you’ve already read the book, listening to it is a way to preach the gospel to yourself—or should I say, have someone else preach the gospel to you—as you are driving in your car, taking a jog, cleaning your house, or completing any other mundane task. As CJ says in the book:
“In the midst of our various responsibilities and many possible areas of service in the kingdom of God, one overarching truth should motivate all our work and affect every part of who we are: Christ died for our sins. This…is the main thing. Nothing else—not even things that are biblical and honorable—are of equal or greater importance than this: God sent His Son to the cross to bear His wrath for sinners like you and me. If there’s anything in life we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others; I mean passionate in thinking about the gospel, reflecting upon it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world and all of life.”
There truly is no better use of our “little time” than to remind ourselves of the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross. Listening to Living the Cross Centered Life is one way to do just that.