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.
Recently, I’ve been enjoying a new cd in my quiet time and as background music for my daily tasks. It’s father and son team Mark and Stephen Altrogge’s In a Little While. Now, I’m the last blogger who should be doing a music review. So, to avoid saying anything stupid, I’m going to refrain from extended comments on this album and simply say: “It’s great, and every woman (and man) reading this blog should purchase it.”
Better than my own thoughts, you can take Sovereign Grace worship leader Bob Kauflin’s word that these guys write songs where “Biblical truth [is] combined with creative and engaging music.”
My favorite song on the album is their version of the hymn, “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right.” Here’s Mark Altrogge on why they chose to include this song:
My daughter Beth had heard the hymn “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right” quoted in a message. She has suffered from migraines for years and God has used this trial in her life to build a deepening trust in his wise, loving, sovereign plan for her life. She said the message and this hymn really encouraged her. I’d never heard the hymn before, and when I read the lyrics, I was deeply affected by the trust in our sovereign God which this hymn expresses. From time to time, in the process of working on the song and recording it, God has brought me to tears by the truth it expresses.
In chapter eight entitled, “He Works…She Waits,” John Ensor reminds us of the importance of sexual purity:
“Sisters, there is power in waiting. If you give away this God-endowed power and simply act, as the apostle Paul said, ‘like the Gentiles who do not know God’ (1 Thessalonians 4:5) and satisfy his lusts, you undermine God’s work of maturing manhood. So part company with the crowd. Become a nonconformist. Swim upstream. Those who go with the flow in this matter are more likely to get the flotsam floating down the current. There are potentially good men in the mix, but how will you know the seemingly mature predatory male from the immature provider-protector type of man who is ready to grow up? Purity is the litmus test. Waiting will reveal the heart of the matter.”
This topic of sexual purity has been wisely addressed on a more detailed level in Josh Harris’s book, Sex Is Not The Problem (Lust Is). Instead of giving you the description myself, I’ll let Josh do it for me. Take a moment and watch this video, and if you find yourself tempted to compromise your sexual purity, please consider purchasing this book.
P.S. Please read chapter nine in Doing Things Right by Friday!
“In matters of the heart, it is right that men should lead and women welcome and guide that leadership. She is his helpmate (Gen. 2:18). Her goal is to give her man all the help he needs to lead well….The guidance that she provides him comes mainly in two forms: in helping him think clearly and in encouraging him to act confidently.” Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart, p. 97
What a wonderfully biblical picture of complementary roles. He leads and she welcomes his leadership; but she also actively participates as his helpmate.
For Brian and me, the stewardship of our finances has been a training ground for our roles. I’ve sought to serve him by keeping track of our finances. He has sought to lead by utilizing my gifts to help him think clearly and act confidently when making financial decisions.
To give you a little window into our lives: I’m the money conscious one, and Brian is the memory maker. I’m saving every penny and he’s giving away every dime. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture.
As you may have read on this blog, I recently turned 30. To celebrate my big day, Brian told me he had planned a few surprises. So when my birthday rolled around, I was a bit nervous about where he was going to find the money to fund his set of surprises.
When he mentioned the idea of taking me to Washington, D.C. for an overnight, I anxiously inquired: “Where are you going to get the money for that?” Hardly an expression of gratefulness, support and encouragement for his leadership!
You see it’s not that we didn’t actually have the funds available. It’s just that I would have preferred to save the money instead of spend it on an overnight. And while Brian is committed to prudently saving, he was also determined to bless me on this occasion.
In the end, Brian decided that we would take the overnight. And I’m so glad we did. We had a wonderful trip and made memories that will last a lifetime. Once again I was reminded that this man is called to lead me and that things go well when I follow his leadership. Next time, by God’s grace, I hope my words and heart will better help him to think and act.
“Sisters, all the advice from Vogue, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan that talks about going after and getting your man, all the blather about how in this day and age it is just as acceptable for you to initiate as for him, is just that—blather. Be confident and trust your feelings on this matter. Be confident that if he is the man you hope and wish him to be, he will play the man. You crackle the leaves a bit when he is in the area and let him know you are there. Then wait for him to initiate, or not. In the long run, you will be well served either way.” Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart, page 94
In their newly converted, youthful zeal, my dad and a group of his friends decided that God had called them to remain single. Dad was uninterested in the efforts of women to attract his attention. Put off by their forward manner, it was easy to think that God wasn’t leading him to get married.
Until he met my mom.
When he walked into the canteen at the Christian retreat center where Mom was working for the week, she didn’t try to catch his eye. Instead, she told him the canteen was closed. After pleading for a hot dog (on the grounds that he’d been serving and preaching all day and was tired and hungry) she finally relented. But to this day, Dad claims the hot dog was as cold as her demeanor. (She disputes this accusation, of course!)
My dad, who only a day before thought he would remain single, was suddenly smitten. Something in him—something that wanted to initiate, pursue, and win a woman’s heart—was awakened. So he asked my mom to take a walk. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Mom used to remind my sisters and me of this story when we were tempted to try to get some guy’s attention. Allow a man to win your heart, she would say. And if he doesn’t want to, then why would you want him?
God created men to initiate and he created women to respond. Or, as John Ensor also puts it, “His power is in the exclamation [of love]. Yours is in the echo.” When we remember this, things will work right in matters of the heart.
(We will discuss chapters seven and eight at the beginning of next week.)
You may remember a couple weeks back when we asked you to pray for a very pregnant Karalee Reinke and the safe delivery of her little one. Soon after our post we heard from Karalee’s husband, Tony - baby had arrived but in a rather unexpected fashion! The story was too good to pass up, so we asked Tony and Karalee if we could share it with you here. They kindly agreed. Tony and Karalee, thank you for telling us your story and congratulations on the birth of your sweet son!
Hello GirlTalk readers! By the kindness of God, we were blessed with our third child, Bunyan, born on July 16th. He is a precious little guy. I wanted to take a moment to share the circumstances of his birth and how important your prayers proved to be.
For this third delivery we decided on a home birth. Our first child was the traditional doctor/hospital delivery, our second was a midwife/hospital delivery and so I guess the natural option for the third delivery was a midwife/home delivery. As long as my wife was comfortable with the arrangements, I’d be there to fetch ice chips, encourage, photograph and announce.
Our first two children arrived late and Bunyan was no different. Almost a week after the due date, we were still waiting. On Sunday the 15th, my wife stood up from the dinner table into a puddle – the water broke! Our midwife arrived on Sunday night at about 11:00 PM to set up a few things. She stayed the night but any minor contractions tapered off and ended at 2 AM. The midwife, seeing nothing progressing and with a little one of her own, returned home Monday morning and resumed her office appointments.
At about 1:30 Monday afternoon, contractions began again and the midwife was notified. She would be soon making her way back to our house. About 2:10 the contractions became intense. Stuck in Twin City traffic, the midwife was 30 minutes away. The contractions increased in intensity and by 2:20 my wife was really working through the contractions. I got back on the phone with the midwife and said things were becoming very intense. The midwife calmly suggested we consider calling 911 and that she was on her way. After waiting so long, it is somewhat shocking to discover time has expired.
After walking down the hall from the bathtub, my wife sat down in bed and that’s when I noticed baby was about to arrive. Seeing the top of our son’s head motivated me to call the midwife back ASAP, but she was still 15 minutes out. She calmly asked if I was ready to deliver my own baby? I don’t remember what I said, but my decision was irrelevant. She calmly reassured me that babies birth themselves. So with the phone held to my ear with my shoulder she walked me through what to expect. Step one was to wait until baby’s head was out and make sure the cord was not around the neck. The cord was around baby’s neck and, like removing a thick necklace, I pulled it over his head. Awaiting one final contraction I looked behind me to all the oxygen equipment the midwife arranged the night before. I asked the midwife what complex surgical procedure I should prepare for next. The next and last step was simply to keep baby warm. On the next contraction, our baby was born. We covered him up and kept him warm. There was little crying, but we could tell our newborn was breathing and his color began changing from purple to red. Five minutes later the midwife arrived and took over.
As these events unfolded, our oldest son was at the neighbors and our daughter was in the next room deep in her afternoon nap. Bunyan himself slept right through his own birth. The whole experience was curiously tranquil.
Karalee and Bunyan are progressing well and we praise God for His sustaining power over the situation. And that, as Paul Harvey says, is the rest of the story.
Ironically, two weeks earlier the midwife asked if I wanted to catch the baby. “No way,” I said. “I draw the line at cord-cutting.” Our kind God does not promise life will go as we plan, but He does promise the grace to endure. In this case you played a role in sustaining us in our husband/home delivery. Thank you, GirlTalk readers, for your prayers! They were appreciated and more necessary than we could have predicted.
Each day, the topics we address on this blog may only apply to a slice of our audience. But when it comes to the topic of conflict, everyone can relate. Whether you’re a teenager with siblings or a parent with teenagers, a boss with employees or an employee with co-workers, a wife or one of the many husbands and fathers who read our blog. Whether you are five or fifty-five, you know all about relational conflict.
But just as we have all experienced conflict, so God’s Word offers hope to all of us in conflict. There is no marital strife, parent-child hostility, or relational discord that is too complicated for God’s wisdom, too persistent for God’s mercy or too difficult for God’s grace.
In an article entitled “Cravings and Conflicts” my dad unpacks the timeless and universal wisdom of James 4 to give us hope for resolving quarrels and fights. Even if you aren’t in a conflict right now, you still need this truth. Because, as Dad observes, there’s most certainly a conflict headed your way soon.
So, if you’re unprepared for the inevitable conflict or hopeless in the midst of conflict, be sure to read this article and receive fresh guidance and hope for resolving conflict.