Today the calendar year draws to a close, and we conclude our year-end-review with a post from Kristin. As you celebrate the New Year, may you remember God’s faithfulness in 2007 and look forward to His grace in 2008…
Waiting With Liam
My middle son Liam can’t wait for his birthday to get here. He’ll be five. And he’ll get to go to Noodles
and Co. for his favorite buttered noodles with Parmesan cheese.
Actually, he didn’t quite understand why we didn’t go to Noodles today.
I tried to explain that his birthday is still five days away. He keeps
asking, though, not quite comprehending the delay.
Watching Liam eagerly wait for his birthday this week made these thoughts from Iain Duguid all the more relevant:
of us who have very young children know how difficult waiting can be.
We live through their annual anguish of waiting for birthday parties.
Each day of the week—or, in some cases, the month—before their
birthdays roll around, they wake up with the question, “is it my
birthday yet?” Finally, the great day arrives, and you immediately have
to convince them that 6:30 a.m. is not the ideal time of day for a
party. By 6:45 a.m. they are thoroughly convinced that you don’t love
them, and that all this talk of a party is nothing but a cruel hoax. At
this point, you know it’s going to be a long day!
Don’t we often act toward God like little children? We kick and fuss
and scream because we want what God has promised, and we want it now.
Never mind that preparations need to be made and that other people need
to be invited. But, like a patient and long-suffering parent, God bides
his time, neither delaying nor hurrying, until everything is in place.
Then—and not a moment sooner—he gives us the good things he has
Liam only has to wait five days for his
birthday. You might have to wait five, or fifty years for a good thing
God has promised. But just as sure as Liam’s birthday will come on
October 1, so God will not fail to fulfill His promises to you. So
let’s all learn along with Liam this week to wait…patiently.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” Psalm 37:7,9
In 2007, we at Covenant Life Church suffered the loss of a dear friend, Madonna Aristorenas. Although we still miss her, we rejoice that she is now pain-free and worshipping in the presence of the Savior. Janelle remembered the life of this special lady….
A Glad Life
Would you like to see a picture of biblical womanhood—a portrait of a life lived faithfully before the Lord and in service to others in the local church? I cannot think of a more fitting image than our dear friend Madonna Aristorenas.
Madonna passed away last Friday after a six-year-battle with breast cancer. She was 39. But Madonna’s example and testimony is alive and healthier than ever. She leaves behind a legacy of passionate service to the church and infectious joy in Christ.
Carolyn McCulley penned a tribute to Madonna on her blog. There she quotes Madonna’s pastor as saying that despite her battle with cancer she had served in every major ministry in the church. In the world’s eyes, Madonna had every right to be home feeling sorry for herself, but Madonna refused. She laid aside all thoughts of self and gave her life away for the glory of her Savior. John Piper says, “If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.”
Madonna is in these words. She experienced hard things in this life and the risk was most certainly high, but she lived gladly to make others glad and her joy was full.
Please, take a moment and read Carolyn’s tribute to this most worthy of ladies. And look hard at your own life. Are you “living gladly to make others glad?” Where are you serving in your local church? How can you seek to live with an outward focus today? May Madonna’s life inspire you to honor the Lord in all that you do!
This post by Nicole is a helpful reminder, just in time for after-Christmas cleanup…
A Coronary Mom
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.”
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! In keeping with tradition here at girltalk, we spend the final week of the year looking back. Over the next few days, we’ll re-post articles written by each other over the last year. I thought this post by Mom—from July of this year—was especially fitting for the day after Christmas, for holidays and milestones often provoke thoughts of the past. May all your memories be markers of the faithfulness of God…
Thirty Years of Faithfulness
This morning, I woke up thinking about our dear friends Robin and
Clara Boisvert. Thirty years ago today, they were married. Sadly, I
don’t consistently remember all of my friends’ anniversaries. But I
rarely forget Robin and Clara’s. That’s because I was in labor with my
second child during their wedding ceremony.
waited until after the ceremony was over to make her entrance into this
world. Not only would I have been disappointed to miss Robin and
Clara’s wedding, but CJ was performing the ceremony!
remember sitting on the back pew of Christ Church in Washington, D.C.
as the contractions were coming with persistent regularity. They were
just far enough apart that I knew I still had time to make it through
the wedding; but as soon as CJ concluded his responsibilities we drove
straight to the hospital. Kristin was born in the wee hours that next
But more than just the memories of that day thirty
years ago, I’ve also been pondering God’s faithfulness in the
intervening years. God has been faithful to us. He’s been faithful to
the Boisverts. And He’s been faithful in our friendship—allowing us to
serve together in ministry these past three decades. He’s been faithful
to our children. We each have married children who are good friends
with each other and grandchildren who go to playgroup together.
Bible regularly exhorts us to remember, to think about, to ponder the
faithfulness of God (As in Psalm 103:2—“Forget not all his benefits.”).
You may not remember what you were doing thirty years ago today (unless
you were in labor too!) but you certainly can recall the events of this
past year, month or even week and find many evidences of the goodness
of God. There are the blessings of family and friends. But most of all,
there is the perfect love of Christ, revealed on the cross 2000 years
It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m wondering if any of you women out there will actually read this today. You are probably running around cooking and doing errands and cleaning and wrapping presents like we are. But if you have just so happened to check in, we want to give you a little Christmas gift (thanks to Taylor!). It’s an audio recording of the Christmas story straight from Scripture. Before you and your family go to bed tonight, you may want to gather ‘round and enjoy this wonderful dramatic presentation together. You will no doubt fall asleep thanking God once again for sending His Son!
A Christmas greeting from the girltalkers coming your way tomorrow…. back to the kitchen I go!
First off, thanks so much to all of you who have sent me e-mails! Your prayers and encouragement were a huge blessing to me during my first pregnancy and delivery and this time is no different.
In answer to the big question, “did I really tell Mike that I was pregnant through the note on the blog?” Yes. But it was quite the operation, and I did have some help to pull it off.
Yesterday morning I dropped Mike off at work, desperately trying to pretend like it was a typical morning. Then I headed back home and put the plan into motion. I sent Nicole the letter and she formatted it for posting. I hopped back in the car with Caly and sped (I mean drove) back to the church office.
Together we hid in a side hallway and I called Mike on the phone. I asked him if he would mind taking a look at my post as I felt like it needed some fresh eyes. As soon as we hung up, I called Nicole and told her to post the letter—this would ensure that Mike would be the first one to see the post. He called me back going crazy and I told him that me and girly were downstairs waiting to see him. It was all so much fun and a wonderful memory.
We will keep you updated as things move along. Right now, I would be honored if you would keep baby and me in your prayers.
So I know you have been dying to find out what your Christmas present is. And let me just say, your little guess from last week… totally wrong. I’ve got it hidden away and you will have to wait until Tuesday for the big moment. But what I didn’t tell you is that I actually have two Christmas presents for you this year. And one can’t wait until Tuesday. I know, it’s totally cheating to give gifts early, but I want to present this one to you today. I don’t have any box for you to shake, so I’ll give you a hint: Can you pick me up some lemons from the store on your way home? Enough to last me nine whole months?
You guessed it…
Merry Christmas, Mikey, you are gonna be a daddy again!
Whenever I read O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” I cry. I can’t help it. I’m a girl and it’s a beautiful story. What else would you expect?
Now, thanks to Back to the Bible, all of us girls (and guys) can enjoy a delightful dramatic reading of this holiday tale, just in time for Christmas. The folks at Back to the Bible also introduce the story with some Christ-centered comments, making this an ideal link to send the way of family and friends. Being a short story, it’s only fifteen minutes long, so I think I’m going to listen to it more than once. And, of course, cry every time.
Yesterday at lunch, we girls chatted about what traditions we want to begin with our kids at Christmas, in addition to family memories we already enjoy with our parents. My excitement was reinforced by listening to this interview of Noël Piper about her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions. Noël defines a tradition as “a planned habit with significance”—the “significance” of course being the truth of what God has done through sending His Son. Listen to this brief but inspiring interview and you will approach Christmas with renewed eagerness to continue or inaugurate traditions that truly honor and celebrate Christ.
Sorry for the late post! The girls were out exchanging Christmas gifts today. Lots of gabbing and laughing. So much fun. Thanks to our hubbys for watching the kiddos. Here’s a quick pic. More Christmas talk tomorrow…
Our friend Kim sent us this holiday Friday Funny last year…but it was so cute, I had to post it again:
My grandmother was a school teacher and my grandfather
was a dairy farmer. Well, one day the local Santa Claus was sick and
couldn’t go to the school to do his annual “Santa Sitting” so they
called my grandfather. Although he was always busy on the farm, he was
the only man in town available at such short notice for such a crisis
as this. My grandfather got the call, left his barns immediately,
donned the Santa suit, and greeted each child on his lap. The next day
a little girl said to my grandmother, “Oh, Mrs. Robinson, yesterday we
saw the REAL Santa Claus.” To which my grandmother replied, “Well, are
you sure? There are many helpers to Santa.” And the little girl
puffed out her chest and replied with great confidence, “I’m absolutely
sure, Mrs. Robinson, I could smell the reindeer!”
My 93 year old grandmother died this past summer….but none of us will ever forget her, or this silly tale!
Only eleven days until Christmas! Nicole for the girls
“Is it going to be Christmas soon?” Jack began asking—in the middle of November. He could hardly contain himself when they began to set up the Christmas tree stand at the empty lot down the street, or when the grocery store began selling lights and wrapping paper. But mostly, he had presents in his eyes. “Is Auntie Susie going to give me presents? When is Liam going to give Jack presents?”
Perceptive parents that we are, Steve and I soon realized Christmas was revealing some serious greed in our son’s life. And it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet.
So one morning at breakfast Steve helped Jack make a Christmas list—of presents he wanted to give at Christmas. Because, “What’s better?” he began to catechize Jack, “To give presents or to get presents?” A rhetorical question that Jack didn’t answer correctly the first time. But he’s got it now.
Here is Jack’s first official Christmas List—of gifts he wants to give:
**Spoiler alert for Whitacre family—do not read past this point!**
Pops – Dog food for Bailey (just what he’s always wanted!) Mimi – A pan (I think he means a frying pan for making him eggs in) Auntie Susie – a ball (to play with him?) Auntie Emmy – a purple phone (not sure where this is coming from) Daddy – a red hat (go Maryland!) Mommy – Pink and blue polka dot pajamas (think Dr. Seuss here?) Tori – a friend named Kaiya (so sweet—the daughter of friends, born shortly after Tori)
Next week we’ll take Jack to the Dollar Store or Target to help him buy gifts for the Whitacre family. We pick names for the Mahaneys, but we also have a small extra gift for each of his cousins, to reinforce the giving is better theme.
On Christmas Eve we plan to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special and help him wrap his gifts for everyone and put them under the tree. We hope that at least some of the Christmas morning excitement will be giving presents to the family. Steve and I plan to make a big deal out of it anyway.
A little lesson. The older he gets, the more opportunities we’ll have to help him fight greed and give to others—especially those in need. Most of all, we hope that giving gifts will point him to our Savior who, “love us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2, emphasis mine).
Maybe you are not grieving a great loss this Christmas. But Christmastime is a milestone of “a hope deferred.” Maybe you are still single. Or your marriage is still difficult. Or family relationships still haven’t been restored. Or you still haven’t realized a life-long goal.
Carolyn McCulley identifies with this challenge:
“When you have a hope deferred, the holidays can be a bittersweet time. Unbidden emotions—grief, confusion, self-pity, sadness—can suddenly wash over you without warning. The holiday season can be like a landmark in time—“wasn’t I here in exactly the same situation last year?”—commemorating the creep of time. That’s the bitter part, but there is also the sweet part if we stand like a sentinel and look for it.”