Aug 30

Friday Funnies

2008 at 1:26 am   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

Another great one from our friend, Kimm!

Until Monday (unless there is a special appearance from baby over the weekend),
Janelle for the girls

An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard; I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.

He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head;he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: ‘I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.’

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar: ‘He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he’s trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?’

Aug 29

Baby Watch

2008 at 4:07 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Motherhood

You know what they say, “A watched pot never boils.” I’m case in point. Five days over as of today and I don’t think I even see any bubbles in the bottom of the pot. Still trying to have fun though. I went for blueberry pie for this morning’s breakfast. I had eaten all of the peach.

Back to my doc yesterday. All is well. Baby passed her stress test with flying colors. I passed my sonogram with equally high marks. Looks like I will be induced on Wednesday or Thursday if nothing happens over the next few days. So one way or another we will have a baby by the end of next week.

So many of you have communicated that you are keeping me in prayer. You cannot do me a greater kindness. Thank you.

Hopefully you will be hearing from me this weekend…


Aug 28

Time to Come

2008 at 4:30 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7

These verses describe the stuff of sowing. We must talk to our children every day, instruct them throughout the day, teach them in every circumstance, train them on every occasion, tell them God’s words over and over again.

Sowing can be hard work. Sometimes exhausting work. We moms can wonder: Is anything getting through? Will this child ever get it? We may feel our words are falling on deaf ears; that our efforts are in vain.

Oh, but let’s keep reading in Deuteronomy chapter six. Look at the hope and encouragement we find in verse 20:
“When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’

Though it is not a promise, there is much encouragement we can draw from this verse; because there is a time coming when it won’t simply be us doing all the talking, teaching, and instructing. One day our children will act in response to our instruction. They will come with questions of their own. They will inquire about the meaning of God’s words. They will desire to understand God’s ways for themselves.

Now that “time to come” is different for every child. It’s sooner for some, later for others. Scripture does not give us an exact timetable for the duration of sowing. But Scripture does tell us: “In due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Aug 27

First Year of School

2008 at 4:55 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

I’m carrying my phone with me wherever I go these days, waiting for the call that baby MJ is about to make an appearance. But I’m also preparing for my son Jack’s first year of kindergarten (Those old ladies in the grocery store were right….time really does go by fast!).

As Jack embarks upon his life as a student (officially, that is) there are so many things he needs to learn—his phonics sounds, how to count and add and how to tell time. It’s easy to focus so much on educational benchmarks that I forget what I really want Jack to learn this year.

You see, Jack, as far as Steve and I can tell, is not a Christian. So what I want most of all is for Jack to learn of His need for a Savior and to turn to Christ in repentance and faith.

In Isaiah 54:13 God promises his covenant people: “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”

Regardless of whether Jack learns to count to 100 (properly!) or not, I want him to be “taught by the Lord.” If God so graciously wills, I want Jack’s first year in elementary school to also be his first year in God’s school. Then, I know that regardless of his test scores he will be embarking upon a lifetime of peace.

Aug 26

Baby Watch

2008 at 2:11 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Motherhood

I am now officially two days overdue. My two cousins, who were due AFTER me, have both had their babies. (Congrats, Kel and Joy! I’m not at all upset that you didn’t wait to go in the proper order. Love you both and can’t wait to meet those little guys.)

They hooked me up to all the fun monitors at yesterday’s visit to the doc…baby looks great and I was contracting very little. Doc still thinks I could go any day, but I’m doubtful. Caly is beginning to lack faith in my continual reminders that “baby MJ will be here soon.”

But she will be here soon. In God’s perfect timing. And until that time, I will continue to enjoy getting things done (something that is about to change big time as I enter the two-kid world) and eating peach pie for breakfast!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those that have been communicating your love through your prayers and encouragement. I really cannot express how your care serves my soul as I prepare for labor. Y’all are a gift to me from the Lord.

Next doctor’s visit is Thursday. I will post if anything happens in the mean time…

Aug 25

A New Heart for Homemaking

2008 at 4:05 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Today we want to come back to and wrap up our little series on training young homemakers. As moms trying to teach our daughters to love the home, we can often feel alone and helpless. On one side is our culture, trumpeting the feminist message, and it has technology, media, and star-power on its team. And then there is Mom. Just Mom. How can we possibly compete?

We must remember that we have the Holy Spirit. He is eager to help us, and He is more than able to move our daughter’s hearts to love the perfect ways of God.

This story, from a young woman named Kristin, is a reminder to trust in His power to change a heart deceived by feminist ideology. It is also a story to share with your daughter—an illustration of the destructive ends of feminism for women and families and the contrasting joy and peace of following in God’s plan.

Kristin, thank you for sharing your testimony with us.

A few years ago I was far away from learning about how to serve my pastor-in-training husband. I grew up in a non-Christian home. In high school, I was saved into a liberal church, where there was no discipleship, and our associate pastor was a woman. At home, I was not taught to pursue being a godly wife and mother—my parents were very ‘hands-off’ in their parenting. The mood that was present in our home was influenced heavily by our culture and its prevalent feminism.

I attended a liberal Christian university in Orange County, south of LA. Meanwhile, my good friend from high school and the church I grew up in, Bobby, attended USC, where a friend invited him to John MacArthur’s church. As he began to be cherish the Bible and grow in hunger for a deeper understanding of the Word, I was influenced more by the un-godly culture of my university. I majored in Cultural Anthropology and, for a time, Women’s Studies. I was taught Evangelical Feminism. In one of my Women’s Studies classes my teachers attempted to destroy the arguments of Piper and Grudem found in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. At this time I became increasingly verbal in my assualt of homemakers, women who got married young, anyone who didn’t think women should be pastors, and on and on. Bobby, meanwhile, was learning to cherish the gospel, being taught solid theology and coming to love true manhood and womanhood under the wise instruction of Rick Holland at Grace Community Church. Whenever we would talk briefly to catch up on how we were, he would tell me I was being taught lies and God had different things to say about women’s roles and everything else that made me angry. Of course, I thought he was arrogant and strange and under the influence of some crazy legalists, which I told him. Needless to say, we did not talk that much. I do know he prayed for me.

I continued in this way for the first two years of school. Near the end of my sophomore year I was beginning to grow tired of always being angry and on my toes. I realized those around me where not exhibiting any fruits of the spirit, and that my feminist agenda was more important to me than glorifying God. The Lord began strongly convicting me through Scripture about my attitudes and beliefs. I had been attending a liberal church, and the Lord helped me grow in discernment as I realized we weren’t being taught much Scripture—it was more like the pastor’s ‘Thoughts on Life,’ which to my increasingly discerning mind began to seem more and more off-center from what the Bible seemed to be clearly saying.

The final break away from feminism was the summer after my sophomore year. I was interning for a non-profit that worked with low-income Hispanic communities, and I was living with a Mexican family. The father had committed adultery, and left the family two weeks before I got there. As I watched this woman and her children deal with the ramifications of their husband and father leaving, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Of course husband and fathers are important! Of course it is difficult for a woman to raise kids and work and go on her way without a husband! Simple truths, but they hit me like a ton of bricks.

I realized immediately that God spoke clearly in His Word about the role of fathers and mothers. I got Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and read almost the whole thing. I realized I agreed with everything it said. This all took place in about a week. Clearly, the Lord had been working on me for awhile. I am so grateful he literally opened my heart and eyes on this issue, and that I was able to see and understand how wrong I had been, to repent, and submit myself to the Lord, His Word, and His loving and protective call for obedience to Scripture.

I immediately called Bobby and told him I had been wrong, that I now agreed with the Bible and that I knew I had been taught, believed and perpetrated false teachings. He was excited but appropriately skeptical. He sent me a list of books to read, solid books dealing with the gospel, Christ and the Christian life. As I read, I understood how my life needed an overhaul. I started looking for a new church, but it was hard for me to know where to look.

After a few months of trying to find a church, Bobby intervened and sent me a list of churches to visit. The second one I attended was a PCA church plant near my college. The second Sunday there, I joined a small group led by a couple in their thirties with three young kids. The wife, DeAna, became my first Titus 2 mentor. She was instrumental in my growth and a huge encouragement and practical help. After attending church there for a couple months, Bobby asked me to court. In our first conversation he clearly told me he wanted to be a pastor, that he was going to have to go to seminary, that we would probably be poor, and that he wasn’t sure where we would end up serving. He also made it clear that if our courtship worked, we would get married as soon as we could. If I didn’t want that, we would stop the courtship immediately. I of course was fine with it…a far cry away from the venom I had spewed at him only a year and a half before. We got engaged in six weeks and married as soon as I finished school in December. We just moved to DC and I am excited to be a wife and mother. The Lord’s grace is evident over our story, and I am humbled every time I think of where I have been and where I am now.

Praise the Lord for the kindness he has shown us in Christ, and in all other lesser blessings!


Aug 22

The Way Home

2008 at 4:37 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Singleness

It’s been great to hear from our single friends in response to yesterday’s post. Your desire to honor God and love the home in the season God has placed you is so commendable. You stand out in stark and beautiful contrast to the selfish vision of womanhood in our culture. Your humble obedience to God brings honor to his name.

But it’s not always easy. As a single woman there are many questions you must wrestle with—How do I reconcile my desire to work in the home with the need to work a job to support myself? How do I prepare for my future when I don’t know what that future will be? What does it look like to love the home and display femininity in my life? What if I can’t afford a home of my own? and many more.

While I can’t answer all these questions, I want to encourage you that God is eager to give you clarity. As JI Packer reminds us: “If you ask, ‘Why is this or that happening?’ no light may come, for ‘the secret things belong to the Lord our God (Deuteronomy 29:29); but if you ask, ‘How am I to serve and glorify God here and now, where I am?’ there will always be an answer” (The Lord’s Prayer, p. 14).

14993226_2 Take time, in prayer, to ask God how you can glorify Him as a woman, and in the home, here and now. And make use of the wisdom he has provided through others such as a pastor or a godly Christian friend. If you haven’t yet read Carolyn McCulley’s book or blog, then start today! I have personally been blessed by Carolyn’s peerless hospitality and I’ve watched her express her femininity in countless ways as she relates to children, bosses and men in the church—and I can’t recommend her writings enough!

Finally consider taking a personal retreat where you consider the wisdom you’ve received and map out a strategy for the season God has placed you in. He is eager to fill you with faith and joy and to show you the way you should go.

Aug 21

The Single Woman as Homemaker

2008 at 4:58 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Stephanie, a young single woman, wrote in with a question:

I’ve been enjoying the current Homemaking series, but at the same time it makes me even more aware of the desires of my heart to be a wife and mom. Well—I’m almost 24 and there certainly isn’t any man on the horizon, as far as I can tell! I currently live at home with my family and I’ve just been asking God exactly WHAT He has planned for my future! I honestly don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t get married—being a stay-at-home mom is all I’ve ever really desired to do as a “career”!

So do you have any encouragement for the single woman who desires to be a wife and mom, but…is not? My heart is so heavy and I could use some encouragement!

Stephanie, although your heart is heavy, I do believe that truth from God’s Word can make your heart glad.

First of all remember that God has not forgotten you (Is. 44:21). He has ordained every single day of your singleness before one of them came to be (Ps. 139:16). You are not on hold or waiting in the wings of femininity. God has created you a woman and He has good works for you to walk in today (Eph 2:10) by expressing your femininity.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good” the Psalmist exhorts us. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:3-4). Of course we know this is not a promise that He will bring you a husband. But we do know for sure that “no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11). If a husband is good for you, He will bring you a husband, in His good time. You don’t have a husband today because that is not good for you today. What you have today is better. It’s true even if it doesn’t feel like it. And it’s exciting!

But God wants you to delight in Him and in His good and perfect ways—which include a love for home and family. So don’t abandon your love for the home simply because you don’t have your own home yet. Your desires to be a helper, to nurture children, to care for a home are God-given and should be cultivated, not squashed. And you should continue to improve your skills in these areas, not put them on hold.

Listen to one single woman’s perspective:

“To be single is not to forego the traditional ‘womanly’ pursuits. Whether you live alone or with a husband and children, a house or apartment is still a home that requires “homemaking.” And marital status has nothing to do with the desire for warm, comfortable, aesthetically pleasing surroundings. God gave each of us a desire for beauty; it is part of our desire for him, who is loveliness incarnate. Why should a single woman reject that part of her image as a creature of God? . . . I am a better and more imaginative cook now than I was five years ago. I am free to experiment on myself and my friends. I have the time and the money to entertain people around the dinner table, something I might not want or be able to do if I cooked for a family three times a day every day” (Cheryl Forbes qtd. in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem, xxvii).

There is so much more I could say in response to your question, but I pray you are encouraged to trust in God and inspired to make it your aim to be an even “better and more imaginative” homemaker next year than you are now.

Aug 20

Baby Watch

2008 at 7:05 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Motherhood

Just returned from the doc. How do they know when I’ve eaten a lot?? Somehow my big lunch topped off with some Cold Stone Creamery was obvious to them. Oh, but it was so worth it. My local Cold Stone has this new flavor called Blueberry Muffin Batter. I mixed in some rainbow sprinkles to make it perfect.

Today’s report was similar to last week. I’m definitely past the 3 cm. mark but not quite 4. No change in effacement. Due date is Sunday so we talked options. I love my doc cuz she wants to do everything possible to avoid a c-section this time around. As long as MJ and I continue to be healthy than she will give me up to two weeks past my due date before talking other options.

Honestly, I’m content to wait. I feel pretty uncomfy, but you won’t catch me sitting on top of my washing machine or running a marathon in an attempt to speed things along. This girl will come when she is good and ready and I have plenty to keep me busy in the mean time.

Oh, and if you don’t like the sound of Blueberry Muffin Batter then I would highly recommend Chocolate Cake Batter.

having a baby