Many years ago, CJ and I had breakfast with a prominent Christian leader. At one point the man turned his attention to me and said, “So tell me about your daughters…how old are they, did you say?”
“Six, ten, and eleven,” I replied.
“Ah,” he said, leaning back in his chair with a smile. “Those are delightful ages. They still think Mommy and Daddy are the most wonderful people in the world. But all that changes when the teenage years come.”
My breakfast—not to mention my day—was spoiled. That sense of dread at the approach of my daughters’ teenage years, always nipping at the edges of my imagination, played out once again in panoramic view: the little hints of trouble, the minor instances of disobedience—where would it all lead?
Nicole has been disrespectful lately. Is this the first sign of full-fledged rebellion? Sometimes Kristin is so quiet. Will she become more withdrawn. Janelle’s mischievous streak could mean real trouble in a few years. Things will probably get worse and worse, and soon my daughters won’t even like me anymore. What can I do to stop this from happening?
“What are your daughters’ names?” The benign question jolted me back to reality. I managed to stammer a response, and the conversation moved on. But the gnawing feeling in my stomach remained.
Whether your child is six or sixteen, the temptation to fear for their future is great. That’s why we’re going to talk about A Mother’s Faith here on girltalk this week. So, have a seat at our kitchen table and let’s chat.
Thanks to Jen for sending me reason number 87 why I won’t be potty training Caly until she is at least 10.
Caly’s Mommy for the girltalkers
For over ten years I’ve had this verse and comments by Charles Spurgeon on a scrap of paper taped to my computer monitor at work or pinned to my bulletin board at home. If your soul is burdened today (especially you battle-weary moms) I pray these words encourage you to rest in God.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 37:5-6
“Commit your way” literally means to “roll your burden” and so Mr. Spurgeon urges us to:
“Roll the whole burden of life upon the Lord. Leave with Jehovah not thy present fretfulness merely, but all thy cares; in fact, submit the whole tenor of thy way to him. Cast away anxiety, resign thy will, submit thy judgment, leave all with the God of all….The ploughman sows and harrows, and then leaves the harvest to God. What can he do else? He cannot cover the heavens with clouds, or command the rain, or bring forth the sun or create the dew. He does well to leave the whole matter with God; and so to all of us it is truest wisdom, having obediently trusted in God, to leave results in his hands and expect a blessed issue.”
A small battle broke out in the Bradshaw house on Sunday. Caly refused to eat a bite of her toast. No, I didn’t say peas or green beans. We went to war over jelly toast.
I knew from experience I might be in for a long wait before she’d take the mandatory bite. That’s okay. I was ready. I was going to win.
Or was I?
As the clocked ticked on, temptation grew stronger. Anger and impatience began to characterize my speech. After an hour I lay my head down on the table and cried. Will she ever eat this bite? Will she ever obey? Will we ever see any fruit from our parenting? My heart was full of despair and unbelief.
I’m not the first mom to face the challenge of a disobedient child. In the introduction to Elisabeth Elliot’s book The Shaping of a Christian Family she reprints an article by her mom recounting a similar battle with her firstborn son, Phillip. It was milk instead of jelly toast, but Mom patiently waited and insisted on full obedience. Phil eventually drank his milk.
Years later he wrote a letter to his parents thanking them for teaching him to obey. It worked! By the grace of God, their consistent discipline bore fruit! As a grown man, their son was grateful for all the benefits of their faithful correction. What a perfect illustration of Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Back in the Bradshaw kitchen, God did give me grace to repent from my anger, unbelief and despair and persevere in training my daughter. After two hours Caly ate her toast and there was much rejoicing in our kitchen. It’s not the last of our battles and probably not the last of my sinful anger and unbelief. But I pray it will be another reminder of my need to trust in the Lord and diligently train my little ones in the way they should go—so that when they are old, they will not depart from it.
Like many Americans I was astounded by the 700 billion dollars recently required to save our banking system. That amount of money is hard to comprehend.
But the cost to rescue me from sin, as my pastor reminded me on Sunday, was infinitely greater than any economic bailout:
“You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
Consider the cost and grieve. Consider the cost and worship.
While spending time with friends this past weekend, one of them read this little excerpt from Charles Bridges book, The Christian Ministry (p. 178):
is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. It commits
every part of it to God, in the hope, that even mistakes shall be
overruled for his glory; and thus relieves us from an oppressive
anxiety, often attendant upon a deep sense of our responsibility. The
shortest way to peace will be found in casting ourselves upon God for
daily pardon of deficiencies and supplies of grace, without looking too
eagerly for present fruit.”
I’ve read these words
before; however, given my tendency to be anxious over my mistakes or
“look too eagerly for present fruit” (particularly as a mom), it
soundly encouraged and challenged my soul to hear them again. In fact,
we may have even used this quote in a past post, but I thought maybe
one or two of you might also be so inclined to this oppressive
anxiety Mr. Bridges speaks of (especially if you are a mom!) that you
too might find it helpful to read again.
Remember that the shortest path to peace is to cast yourself upon God.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Christmas is in the air. My local grocery store already has all their ugly decorations hanging from the lamp posts. Mike gave me a new Christmas CD the other day, and to top things off we girls had our annual shopping trip recently.
I’m already thinking through my gift list for this year and I bet many of you are too. So I have a tip to get you started. Living with not one but three sports fans (my husband, brother, and father) I have the perfect recommendation for any sports fan in your life—Game Day for the Glory of God: A Guide for Athletes, Fans, and Wannabes. My dad had the honor of writing the foreword for this book which we have included here. So go ahead and get some early Christmas shopping done today.
Foreword to Game Day for the Glory of God
by CJ Mahaney
This is the book I needed way back when.
I grew up passionate about sports. I played baseball, basketball, and football, and I swam competitively. And when I wasn’t playing sports, I was watching sports. Sadly, I think it was all a waste.
Yep, all of it. I wasted my sports because I didn’t play for the glory of God. I played for the glory of C.J. Like I said, I wish I had this book years ago. (Being a Christian would have helped as well!)
I wasted years of playing sports. But it can be different for you. And it will be, if you will read and apply the content of this unique book. My friend Stephen Altrogge has given us a book we desperately need, on a topic rarely addressed. He applies the gospel, not just to our behavior, but to our hearts. He is theologically informed, reminding us that sports are a gift from God and a potential means to grow in godliness. Whether it’s a real sport like basketball, soccer, and golf, or a bogus sport like croquet, Stephen wants us to glorify God when we play. (And if you think croquet is actually a sport, we need to talk.)
So whether you are an athlete (like me), a wannabe (like my friends), a parent, a coach, or simply a fan, Game Day for the Glory of God will provide you with a biblical perspective on sports. In the light of the gospel, you will see game day—and yes, even practice—as a moment of eternal significance, whether you win or lose.
Sovereign Grace Ministries
As if I needed another reason not to get a dog, along came this picture from our friend Kimm…
Happy weekend to all you dog lovers out there!
Janelle for the girltalkers
With all the election coverage, we didn’t want you to miss an important interview on The Albert Mohler Program. Two weeks ago, Carolyn McCulley joined guest host Dr. Russell Moore to discuss ”Radical Womanhood and the Local Church.” Be sure to take time and listen this weekend.
Pastor Ligon Duncan has “Some Initial Thoughts on Praying for President-Elect Obama.”
(HT: Justin Taylor)