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1:30 p.m. MJ Strikes Again
OK friends, we need your help again. We’re still working on the beauty book and we have a few questions for you:
“Why do you try to make yourself look more beautiful and attractive? What do you hope to gain?”
“How has it worked out for you? Has the pursuit of physical beauty helped you achieve all you hoped it would? Explain.”
We’re looking for honest answers here, not spiritual reflections. We want to know what you really think, not what you think you are supposed to think.
Please email us your answers, and if we include your thoughts in the book you will receive a complementary, signed copy. (We only use first names and are happy to use a pseudonym at your request.)
We look forward to hearing from you!
Mothers, we have the gospel: we need not fear. And yet we do. A lot.
Our mothering fears are conceived with our children. We see two little blue lines, and we are tempted to worry. We worry about eating something bad, lifting something heavy, sleeping in the wrong position.
Then our baby is born, and we fret about her life outside the womb—her eating, sleeping, talking, walking, developmental progress.
Our child starts school and we fear he will never finish. Will he make friends, make good grades, make something of himself? No sooner does high school start and we begin to worry about college.
We worry about our children’s health, their education, their friends, and above all, the state of their souls.
But once our children leave home, get a job, get married—then we can stop worrying, right?
Not so fast. Instead of leaving with our children, new worries move in. In my case, I now have 16 people (including sons-in-law and grandchildren) to worry about instead of four!
And the world in which my grandchildren are growing up seems much scarier than the one in which I raised my children.
Mothers, we will never out-grow our need to trust God for our children.
But neither will we ever outgrow the faithfulness of God: “the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children” (Ps. 103:17).
Back to my conversation at the party. After chatting a few more minutes, my friend asked me another question: “Do you think fear is a unique temptation to women?”
“Yes, I do,” I replied. Scripture seems to bear witness to this. While all Christians are frequently urged to trust God, women are specifically exhorted in 1 Peter 3:6: “do not fear anything that is frightening.”
I love Scripture’s honesty! It admits right upfront that there’s stuff that is frightening. In fact, Scripture often predicts we will face much trouble and hardship in this life.
And nowhere is this more true than with our children. Where else in life do we have more significant responsibility (eternal souls), face such daunting challenges (sinful heart, hostile world), and feel so inadequate and ineffective?
But we are not to fear anything that is frightening. We are to trust in God.
Trusting God is not a one-time decision or something we can accomplish in a thirty-day challenge. We will have to fight to trust. Some days we must fight hourly, even on a moment-by-moment basis. Like raising children, growing in trust is a life-long effort.
But we are not alone. We have the Holy Spirit inside of us to guide us into all truth. We have our Sovereign Father ruling wisely and graciously over all. We have our Savior’s righteousness to run to when we fail.
Many things are frightening, but we have many more reasons to trust God than to fear.
“Every single thing that happens to us expresses God’s love to us, and comes to us for the furthering of God’s purpose for us. Thus, so far as we are concerned, God is love to us—holy, omnipotent love—at every moment and in every event of every day’s life. Even when we cannot see the why and the wherefore of God’s dealings, we know that there is love in and behind them, and so we can rejoice always, even when, humanly speaking, things are going wrong. We know that the true story of our life, when known, will prove to be, as the hymn says, “mercy from first to last”—and we are content.”
J.I. Packer, Knowing God p. 123
Tori’s favorite Bible story book:
The Big Picture Story Bible presents the profound truths of the gospel in language my three-year-old can understand, and weaves in questions to help us talk together about the story. And of course, she loves the pictures.
It’s been a while since we had a little photography talk. I asked Mike this morning what I should write about, and he said, “Tell them how you’ve started bringing your camera everywhere with you and how that has changed things.”
You see, I have this huge camera bag (it’s bold red, so I do really love it) but it weighs more than I do! And whether I was going on a date with Mike or spending the day at the zoo with the kids, I just couldn’t bring myself to carry it along. I’m already lugging a diaper bag, purse, and extra snacks. Adding a 200 lb camera bag just wasn’t appealing. But when I left it at home, I felt like I was missing so many “moments.”
And then I made a discovery. I found a girl on Etsy who makes purses specially designed for cameras. Purse on the outside, camera-safe on the inside. Fabulous idea! So I saved my birthday pennies and purchased one at the beginning of the summer. And I’m lovin it. My camera comes with me all the time now. And while I still use my red camera bag when I need all my gear, most of the time I only need my camera and one or two lenses.
Now the point of this post is not the purse. It’s about getting your camera out of the house a little more. And for many of you, your camera will probably fit—case and all—right into your usual purse or diaper bag. So toss it into your bag and go out and capture some new memories.
You could document each date night for a year or take a shot every time you and the kiddos go to the grocery store. You could take a picture during your lunch break at work or when school lets out for the afternoon. You never know what “moments” await your capture.
Faith toward God is the foundation of effective mothering. Success as a mother doesn’t begin with hard work or sound principles or consistent discipline (although those are all vital components!). It begins with God: His character, His faithfulness, His promises, His sovereignty. And as our understanding of these truths increases, so will our faith for mothering. But if our practices (no matter how useful) aren’t motivated by faith, they will be fruitless.
The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Fear is sin. And as my husband has often graciously reminded me – God is not sympathetic to my unbelief. Why? Because fear, worry, and unbelief say to God that we don’t really believe He is ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’ (Psalm 86:15). We are calling God a liar.
Even in the most trying situations with our children, we have much more incentive to trust than to fear, much more cause for peace and joy than despair. That’s because, as Christians, we have the hope of the gospel.
To be continued…
(reprinted from Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood)