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Last week we concluded our series on fear. It began as “A Mother’s Trust”, but in the end, it was for everyone. We pray you were encouraged to trust in our wise, loving, and sovereign Savior.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
Janelle for Mom, Nicole and Kristin
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“Not only will He never leave you—that’s the negative side of the promise—but He cares for you. He is not just there with you. He cares for you. His care is constant—not occasional or sporadic. His care is total—even the very hairs of your head are numbered. His care is sovereign—nothing can touch you that He does not allow. His care is infinitely wise and good so that again in the words of John Newton, ‘If it were possible for me to alter any part of his plan, I could only spoil it.’”
—Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, p.199.
Today’s girltalk links provide wise counsel if you are…
...struggling with overwhelming anxiety
“Hope for Your Dark Night of the Soul” by Bob Kauflin
...a pastor’s wife whose husband is being criticized
“The Pastor’s Wife and Her Role When Criticism Arrives” by Carolyn Mahaney
...filled with regret
“‘If Only’ Living With Regrets” by Ed Welch
Sometimes I struggle with feeling guilty that I don’t feel like doing the next thing. Even though I have repented from fear and anxiety (and will keep repenting and talking to myself) the feelings of fear still linger. But aren’t we supposed to do our work with joy and gladness as unto the Lord? How can I glorify God in my work if I still feel anxious? I wonder. So just as I pull one foot out of the ditch of fear, the other one falls into the pothole of condemnation.
But there is a firm and level path for us in God’s Word, which John Piper points out in this meditation on Psalm 126:5-6 called “Talking to Your Tears.” He’s counseling people who are sad and suffering, but I think it also applies to those of us who feel anxious:
So here’s the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears: ‘Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written). I know you will wet my face several times today, but I have work to do and you will just have to go with me. I intend to take the bag of seeds and sow. If you come along then you will just have to wet the rows.”
Even if we sow in tears (or fears) we will one day reap with joy. Read the entire meditation and then do the next thing—whether you feel like it or not.
Q. I am 18 years old and would like to know how to be “just friends” with the guys in our church, but don’t know how. Can you give me any advice?
A. It wasn’t so long ago now that I was navigating my way through the teen years and into early adulthood. One issue always lurking in the shadows was “friendships with guys.” How do these relationships look different from those with my girlfriends? How much time do I spend with them? Is it okay to hang out one on one or talk on the phone?
I always wished for a simple set of rules—just a little list of “do’s and dont’s” that I could carry around in my pocket. These rules would guarantee me success, and I would no longer have to worry about that little conscience of mine. However, I learned early on that this one was a wisdom issue, and that Scripture was the primary source for that wisdom.
In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Paul tells Timothy that he should, “Treat…younger women like sisters, in all purity.” Now if the guys are going to treat us as “sisters in all purity,” then we in turn must act like sisters, in purity! Here in this verse is the wisdom we so desperately need. We must ask ourselves—do I treat my guy friends as I would my own brother? Am I walking in absolute purity toward all young men?
For myself, I realized that my heart often had many competing motives at work in my relationships with guys. Instead of thinking and acting like a sister, I sometimes found myself wanting the attention of a particular guy. I also wanted other girls to think I had a sufficient number of guys that called me “friend.” Often times, the motives behind my relationships with guys were not God-honoring.
That is why it was so helpful that my mom and I kept a running dialogue on this issue. We didn’t have some kind of formal debriefing once a week, but talking about my guy friends was a regular part of our lives. These conversations were most critical for me in the accountability that they provided and the counsel that my mom brought. For those of you who may not have a godly mom, I would encourage you to have these types of conversations with another older, wiser, woman in your church. As Mom said last week, we aren’t called to live the Christian life alone. We need the help, encouragement, and counsel of others.
I also quickly learned that my friendships with guys needed to look quite different than my friendships with girls. I recall a conversation that I once had with my singles pastor. He told me, “Janelle, guys read into things just as much as girls do. When a girl shows consistent attention to one guy, it can cultivate affection in that guy’s heart.” While I may have been considering my guy friends as brothers, they may have been thinking that there was something more. I remember my mom telling me to relate to all guys as “another woman’s husband.” I found this little phrase to be a very helpful heart-check in relating to my guy friends.
All of this said, friendships with guys are not wrong. In fact I would argue that friendships with godly young men during these years are a gift from the Lord and something to be enjoyed. Paul is obviously assuming that Timothy will relate to other young women in the church, but he makes clear what those relationships ought to look like.
As one of three girls (until my favoritist little brother arrived on the scene 12 yrs. after me) I’m very grateful for the guys that were my “brothers” during those years. If we pursue the biblical principles of purity and brotherly love, we can be free to enjoy godly friendships with godly guys as blessings from our heavenly Father.
—from the archives
Our favorite February sale is taking place over at the Sovereign Grace store. Right now you can get Feminine Appeal, Love that Lasts, and the Sovereign Grace Kids albums, for just over $6 each. Many more items on sale as well, while supplies last.
Nicole for the girltalkers
I love this email from Holly:
I wanted to share with you how joining the 5 O’clock Club has benefited both me and my husband. I recently joined in order to provide myself some accountability in getting up earlier to have some quality time with the Lord. Both my husband and I read our Bibles and pray, but the birth of our son this past year and new jobs have led to our schedules being turned upside down. The Lord has not always had the priority or quality time that He has deserved. So, now I have consistently been getting up earlier these past few days to read and pray in the living room. After a day or two of doing this, my husband (unknown to me) got up right after me and started spending this time praying in our bedroom. He later mentioned to me, “You should email that girltalk blog and tell them that your getting up early to have devotions has encouraged me to get up early and pray.” He teasingly added that he couldn’t have his wife taking the spiritual leadership in the family! My husband most definitely is my spiritual leader, and he shepherds me very well. However, I am thankful that we both now have an organized, planned, deliberate, and personal time with the Lord each day!
As always, you (or your husband!) can join here.