Mar 14

Grave Responsibility, Greater Grace

2013 at 3:39 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Motherhood

No one needs to remind us that it is an enormous responsibility to be a mother. How well we know it! One woman expresses it this way:

I seldom feel like much of an adventurer—standing in this kitchen, pouring cereal into bowls, refilling them, handing out paper towels when the inevitable cry comes: “Uh oh, I spilled.” But sometimes at night the thought will strike me: There are three small people here, breathing sweetly in their beds, whose lives are for the moment in our hands. I might as well be at the controls of a moon shot, the mission is so grave and vast.

Though the mission is grave and vast, God’s grace is greater. He kindly reminds us in His Word: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

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So if today you missed opportunities to show tender love, or if you neglected to pray for your children, or if you were impatient with them, and even if you lost your smile and feel like a complete failure as a mother—take heart!

God’s grace is sufficient for you. Look to the cross where Christ died. There He purchased forgiveness for our sins and power to grow in godliness. Not one of us is equal to this task of mothering, but He will help us in our weakness. God will provide all the grace we need to love our children.

(adapted from Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother)

Mar 13

Teaching Kids at Easter

2013 at 7:02 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Easter is one of those holidays that always sneaks up on me. For some reason when it is still cold outside I assume Easter must be a long way off, but at the latitude in which I have lived my entire life, this “warm weather” guide fails me every year. So when girltalk reader, Jerilyn, wrote in the other day to ask about how we teach our kids at Easter time, I realized, yikes, it’s probably coming up real soon. Yep, March 31.

So I apologize for the lateness of these ideas. They would have been more helpful in February. But here goes anyways. Many of these resources we’ve posted before, but here they are, all in one place:

1. Tracts - Easter Unscrambled. I love the little tracts for kids from the Good Book company. We use them at Christmas and Easter and with presents for our kids friends. They are great little tools that get kids reading and interacting with Scripture. Good for family devotions.

2. Books - The Very First Easter by Paul Maier, and the chapters in the Jesus Storybook Bible surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection are delightful to read around Good Friday and Easter.

3. Videos – We’ve recommended these before but there are two brief and helpful videos for unbelievers about Easter, and a wonderful Jesus Storybook Bible video as well.

4. Cookies and Eggs – kids always remember stuff they can make, eat, and hold in their hands. So we like to use the Resurrection Eggs from FamilyLife, or you can make Resurrection Cookies if you’re so inclined.

5. For Adults – Our children will learn the most from our gratefulness for the cross and joy in the resurrection. So one of the best ways to prepare our kids for Easter is to prepare our own heart. The writers that Nancy Guthrie compiled for Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross are stellar, every one. And for parents, Dr. Russell Moore’s article “Is Easter Too Violent for Kids?” is very helpful to review.

May God use our simple efforts to emblazon the Easter message on our children’s hearts this year!

Mar 12

A Home For God

2013 at 11:22 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking

Homemaking is a vocation often filled with mundane tasks and repetitive chores, most of which are performed in obscurity. It demands a colossal amount of serving and sacrifice. Sometimes between scrubbing toilets and laundering dirty clothes, we can lose sight of the significance of our calling. We look around and perceive everyone engaged in meaningful work. Everyone, that is, except us. And our vision for working at home begins to flag.

What we need is a biblical perspective. For in God’s economy, homemaking is a high and noble calling. By “working at home” we can present the gospel as attractive to unbelievers (Titus 2:4). Our homes can actually be a showcase for the gospel.

And our homes can be a place of momentous ministry. They are strategic locations from which we can reach out and extend care to those who don’t yet know Christ.

Dawson Trotman, founder of the group called the Navigators, once said: “I believe with all my heart that one of the greatest soul saving stations in the world is the home.” And I love what one person observed about Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s wife, Edith: “ As many people were brought to the Lord through Mrs. Schaeffer’s cinnamon buns as through Dr. Schaeffer’s sermons!”

As we realize the exceptional fruit that working at home can bear, we will be inspired to fashion an abode that rivals Peter Marshall’s description of a home he once visited: “There was…an atmosphere in which it was impossible to keep from thinking of God.”

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Regardless of their size and style or our financial status, our homes can exude warmth and provide refreshment for all who walk through their doors. They should be pleasant havens for our husbands and children, sanctuaries where we offer care and hospitality to other Christians, and gateways from which we extend the gospel to family, friends, and neighbors.

While we long for our heavenly home, let’s strive to make our earthly home a place of peace, order, joy, and laughter. And let’s make this our prayer: “Lord help me to build the kind of home where all who enter find it ‘impossible to keep from thinking of God.’”

(adapted from Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother)

Mar 11

Sparrows and Sovereignty

2013 at 2:54 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Suffering

The four of us were talking yesterday about several friends, and friends of friends, who are walking through sudden and significant trials right now. We are praying for them and asking God to bring comfort and strength. And we are mindful that many of you are experiencing difficulties today, some of them extremely painful.

In God’s kindness, Jerry Bridges was the guest speaker at our church yesterday and gave a soul-strengthening sermon on “Trusting God.” He opened with these words from our Savior, and some comments:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

“The fact is, sparrows do fall to the ground. Jesus is not saying that they never fall. Jesus is not saying that we do not have difficulties or even pain. But what he is saying is that no difficulty, no pain, occurs in our lives apart from the will of God. God is absolutely sovereign in our lives. So Jesus makes the application here: fear not. Don’t be afraid. Because you are worth more than many many sparrows.”

Whether you are merely having a difficult day or experiencing a crushing trial, listen to this message, and may your soul be comforted and encouraged by the truth of God’s Word.

Mar 7

Where Do You Wish You Could Live?

2013 at 10:28 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Prayer

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In a bigger house? Closer to your family? Away from your neighbor? In the country? In the city? In a home of your own?

David had one prayer to express his home desires:

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” ~Psalm 27:4