Jul 16

Going Out and Coming In

2013 at 8:25 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Gospel

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8, ESV)

“To be kept from all evil does not imply a cushioned life, but a well-armed one. The psalm ends with a pledge which could hardly be stronger or more sweeping. Your going out and your coming in is not only a way of saying ‘everything’; it draws attention to one’s ventures and enterprises and the home which remains one’s base; to pilgrimage and return; to the dawn and sunset of one’s days. But the last line takes good care of this journey. It would be hard to decide which half of it is the more encouraging: the fact that it starts from now, or that it runs on, not to the end of time but to time without end; like God Himself who is my portion for ever.” ~Derek Kidner

Jul 15

A Wedding Witness

2013 at 10:18 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Marriage

“In a few moments, everything will change,” he told the bride and groom. “When you walk back up that aisle, you will never be the same again. You will be husband and wife.”

It was a gorgeous Saturday evening as we celebrated the marriage ceremony of the happy couple under a splendid summer sky.

“From this moment on, you will face the changes of life together, as one flesh,” said my father, who was officiating the wedding, “And so, let me remind you of the Changeless One.”

“The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8

Going out and coming in. Together. He will keep you.

In change, kept by the Changeless One.

From the back, where I am keeping watch over my two bouncy flower girls, I contemplate the wedding witnesses who nod knowingly of the life-changes of which he speaks. They understand just how much these two will need to lean on the Changeless One.

Twenty-six years ago, when I was not much older than my daughters, I watched my dad marry the groom’s parents. Since then, I have watched the parents of both the bride and the groom trust God through many goings out and comings in. They have walked steadily, in faithfulness to God and each other, lighting a path through change for their children to follow.

He will keep you.

After what seems like an eternity, the moment of change finally arrives for the happy couple. With their parents behind them, man and wife walk back up the aisle, into a changing future held by the Changeless One.

We sang, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” under the vast Kentucky sky, the bride, the groom, and us.

“Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.”

Jul 11

Gospel-Centered Counsel for Moms

2013 at 8:23 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Motherhood

chair bible“I feel like such a failure. I’m a horrible mom and a terrible wife. I’m exhausted, depressed, and overwhelmed.”

Sound like a mom you know? How would you counsel this woman? What gospel-centered words would you give her? Maybe you are that mom. As your soul’s counselor, how do you apply the gospel?

So often, in our sincere desire to be gospel-centered, we skip over a biblical diagnosis and assume we know what the problem is.

“You’re caught in the performance trap,” we tell the discouraged mom. “You just need to remember that God’s approval isn’t based on your performance. He loves you, in spite of all your failures. He doesn’t expect you to do it all or be a perfect wife or mom. You just need to rest in God’s grace.”

True, to a point.

But Scripture trains us to be more careful counselors, to apply the varied grace of God appropriately to various mothering discouragements:

“[A]dmonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thes. 5:14).

In other words, gospel-centered counsel looks different for different counselees.

“Discouraged Mom” may, in fact, be experiencing genuine conviction for anger or impatience or some other area of sin in her mothering. She may need an exhortation to repent and encouragement in the grace of God available to help her to grow (1 John 1:9).

Or a mom may be discouraged because she is comparing herself to other moms or cultural expectations of motherhood. She may need to hear our Savior’s words, “What is that to you, you follow me?” (John. 21:22)

Maybe a mom is looking to her children’s performance as the measurement of her mothering success. She may need to be reminded of her call is just to be faithful, and to trust God with the fruit. Her children’s sin isn’t the final measurement of her motherhood (Gal. 6:9).

Often a discouraged mom is an exhausted mom. She needs a good night sleep and an hour in God’s Word.

I could go on, but point is, gospel-centered counseling doesn’t make a blank check out to grace and hand it over to a discouraged mom. We must be diligent to discern the specific gospel-truth that applies to a particular discouraged mom in her unique situation.

So whether we’re counseling a friend or our own soul, let’s be wise, gospel-centered counselors.

~from the archives