We’ve started work on a new book about emotions and we want to hear from you! Please send us any thoughts or questions you have, short or long.
What frustrates or confuses you most about your emotions?
When or with whom do you have the most difficult time controlling your emotions?
What is one question or concern about the topic of feelings that you most wish someone would address?
And yes, there is something in it for you…we just don’t know what yet. Hopefully some blog posts on this topic, and if your comment or story becomes part of our book, we look forward to sending you signed copy as a thank you gift.
In almost ten years of blogging, you have never let us down! Thank you for so generously sharing your thoughts, questions, and ideas.
“But you will imagine that it is best that He should at once enable you to see clearly. If it is, you may be sure He will do it. He never makes mistakes. But He often deals far differently with His disciples. He lets them grope their way in the dark until they fully learn how blind they are, how helpless, how absolutely in need of Him. What His methods will be with you I cannot foretell. But you may be sure that He never works in an arbitrary way. He has a reason for everything He does. You may not understand why He leads you now in this way and now in that, but you may, nay, you must believe that perfection is stamped on His every act.” ~Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward
2014 at 8:48 am | by Janelle Bradshaw
My husband, Mike, is a gift that I don’t deserve. My kids have yet to fully grasp what an incredible dad they’ve been given. For one, they would never be clean if it wasn’t for him.
True confessions: I really hate giving my kids baths. There, I said it. For some strange reason I prefer a clean bathroom and dirty children. But thankfully, the kids have Mike and whenever Dad is on duty, the kids get clean.
This is one of many ways that Mike and I are different. And when it comes to clean children, I appreciate those differences. Other times, not so much: particularly when those differences mean that Mike doesn’t help out in the way that I want him to with the kids.
For example, if Mike doesn’t seem to notice that I need help with the kids, or doesn’t help in the way I think he should, I can be tempted to judge his motives and assume he doesn’t care. I expect him to observe and understand the need that I have without my asking for help. But Mike doesn’t always realize that I need his help, or know what kind of help I’m expecting. This is not because he doesn’t want to be helpful, but because we are different.
Elisabeth Elliot diagnoses my problem:
“Strange how easy it seems to be for some women to expect their husbands to be women, to act like women, to do what is expected of women. Instead of that they are men, they act like men, they do what is expected of men and thus they do the unexpected….It’s another of those simple facts which are not always so simple to remember.”
When I remember this simple fact, I can resist the temptation to judge Mike, and graciously ask for his help instead. And you know what? Whenever I ask Mike for help, he says “yes!” He actually does care. A lot. He is always so eager to jump in and do whatever I need. So, instead of expecting Mike to be like me, I can choose to appreciate the fact that he’s not like me (and that our children get regularly bathed!). And the next time he doesn’t help the way I think he should help, I can stop and thank the Lord that he’s different from me. Then I can open my mouth, ask for help, and be grateful for a husband who so willingly says “yes!”
What do you recommend to younger woman about getting an older woman to mentor her? I have a very broken relationship with my own mother, and feel like I have been starving my whole life for an older woman to come alongside me and mentor me.
This woman echoes a cry we have heard from countless young women through the years, and I pray this cry reaches the ears of many godly, older women in our churches.
For all of the young women who are so desperate for a spiritual mother, what can you do? What if you don’t know any godly, older, women? Or what if none of them seem to have the time or inclination to mentor you? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Pray and Trust. Ask God to fulfill this desire of your heart. After all, he put it there in the first place! Given remaining pride in our hearts, the fact that we are desperate for wisdom, discipleship, and exhortation is only the fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts. And God promises to fulfill all our desires for wisdom and righteousness (James 1:5, Matt. 5:6). He will generously provide.
2. Learn a little from a lot (of older women). While it would be wonderful to have a designated mentor, there aren’t always enough godly, older women to go around these days. So make all of the godly older women you know your mentors! Observe their strengths and ask each one if she would be willing to give you counsel at least one time in one area. Ask the prayer warrior to coffee so she can teach you how she prays. Ask the organized woman to come to your home one afternoon and give you some advice. See if the experienced babysitter, or the mother of disciplined school-age children, can come to the park with you and your unruly toddler and offer her counsel. Ask the woman with a strong marriage if she and her husband can spend an evening with you and your fiancé. Create your own personalized discipleship course by drawing on the godly character and experience of many women. Just imagine the wealth of wisdom you could amass in a short time!
3. Don’t waste an “older woman moment.” In other words, don’t despise or overlook even the smallest opportunity to learn from a godly, older woman. Maybe you are seated next to her at a friend’s house for dinner or you run into her in the hallway at church. You can learn life-changing truth in five minutes with a godly woman, so come prepared. Have a list of questions and whenever you have the chance ask a godly woman for a quick word of advice or encouragement. Or send her a short email or message her on Facebook or Twitter. For example, ask a godly woman what she is studying in her daily times in God’s Word, or how she would handle a parenting situation you are dealing with. Like paparazzi chasing a movie star, we should hound the older women in our churches for godly counsel.
4. Go secondhand shopping. Learn vicariously if you can’t learn directly. Ask the godly teenage girl what she appreciates about her mother. Ask your friend who has a godly mentor to share what she has learned from her about walking with God through suffering. Get parenting counsel from another mom who is getting godly counsel from an older woman. Ask any younger woman who has access to an older woman: What have you learned from so and so? What would so and so do in this situation? Like sheaves left in a field after harvest, there is much wisdom to be gleaned secondhand.
5. Be a bookworm. Even if there is a shortage of godly, older women in your church, we also live in an age with unprecedented access to the written word, and thus some of the greatest “older women” of all time. Every one of us can learn from Susannah Spurgeon or Sarah Edwards, Elisabeth Elliot or Nancy Wilson. And you can return to books again and again for wise counsel on godly womanhood. There is much more I could say here, but my friend Jodi Ware has already written a wonderful post on this topic, which I would encourage you to read.
6. Come to learn. Show an older woman that you value her time and her godly wisdom by asking genuine, thoughtful, open-ended questions. Come to her eager to learn and receive instruction, even course-correction at times, not merely validation or affirmation. It helps to plan your questions ahead of time, and avoid questions that are not really questions at all, but make it awkward for an older woman to share a different perspective. Remember, older women have a unique calling to teach us how to be godly women. Let’s make it easy for them to do just that.
7. Become an older woman. Take what you learn from godly, older woman and apply it. Be faithful in the small things, today. Sit at the Savior’s feet and serve others in the humble place God has called you. Sow now, so you can reap later. If you take to heart the wise counsel and biblical wisdom of women who fear the Lord, and apply what they teach, you will become a woman with proven character and a fruitful lifestyle. And God-willing, some day in the near future, a young woman won’t have to look too far for a godly older woman to mentor her, for you will be the mother who raised her or the spiritual mother who is right beside her all the way. May God raise up a generation of godly women to teach the younger women “what is good” (Titus 2:3).
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? Eccl. 2:24-25
“To taste the sweetness of ordinary joys, we learn to enter each day with a conviction about the givenness of all things…. We’ve been given a place to be, some things to do, a need for sustenance, and a people to share this with. God originates these gifts. God is present with his gifts…. At some point, we all have to come to terms with the spiritual truth that true joy is found in God and God is found right where His gifts are.” ~Zack Eswine
My friend, Joy, recently told me about a conversation her family had with author Jerry Bridges. He was preaching at our church’s Sunday service, and Joy’s family invited him to their home for lunch. Joy asked him about how he got into writing and Mr. Bridges told her that he did not publish his first book until he was in his mid-forties. He may have gotten a late start, he told Joy, but he thought it was necessary to have gone through all he had experienced in order to be able to write what God had called him to write.
I, for one, am grateful that Jerry Bridges wasn’t writing books in his twenties. His biblical wisdom is valuable precisely because it has been refined for years in the daily grind of obscure obedience. He didn’t write fresh out of a trial or high off an accomplishment. He learned his lessons slowly, over decades of walking faithfully with God, with no one watching or publishing.
There is a time for living and a time for writing. A time for every season, the wise teacher tells us (Ecc. 3:1-8).
A time for sowing and a time for reaping.
A time for teaching and a time for learning.
A time for speaking publicly and a time for serving silently.
For young women, yours is primarily a time to learn and sow. Young women, full of zeal and overflowing with desires to serve Christ’s kingdom, let me encourage you to channel your energies to learning from older women, to striving after maturity, to seeking out lowly places of service.
Mothers of small children, yours is a season for gathering up seeds of wisdom from older women and planting them in the fertile soil of your family. Each day you stand at the head of an endless row of seeds to be sown—disciplines to be lovingly administered, squabbles to be settled, splinters to be extracted, plates to be cleared, lessons to be taught to little ones. Make it your aim to faithfully sow.
And may I encourage you, young woman, not to despise the sowing time? You may feel as if your kingdom influence is small at best. You may feel as if your time and talents are going to waste. You may feel as if everyone else is teaching and you are still stuck learning. You may feel as if your seeds will never sprout.
But I think, perhaps, that the church needs young women like you most of all. More than young women teachers, we need young women learners. More than young women leaders, we need young women doers. More than young women bloggers and speakers we need young mothers and sisters to raise the next generation in the ways of the Lord.
The church desperately needs young women who are fervently learning and faithfully sowing today so that they can become the older women of tomorrow. If the present dearth of qualified, older women has taught us anything, it has taught us this.
So let me encourage you, young woman. Do not chafe at the learning and do not despair in the sowing. Delight in this season, in this time appointed by our gracious Lord. Toil and struggle, learn and sow, with all his energy that he powerfully works within you (Col. 1:29).