2006 at 10:46 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
With playful grins, CJ and Chad asked me on Sunday afternoon: “Where are our special snacks for Selection Sunday?” I looked at them with that perplexed expression, which they’ve seen countless times, and responded: “Uhhhh…what’s Selection Sunday?”
After expressing their disbelief at my ignorance of Selection Sunday, and communicating their surprise at my not having their favorite snacks prepared, they proceeded to inform me that this event was more important than even the Super Bowl. Yada. Yada. Yada. It was all a big charade—because they know how much I don’t know about what’s happening in the sports world!
Now, in case there are any girltalk readers who are as uninformed about sports as I am, here’s an explanation of Selection Sunday (which I’ve simply copied and pasted from the internet): “Selection Sunday is the day when the NCAA College Basketball tournament participants are announced, placed and seeded accordingly. The NCAA committee gathers to select and place 65 men’s teams and 64 women’s teams that they deem worthy of an invitation to the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments that take place in March and April.”
Sadly, not only did my husband and son not have their favorite snacks on hand, but it turned out that their beloved Maryland Terps did not get selected for the tournament, or in their words, “were not invited to the big dance.” I don’t think this Selection Sunday will go down as one of their most memorable. However, their disappointment was somewhat abated by carrying on a Mahaney tradition immediately after the big NCAA announcement: filling out the tournament bracket. Chad printed out a bracket for his dad, himself and me (yes, they insisted that I participate in this all-important tradition), and then we headed off to Noodles & Co. for dinner, where each of us filled out our bracket while drinking our sodas and eating our pasta. I was the first to finish. I think that’s because my method is not quite as complicated as theirs. My selection process goes something like this: Let’s see…I’ll choose Florida to win since that’s where I grew up. Tennessee is a good choice, because we love to vacation there. West Virginia is a fun state to visit, so I’m going with them. You get the picture. Most likely, it’ll not be a winning bracket!
As you may gather, the men in my family enjoy their sports. However, I am so grateful that my husband doesn’t simply enjoy sports; rather, CJ uses this medium to cultivate his friendship with Chad and more importantly to teach our son about growing in godly character and discernment. Over at the Together for the Gospel blog, CJ attempts to share how he goes about this. I thought it might be helpful for all of you mothers with sons to read and pass along to your husbands.
I love all the fun, laughter, teaching, learning, and growing friendship that happen in our home around sports. In fact, next year, I think I’ll just find out ahead of time on what day Selection Sunday falls, and I’ll have CJ and Chad’s favorite snacks all ready to serve up when they come asking. They will be stunned!
2006 at 12:18 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Joy
“Are you consistently keeping your soul happy in God?” It was an unexpected question. If Mark, our pastor and small group leader had asked, “Are you consistently practicing the spiritual disciplines?” I would have given a simple “yes.” But this question required a more thoughtful response. Do I emerge from my quiet time happy? Hmmmm. “In all honesty, I would have to say ‘no.’”
This question that Mark put to our care group several weeks ago was drawn from the personal reflections of nineteenth-century pastor, George Mueller:
“I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished.”
It was easy for my friends to diagnose my lack of joy in God, for it’s a common malady. I had unconsciously “shifted from the gospel of grace” (Col. 1:21-23). My quiet times had become a dreary recounting of all my sins from the previous day, a period of morbid introspection over the cause of those sins, and an anxiety over my lack of progress in mortification. No wonder my soul wasn’t happy!
So I decided to, as my dad says, “restrict my spiritual diet;” to stand squarely on the bedrock of my joy—the glorious truths of the gospel. Because, as our dear friend Mr. Spurgeon writes:
“Here in the cross is where every enemy of joy is overcome: divine wrath, as he becomes a curse for us; real guilt, as he becomes forgiveness for us; lawbreaking, as he becomes righteousness for us; estrangement from God, as he becomes reconciliation for us; slavery to Satan, as he becomes redemption for us; bondage to sin, as he becomes liberation for us; pangs of conscience, as he becomes cleansing for us; death, as he becomes the resurrection for us; hell, as he becomes eternal life for us.”
You know what? Now I come out of my quiet time happier than when I went in! I’m still the greatest sinner I know, but I am a sinner clothed in the righteousness of Christ. And that truth, as it sinks in, permeates my soul with joy.
So how about you, is your soul happy? Is it spin around, laugh out loud, grin ‘till it hurts, happy in God? If not, then come with me to the cross. And gaze awhile.
2006 at 9:06 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
Well, we’ve come to the end of another week here at girltalk and I don’t know about you, but I’m excited that it is Friday night and I can get some extra sleep. Yes, I must be getting old.
This morning, as I do most Friday mornings, I taught a writing class of middle school students, which includes my brother, Chad. The student’s homework assignment was to write a letter to a person of their choosing, real or imagined. Mean teacher that I am, I ignored their groans and insisted that the letter be FIVE paragraphs long! I’m eager to read these epistles next week to see what clever ideas these guys and girls come up with.
Jenny Briggs, a faithful girltalk reader from England, sent us some “letters to God” written by kids much younger than those in my class—which is probably why they are so funny!
May you all enjoy rest to the glory of God this weekend!
See you when Monday rolls around,
for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
2006 at 1:40 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
It’s time to take a closer look at how to cultivate the wifely affection that we talked about yesterday. And who better to ask what makes a husband feel cherished than husbands?
Chapter two in Feminine Appeal contains responses from different men about how their wives show them this tender love. I have included some of them here to get you thinking…
“If I’m sick in bed, my wife prepares tea and meals for me without my asking and waits on me hand and foot. It’s as though her world stops so she can take care of me.”
“Each time Karin catches my eye in public with a smile and subtle wink, or greets me with a warm embrace upon my arrival home from work, or hangs on my arm when we go out on a date, the message comes through loud and clear: ‘I enjoy being with you and want you to know that I love you.’”
“With just a handful of exceptions, Lisa has written me a note in my lunch every single workday for over ten years.”
“My wife shows me affection through a constant stream of small surprises—showing up at work with my favorite Starbucks drink, making her famous brownies on no special occasion, arranging to borrow a friend’s convertible sports car for our anniversary. Not all have been extremely costly, but all have been very meaningful.”
“I am cherished by my wife through her fervent and faithful intercessory prayer for me. Her conviction is that no one can care for me like my heavenly Father.”
And here’s one more fun idea I recently came across. My mom was given this t-shirt as a gift and immediately began wearing it. After my husband saw it, he began dropping hints about how he might like me to have the same shirt. This Christmas, one of his gifts under the tree was this t-shirt which I proudly wear! (Although we can’t heartily endorse all the t-shirts on the website, you can purchase your very own “i love my husband” t-shirt here.)
So, we have no more excuses, ladies! There are plenty of ideas here for showing affection to our husband. Let’s get started today!
2006 at 5:32 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;? you hold my lot.? The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;? indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6
This past Monday (which is my husband’s day off) I went out for dinner ALL BY MYSELF. It was wonderfully lonely! As I walked out the door, Liam was crying and complaining about his dinner. I left, quite grateful he wasn’t going to be joining me! The peace was so refreshing. I sat in the restaurant and watched the cars go by. It was very entertaining. Only a mother with small kids would say that.
You see, last week my husband was in California, and the kiddos caught those colds they always get this time of year. On the first night after my husband left, all three boys woke up at the same time. Then they got into my bed—all three of them, all at once! That didn’t really work so well with our queen size mattress. At three o’clock in the morning, Liam decided to play “Simon Says” (his new favorite game). In a VERY AWAKE voice, he would say, “Simon says, go to sleep” and then make loud snoring sounds. It did make me smile, even though his timing was very poor!
The Lord was very gracious to provide me help through my mom. She came different times and brought me lunch or dinner and even took my laundry back to her house. Moms are the best! Anyway, enough about my week. I’m sure you had your own challenges last week, many of which make mine look easy. But this gives you a little idea of why I was happy to get out on Monday evening.
I ate dinner and went shopping at Toys R Us. I thought back on the week and remembered how many times my flesh cried out for another “lot”—or at least a break from the one I did have. It didn’t always FEEL fun.
Yet, as I looked around the toy store, I realized how much I LOVE this season with my little ones. For a few short years, I get them all to myself. It can be very hard at times, but it is also precious and fleeting. It will be over before I turn around, and I know I’ll miss it.
Martyred missionary Jim Elliot’s motto comes back to me: “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
After this past week, I am freshly aware of my need to daily draw upon the Lord’s strength and grace to embrace His calling for me today—to rejoice in my lot and live motherhood to the hilt!
2006 at 2:09 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
The final topic in our mini-series on marriage is affection. When I asked my husband, Mike, if affection was among his “top three,” I received a resounding “oh definitely!” I suspected as much.
I find it interesting that Scripture highlights an affectionate love as a priority for us as wives. In Titus 2 we are commanded to love our husbands, and the word for love there is the Greek word, phileo.
My mom defines phileo for us in Feminine Appeal: “This word describes the love between very close friends. It is a tender, affectionate, passionate kind of love. It emphasizes enjoyment and respect in a relationship.”
It is also interesting to note (as my mom writes) that phileo is used instead of agape. You see,
“The Greek word agape refers to a self-sacrificing love. It’s a love that gives to others even if nothing is given back. Yet Paul didn’t use agape in describing the love we are to cultivate for our husbands. He chose phileo. In fact, in commands specifically related to wives, agape is never used. Now this does not mean we have been released from needing to extend this kind of love. [However] I believe women are generally weaker in exhibiting an affectionate love—thus the instructions given to us in Titus 2.
In fact, women will often continue to sacrifice and serve their husbands even if all tender feelings for them have subsided. I have met women like that! They obviously do not respect their husbands. They certainly do not have tender feelings for them. Yet that does not hinder these women from continuing to wash their husbands’ clothes, cook their meals, and clean the house for them.
How often I am guilty of this same thing! I frequently get bogged down with serving Mike, all the while neglecting one of the things that mean the most to him. For all you wives who can relate, we’ll try to inspire you tomorrow with some ideas for showering your husband with a tender love.
2006 at 2:08 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Hey everyone, I’m back! I’m emerging for a moment from my new world of spit-up, diapers, and lack of sleep. It is amazing how much work is generated by a tiny 7lb person. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This little girl has turned my life upside down, and I’m loving every minute of it (okay, I may not LOVE the middle of the night feeding, but you know what I mean).
On a more serious note, I want to thank all of you who prayed for me during my labor and delivery experience. I wish that I could thank each one of you in person. In God’s great kindness, my heart was filled with peace through each step in the process, even as I was being wheeled in to the OR for my C-section. The day after Caly’s birth, my mom arrived at the hospital with a stack of e-mails from the blog, each one communicating your care and encouragement. You will never know the extent to which your prayers and e-mails blessed me. Thank you!
Here is my favorite recent picture of my sweet girl…
2006 at 10:53 am | by Nicole Whitacre
The following humble email came in yesterday:
I have appreciated the last few days about encouraging our husbands. I’ve been struggling with this for the entirety of my 10-month marriage, and I have really seen how my critical spirit tears my husband down. I would really love to begin encouraging him, but I’m not sure how. Are there any practical ways to do this?
There are many answers to this question, but I think that Ephesians 4:22-24 lays it out very simply: we are to “put off the old self” and “put on the new self.” By God’s grace we are to “put off” critical thoughts, which lead to unkind words and “put on” loving thoughts that lead to encouraging words. Meaningful encouragement begins with our thought life.
The apostle Paul understood the influence of people’s thoughts on their feelings and behavior. He exhorted the Philippians in this way: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4:8).
If we think Philippians 4 thoughts about our husbands, then encouraging words are sure to come out. I love what Shirley Rice has to say along these lines:
“Are you in love with your husband? Not, do you love him? I know you do. He has been around a long time, and you’re used to him. He is the father of your children. But are you in love with him? How long has it been since your heart really squeezed when you looked at him? Why is it you have forgotten the things that attracted you to him at first?...Your husband needs to be told that you love him, that he is attractive to you. By the grace of God, I want you to start changing your thought pattern. Tomorrow morning, get your eyes off the toaster or the baby bottles long enough to LOOK at him. Don’t you see the way his coat fits his shoulders? Look at his hands. Do you remember when just to look at his strong hands made your heart lift? Well, LOOK at him and remember. Then loose your tongue and tell him that you love him” (emphasis mine).
So how do we begin to encourage our husbands? First, we “change our thought pattern” and then we tell him how much we love him!
Also…we did a little series back in July on speech: corrupting words versus encouraging words. You can read it here.
2006 at 2:44 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
I want to tag this little anecdote onto Mom’s post about encouraging rather than criticizing our husbands:
“On her golden wedding anniversary, my grandmother revealed the secret of her long and happy marriage. ‘On my wedding day, I decided to choose ten of my husband’s faults which, for the sake of our marriage, I would overlook,’ she explained. A guest asked her to name some of the faults. ‘To tell the truth,’ she replied, ‘I never did get around to listing them. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, ‘Lucky for him that’s one of the ten.’” Roderick McFarlane, in Reader’s Digest, December, 1992.
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11
2006 at 11:49 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
As a way of introducing me to the attendees of the College Church women’s retreat last weekend, one of the event coordinators conducted an interview with me on the first evening. A particular question she asked was: If given the opportunity, who is one famous person with whom you’d like to have dinner?
My answer: Actually, I’ve already been blessed to have that experience. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to meet Elisabeth Elliot. A few years ago, she was the guest speaker for my church’s women’s retreat and my husband and I were privileged to have dinner with Elisabeth and her husband.
After my mom, Elisabeth Elliot is the woman who has most affected my life. I still remember as a child my mom reading Through Gates of Splendor to our family. This book left an indelible mark on my young mind. Since that time, I have read most of the other books that Elisabeth has authored, and listened to oodles of taped messages by her, as well as subscribed to her newsletter. As you probably can tell, I deeply admire this godly woman and the uncompromised message of biblical womanhood she has imparted through her writing and speaking.
All this to say, there’s a quote in one of her books—actually, she’s quoting her husband—that would serve us well in keeping with this whole topic of encouragement that we’ve been considering. Lars Gren (Elisabeth’s husband), presented this helpful challenge:
“A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.”
Sometimes as wives, we are more inclined to concentrate on what our husbands are doing wrong rather than what they are doing right. We are more prone to criticize the twenty percent rather than encourage the eighty percent. That’s why this little quote has been such a great reminder to me as I endeavor to encourage my husband.
So, let’s apply this eighty/twenty rule in our marriage. Let’s enjoy all the wonderful qualities about our husband. For I daresay that Lars is right: when we enjoy and encourage our husbands, both of us will be happy!
(A little addendum to my College Church Women’s Retreat experience…The girl who wired me with the mic for each message came up to me after my interview and first message on Friday evening and said, “I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Elisabeth. I am Elisabeth Elliot’s granddaughter and namesake.” What a treat to meet this young woman!)
2006 at 11:55 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Before Caly’s birth happily distracted us, we were mid-way through a series we were calling “Top Three.” Our goal was to encourage wives to consider what were the “top three” ways they could please their husband. Although these are different for every man, we chose to focus on our husbands’ top three, one or more of which probably make many other husbands’ lists as well.
Nicole considered the importance of intimacy and Kristin the enriching effect of encouragement. We want to camp out at the encouragement site a little longer. And single women, we want you to hang with us, because whether it’s in your interactions with others or preparing for marriage, this topic is extremely relevant for you.
If you’re like me, you can be inspired by reading something on encouragement or watching another woman who exemplifies encouragement, but when we daily face the sins of others—our husbands, co-workers, family, roommates—that desire to encourage evaporates, leaving only resentment, anger, and then eventually discouragement. So how do we cultivate a genuine attitude of encouragement that withstands the rigors of everyday relationships?
I believe the foundation of encouragement is a growing awareness of our own sinfulness. As I wrote in Feminine Appeal:
“Like a pebble tossed into a pool of water, awareness of our sinfulness generates a marvelous ripple effect in our marriage. Here’s how it works: The more we understand the sin in our hearts, the more we appreciate the patience and mercy of God; and this, in turn, produces an attitude of humility and mercy toward our husbands.
My husband’s historical hero Charles Spurgeon once said:
‘He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.’
When we see our husbands as sinner like ourselves—sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy—it strips away any intolerant, critical, or demanding attitude we may be tempted to have. Every husband has areas where he needs to change and grow, but so do we!
Although we both are sinners, God is using our marriage to help us grow in godliness. In fact, our husbands’ particular sins, unique weaknesses, and even their idiosyncrasies are tailor-made for us. Likewise, our sins and weaknesses are custom-designed for them. Both husbands and wives will become more Christlike by having to deal with each other’s sins and deficiencies.”
Do you see how this works? If we are more critical than encouraging, more dissatisfied than grateful toward our husband, that is a sure sign of self-righteousness. And encouragement doesn’t grow in this proud environment. If we want to become an encourager, the first step is to ‘remember we are but dust.’ When we are overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s mercy toward us, it will be easy to encourage our husbands.
Finally, a word to single women, also from Feminine Appeal:
“If you are single, I would encourage you to study these truths now. They will serve you as you interact with single men, encourage your married friends, and prepare for our future—should God call you to marriage. Humility born of the awareness of our sinful tendencies is an essential character quality in mature Christians. As single women you should cultivate this humility and look for it in any man who might pursue you for marriage.”
2006 at 10:32 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
Recently, someone sent us yet another blonde joke (we hope for no other reason than it’s our hair color). This one struck me as particularly funny because I was a secretary once upon a time before I married C.J. You can watch it here.
Enjoy your weekend!
for Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
2006 at 6:39 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good….Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul (1 Peter 2:1-3, 11; emphasis mine).
Yesterday, Nicole helped us take a good hard look at the sin of envy in our hearts. Today, I want to encourage us to do battle against this “passion of the flesh.” As I Peter 2:11 tells us, envy is already waging war against our soul—the question is whether or not we are going to fight back!
Here is a simple (not easy mind you) yet effective strategy for going on the offensive against envy:
1. Pray daily for the person we are tempted to envy. Persistent envy can be overcome with persistent prayer. We will find it is very difficult to go on envying someone for whom we are regularly asking God to bless and prosper.
2. Study and meditate on God’s Word. We should direct our spiritual study to better understand and mortify the sin of envy. Let’s consider verses such as Psalm 73, Proverbs 14:30, Proverbs 23:7, I Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, and 1 Peter 2 and many more. Also, I want to highly recommend one of Jonathan Edwards’s sermons on envy which you can read online here.
3. Eagerly rejoice with and reach out to the one we are tempted to envy. The temptation to withdraw and avoid—in order to spare ourselves pain—is simply selfishness. Therefore, we need to purpose not to withdraw relationally. Isolation in heart and action will only become a hotbed for bitterness and resentment to flourish.
When we put this battle plan into action, do you know what will happen? We will, gradually, over time, weaken the sin of envy in our lives. It won’t happen in one glorious moment or after a couple of tries. But gradually, the sin of envy will lose its power and influence.
So let us not give up, even if the fight is intense. Jonathan Edwards in his famous Resolutions, “Resolved never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.”
Regardless of whether we feel like we are winning the fight against envy. Regardless of how much of a challenge it continues to be, let us never slacken our fight. For it is God “who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).
2006 at 6:34 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Yesterday we contemplated the question: What do we do with a good, yet unfulfilled longing that won’t go away? First, we thank God that by His mercy we desire one of His good gifts.
However, we must also regulate our desires. We must not love or long for one of God’s good gifts more than we love or long for God Himself. If we do, then we have essentially made an idol out of this good desire and we are worshipping it instead of God. As teacher David Powlison paraphrases the eminent John Calvin: “The evil in our desires often lies not in what we want but that we want it too much.”
One sure indicator as to whether or not a good desire has morphed into an idol is how we respond when someone else gets the very thing that we want but don’t have. When a close friend—who was perfectly happy to be single—up and gets married, and we are, literally, left behind. Or when, as is the case for a friend of mine, we know five other girls who are pregnant and we are not.
And what about the woman who gets married younger than us, whose job is more glamorous than ours, whose house is bigger than ours, whose marriage is better than ours, whose life is easier than ours, whose children are more well-behaved than ours, whose popularity is brighter than ours, whose intelligence is greater than ours? Need I go on?
Envy is a sin common to women. But do we always see it for the rancid evil that it is? Several months ago, I found myself envying another woman’s happiness. My husband encouraged me to study the topic of envy, and gave me some material to read. In the course of my study, the following string of thoughts by Cornelius Plantinga hit me straight between the eyes. Buckle your seat belt, for these are hard, yet necessary words.
“What an envier wants is not, first of all, what another has; what an envier wants is for another not to have it…The envier has empty hands and therefore wants to empty the hands of the envied. Envy, moreover, carries overtones of personal resentment; an envier resents not only somebody else’s blessing but also the one who has been blessed” (emphasis mine).
Upon reading those words, I didn’t want to admit that was me, that what I actually wanted was to empty someone else’s hands. But that was the truth of it. A good desire gone bad is often characterized by these wicked motives.
No wonder Scripture commands us to “Put away all…envy!” (1 Pet. 2:1) What wretched women we are! And yet, as Paul exclaims, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7:25) We who have repented of our sins and put our trust in Christ are no longer bound by the sin of envy. We can receive forgiveness and cleansing and grace to change—grace to truly rejoice with those who have been blessed!
How do we get there? Tomorrow Mom will share a biblical strategy for overcoming envy.
2006 at 8:11 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Living Intentionally
Several of you have kindly asked how I am doing in the midst of all the excitement surrounding Caly’s birth. As long-time readers may remember, I first posted back in August about my struggle with secondary infertility following the birth of our son Jack three years ago. As of today, my husband Steve and I still have not been able to get pregnant. And we still don’t know why.
Yet, in answer to your inquiries—which blessed me very much, I must say—I am doing excellently well! I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled about the birth of my little niece! There are times, I think, when God mercifully spares us from temptations which, given the wretched sinfulness of our hearts, should in fact, be present. This, for me, is one of those grace-flooded times.
For many of you out there, who have yet to see two lines on a pregnancy test, I realize that the posts about Caly’s birth may have felt like someone rubbing sandpaper over a scab. In a word, painful. What do I do with this unfulfilled longing that won’t go away? you wonder.
First of all, stop for a moment and thank God for this desire. Genuinely thank Him for this longing. He’s the one who put it in your heart; and when submitted to His sovereign goodness, it is a holy desire.
Tragically, on this very day, many women will spite this God-given desire and choose to end the life of their unborn baby. Recently, blogger Justin Taylor reported a story out of Scotland where a mother is suing a hospital over an unsuccessful abortion, which one of her twin babies survived. The mother is quoted as saying, “I still don’t know if, or what, I am going to tell Jayde [her surviving daughter] when the time comes. Maybe when she is nine or ten I will sit her down and explain it to her.”
Justin writes, “Try to imagine that conversation. Then weep at the depravity. Then realize that we would act in such a murderous, self-centered way but for the grace of God. May we cling to the cross, and cry out to God for both mercy and justice. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
But for the grace of God, we would not be wrestling with an unfulfilled desire for a child. But for the grace of God, each one of us would choose to murder our children, just like this woman. And if this thought shocks us, it’s an indication that, maybe, we have not yet understood the true extent of our depravity.
So thank God for this desire to bear children for His glory. Thank God for any desire you have for one of His good gifts—a joyful marriage or the salvation of family members or godly friendships. For it is only by His mercy we desire anything good at all. This, of course, is not the only answer to what to do with an unfulfilled longing that won’t go away. It’s just the first one. Part two tomorrow.