Naming a child is a subjective process. A lot of factors come into play: the sound and meaning of a name, the name of the bully in second grade, the middle name of great-aunt-so-and-so, name likes and dislikes held since childhood, places we’ve lived, favorite colors or flowers or foods….
It’s a great responsibility, giving a human life a name—one that will stick with her, for better or for worse, for her entire life.
That’s why Steve and I took the process of naming our little girl—due at the end of March—very seriously. We picked it up in line at a game booth at our church’s annual Harvest Carnival in October. Yep. I was there with Jack (a.k.a. Thomas the Train) when I noticed the nametag of the little girl in front of me. I knew her and her family and had always loved her name—or more precisely, the shortened version of her name, which she goes by.
Steve liked it too, and after “test-driving” it for a couple of weeks, we’ve settled on…are you ready….
Actually, the full name is Victoria Carolyn but we’ll call her Tori.
“Victoria” we chose mainly because we liked the nickname. However, it also shares the same meaning as my name which is “Victory”—so that’s kind of fun.
“Carolyn” is after Mom of course. If I had ten girls (which I wont!) I would probably give all of them her name somehow or another. If you don’t understand why, read here.
So, there you have it. Tori Whitacre is due to arrive sometime in late March. We’ll keep you posted as the day draws near.
The other day, a woman in our church told me about a conversation she initiated with the ladies in her small group. She had planned to discuss ways to grow in the New Year. However, as she prepared for the discussion, she found herself discouraged—so aware of the many ways she needed to grow and so unaware that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
So, she began her meeting with a different question: “What is one way you have grown in godliness in this past year?” What followed was a rich time of fellowship and encouragement as the women became aware of God’s grace actively working in their lives.
I was so inspired by this idea that when I met with the girls in my small group this past Sunday, we too spent time recounting evidences of God’s grace before we shared our New Year’s resolutions.
This was not to take personal credit or glory in our own achievements, for all growth in godliness is by God’s grace. Rather, it was a way to praise God for His ongoing work in our lives. The effect on my own soul was to bolster my faith. As I consider how God has been faithful to sanctify me in this past year, it gives me confident hope that he will continue to work throughout this coming year.
I can make my New Year’s resolution in faith, remembering that the Holy Spirit is powerfully at work within me (Col. 1:29). So what is one way God’s grace has been at work in your life this past year?
In chapter one, the spotlight is on Elizabeth Prentiss’ parents. The fruit of her life is in large part attributable to the grace of God she received through them at an early age. As Sharon James observes, “Elizabeth grew up in an atmosphere of deep and genuine piety” (p. 5).
Elizabeth always remembered her father—to whom she was very attached—for his “transparent godliness” (p. 11) and cherished fond memories of “playing games…telling stories, listening to jokes, and joining in whatever fun was going on” (p. 2).
About her mother, Elizabeth recalled, “If anything troubled our annoyed my mother she went straight into the ‘spare room,’ no matter how cold the weather, and we children know it was to pray. I shall never forget its influence over me” (p. 11).
What a remarkable legacy Edward and Louisa Payson left to their daughter—one we all benefit from even to this day.
How about you—what godly legacy have you received from your parents? Or—what kind of legacy do you hope to leave to your children?
We’d love to hear your answers to either or both of these questions. So today, we want to try something new (for the girltalk blog anyway) and open up the comments feature for discussion.
Simply click on the “comments” option at the bottom of this post and type in your answer(s). Please note that we will be moderating this “discussion” and will edit or delete comments that are unhelpful, unrelated to this topic, or too long.
We hope to hear from as many of you as possible, so we can all be inspired to gratefulness for godly parents and faithfulness in parenting our own children.
My friend from Philly, Kimm, sent me another funny one. Hope it gives you a laugh too!
for Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
Men Are Just Happier People
What do you expect?
Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack.
You can be President.
You can never be pregnant.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental $100.
New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood all the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
You know stuff about tanks.
A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
Everything on your face stays its original color.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You can play with toys all your life.
One wallet and one pair of shoes—one color for all seasons.
You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.
No wonder men are happier.
When I was a little girl, my family spent several weeks in England while my Dad was doing ministry there. By the time I came back, I had picked up a British accent and went around saying “It doesn’t matta” in my crispest five-year-old diction.
As Cotton Mather, the well-known American Puritan once wrote: “examples do strangely charm us into imitation.” That’s why we tend to talk, dress, and behave a lot like the people we live and mingle with—even after only two weeks. Or, as Proverbs 13:20 observes: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
By reading biographies, we can “walk” with wise men and women from history and become wise ourselves through their trials, obstacles, doubts, victories, and strengths. And because they have already finished their journey, we can discover what it means to live and end well.
That’s one of the reasons we chose this book on the life of Elizabeth Prentiss. We want to walk with this wise woman for the next several weeks and learn to imitate her life and character as she honored Christ. While we can all identify with her sins, weaknesses, and temptations—which is part of what endears her to us—our hope is that we will also glean from her faith in trials, display of godly womanhood, and most of all, her sincere love for Christ.
May her example charm us into imitation.
Book Club Assignment: Begin reading chapter one and check back Monday for more book club conversation.
Is it possible to make a resolution this year and truly keep it?
I hope by now you are convinced that “yes, it is possible!”
But as we carry out our resolution, we must not forget:
“There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot be accepted at all. This is not true of only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live…. It is always on His ‘blood and righteousness’ alone that we can rest.” B.B. Warfield
Let’s make this our prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me today to _________________ (fill in the blank with your resolution) – not for my sake, not for merits’ sake, but for your name’s sake! And if I should fail, help me to look to the precious blood and righteousness of your Son alone for my forgiveness and acceptance before you.
“Is it possible to make a resolution this year and truly keep it?”
It is possible, as long as you prepare to stick with it, even when you fail. For one of the main reasons we give up on a resolution is discouragement over our not-so-perfect keeping of it.
Proverbs tells us that: “the righteous falls seven times,” but goes on to say that she “rises again.” She doesn’t sit down and cry boo-hoo over her failure. She gets up, dusts herself off, and keeps at it. Or, to put it in more biblical terms, she repents from sin (where necessary), receives Christ’s forgiveness, and perseveres.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed to keep a resolution in the past. God’s Word challenges us to persevere. It also reminds us that we are not on our own. We have the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and sustain us.
We also have a sweet reward. James 1:25 promises that “the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (emphasis mine). So let’s shut down our pity party and persevere in pursuing God’s blessing!
“Is it possible to make a resolution this year and truly keep it?”
Most certainly, yes—but you also need to tell it to someone!! Tell your husband, your mother, your friend. The more the better! Make keeping your New Year’s resolution a “group project.” Ask each person to commit to regularly checking in with you to see how your plan is going.
Now as Janelle said yesterday we are dependent upon the Lord for growth in godliness. No person can replace the importance of the Spirit’s work in our lives. He alone sanctifies. But He changes us in community. Our family and friends are a gift from God, designed to walk with us as we seek to grow in grace.
Who are the ones you live life with? Ecclesiastes says, “Two are better then one….for if they fall one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (4:9-12).
If you want to keep that New Year’s resolution, pull in the help of others. It will require humility. But we can anticipate experiencing an outpouring of God’s grace as we open up our lives.
This weekend I’ll meet with a group of friends whom I get together with monthly and I will share my New Year’s Resolution. Who are you going to share yours with?
First of all, if you haven’t already read Janelle’s post in our “Keeping Your Resolutions” series from earlier today, check it out below.
By now we trust we’ve given everyone plenty of time to purchase your GirlTalk Book Club book: Elizabeth Prentiss: ‘More Love To Thee’. Some of you may have even finished reading it by now!
But we’re finally ready to begin. This week we would like you to read the Preface and the Foreword (if you’re not sure why this is important, click here). Please read these pages by Friday and check back for some introductory comments and your next assignment.
We’re so excited to study Elizabeth Prentiss’ life along with all of you!
“Is it possible to make a resolution this year and truly keep it?”
Yep, it sure is. As Nicole and Mom reminded us last week we start by “righting those wrong resolutions” and “picking one.” But we still need help to keep our resolutions.
I remember a field trip that I took to the Baltimore Science Museum when I was in junior high. (Yes, here is a picture of me participating in an electricity demonstration—thus the crazy hair! Please try and ignore the outfit.)
There were a variety of experiments that you could watch and participate in—some, like the electrical experiments, were more hazardous than others. An oft-repeated phrase to the children watching was: “kids don’t try this at home.” Why? Because kids can’t safely perform complex science experiments on their own. They need help.
A similar warning should be issued to all of us when it comes to keeping our resolutions: “Don’t try this on your own!” Any resolution, big or small, is impossible to keep without the help of the Lord. If we try, it will simply blow up in our faces—like a science experiment gone awry. We are dependent creatures. We cannot take our next breath without the Lord granting it. What makes us think we can keep resolutions on our own?
But the Lord is gracious and eager to help us. I love the words of Charles Bridges on this subject, “Take one step at a time, every step under Divine warrant and direction. Ever plan for yourself in simple dependence on God. It is nothing less than self-idolatry to conceive that we can carry on even the ordinary matters of the day without his counsel. He loves to be consulted.”
Did you hear that? “He loves to be consulted.” Start right now. Take that one, God-glorifying resolution and consult your gracious Father. Ask Him to help you carry out this task. Ask Him for the strength to be diligent and faithful. Depend upon him for the grace to accomplish all that He has set before you. And watch Him work!
PS – Oh, and stay tuned for an important book club announcement coming later today.