Every new bride walks down the aisle in joyful anticipation of her married life. However, for many women, sadly, the hope of an ideal, harmonious, marriage quickly fades. Maybe their husband is neglectful and unkind—consumed by work or other interests. Maybe their husband persists in sinful patterns of lust and pornography. Or maybe their husband has ceased to love them. Whatever the situation, they may feel disillusioned, alone, and full of despair.
In her book, Feminine Appeal, my mom offers words of comfort from God’s Word:
“If you are in an exceptionally trying situation with your husband, I encourage you to pour out your heart to the Lord of love. He knows, He sees, and He hears; and though your tears may be lost on your husband, they are not lost on your heavenly Father. He is the compassionate Lord who urges us to draw near to Him so ‘that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Heb. 4:16).”
This week, on the marriedlife blog, my husband Brian has also sought to extend care and hope in a series entitled “Finding God in my Difficult Marriage.” Among the questions he answers are:
If you’ve found yourself asking one or more of these questions, let me urge you to read these posts, as well as the concluding post: “Armed with Faith in my Marriage.” They will encourage you in the midst of your marital difficulties, help you draw strength from God, and recognize the power of faith in His promises.
If you read the tributes that we posted for Mother’s Day last May, you will undoubtedly remember the one composed for Kathy Bowers by her daughter Jeanie. After a long and courageous battle with cancer, Kathy went home to be with the Savior on August 21, 2006. Her memorial service was held Friday night. The way she prized the glorious gospel—both in her living and in her dying—profoundly affected each of us who knew her. We post Kathy’s tribute again today to freshly inspire each of us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb.12:1-2).
To the Bowers family: Our hearts and prayers are with you. Kathy will be deeply missed!
A Tribute to Kathy Bowers
I want to honor my mother, Kathy Bowers, for teaching me the most important thing in life, that Christ has taken care of my greatest need by dying on the Cross for my sins, and that is what truly matters. You see, my mom has only weeks left to live. She has been heroically battling cancer for the past 7 years and unless the Lord chooses to heal her, she will soon be home with Him. My mom’s life beautifully portrays a deep trust in the truth of the Gospel in ALL areas of her life. As she faces death, she has not even a hint of fear. She knows she is going to be with the Lord, and when she talks about it, she does so with a huge smile and great excitement. Mom has suffered severely this past year, often in intense pain, yet has never once complained. She tells others often that she deserves God’s wrath and anything else is pure grace! She is a perfect example of joy in the midst of suffering. She trusts God completely—he is her solid rock that she stands on in trying times and because of that she has a steady faith that does not waver with the changing circumstances.
Mom lives with the truth of the Gospel in full view every day. There have been times when she has been in the emergency room in extreme pain and she has shared the Gospel with the nurse caring for her. She recently had a party held in her honor at which she spent twenty minutes sharing with her 200 guests that she has no fear in the face of death, that she is going to the place she was created for and it is because she has put her trust in the Gospel. She then shared the Gospel with all who were there. Mom has been sharing the Gospel with unbelievers her whole life—from women in her neighborhood, to orphans in Mexico.
Mom has lived the 50 years of her life on this earth serving heroically and focusing on others. She has impacted hundreds through her example, but I believe my family has been the most blessed by her. She has faithfully loved her husband and three children. She has faithfully served us. She has laid down her life for us and made us her priority. She has set an amazing example for my sister and me to follow as a wife and mother.
Mom has also faithfully discipled my sister and me. She has set an example for us of a women deeply in love with the Lord and His Word. She always told us being in the Lord’s Word was her favorite part of the day. Even now, when at times she is so fatigued that she cannot read, she asks others to read to her. She has faithfully met with my sister and me week in and week out, caring for our hearts and teaching us to be godly women. She has always made herself available to talk to us, dropping whatever she is doing. Even now that she is sick, she makes a point to still ask about our day and our devotions. Without hesitation all three of her children would call her both their Hero and their best friend.
As Mom’s life on this earth is coming to an end, it is evident to all that this woman ran the race hard and has glorified the Lord with her life. She is leaving behind a legacy of faith that will be legendary and inspire many. She has taught us how to rejoice in suffering and to live in light of eternity. She has taught us that placing our trust in the Gospel is truly what matters and that we should yearn to be with the Lord in Heaven.
Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for the godly woman you are. I will deeply miss you when you go home to be with the Lord, but praise Him that we never have to say goodbye. A crown of righteousness is awaiting you!
This week we want you to enjoy someone else’s Friday humor. Have a good laugh!
May God’s grace be with you this weekend!
for my girlies—Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
“Rahab is extraordinary precisely because she received extraordinary grace.” This statement by Dr. MacArthur from page 16 describes all of us. Whether you were saved while still a tiny thing or after many years of rebellion, your story is truly extraordinary.
Thank you for the many stories of extraordinary grace you sent our way. It’s always tough to choose. Our question from chapter 3, “How does ‘what you once were’ magnify the glory of divine grace?” was vividly captured by Stacy Reaoch:
I love to look back in my life and remember where I was before God divinely intervened! It is always a wonderful reminder of His sovereign grace in my life. I was a freshman at Michigan State University and the ways of the world were knocking at my door. Although I had lived a fairly tame, “nominal” Christian life up until this point, things were changing. I was enjoying the freedom of college life—partying, flirting, and I was being increasingly influenced by my liberal classes. I took a feminist theory writing class, which quickly became my most beloved class. After writing a paper entitled, “I Am a Feminist”, my professor kept me after class to tell me we were kindred spirits. As you can imagine, I was all about “a woman’s right to choose!” and constantly wanting to battle the supposed oppression of women.
Yet at this same pivotal time in my life, the Lord was at work. Although I lived in an enormous freshman dormitory complex with very little Christian influence, God sovereignly placed me next door to two Christian girls. They began sharing the Gospel with me and invited me to a Bible study. At the same time I was dating my high school sweetheart (now my husband) who truly was a Christian and attending Wheaton College—the clear opposite of MSU! God had used Ben and his family to plant seeds that were now being watered. It’s so interesting for me to go back and see one of the major issues the Lord used to draw me to Himself. My increasing interest in the feminist agenda was in conflict over what I knew some Christians believed. I remember attending a “relationship panel” put on by women in Campus Crusade. Oh how I pitied those women who believed in submission and adhered to such strict Biblical principals! I tried to debate them with the minute bit of knowledge I had. I loathed the texts in Scripture like Ephesians 5 and 1 Timothy 2. They were so offensive to me and everything I thought I stood for.
Nonetheless, God used my battle against biblical womanhood to draw me to Himself. I began attending the Bible study, Crusade meetings and churches to discover what the Bible was really saying. I wanted to understand to prove my points about the oppression of woman. But God used this battle to engage my mind in His Word and His purposes for my life. After much debate, prayer, and time spent with godly women who invested in me, I placed my trust in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins. As I began to grown in my knowledge of the Lord, I learned to embrace the beauty of biblical womanhood. I’m not saying everything happened at once. I still debated my future husband over why women couldn’t be pastors (after all, he was called to pastor so why couldn’t I?!) I struggled with difficult texts about the roles of women but eventually embraced the complementary design God created for us. Ten years later spreading a passion for God’s glory through embracing biblical manhood and womanhood is one of my greatest desires!
I sometimes wonder what my life may be like if God had not intervened. Oh, how much He has spared me from in this life and the next! I praise God who called me out of darkness into His marvelous light! To His name alone be glory forever! Amen.
Thank you Stacy!
Next week’s question, from the life of Ruth is based on a quote from page 77:
“Nothing happens by ‘chance,’ but God is always behind the scenes, working all things together for the good of His people (Rom. 8:28). There is no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’ for believers.”
Given this truth, tell us about a circumstance in your life where you now see God was working “behind the scenes” for your good?
Can’t wait to read your answers!
A dear friend of mine is walking through some relational challenges at present. With a longing to encourage, I emailed the following quote—a favorite of mine—to her today. I know for me, I am quick to sinfully judge or become bitter when I feel someone has sinned against me. Yet I need to be swift to see God’s hand behind any wrong—whether it is real or only imagined. (How many times have I made uncharitable judgments of others only to find out later that I was mistaken?!) These words of Jonathan Edwards have helped me to get my eyes off others (and myself!) and to look to God. If you are facing difficulties in a relationship—whether it is with a co-worker, a friend or even a family member—I pray this 18th century quote will provide you with a Godward perspective today:
Love to God disposes men to see his hand in everything; to own him as the governor of the world, and the director of providence; and to acknowledge his disposal in everything that takes place. And the fact, that the hand of God is a great deal more concerned in all that happens to us than the treatment of men is, should lead us, in a great measure, not to think of things as from men, but to have respect to them chiefly as from God—as ordered by his love and wisdom, even when their immediate source may be the malice or heedlessness of a fellow-man. And if we indeed consider and feel that they are from the hand of God, then we shall be disposed meekly to receive and quietly to submit to them, and to own that the greatest injuries received from men are justly and even kindly ordered of God, and so be far from any ruffle or tumult of mind on account of them. (Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, pp. 79-80)
Prayer has always been a weak discipline in my life. I love to study, and therefore it is not uncommon for me to get so engrossed in whatever I am studying during my daily devotions that I don’t leave enough time for unhurried prayer. Whenever this happens, I simply resort to praying on the run—not a recommended prescription for a healthy prayer life!
So this past May during my planning retreat I came up with a new plan for daily prayer. I rearranged my morning routine to make sure I have ample time to pray. I also typed out numerous Bible verses and prayers that I have collected from others to further help me when I pray.
I shared one of these prayers with you last week and there is one more I want to share with you again today. It’s a prayer I pray for my 13 year old son, Chad, derived from Psalm 12:7—You will guard us from this generation forever:
Lord, may Chad rise above his age as the mountaintops above the clouds. Fulfill in Chad the faithful saying of this verse! Guard him from this generation, from being polluted by its evil influence. Thank you for those two assuring words that declare, “You will.” (Adapted from Psalms Volume I, Charles Spurgeon)
Our teenagers face a three-fold enemy (as do we all): the world, the flesh and the devil. With this prayer, I am specifically asking that God help Chad to resist the temptations of this ungodly world and instead live for the delights of following the Savior. I hope it inspires you to pray with faith for your sons and daughters.
You’ll have to pardon me. I don’t have a lot to say these days about anything except surviving morning sickness. I know there are big things going on in the world right now. But for me, life is simply about keeping breakfast down.
When I feel desperate in the face of another day of sickness, I think about the strong women I know who’ve endured much worse in order to give birth to their children—most notably, my great-great grandmother, Catherine Layman (pictured left with husband Martin). Here’s her story:
“Catherine was…born prematurely [in 1855] weighing one and a half pounds, and small enough to fit in a quart measure. Tradition tells us that her face could be covered by a half-dollar and her palm by a grain of corn. She was fed with a medicine dropper and carried around on a pillow wrapped in a blanket until age six months.” (Martin A. Lahman Family History)
At age nine, when her family fled the Civil War, she weighed a mere 37 ½ pounds. As full-grown adult, she was only 4 feet, 10 inches tall. But, this little lady went on to bear 15 children—one of whom was my great-grandfather John Calvin Layman, (gotta love those Reformed roots!).
My point? If Great-Great Grandma Kate can have 15 children, well, then I can make it through pregnancy number two.
As interesting as Catherine’s story is, I draw even more encouragement from women I know—especially my mom, but also my Aunt Janice, and other dear friends whose morning sickness was much more potent than mine is. I vividly remember both my mom and aunt faithfully caring for their families in between trips to the nearest facility. I have dear friends who have managed households and toddlers while feeling wretchedly ill.
I’m sure none of them realized they were teaching me in those moments. But they were. Their lessons of perseverance, of faithfulness, of peace and joy in difficulty and of love for their families have marked my life. I find strength in God to make it through the day because they did it first.
As parents, Brian and I are eager to get our hands on any resource that will help us teach and train our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Recently, Brian came across a book that, although small in size, is substantial in value. Originally written by the Reverend Thomas G. Kay, and updated by Shirley Windham, it is entitled, Train Up A Child.
Shirley Windham is actually a friend of a friend so to speak, as she is a member of Ligon Duncan’s First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Duncan—besides being a very dear friend of my dad’s is also one of the Together for the Gospel foursome.
Train up a Child is a 32-page simple discipleship program for children ages 3-17. It is a guide for instructing your child in both Bible memorization and basic theology. For each year of your child’s life you’ll find a brief (one to two page) plan, thematically arranged. There are hymns to learn each year as well as suggested books to read with your children. And the plan is easily modified to fit your preferences or child’s comprehension level. Even though we don’t adhere to the author’s views on infant baptism, this tool will help you to be intentional and effective in teaching God’s Word to your children. We’re excited about using it with our three sons!
Check out this Friday Funny…Thanks Cara!
Used cows for sale? Makes me wonder how much new cows are and do they depriciate in value like cars? What do you use a used cow for? Who knows! Cara Croft
You’ll find us right back here on Monday. Take Care!
for Carolyn, Nicole, and Kristin
Last week’s question, “Like Sarah, what “earthly inconvenience” are you experiencing, and how is it “mitigated by the promise of eternal blessing?” provoked a number of wonderful answers. Whether it is the waiting for children or the difficulty of moving (while pregnant!) or the daily struggle with indwelling sin or even the trial of losing something of value—so many of you are hoping in God like Sarah did. The woman we chose to answer this week’s question—Jelinas Lim—has a firm hold of the promises of God in the midst of her earthly inconvenience. May you be encouraged by her example to trust in God’s Word.
I am twenty-eight years old and unmarried, and it sure is an earthly inconvenience.
Aside from the practical inconveniences like not having a man around to fix leaky faucets or help carry in the groceries, there are also spiritual and emotional inconveniences, like not having someone to rebuke you when you are wasting time at home or not having someone to encourage you when you’re discouraged.
It’s even inconvenient to go to weddings. You have to drive yourself and then sit at the reception with a bunch of twenty-three-year-olds because they’re the only other ones who are also still single, as you watch the twenty-five-year-old newlyweds rejoice because they’ve “finally” found God’s will for them.
But, as Sarah trusted in the promise of eternal blessing, I resolve to trust in the promise of eternal blessing. It matters not what I am lacking in my life today because I know what I am not lacking. I am not lacking a single thing that I need for life and godliness. The Lord has graciously provided all I need for that, daily.
How can I complain about loneliness when I know that, even if my bed is in the depths, God is with me? How can I complain about not having enough help when the Lord has promised that the Holy Spirit will be my helper? And why would I complain about getting older when each day that passes only brings me closer to my Savior?
God gives grace. Even when He’s not dispensing husbands, He’s daily dispensing grace. He has promised that those who obey Him will see his goodness in the land of the living. And I believe it because I see it every day. Praise God for His faithfulness to this precious promise!
Next week’s profile offers another opportunity to praise God for His grace—the extraordinary story of Rahab. Dr. MacArthur encapsulates “the lesson of her life” in the following sentence: “The disturbing fact about what she once was simply magnifies the glory of divine grace, which is what made her the extraordinary woman she became.” From that lesson comes this week’s question: “How does ‘what you once were’ magnify the glory of divine grace?”
Given the personal nature of this question, we completely understand if you would like us to post your answer anonymously. Remember that all answers are due by midnight Thursday. May you rejoice in God’s grace as you read Chapter Four: “A Horrible Life Redeemed.”