If you are trying to figure out what to give your pastor’s wife for Christmas, look no further than Nancy Wilson’s new book: True Companion: Thoughts on Being a Pastor’s Wife. Writing as an older woman (“And if I sound motherly, it’s because my husband has been a minister now for over three decades and I have a silver mine growing in my hair”), Nancy provides exactly the kind of biblical, practical, time and trial-tested advice that every young pastor’s wife needs. Her counsel comes verified by her godly character and thirty years of fruitful ministry to her husband, family, and local church.
If you are a pastor’s wife wondering how to figure out your role in the church and in women’s ministry (“take it slowly”), how to best help your husband (“Who takes care of him? Surprise answer: you do!”), how to handle friendships (“Everyone needs friends, and the minister’s wife is no exception.”) and trials in the church (“One thing a minister’s wife is going to need is thick skin.”), Nancy has written a series of brief essays that provide clarity and impart faith for your role.
This is a book I wish I had when I first married a pastor around the same time as Nancy did. And it is a book that I will be handing out to many future pastor’s wives that pass through this seminary town. I pray and joyfully expect this book to bear much fruit in many marriages, homes, and churches for the glory of the gospel and advance of his kingdom.
The Black Friday sale is happening today over at the 52home store. For every 52home calendar you buy, you get the second one 50% off. Just enter the code “calendar” at checkout. The sale ends tonight at midnight.
As Christians, our thanksgivings are not generic expressions of happiness for the simple pleasures of life. Our gratitude has one main object, from which all our blessings flow: the cross of Jesus Christ. When we lose sight of the cross, we quickly fall into complaining and fretting, even at Thanksgiving. If you need help to fix your eyes on Christ today, if you need a fresh reminder of our Savior who came to seek and save the lost, let me encourage you to listen to this sermon as you make your holiday preparations. Allow fresh gratitude for the gospel to transform your Thanksgiving Day.
The 52home store will be having its annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this weekend.
On Black Friday we’re offering a sale on the 52home calendars. For every calendar you buy, you get the second one 50% off. The sale begins at midnight on November 28th and ends at midnight on November 29th.
On Cyber Monday we are offering free shipping on all orders. That sale begins at midnight on December 1st and ends at midnight on December 2nd.
Give friends and family the gift of 52home this year!
What are the most urgent needs for Christian women today?
We believe that the greatest need for Christian women today is to be women of God’s Word. And so we began our “Timely Cautions” series back in the spring by urging all of us to not neglect our pastor’s preaching.
The pastor’s preaching tops our list because God has appointed gifted men to “teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Tit. 2:1, see also Acts 2:42, Heb. 13:7) and to deliver his Word to his church. If preachers are God’s messengers, called to bring his Word to us, we best pay close attention (J.I. Packer). We must also continually encourage and exhort one another to make it our “first great and primary business” to be in God’s Word on a daily basis (George Müller).
Which brings us, these many months later, to our second concern: that the Word of God “would not be reviled”—that we would not deny our doctrine with our lives, open a door to gospel-ridicule by our behavior, or give the enemies of Christ a reason to say evil about us, but that as Christian women, we would show forth the beauty and power of the gospel (Titus 2:5,8,10).
How can we accomplish such a daunting task? Paul tells Titus:
“Older women…are to teachwhat is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3-5).
This list of goodness, as with any list in Scripture, is not exhaustive. Discipleship of Christian women includes more than the teaching of Titus 2, but never less. Here is an explicit agenda for a home-focused curriculum to be taught by older women to younger women that we dare not neglect if we are to remain faithful to Scripture.
Paul’s instructions do not limit or restrict Christian discipleship for women, but they should shape our priorities. If our one-on-one or church-wide discipleship for women ignores or neglects passages like Titus 2—if we (intentionally or accidentally) leave the application of sound doctrine to a woman’s life and home in the back supply closet with the broken chairs and old wedding decorations—then we need to reconsider whether our ministry priorities line up with the priorities of God’s Word.
Does this mean women must not teach beyond Titus 2 or biblical womanhood? Of course not! Christian discipleship entails a variety of topics that arise from God’s Word, and I rejoice when I see God raise up godly women who are gifted to teach other women, and who are in a season of life where they can do so while remaining faithful to their God-given responsibilities in the home.
But as we shape ministry to women and define discipleship in our local churches, a healthy church, like the one Paul is describing for Titus, needs a pastor who preaches sound doctrine, and older women who teach younger women how to live according to that sound doctrine.
The pastor cannot do our part any more than we are called to do his part in leading the church. A pastor must teach sound doctrine, “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), but there are many lessons of godly womanhood that a woman needs to learn from the example and instruction of another woman. Therefore we must not marginalize or shrug off our assignment.
And what does our assignment involve? Elisabeth Elliot explains:
It is doubtful that the Apostle Paul had in mind Bible classes or seminars or books when he spoke of teaching younger women. He meant the simple things, the everyday example, the willingness to take time from one’s own concerns to pray with the anxious mother, to walk with her the way of the cross—with its tremendous demands of patience, selflessness, lovingkindness—and to show her, in the ordinariness of Monday through Saturday, how to keep a quiet heart…. Through such an example, one young woman—single or married, Christian or not—may glimpse the mystery of charity and the glory of womanhood.
To teach biblical womanhood is not shallow or frivolous. Titus 2 is not the Pinterest passage of Scripture. It is “the way of the cross.” It is a call to Christian women to help other Christian women glimpse “the mystery of charity and the glory of womanhood.”
Titus 2 calls women to a deep and profound understanding of the gospel that issues forth in a genuine and sacrificial love of family and home, a counter-cultural purity and self-control that is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a lifestyle that proclaims in a loud and joyful voice to our dying world:
[T]he grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us toredeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14).
This question—what do Christian women need most?—is personal and immediate before it is church-wide and global. What do you and I need most? What does the young woman sitting next to me in church need most?
We all need a “Titus,” a pastor to teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. We all need to delight in and meditate on God’s Word day and night (Ps. 1:2). And we all need older women to help us apply gospel-centered teaching to our daily lives—all for the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
52home Calendars are back in time for Christmas! Available now in the 52home store.
Each calendar contains 12 individual 5x7 prints of a variety of home inspired scenes or urban architecture featuring quotes to encourage your soul. The unbound pages provide endless display options: framed, pinned to a bulletin board, hung with clothes pins, displayed on an easel or attached to the fridge! And when a month is over, simply trim off the calendar portion of the print and you have a 5x5 photograph which can be framed or mounted.
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).
October 31st was a dark and stormy night here in Louisville and this resulted in a bunch of dark and blurry phone pics. The picture quality can also be blamed on a certain crazy lion that was keeping his picture-taking-mommy very busy. But here ya have it:
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).