2012 at 7:54 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Biblical Womanhood Feelings Prayer Suffering
Do you ever feel like you don’t know what to say to someone who is suffering? Are you ever tempted to avoid the person who is going through a trial? Do you worry about saying or doing the wrong thing?
In her second breakout session at the Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference, Nancy Guthrie offered some practical advice for how to serve the hurting. This is one of the most helpful talks I have ever heard on this topic and I hope every woman will listen, take notes, and seek to grow in love toward those who are suffering. Nancy offers six ways to walk with people through loss:
1. Overcome the awkwardness to engage
“Sometimes we see people struggling and we want them to come so quickly to resolution, to figure everything out. The truth is, as we minister to other women, we do want them to come to resolution, we do want them to come to some peace, figuring things out. But sometimes I think we are in a much bigger hurry than God is Himself. What a gift it is to other women to be willing to sit—not forever, but at least for a while. To just go, “Wow, this is hard isn’t it?”“
2. Make room for tears and sadness
“Don’t think tears are the problem. Tears are a gift that God gives us to help wash away the deep pain that we feel and experience from living life in the brokenness of this world. There are some things worth crying about. There are some people worth crying about.”
3. Go deeper than deliverance in prayer
10 purposes in the Bible for which God wants to use suffering:
4. Gently challenge sentimentalism and spiritualism with Scriptural truth
“If that is the fruit of the suffering in the people’s lives you minister to, that’s really good fruit: to know God as he is, not what we’ve tried to make him into.”
5. Anticipate the family pressure points.
“Grief puts a lot of pressure on a family.”
6. Help them turn the misery into ministry
“So often we think: when I get this figured out, when I feel better, I can turn toward ministering to other people. I want to say: The way we begin to feel better is to begin to minister to other people uniquely out of our loss.”
You can listen to Nancy’s message, “Learning to Walk with Each Other Through Loss” here.
2012 at 7:23 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Biblical Womanhood Feelings Motherhood Series Current Series
I once saw a Family Circus cartoon that showed three children leaning on the edge of their parents’ bed, watching them while they slept. The caption underneath was one child’s remark: “They look so sweet and peaceful when they’re asleep. You wonder how they could ever yell at us during the day.”
Do you ever wonder if this happens in your home? That your kids think of you as a mean mom? That your failures as a mother define you and determine your children’s future?
When you add the feeling (or reality) of a mothering failure to the exhaustion, the endless work, and the temptation to compare yourself to other moms, you have a perfect motherhood storm.
This happened to me countless times when I was raising my children. I would fail in my mothering—either by something I did, or something I didn’t do—and I was sure it was a sign I would ultimately fail. That was it. My kids would never “turn out.” I had ruined them forever.
I remember one time I got angry at one of my daughters. Although I had repented before God and asked my daughter’s forgiveness, I still felt terrible. I berated myself for treating my child in such a manner. I was convinced the damage was irreparable.
But my husband encouraged me: “Because of your humility in asking her to forgive you, she feels close to you now than before.” And he was right. This daughter and I were experiencing the sweet closeness that follows repentance in a relationship.
Now I’m not issuing a free pass to sin! I am not saying, “It’s okay to be unkind to your children. They’re tough. They can handle it.” Sin is always the wrong choice. It does have consequences. So by the power of the Holy Spirit, we must work tirelessly to eradicate it from our lives (Rom. 8:13). When we sin we must not make excuses, we must confess our sin to God and humbly ask our children for forgiveness.
But we must not succumb to despair or live with low-grade condemnation or guilt. This maligns the gospel and does not produce the fruit of repentance or serve our children. Rather we must return to Scripture. We must remind ourselves of the truth that God is faithful and just to forgive us from our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), that he is busy conforming us to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29), and that he works all things (even our mothering failures!), for our good and the good of our children (Rom 8:28).
(adapted from Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother)
2012 at 11:17 am | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Feelings Motherhood Young Children
My son Jude asks lots of questions. As I understand it, this is common for children who have been adopted when they are older, and I totally get it. New country. New language. New parents. I would ask a lot of questions too.
I am eager to answer Jude’s questions about his new world—as best I can anyway. Occasionally he stumps me with questions about how stuff works (“I haven’t a clue, Jude, ask your Dad!”) or like the other day when he asked me why people put up “yucky” Halloween decorations: “Honestly, Jude, that’s a great question, Son, but I have never been able to understand that myself!”
As much as we want to satisfy Jude’s curiosity about his new life, we are also trying to teach him that he can trust us, his parents, to faithfully meet his needs. So sometimes, when he asks the same question over and over again, or asks about insignificant details he’ll find out in a few minutes anyway, I’ll provide the answer my parents often gave to me: “You’ll see.”
“Mommy what’s for dinner?”
“Mommy, what store are we going to next?”
“Mommy, how many more minutes until break time?”
We have worked really hard to be consistent and predictable in our parenting; so while imperfect for sure, Jude knows by now that we will always feed him dinner, we will always come home after going out, and we will (almost) always take a break from school in the mid-morning.
But as I seek to teach Jude that he can trust us, I have begun to see, sadly, how little I sometimes trust my Savior. Jude’s incessant questioning is understandable for an eight-year-old boy nine months into a new life, but so often I ply my Heavenly Father with anxious questions, having nothing like Jude’s excuse.
“What are you doing next, Lord?”
“Where are you taking me?”
“When will this be over?”
I don’t just ask these questions once. I ask them over and over and over. And more often than not, God replies with the same answer I give Jude: “You’ll see.”
To be honest, I don’t always like that answer any more than Jude does. And yet when I grumble about God’s response, I fail to see the massive mercy behind it. “You’ll see” is a promise! A glorious promise, secured for me at the cross! I will see! Because I have been adopted into God’s family, through the atoning death of Jesus Christ on my behalf, I will one day see God.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:1-2 ESV).
I may not see everything today, but I see the Father’s love. And I have this confident and sure expectation that one day I will see Him as He is. And I will be like Him. Because of adoption, I see. And because of adoption, I will see. Oh joy!
So Jude, my Son, I pray that one day you will see the love of the Father and rejoice in His answer to all your questions: “You’ll see!”
2011 at 3:13 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Biblical Womanhood Feelings
My sister-in-law Betsy has been one of my dearest friends for going on 36 years now. She’s also one of my favorite women teachers, and it’s not only because she reminds me of my husband with her earnest style and frequent hand gestures. Betsy is one of the most encouraging women I know. She has a profound and ever growing appreciation for the grace of God and you can’t leave her presence without her looking you straight in the eye and telling you how she sees that grace at work in your life.
So it was a special treat for me to sit under Betsy’s teaching this Saturday for not one, but two sessions! She spoke to the women of Covenant Life Church about God’s perspective on our emotions. And to begin, she took us to Genesis 1 and our Creator. Please listen (here and here) and be encouraged.
2005 at 6:41 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Biblical Womanhood Feelings
Feeling overwhelmed anyone? I’ve certainly felt that way more than once this week as I’ve started homeschooling my five-year old, tried to unpack the boxes in our bedroom, and prepared to leave for an out-of-town trip.
Lisa Donovan, a wonderful lady in our church, has compiled some thoughts on what to do when we feel overwhelmed. And she appropriately posted them in the nursing mom’s room at our church—a room she has wonderfully designed to be both refreshing and encouraging to moms with newborns.
But these verses and godly counsel will help anyone who is feeling overwhelmed… with schoolwork, job responsibilities, children, or unpacked boxes. I trust it will encourage you as it has encouraged me. You can download it by clicking here.