Jun 23

Reflections on a Decade of God’s Grace

2015 at 6:59 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Thank you so much to everyone who wrote to help us celebrate our blog’s tenth anniversary. We read every entry and we were so encouraged and blessed by your kindness! Your encouragement kept us going these past ten years—whenever we thought about closing up shop, we would hear from one of you and decide to keep going a little longer. We’ll keep going a little longer, still.

We share the ten winners with you below, not to draw attention to ourselves, but in hopes they will prompt you to reflect on God’s faithfulness in your life these past ten years. Our gracious Savior is with us, near and present to help all of us persevere in this journey of the Christian life. He is the one who has been working in all of us this past decade, “to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13), and he is the one who will keep each of us to the end. Whatever situation you find yourself in today, we pray you are encouraged that through Jesus Christ God is with you and he is for you.

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thess. 5:23-24

Your friends,

the girltalkers

If I had to pick THE most encouraging thing from your blog, it would be The 5 O’Clock Club, hands-down. Many a morning, my alarm goes off, or the dear Holy Spirit gently awakens me early, but my heart isn’t in it, and some mornings I am near tears at the hard work & lonely season it is of being a young mama, home with three small people to care for. When I remember to, I look up your Facebook club page before I even get out of bed, and it truly “spurs me on toward love and good deeds.” I hit “like”, am so encouraged I’m not alone, shut my phone screen back off, and get out of bed and get going. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Just after my first child was born, at an early morning feeding session, I ran across “girltalk”. That was almost ten years ago. Since then, your blog has “come along” through eight moves in three countries, more kids, a church plant, deaths in the family—everything that happens in ten years of life. Girltalk has consistently been a good challenge and encouragement through so many stages: I’m so thankful for your biblical wisdom. Even when I don’t agree with what you’re saying (rare!), it’s so graciously put that I find myself rethinking things.

But it’s your gracious silence that spoke most loudly to me. I come from a family of pastors, and we have seen the dark side of the ministry: death threats, slander, lies, betrayals, even a couple lawyers. You know the drill! When I heard about the beginning of the issues at your church, I wondered if and how that would come through on girltalk. The humble silence on those issues and individuals, the quietness when you couldn’t or didn’t blog for a while, the lack of self-(or husband-)defense was very Christ-like. It would have been so easy for you to use the blog as a platform, but it seemed as though you were simply waiting on the Lord. That is so difficult to do in a painful and public situation, and I’m very thankful that God gave you the strength to do it. Your example spoke volumes to me, and still does. When I think back over everything I’ve gleaned from a decade of girltalk, that’s what stands out most clearly as a testimony of godliness. Thank you!


I can’t believe it has been ten years since you ladies started the girltalk blog! I remember reading the very first posts! I was just a sixteen year old high school student then, but I continue to read your posts now as a wife and mom of three young children.

I have especially found the 52Home series to be of encouragement to me. With so many perfect pictures swirling around the web of what my home and life should look like, it is refreshing to see a realistic glimpse of what life with little children looks like and it challenges me to spend more time focusing on the condition of their little hearts than on the condition of the kitchen floor. Thank you and congratulations!


I began reading girltalk in 2009 when I was in my second year of marriage. I had read Feminine Appeal from my sister-in-law and it had changed my life. I came from a broken family and had no idea what God wanted in a godly marriage. Something told me that the “traditional” view of marriage was right, but it wasn’t until reading your book and blog {as well as some other books by Elisabeth Elliot and Mary Kassian} that my soul just “got it”. I have been reading ever since. The biggest impact you have had on my life is seeing what you preach in action. Through thick and thin, marriage and motherhood are your number one ministry and you pursue them for the glory of God. It has always encouraged me seeing you in your “real” but that you seek to maintain truth in your weakness {instead of wallowing in self-pity}. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are leaving a beautiful and Gospel-centered legacy for your readers world over, and more importantly, to your children. Bless you!


Your blog is such a valuable resource of Biblical encouragement to women of all ages. As an older women who has the blessing of attempting to live out the Titus 2 mandate with younger women, your blog truly is the only one that I regularly recommend. Young women need Biblical truth to light their way and your blog posts span such a broad range of various topics shining truth and grace. I am currently meeting with a young woman struggling with infertility, she’s had three miscarriages. Your recent post on the topic spoke to her heart in ways I could never do, having never walked through that trial. My single adult daughter often quotes or reposts girltalk on Facebook. Young moms I know often do the same. Sometimes I pass particular posts on to my daughter in laws and I’ve also had gals I mentor say, girltalk said the same thing we were discussing. All to say, though we’ve never met, I feel like we are ministry partners. Thank you for your work of ministry to some many women, including me, even through your own difficult seasons. Heb.6:10


Thank you so much for taking your time to invest in so many of our lives over the last ten years! You won’t know until eternity how much you’ve encouraged and challenged me and many other women to be more Christlike in our lives as mothers, wives, and Christian women. I think of the words of the hymn “May the Mind of Christ My Savior” as I think of how the beauty of the Lord has rested upon you, and how often I forget the channel because I’m seeing Him.

Your blog has been my faithful companion through the trials and triumphs of life. I have cried over some of your posts. I’ve been challenged at others. My heart has been pointed to my only Satisfaction, my only Savior, Jesus, over and over again through reading your words of hope and courage found in Scripture.

Of all the posts you’ve written, my mind went immediately to Yo-yo quilts, Hidden pictures, and Fleas as the one that has stuck with me the most. I actually copied parts of it into a Word document, printed it out, and pasted it above my kitchen windowsill to read over while I wash dishes. I first read it at a time when I was struggling deeply with an illness, feeling like a failure in homeschooling and mothering my four children, and fighting just to keep up strength and joy to meet all the other demands of life. I told my husband I felt like I just wanted to run away. But the thoughts, Scriptures and quotes you shared brought me back to Gospel reality. God didn’t leave me in this mess! He’s here in it with me, and His presence in my kitchen and laundry room, at my school table, and on my sickbed are all precious gifts to me. You helped me to see afresh that “every disquieting and delightful moment has been fitted by God for His purpose.” I actually have your Spurgeon quote (“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you . . .) as my screen saver because it spoke to me so much. My prayer now is to “taste the sweetness of ordinary days” because of the beauty of my God in them. I could go on, but I will close now, just saying Thank You! Words are not sufficient. As you have pointed and displayed Christ, I strive to follow Him through your words of example.


I was just telling my husband as I saw your “Ten Years of GirlTalk” subject that I had been reading the whole ten years, I believe. I remember reading as a young, single student teacher, living at my aunt’s house or during my first teaching job, living at my friend’s house. My parents (new missionaries) and sisters were overseas. I was growing after several rich summers of deep discipleship in the Word, growing after joining a church where the gospel was faithfully lived out and preached. Enter girltalk, where I started growing in chewing on the application of some of this doctrine/teaching—hospitality, submission, biblical womanhood, preaching the gospel to yourself, etc. One post that especially stands out in my memory is about how we don’t need to fear the future because there is no grace for our imaginations, but when trials come, there is grace indeed!

Ten years later, I have more memories of reading your blog! Reading while working my husband through seminary, reading with a newborn nearby, reading on a cell phone while nursing yet another newborn and discussing it with friends or recommending articles to our church’s women’s ministry. Now, as a mom of three beautiful, busy boys, I am more than ever so thankful for your dear family and the way you have shared your lives and grace-filled theology/resources with us. I tell people, “They’ve never posted anything I disagree with… I don’t read blogs much anymore, but I still read this one!” My husband is in ministry as a pastoral assistant and I love doing life with our local church. And I truly just want to thank you gals for your ministry to my life. It has been huge and immeasurable. You have been mentors in my life and pointed me to mentors with your many amazing quotes. I thank my God for you! Wish I could have some Greek salad or go on a shopping adventure with the Mahaneys. Press on, ladies! And don’t ever delete the archives - they are a treasure trove!


I can’t recall how I first found girltalk—I think after working through the Girl Talk book with my oldest daughter—but since then have been a faithful subscriber, as is my daughter. Your words are timely, sincere, and real life stuff! I have eight kids in various ages and stages, and find that your posts and your wisdom always speaking to some stage I am in. I most admire that you tackle tough topics with humility and grace, but never gloss over them or pretend they aren’t issues—things such as self-control, whining, coveting, comparing, gossip, daily Bible time, etc. You have a heart for truly growing in godliness and taking all things captive to Him and His word, and that shows in how you instruct others in the same ways you are learning. And the multi-generational input with mother and daughters is priceless—wonderful to see your relationship with each other and the generational fruitfulness of a relationship with the Lord. Thank you!


I am writing in response to your upcoming ten year anniversary for the blog. First I must say a huge THANK YOU for faithfully out pouring Christ-centered, gospel-centered articles week after week after week for these past ten years. I can’t remember exactly how I came across your blog initially but I have been a faithful reader for quite some time now. I was in college when I first started reading, just coming out of a sinful relationship. Even though I had a Christian upbringing, I was in desperate need of God’s truths to penetrate my heart and bring me back to Him. In His goodness He had me in a strong gospel centered church, He brought me a wonderful older woman to mentor me for several years, and He used godly writers like you all to teach me deeper truths from His word. I have been influenced in countless ways by your writings!!! You have taught me much about true biblical womanhood!! And now as a wife and mother I continue to be blessed!

As for one particular article that really minister to me I would have to say it was the two part series you did on How Do You Handle Public Tantrums? You posted this article at a time when my first born son was just beginning to express his will. While my husband and I had read many excellent parenting books we did find it hard to get practical advice on the ‘how to’ in dealing with tantrums or being upset when in public. These two articles were exactly what I needed! Not only did they remind me how humbling being a parent is and that our hearts should truly be in the best interest for our children and not our pride, the articles also gave some great practical steps in how to help our children in these situations. I loved your point about being aware as a mother when we need to do some extra training at home, when we need to commit to being home so we can work on a particular area that we see our child struggling with. And also remembering that we must be faithful to train at home so that when out in public our children are use to obeying authority and are familiar with our expectations for obedience. These seem like simple truths but I can remember when I first read the articles I really did feel like God had sovereignty brought your ladies’ insight into my life at a time when I was needing it! I remember after reading both articles I quickly printed off a copy for myself and tucked them away because I knew I’d definitely be going back to them. So once again ladies I just want to say thank you for continually ministering to me (and many other ladies!!) by faithfully proclaiming His truths!


I was an unmarried pregnant nineteen year old girl about to deliver my baby when I moved in with a Christian family. After repenting of my sin and yet feeling new on this journey of faith-filled walking with Christ, I was young in my thinking. I moved in to the room that I was to live in and on my computer provided for me by my loving church family, the family I was living with had set your blog as my home screen. Through those first nine months of being a mother in a difficult season, your words encouraged, challenged, and equipped me! Congratulations on your ten years! May God bless your blog more and more!

Jun 17

Remembering Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)

2015 at 9:49 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood

Elisabeth Elliot was always there for me. She was there for me as a young girl when my mom read Through Gates of Splendor to our family, stirring my young heart with a passion to live for Christ.

She was there for me as a new wife and mother as I listened to oodles of her taped messages, read her books, and poured over her newsletter. While my mother provided a living example of godliness, Elisabeth’s teaching was the biblical content that shaped my life.

She was there for me when I raised teenage daughters. When my oldest showed hints of feminist thinking in her conversation, I took all three of them through Let Me Be a Woman. Each one was captured by the biblical vision of godly womanhood Elisabeth set forth for her own daughter.

She was there for me as a pastor’s wife. She shaped my thinking about biblical womanhood and was the inspiration for the WOTT’s (Women of Titus Two) ministry in our church.

And then, one day, she was there for me in person, speaking at a retreat for the women in our church.

She’s been there for me as I’ve struggled to get through the day: “Do the next thing.”

She’s been there for me as I’ve struggled with fear: “There is no grace for your imagination.”

She’s been there for me in the deepest sufferings, reminding me that there, and only there will I learn the deepest lessons about God.

So on Monday morning when my oldest daughter sent me the text:

Elisabeth Elliot just passed away

I sat down and cried.

I am grateful that I still have all her books, past issues of her newsletters, my handwritten notes from her messages of long ago, but I am sad that she is no longer here.

She is there, in glory. She has fought the good fight. She has run her race with perseverance. She has received her Well done.”

She is there for me now as part of that great cloud of witnesses (Heb 12), inspiring me to finish my race with courage and joy. May God give me grace to follow her example to the end.

Jun 11

Ten Years of GirlTalk

2015 at 5:58 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre

Ten years ago on June 20 we started this little blog. We thought maybe we would try it for a few months and stop when we felt like it. We didn’t expect to be around ten years later. But, by the grace of God, we’re still here.

We were surprised you came to read our words and we are still surprised. And grateful.

To mark our tenth anniversary we want to bless ten women with a small, hand painted sign from 52home. If you have read a post on the girltalk blog some time in the last ten years that provided you with timely encouragement, send us a few lines to tell us about it. Deadline is Wednesday, June 17. We will choose ten winners to say thank you.

Our thanks goes to all of you. Whether you found our blog this year or you remember when our big kids were toddlers, we are grateful to God for your encouragement and love for Jesus Christ our Savior.

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers.” 1 Thess. 1:2

Jun 8

CJ Mahaney’s Fifteen Books for Father’s Day

2015 at 9:57 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Reading

If your dad doesn’t have one or more of these books, you know what to do…

Dead Wake

by Erik Larson

The Wright Brothers

by David McCullough

Flags of our Fathers

by James Bradley

River of Doubt

by Candice Millard

Hunting Eichmann

by Neal Bascomb

Blood and Thunder

by Hampton Sides

Undaunted Courage

by Stephen Ambrose

The Boys in the Boat

by Daniel James Brown

The Boys of Summer

by Roger Kahn

Into the Silence

by Wade Davis

The Greatest Game Ever Played

by Mark Frost

The Secret Game

by Scott Ellsworth

The Dangerous Book for Boys

by Hal Iggulden

Storm Kings

by Lee Sandlin

The Secret of Golf

by Joe Posnanski

Jun 3

A Testimony: Infertility, Miscarriage, and Motherhood

2015 at 7:09 am   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Motherhood

Our dear friend, Lauren, recently shared this testimony at Grace Church and we thought it would be a great encouragement to many of you who are experiencing “trials of various kinds” (Ja. 1:2).

After over 2 years of trying to conceive, I was still motherless and crying out to God in the midst of the heartache of wanting a family but not knowing if He would ever make it happen. I felt like Hannah in the Bible, who desperately wanted a child but could not conceive. The Scriptures say that Hannah “was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.”

Although I was happy for my friends who got pregnant easily, I struggled with hopelessness and loneliness each time I saw another pregnancy announcement. When I saw happy moms with their babies, it felt like a small stab in my heart. I wrestled with God over prayers that seemed to go unanswered. I was tempted to feel like God had forgotten me. I was humbled at my inability to make everything right. I struggled to believe that God was still good when my circumstances said otherwise. I had nowhere else to turn except to his Word where He reminded me of who He is.

Up until this point in my life, I hadn’t experienced much hardship or suffering. God used my inability to become pregnant to really humble me and show me his perfect sovereignty and wisdom. I thank God that he blesses us when we hide his Word in our hearts so that when trials come, we are not left to buoy out at sea alone. We have his Word as a strong and sure anchor for our soul. Charles Spurgeon says, “When you can’t trace God’s hand, you must trust in God’s heart.” I found that God’s heart for me, in his Word, was one of tender, compassionate love. He deals gently with those who are suffering and like Isaiah 42:3 says, “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.”

Scripture like Psalm 145 nourished my soul:

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made…. The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.”

When we began the process of adoption, I actually became pregnant a few months later! We were shocked and over the moon excited. But only a few weeks later, God called that baby home. I was faced with yet another opportunity to reaffirm that my foundation was on the one and only solid Rock, and that in His precious sovereignty, He knew what was best and good.

Lamentations 3 was a lifeline:

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth…. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart.”

Charles Spurgeon also says, “Delayed answers to prayer are not only trials of faith; they also give us opportunities to honor God through our steadfast confidence in Him even when facing the apparent denial of our request.” When facing the apparent denial of my request, God gave me the opportunity to honor him by trusting His Word. There were many times when friends and family would send me Scripture or excerpts from books that were exactly what I needed to hear to remind me of God’s sweet promises. God utilized the body of Christ, his church, to remind me he was there for me and knew me intimately and would never forsake me.

Looking back, I wouldn’t change that season for anything because He taught me so much and I love Him and trust Him more now. And, because God is so kind, He not only satisfied me with Himself, He gave me the desire of my heart to be a mother. It wasn’t the way we planned it when we got married almost 9 years ago, but it is more perfect than we could have planned! As I look into the faces of my three beautiful children, and at the sonogram picture of our glory baby, I can’t help but thank God for being so much wiser than me and answering my prayers in His perfect timing in blessing me with all four of their precious lives. I echo Mary’s song of praise: “He who is mighty has done great things for me!” (Luke 1:49) And for those of you who might be in the place I was 4 years ago in wanting a child, or maybe you are in the middle of another perplexing and painful trial, may my story and the trustworthy words of Psalm 68:2 encourage you: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

I’ll end with yet one more quote from my hero, Charles Spurgeon:

“Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told you that the night would never end in day?.... Who told you that the winter of your discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice and hail to deeper snow and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Don’t you know that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Be full of hope! Hope forever! For God does not fail you. Do you know that God loves you in the midst of all this?.... You will yet, midst the splendors of eternity, forget the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led you through them and works your lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Cause the desert to ring with your exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then forever with the Lord, your bliss shall never wane.”