Rejoice Always

Rejoice Always -abidingwoman.com

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7 NASB

Rejoice in the Lord

“Rejoice in the Lord always”, this is one of those commands in Scripture that can often leave us feeling a bit conflicted. We all have times that we definitely do not feel like rejoicing, and yet we are called to rejoice always. How do you rejoice when the baby kept you up all night, you wake hazily to a sink full of dishes and energetic children bursting at the seems ready to start the day? How do you rejoice when your best friend betrays you? How do you rejoice when someone you love deeply dies? How do you rejoice when you’ve been pouring your heart and soul into homemaking and homeschooling ,and then someone criticizes your efforts and says they aren’t good enough or points out all your failures? How do you rejoice when you are sick or in pain? How do you rejoice when your child is suffering?

There are many circumstances in life that we will not at all feel like rejoicing in, but the the Scripture does not say rejoice in your circumstances; instead it calls us to rejoice “in the Lord” and “always” because the Lord is always something to be rejoicing in! The goodness, majesty, and love of the Lord are constant and never-ending. There are good moments in life, but they end. There are moments when we encounter majesty in creation, music, art, or photography, but those moments end as well. There are moments when our marriage, motherhood, and friendships are flourishing and filled with love, but even those things are not constant either. Sin and death taint this world we are living in, but we can rejoice in Jesus Christ, the one who conquered sin and death and all the effects that flow from them. Perhaps in those deepest moments of longing and pain, that is where we can rejoice in Him the most; when the parts of life that bring us joy are stripped away and we find that He is the sweetest, purest, never-ending source of joy.

Rejoice Always -abidingwoman.com

A Gentle Spirit

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. (vs 5) In the ESV it says “reasonableness”. I think the two words in both translations can give us a good idea of what is meant here. I have little girls, 5 of them, and I’m a girl so maybe I’ve seen this in myself a time or two…. (ahem); it is really evident when emotions are ruling the day. When you see it in yourself or another, it is absolutely undeniable…. the person is anything but gentle or reasonable. They tend to be fretful, harsh, negative, whiny, overly sensitive. But the woman whose heart is rejoicing in Christ is not looking to her circumstances for peace and joy. She has a certain calmness of spirit about her. She is not panicked or complaining, she isn’t up late fretting over what may have happened or what might happen in the future. She’s resting in Christ and knowing that no matter what life sends her way Jesus will be hers to cherish and enjoy from now until eternity, and that is more than enough. She takes great comfort in knowing that her trials and challenges are only for her good and His glory, they were given by the sovereign hands of a loving Father. And this heart posture is so clear to all who come in contact with her: the ones who see her inside the four walls of her home and the ones who only know her in passing. There is a sweet confidence that is evident in her…. not a confidence that she has in herself, but a confidence that she has in the Lord who is in her and who is greater than the trials and evil in the world.

Be Anxious for Nothing

Be anxious for nothing. (vs 6a) Be anxious for nothing, is that a tall order or what?! How many of you worry about things? This is a battle I personally have to fight. I can allow myself to become worried about my children, or about what others think of me, or about my health, or about how I’m going to be able to “do everything I need to do”.  And that is not okay. I have to repent of those things and focus my heart back on the Lord and what is true. Our anxiousness is truly a sin that we must repent of! I know it may at times seem like something we can’t help, but that is a lie. We can take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, we have the Holy Spirit in is and we have the Word of God that says we can walk in victory. This anxiousness is actually a bigger problem than we might even see on the surface, it says something…. it says, “I don’t trust you God! I don’t trust your wisdom, I don’t trust your sovereignty, and I don’t trust your power.” This is why it is so important for us to repent of. I have many times found myself saying, “Lord, please forgive me for not trusting in Your power and plan in this situation”, and I’m so thankful that the we Jesus is our advocate with the Father when we do sin, He is so gracious to forgive us and restore us. And He will also give us victory! He will strengthen our faith when we ask Him too. Truly anxiousness is a lack of faith. We may believe that His wisdom, sovereignty, and power are trustworthy with our lips and minds; but our actions and responses say more about what we believe than our ability to affirm a truth.

Compared with our actual thoughts our credal statements are of little consequence. -A.W. Tozer

Rejoice Always -abidingwoman.com

Prayer

So what can we do when we are feeling anxious, scared, or worried? In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (vs 6b)  “In everything” tells us that God cares about all parts of our lives, big and small! There is no request that is unimportant to Him and there is nothing that is impossible for Him! He really wants for us to bring our burdens and cares to Him! This is such a comfort and joy in and of itself, that our Lord as majestic and powerful as He is would care for us on such individual levels.

And we can’t miss this, as we present our prayers and supplications to Him, there is a key component within our requests which is thanksgiving! We should be giving thanks to Him for the things He has already done, for the current trial which is shaping us to be more like Him, and for the wonderful work that we know and expect that He may do in response to our calling upon Him.

A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint… It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian. -C. H. Spurgeon

Prayer is so important. Prayer changes everything! We know that God is sovereign, but we can’t be so fixated on God’s sovereignty that we neglect His command for us to bring all things to Him in prayer! Does He know the outcome? Yes. Does He know our need before it ever leaves our lips in prayer to Him? Yes. Did the Holy Spirit through Paul say ‘in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God’? why yes, He did. God does not contradict Himself! If He said pray, then we better pray, don’t you think? I sometimes think about how Jesus knowing full well that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead for His glory wept. He was right in the moment, mourning with those who mourned. He is with us in our moments of need as a comforter and friend. Does He have a plan? Absolutely. But is He a present help in time of need? Absolutely. Prayer is so key to overcoming anxiety and to rejoicing always. There is a hymn that I absolutely love, “Dear Refuge of my Weary Soul” ,if you have never heard it, then I highly encourage giving it a listen, especially if you are walking through a difficult trial. In this song Anne Steele writes such a beautiful truth in response to the Lord’s sovereignty and pouring out our hearts before Him:

“Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner’s prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there.”

He attends the mourner’s prayer, that is so sweet to me! This just draws my heart to pray all the more.

Rejoice Always - abidingwoman.com

The Peace of God

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.(vs 7) We have an inner peace and tranquility that is based on unwavering confidence that God is able and willing to do what is best for His children. This peace will surpass understanding, it will transcend what our human minds can comprehend. This peace will guard our hearts and minds from fear and anxiety! We have Christ and He is our peace, what more could anyone ask for or need than this great treasure that we have in Him! I find for myself that if I will take my eyes off of myself and my little world around me and lift them up to Jesus, offer praises of adoration to Him, look in the Scripture to see who His Word says He is and then pray to Him and praise Him for it, and think on it all through the day (even just one verse or attribute!) it brings a peace surpasses human logic. We will still walk through difficult times filled with tears and prayers of supplication, but we will have this peace that keeps our hearts steady even in the valleys, trenches, and steep paths of life.

He that hath Christ, being a pauper, hath all things; and he that hath not Christ, possessing a thousand worlds, possesses nothing for real happiness and joy. -C.H. Spurgeon

Hope you have a great week ladies!

In Christ,

S

 

Enjoy this post? Pin the photo below to remember and share with friends. Thanks!

Rejoicing in the midst of trials or even just in the daily trenches of motherhood can be hard. Come have your heart encouraged to rejoice always in the Lord.

for your further pursuit

  • This book, “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” is excellent and is free at Chapel Library. , also in that link is a booklet with a collection of writings from men such as Jonathan Edwards, RC Ryle, AW Pink, and others on the topic of contentment. At Chapel Library you can get a copy sent in the mail or get an ebook copy right away… both are free! Such a cool ministry in general so definitely check them out if you haven’t ever before.
  • This book by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth (affiliate link)
  • This sermon by Albert Martin: “Make Me to Hear Joy and Gladness: That My Broken Bones May Rejoice” 

Part of a Beautiful Picture : Christ and the Church

 

Part of a Beautiful Picture: Christ and the Church

These things have been on my mind and heart, and I as a married woman I believe it’s such a helpful thing to meditate on as I walk out my role as a wife. I am excited to share a few of the things the Lord has taught my heart through His Word in regards to this subject.

Let’s look at Ephesians 5 together:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

 

I put the parts of this Scripture that directly speak to wives and their part in this beautiful picture in bold so they would stand out to us.

Wives, we are to be subject to our husbands, submitting to them as unto the Lord (vs 22), why because we are part of a bigger picture…. a picture of what the Church looks like. Unfortunately in our American culture, many marriages and many churches don’t look like this, so it can be difficult for people to wrap their minds around. Many people call themselves Christians, but do not submit themselves to the Lord Jesus with their lives. Unfortunately for these people they have bought into a lie, they think that saving faith is merely giving a mental acknowledgement to the truth of Jesus’s death on the cross and being raised from the dead, followed by simply confessing it with their mouths whether or not the truths or words impact their lives. The truth is in Scripture we see other descriptions of a true believer that don’t line up with this idea. Take this one for example:

Romans 6: 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

 

Being under grace means that we no longer let sin reign in us; we are now instruments of righteousness.

The Picture: Christ and the Church

It is the same in many marriages today, people don’t see the value in serving their husbands and submitting to them as unto the Lord. Now truly, you are in a marriage commitment whether you submit or not (the analogy does break down at this point), but try to follow me here on the topic of this bigger picture.

We are a part of a picture that we see here in Ephesians represents Christ and His Bride- the Church. For this reason our submission is very important so that we can be an accurate representation of this beautiful picture.

The S word

“Did she just say submit?” To some women this may be almost repulsive. Our culture has taught us to fight for our rights to be equal with our husbands, and to have equal say in everything….. or perhaps even fight to run the show. Many television shows today portray the father is the dumbo who doesn’t know anything and messes up everything; and mom is portrayed as the completely competent hero. That is a message that is being sent in almost every teen Disney or family sitcom out there. It’s sad.

Truth is, that is a total mockery of what Christian marriage is designed to represent. As the Church, we are not equal in authority with the Lord Jesus, He is our master! He does love us, He has called us friend, and He even gave up His life for us and bore the wrath that was meant for us because of our sins, but He is still our Lord. If we are in Christ, we do not run our own show, we are not in charge, we don’t even have equal say in what we are going to do…. we are to submit to His Word and commands.

Submission in marriage is a part of God’s perfect ordained order, and it has a greater purpose because of this profound mystery of us imperfect people being able to reflect the beauty of Christ and His Church.

Many women fear this submission thing…. they are afraid of becoming “door-mats”, or being taken advantage of. The believe that their husbands will make a bad decision that will affect them negatively, but this is where we have to trust that God’s wisdom is much wiser than our wisdom. This would not be in His Word if it were not true. We need to trust the Lord in this! And we can not do this without His Spirit indwelling us!

I believe that this looks a little different from marriage to marriage, some husbands desire more input from their wives, and others desire more respect without many questions being raised against what they are leading them to do. Sometimes this varies from situation to situation and we need to learn our husbands and learn to be discerning in each of situation. We should honor our husbands by communicating and asking them how and when they want our input and help in decision making. Within my own marriage there are many decisions that we make together and my husband desires my input and wants my help with discerning what we should do, and there are other instances that he makes a decision for us and even if it may not have been the decision I would’ve made, I agree and commit to it with him with my whole heart. This is a picture of how submission works in our marriage. I have to admit, this isn’t always easy. But the Lord continues to work in me and make my heart more submissive and less self-seeking. We must be honest with ourselves, and repent to the Lord and apologize to our husbands when we push our own will against theirs. We are not perfect, neither are our husbands; thankfully we can confess our sin to the Lord and He will forgive us. The more we walk in the Spirit, the easier submission becomes. We must be abiding in Christ in order to have the humility it takes to serve our husbands and think of them more highly than ourselves. We all know this truth, and it applies to this aspect of marriage as well: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

And we really can!  And when we are walking in this way, what a beautiful part of a picture we get to represent! To be a part of that glorious picture of Christ and the Church is a great honor!

I hope you continue to be encouraged by this, I know that this is not often talked about in certain churches, and for many of you this really upsets you because of the things you have been taught by our culture, and maybe even things you have been falsely taught from churches. Many pastors tip-toe around these Scriptures and change the meanings of them to fit with the ideas of the culture. I pray that you will be receptive to God’s truth. If this is not something you’ve ever heard before, or even if this is something that upsets or offends you, I beg you to seek the Lord in prayer and search the Scriptures for yourself to see what they say on this subject. The above verses are not the only ones that you will find if you look, there are many others.

Blessings to all of you as you serve your husbands this week!

For your further pursuit:

America Needs Missionaries

america needs missionaries

When I first submitted my life to the Lord Jesus as a 19 year old, one of the first major things I began to long for was missions. It tugged at my heart strings like I can’t even describe! My local church that I plugged into would show presentations on the projectors of places in need: the red light district, cultures where people with hate-filled faces were persecuting Christians and hostile to the Gospel, they showed neglected and abandoned children in orphanages and on street corners left for dead….. I would just weep and hope that some-how some-way I could one day go there and help them. They would talk about corrupt governments who passed corrupt laws. There were pagan parades and festivals celebrating other gods and religions and magic arts. It was almost unbelievable to know this was happening, and I wanted to be a light in that darkness so very badly! I would hear stories of women like Amy Carmichael and I wanted to join in with her cause for justice and the Gospel. Could I go into the temples and smuggle out little girls to save their lives, adopt them, and care for them, and teach them about God? I wanted to!!!

But that felt so distant and impossible for me. I was a college kid with no passport, very little money, and I only knew English. I felt defeated, and the idea of serving the Lord in these big ways seemed at the very least to be way off in the future of adulthood and at worst completely impossible.

I think many young Christians can relate. The desire for missions is wonderful and is right! Many will go, and that is amazing! But one thing that was not shown to me or taught to me that I wish had been is that if we will open our eyes and look at our own culture through the lens of Scripture then we will see that America is desperate for Christian missionaries! Could it be that I was called to serve as a missionary right here?

A very Real Need

In many ways our culture is much like the ones on the projector screens, it’s just that many of us don’t see it because it’s our culture and it seems so “normal” to us for things to be this way.  But in reality:

The red light district of my city is downtown in a line of dance clubs and bars where young men and women are slaves to alcohol and lust; giving their drunken and drugged-up bodies away for another’s pleasure; and this only ends in pain, hurt, tears, unwanted pregnancies that often end in murder,and diseases, and a cycle that seems impossible to get out of. Or in this country in general: just look at the porn industry and how it sucks young women in and turns them to sex slaves. It is violent and awful for them, it is not a glamorous life as some may suppose it to be. Just read some accounts of porn stars and about how difficult it is for them to get out of. Not to mention the enslavement that it is to men and their hearts and the ruin it brings to people, family, and marriages. We have a red light district right here. It is just as heartbreaking here as it is anywhere.

The hate-filled faces who persecute Christians and are hostile to the Gospel are quite easy to find. Just begin to share the truth or the Gospel with a lost person, and you will quickly see the hate and violent heart towards the Gospel. It broke my heart that my children were yelled at recently by some women when they attempted to give them a Gospel tract down town. The ladies read it, yelled at my children, and told them to stop handing those out and to throw them in the trash. And this was to children! My husband has been spit at, cursed at, mocked, and more for sharing the Gospel (in a right way, in a love filled way) on the street corners in this country. This is real. Many many people in America absolutely hate Christians and hate the Gospel. And they will not hesitate to persecute someone ,young or old, trying to share the truth. It’s heartbreaking.

The neglected and abandoned children are everywhere: we have NICUs filled with drug addicted babies carried by mothers who can not or will not keep and care for them in the way these sweet little ones need. We have foster children upon foster children who need homes, who need Christians who can care for them and share the Gospel with them. And many more children in homes being neglected, abused, and mistreated going under the radar. So many children in this country would love to have a safe home with moms and dads who didn’t scream, yell, fight, do drugs, party, and who could keep the lights and water on, or buy them a pair of shoes when they needed it. There is real need here.

The children on street corners left for dead or sold into slavery in other countries are reminiscent of how they are being legally killed in “clinics”  in our country and having their body parts sold for profit. At least on the street corner they have some hope for life, that a person would take pity on them and take them to care for them. Here in our country babies are treated like someone’s personal property that they can discard and others can sell their tiny little bodies. It’s truly sad.

The corrupt government who passes corrupt laws is very easy to see if we just turn on the news and listen to the latest laws that are being passed. We see our government celebrating and rejoicing over what God has called evil in His Word. The government is also desperately trying to teach and instill in the people of this country (especially children) that their definition of “right” and “love” is the one that should prevail over God’s definition of right and love.

The pagan parades and festivals celebrating other gods and religions and magic arts are celebrated year-round in many festivities we call “holidays” that are in direct opposition to Biblical ideas and truth. And perhaps this point steps on some toes, but the problem is that these have seeped into the Christian community, but if we’re really honest about the roots and purpose of these celebrations we will see that many holiday traditions are rooted in magic arts and false religions and are not a way God has prescribed for Himself to be worshiped in the Bible. Christians from other countries would probably be able to identify that very clearly, but to many who have lived here since birth it’s the way it’s always been, we become accustomed to it, and it just seems so common, but I believe it’s a major blind-spot that deceives many into doing what is dishonorable in the sight of the Lord, and I believe Satan revels in this great deception.

a lesson learned from a short term mission trip:

When I was in college, I was able to go on a short term mission trip to Prague, Czech Republic. While there we did various activities such as: prayer walking the city praying for the needs and the lost, doing one-on-one evangelism on the local college campus,  handing out Gospel tracts, working with students who were involved in on-campus Christian ministries who had believed the Gospel, serving the local church in that area, volunteering to help at a local Christian drug rehab facility. It was a great week and a wonderful experience that I will never forget, in fact I got engaged to my husband on this trip so it had even more special significance to me. I came home and immediately felt the need to journal and process through it. The question that I kept repeatedly asking myself is “why don’t we do these things here?” Granted, it’s easier when you aren’t trying to balance a job, school, and mission work; but then again didn’t many missionaries work jobs? For some missionaries their job was the way in which they were allowed into the country in the first place and for other missionaries working a job was a way to engage the culture and be a light to the lost there. So it couldn’t be impossible to have a job and be a missionary, that must have just been my own poor excuse. After pondering this more and more, I realized I was very equipped to be a missionary right here, and that an American would truly make a great American missionary. Not that I was ruling out eventually going to other nations one day (and I still might), but for now I can and should serve right here.

Americans make great American Missionaries!

I am in no way trying to discourage anyone from leaving our country to serve in another, but what I do hope is to encourage others to be missional and intentional with your life right here and right now. Think about it: we don’t need a passport or money to fly across the ocean, we don’t need to raise support or be funded by other Christians (unless we feel called to some type of full time ministry), we know this culture in and out and do not need to be trained in understanding it, we also already know the language and do not need to learn a new one…… Our biggest challenges as American missionaries will likely be keeping our minds from the distraction of the “American dream” and not falling for the lies our American culture has been teaching us our entire lives.

I believe we would be astounded to see the results that would take place if American Christians lived like American missionaries. Set apart from the culture by their lifestyle, living as if they had been sent to this country by God to do His work. Praying for lost souls as they walked and drove through their cities, telling the people they come in contact with at work and grocery stores the glorious news of the Gospel, ministering to and serving within the local church, going into these dark places and being a light for the Lord.

I have some full-time evangelist friends that I love to follow on facebook who daily witness at abortion clinics and plead with women to choose life and to believe the Gospel. Every few weeks they will have pictures with women who have returned with their sweet babies in their arms that they chose not to kill and with testimonies of how these women believed the truth of God’s Word when they heard it that day at the abortion clinic, and now they are learning what it looks like to serve the Lord and to be mothers to their babies…… those Christians working outside those clinics are the Amy Carmichaels of America. It is truly beautiful and inspiring to me!

It’s always very exciting to send a Christian family or individual off into another country and culture that desperately needs the Gospel; to trust the Lord to do a mighty work with them, but let us not underestimate the mighty work He can and will do with us in this dark culture if we are willing to live on mission. Jesus came to this world on mission, in His home town and surrounding cities and towns, let us follow His lead and be on mission right here and anywhere else that He chooses to place us.

 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. -Luke 19:10

The Fear of the Lord

proverbs 1

I’ve been studying through Proverbs lately, and I wanted to share a bit of what has enouraged me from it. Something that is so striking is this continuous heralding of “the fear of the Lord”. But I had to stop and ponder these words more deeply. What is it to feafr the Lord?

1 To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—

 

 Here we have such a beautiful invitation! The simple and the young alike can learn this wisdom. We who were once all foolish can learn to live and walk in wise ways of righteousness, justice, equity, prudence, and discretion. These aren’t words our culture uses very often, but just pause for a moment and think about the meaning of each (if you don’t know, look them up by the links above.) The Proverbs are inviting us into these beautiful amazing characteristics as a way of life.  The question is will we listen? Will we incline our ears to receive such instruction that God is offering?

From the very beginning the foundation is laid…. this wisdom begins in the heart, not the mind. All the sayings and teachings in the world will go in one ear and out the other if not for this primary foundation:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. -vs 7

and we will see it again in Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

So the question quickly comes for the thinking person, what exactly is “the fear of the Lord”? This is obviously very important to know. Is it being afraid like running and hiding, is it fear in the way the world thinks of fear? Or is it something else?
I love the way Charles Bridges describes it in his commentary on the Proverbs:

But what is this fear of the Lord? It is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law. His wrath is so bitter, and his love so sweet; that hence springs an earnest desire to please him, and—because of the danger of coming short from his own weakness and temptations—a holy watchfulness and fear, “that he might not sin against Him” (Heb 12:28, 29). This enters into every exercise of the mind, every object of life (Prov 23:17).

“Affectionate reverence”, I could not think of a better way to say it! It is love and honor that is at work in the fear of the Lord. There is also an understanding of the terror of His wrath and the sweetness of His mercy and love. This understanding and reverence will have an effect on every area of our lives. In another book I am currently reading called “Fear and Faith” by Trillia J. Newbell, the fear of the Lord is described by her in this way:

The fear of the Lord…. is to be understood as an awe and reverence of God, because we know that “the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:3). The fear of the Lord starts in the heart. The outward expression of the fear of the Lord is obedience and fellowship and worship. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. The response to His awesomeness is to bow down in worship: “Oh come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6). Practically speaking the fear of the Lord is manifested in obedience. During times when I am tempted to sin but don’t, it isn’t because of a natural inclination to do good; actually, Paul had it right when he said that when we desire to do good, sin is right there knocking on the door (see Romans 7:21). I obey the Lord because I have His Spirit, and I desire to honor Him. I fear Him. To fear the Lord is not to be scared of Him. It’s to adore Him. Worship Him. Honor Him. It’s to put Him in the right place in our thinking.

For the Christian, this is beautiful and rings true in our hearts. We can relate to this as we read these descriptions because the fear of the Lord has been placed within us by the Lord Himself. It is a work He has done, and will continue to perfect. One day when we see Jesus and bow before His throne in Heaven the work He began in us will be completed and we will have a joy-filled, perfect fear of the Lord. Between now and then, He will be teaching us the fear of the Lord through His Word and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and we should willingly desire and pray for more of it.

The Fear of the Lord brings Blessing

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! -Psalm 31:19
He will bless those who fear the LORD, both the small and the great. -Psalm 115:13

The fear of the Lord brings blessing, this may mean earthly blessing like avoiding the many pitfalls and consequences of sin, but it a more real sense it means the blessing and favor of the Lord on our souls. Because of this, we know that the fear of the Lord is something that is only in the heart of the true believer, because unbelievers do not receive the blessing of God’s favor. The non-Christian does not know the fear of the Lord, he/she may fear consequences of sin and might even fear God’s wrath at times, but the unbeliever does not fear the Lord in the right way, in the way that leads to repentance and obedience, in a way that leads to wisdom and blessing. This is why the non-Christian does not listen to or heed wise instruction. Charles Bridges puts it like this:

Why then do multitudes around us despise wisdom and instruction? Because the beginning of wisdom—the fear of God—is not “before their eyes” (Psa 36:1). They know not its value. They scorn its obligation. Wise they may be in their own sight. But surely God here gives them their right name. For fools they must be, to despise such a blessing (Jer 8:9); to rush into willful ruin (Pro 1:22, 24-32; 1Sam 2:25; 1Ki 12:13; Jer 36:22-32); to treasure up work for despairing repentance (Pro 5:12, 13; 29:1). Good Lord! May thy childlike fear be my wisdom, my security, my happiness!

How my heart agrees and echoes his prayer:

It is right that we would ask the Lord to increase our knowledge of Him, the Holy One; and to increase our fear of Him. The fear of the Lord is a good and glorious thing, and not only that, but it is as we see here in this Proverb, the beginning of wisdom. We can not hope to apply the wisdom taught in the Proverbs apart from this.

Lord, Increase our fear of You that we may walk in wisdom and receive your blessing.

 

If you are interested in reading the two quoted materials, you can find them here:

Charles Bridges Commentary on the Proverbs free PDF copy from Chapel Library

or you can order it and they will mail you a printed book copy for free

and the book “Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves” by Trillia Newbell (affiliate link)

Modesty: an Act of Love

modesty an act of love

Christian modesty is a hot topic among faith bloggers. Understandably so, as mainstream media tries to persuade all women from all walks of life that it’s normal and right to show off what you’ve got; many Christian women are falling prey to this lie.

“Be proud of your body” is the message of the day. Because of this pervading message that is shoved in our faces through magazines, music, TV, pinterest, and more day in and day out, dressing in less simply seems “normal”. We’ve seen so much immodesty in our culture that our consciences have almost become desensitized to it. I used to write about modesty on my facebook page and on an old blog years ago, but here for the past few years I’ve kept quiet on the topic.  I’ve put it off because I longed to write about it in a way that would win your heart, and not make you feel condemned or offended. It is right to write on the topic of modesty, our hearts should be jealous to persuade ourselves and our sisters in Christ to dress in a way that honors Him. He is worthy of a church who honors Him in all areas of their lives.

A Tricky Topic

Modesty is such a sensitive subject though, because of the way that even most Christians are convinced (not by Scripture, but by worldly influences) that there is nothing wrong with the way they dress, they are comfortable in it, they feel like the way they dress is okay because it’s how everyone else dresses. And how dare someone tell them how to dress when the Bible doesn’t explicitly give out specifications for things like skirt or shorts length , tank tops or sleeves, how low cut is too low cut, one piece or two piece….. Start saying something is immodest, and someone is going to get fired up and offended.

Vague for a Reason

Scripture is a bit vague on the topic of modesty for a reason, although I do think there are places we can dig deeper and search out on dress to gain more insight, but detailed descriptions and rules simply aren’t given. We clearly know that Scripture calls women to dress modestly, but it doesn’t give us all the specifics that maybe we would like to know. God is a very intentional God, if He wanted us to know something then He would certainly have told us, so there is clearly a reason why the “rules” aren’t laid out in a clear cut way for us.

I believe that Jesus gives us some perspective on this reason as he answers the lawyer’s question in Matthew 22:

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 ESV

It all comes down to Love

There are many laws that we could get hung up on (modesty included), but God doesn’t want us to get hung up on dos and don’ts; He wants us to get so hung up on loving Him and loving others that the dos and don’ts naturally fall into place.  Should we search the Scripture to understand what is right? Absolutely! But obeying God’s commands out of any other motivation than love for Him and for others is sin. It could be the sin of pride: wanting to look holy and better than others or the sin of self-reliance, not trusting in Christ to fulfill the law for you, but instead trusting in your own good works to make you right before God. Both are very scary! If you feel those things happening in your heart as you obey God’s commandments, run and run fast. Look to Jesus and look to the cross. He calls us to obey out of love for Him.

 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 ESV

Modesty is an act of love.

I wholeheartedly believe that we may not have the specifics on how to dress because the more we love and desire the Lord, the more our hearts will desire to honor Him in how we dress. And the more we begin loving others by thinking less of our own wants, needs, and desires, and esteeming others as more important than ourselves, the more modestly we will dress.

The Heart of Modesty

As you look in the mirror each day and evaluate what you put on your body. Instead of thinking: hot or not? does this look good? is it stylish? is it flattering? do I look fat? (don’t laugh, you know you do it!) how does my butt look? how do my legs look? how do my arms look? oh this looks cute/hot/attractive!

If these are the thoughts we are thinking when we look in the mirror then we badly need to change our focus.  Love is not self-seeking….. and those thoughts are.

Love seeks not to dishonor another, yet those thoughts aren’t even considering others.

(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. 1 Corinthians 13:5a NIV

It’s time to put off those selfish thoughts and put on these loving thoughts. Try some of these out the next time you look in the mirror to evaluate your outfit.

Is this loving to the guys that I will be around today? Will I be helping them keep a heart and mind of purity? Will I be leading them into the sin of lust? Is there any part of my clothing that draws attention to or accentuates a certain part of my body?

Is this loving to the ladies I will be around today? Am I trying to draw attention to my figure or how good my body looks? Could I lead another lady into the sin of jealousy?  Will I be contributing to the agenda of the culture that says “show it off” and be a stumbling block for another lady leading her into the world’s lies? Would I want another women wearing this around my husband? Am I setting a good example for the young ladies in my life to follow?

Is this loving to my husband (or future husband)? Am I dressing in a way that shows honor and respect for him? Am I showing parts of myself that should be saved only for him?

More importantly, is this loving to the Lord? Is my outift something that a daughter of a Holy God would wear? Am I a good representative with my clothing of what is right and good? Am I being a light with my dress in a dark and dying world? Do I show with my clothing that Christ is my treasure above anything else? Am I seeking some type of glory for myself (beauty, attention) or do I long to glorify Christ with my clothing?

These are just some starting places, and I’m sure that as you seek to love God and love others with your clothing choices that you will think of even more ways to love.

Don’t make the question “hot or not?” turn the question to “loving or not?”

linked up with The Modest Mom

Time with God // Part Three

time with God

So excited to be back and diving into part three, the final post in the series “Time with God”. I said this in my first post: “God seeks worshipers who worship in Spirit and in Truth.” But perhaps that doesn’t resonate with you, Maybe you are thinking to yourself, what does that even mean?

True Worship in the Spirit

I think some people have it in their heads that worship is similar to yoga… silence required!  Good thing that isn’t the truth otherwise moms like me wouldn’t have the opportunity to worship hardly at all. Other people may believe that worship is something we do on Sunday mornings, singing songs with other believers, and while that is one Biblically ascribed way to worship, there is so much more to worship!

The Holy Spirit through Paul gives us a great definition of worship here:

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. -Romans 12:1-2

So we see that true spiritual worship is a life offered up as a holy and living sacrifice to the Lord. Now here’s the bad news: you can’t do this on your own…. But here’s the good news: God has done it for you if you are in Christ Jesus and He is your source to be able to live this out moment by moment.

This type of true worship has everything to do with what my blog title is about, “Abiding Woman”. I chose this as the title because that is my deepest desire! To be a woman who is continually abiding in Jesus: relying and trusting fully on His works of righteousness and not my own and drawing from Him as my source in order that I will bear fruit for Him.

 

The Knitty Gritty: The Practical

Drawing from the Source:

Children and chaos do not keep us from drawing from the source, our own flesh does. Until this becomes a way of life, you will need to purpose to die to your flesh and to seek Him right where you are (this is the disciplining yourself for life and godliness that I was talking about in part two). It’s not always easy, it takes focus and patience, especially with little ones underfoot. It is easy in the silence of a morning or evening when all the house is asleep, and while that’s very nice and relaxing, it isn’t our reality for most f the time. We have to learn to draw from Him as our source in our real, kinda loud, sometimes mundane, moments in every day life.

Here are some ways I do this:

*Have a plan: A Reading Plan. I have a Scripture reading plan. I hope to go into more detail on this at some point, but basically my plan is suppose to be a year long plan, however I do what I can when I can. My goal is to read and understand and respond, not “knock it out” so I can check it off my list. Each day on my plan I’m scheduled to read 2 chapters in the Old Testament, 1 Psalm or Proverb, and 2 chapters in the New Testament. This morning I was only able to get through the Old Testament portion before kids woke up and started stirring and asking for breakfast. So I’ll finish the rest this evening, or I’ll pick back up tomorrow where I left off. Sometimes I even work on this as my kids are playing together in the same room as I am in. I figure if I can check my facebook, look at pinterest, or even write a blog post while they play underfoot, then I can certainly read God’s Word! I also think this is a great thing for them to actually see us mamas doing throughout the day, we are an example to them… all our “time with God” should not be done before they wake. They need to see us seeking the Lord, not just hear us talk about it. This is also a great opportunity to look up from God’s Word and say, “guess what I just read….” and share a little of it with those sweet little ones in excitement, you have no idea the impact this will have on them!

*A Bible Listening Plan, I am currently going through a chronological plan that I keep on my fridge and check off as I go. I use the Bible.is app for this. When I’m doing dishes or chores around the house I push play. The kids listen along sometimes and other times they play and know to keep their voice levels low so that I can listen. The great part is, they are listening too.

*Sermons and podcasts are a mom’s best friend! These are great for in the car or for listening to while kids are napping and you have to get chores done. Stick your phone in your pocket and put some headphones on if you think the noise may wake the baby. It is such an encouragement to my heart to hear Biblical teaching and preaching throughout my day. If you’re not sure what to listen to, try some of these sites (my favorites):

I’ll Be Honest  (this group is always posting good stuff)

Revive our Hearts (just for women)

Desiring God sermons

Ask Pastor John (I love these for quick listens)

Look at the Book (I adore these!)

Grace to You

Sermon Audio -There is an app for this also! (look up Paul Washer, Richard Own Roberts, Anthony Mathenia, Tim Conway, Charles Leiter, just to get you started)

here’s a screen shot of my current “Abide” apps. (there are certainly others, these are just the ones I use)

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*Scripture memory and meditation: I have recently been using the phone app Remember Me for Scripture memory. In the past I have also just used index cards. I still do this from time to time since having something as a physical reminder in my pocket is very helpful. If I find I am really struggling with something, I write the Scripture on the card and meditate and pray through it when my mind is tempted to think in ways that are not according to God’s truth. This is one way that I work to renew my mind. Let’s say I’m struggling with bitterness towards someone, I write a Scripture where I’m commanded to forgive and place it on the card in my pocket. If thoughts of unforgiveness or hurt rise up, I pull it out and start praying over the situation and praying for the Lord to change my heart and give me grace to forgive.

These are just a few ideas….  there are certainly other ways to be soaking in God’s Word throughout our days.

Responding in Prayer, Song, Word, and Deed:

Now this isn’t just a one way thing… we also are responding to what we are hearing  from the Lord through His living and active word. We respond in prayer, songs, words, and deeds all throughout our day. Pray about the things you learned or read or just listened to on a sermon. Confess sin if the Lord showed you an area of your life that needs repentance. Thank Him for thing things He has done and the things He is showing you. Rejoice in who He is and just worship Him! Sing songs of praise and hymns as you go about your daily work around the home. Praise the Lord out loud to your children and husband and friends. Speak of Him often to everyone that you can. If you are constantly taking in His Word, then you very easily begin to speak His Word to others. And respond with obedience right where you are. Did you read about patience or seeking unity, do that! Did you read about forgiving others, do that. Did you read about evangelism, do it! Think of tangible ways to respond to His commands. Do you need to sit down and write a letter to a friend to share God’s truth with her, do you need to pick up the phone and repent to someone for something you did, do you need to go repent to your children for anger or impatience, do you need to go open God’s Word and teach your children? What did God say to do? Do it! Jesus says if we love Him we will keep His commandments. That is a way that we worship! We worship in response to His words.

The Presence of God: He is with us!

The Lord is not far off, He is with you even when you may feel distracted from that truth, it is still a reality. Furthermore, He longs for us to worship Him in these ways. He deeply loves us who are in Christ Jesus, He has made us His own, and He cleansed us so that we no-longer would live in separation from Him. He delights in us delighting in Him! Take time today to purpose to do this throughout your day.

Maybe you couldn’t wake up early and seek Him in the silence, that is okay, seek Him now! If you were able to get up early to spend time alone with Him, let it continue, we can’t just be products of our environments, we must seek Him when it’s easy and when it’s hard. 

There is a quote that I read in a study called “Behold Your God” that has affected my perception of God’s presence and what my response is to it:

“You can have as much of God as you want; in fact you already do!” 

It is very true!

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you!

Time With God // Part Two

time with God

I’m so excited to journey on in this series! Walking in light of the presence of God is of utmost importance!  If you haven’t read the first post yet, hop over and read it, then come back here to dive in deeper.

 Time with God in the Trenches of Mommyhood

So what does time with God for the busy and often tired mom of young children look like? Should we make it our goal to set aside a specific time to study the Scriptures and pray, be it in the morning or during the naptimes of our children, or in the evening when everyone is asleep YES ,ABSOLUTELY! We should definitely pursue making this happen! I hope that no one heard me say that it was unnecessary for you to have, pursue, and desire those alone times with the Lord in my first post. In fact, I did a challenge here on this blog just a year ago in June called the Triple G Challenge that is all about pursuing waking and getting with God first thing in the morning because it is good to start your day with Him and to continue to walk with Him for the rest of the day.

If anyone got that they were not to pursue this type of time with the Lord out of the first post then you very much misunderstood me, and absolutely must stick around because what I was sharing there is almost the complete opposite of that.

The first post aimed to address this tendency for moms to set these goals of waking before the children and spending time with the Lord (much like the Triple G challenge), but when plans fall through because the life of a mom is unpredictable and let’s face it sometimes sleepless, instead of walking out the rest of their day with their Savior at their side, they walk it out in condemnation. But here’s the truth sweet sisters:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. -Romans 8:1

Jesus isn’t looking down from heaven saying, “I know her baby woke her up twice last night, and that her toddler woke at 7, but she should’ve set aside some alone time with me sitting in her easy chair sipping her coffee with her Bible wide open.” That’s ludicrous on so many levels, and we know it! But sadly, sometimes moms put this type of condemnation on themselves. The reality of the situation according to God looks much different, the reality He gives us is this:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:14-16

The Gospel Changes the Way We View Our Time with the Lord

How is it that we can be with God in His presence when we fail in so many ways? We fail to live up to not just our own human standards of a schedule or a time to wake up ,but we fail His perfect holy standards, big time, more than we will ever know. The reason this invitation is open to us is because of what Jesus has done and is doing. It’s not because of something you accomplish or bring about on your own. Don’t be deceived, if you think waking up early every day to read and study the Bible and pray is going to earn you the right to be in the presence of God, you are dead wrong! Can He meet you in that time, will He meet you in that time, Yes, but it isn’t because of you, it’s because of Him! The only thing that gives us the right to come boldly to His throne of grace is the great high priest, Jesus who was tempted in every way, He knows our struggles all too well, and yet He was perfect and blameless! He came to this earth with one purpose, to fulfill the Father’s will by redeeming a people for Himself and bringing them near to Him. What had to be done for that to happen? This perfect man who was also fully God had to die and bear the wrath that was meant for our sins, and then He overcame sin and death, rose from the grave! He now sits on the the throne praying for us! Do you think He did and does all that so we could only meet with Him in a silent house before our children wake? Absolutely not!!!! He did that so we could abide in Him moment by moment, forever!

But, but, but, but….

Some will say, But what about disciplining yourself for life and godliness (1 Timothy 4:7)? And I submit, what I’m saying to do here takes much greater discipline than sitting in a silent house and sipping coffee and reading your Bible. I love what Paul Washer says:

“You are struggling to DO … you need to struggle to BE.”

I am talking about something much more authentic than setting a schedule and having your “quiet time” and giving yourself a little Pharisaical pat on the back.

No, I am talking about abiding in Him moment by moment! Abiding when the kids are screaming, abiding when the dishes and laundry are over flowing, abiding when you are teaching phonics to a young child, abiding when you have morning sickness for weeks on end, abiding at play dates, abiding at the zoo, abiding when the stomach bug strikes your home, abiding in the late night nursing hours, abiding… always and continually abiding.

God is near, He is here. He is in the silence and the chaos. Will you abide in Him right now…… or do you think He’s still waiting for you back at that easy chair?

Sister, I hope this set you free in some way and encouraged you to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness….. in order to BE not to DO!

Tomorrow’s post is going to get much more practical. What does it look like to enjoy the Lord and abide in Him in our moments of chaos and homemaking and not-so-silent houses? I hope you will join me again tomorrow.

Be blessed.

Read part 3 of this series here.

Time with God // Part One

time with God

“I didn’t get up….. there went my time with God!”

If you weren’t able to get up before your kids and have your “time with the Lord”, don’t despair. I have fallen into the lie of thinking, “well there went my time with God” when I was unsuccessful at waking early or when one of the littles decided to wake early too. Here is what I finally had to see and understand: we are with the Lord ALL THE TIME! I know I know… that’s not a novel thought, but how often do we forget that He is ever present in ALL the parts of our day? While we wash dishes and wipe noses and change diapers, He is here! What a joy to know we can call upon His name, worship Him in the chaos, open the Bible and read the Scriptures out loud.

Now don’t hear me saying that waking up and setting aside time to pray and study God’s Word is not beneficial. It is a wonderful thing to aim for, but not every day and every season of life will allow for this, especially for the mamas of young children.  It is such a sweet thing to be alone with the Lord and pray and read unhindered, but let us be clear that the presence of God is not relegated to the quiet and chaos free moments of life. Time with God is not defined by a silent house and uninterrupted cup of coffee.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24) 

The Spirit of God is present, because of His sacrifice on the cross the veil was torn and He is with us in both quiet and chaos. It says He is seeking worshipers who worship in spirit and truth….. not silence and easy chairs. Our truest worship takes place in daily life that is not separated from children, challenges, and messes.

He is here and near!

He came to this earth, died for us, and rose from the dead to bring us near to Him!

 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

Let us not be so distracted by day to day tasks that we forget His wonderful nearness to us!

Be with Him right now…. this is your time with God!

read part two of this series here

Preparing for Childbirth and Overcoming Fears

preparing for childbirth and overcoming fears

Recently in my life:

Our house is in a state of excitement as we have begun preparing for the arrival of our fourth child.

I can hardly believe that I’m in week 36! It’s truly the home-stretch!

I’m enjoying the process once again. Packing hospital bags, writing the birth plan, little gifts and cards from friends and family are everywhere (thank you all!), newborn diapers, and bassinets, and sleepers, and boppy pillows are being brought out. There’s so much to be thankful for!

I know that there is one big day, one big hurdle still standing between this time of preparation and the time when I’m holding, cuddling, and nursing this new sweet little one….

Childbirth.

As I sat down last night to write my birth plan, I felt the need to pray and ask the Lord to help me in these decisions. I have been praying for the past months about this very thing.  I need His help! Help for wisdom, help for peace, help to trust in the freedom and mercy He has given, help to not be a “people pleaser”, but instead to make decisions that are right for us.

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I know that ultimately, even as I write a birth plan that I am on His plan. He knows exactly how my birth will go; when it will be and what will take place. I can rest in trusting Him and knowing that all His ways are good…. even if they are not what I would have chosen.

I have felt a great peace to know that He has placed me in a position to be able to make educated decisions concerning our birthing choices. He has given us options, and I’m thankful for that as I know this isn’t the case for many.

Natural or Not?

I like natural things, but I don’t feel married to them. At the end of the day, the only thing I feel passionately joined with is Christ, and that is how it should be.

I struggled when I first got pregnant with this one wondering if I was required under Biblical obligation to do this birth (and all future births) natural, the way I did with the last. When I really searched the Scriptures what I came to was that, no…. I didn’t HAVE to do it that way. I felt a sense of relief because to be honest, although it was a good experience, it was also an experience that I don’t really care to repeat unless I have to. I know that others have their own preferences on childbirth and what they feel “called” to, but this is my preference. And since it is not clearly laid out in Scripture, I feel freedom to choose medication this time around.

Fearing What Others Think…. and Yes, this fear is sin.

I almost felt that there was an unsaid expectation from everyone that once you go natural you can never go back to a medicated birth.

Unlike this past birth when I was  fighting the sin of fear (lack of trust in the Lord) of the pain and the unknown, this time I was fearful of what others would think of me. I wondered, if I decided to use some form of medical pain management will people think badly of me? What will my friends who are passionate natural birth advocates think, will they judge me or think less of me? What will people who tried to talk me out of doing it natural last time think, will they  scoff and think they were “right after all”?

Freedom from Fear once Again

The Lord has been so good to show me through His Word and His Spirit that this sinful fear I had been having stems from two major heart problems on my behalf that needed serious repenting of.

1. Pride, wanting people to think highly of me.

2. Not resting in my security and freedom in Christ that He has graciously given me.

With my last birth I was convinced that the Lord had called me to a natural birth, and I still feel that He had. I didn’t view it as a requirement as much as I viewed it as an opportunity for growth. It definitely was that! It was a good experience for me, a hard one, but a good thing. You can read that birth story here. I have no regrets that I went natural with my last.

The sinful fear I fought when preparing for the natural birth stemmed from a lack of trust in Him to sustain me through the pain. I had to pray through that, repent of that, and entered into that birth fully trusting in Him. And He was gracious to meet me and care for me the whole way through! Even when I thought I couldn’t go on, He gave me the strength I needed to do so.

But this time, I don’t feel so convinced that He is calling me to do it that way again. I feel that I learned what the Lord had for me during that time, and that He has something else for me this time. I trust the Lord, and if it works out that this is another natural birth then I know it was what He wanted and I will rejoice in that, but as I write my birth plans this time around I feel free to enjoy the mercies of the Lord by allowing me access to modern medicine. Without fearing what others will think of me.

The Lord’s approval is the only approval I need!

He has approved me because of the works of His Son fulfilling the law and becoming the sacrifice atoning for my sin! And I don’t need validation from others, my security in Him is more than enough! 

Isn’t it amazing how sanctifying birth can be! It reveals our sins of fear. We can repent. He is faithful and just to forgive!

Oh how my heart rejoices at this!

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Dear Expecting Mom,

You should not walk in fear! Fear and anxiety are signs that you lack trust in God to be enough for you in all circumstances.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” -Matthew 6:34

Perhaps you are preparing for childbirth and you are fearful of the pain, possibilities of complications, the unknown. Sister, you must trust the Lord! Childbirth is not a time for pride and self-reliance, that will only leave you fearful! it is a time to depend on Him to be your strength and to trust in His perfect design for birth and trust in His plans for you that He will use them for your sanctification and joy. Cast your anxieties on Him!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” –1 Peter 5:6-7

Possibly you are like I have been this time around and needing to take thoughts captive in regards to what others think. Fear of man is an idol! Get rid of it! Feeling obligated to make certain decisions that you don’t really HAVE to because of what others would think is worshiping the opinions of people. We women are pretty prone to this as God has placed a desire in us to please our husbands (which is right and good), but let me encourage you to examine your heart, when we care too much what others think it is always because of pride. It stems from a desire to be lifted up, and truthfully our pride will always have the opposite effect.

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. -Proverbs 29:23

“The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
Many seek the face of a ruler,
but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.” -Proverbs 29:25-26

Remember beloved sisters, no pain, no trauma, no loss, no disapproval of friends or family, no slanderous words towards us from the mouths of people, nothing…..can separate us from the love of Christ!

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:3-39

For your further Pursuit:

*  Isaiah 41:10  *  Philippians 4:6-7  *  Psalm 56:3  *  2 Timothy 1:7  *

*  Psalm 34:4  *  Proverbs 12:25  *  Psalm 23:4  *  Psalm 27:1-14  *

*  Psalm 118:6  *  Romans 8:1-39  *  Isaiah 26:3  *  Matthew 10:28  *

Photos by Sunkissed Smiles Photography

Mothers Your Work is Eternal Work

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Dear Mothers,

You have one of the most difficult and most wonderful jobs given.
It’s not insignificant work, in fact it is eternal work.
What you do each day inside the four walls of your house will affect so much!
You are influencing your children’s hearts moment by moment.
You have a chance to point them to Christ in the middle of messes, play, discipline, and cuddles.
30 years from now, your laundry and dishes piles will be much smaller, and your children will be much bigger. And today you can train them in the way they should go.
300 hundred years from now you and your children will be consumed with one thing and one thing only, and it’s a much bigger deal than laundry and dishes.
In 300 years we will all be thinking about the glory of Christ…. some around His throne in beauty and fullness of joy, and others with great regret in agony and turmoil.
But today you can focus your heart on Him, and point your children’s hearts to Him.

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Don’t be deceived to think what you do today will not affect them then, it will.
Point them to Christ! He is the one thing our hearts need most, and He is the one thing your child needs most!

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And Mamas, this is not adding to your to-do list…. this is the thing you must do while you do the to-do list. And if you can’t do this and that at the same time, then that other thing is the thing that must go because remember this is eternal work.

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Amidst your seemingly mundane work of kissing booboos, teaching phonics, potty training, nursing, remember what your real work is.
Pray for your children continually to know and love Christ, live your life in a way that points to the redeeming power of the Lord, and proclaim the Gospel to your children as often as you can, rejoice in the Lord before their very eyes. This is your real work that God has given you and there is an eternal reward.

“Those who think that a woman detained at home by her little family is doing nothing, think the reverse of what is true. Scarcely can the godly mother quit her home for a place of worship; but dream not that she is lost to the work of the church; far from it, she is doing the best possible service for her Lord. Mothers, the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty. Christian women, by teaching the children the Holy Scriptures, are as much fulfilling their part for the Lord, as Moses in judging Israel, or Solomon in building the temple. “Seek first His kingdom, set your minds on the things above, fix your eyes on Jesus.” While a truly God besought mother and wife may be one of the most unnoticed overlooked posts in the eyes of the world, there will be a day when its eternal significance will be brought to light and no sacrifice will seem too great, nor any negligence seem so small.”  -C.H. Spurgeon