A Jesus-Heart for Children, Part 3

a jesus heart for children

We have been looking at Biblical womanhood, and specifically what our attitude toward children should be. So far in this last section on children, we’ve covered the following:

I could have ended there and that would be great. But I have often found that there are 2 specific topics that come up a lot as I meet with young women and felt were worth tackling: birth control and child care.

These are sensitive topics for sure, controversial even, and there are many factors that play into every individual’s decision. But too often, these decisions are made from attitudes and motives that have been shaped by our culture. And since it is so normal, we often don’t even notice.

So as we start, let me clarify my goal. I am not trying to create a set of rules, but rather give you a Biblical grid through which to see these issues and the tools to discern the motives of your heart. God is much more concerned about our motives than our actions anyway.

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A Jesus-Heart for Children, Part 2

a jesus heart for children

In the last post, we looked at how Jesus responded to children and how we can do the same. Whether or not we have children of our own, we need to cultivate a Biblical response to children.

But what would Jesus have to say to moms? Being a mother entails a whole other level of interaction with children. What can we learn from Jesus to apply to the day-in-day-out routine of motherhood?

YOU CAN’T GIVE WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “ Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Like no other generation before us, moms today have access to more information and parenting helps than ever. But I’m not sure if that has helped or hindered us. In fact, access to more information has probably created more Marthas, anxious and troubled about many things.

  • What sleep training method should I be doing?
  • What kind of baby food is the best?
  • Is my child getting enough sensory play time?
  • What kind of discipline should I be doing?
  • Are my kid’s friends good influences?
  • Homeschool or public school?
  • Music lessons or dance class?
  • Breast feeding or formula?

These are all good questions to ask, but too often they create anxiety and trouble in our hearts and frantic researching. But Jesus told us Marthas, there is one thing that is necessary. ONE THING.

What is that one thing? Sitting still with Jesus. Cultivating intimacy with Jesus, and a listening heart.

Isn’t this also the one thing we hope to pass on to our children? A desire to know and love Jesus above all else? That one day they would be strong men and women of faith, people who love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, who delight to do His will, and who are serving Him with their whole heart and their whole lives?

But how can we cultivate that if we don’t model it ourselves? We cannot give what we do not have. Let us not be like Martha, frantic and worried with good things and forgetting the best thing. This is the hard part, the things that distract us from Jesus usually aren’t bad. Martha was distracted by “much serving.” Serving is a good thing. But it distracted her from the BEST thing: Knowing Jesus. Being a good parent is a good thing and it can easily distract us from the best thing.

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A Jesus-Heart for Children, Part 1

a jesus heart for children

This is the last installment in a series on Biblical womanhood. I hope that whether or not you are a mom, you will take the time to read this post. All of us at all seasons of life encounter children. They might be your own, or a friends’, or nieces and nephews, or your neighbor’s kids. So it is important that we have a Biblically-informed view on them.

And while I think a Biblical view of children is important for all believers, it is especially important for women. Our very bodies are designed to care for children: our womb to be the first home a child has and our breasts the first source of nourishment they ever receive. Whether we ever have the privilege to have children, God has wired women to be nurturers.

CHILDREN ARE AN INCONVENIENCE: The common attitude.

Unfortunately, the pervasive attitude about children is that they are an inconvenience. Below are a few birth control ads that expose this view.

BirthControlAd   birthcontrolad1

motherhood pic   thisismybabyad

What’s the message? That children equal gaining 30 pounds, giving up on your dreams, being less awesome, and not living life your way. Children get in the way of your plans for you.

An increasingly sexually active culture has fueled this attitude. Years ago, pregnancy was the normal and expected outcome of being sexually active. But thanks to birth control and abortion, children are now only an optional result of sex. The push to divorce pregnancy from sex is happening to appease a shamelessly self-centered lifestyle. Rather than a joyous moment, a positive pregnancy test is often received with fear as if it were a curse, a disease, or a punishment.

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A Heart for Home: Part 1

A Heart for Home

In the last post, I discussed our role as influencers. Now I want to consider where the Bible calls us to have primary influence: the home.

Now, if you just rolled your eyes or felt a twinge of fear or anger at the thought of women being called to the home, listen up. Do not let your culture be the primary informer of your worldview. In our age of career-rules-all, urging women to give their best efforts toward the success of the home seems insulting. “Isn’t that like asking women to play second string? To be the understudy? A benchwarmer? To let men do all the really important things, while we clean up their messes and do their laundry and raise their kids?” 

Maybe that’s how you think of managing a home… something you do when you’ve got nothing better to do. Even those who agree that women should be the primary keepers of the home often have an attitude expressing the opposite. We’d much rather be doing vocational ministry, writing a blog, or [fill-in-the-blank] than the menial, every day humdrum of home life.

But do not fall for the lie that the home is unimportant. The home is the fundamental establishment of any society. Like the rudder of a ship, the condition of the homes will steer the direction of the nation. The home is where future world leaders are molded, where brilliant minds are nurtured, where world views are established. Any investment made in the home has ripple effects that last for generations. So when we talk of a woman overseeing the home, this is not to lessen her importance, but to elevate it. God has given us influence over the most important establishment in all of society.

WHERE IS IT IN THE BIBLE?
Let’s look at a few key passages of scripture on this topic. And instead of doing the work for you to unpack these passages, I’m asking you to take just a minute to pull out your Bible (or your Bible app) and read the passage yourself and answer the questions.

Take some time to read Titus 2:3-5 and answer the following question:

  • Of the 6 things older women are to teach younger women, how many are related to family/home life?
  • What does this communicate to us about our priorities?

Read Proverbs 31:10-31 and answer the following questions:

  • Who are the main beneficiaries of this woman’s efforts? (v. 11, 12, 15, 21, 23, 27)
  • Does this woman do things outside of her home? (v. 16, 20, 24)
  • Read verses 15, 21, 27 again. What do you notice about her intentionality toward those in her home? And what does this imply about her work outside her house?

Last but not least, let’s go back to God’s initial design of man and woman for some insight. Read Genesis 2:7-22.

  • Did God create Adam before or after He made the Garden of Eden?
  • Where was Adam created? Inside or outside the Garden?
  • Where was Eve created? Inside or outside the Garden?
  • What does this imply about men and women?

After studying the passages above, it is evident that God has created women to be uniquely influential within the context of the home. This does not mean she cannot earn an income for her family or devote her time to other ventures, as the Proverbs 31 passage portrays. But regardless of her other commitments, her primary responsibility and area of influence should be oriented toward the home, not away from it.

To drive this point home (no pun intended), consider one last verse from the book of Proverbs:

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Proverbs 14:1

A wise woman is investing in her home. She is putting effort into building it up, strengthening it, and supporting it. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, so a woman who fears the Lord will build up her house. This is exactly what we see the wife in Proverbs 31 doing.

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Biblical Womanhood

Biblical Womanhood

Men and women are different. A seemingly obvious statement, yet one that is up for debate nowadays. Our world is fighting to convince us that, besides their reproductive systems, there are no significant differences between a man and a woman. The logic goes like this:

1. Men and women should be equal.

2. Equality means the same.

3. Therefore, for men and women to be truly equal, they must be the same.

But equality does not equal sameness. This concept is widely understood in many areas of life. Consider the cultures in the world. Asian, European and South American cultures are all very different. They connect differently, eat different foods, and celebrate differently. Is one culture greater than another? Should all the cultures of the world be exactly the same so they can be equal? Of course not. It is the differences within the world’s cultures that bring so much beauty and value to the human race.

Are men and women equal in intrinsic value and dignity? Yes. Should we fight for this? Of course! But let us not strip each gender of their unique beauty, purpose, and strength by forcing them to be the same. Men and women most certainly are equal, but they are not the same.

WHY DISCUSS BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD
I plan to take a couple weeks to post a series of articles on this topic of Biblical womanhood. Why is this topic important to me? For several reasons.

First, I am deeply loyal to the One who has spared my soul from its deserving end of eternal death, and therefore care deeply about what He has to say about my womanhood. Secondly, I believe that this same loving God was incredibly intentional about how and why He created man and woman and therefore what He has to say on the subject is my most trustworthy source. And lastly, I am a living example that “the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) My life is more full of joy, peace, purpose, and contentment as a result of the very truths I hope to share over these next weeks. So this topic is deeply personal to me as much as it is deeply theological.

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Servanthood: the Path to Greatness

IMG_7099Almost 7 months ago, we welcomed our 2nd daughter, Sophia, into the world! And with the joy of her arrival, God ushered in a new season of my life: one of servanthood.

I cannot tell you the joy and the honor it is for me to spend my day taking care of children. (Those of you who know my story can understand the depth of appreciation I have for the gift of motherhood.) But the arrival of a second baby resulted in a loss of my free time, my rest, and my energy. Amidst the joy of finally holding this sweet new baby I was often frustrated that I was not able to do the things I wanted to do.

At the time, I had been reading through Matthew and a couple of passages caught my attention:

“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled ; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12

“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28

What a backwards thing to say! The first shall be your slave, the greatest shall be your servant. This goes against the grain of every natural inclination in me. It is my default to see how I can climb the ladder of greatness, whether in the realm of motherhood, the world of blogging, or within my own circles of friends. I often find myself trying to become “greater” without even realizing it. It is just the subtle current of my sin-inflicted heart to drift toward self-exaltation and self-promotion.

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Children: Burden or Blessing?

children burden or blessing

“Say goodbye to date nights!”

“Better catch up on that sleep now because you won’t be getting any.”

“You won’t have any free time, so use it now.”

If you have ever been pregnant, these statements might sound familiar. These are the types of remarks I received when I was expecting the birth of our daughter last year. I was amazed at the amount of negativity that was associated with having children. Along with the (unsolicited) advice I received came warnings of nightmares to come. Even now that my daughter is 15 months old, I still receive those warnings from other random parents in the grocery store: “Enjoy it now! Just wait til she starts talking!” Over and over the message I hear is this: children are a burden and an inconvenience.

How sad that one of the most exciting adventures we are privileged to embark on is often clouded with pessimism. I think the main reason children are viewed so negatively is they keep us from being able to do what we want when we want to do it. Before our daughter was born, my husband and I could pick up and go wherever we wanted to go at a moment’s notice. It didn’t matter how late it was or if was naptime or not, we just went. If I wanted to go shopping for a few hours just for fun, I could do that. I didn’t have a heavy car seat to carry around, and didn’t have to fit all of my shopping into the few hours in between naptime. I could visit friends or work an extra few hours and it wasn’t a problem. Now that has all changed.

But as I look to the Bible, I am left with only one option as to how view children: they are a blessing. Psalm 127:3-5 says “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”

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The Influence of a Woman

Before I get into my topic for today, I wanted to give you a brief update on my blog.  Because I think it is incredibly important to be purposeful in everything you do, I recently wrote about the purpose of my writing and this blog.  You can check it out here: “No Apologies.”  In that post I had asked for any topic suggestions or questions that you had for me.  After reading through the responses I received, I’ve decided to write about some of those things in the coming weeks.  Here are some posts to be on the look out for:

  • Becoming a Jesus-Follower: My testimony
  • A Day in the Life: My life being married to a recording artist
  • The Sabbath: The forgotten command
  • Sharing Your Faith: How to live a lifestyle of evangelism
  • How to Encourage Others Effectively
  • Dating & Marriage: The purpose of romance in the believer’s life
For today however, I wanted to write about the powerful influence of a woman.  I am currently reading through 2 Chronicles and am greatly enjoying it!  I have learned so much through studying the history of the Israelite people in Kings and Chronicles and strongly encourage you to read straight through these books if you never have. (This is actually my first time to read straight through them!)

 

Chapter 21 describes the reign of King Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, grandson of Asa.  Jehoshaphat, though not perfect in his reign, was known for how he sought after the Lord.  He was humble and trusted in God in moments of adversity.  And Asa, his grandfather was also a man who sought after the Lord and trusted God in hard times.  With such a rich spiritual heritage, I expected Jehoram to follow in their footsteps.  But to my surprise, this chapter starts out with Jehoram killing all his brothers as soon as he became king.  It doesn’t even give a reason why he did this.  He also led the people of Judah astray by enticing them to worship other gods (v. 11).  So what happened to Jehoram?  How did a guy with such a great start to life turn out so bad?

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Norwegian Lessons

Lively in Sweden!

1:30am here in Norway, and Jimmy is about to take the stage for the 3rd time today! You’d think that’d be way to late to start a concert, but since it doesn’t get dark till around 11pm, it’s easier to stay up that long. I actually don’t know if these people actually sleep at night! I’m definitely loving the long days, but 9pm comes so quickly when the sun is up! It’s amazing how much I count on the sunset to let me know what time it is.


I mentioned in my last blog that I have been hoping God would speak to me while we’re here, and so far He’s come through! Though the lessons I’m learning since arriving in Scandinavia have been good, they’ve also been hard. It all started with “an honest moment” I had with God in Sweden a couple days ago. Though I’m generally pretty frank with Him, I tend to keep silent when my frustration is aimed at how He is running things because I know how limited my view is. But every now and then, I just have to let Him know my grievances. Let me share this moment of honesty with you.

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Lessons in Sleeplessness

Teething + stuffy nose + out of town = one very unhappy baby


This is the equation that plagued me last week. Our poor little girl had her first cold and boy was it rough! For about 5 nights in a row, I was up almost every hour trying to get her back to sleep because she couldn’t breathe. The frustration followed into the next day because our sick baby was now a tired, sick baby. Then top that off with constant pain from teething and the fact that we are not at home with all her regular toys and Baby Einstein DVDs…. And wow. I felt like I was just trying to make it through one hour at a time.

It’s amazing what a lack of sleep over multiple days does to you. I had checked-out emotionally and spiritually. Discouragement began to set in as I wondered if this was ever going to end. As I drove around Nashville waiting to pick Jimmy up from a writing appointment, I noticed this license plate in front of me. It read: 2COR610. An acute awareness of God’s sovereignty causes me to take these “coincidences” very personally as if God were sending me a message to read 2 Corinthians 6:10. Though it didn’t mean much to me as I quickly glanced at it in my car, I decided it was worth a more in depth look later.

Thankfully, Lively soon fell asleep in the car seat as I drove giving me a precious hour and a half of time to myself. I found a coffee shop and claimed the small nook in the back as my own to sit with this chapter of the Bible and a much needed cup of caffeine… I mean coffee. I began reading from earlier in the chapter: “But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger…” Wait a second!! “in sleeplessness” Those words were balm to my soul. The moment I read them my eyes filled with tears as God’s Word ministered to my soul. In just a split second God spoke so many things to my heart.

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