Sunday, July 31, 2016

Beauty of Womanhood

“Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners? (Song of Solomon 6:10)
Who indeed? A woman, of course.
Where but in the Scriptures could we find a vision of womanhood as glorious as this? Who but our God could design something with such blinding beauty alongside robust strength? The Psalms and Proverbs fill out this vision of a woman that shows us fortitude clothed in splendor — a woman who presides over her domain with strong arms and resourcefulness (Proverbs 31); daughters that are corner pillars, whose strong support could only be matched by their exquisiteness (Psalm 144:12).The home — that center of all learning, the heart of nation-building, the dispenser of love and stability, the venue for gospel hospitality for single and married alike, in short, the footings of humanity. This home-based influence — because of Christ — can last for a thousand generations, yet our culture urges us to cast it aside for the pursuit of rewards a little less off in the distance and certainly ones that don’t require diapering.And what does it offer in return? Women who strive against themselves, at war with the seeming redundancy of two X chromosomes, in a competition we were never made for and, in our hearts, don’t really want to win. For when a woman sets herself up alongside a man — as made for the same things and without distinction — the result is not uniformity, but rather, a reverse order. Our culture exchanges the glory of feminine strength for a treadmill race to nowhere.
The unique influence of a godly woman is in transforming things. A woman is to be compared to a crown on the head of her husband (Proverbs 12:4). This is not because she’s merely decorative, but because she is the thing that makes her good man great. She transforms a promising bachelor into a purposeful, respected husband. He gives his seed and by some miracle and mystery, God has designed her body to nurture and grow a new person, as Nancy Wilson outlines in her address “Dangerous Women”In this transformative role, whether single or married, a woman mimics her Savior. Like him, she submits to another’s will and, also like him, God uses her to take what was useless on its own and shape it into glory. Dirty things clean; chaos turned to order; an empty kitchen overflowing with life and food; children in want of knowledge and truth and a mother eager to teach; a man in need of help and counsel and a woman fit to give it; friends and neighbors with a thirst for the truth and a woman opening her home and heart to share it with them.
A woman is a prism that takes in light and turns it into an array of greater, fuller glory, so that those around her now see the rainbow that was contained in the beam. She constantly radiates reminders of God’s faithfulness. She reads the black and white pages of the word of God and takes on the task of living them out in vibrant hues for her children, her neighbors, and the world to see. When the Bible commands feeding, nourishing, training, and love, a godly woman sets to the task, enhancing and beautifying everything around her.
God’s design outlined in the Scriptures is a vision for womanhood that is not just right and to be obeyed, it is experientially better than all the world has to offer. And it doesn’t just apply to those who are married or mothers. Single women of any age are meant for full godly womanhood. To be a mother in the deepest sense — that is, spiritually — nurturing and growing all God’s given her.
God has made us for glory, women. Not glory that terminates on us, but glory that spends itself glorifying everything given to us and points in all things to Christ, who is the radiance of the glory of God, the Savior and ultimate transforming one. And as we behold him — his perfection, his saving work, his glorious face — we are changed from one degree of glory to another.
Abigail Dodds, from http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-beauty-of-womanhood

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Motherhood as a mission field

At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel.

Think about the feeding of the five thousand when the disciples went out and rounded up the food that was available. It wasn’t much. Some loaves. Some fish. Think of some woman pulling her fish out and handing it to one of the disciples. That had to have felt like a small offering. But the important thing about those loaves and those fishes was not how big they were when they were given, it was about whose hands they were given into. In the hands of the Lord, that offering was sufficient. It was more than sufficient. There were leftovers. Given in faith, even a small offering becomes great.

Lay yourself down for the people here with you, the people who annoy you, the people who get in your way, the people who take up so much of your time that you can’t read anymore. Rejoice in them. Sacrifice for them. Gain that which you cannot lose in them. 

It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.

God loves the little offerings, given in faith. 

Do not think that your work does not matter. In God’s hands, it will be broken, and broken, and broken again, until all who have need of it have eaten and are satisfied. And even then, there will be leftovers.

Rachel Janokvic 
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/motherhood-as-a-mission-field

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The preferred parent (and it's not me)

This has been going on for some time now; at least a year a half, but probably closer to two years. I remember it started to bother me when he'd wake up in the middle of the night screaming for daddy. And I couldn't calm him down, he'd hit and fight me, claw my face or punch me. The screaming would continue (no matter what I did) until Joe woke up and came in and "saved me". More recently, Joey would wake up at the crack of dawn trying to catch daddy before he left for work. So Joe started leaving earlier and earlier and Joey would wake up earlier and earlier and throw a fit when daddy left or when he woke up and daddy had already left. This is still the case and happens almost 2 mornings a week. On the weekends, I can't put his shoes on or wipe his butt. He won't go to the store with me alone or have me bathe him. He won't snuggle me or give me hugs and kisses at nap time and putting him to bed is out of the question entirely. He says flat out, "I like daddy better" or "You go on the walk by yourself mama". 

So, here is some advice to myself for when I lose my way:

In fact, when your child plays favorites, it's a sign that he feels close to you. "He's secure enough in your love to know that he can jilt you and still get a warm welcome back."

Young children live in the moment. So, “I don’t want you” (or even “I don’t like you”) means “I don’t want you in this moment."

Another gift to children of dual parenting is that children are invited to become more flexible thinkers and, later, more sophisticated problem solvers, because two parents, no matter how much shared value they bring to parenting, will not do things exactly the same.

remember that your child cannot and should not be called to meet your needs for love and care. 

If you must, it's all right to say, "That hurts my feelings," but then let it go. 

Get in the game. When your child is playing, hang around and watch, then see if you can join in, says Dr. Pruett. Chances are, you'll be tolerated, especially if you get down on the floor and follow her lead.

I'm all yours for 15 minutes. What do you want to do?" If he doesn't know, grab his favorite toy and get started having fun

"I understand what it's like to be angry. You can calm down when you feel like it. I'll stay with you." Once she's settled down, he should offer to play with her, with a toy or game.

I'm sorry, sweetie; I know you wish you could have Daddy. I'm here with you now, you're safe, and I love you so much."