Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Motherhood Triumphs in the Face of Feminism

Ideologies, for better or for worse, are lived out on the pages of a life story. Testimonies often give us helpful glimpses into people’s lives and allow us to see them in their own words. In a recent article in United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, Rebecca Walker, daughter of The Color Purple author Alice Walker, speaks out against her mother’s feminism. Whether her mother approves or not, Rebecca’s experience as a daughter of feminism sheds considerable light on the trajectory of this movement that now has spanned many decades.

While her tone in speaking about her upbringing is harsh and can’t be condoned, the outcome of her life is telling. After all, she was raised by a mother who believed that “motherhood was the worst thing that could happen to a woman” and “children are millstones around your neck.” The younger Walker does not share this view. Rather she says that “having a child has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Far from ‘enslaving’ me, three-and-a-half-year-old Tenzin has opened my world. My only regret is that I discovered the joys of motherhood so late—I have been trying for a second child for two years, but so far with no luck.”

In fact, the lie of feminism was apparent to her even early on. As the child of divorced parents she was sent to her father’s house sometimes for two years at a time. It was in these time periods that she was exposed to a step-mother who doted on her own children—which caused Walker to long for a mother that was non-existent in her own life. She knew in her heart that something was missing.

Who told Ms. Walker that she should feel the desire to be a mother? Her inclination towards motherhood is not a result of social conditioning. If it was, then she would have followed the path of her own strong mother. Instead she rejected what she was taught, following an unknown path that led to great joy. From the very beginning God created women to be givers of life. Eve was named the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:15). The fact that Rebecca Walker rejected the only path that she has ever known reveals that God has bestowed common grace on her to still desire to be, even in some small measure, a woman.

Rebecca Walker is not the only one moving away from her upbringing. Sarah Odell, a junior at Wellesley, recently wrote an article in the Washington Post responding to the lack of interest in Hillary Clinton’s campaign among her fellow peers. She likens it to the fact that her generation is far more conservative than their parents generation. Young women, who have been raised by feminist mothers, have come of age wanting something more than what they were dealt as children. Many of them are finding that fulfillment in bearing children—the very antitheses of what their mothers were trying to accomplish. The stories of these young women tell us something that is far more profound than simply conditioning, peer pressure, and perceived low expectations.

When women completely deny their God-given right and ability to bear children we are seeing a complete giving over to the desires of the flesh (Romans 1). To see children as a burden to be thrown off is a reversal of the created order and a sinful repression of the desire that probably once burned bright. It should make us weep for them.

Rebecca Walker’s story, though very sad, reveals something that no movement can ever squelch—God has created women to be givers of life. While we continue to discuss the hurdles that we face in the gender debate, we can see hope in the fact that God will not allow his design for womanhood to be completely effaced by sin. We can read with hope, but also read with sadness knowing that there are hundreds of young women out there who are just as confused about what it means to be a woman. And we should continue to give them the answer.

*This post orginally appeared here

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Devotional: Memory

I often forget how helpful memory is. Simply spending a day with an Alzheimer’s patient will probably cause me to immediately thank God for the provision of memory. This has been on my mind a lot lately as I look back over the last year. Though there are new surroundings, I have seen God take me through very similar circumstances of trusting and waiting on his timing. Memory affords us many blessings. But I can think of three particular blessings that have helped me this year.

Without memory we wouldn’t be able to see how far we have come. We wouldn’t be able to see the work that God has promised to faithfully complete in us (Phil. 1:6). It enables us to see progress in a poor attitude towards a co-worker. Memory is what gives us grace to continue serving in a hard ministry position because of the small difference we see in the life of the person we are ministering to. God does not have to give us these insights into our spiritual state. But He graciously opens our eyes to see the softened heart towards an enemy, or the increased trust in His all-encompassing provision for each and every circumstance.

Without memory we would easily forget our great sinfulness and our need for the great Savior. The Israelites forgot God on a regular basis, and we are no better. David says in Psalm 51, “my sin is ever before me.” Memory forces our transgressions to be ever present in our minds. But memory also forces us to look to the One who was pierced for our transgressions. It is when we feel the most sinful that we must cry out to God for the righteousness of Christ on our behalf. If we didn’t have memory we would be so prone to think of ourselves as good. We do so even without amnesia. But it is in the mercy of God that He allows me to see my sin, but then immediately see my great Savior.

Without memory we would lose hope when all seems lost. Often what gets me through the winter is the memory of summer. It is the trust that warmth and sun will soon come to melt away the cold. Even in spiritual darkness it is helpful for me to look back and remember, even faintly, a time when I loved Him unashamedly, when I delighted in His Word. Sometimes the darkness lasts for months, sometimes hours and sometimes just for my morning devotions. But it is because I remember the past that I am able to pray for the present. I know His promises, and I have seen them manifested in my life, therefore I am able to rest in the memory and hope for the future. In the winter, I can trust that the summer sun will come because I remember what it looked like, what the warmth felt like on my skin, and how it lighted my paths and made me see more clearly. Darkness only lasts for a night, though some seasons have more night than others. Just like the summer sun sustains us through the winter, so the memory of the Son’s presence and hope in His promises sustain us in the dark, long winter of despair.

Memory is a mercy from our Father. He does not desire for us to be left to ourselves and so he gives us glimmers of hope. Memory can serve as one of those glimmers. Even when He feels far away we can trust that He will never leave us. So next time I am overcome with my sinfulness, or discouraged over my feelings towards spiritual things, or when intense trials come and I feel that there is no hope. I pray that I can look back on the memories of a fonder time and know that each season is appointed its time and must come to an end.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Keeping your Heart Pure

My youngest brother has written a really good post reflecting on the keeping power of God while he was in high school. He also speaks to the importance of purity and how when we fail in that regard we stain the Gospel. He is light years ahead of where I was at 18, and I am proud to be his sister. He is an example of how not to waste your life even when the world expects you to do otherwise. Read his post. It's worth it. I praise God for his preservation of Micah these last 18 years, and I am excited to see where God takes him.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

25 Reason's Why I am Thankful for My Dad

Here are few of the many reasons why I am thankful for my dad, today and every day. I was going to do this on his birthday, but I don’t want to wait until November. Since he has been my dad for 25 years, here are 25 reasons why I am thankful for him.

  1. He married my mom and still loves her dearly.

  2. He worked hard all of my life so my mom could stay home with the boys and me.

  3. He still works hard.

  4. He played with us growing up.

  5. He treated me like a girl so I learned to be not just one of “the Tarter boys.”

  6. He likes to laugh and make us laugh.

  7. He laughs at himself, and encourages us to do the same.

  8. He loves the Gospel.

  9. He loves preaching the Gospel and wants people to come to Christ.

  10. He takes sin seriously.

  11. He faithfully proclaimed the Gospel to me even when I didn’t want to hear it.

  12. He (and my mom) knew when to let me go in my rebellion and prayed for me to return.

  13. He does not count our sin against us, even though we deserve it.

  14. He is brave even in the midst of adversity.

  15. He cares about truth.

  16. He is willing to admit his faults and work to change them.

  17. He is always there when I call him in trouble.

  18. He still values his role as the leader and protector of my life, even though I am many miles away.

  19. He encourages my friendship with my mom.

  20. He prays for me.

  21. He made my budget for me.

  22. He lets me borrow money when my budget is a little short at the end of the month.

  23. He always is there when I call even when he doesn’t have time (and I say it will only take a minute but really takes thirty).

  24. He encourages me in my pursuits.

  25. He always has advice ready when I ask.

I do not thank my parents enough for how they have impacted my life. Often I take their involvement and friendship fore granted, so, thank you, Daddy, for being a father to me even when I was a less than ideal child. God’s continued work in your life has helped me to better understand the Fatherhood of God. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I wish I could be there.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Summer Reading Update: Living Faith by Helen Roseveare

Last night I finished Living Faith by Dr. Helen Roseveare. I had been really excited to read this book, as I mentioned previously, and was ready for a slight change of pace from the normal reading I do for my theology classes. This was a nice transition into summer reading. One of the blessings of reading about people’s lives is that you get to see the power of God in the experiences of real people. It gives encouragement to the discouraged to see that the same God who works for them in their situations will work in your life in a similar situation. Helen Roseveare’s life was not without suffering or trials. But, it was also one of joy. This book recounts the events in her life that God used to draw her closer to him and to make her faith in his promises deeper. Here are some quotes that I found encouraging:

“It was hard to learn the lesson. To walk by faith and not by sight had to become a living fact of relationship where the reality of the unseen was more real than the appearance of visible results. Seeking results is often a not-very-subtle means used to prove the reality of one’s faith, when in actual fact it only shows the existence of doubts in one’s mind. Results per se are no proof of the existence of faith, any more than the lack of visible results are the proof of the absence of faith.”

“If I will allow God all rights to my life, to stir me until He sees I am ready to be applied, I can trust God then, in His perfect timing, to know where He wants to apply me. God does not need to tell us ahead of time. Until we are stirred, we are not ready for application.”

“Without faith in God, we shall not seek to obey His command to “pray without ceasing.” We must believe that God is, that He cares and that He can answer.”

“Faith enables us to believe that God has prepared a path for each of us, and that He desires to lead us into and along that pathway.”

I hope that these quotes encourage you like they did me. One of the biggest blessings of this book was the realization that I am not the only one who fears and struggles with trusting God. And it was convicting as well to know that too often my struggles with fear are simply as a result of the rodents overtaking my house or the turbulence of an airplane. Helen Roseveare regularly faced life threatening situations at the hands of the rebel army that sought to take over the Congo. Books like these are good for us. It makes us remember those who have gone before us, but also makes us mindful of the great sacrifice that many of the missionaries of old, and even now, face as they lay down their lives so that the nations might know Him. Thank you, Dr. Roseveare, for your obedience to the Gospel no matter the cost.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New Generation of Complementarians at New Attitude 2008

Below is a "recap" post I did from New Attitude for the CBMW Gender Blog. It was a great conference on many levels, so I hope you enjoy a little peek at some of the people I met while there.

In addition to contributing to Gender Blog, I also enjoy opportunities to represent CBMW as a conference exhibitor. One of the best parts of attending conferences for CBMW is getting to meet and fellowship with so many brothers and sisters in the Lord. It doesn't hurt that I am an extrovert-so these experiences are extremely life giving.

New Attitude 2008 was no different. One of the blessings of the fellowship is hearing about people's stories with regards to biblical manhood and womanhood. A complementarian commitment to biblical manhood and womanhood is becoming increasingly uncommon among youth. This is why I want to tell you a few encounters from the recent conference, that encouraged me that there is generation rising up who desires to live how God has created us as men and women. Please pray for us to continue to stand firm among a confused age. Though I have withheld names from the stories, these all represent real believers standing firm on gender issues.

RBMW in high school: A recent high school graduate found a copy of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in her house and started reading it. The topic intrigued her and now she is growing in her understanding of how God has created her to be. What a tremendous blessing that she is already learning these truths even before she leaves for The Master's College next year. May God increase her tribe!

Biblical manhood on the college campus: A man who serves with Campus Outreach came up for some materials for his ministry among college men. He told us that he is already discipling a group of six men through a study on biblical manhood. May God use him to bear much fruit for the kingdom in the lives of these men.

College, career, missions, and motherhood: A young woman came up to our table to talk with us about CBMW. In the course of the conversation she told us that she was studying Strategic Intelligence at college. As she has pursued this career path, she has felt the pull towards motherhood. She has been wrestling through God's call on her life to be a mother, but also her desire to study and possibly go on the mission field. In this wrestling, God has opened up a door for her to study in Germany. What a blessing that in college she is responding to God's call to bring his Gospel to the nations, but also to her future family through motherhood.

Gender truth among the nations: In El Salvador God has used Dr. Russell Moore's Gender Matter's DVD to help bring a leadership change to a church. One pastor from the church bought the DVD last year at the Children Desiring God conference, and a woman from the church told us that she has watched it over and over again.

These are just a few of the stories of the many people that we met at New Attitude. These encounters are reminders that these issues matter in our lives. They are intensely practical in how we live and relate to one another, but most importantly in how we relate to God. This is where the theological rubber meets the road, and we praise God for the work that he has done in all of their lives. I hope to meet you and hear your personal story at the CBMW booth at an upcoming conference.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Trusting in Turbulence

“We are experiencing unexpected turbulence.”

This is not one of my favorite statements. Every time I fly I get a little bit nervous the night before. That nervousness is only heightened by the sudden jerk of the plane at 20,000 feet. As I have been traveling more I have realized how much energy I exert being apprehensive about a shaky airplane. And the root cause of this anxiety? I like to be in control. No matter how many times I am told the statistics about people who die in car accidents versus plane crashes I will still prefer driving every time because at least I feel like I am in control. But that’s really all that it is—a feeling. My perception of control is really no control at all. Despite the fact that I am behind the wheel of the car, there are still many factors out of my little controlled universe.

The root cause of my fear is unbelief in God’s providential hand over my situation. And this is not simply isolated to air travel. My unbelief, though slightly comical in the air, is not so comical when I do not trust that he will fulfill his promises. Whenever I seek assurances of my safety outside of God’s Word I am simply grasping at a false hope that will never save me, even if it is an experienced airline pilot in the seat next to me or the illusion of “safe ground” when I land.

This has practical applications for how I live my every day life. Each time I fly it is a test of my faith in God’s promise to sustain me as long as he desires to keep me. And if I do not make it through a plane flight, or even through a night’s sleep, it is not because God has abandoned me. It is because he has willed it to be so. These are not easy things to live out. There are so many circumstances that cause me to waver in my belief that he is with me and protecting me. But even in those circumstances I must not look to the false hopes that promise temporary safety, I must look to the eternal hope found in the Word of God. I find myself daily fighting my proneness to fear by telling myself “when I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3-4). And even though I do not feel immediate relief all of the time, it is a reminder that these external events that are causing my fear have no control over me. They may harm me, or even kill me, but my hope is sure in the promises of God to keep my soul until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6, Rom. 8:38-39).

My life is full of “unexpected turbulence” and this will never end. But what is unexpected to me, is never unexpected to God. What I seek to blindly and foolishly control, he upholds by his righteous right hand. This is good news when I am hit with the “unexpected turbulence” of life—and air.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Life has been a whirlwind the past week and a half. First, I exhibited at the New Attitude conference. Immediately after the conference ended on Tuesday I hopped on a plane headed south to Florida for my youngest brother's high school graduation. This is where I have been since last Tuesday. It has been a week full of events from graduation to visiting family to a graduation party for the last Tarter child. There was much relaxing by the pool, too. It was a blessing to be able to spend my vacation with my parents and brothers and sister-in-law. Times like these make me sit in awe at the provision of God in my life. I am so very blessed to have the family that I have and I look forward to spending time with them again. I head home tomorrow and will be back to work, life, and blogging. I have been able to think through blog ideas as well. So, until then....Thank you for reading!