Thursday, June 26, 2014

Headed to TGCW14

I had high hopes for this week. I was going to check things off my to-do list, get my house in order, and head out of town feeling like super mom (and wife). I also was praying for humility, having noticed pride lurking in my own heart. It tends to do that after I come off a period of manning the fort while Daniel is traveling. So in true prideful fashion, I was due for a good humbling. And it came in the form of a cold. At least at first. In rapid succession we all succumbed to it's viral power, the twins, then me, then Daniel. It destroyed any hopes of accomplishing anything besides blowing my nose and wiping two others this week. And I needed it.

In a moment of weakness, and sinful anger, I had a meltdown yesterday afternoon. This was not how I was supposed to leave for TGCW14. I was supposed to leave with blissful memories of a task list conquered and a house in order. Instead my husband is still sick and my heart still stings over my outburst yesterday.

I texted my sister-in-law in the midst of my difficult day, knowing she too was trying to get out of town for this weekend. When I told her how humbling the whole debacle had been she comforted me with these words:

"Isn't that a great place to be going into the conference?"


God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. The broken and contrite heart he doesn't despise. The meek inherit the earth. The weak are made strong by his strength.

Our pride is deadly. It keeps us from seeing God. It keeps us from hearing him speak clearly in his word. And that is what I need more than anything as I prepare for this weekend--to hear his word.

I don't know what your circumstances are coming into this conference. Or even if you aren't attending, you surely understand the war between our pride and fight for humility. Maybe you left a desk with piles of unfinished work and an inbox that never empties. Maybe you left piles of laundry and a fussy toddler. Maybe you left conflict unresolved with your husband and you don't know how to fix it. Maybe your family is broken and it weighs on you. Maybe your life resembles all of the above

I have good news.

That's a good place to be as you go to a conference to hear from God's word. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. May we all drink deeply from that grace this weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Crossway Hosts Women of the Word Month in July

The summer is a time to slow down and enjoy the longer days. Some of you may even have a summer reading list that you are trying to work through (I have a loose list myself!). Maybe you are hoping to study the Bible more or are looking for a way to do so. If that's you, I have an exciting opportunity to tell you about.

During the month of July, will be hosting Women of the Word Month—a 31-day online campaign designed to encourage women to get in the Word and stay in the Word during the busy days of summer.

Timed with the publication of two important new resources from Crossway—Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin and the ESV Women’s Devotional Bible—the campaign will feature a daily email devotional, as well as practical blog posts and weekly video interviews with gifted Bible teachers. Contributors include Jen Wilkin, Kathy Keller, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Gloria Furman, Paul David Tripp, Kristyn Getty, and more.
The best news? It's entirely FREE! That's right. It's free of charge, my friends. What more reason do you need to sign up?
So I hope you will join me for Women of the Word Month. I'm excited to dig in and see what God will do.

For more information or to sign up, go to



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

God Created Male and Female, and It Was Good

The first time I ever heard the word complementarian was while sitting in a pew at Bethlehem Baptist Church. I can't remember the exact moment, but I knew it was a new concept for me. My early years as a believer were spent sitting under the ministry of John Piper and the elders of Bethlehem. When I walked through those doors my first Sunday I didn't know what "sovereign" meant, let alone how important it was that I was made female and not male. But in my three formative years there I drank abundantly from the spiritual water of God's word. When I walked out of those doors for the last time as a member, I was a changed woman. 

My belief in God's good design for men and women was merely an unwatered seed, planted by my Christian mom and dad, in my early Christian days. The weekly proclamation of God's word that came out of that pulpit watered that little seed. And God made it grow.

That's why I am so thankful to have contributed to this new E-book on God's good design in creating us male and female. In the pages of this book you will find a dozen young complementarians who are committed to proclaiming God's glory in how he created us. They want you to see your purpose as an image bearer of our Creator. And they want you to find joy in your differences. 

You want to hear something even better? It's entirely FREE. That's right, free

If you want a fresh understanding of what it looks like to live as male or female and find joy in God's good plan, I encourage you to download this book

(My chapter is on my recovery from feminism)

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Run to Remember

On Saturday our family had the opportunity to run in our first 5k as a family of four. Daniel and I ran one together before we were married, but it hardly counted as a run since I could barely walk the whole thing. This time it meant something to us. We ran in the Race to Remember, which benefits an organization called Mamie's Poppy Plates. This organization provides hand painted plates of footprints and birth stats to families who have lost a child in early infancy or in pregnancy. While we have never experienced infant loss or stillbirth, we have lost two babies to miscarriage and felt like this race was a worthy cause to give our time to.

Leading up to the race I was really anxious and I couldn't put my finger on it. As I drove to pick up our race packets on Friday it hit me. I was aware that running in a race in memory of the two babies we have lost put our grief right out into the open. Of course, it's a race to remember, so it's only fitting that I would remember the babies we don't have with us. It felt so raw and in my face to take part in something that put my loss out in the open. The Internet is one thing. Looking people in the eye who have experienced similar (and far more horrific) losses to my own was freeing and excruciating.

As we stepped inside the park to join the pre-race festivities I felt my self-conscious fear melt away. Everywhere I looked there were families in shirts bearing the names of the babies they have lost. I made a point to read and process every precious name on every shirt. Names of lives desperately wanted. Names of babies who were gone far too soon. Names of boys, girls, full term, premature, and sick babies who never made it through their first few moments of life outside the womb, if they even got that far.

And that was the point.

Every person who chose to run that race on Saturday knew they were running for something more than themselves. Grandfathers ran in honor of their grandchildren. Brothers ran in honor of their sisters. Cousins ran in honor of their cousins. Aunts and uncles ran for their nieces and nephews. And mothers ran for their babies. I read those names because like their family members, I want to remember that their lives mattered, even if they were brief.

The beauty of memory is that we are given the chance to remember what is most precious to us. Even if it is laced with pain, we still have the hope that our memories remind us of happier days. God did not need to bless us with this gift, but he did. Throughout the Bible he tells us to remember, most importantly to remember his kindness to us. On Saturday, like many other mothers who have babies no longer with them, I remembered not just the lives lost, but the goodness of God in the midst of the pain. God gives and God takes away and his name is always worthy of my praise.

(Before the race there was a balloon release in memory of the babies who have died. If you had an early pregnancy loss before you knew the gender you received a white balloon. If you look closely, the above picture is of our two white balloons floating away.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Father's Delight

On Saturday we took the twins to an unused baseball field to let them run around in the outfield. Both boys are at a point in their life where running is their top priority. Since our backyard is fairly uneven, rocky, and has a variety of levels, it's not really conducive for toddler activities. So we have been brainstorming about ways to help them burn their restless energy. And that is how our Saturday activity was born.

Daniel noticed the baseball field when he was playing tennis earlier that morning. He could hardly wait for the twins to wake from their nap so we could take them out to play. In his fatherly imagination it was going to be a great time. And it was. From the minute we got there both boys could hardly contain their excitement. Zach, who is a little more active than Luke, ran for the entirety of our time there. As he ran through the grass, from one end to the other, he screamed and laughed like we had never heard before. Both of their faces expressed such joy, that in turn made us joyful. As we drove home from our time there (they ran for thirty minutes straight and were dripping sweat!), we couldn't stop talking about how much fun we had. But what struck us was how our excitement was simply owing to the delight we saw in our children. For those thirty minutes Zach and Luke were filled with unbridled joy in doing what they were made to do, which for 16 month old boys is to run and run and run until you can't run anymore. And we felt every bit of that joy.

As I've reflected on this experience more I have been amazed at how kind God is to give us such beautiful, living, tangible metaphors to understand the depth of his love for us. So many of our earthly realities are designed to point us to the perfect heavenly one that is waiting for us. Through our very lives we are living these metaphors. But even more than that we get to experience a taste of the beauty the metaphor is describing. When I think of how happy I was to see my boys enjoy something so small as running in an open field, it pales in comparison to God's delight in giving us good gifts. He loves seeing his children appreciate and find joy in the good gifts he gives so freely.

But more than that his gifts to us are always for our good. We took our sons to an open field, and not our backyard, because we know what is best for them. We know they want to run. We know they love being outside. But we also know that four foot tall drop-offs and rocky terrain are not the best places for wobbly toddlers. So we took them to a place that was better for them. We didn't withhold the gift. We simply gave it parameters and a better context. If the twins had only known the rocks, broken sticks, and uneven landscape of our backyard they would never have known the wonder of a flat open field where they could run with abandon for hours.

God is infinitely more loving and wise than that. He delights in giving us good gifts. And even when those gifts are withheld or seem far away, he is not doing so arbitrarily. He has a purpose. He has greater joy awaiting us. In our finite minds we would settle for the rocky terrain and uneven landscape, when in God's perfect wisdom he has open fields just around the corner.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Who Our Speech Addresses

I have been really helped by reflecting on the image of God lately. Every human being, male or female, healthy or unhealthy, infant or elderly, bears God's image (Gen. 1:26-27). This has profound implications for how we live. It means that our life has value. It means our gifts and abilities mean something. It means that our very lives tell a story about who God is and what he is like. But it also has implications for our human relationships. We don't murder someone because he or she bears the image of God (Ex. 20:13). We don't abuse someone because he or she bears the image of God.

We also don't use our words to hurt him or her because that person bears the image of God. 

Did you catch that? That's often the hardest to pinpoint in our own lives and also the easiest to forget.

In the heat of the moment it is easy to forget who we are talking to or about. A friend hurts our feelings and all we want to do is vent to another friend about how terribly she has treated us. We want vindication. We want our hurt feelings to be mended. We want someone, anyone, to see that we were wronged. What we really want, is for that friend to pay for what she did. So we talk about her. We malign her character with our wounded pride and heart.

Or maybe you hit things head on. I get that. I'm not one to be afraid of a fight. Your family member says something that bothers you. Maybe he hurts your feelings, too. Or maybe he just misunderstood what you were trying to say, so you push back. But your harmless quip turns into a full blown attack. Next thing you know you are spewing memories of pain from months ago, rather than focusing on the conflict at hand.

Besides the need for serious conflict resolution, what has each person forgotten in each scenario?

There is a person at the other end of their rhetoric. 

Our feelings tell us that our wants, pain, and frustration must be realized in the confrontation or humiliation of the one who wronged us. But our feelings aren't ultimate. Of course, conflict must be resolved. Of course, relationships need to be mended. But always in the context of Jesus' words that we must do to others as we would have done to us (Luke 6:31).

Why does Jesus say it in that way? Because not only does he understand our own inherent need to protect ourselves (which in turn allows us to understand the command), but also because he understands our standing as image bearers. We treat others the same way we would treat our very bodies and souls because we all bear the image of our Creator.

Our words have lasting implications. We can all probably pinpoint, to our shame, a memory where our speech has failed us and painfully failed another. Our speech never falls into an empty void, but always addresses a person. A person created in the image of God.

This is the first post in an occasional series on speech. I address why I started this series here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Series on Speech

I'm a talker. My parents say I haven't stopped talking since I uttered my first words. I'm pretty sure all of my former school teachers and husband would agree. I've been known to get in trouble with my love of talking. From being told to go back to my cubicle at work for talking about "things that weren't work related" to speaking my mind in the heat of an argument, my words can hurt me sometimes. I want to talk well. I want to use my personality, talkative nature, and ability not for my own benefit but for God's glory. He created me, which means he created me with a mouth that likes to move. But I'm also a sinner. Which means, my mouth that likes to move often moves in unhelpful ways.

So in an effort to help myself I'm going to be blogging about speech for a little bit. I will probably interject a random post here and there as ideas move me, but because I learn through writing I'm hoping that this little writing exercise will bear fruit in my life. Maybe you can relate, dear reader. Maybe you, like me, like to move your mouth and want it to move for good and not evil. We are in this together. I hope you will join me for the ride.