It may be the case that some of us have lesser capacities than others, smaller investments to make. It may be the case that someone else’s gifts seem to be more transformative in the lives of others, or are more easily seen. It is, however, most certainly the case that each person is created in the image of God and positioned in the world to reflect Him for His glory within the scope He has assigned to each (Isaiah 43:7; 2 Corinthians 10:13).
Whatever the onset, caring for aging parents necessitates we give of ourselves in ways and to degrees that we hadn’t anticipated. In the best scenario, it’s a joyful exchange of love and support between aging parents and their adult children. But for many, parent care is a challenge that brings up difficult dynamics and forces us to make decisions that put us at odds with what our parents want.
As I tossed and turned in the wee hours of the morning, my frustration grew; not with the speakers of the words I obsessed over, but with myself. It was clear to me that I had become a woman whose worth felt threatened by other’s opinions.
If men always lead from behind closed doors, then they are not leading like Jesus. When men are not attentive and in tune with the thoughts and concerns of women, they are not reflecting Jesus. If men do not honor, serve, respect and include their sisters, then they are not following Christ’s example of leadership.
When something horrible happens, something that seems unfair or unexplainable, we grasp for meaning in our suffering. More than that we try to reconcile our experience with our conception of God. The problem is, if we don’t trust His character first and foremost over what we are able to see, we will demand that in all of our trials, He answer to us. This is sin.
The gospel gives us rest from having to prove ourselves, it gives us rest from having to define ourselves based on our accomplishments, and it gives us rest from evaluating ourselves based on our performance and production.
Contrary to what our culture might tell us, our work is not defined by whether we receive a W2 for daily labors. Our work is defined by what God has put before us to do. Whether that’s with a briefcase or a diaper bag in your hand, you can rejoice that He has given you work to do and seek to honor Him in it because He’s created you to do it!
The inclination to create realities in which we are best served and most comfortable is a pervasive sin pattern we all share. But it stops us from getting to real hope that is offered because we settle for the cheap comfort of our own saccharine imaginings.
. . . if you choose to give something up to fast this season of Lent, the purpose should be to shift your focus from being on you and your needs, to being on the Lord.
Taking care of my body is a way of taking care of my soul and often, the state of my body is an indicator of how my soul is doing. We worship, minister and relate to others with both our body and soul.
I went to Bible school and seminary, and I have never been a member of a church. Never.
I always considered myself a member of my childhood church by default of my parents’ membership, but, like my faith at the time, it was never my own.
More than anything, early mornings have the tendency to heap condemnation upon me. I never feel my inadequacies and sin as acutely as I do at this time of day. It's a burden of weighty proportions. But in it, is God.
I resented others who said they had a great first year. I was envious of those who were popping out kids with no problem while we couldn’t even figure out sex. I hated when people joked about “doing it” all the time as newlyweds.
And as I saw my sinful responses to my trial grow, I realized that maybe I had worshiped my hopes for sex more than my God.
As we continue to talk about how we can love both our single and married friends well, know this: one way married couples can love their single friends is by being honest about marriage.
When we face grief, the faith of Jesus is ready and waiting to help us through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, providing the strength and comfort we need in God’s character, promises and gospel. So to understand how to grieve by faith, we should seek to grieve in the same way Jesus grieved while on earth.
He hated death. He hated pain. And it broke his heart. This story gives a beautiful picture of Jesus being fully God, yet totally human; his grieving was completely appropriate. It was 100% perfect.
My sorrow was the unexpected death of my infant son, Parker, who was stillborn after living 42 weeks in my womb. Then I imagined myself mustering praises to God from this posture in my current assignment of suffering. I saw myself with my face smashed against the dirt, struggling between breaths as I pursed my lips in praise, declaring the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord who had been our Refuge all of our days.
Scripture teaches us that suffering is one of God’s means (and I might argue, his primary means) of growing us in spiritual maturity. So how can we respond to suffering in a way that participates in that work of spiritual and physical life in us, rather than bringing about more pain and death?
For a while after my sister’s death, my family was silently labeled as “the family who had lost a child.” It was the badge we wore that made people talk softly around us and hug us too much. I hated it; but I couldn’t get away from it. When one of your earliest memories is of a baby-sized casket, it just changes you.
When I really think about it, the reason I want 2015 to end is that I think I deserve better. I am a pretty nice person. My husband and I both work for our church. We love our families. We recycle. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to have more kids. We deserve to live until we are old and die together holding hands . . . right?