*Originally published by The Gospel Coalition Canada.
If there was a romantic comedy about my life leading up to marriage it would be called “Christmas by Candlelight.” It would begin when I see a handsome stranger, and we lock eyes across the room of an Old Testament seminary class. It feels like love at first sight, and a friendship develops. But confusion ensues over six months until he finally makes his intentions known.This is followed by him cooking me an incredible meal as we clear up all of the miscommunication and laugh into the evening! We then fall in love surrounded by Christmas lights, and he later proposes in the budding spring gardens of a castle courtyard. The montage of our exquisite December wedding is set to the music of the live Motown band from our candlelit reception.
The final scenes of our wedding day set up the sequel of our “picture perfect” future: we would launch both of our successful careers, buy our forever family home, fill it with beautiful, compliant children, and make memories travelling the world together.
Just as it is rare to find a sequel as good as the original, the scenes after our wedding day have yet to play out in the “picture perfect” way I had imagined. Continue reading
Recently I had a conversation with a woman who has chosen homemaking as her primary career. Now that summer is over and her husband and children are back in school, she is left at home wondering if joy and fulfillment can be found among the long quiet hours that await her each day. Many women her age have successful careers in workplaces outside the home. Media and the surrounding culture suggest that women should enjoy the convenience and freedom of the single life. Alternatively, women can “have it all” if they so choose marriage, family, and an aspiring career, which also comes with high-achieving children, exotic vacations, and a white picket fence!
God’s Word teaches that young women are to value the call to marriage and motherhood. Even so, there are women everywhere who wonder how changing diapers and cleaning bathrooms can really be a fulfilling way to follow Christ. It seems the values of the surrounding culture have had a much greater impact than the truths in Scripture about God’s high calling and purpose for young women. Continue reading
I am thrilled to share this article with you by a very dear friend of mine, “Swimming in the Deep End with God.” The Lord has used the Gaynik family in mighty ways to demonstrate his gospel and exhort the church to care for the fatherless. This year, TerriAnn was invited by desiringGod to share their story to the glory of Christ! Read the full article here.
I had the immense privilege of attending the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Pre-Conference and Together for the Gospel Conference a few weeks ago. While there were many highlights of exemplary teaching and Christ-centered worship, this talk by Kevin DeYoung would have to be my favourite. Walking through the significant roles of women in Exodus 1 and 2, DeYoung does an exceptional job of expository teaching while he affirms the value of motherhood. It is a beautiful tribute for all of those women who care for children and minister to point them to Christ. You can also check out the other CBMW Pre-Conference talks here.
Carolyn Mahaney is a pastor’s wife, women’s ministry leader, author, and speaker with decades of experience. This book uses Titus 2 as outline for how to develop godliness as a wife and mother. Mahaney adds personal examples and the stories of other women to demonstrate the significant impact this small passage in the Bible has had through applying it to her life. She spends one chapter each on the seven aspects outlined in Titus 2: loving my husband, loving my children, self-control, purity, working at home, kindness, and submission. She also includes a study guide with questions.
In this helpful article, Kathleen Nielson acknowledges the challenges of participating in family functions throughout the holiday season. She offers five morsels of wisdom to consider as you prepare for your upcoming festivities:
- Pray in advance.
- Pray for God to set a guard over my mouth.
- Care for different stages of life.
- Infuse my plans with trust in a sovereign God.
- Make time to read the Bible out loud and pray out loud together.
Kathleen Nielson is a Bible teacher, author, and the director of women’s initiatives for the Gospel Coalition.
Check out the full article here.
Russell Moore offers a helpful perspective for believers in this article that recognizes the many opportunities that exists for difficulties at family gatherings during the holiday season.
He suggests 5 things that disciples of Christ ought to embrace in preparation of these scenarios:
You can check out the full article here.
Ah November…you run into the store to grab a couple of items only to be bombarded by Santa, reindeer, and elves who claim to be mysteriously watching you all the time, keeping track of your good deeds and bad! Christmas is in the air once again and the stores are certainly ready…are you?
I am challenged each season to consider how I will stay focused on Christ and celebrate all that is true of his amazing gospel. I find this particularly challenging as a mom in a world that continually undermines our efforts by celebrating jolly fictional characters who give out tons of chocolate and toys, invite us to make lists of all the things we wish to receive, and that our actions and choices will determine how much we will be given!
Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper is an excellent book to begin thinking through why and how we create traditions in our homes. She begins by defining traditions, why they are important, and what they can teach. Noel then gives attention to everyday “routines”, special holiday traditions, and a chapter each on Christmas and Easter. She shares personal stories from traditions in her home both growing up and as a parent, along with practical suggestions and recipes that have been loved for generations.
This is a great resource to begin thinking through the traditions in our homes. We all come from different backgrounds, where some have fond memories of how a particular event is celebrated every year, while others did not grow up with any consistent family life, let alone a special way to celebrate something. In Christ, the amazing truth is that we are a new creation with a new identity in him. We have the privilege of reflecting on the past and carrying on those traditions that honor him. We also get the blessing of creating new ways to celebrate the truths of Scripture both in our daily routines and on special holidays throughout the year.
The book is available as a free download at Desiring God, or you can purchase a hard copy online.
How do we help kids navigate our media driven culture? In a day when everyone has a screen in their pocket, they are bombarded with messages from advertisements, internet clips, video games, TV, movies, and all types of social networking. As parents we must take care to develop discernment in these areas so that we can model and teach these skills to the next generation.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has an excellent blog with great articles on a wide range of topics from current events and book reviews, to discipleship in the home and church.
Check out this article, “Shepherding Your Children Through Media Choices”. In this post, Kurt Gebhards discusses the necessity of parents first setting an example of making positive media choices, both in quality and quantity. He encourages parents to become educated and informed of the content that their children are being exposed to. Gebhards suggests that we should take an active role by investing quality time into the spiritual development of our families, which will often require turning off the media around us. He then gives 5 practical suggestions on how we can assess our media consumption and take steps toward investing our leisure time in more Christ-centered ways. See the full article and other great resources here:
Scripture gives us the beautiful truth that when we accept God’s gift of salvation, he adopts us as his children. We become part of his family, anticipate our future inheritance, and receive eternal life with Christ. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3-6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
When children are adopted into families it becomes a beautiful picture of the gospel. It is a reminder that God has chosen and adopted us into his eternal family. I love this song, “Children of God” by Third Day. In this video (be sure to watch to the end!), they draw on Ephesians 1 and 1 John 3:1 and remind us to reflect on this gift: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”